As you might remember, I got a chromebook back in January. A few months later, I just want to say: this is the portable I've always wanted.
I have been wanting a travel computer lighter than my 15" laptop but more capable than my Nexus 7 combined with a bluetooth keyboard. And, frankly, I had just had gadget envy for the Samsung ARM Chromebook since it was announced.
When I'm on the go, my needs are basically:
- Modern web browser with adblock and greasemonkey
- A ssh (or, better yet, mosh) client
- A comfortable keyboard
- Fairly light
- Hundreds of GB of local storage
- Four or eight cores of computing power
- Full compatibility with desktop Linux or x86
- Long battery life
- Ability to install Linux or customized ChromiumOS if I decided I needed it
- Inexpensive enough to buy without being 100% sure it'll meet my needs
From my experience with Chromium-browser on Debian, I know that Chrome is an adequate web browser with Adblock, Ghostery, and TamperMonkey (though it's not 100% identical in function to Firefox), and I was aware of ssh apps for it. I also tried out the Samsung's keyboard at a local Best Buy and found it adequate. So when Amazon had them for $230 last week, I decided to treat myself.
I've now had the device for a few days, and it's been a positive adventure.
I immediately placed the device in developer mode and installed debian wheezy via crouton, but I'm not presently using anything in my debian chroot. For a short time, I used Secure Shell to ssh to the wheezy chroot and run mosh there.
I found that after a few customizations, mosh-chrome is a pefectly adequate mosh client. After I resolved a problem building it, I customized the colors to match my rxvt, added the ability to send a remote command, and hardcoded my default connection settings. However, on at least two occasions, mosh-chrome has failed to resume its session after suspending and changing wireless networks, so I'm not sure it's as reliable as desktop mosh.
- I had to rewrite one of my private GreaseMonkey scripts to work in TamperMonkey.
- Adblock and ghostery both seem to work adequately on the ChromeBook.
- I do miss having a compose key.
- I wish there was a SIP client I could use with callcentric, but I haven't found one yet.
- I haven't had a chance to assess the battery lifetime yet.
- Emacs users rejoice, you can map the "search" key (in the position of "caps lock" on a standard PC keyboard) to Control.
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