NOTE: This article is off-topic. That is, the article is not about the usual topics published in this newsletter concerning genealogy. DNA, family heritage, and genealogy-related news. If you are looking for true genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this article.
I have written often about Chromebook laptop computers and even once or twice about Chromebox computers, the desktop computers that are essentially the same as Chromebooks except that Chromebox systems are built as desktop computers. Chromeboxes look about the same as many Windows desktop computers except they run the Chrome operating system, not Windows or Macintosh software.
I normally use a Chromebook as my primary computer when traveling. It does most everything I ever do with any other computer; it is simpler to use than Windows or even a Macintosh system, boots up faster, and never gets viruses. In short, “it just works.” No hassle. This week I am very glad that I always travel with a Chromebook.
Two weeks ago, I moved from Florida to Massachusetts where I plan to spend the summer. I lead a so-called “snowbird” life, spending winters in the sunbelt and summers up north where the summertime weather is more agreeable.
I packed my automobile for the trip with all sorts of things I might need during my stay up north. I undoubtedly overpacked with computer devices. After all, one can never have too many computers! Well, that’s what I keep telling myself.
|a Chromebox Desktop Computer|
I packed the Chromebook laptop and also my Macintosh laptop, an iPad, a mobile modem, and a few other miscellaneous computing devices. After all, if I was going to spend months away from home, I perhaps I would need the “extra power” of the MacBook Pro laptop occasionally during my summer.
Unfortunately, the MacBook Pro died before I ever reached the cooler climate.
During the first evening of my multi-day driving trip, I checked into a hotel alongside the Interstate highway where I was traveling and got food from the drive-through window of a local fast food restaurant. (I detest fast food and always try to avoid those places but all the nearby restaurants with sit-down, order-from-the-menu, dining were closed due to the CoronaVirus isolation requirements in that state.)
I returned to the hotel, ate my food, then turned on the MacBook Pro laptop and also plugged its power charger into a wall outlet to keep the laptop charged during my use. I heard a loud “snap” when I plugged the power charger into the wall outlet but I ignored that.
I used the laptop for a while but soon noticed it wasn’t charging. The battery status began to show a lower and lower percentage of battery power left.
I’ll skip all the details about how I experimented with trying a different outlet and other troubleshooting methods. I pulled out the Chromebook, plugged in its charger, and continued with my online work.
Two days later, after my arrival at the destination, I experimented with the MacBook Pro. It wouldn’t charge. In short, the problem was obviously in the MacBook Pro laptop and I wasn’t about to open its case and try to fix it myself.
I started contacting nearby Apple Stores to get the defective laptop fixed but all the local stores were closed due to CoronaVirus concerns. A week later, I was finally able to drive over the state line to a nearby state where everyone seems to wear face masks, the CoronaVirus infection rate continues to drop rapidly, and most stores and restaurants have recently re-opened without problems.
The laptop Genius at the Apple Store performed some quick troubleshooting and agreed with my diagnosis: the laptop itself (not the charger) has a power problem. I agreed to have the laptop sent to an Apple repair depot. However, due to the fact that the repair depot had been closed for some time due to the CoronaVirus quarantine, there is a huge backlog of work now that the depot has re-opened. In short, there is no guarantee as to how long it will take to get the laptop repaired. I am guessing several weeks.
Guess what? I have now been using the Chromebook for all my online work for nearly three weeks and, so far, there have been no problems. I have managed to accomplish everything I always need to do with computers. I have read and sent email messages, written newsletter articles, sent the weekly Plus Edition email updates to thousands of subscribers, worked on my genealogy, participated in video conferences, created a slideshow presentation and presented it to a few hundred attendees during my recent online webinar, watched Netflix movies, and more. I will even admit that I played a few computer games in my spare time. And, yes, I am writing this article on the Chromebook and even created the HTML version of the article for publishing in this newsletter..
In short, the Chromebook has done everything I needed to do. Admittedly, I did not have a need to use CAD/CAM software to design buildings or for other engineering work, did not need to edit videos, and did not need to perform any other computer resource-intensive work. The Chromebook cannot do EVERYTHING a more powerful computer can do but it does perform perhaps 95% of the tasks that most people expect from computers. In my case, it has performed 100% of what I needed to accomplish in the past 3 weeks. Not bad for a cheap laptop!
I was going to write an article about the advantages of Chromebooks but I see that Damien Wilde has just published such an article, along with a video, in the 9to5Google web site. He writes:
“Are you in the market for a new laptop? If so, have you considered a Chromebook?
“Gone are the days when you need to have a device running Windows or macOS to actually get things done. You can do so much within your browser without needing to install any software or applications, the browser is the place where almost all of the action occurs.
“That means unless you want to do things that require tons of processing grunt or specific software, then you can probably use a Chromebook to get things done without much compromise.
“In essence, a Chromebook is a mobile device that looks and acts like a laptop but is designed for the always-connected world we are now living in — and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Before we delve any further, a Chromebook is definitely something that better suits those of us that spend most of our time on the internet or utilizing the internet. Need more convincing? Well, here are 5 reasons you should probably consider a Chromebook as your next laptop.”
You can read Damien Wilde’s article at https://9to5google.com/2020/06/22/chromebook-5-reasons/. His video is also available at the same address as well as below.
Meanwhile, I am still waiting for the return of my (hopefully repaired) Mac laptop.