Category: Chromebook

20 Real Things I Have Done on My Google Chromebook

Still irked about that Microsoft “Scroogled” commercial I rebutted the other day, so I put together this list of things that I have done on my Google Chromebook; you know, the device that Microsoft claims “is not a real laptop” and “is a brick” without WiFi:

  1. Written over 200,000 words of fiction in 2013 (in Google Docs).
  2. Wrote all of the code to support my Google Writing Scripts.
  3. Wrote and posted several hundred blog posts and managed my WordPress blog.
  4. Managed my to-lists (with Wunderlist and Trello)
  5. Created and presented a slide deck on using Evernote for writers while at the Launch Pad Astronomy workshop.
  6. Live-edited a document with an editor in Google Docs.
  7. Made sure all of my bills were paid.
  8. Streamed NetFlix videos
  9. Edited photos taken with my Canon PowerShot digital camera.
  10. Captured lecture notes (in Evernote) while attending astronomy lectures.
  11. Built a complex set of spreadsheets for managing my personal analytics data.
  12. Wrote some code in Mathematica via Chrome Remote Desktop.
  13. Wrote hundreds of email messages.
  14. Kept up with Twitter and scheduled tweets with Buffer.
  15. Kept up with RSS feeds via Feedly.
  16. Kept my Inbox close to zero thanks to Boomerang for Gmail.
  17. Read a book via the Kindle Cloud App.
  18. Attended several Google Hangouts with Video.
  19. Watched YouTube videos.
  20. Worked on a story and nonfiction article for the entire duration of a three-hour flight, without any WiFi connection.

And here are a few things that I haven’t needed to do, thanks to my Google Chromebook:

  1. Install software.
  2. Reinstall the operating system.
  3. Call technical support.
  4. Worry about viruses.
  5. Uninstall something useful because it was interfering with other things on my computer.
  6. Clear out space on the disk, because I’d run out.
  7. Move document files back and forth between computers.
  8. Share documents between computers via Dropbox.
  9. Add memory to the computer because it was running too slowly.
  10. Wait for my computer to start up. Because even when it is powered completely down, it takes less than 10 seconds to boot.

Tell me again how the Google Chromebook isn’t a real laptop, and how I’ve been “scroogled”?

My Rebuttal to Microsoft’s “Scroogled” Commercial Regarding the Google Chromebook

Last night, I happened to catch this Microsoft commercial, where they attempt to trash the Google Chromebook with the help of folks from Pawn Stars. As regular readers here know, I love my Google Chromebook. I’ve been using it happily since may, have done the vast majority of my fiction-writing on it, and have yet to have a single problem with it. The commercial irked me, and so I decided to debunk several of the claims made in the video based on my personal experience with my Chromebook.

“Since Chromebook applications are web-based, when you’re not connected, it’s pretty much a brick.”

I guess all of the offline writing I did on the flight to Denver was in my imagination. Also on the flight back from Denver. And don’t forget the flight to San Antonio. And the flight back from San Antonio.

Of course, the Chromebook has an offline mode for Google Docs, and on the infrequent times that I’ve used it in a place where I didn’t have a network connection (like a 35,000 feet on a United flight) I was still able to access all of my documents and make edits. The next time the Chromebook had a connection, it synced my edits with Google Drive.

“You see this thingy [points to Chrome icon]? That means it’s not a real laptop. It doesn’t have Windows or Office.”

My immediate, snarky response, is thank goodness! I was a Windows user from the Windows 3.1 days, right up through the present, if you count my day job. Based on my experience, my Chromebook is far easier to use and substantially more reliable than any Windows machine I’ve used.

At home, I switched from Windows to Apple back in 2004, mainly because I didn’t want to feel like I was constantly “at work” in the Window environment. I love my iMac and my iPad, but even on my iMac, all but the submission drafts of my manuscripts are written in Google Docs. The submissions drafts are put together with Scrivener. I use Word only when I have no other alternative–which means I use it only very rarely these days.

“Without WiFi, it doesn’t do much at all.”

I know that hyperbole often plays a role in advertising, but it seems to me that the sentence, “Without WiFi, it doesn’t do much at all” implies that the device doesn’t have WiFi. Of course, it does, and I’ve never had a problem with the WiFi connection. Perhaps what they were really meant was that if you don’t have a WiFi connection, the laptop isn’t very useful. I’d agree with that. But then again, what laptop is useful without a WiFi connection these days? How is the Chromebook any different?

Also, as I pointed out earlier, I am rarely in a location where I don’t have access to WiFi. Even free WiFi. Since May, I have been “out of WiFi” range with my Chromebook for a total of maybe 12 hours, all of these consisting of flights somewhere.

“And when you are online, Google tracks what you do so they can sell adds.”

If you allow it. Of course, you can also adjust your privacy settings.


The important takeaway, aside from how misleading the Microsoft commercial is, is that you need to pick the tools that are best suited to the job. For some people that’s a Dell laptop with Windows. For a while, I tried going with just an iPad, but eventually, I landed on the Chromebook for most of what I need.

What the ad doesn’t say, of course, are some of the many advantages of the Google Chromebook:

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