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януари 12, 2015

The confessions of a chromebook user

Here is the deal - I am sick with the Chromebook!

I know I will get flamed even after that first line, not because I have no right to be mad at those machines and not because they are perfect and I am wrong; from that first line it will be because of the new fan-boy bandwagon that has been rolling recently - the Chromebook / ChromeOS core fans.

It is understandable - after so many years in the grip of Microsoft and Windows, after so many years of Linux being the idiot child in the bunch, after so many OS disappearances (even today I have read about someone testing Solaris... what?). And then there is OSX as well, the brave saviour of us all that never was - on its latest incarnations OSX is so buggy that I often hear the once 'windows' branded joke - "it needs rocket fuel to run at normal speed" being repeated over and over again, now that 8GB of RAM is the minimum required to have installed if you want to browse the web in more than one tab or actually do some work on your computer. 

And there it is - the sunshine, the little gem that Google decided to gift to the world for unknown or at least unclear reasons: ChromeOS - a stripped down version of Linux that runs it's own graphics stack and has Chrome on top of it.

I can whine and whine for days about the issues with Linux and even more - months - for the stupidity collection labelled as OSX, but this is a post about ChromeOS.

I knew I was not going to get out of this without whining at the end, but there it was - cheap (okay okay - affordable) and promising to never bother me with updates, viruses, hardware incompatibilities etc. laptop...

What I did not expect was that even their own (Google) services will be impossibly slow to use on those machines in less than 1 year! And don't start with 'powerwash' or 'try in an incognito mode' - this is bull shit! I want to have adblock and still be able to use the damn site and I would NEVER use youtube if I have to watch an ad before each fucking video there!

Google+ is now so slow I can actually see the rerendering when new data is loaded. Spreadsheets - I can actually take a small nap when the initial load is going. Hangouts - I actually need to kill it from time to time because I consider half a gigabyte of RAM used by a chat service to be obscene!


Was this whole thing a plan to 'revive' the dying PC market? Or are we too stupid to not remember the rise and fall of the 'netbook'?

In any way ChromeOS might be gaining 10-20 points in some benchmarks now and then but those devs at google are making sure that each week the apps become more and more demanding even if they do not present new features (like for example using paper elements in drive - WTF!) - at the end of the full year of ownership you end up with an almost completely unusable device - its too slow to handle new apps, its unsellable (unless the buyer is a fanboy who does not care if the device can actually be used for something), its untweakable (at least with old windows laptops you can sell to linux nerds and they can use it but who would buy a device with 16GB or storage, its not 1999 any more - the last time I was able to sell a PC with only 4 GBs of storage).

So for 1/3 of the price you actually get 1/3 of the usable lifetime and 1/3 of the functionality of a regular laptop.

I guess one gets what one pais for.

So I have only me to blame for my stupidity. Once I had a thinkpad - latest business model, ultra portable (its funny how almost all laptops today are more portable than the then ultra portable) - I paid premium. I have made a mistake.

Now I have a chromebook - I have paid really small amount and again I made a mistake.

I guess Buddha was right - the true path is in the middle.

And if you are wondering - yes, I ave tried crouton - on paper it sounds great, have you tried it running for more than a day - all the storage is eaten by the swap created for it. ALL OF IT! It is a complete crap! Even if I leave o the background doing nothing it still eats up all the (oh so large) free space on the ssd.

Also I am sick of not being able to play AC3 sounds. I cannot chose what people send me.

If after all this you still consider buying a Chromebook as a second laptop ask yourself this: why do you need a second laptop? You get bored with the first one and you need something else to sit on your lap?

At least this is what I feel right now. Might be the chromebook, might be the pain from the oral surgery I had today. But I will definitely not buy another chromebook in the foreseeable future.
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