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Seeking info.  I have been offered a new Chromebook of my choice, so I am studying up on what this thingie is.

I get it about Linux and open-source,  and I understand the cloud concept of storing software  and data in the ether rather than in my machine,  and grabbing what I need when I need it.  I have read what Wiki has to say about these devices.

But I need some input from folks who are actually using  such a device and how that is working out for you in real life.

Do I need to pay anything to use the Cloud, other than just having my own ISP?  Info about which specific machine to get would be appreciated.

I live very rural, so I hook to the net via copper  that is fed by fiberoptics to within about 2 thousand feet of my home.  I get about 1.5 Mbps speed, which is fast for around here and just about free to boot, thanks to my local phone coop.  I almost never use a computer away from home.  No need to.  My internet service is pretty damn reliable, considering how far out in the boonies I am.

Thanks in advance for any help or insight you can offer.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have the Nexus 7 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, koNko, Ooooh, Aunt Pat, BlackSheep1

    and it's OK.
    You get free space on the cloud with SkyDrive and DropBox and can purchase more. DropBox gives you free space if your friends sign up.

    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

    by Zwoof on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 08:50:55 AM PST

  •  The major disadvantage (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, elfling, Ooooh, Aunt Pat, FG, BlackSheep1

    Is the need to tether to the internet, but it sounds like that would not be a major disadvantage for you.

    I have no personal experience with a Chromebook, but a couple of my colleagues are playing with them and one has already rooted his to instal Linux, which seems to be working OK. His Chromebook is the Samsung version.

    Ars Technica is usually a good source, here is a site search link.

    •  It'll work offline now (0+ / 0-)

      The Chromebook will work offline now and sync data back when you're in the cloud when you're using Google Docs...

      Most computers are pretty worthless when not connected to the web these days.

  •  I have serious reservations about the cloud. (13+ / 0-)

    If you are worried at all about keeping your data private...All your data are belong to us!
    Maybe I'm being paranoid, I dunno.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:12:50 AM PST

    •  If they want your data they will get it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, claude, Ooooh

      Unless you work offline, which nobody ever does anymore, it really doesn't matter wether you store in the cloud or store on your own PC. In fact, in the cloud, on a service like Google Drive/Google + or Dropbox your data is probably better protected against hackers and thieves due to the advanced expensive protection these companies have on their servers.

      If your worried about the NSA, again the only way to avoid their spying would be not to connect to the internet at all. If its stored on your computer and you are connected to the internet they can get there as easily, or perhaps even easier then on a cloud network.  

      Card-carrying member of the Illuminati.

      by DarkOmnius on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:29:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  External Drive (7+ / 0-)

      Since the Chromebooks have USB ports - I would assume that it could be fairly straightforward to plug in an external USB drive and store Your documents there instead?

      "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

      by josephk on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:29:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is google's most insidious (6+ / 0-)

      move in it's quest to develop digital marketing. They are seriously promoting them for use in schools and IT departments are finding them appealing since it relieves the departments from the chore of maintaining software and machinery. If a student's computer goes bust, just plug in a new one and sign in. Their stuff still exists on the cloud. On paper they look very good, and undoubtedly are an advance in reducing the cost of technologies in schools.

      Unfortunately or not, depending on one's perspective, it also allows google to create and nurture consumer profiles like the world has never seen. They make no secret that they mine people's cloud holdings to gather pertinent data about their customers. While they are already good at creating profiles by tracking and recording search information, combining with a student's ongoing digital life allows them to market long term attitude shaping marketing campaigns.

      Imagine if they can identify the class gear heads and craft a campaign of popping up articles of interest in their newsfeeds about cars and such. Except, the items in the feed will consistently cite negative reviews and unflattering news stories about car manufacturer A, while delivering positive and hip stories about car manufacturer B. Over the years the gear heads become opinion makers for company B and shape the attitudes about which cars are best amongst their peers.

      Maybe it's no different than marketers have done in the past, just more comprehensive. I dunno. It does creep me out a bit though to think that schools are handing equipment to students that gives private interests the means to shape those kids over time. This digital thing gets really complicated.

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

      by ricklewsive on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:41:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I'm much more leery of corporate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ooooh, Aquarius40

        surveillance than I am of Government.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:47:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Adding NAS and other thoughts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ooooh, ColoTim

        I think You make some excellent points

        However, the principle of 'dumb terminals' goes back to when I was first using computers.  This has been Sun's wet dream as long back as I can remember.

        There is little that would stop a school district from using the principal of 'cloud computing' and internalizing it

        I don't know how configurable it is - but IF google is actually serious about 'cloud computing' and not data collection - providing easy migration tools for 'local NAS' could mitigate these concerns?

        However, the downside is that the data wouldn't travel with the student irrespective of where and when they are in the time/space continuum.

        I think it IS quite complicated - cloud computing and storage is incredibly convenient.  However, there are for sure trade offs in terms of both privacy AND centralizing power.

        "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

        by josephk on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:19:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, technically, every network is a cloud (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim

          and every in-school LAN is a small cloud of its own.

          But if you're truly worried about privacy, external drives are the way to go.
          I have a 2012 Nexus 7 and I absolutely adore it.
          It is NOT the tool of choice for editing big docs, though, because honestly? That touchscreen / keyboard arrangement on something like Pagemaker is a PITA cubed.

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 01:29:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I am pretty much immune to advertising (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cjtjc, Ooooh, Aquarius40

        and dont have any money to spend anyway,  so they can track away and waste their dough.

        Thanks

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:22:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We used them on election day, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, Ooooh, SoCaliana, Aunt Pat

    for tracking purposes.  They're good for the money, but a small keyboard.

    I'd want the ability to backup files onto a ubs drive if i were using it for regular stuff, but i'm not sure that's possible if all of the documents exist in googledocs web form.

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:18:07 AM PST

  •  Thanks for posting this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, boran2, claude, Aquarius40

    I've been wondering about Chromebooks for a while too. I'm using a dated IMac which is running fine, but it won't last forever, so I've been trying to research my options for the day I have to replace it.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, scene 5

    by Ooooh on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:24:07 AM PST

    •  I'm using a 9 year old powerbook... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ooooh

      ...and figure that I'll just find a less old Mac when I need to replace it.  

      I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

      by boran2 on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:01:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's an option I hadn't considered (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boran2

        "a less old Mac". I hope my Mac lasts a good while longer, it runs as fast as the day I took it out of the box, but it is two operating systems behind and I doubt it is worth adding the necessary memory to bring it up to date.

        There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, scene 5

        by Ooooh on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 11:35:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just upgraded from Lion (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ooooh

          to Mavericks (bypassed Mountain Lion) and my iMac runs like a dream; not super crazy about some of the features but love being able to open iBooks on the Mac especially for my cooking and crafting books. (Current iMac is a little over 2 years old.) I did max out the memory when I bought it (not at the Apple Store though; have a local repair shop that specializes in Apple products and they did the upgrade for about half the cost) because I wanted plenty of memory for my games.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 02:52:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is a lesson learned (0+ / 0-)

            I should have purchased more memory in the beginning too. I'm not really computer savvy, I should have kept up with OS updates too, another lesson learned. I've been really happy with this IMac, but I didn't like the keyboard with the keys floating in a sea of plastic, so I've been using the keyboard that came with my previous IMac. I'm more or less resigned that I may have to finally make my peace with the newer, flatter keyboards when I replace this unit.

            There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, scene 5

            by Ooooh on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 03:27:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  If you want to play with Chrome OS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, Ooooh, ColoTim

    You can download it in a USB stick or dvd iso format and run it to see how you like it.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:21:54 AM PST

  •  appreciating all the feedback, friends (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ooooh, Aquarius40, elfling

    I have to go out and tend to the village water system for a couple of hours,  but Ill be back later.

    Thanks.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:24:24 AM PST

  •  I have one. Understand its limitations: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paulitics, Ooooh, elfling, ColoTim

    It's a web browser-only only device. And yes, very Google-centric. (Unless one hacks / modifies it to do more.)

    For email, for example, it's good at Gmail, and it will work with any other email service that can be accessed with a web browser, but if you like using a mail application such as Thunderbird, it's not possible (without hacking).

    What the user guide calls "applications" are really just bookmarks to web sites, because it's a browser-only device.

    Mine has an HDMI TV output, and I've used it to stream web video to a TV. The quality was acceptable; limited by the web site rather than the Chromebook.

    For my needs, I prefer other devices. I have an Android tablet that I prefer for portable email and such. I'm typing this comment on my five year old laptop running Linux Mint, which is my main computer.

    With the Chromebook, I've experimented with the Chrubuntu scripts to make it more like a regular Linux machine. The results have been mixed so far, but I'm optimistic that further tinkering will make it more to my liking.

    For my routine computing tasks, it's been disappointing. As a hacking challenge, it's intriguing.

    For now, though, I prefer an Android tablet for portability or a Linux machine for desktop work. But that's just me.

    If Gmail or other web-based email suits your needs, and web browsing is the only other main task you have in mind, a Chromebook can be a spiffy little device.

    Hope that's useful.

    Cheers

  •  I would say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    Don't underestimate the irritation of having to have internet working all the time to be able to use your computer.

    For example, if you keep a contacts list, or documentation, or other information you might need to access during a net.outage on it, you'd be SOL. And you can't take your computer to someone's house or outside and expect it would work there.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 12:55:07 PM PST

    •  this is not true anymore (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling

      you can store docs offline and work on docs offline now - it'll sync back up when connection is restored.

      And you can also buy them with built in 4g and get 200mb per month for free - which is fine for a backup.

  •  I have one I use (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    when I'm working on projects in the shed and stuff. If you're comfortable with linux, you can purchase a replacement hard drive and install ubuntu on it. For $250 total, you really can't beat it. Despite what someone said above, you don't need to "root" it, you just boot into developer mode. If you don't like it, you can restore the original ChromeOS.

    I have the Acer C720. Replacing the hard drive required removing exactly one screw.

    To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

    by sneakers563 on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 01:29:09 PM PST

  •  I've been using a Chromebook for 2 years (0+ / 0-)

    Best computer I've ever owned.

    Get's faster and better with each free update.

    No virus. And no back up worries. I even installed Chubuntu on it so I can run Windows apps through WINE on Linux.

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