I am on day 14 of the Chromebook Challenge. So how is it going? Very well. I use the chromebook connected to my 22″ HD LG monitor via the full sized HDMI port in the back.
I have a seven port powered USB hub under the desk. It is connected to a 3Tb Western Digital drive, a USB Ethernet port, a wireless mouse and powers a pair of Logitech speakers plugged into the headphone socket on the monitor. The Chromebook drives audio through the HDMI port to the speakers when connected, and reverts to local speakers when I disconnect.
The beauty of this setup is I can close the lid and unplug the two cables, HDMI and USB and walk away. I also have the power supply connected when I am docked.
Issues So Far
I wrote about the problem related to providing remote support. I have solved that.
Another Issue relates to capturing images, and editing them. I take a lot of screen shots. When the image is going to be published, I need to be able to Blur out certain elements of the shot. The Chromebook allows images to be uploaded to Google Drive and Google+. Google+ has a nice on-line editor that does some excellent clean-up of images. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a way to blur things.
I have found two solutions. The first is the big gun of browser based editing, Pixlr Editor. This is a remarkably full featured photo / graphics editor offered by Autodesk. It is currently free. I suspect that may change in the future. Autodesk is known for it’s high priced AutoCAD software.
Pixlr runs using the Flash plugin, It works well, is extremely capable and will open, edit and save images stored locally. It is a quick loading app, but is slow when editing large images on the Chromebook.
The image shown here shows me blurring the word Warning on a screenshot of the ABC North Tasmania web site.
Andrew Cunningham complained that it takes forever to edit images captured on a professional DSLR, and that is hardly surprising given the size of a 18 Megapixel image. For me, editing screen shots is fast and easy.
Pixlr will also store images in an online library on their servers or access Facebook, Flickr, or Picasa. I had some trouble activating this feature, and edited the shot of my desktop setup using an image taken using my Android phone, auto-backed up to Google+ (the Picasa option) and edited in Pixlr. I am mainly interested in local images though.
The other option is Webpage Screenshot Capture. A tool that allows a screenshot to be taken, and edited immediately and saved. It has some interesting features, and seems much lighter weight. and it is available with a click of an icon. It is fast and simple. It allows simple editing of the screenshot, including blurring. It has become my tool of choice now.
It can be found on the Chrome Plugin page.
Things I cannot do on a Chromebook or Android tablet.
I never believed a Chromebook could replace the computer for most businesses. However I am developing an increasing respect for my Samsung Chromebook. Here are some more things I cannot do:
- Open an encrypted ZIP file or a True-crypt volume.
- Begin a Skype conference call. I can join one using an Android tablet though.
- Play a CD or DVD. I can however copy MP3 Audio and MKV Video to the downloads folder, or plug in a USB stick.