7 days in the cloud: My week with the Samsung Chromebook

It was the best of devices; it was the worst of devices.

By , ITworld |  Cloud Computing, Chromebook, I'll try it

Tuesday: Hate the touchpad; Love the battery.

Oddly, while the Samsung's touchpad is capable of multi-touch, two-finger scrolling is the only multi-touch command that it currently supports. It also has this nasty habit of not responding the way I think it should. When I'm still pressing on the touchpad, but not moving my finger, and I click I get a meta-menu instead of the click acting on the menu item my pointer is resting on.

So, I've given up on the touchpad and I'm now using a mouse via the USB port instead. Life is much better now. Here's a hint to all laptop vendors everywhere. Pony up the money for the IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad pointer interface and use it instead. It's been better than any touchpad I've ever found for about a decade now.

That was the day's bad news. On the plus side, I've finally had to plug the Chromebook in for a recharge. I've managed to get over twelve hours of useful work from one battery charge. I like this. I like this a lot.

 

Wednesday: A certain lack of documentation gets in the way

Normally, I'm not the kind of person who reads documentation. You see, I make a living from analyzing technology. In an hour, I can get the hang of a new operating system. In four hours, I can tell you what's wrong with it. That said, there are some times even someone like me needs documentation. And, boy does the Chromebook not have documentation.

For example, I wanted to take some simple screenshots of the Chromebook in action. It turns out that's really easy -- press control and the windows button and the shot's taken. The shots are stored on the Samsung's built-in solid-state drive (SSD). To get there, you bring up the file manager -- Control and the M key -- and head to the File Shelf > Screenshots directory. But, to figure that out, I had to search around, with Google of course, to find out how to do it. I don't know about you, but I don't like having to search for how to do something as basic as taking a screenshot and getting to the file manager.

Just finding the Chromebook keyboard shortcuts can be a pain. Even more annoying, the keyboard combo "Ctrl-Alt-?", which is meant to show you the keyboard overlay for all the keyboard shortcuts doesn't show all of them. Believe it or not, Ctrl-M, the keyboard combo that opens up the file manager, isn’t on the overlay. What were they thinking?!

Before turning this story in, I checked and there was a new ChromeOS update. I installed it. Guess what? Ctrl-M for the file manager still isn't on the overlay. Ack!

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