Tag: Chromebook Pixel

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Epitaph to Chromebook

A few days ago, one of my Google+ followers, Steve Kluver, commented on an August 2014 share: “I am shopping for some more Chromebooks this Holiday Season, and found this post via G+ hashtag #chromebook search. How current is your ebook now?” He refers to Chromebook Reviews, which is available from Amazon for sale or for free reading with Kindle Unlimited. I apologized that the tome, published more than two years ago, is “way out of date”. If I’m not going to revise, I really should remove the title.

I offered to give him buying advice, which got me to thinking about Chromebook as a concept and computing edifice. While a big fan, and owner of both generations of Google-made Chromebook Pixel, my primary laptop was a MacBook Pro for most of 2016. Measure of commitment: I bought the new 15.4-inch Touch Bar model just a few weeks ago. I’ve moved on, and got to thinking about why in crafting my response. 

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Meeting Apple’s Big-ass Tablet

The first thing you notice about iPad Pro is the size. The tablet is ginormous. It’s 12.9-inch screen lays before you like a chalk slate—a blank canvas demanding typed text or drawings made with Apple Pencil. Yet something also feels wrong about the thing. During the so-called Steve Jobs era, refined designs were smaller—like iPod nano. Apple is no stranger to larger; 27-inch iMac today or 17-inch MacBook Pro of yesteryear are examples. Perhaps. But there’s big, and BIG.

The giant tablet arrived around 2:50 p.m. PST on Groundhog Day 2016, marking a bold computing adventure for February: Using iPad Pro as my primary PC, and hopefully only one. Perhaps you read my recent obituary to Apple love lost and might wonder why buy anything Apple? I like to experiment and am paid to try out new things (so you won’t have to). By sheer size, PC replacement, not companion, is the only sensible design objective for iPad Pro. Can it meet the demands? I want to find out. 

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Apple Lost My Heart to Google in 2015

Whoa, the difference a year makes: On Jan. 1, 2015, my main computing devices were 13.3-inch MacBook Pro Retina Display, iPad Air, and iPhone 6—oh yeah, Apple Watch, joined them six months later. My mainstays at the start of 2016: Chromebook Pixel LS, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, and Huawei Watch. I abandoned Apple and there are no plans to return. I choose the Google lifestyle instead.

I have changed computing platforms too often during the past two decades. From the December day in 1998 when carting iMac out of CompUSA, no matter what the switch, I always returned to Apple products, even after boycotting the company during second half 2012. My last rally was months ago, before giving up Apple Watch, iPad Air 2, iPhone 6 Plus, the 6s Plus (for a single day), and MBP. I don’t expect to ever go back. The allure is gone. 

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I Couldn’t Break the Surface Tension

Today, Microsoft started selling Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, and I strongly considered buying either. During the past 10 days, I visited the company’s Fashion Valley store four different times specifically to play with the devices. The hardware dazzles, but I couldn’t get beyond Windows 10 when compared to benefits I receive using Chromebook Pixel LS. SB’s price, which starts at $1,499, is another impediment.

There is something to be said for straightforward, simple, and efficient computing, which Google gets right. Contextual sync is among Chrome OS’s biggest benefits. Little things, like popping my camera’s SD card into Pixel’s slot and the laptop backing up photos to Google Drive, which is accessible from the file manager as if local storage. Granted, there are application gaps, but the overall user experience fills them in.

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Origin Story

Sometimes the Internet community surprises me. My last post, “Apple, How Did It Come to This?” is why. Everyone creating content everywhere wants to know the magic formula for generating reader response. The pageview-obsessed seek the golden ticket that consistently means clicks. Me? I write obsessively. It’s like breathing—a necessary and unavoidable act.

The “Come to This” post garnered quite a bit more attention than I expected, in part because of its origin. Some of the activity is Twitter, but more of it occurred on Google+ overnight. The post is an adapted Plus response to a comment to a shared BetaNews story that I wrote based on something else I posted first on Google+. Confusing, isn’t it? I’ll explain in linear fashion. 

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Apple, How Did It Come to This?

Last week, I sold my 2015 MacBook Pro to a New Yorker vacationing in San DIego and returned to using Chromebook Pixel LS, which I wouldn’t have guessed when buying the Apple laptop in June. From Day 1 the MBP felt slower in every way. I expected the Mac to be a creative enhancer, as had been my experience going back to my first in December 1998. The computer proved to be an impediment instead.

What’s missing in subtle but cumulative ways: Quality. The computer looks the same but doesn’t feel the same. My reaction to Apple Watch, which I also sold, is similar. Something is missing. There’s a glitchiness that is hard to characterize that is pervasive. Time is wasted, and creative flow is disrupted. 

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Pixel Me Life

I am in one of my moods today, waiting for the big Apple media event to start in about 30 minutes. For no reason, other than perhaps boredom thinking about what’s to come, I wrote a quickie poem—an ode to Chromebook Pixel. It’s all just for fun and doesn’t pretend to be anything more.

When you work alone in a home office and there is no one to tease with spitballs and paper airplanes, making fun is a singular effort. The poem is meant to be read with rapid meter. Confession: I don’t play a fife, but it rhymes with life. Maybe I will add more verses later. 

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Contextual Cloud Computing is for Everyone

Keeping with my recommendation that “Writers, Own Your Content!“, I cross-post many, but by no means all, of my BetaNews tech stories here. As explained two months ago, much of my readership engagement takes place somewhere else, which is major reason there are so few comments here. Some of them occasionally deserve additional attention.

Late yesterday I posted my review of Chromebook Pixel LS, which Google released in early March. The write-up is purposely rah-rah to impose the importance of embracing contextual cloud computing and to shake up preconceptions about Macs being the tools of the creative elite. I also call “dumb” developers who may receive free Pixels during Google I/O later this month only to then sell them online.

One reader comment, from SmallSherm, to the BetaNews version caught my attention, for accusing me of calling him (or her) stupid and for insulting readers. After writing my response, I wondered how few people would ever see the interaction, which I regard as being quite valuable, there and absolutely none her. I present our two comments for your Tuesday thought train. 

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Chromebook Pixel LS Review

Nperfect is how I describe Google’s newest, and only, computer. If you’re going to manufacturer one thing, then it should be exceptional, which is the other way I describe Chromebook Pixel LS. The company introduced the original in February 2013, available in two configurations. Twenty-five months later, the notebook refreshed—refined rather than revolutionized—beating Apple to market shipping a laptop with USB Type-C, which brings new connectivity and charging options.

FedEx delivered the costliest Chromebook configuration to my door on Friday the 13th, in March. I ordered the newest Pixel from Google two days earlier, within hours of the laptop’s launch. I use no other computer. It’s more than my primary PC and could be yours, too. This laptop rests at the precipice of future computing, for those open-minded enough to welcome it. This review is purposely preachy, which reasons hopefully will be apparent should you read all 1,800 words.

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Google, Love You, Love You Not, Love…

As a working journalist, I am conflicted about Google. In my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, I call the company a “leech that feeds off the intellectual property of legitimate content producers” and rail on the Google free economy’s negative impact on the Fourth Estate. That said, I am a huge consumer of the company’s products and services, which enable me to better do my job and that empower my life.

Something else: A decade ago (yes, 2005), I identified “Search as the New User Interface“—and it has proved to be for a generation of computer users. The UI, particularly from Google, helps to democratize content, and so doing empowers (there’s that “e” word again) everyone. But search also encourages content piracy. Philosophically, I strongly believe in information for all. Economically, I want to earn a living from writing, which is much more difficult in 2015 than 2005.

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Chromebook Pixel LS First Impressions

Around Noon yesterday, FedEx delivered the 2015 Chromebox Pixel, which I set up late afternoon. Nearly 24 hours later, time is right for some immediate reactions before my eventual full review. My perspective presented here is two-fold: General first impressions for anyone combined with what are the benefits for existing Pixel owners. For many of the latter group, I say this: Consider your budget and needs wisely. What you’ve got may be more than good enough.

For everyone else, I will contradict the majority of reviewers, and even Google. Pixel is not a computer for developers or limited number of laptop users. Anyone shopping for a quality notebook that will last years should consider the new Chromebook, most certainly if looking at any MacBook model or Windows PC, such as Surface Pro 3. Everyone living the Google lifestyle who can afford a laptop in this price range should consider nothing else. Now let’s get to the drill down, point by point. 

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Google pulls an Apple-Like Media Coup

Bias in the media is inevitable, and any news gatherer who denies this fact is a liar. Companies seek favor or to influence in countless ways. It’s the nature of the beast, which cannot be tamed. So I wonder how Chromebook Pixel embargoes impacted reporting about Apple’s newest laptop. If they did, as I’m convinced, Google pulled off one hell of a marketing coup.

The search and information giant provided many tech blogs and news sites with the new Pixel about a week before the laptop launched yesterday and the first reviews posted—that was also days before Apple’s well-publicized media event where a new MacBook was rumored. Both computers share something in common: USB Type-C, which is bleeding-edge tech. The connector received much media attention on Monday and Tuesday two ways: Buzz about it being the next great thing, and MacBook having but one port (Pixel has two, and others).