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Old 11-12-2013, 03:18 AM   #1
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"Why Chromebook Pundits Are Out of Touch"

Article here: "Why the Chromebook Pundits Are Simply out of Touch with Reality".

Since I tend to think like many of the pundits against whom Mr. Tofel rails, I find his point of view quite interesting and appreciate how specific and visual his responses can be.

One issue that Tofel seems not to address is that of privacy, which isn't of primary importance if a Chromebook is used entirely as a mobile reading and editing device for public documents, but can be crucial if the user will be viewing and/or editing sensitive material. We can all use Sony, Kobo and Amazon e-readers (or even conventional Android tablets) without enabling wifi and therefore affording access to our devices. Can the same be said of a Chromebook?

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 05-03-2014 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:24 AM   #2
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Can the same be said of a Chromebook?
Yes.

You can read documents and pdfs sideloaded on a Chromebook via SD card or USB, with wifi turned off throughout.

You can edit word processor documents, but there is a restriction currently that you can't edit spreadsheets offline.

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Old 11-12-2013, 03:31 AM   #3
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Yes.

You can read documents and pdfs sideloaded on a Chromebook via SD card or USB, with wifi turned off throughout.

Graham
If you're viewing documents through the Chrome OS which functions as a browser, then haven't you got the same security issues as the Chrome browser under Android/W8/OS X or IE under W8: Direct manipulation of the entire file tree through a UL/DL-dependent application? Technically, you can turn off wifi and open a local document, but aren't you still doing so with a browser as opposed to a (reasonably) wifi-independent application for reading or editing?

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Old 11-12-2013, 03:34 AM   #4
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If you're viewing documents through the Chrome OS which functions as a browser, then haven't you got the same security issues as the Chrome browser under Android/W8/OS X or IE under W8: Direct manipulation of the entire file tree through a UL/DL-dependent application?
Well, each tab is sandboxed limiting the potential for security breaches, and surely if you're just reading completely offline there is no risk?

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Old 11-12-2013, 04:19 AM   #5
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Well, each tab is sandboxed limiting the potential for security breaches, and surely if you're just reading completely offline there is no risk?

Graham
I'll leave that to others to discuss (for now), since my intention was to offer the article for comments by MR members like yourself rather than monopolize the discussion myself! Apologies for usurping your own first impressions -- I hope you'll post them anyway!

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Old 11-12-2013, 05:36 AM   #6
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... your own first impressions -- I hope you'll post them anyway!
I agree with the article; I think it hits the nail firmly on the head.

The joy of Chromebooks isn't what they can do, it's what they relieve you from doing.

We now have three ChromeOS devices in my household. I bought my Samsung ARM Chromebook on a whim last February, just to get an idea what they were capable of, and it very quickly became my main device.

I've now switched from using my Windows i7 desktop to a Samsung Chromebox, and I can do most of what I need in blissful peace, driving a 1900 x 1200 monitor very effectively.

My wife has had her own Samsung ARM Chromebook for over a month now, and is using it in preference to her Windows laptop whenever she can.

They are hassle free, silent, delightful machines to use. They're not yet ready to completely replace the Windows or Mac desktop, where you have specific software that you still need to run, but non-ChromeOS users would be surprised at just how capable they are already.

A couple of examples:

I manage a number of websites. The ones written in Drupal are obviously just as easy to manage from a Chromebook, but I also have a traditional site which until now I've been maintaining in Microsoft Expression Web, manipulating graphics using Paint.Net. It has actually proved to be quicker and easier for me to maintain this directly using the web app ShiftEdit with graphic editing in Pixlr Editor. I'll repeat that: one of the applications that I was sure would be a compromise on the Chromebook actually turned out to be easier.

I'm a project manager. Microsoft Project is very powerful, very useful and very expensive. I've run my latest project using Gantter, which is free for the web app and a paltry $10 or so for the offline desktop version which runs in its own window just like desktop software on other operating systems. It lacks some of the features of MS Project, it's not so good when checking for resource that's over-utilised (though it does flag this), but more than just the basics are there, and it's improving all the time. Again, I would not have believed that this was a function that would be available for ChromeOS, and certainly not at such an extraordinarily low price.

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Old 11-12-2013, 07:05 AM   #7
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I've now switched from using my Windows i7 desktop to a Samsung Chromebox, and I can do most of what I need in blissful peace, driving a 1900 x 1200 monitor very effectively.
What about OverDrive Media Console and Windows Media Audio for library books? Are there any workarounds?
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:51 AM   #8
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Re: Privacy. Without physical removal of the wi-fi hardware (and BT and whatever), it is foolish to think any machine made by Google, running a Google OS and apps, provides you with any privacy except entirely at Google's discretion. If you are "unconnected", I guess they know how to store something they want until you are connected. Not that I think Apple or MS are alternatives in this regard.

What I wish would take off, based on a bunch of R&D and market repositioning in response to the current revelations of commercial and gov't intrusion, is FirefoxOS-based systems (phones+tablets+notebooks) that focus on security and privacy. All FOSS, of course.

As it is, Mozilla has nothing to sell to consumers except a "we're cheaper" message, and that's nowhere to be; and there is a desperate need for someone to step up, and maybe enough consumers grasp that, and care, to make a market, although I doubt that last. Mozilla is the only organization that I see that could convincingly occupy that market position.

Android or Chrome, maybe I'm too old-fashioned, but it's teeth-gritting time when someone says I don't need to see the files on the storage system, and it's rebellion time when they say I *can't*. Oh, and there does need to be some provision for substantial local storage for me. Online can be an option, maybe the main one, but there also needs to be a nice internal place for my mp3s and epubs and jpgs and...32GB or 64GB won't cut it.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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What about OverDrive Media Console and Windows Media Audio for library books? Are there any workarounds?
Overdrive doesn't have a ChromeOS app, so that, along with downloaded purchases of books with Adobe DRM, is still in the 'have to reach for the PC' category. I do need to go to the Windows machine to run Calibre and manage my downloaded eBooks (though I can read my collections in Kindle and Google Play just fine). Readium is available for DRM-free ePubs.

I don't think there's a ChromeOS app that can handle WMA, but that isn't an issue for me at least. I will say, though, that having switched to Google Play All Access the Chromebook is a terrific machine for music discovery and access to my own collection.

Edit: I've just checked and the Overdrive Read function works fine, so although you can't get your library books down and onto your reader, you can read them in situ on the Chromebook. What's more, the download facility works fine. I just took my Chromebox offline and was still able to re-open and read the book and jump through the chapters.

(Just checked this on the ARM Chromebook and it works there too. I'm impressed.)

Graham

Last edited by Graham; 11-12-2013 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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Overdrive doesn't have a ChromeOS app, so that, along with downloaded purchases of books with Adobe DRM, is still in the 'have to reach for the PC' category. I do need to go to the Windows machine to run Calibre and manage my downloaded eBooks (though I can read my collections in Kindle and Google Play just fine). Readium is available for DRM-free ePubs.

I don't think there's a ChromeOS app that can handle WMA, but that isn't an issue for me at least. I will say, though, that having switched to Google Play All Access the Chromebook is a terrific machine for music discovery and access to my own collection.

Edit: I've just checked and the Overdrive Read function works fine, so although you can't get your library books down and onto your reader, you can read them in situ on the Chromebook. What's more, the download facility works fine. I just took my Chromebox offline and was still able to re-open and read the book and jump through the chapters.

(Just checked this on the ARM Chromebook and it works there too. I'm impressed.)

Graham
Thanks; really appreciate the info. I didn't think there'd be anyway to get around it; darn. My interest in WMA is strictly for audiobooks. The overwhelming majority of audiobooks from public libraries (using OverDrive) are in WMA format.

Lack of library book support pretty much nails the coffin shut on a Chromebook for me. I'll have to stick with Windows until libraries ditch WMA audiobooks.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by derangedhermit View Post
Re: Privacy. Without physical removal of the wi-fi hardware (and BT and whatever), it is foolish to think any machine made by Google, running a Google OS and apps, provides you with any privacy except entirely at Google's discretion. If you are "unconnected", I guess they know how to store something they want until you are connected. Not that I think Apple or MS are alternatives in this regard.

What I wish would take off, based on a bunch of R&D and market repositioning in response to the current revelations of commercial and gov't intrusion, is FirefoxOS-based systems (phones+tablets+notebooks) that focus on security and privacy. All FOSS, of course.

As it is, Mozilla has nothing to sell to consumers except a "we're cheaper" message, and that's nowhere to be; and there is a desperate need for someone to step up, and maybe enough consumers grasp that, and care, to make a market, although I doubt that last. Mozilla is the only organization that I see that could convincingly occupy that market position.

Android or Chrome, maybe I'm too old-fashioned, but it's teeth-gritting time when someone says I don't need to see the files on the storage system, and it's rebellion time when they say I *can't*. Oh, and there does need to be some provision for substantial local storage for me. Online can be an option, maybe the main one, but there also needs to be a nice internal place for my mp3s and epubs and jpgs and...32GB or 64GB won't cut it.
For "digital natives" the cloud is something new, revolutionary, and not to be feared. For some of us "digital immigrants" we know the cloud is nothing more than a throwback to IT data centers of two generations ago, and that devices like the Chromebook are little more than 21st century versions of an IBM 3277 terminal.

I remember those days. I remember having to go through computer operation's procedures to get access to my data, access to my printouts, and access to the CPU to perform certain functions. The introduction of the first mass produced personal computers were truly revolutionary. Having experienced computing before personal computers and the freedom it provided, there is no way that I'm going back to those times.

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Old 11-12-2013, 09:20 AM   #12
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Thanks; really appreciate the info. I didn't think there'd be anyway to get around it; darn. My interest in WMA is strictly for audiobooks. The overwhelming majority of audiobooks from public libraries (using OverDrive) are in WMA format.

Lack of library book support pretty much nails the coffin shut on a Chromebook for me. I'll have to stick with Windows until libraries ditch WMA audiobooks.
I just had a play with an audiobook from the library, and although both mp3 and wma were available, and mp3 is supported, the mp3 downloaded as an odm file (Overdrive Media), so we'll need them to port the Overdrive Console to listen on the Chromebooks. There doesn't seem to be a 'listen in the browser' equivalent to the Overdrive Read functionality as yet.

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Old 11-12-2013, 09:24 AM   #13
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It's amazing how many people have fits just because someone is using their Chromebook, and not only that, like using it. One thing I like is that I can quickly revert my Chromebook to a clean state.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:28 AM   #14
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It's amazing how many people have fits just because someone is using their Chromebook, and not only that, like using it. One thing I like is that I can quickly revert my Chromebook to a clean state.
Another benefit, not often mentioned, is the Chromebook's guest account. This is a hassle-free, secure way to hand your device to a guest who wants to check their emails, browse the web, etc. The difference between this and a Windows guest user account, which still requires maintenance, is chalk and cheese.

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Old 11-12-2013, 10:59 AM   #15
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Another benefit, not often mentioned, is the Chromebook's guest account. This is a hassle-free, secure way to hand your device to a guest who wants to check their emails, browse the web, etc. The difference between this and a Windows guest user account, which still requires maintenance, is chalk and cheese.

Graham
User accounts in Windows 8.1 are pretty simple. Yet they are powerful enough to monitor and control anything and everything my kids do if I want. How does Chrome compare?

Another update with 8.1 is that your configuration and app settings are saved on SkyDrive, making restores or transferring to a new device easy.

Comparisons to Windows 7 aren't really valid anymore, especially when it comes to cloud computing. Not that 8 is perfect, but it is lightyears ahead of 7.

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