My search for the perfect pocketable keyboard has lead me into a few dead-ends. Most folding keyboards are in two halves and shift keys around. Often splitting the spacebar into two keys. The central hinge results in nothing being in the quite the right place.
The tri-fold keyboard I have found is the perfect compromise. The actual keyboard is 235mm or 9.25” long, so touch typists may have problems. They layout, however is excellent. It is a robust metal tri-fold design. The left and right ends fold over to cover the middle of the keyboard. It is spring loaded, and stays open or shut. Opening it locks the ends down with a click and switches the keyboard on, initiating the Bluetooth connection. My 8” tablet, once paired, now connects instantly, with no user intervention. I can switch from the on-screen keyboard to the folding keyboard in two or three seconds. The keyboard powers on as it is opened.
I carry a small rectangular piece of Coreflute with may as an almost weightless lap desk. The aluminium case slides around, so I have added 4 small plastic feet to the back. This keep the keyboard stable and stops it moving.
It is available under several brand names. I purchased a white keyboard, but most suppliers only have the black version.
The documentation is less than perfect, but basic functions are obvious. There are some options to configure it for iOS, Android or Windows.
Anyone who travels with A laptop spends time worrying about the safety of their computer on the road. When that computer is expensive, and the lynchpin of your business. It becomes critical to protect it at any cost.
Protecting your work computer is vital
My recent purchase of a MacBook Air to replace a five year old ASUS Zenbook was a big investment. I do not change computers frequently, so protecting the asset became an immediate priority.
I purchased the Thule Vectros 13″ bumper case. This is a black hard shell polycarbonate bumper that fits top and bottom with an inner component that is ribbed silicone. It provides a substantial thickness of padding around the outside, but is open in the center, with optional clear inserts to protect the top and bottom. I left the bottom skin off, swapping scratch protection for better cooling.
The bumper design provides a “lip” around the outside of the device that allows a good grip on the hard polycarbonate exterior. It is designed to survive a one meter (3’3″) drop with no damage. The web site provides a graphic comparison video of a Mac being dropped onto a corner with and without the case. I recommend a look at the video, if you have doubts.
The inner, soft silicon insert protrudes to provide four sturdy soft feet that give a good grip on any surface.
The case has very positive locking lugs to keep it attached to the computer. Make no mistake, installing and removing this case is an exercise in fear. It must be installed exactly according to the instructions. It will not fly off when the case is dropped. It has a positive latch on the lid, so it will not open when dropped. The top and bottom shells transmit pressure around the case, protecting the computer. I suspect it will protect from a significant amount of pressure, even someone inadvertently sitting on a backpack or case with a laptop inside. I do not suggest trying it, but this is one very tough bumper case.
The Thule Vectors Case is no compromise protection
My only problem was that the case does not provide holes for the dual microphones on the left side of the 2015 MacBook Air. I had to drill through the case in two spots, and then remove the soft silicone material from the inside with a scalpel.
I loved this case, but adds 401 grams or 6.6 ounces to the weight of the laptop. It increases the height of the closed MacBook Air to 2.6 cm or 1 inch. This is a significant addition. The case cannot be added and removed. Once on, it takes five minutes of careful work to get it off without damaging the MacBook. It is all or nothing.
If I were permanently on the road, the Thule Vectros bumper case would be my constant companion. I really do like it! The engineering and manufacture are second to none. It fits perfectly and looks great. It also makes the laptop stand out in a coffee shop or shared workspace. No-one is going to walk off with this computer un-noticed.
Another side effect of the shell is that if you want to anonymise your computer, it is easy to insert a photo, or otherwise cover the Apple logo on the lid. The case disguises the distinctive MacBook shape, making it less of a target for theft.
Using a Chromebook offline for a week was not a challenge after all. With one quirk understood, I worked productively in half a dozen locations with no WiFi.
This is the week, based on my journal, recorded in Keep.
Offline: Day Two – User Error
I had forgotten a feature of Evernote for Android. It requires the paid Pro version to allow saving of offline folders. I use the paid version, but you must visit each folder and mark it for offline access to be able to use notes when offline. This only applies to the client you are using. The folders must be selected and synced before going offline.
I stored some web pages in Evernote for use while offline in my Inbox, but I had forgotten to mark it for offline use. User error!
Fortunately, I save web pages I require for reference in both Evernote and Pocket, and Pocket continued to show the 300+ saved articles.
“Pocket continued to show the 300+ saved articles offline”
I also use Google Keep for lots of notes, and it syncs automatically and has been 100% reliable.
Day Three – File Naming
Another quirk of Google Docs offline is file naming. When on-line, a new document is created automatically, with a generic name. It can be re-named later. In offline mode, you are asked to provide a name when the document is created. That name cannot be changed while offline.
“You are asked to provide a document name when it is created. That name cannot be changed while offline.”
All my documents are numbered and named. I accidentally gave a new document the wrong number. I will have to wait another few days to correct the mistake. No big deal, just an interesting quirk.
Day Four – The Only Failure
I rebooted the Chromebook. I rarely do this, I usually just close the lid (screen) and known it will start from hibernate instantly the next time I lift the lid. I decided to do the full power cycle to check for problems.
But rebooting while offline, a few things went wrong.
StackEdit, my favourite Markdown editor would not restart without connecting to stackedit.io. It works offline, and I use it to format content for blog posts. I can save from Stackedit as HTML and paste directly into WordPress. I have never noticed this problem before, but Stackedit is usually running.
StackEdit, my favourite Markdown editor would not restart without connecting to stackedit.io.
I initially wrote a rant about having contributed to become a lifetime supporter, but finding a need to connect constantly to a server to start the app working being a slap in the face.
I have re-done this test a number of times, and each time StackEdit has started offline with no problems. So I withdraw my rant and will wait to see what happens over time.
My faith in StackEdit is, however, bruised. It was only the fact that I had been doing all my writing in Google Docs, as most users would, and copying text back and forth that allowed me to continue for another few days without re-connecting to the Internet.
I must assume this was a one-time problem. But would the StackEdit client have re-started if I had attempted to open A Markdown file stored locally, rebooting my access to the number of files I could not access? I did not think to try, and it has behaved perfectly since then, so I have no way to know.
A Real Problem & A Solution
“Another problem was the disappearance of three Google Docs that I had edited and closed.”
Another problem was the disappearance of three Google Docs that I had edited and closed. They did not show up in a search for their names. They were not in Recent, or in the folder I had saved them to.
I tried the search in the ChromeOS Files app, my work was gone, or was invisible. This was not a happy outcome.
But all Google Docs are given long unguessable URLs that do not change. So I went into browser history. The lost docs where there.
“I went into browser history. The lost docs where there.”
I also have a master document with the names of all the documents I have created. Documents and articles not yet started are in red, in progress is blue, finished is green. I usually paste a link to each document into this master document, giving me a hyperlink to everything. I had done that with one of the three missing documents, and it opened immediately. Everything was there, just not visible in Drive.
Work continued Uninterrupted.
I had copied the content to other apps, and saved to a USB stick after applying Markup so nothing would have been lost.
Day Seven – A Stress Free Week
The rest of the week has gone perfectly. I have experimented with a number of apps that work offline, including Evernote for Android, Write Space, QwertyZen, the Calculator, Google Calendar, Gliffy Diagrams, and more.
Only once did I have a concern with Google Docs. A message opened up saying “Offline editing has stopped working, please reload the tab”. I did, with trepidation, and the document came back, with the cursor where I had left it, nothing lost.
I turned WiFi on and opened Drive. My missing documents popped into the list within seconds. I opened Gmail Offline and mail that had been read and deleted synced. Sent mail queued up in the Outbox went. Opened documents quickly showed spell checking working. Voice Typing came back.
With only one or two hiccups, the week had gone perfectly. If I had continued to use ChromeOS from hibernate instead of re-booting, there may well have been zero problems.
“I am now confident that I can use a Chromebook offline for extended periods with little risk.”
I am now confident that I can use a Chromebook offline for extended periods with little risk. Not backing up your work is hazardous at any time, and while Google Docs cannot be saved outside Drive, minimally formatted content can be copied and pasted to other file formats. Only Sheets and Presentations rely on being on-line for backups. anyone who writes can work confidently for long periods.
If you need to be offline for really extended periods, or use Sheets, Presentations and other formats for extended periods there are other options. More on that later.
The Last Word…
For now, my only advice is, create a number of blank Docs, Sheets and Presentations while on-line. They will be visible in Files and Drive and can be edited and closed with no drama.
A post on the Wccf Tech website suggests we should dump our Chromebooks and move to a Windows Cloudbook. The give four reasons, an I do not agree with any of them!
While Google’s Chrome OS is ideal in some circumstances, it is still not as feature riche as Windows 10.
The Windows 10 Experience: Yes, Windows 10 is wildly superior to Windows 8 and 8.1 because it is usable. This might be new for Windows 8 users, but my Chromebook is unfailingly easy to use. Is Windows 10 feature rich? Yes. But that is not necessarily a selling point for many of us. I like simple and fast…
The Hardware: The hardware is very similar to that of a Chromebook, but the “feature rich” Windows 10 operating system requires far more resources that a Chromebook. Most come with 16 or 32 GB of storage, so forget about installing or running Photoshop (Microsoft’s usual reason for saying Windows is essential) and on 16 GB of storage, forget about Microsoft Office. My Chromebook runs MUCH better on this hardware.
Pricing is Dirt Cheap: True, so are Chromebooks, and Chromebook of a similar price works better. If a $10 price difference is important, go to eBay or a second hand shop!
Getting Onedrive and Office 365 free for One Whole Year!: Yes 1 Tb of storage free is good, but after a year, you have to pay. And without Office 365 you have bought a brick. A Chromebook comes with free access to Google Docs, and you can always access 15 GB free, and have 100 GB for a year.
The suggestion that:
Cloudbook owners will receive 12 whole months of free OneDrive storage, along with an Office 365 subscription. That is a total of two services that you will be receiving from Microsoft while only one from Google.
Is inaccurate and ridiculous, because both of these services are free from Google, except for the (temporary) 1 TB of storage.
If you are a home user and really need 1 TB of cloud storage, I suggest you look at options other than Google or Microsoft. 15 GB is enough for most home or small business users. If you need more, you are in a different category altogether, and will not be looking at $150 computers as a cost saving measure.
For the average computer user, Cloudbooks are the WORST of both worlds.
For the average computer user, Cloudbooks are the WORST of both worlds. They are under-powered, and have the complexity of Windows, making them slow. They require updates, anti-virus software, and require the installation of many programs to make them useful.
They are prone to viruses, hacking and malware.
They cannot use Office 365 without a permanent internet connection, making them useless for Digital Nomads.
My Chromebook (and Chromebox) can do almost everything offline. ( they just wait to sync, if offline) and are fast thanks to a stripped Linux kernel and minimal O/S overhead. Is it simple? Yes. Does it work? Yes. Is it fast? Yes.
I watch/listen to media from, and save files to a local NAS server, or work from a USB key or Google Drive for days at a stretch without Internet.
The ability to write, use spreadsheets, presentations and more is built in, free, and works offline. Apps like Pocket, Stackedit and Gmail Offline allow me to work happily without a connection.
No contest here, Windows has a place, and I like Windows 10. If I need serious power and apps like video and audio editing, I go to Linux.
I am writing this on an ASUS UX31E Ultrabook running Ubuntu Linux, after taking Windows 10 off yesterday. It was nice, but not compelling for me. To many things don’t work yet! And Microsoft now is collecting a great deal of information about me. Too much? No, Google collects the same information, but they do not then charge me for the service, they just show me ads!
But a Cloudbook? This is a Netbook with another name, and will go the way of the Netbooks. I do not need one of these fail whales.
I have a very light and simple laptop stand. It is a strip of Corflute board purchased from a stationery store for about $5 and used for a number of projects.
I cut a strip with the (tubes running upwards) 480mm wide and 130mm high. I sliced half way through it vertically at the half-way point resulting in two wings 280mm wide by 130mm high that can bend around like the covers of a book. I added a strip of cloth tape down the fold to strengthen the bend. I now have a light stand 280mm wide, 130mm high and about 10mm thick weighing a barely discernible 57 grams or 2 oz.
This can be opened into a triangular shape to support a laptop, opening facing forward. The size may have to be adjusted for your laptop and height. It supports the laptop perfectly, but requires an external keyboard and mouse.
For a long mobile working session, this is a very small price (in weight) to pay for arguably the best keyboard and mouse on the market.
The mouse and keyboard both charge via a Micro-USB port, so I can charge them with the Chromebook charger, or from a USB port on the Chromebook. One charger can handle the HP 11, my phone, the mouse, keyboard and my Bluetooth headset. I carry a couple of extra leads and can charge the HP Chromebook 11 while using it, or while it is suspended, and also charge devices from one or both USB type A ports. I have written about the brilliant HP Chromebook 11 here.
These devices have probably been replaced by later models, but are the best lightweight, quality devices I could find at the time. I have written about the Logitech Ultra-thin mouse here
As you can see from the Photo, I have cut two pairs of notches in the front part of the stand. This fits my tablets, and at a pinch my phone. It allows me to use a tablet (or phone) at eye level to watch video.
I can also use my Windows 8.1 tablet with Keyboard and mouse as a full PC if I need to. (more on the tablet later, it is still under review)
When I fly, the folding stand goes in a pocket in my SCOTTeVEST jacket in front of my tablet screen, if I am carrying one. It protects it from impacts that may break the screen, and adds zero weight. I use two thin rubber bands to keep them together in transit.
Every coffee shop, train and park bench is filled with people (mostly, but not always) young, working on laptop computers or tablets.
Silently, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) or ( ‘CANS’: Complaints of Arm, Neck and/or Shoulder) is resurfacing. This time it is not factory workers. It is knowledge workers. Home, Portable and Mobile office users. Digital nomads, teleworkers and more.
The smartphone and tablet have become the consumption device of choice, but except for quick email, notes and checking appointments, we need a laptop computer of one type or another.An ugly, but as yet little discussed side effect of using laptop computers is the damage you can be doing to your body and hands. Back, neck and wrist pain can become chronic and debilitating.
In the 70’s and 80’s millions of dollars were spend on the design of office workstations. Standards and rules were developed. Injuries were reduced, and the people rejoiced (well, not that perhaps) but injuries fell dramatically. Then came the laptop. And much of that work went out the window, with the office…
For digital nomads and mobile workers the idea of a workstation is not on the radar.
Think Again – You Have A Workstation!
Your Workstation is the place you sit down (or stand up) and work from. It may be a coffee shop, bar stool, airplane seat or hammock, but if you work there for more than 10 minutes, it is a workstation. And it needs some thought.
A recent survey in the UK found that 79% of people using mobile devices were having health problems, 10% said “nomadic Working” had created long term problems and 5% had been forced to give up their jobs.
RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is not associated with age, it is associated with hours in front of a keyboard. ( in some areas The term ‘RSI’ has been replaced by ‘CANS’: Complaints of Arm, Neck and/or Shoulder, but RSI is best known)
It is very easy to make a mistake. Especially digital nomads who tend to be young. You are young, active and healthy, and then, suddenly, you are not.
Then it can take months or years to fix even the simplest problems, because you cannot work without aggravating the problem. Imagine not being able to type (at all) for 3 months. How is that online business looking now?
So, lets look at the solution.
The “Workstation” is your whole working environment. For Mobile Office users, the basics are this:
Avoid glare on the screen
Have the top of your screen at about eye level
Have your arms nearly horizontal to the keyboard
Your feet should be flat on the floor
Your hips should be slightly above your knees
You should be reasonably upright, with the chair supporting your back (or no back, forcing you to sit/stand straight)
You should be able to read the screen without leaning forward or back. If necessary, get reading glasses specially for the computer.
If you have nothing but a laptop, you are screwed have a problem.
One solution is to raise the screen or back of the laptop with a stand. The options here are endless, so I will not offer a suggestion. It can be a simple as a pair of socks or a glasses case.
Dozens of laptop stands are being sold, from large desk based base stations to light weight folding stands.
The best solution is a stand, keyboard and mouse. This may seem like an impossible load for a digital nomad, but it is not.
Stand up, walk around, roll your shoulders, and head. Make your eyes focus on distant objects. Don’t just switch from work to checking Facebook. Actually make your body move for five minutes. Your body will thank you.
Staying focused and productive is a problem for everyone. Digital Nomads may be working anywhere, and modern offices are shifting to open plan office layouts that many find it difficult or impossible to work in.
In a brilliant article entitled “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace.” By Lindsey Kaufman the Washington Post shone the spotlight on this bizarre and soul destroying movement to open plan offices. If you want to work a Facebook, Google, Yahoo, eBay or many other tech. companies, you basically have no choice but to buy the best headphones you and find and try and cope. Silence is simply not an option, even with the best headphones, and earplugs are hot and uncomfortable. I am glad I have exited cubicle city!
I work from a mobile office that can be anywhere from a heavy vehicle layover or McDonalds to an airport departure lounge. Today I am in my home office but still have to cope with the sounds of passing traffic and neighbours who love to work on high performance cars at all hours of the day and night. The sound of revving engines, screaming burnouts and loud cheering does nothing for my concentration at any time, and especially not late at night.
Some people like silence, and some play music. Given a choice I would prefer total silence, but find that is impossible to achieve, so I have gone for the music option. The only music I have found that works for me has been some Enya tracks and the sound track from Blade Runner (with one track removed) but I am distracted by lyrics and need to keep the volume low.
Yesterday I heard Carl Franklin, a software developer, podcaster and musician, interviewed on the TWiT network on Windows Weekly (Skip to 44:15) . When the talk turned to Music To Code By, I wrote the URL down, and went to visit http://mtcb.pwop.com/ and listened through the provided samples. An hour later I bought and downloaded the digital version.
This is instrumental music played between 50 & 80 BPM, a speed designed to help you focus, but not be distracting. The pieces change enough not to be boring, but not enough to demand attention. It will not put you to sleep or sooth, just let you focus and work. The first album is 3 x 25 minute segments. This fits with the Pomodoro Technique of time management, designed to let you focus for 25 minutes, and then spend five minutes exercising, moving around to come back ready to work again five minutes later.
I have set it up on a special playlist alternating the 25 minute segments of MTCB with other songs that run about 5 minutes to signal my five minute breaks.
I have used the Pomodoro Technique for some time with good success, but finding reliable timing methods was a problem. This playlist solves the problem. The music can be played louder than anything else I have tried, and so far is working well.
It is Sunday Morning, and the only distractions are the TV in the next room, passing cars and a dove cooing loudly outside the window tying to woo a mate. I am playing MTCB through speakers at a low level. With my noise rejecting headphones and more volume this music will do the trick anywhere.
I am impressed! This is now my preferred timing system for future productivity. Google Play has a competitor, but a quick listen told me the music is far more intrusive. Carl is working on a second album (two tracks are available individually already) so i have put myself on the mailing list for the next album as well.
I plugged the charger into my basically dead Chromebook four hours ago, and rebooted when the battery reached 9%. The results, with the computer asleep and only being checked every hour where:
Hour 1 – 33% up 24%
Hour 2 – 56% up 23%
Hour 3 – 78% up 22% (with the PortaPow fast power only cable)
Hour 4 – 84% up 6% (with the computer in constant use)
smoothing out the results, this is about 24% / Hr, or four hours to pretty much full charge. The original HP charger does this in a whisker under three hours. not a bad comparison.
Interestingly, temperature is a factor for battery life, and fast chargers heat batteries up, as does fast discharging doing things like playing video at full screen and full screen brightness. As a result, I have chosen, where possible to charge all my devices as slowly as possible.
My most used option for the HP Chromebook 11, my Nexus 7, and my phone is a one meter illuminated charging cable. I have purchased three different types, and the common factor is usefulness rather than speed. They glow red when charging, and turn blue when charging stops. They charge at about half the speed of the fast PortaPow cables, but I plug all my devices in at night, and by morning, everything has been charged slowly but effectively.
When I travel, speed becomes more of an issue, and I go to the fast charging options.
The HP Chromebook 11 and the “Low-power charger” message
I have no inside information here, but I see devices described by my HP 11 as “Low-power chargers” charging at a pretty good rate (See the figures above) My feeling is that the HP charger uses a customized “hardware handshake” or unique resistors between the signal and power lines. I am sure no matter how powerful the charger, and good the cable nothing but a genuine HP charger will be considered the full powered option. It does not mean the the charger is not doing a good job. Slower? Yes, but that is not always a bad thing.
I have worked for days with a 2 amp Nexus 7 charger slowly charging ( and sometimes discharging) my HP Chromebook 11 while it is being used. When I close the lid and the computer is suspended, it charged at a pretty fast rate.
I am currently writing this on the HP 11 with Drive, Gmail and a couple of other tabs open. It has charged only 5% in the last hour. But in my experience, a Windows Laptop being used while charging can often take 8-10 hours to charge. Assuming a 20% starting point, that is 8% per hour, so the difference is noticeable, but not catastrophic.
This computer has now been charging for four hours, three in sleep mode, one in constant use, and the battery has gone from 9% to 82%. Not a bad average, given that my $1800 ASUS Zenbook takes four hours to charge from 20% while not being used.
The thing to remember is, if you use the machine constantly, the charger will keep it going. Any USB charger will bring it back up overnight, and that USB charger can also charge your phone, tablet, headphones, keyboard, mouse and more. And the slower charging rate will preserve the battery in your Chromebook.
Also worth mentioning is that the power-bank you bought to recharge your phone or tablet can also keep the HP Chromebook 11 running longer. Everything from a 2600 mAh lipstick sized charger to the 10400 mAh Soshine power bank beside me (review coming) can keep that HP Chromebook 11 running longer.
Any USB charger can charge the HP Chromebook 11
Any HP Chromebook 11 charger can charge a myriad of other devices
Lower powered chargers may take longer, but they will extend battery life
The HP Chromebook 11 & Charger is a VERY light travel solution, and can charge other devices
pick the best cable for the job you need
If you have doubts, look at the numbers, and, does it really need to charge in three hours? What is your real usage model? In my case, a trickle feed keeping it going all day and an overnight top-up is perfect, and any charger can do that…
For many users of touch devices such as phones and tablets, mice are a thing of the past. For me, the mouse still has a huge place in my toolkit. It is essential for laptop and desktop computing, and even editing text on a tablet works better with a mouse.
I use a number of tablets and computers on a daily basis, and wireless mice have three drawbacks. They require a spare USB port for the dongle, they require AA or AAA batteries, and they are mostly fairly large.
I spend a lot of time using Laptops, Chromebooks and Tablets. None of these have a lot of spare USB ports, and some have none at all. So Bluetooth is the only option to get full functionality on all devices. If I am doing serious typing on my Nexus 7 Tablet, I connect a Bluetooth keyboard, and at times, having a mouse is handy.
If I am travelling, I will have a Chromebook or an Ultrabook. Long hours working on one of these devices on a table or on my lap is a sure invitation for a stiff neck, and back pain. So I carry a stand that tilts the laptop up to a level where the screen is comfortable. This may require a Bluetooth keyboard, but always makes the trackpad difficult to use, so I always use a mouse if I have the room.
I have been using a Microsoft Sculpt Touch mouse, simply because it was the only Bluetooth mouse I could find here in Tasmania, Australia that was reliable. The Sculpt Touch is a good size, but has a tactile bar that replaces the wheel that drives me absolutely crazy. It is impossible to control on non Windows computers, and just plain bad on Windows. Scrolling becomes an exercise in frustration that has on one occasion literally driven me to throw the mouse across the room (onto a lounge chair, I was frustrated, not stupid) and resort to the touch pad. It also uses 2 AA batteries, and therefore is quite heavy.
I do not like mice that require batteries. When I travel I must take spare batteries, and/or a charger. I like everything I use to charge from a USB port. This makes it possible to travel for an extended period with only one charger. I have a USB powered AA/AAA charger, but it is another device, and unless I carry spares, I have to stop work and wait for my mouse batteries to be charged, or do without the mouse
So I went shopping for ANY mouse that was Bluetooth enabled and has USB charging. I took a few deep breaths before I paid out $90 for a mouse, and kept the receipt in case I could not use it, but I have found THE perfect mouse for me.
The Logitech T630 Ultrathin Touch Mouse. I confess, if I had seen one, I may have gone for the T631 white mouse, but other than that, this is mouse is ideal for me. It is very small, 59 x 85 x 19mm and weighing only 70 grams. The tiny size had me worried that it might be difficult to control, but it invites you to place two or three fingertips on top and control it that way. There is no wheel, the entire top surface is touch sensitive, and stroking the top surface up and down or sideways provides a scroll effect. The provided software works on Windows & Mac, and adds multi-touch functionality, but since I use Chrome OS, Linux and Android as well as Windows I have kept my use to the basic functions that work on every device.
Scrolling is smooth and effortless, and can be done almost anywhere on the top of the mouse. The Bluetooth setup is a function of the operating system, but the mouse seems to reconnect on wake-up very fast. It has been faultlessly reliable.
An added feature that a number of Logitech keyboards have is the ability to pair to two or more devices, and switch between them with the flick of a switch. The Logitech mouse has a switch on the bottom of the mouse that allows two connections. I would love the ability to connect to three devices, like my Logitech K810 Keyboard, but two is enough for most situations.
To keep the mouse clean and small, the micro-usb charging port is on the bottom, so the mouse cannot be used and charged at the same time. This is not really a problem. One minute of charging will run the mouse for an hour. I have only had the mouse go flat once, I plugged it in for a minute to get it working, continued worked until I wanted a break, and re-charged it the few minutes I was away from the computer. Basically I charge the mouse & keyboard up once a week, and just forget about it after that. I do not bother to switch it off unless I am travelling.
I am far more concerned with function than looks, but it is still a pretty mouse. it is small, works on everything (better if you have the Windows or Mac software, but I am happy without the extras) and has a simply beautiful scroll surface.
Watch out for the Click!
I have seen criticism of the buttons sticking down. The do NOT stick. The buttons are under the chassis of the mouse. There are no buttons on top of the mouse. It is a single, unbroken touch surface. The entire mouse moves down when you click a button. If (like me) your fingers hang over the sides of the mouse, and touch the desktop it is possible that when you click (press down) your fingers, resting on the desktop, will grip the mouse tightly enough to stop it coming back up. This is a user error, based on the very light, small and short travel of the mouse. As you become aware of this, you learn to be a little gentler in handling the mouse, and it then moves perfectly.
I became comfortable with the tiny, light and sensitive nature of the mouse quickly. the button held down issue took a few days. but now, when I have to use a normal mouse it feels monstrously big, and awkward. Having to deal with a shrunken tendon in my right hand makes this mouse even more friendly.
Overall, this is my choice for the best ever portable mouse, and in my case, the best mouse ever.
The quick and simple connection with Chrome and Android devices as well as the usual Windows and OS x devices makes it very versatile. Frankly, the best ever! It is small, light and a little different in use due to the tactile to surface, but once you use the mouse for a few days, you will not want to go backwards to an old, traditional mouse.
I am writing this on an ASUS Chromebox, with a Logitech K810 Keyboard and a Logitech T630 Ultrathin Touch Mouse in Google Docs. Despite the high price, I am trying to convince my wife that a second T630 Ultrathin makes sense for my office, where I use multiple devices on a daily basis.
The jury is still out on that second mouse… But I am hopeful…
The big news for Google Docs / Drive users this week is that Drive now has add-ons or plugins.
Go into Drive, Create a new document or sheet and you will find a new menu option, “Add-ons”, and from there you can see a list of add-ons that can be installed in Drive.
The current crop of add-ons include label printing, mail-merge, faxing, grammar checking and inserting graphs, charts and mind-maps.
This ability to add what you want, and exclude what you do NOT want is a shot across the bows of Microsoft Office. Office has, famously added everything including the kitchen sink, and then charged a small fortune for the privilege of upgrading to the next, even more bloated version.
Google is allowing third parties to build tools that many people want, and then plug then into the Drive ecosystem. I hope the ability to sell these add-ons is there, because good software should be paid for. It takes a lot of work to write and maintain these tools. Many developers fall back on ad supported software, but this often provides a poor experience for the user.
I want to try before I buy, but am happy to pay for tools that I use.
So instead of hundreds of dollars for each copy of Microsoft Office, the idea of paying nothing, or a couple of dollars for each feature I actually want is compelling.
Check out the video here:
Google Docs just got ADDINS! this is a huge step forward: