I was able to, at the beginning of the semester, to get a Chromebook and it has really helped me to be far more productive. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still an Apple MacBook Pro fan. However, for general web browsing and research, the Chromebook has been a godsend (something I should have gotten over the summer and I would have been far more productive, but hindsight is 20/20). A Chromebook, as long as you use web-based apps, and have an internet connection, is a perfect, cheap, alternative to most computers. Is it as sophisticated and versatile–no, it isn’t. However, it does the one thing that I need/want it to do: basic access to the internet and web-based platforms WITHOUT having to use Microsoft’s Windows.
Alternatives to Windows
Basically, until Microsoft stops 1) criminalizing users of its Windows Operating System by making them register copies of the operating system with a license that they can’t alter and 2) forcing draconian licensing agreements on users of its X-Box systems, I will NOT support them in ANY form (to the best of my ability). In the age of corporate conglomeration, it is almost impossible to truly boycott a corporation’s products in order to affect change in any meaningful way. However, Microsoft (along with Electronic Arts) is the poster-child for corporate machinations that I simply do not agree with no matter how much money their shenanigans make for their shareholders. As such, I refuse to purchase Microsoft products or products that I know will directly or indirectly benefit Microsoft (and to a lesser extent, EA). As such, I use Macs and Chromebooks because they 1) do what I need them to do, 2) allow me to accomplish the things that I want to accomplish and 3) they DON’T benefit Microsoft.
Basic Web Browsing
My school (MTSU) uses a web-based platform (D2L) to help students and professors move into learning in a digital environment. Since my wifi adapter no longer works on my 2008 Macbook Pro, it is very difficult to find places on campus where I can use an ethernet cable to “plug in” and find places where I can help my students become stronger students through grading and discussions online. However, the Chromebook helps me to achieve this as it is robust enough to handle the web-based nature of D2L. Also, since most “apps” now have an Android app and/or a web-based presence, it is much more useful than one would think it might be based on the specs alone. The true strength of the Chromebook is that, as long as you have an internet connection, it is pretty much a full featured computer and analogous to its “bigger” brothers–Windows PC/Macs. Now this is really true if you’re not into gaming or any other processor intensive tasks, but if most of what you do/use it for is web browsing, streaming, light audio-visual, then it functions pretty much as (at least for me) a fully functional computer–allowing me to leave my MacBook Pro at home. I’m able to MOST everything I want to via the web or web apps, it has long battery life (up to 2 – 3 days of medium to heavy use on 1 charge cycle), and it is highly portable, so it is the perfect solution where I have WiFi 90% of the time.
This isn’t a permanent solution, but it is A solution. One that is helping to at least stay current in my graduate school and creative writing lifestyle. Without it, I would be losing ground instead of treading water. So, I say, until I can Macbook Pro it, I’m going to continue to Chromebook it.
- Current Work-in-Progress: The Independent (Sci-Fi Short-Story – 2nd Draft)
- Current Work-in-Progress: Project Star (Sci-Fi Short-Story -1st Draft)
- Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel – Script, Issue #1, Currently on Script Page 25)