Monday, October 12, 2015

Going Mobile with a Chromebook for Blogging - Part 2








Let's recap this whole Chromebook technology thing with some pros and cons.

Things in favor of the mighty, tiny, Bonebook.


It is mondo portable because it is puny compact. It's the same size as my iPad. Just compare to a laptop. It weighs about 40% of what the laptop weighs, less if you include the laptop brick, which you have to lug with you.

And with a battery life of 10 hours, this thing is going to be great to blog on the go on airports, restaurants, casinos even... wherever savvy bloggers make typey typey.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip (similar to my Bonebook) is quite a bit smaller than a full size laptop.
It has laptop and tablet capabilities. You can flip the keyboard underneath to make a tent-like stand with it, or all the way around to use it as a tablet. Did I mention that it has a TOUCHSCREEN? Yes it does. I tried out reading some threads on Vegas Message Board in tablet mode and it worked perfectly in both orientations. You can pinch and zoom and dig and scratch and all that sort of thing.

It has the basics that I need. So far, the Bonebook seems powerful enough. The screen looks great. The keyboard works great. The touchpad works great. I shoved a 64GB card into it for more great storage, which was great. I can use a bluetooth mouse with it just great.

Of course, it is all about internet connectivity, so that need is covered. Bluetooth pairing with my piPhone was problematic on first try, but perhaps that was a one-off problem.

Almost all of the stuff I do while travelling is done on the web. And this machine is basically a browser in a laptop housing.

Photo handling is more seamless than ever. Thanks to Google Photos' background sync capabilities and online editing, I can grab photos and post them much easier than ever before.

Photo connectivity to a real camera is yet to be confirmed. I have no idea how I am going to get pictures from the knock-off Cameron Powershod G16 that Jimmy Poon gave me to the blog using the Bonebook.
The Cameron has a bigger memory card than will fit in the tiny Bonebook slot. If I could get the card in there, I'd be set. But I can't. However, a USB-based card reader should do the trick.

The Cameron does have some wifi capabilities and 'upload to creaky Cameron cloud' capabilities, so maybe I can leverage something there.

Update! I remembered that I had a little USB card reader kicking around. I stuck the Cameron's memory card into it, stuffed it into a USB socket on the Bonebook, and I could directly access the photo files on the card. I copied and pasted a test picture right into Google Photos. I'm concerned that it is still its full size of 2.7MB - I will have to find a way around that.
From the Cameron to the Bonebook to the Googly Photos to the blog.
It can be used for entertainment. I can play (some) movies on it.

UPDATE 20-Oct-15 - Using a google developer program called Arc Welder, I can run any Android app from its apk. This lets me run the VLC Android app and so far, it's played everything I've thrown at it. It's a bit clumsy - you have to start Arc Welder, then select the apk, then select the video file, then tell it to open with VLC - but I consider this problem to be solved.

It's not Windows-based. Nor is it a Mac. It runs Chrome OS. This means that it boots up in a flash. I'm talking eight seconds from stone cold dead to a log-on screen. Another 3 seconds to log on and get back where you were.

It's sleek and quiet. It has no fan. It has no spinning hard drive, just solid state storage (16GB). I love having no fan!!!

It's pretty good value for the money. Which was around $300.

As you can tell, I am loving my Chromebook knock-off Bonebook more and more. But lets look at the cons.

Things against the mighty, tiny, Bonebook.

It's puny. The keyboard is just a touch cramped (but ok for me) and the screen is pretty small. It feels claustrophobic compared to working on a full size machine attached to a second monitor. But second monitors aren't very portable, now, are they. Sometimes I find the fonts a bit teeny weeny, but these can be adjusted. Oh, by the way, the mighty, tiny, Bonebook has an HDMI port, so you can attach a second monitor to it. I haven't tried it yet.

It only has USB 2.0. No 3.0 here. I'll live.

It isn't great as an entertainment machine. Plex won't sync content to it (Plex's fault) and native movie playback is hit or miss.

It's not Windows-based. So none of the software I might use to sharpen up for Vegas trips - like WinPoker! - will run on it. But it runs on my phone, as do various blackjack training apps.


Overall, I think this is going to be a great little machine to travel with. I still haven't quite figured out the best workflow for Cameron pics - who wants to mess with taking the chip out, the USB card reader, etc etc?? But I have a feeling I am going to love my little Chromebook machine, the Bonebook.

I'm committed to using it on the next Vegas trip so, you'll either read all about it... or if it fails miserably, you won't! (Until much later...)

2 comments:

  1. Heres a solution for your memory card, use a microsim in a caddy in your camera

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-Technology-64GB-microSDXC-adapter/dp/B009X0G304/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1445187723&sr=8-7&keywords=sd+sdhc+sdxc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a simple and elegant solution. I don't know why Jimmy Poon didn't think of it.

      Delete

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