It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Nerdmas

Hey, guess what showed up on my doorstep today:

Yup, it’s one of those Cr-48s, from Google. Apparently they saw me kvetch enough about wanting one and sent one along. I did also sign up to be a beta tester, of course. But I think it was the kvetching that did it. So now I have one. Go me.

And you say, Hey, Scalzi, didn’t you just do a post on some of the philosophical problems with cloud computers? Why, yes, I did. And my response to you is:

1. What, you’re expecting consistency from me when I have a new toy?

2. And I also said I wouldn’t mind trying one anyway, SO THERE.

3. But more relevantly and to the point here, I’ve noted my philosophical issues with cloud computing, so now it will be interesting to work with a cloud computer and learn how my philosophical issues mesh with the practical aspects of playing with what is essentially a souped-up version of a “thin client.” I really do want to see how well it works for everything I do with a computer on a day-to-day basis. I am as noted more than a little skeptical we’re at the point where something like the Cr-48 is a true replacement for a computer with native applications. That’s my baseline; now let’s see whether I’m wrong or not.

4. Also, did I mention I have a new toy?

Now that I have it, what will I do with it? Well, when I applied for the beta I said that if they gave me one I’d try writing a novel on it. So, what the heck. I’ll try writing a novel on it. Or a novella, at least. I want to do one of each in 2011. So let’s try that and see how that goes.

40 thoughts on “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Nerdmas

  1. You should, and by you should I mean, if you feel inclined to it would be fantastic. However, I will not force you to do anything against your well. You should write a short story merging Androids Dream with Old Man’s War from the point of view of Todd the User Agent from AOL/Quaker Oats :P

  2. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    “I am large, I contain multitudes.”

    Two of my favorites, and I like to remember them when I catch myself being Mistress Contrary, which happens frequently. Hope you enjoy your toy.

  3. I can’t wait to read the novel(la) you write on it! I’m sure it will not be altered in the cloud to insert pro-Google propaganda in any way!

  4. I keep reading that people are receiving theirs. I suppose this means that my 140 characters weren’t awe-inspiring enough to bring one to my door. Rats.

  5. Woohoo! Thank you kindly, Google, and feel free to chastise Mr. Scalzi any time you see him doing anything other than writing with his head in the cloud.
    Mmmmm, book and novella…

  6. Have fun storming the castle! No, wait. That doesn’t sound right.

    Have fun storming the cloud!

    Um, er, that’s a bit weird.

    Enjoy your new toy!

  7. I take it Google’s terms of service are acceptable to you then? I remember they tried to claim the rights to material uploaded through their Chrome browser a couple of years ago, and a bunch of people called them on it. They backed off pretty quickly as I recall. (The Register summed it up here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/03/google_chrome_eula_sucks/)

    I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions on the thing. I have the same attitude about cloud computing that you’ve stated, so if they win you over their mind control device will probably work on me too.

  8. Reports say the thing’s keyboard does not have CAPS LOCK. How will you berate people on the Internet without this? A quick “SO THERE” is all right, but if you really want to get all-caps ranty…

  9. I never use cap lock anyway. I just keep my thumb on the shift button WHEN I ALL CAP SOMETHING. So I’m fine with the Caps Lock button being gone; it was dead space to me anyway.

  10. It appears to be hamster powered. Hamster power, of course, makes all of the bad cloud aspects go away. Or is the box misleading us?

  11. John, if your thumb’s on the shift key where are your other fingers while you’re typing? Do you actually type everything with the other hand? Talent there, man. Talent.

  12. course, you can try out a lot of the functionality of the system. one thing you cant test is whether the company will sell your data to the highest bidder or the government. by the time you find out, it will be too late.

    if the thin client encrypted and the only thing sent to the cloud was cyphertext, that might be slightly better. but hell, the government is in the backbone and nothing short of a revolution is going to get them to unplug.

    anyone know of a ongenerato

    anyone know of a one time pad app for the droid with true random number generator?

  13. I’m with Ian at #8: that box art is the awesome. You should keep the cloud-computing netbook and raffle off the box, or something.

  14. I was just checking out Drudge before I stopped in, and the screaming banner headline over there is “THEY’RE COMING FOR THE INTERNET. (Yes, all in caps. Spooky)

    Anyway, I was just wondering how you feel about the FCC’s latest attempt to regulate the internet, and if you think it has any bearing at all on Cloud computing. I know Google’s public position is totally against this proposal.

  15. What app are you planning to use for writing? I’ve been thinking of trying Google Docs, but while it’s been fine in a browser on a “regular” computer for really basic documents, I haven’t been terribly happy with it for longer documents.

  16. @ Billy Quiets, #30

    Anyway, I was just wondering how you feel about the FCC’s latest attempt to regulate the internet, and if you think it has any bearing at all on Cloud computing. I know Google’s public position is totally against this proposal.

    I don’t know this – can you offer a cite.
    Google is in favor of Net Neutrality. They’ve recently modified their position, to where they’re in favor of Net Neutrality over the wires but open to different rates for wireless internet based on the amount of traffic (but, as far as I know, still against sweetheart deals for favorite content providers even over the airwaves). At present, with Congress having failed to legislate Net Neutrality and an even more telecoms-friendly Republican House majority moving in, the only way Net Neutrality will be mandated is by the FCC. It’s the FCC’s proposal you say Google is “totally against”; given what I’ve said in the rest of this paragraph, that doesn’t seem consistent (though I can easily imagine that they’d have minor or major quibbles with this specific proposal). So I say again: can you back your statement up?

    Thing is, there has been a lot of scary and misleading advertising by those who stand to benefit from abusive behavior if Net Neutrality dies and deregulation results, making Net Neutrality sound like the first step towards an Orwellian Minitrue. And Google, whether in order to genuinely avoid “being evil” or because it’s where their interest lies, has been against it. Your comment, and in general anything Drudge says on any subject, seems to echo this dishonest corporatist scare-mongering.

  17. Now that you’ve found out that wishing for something hard enough makes it happen, what else are you looking forward to in the mail?

  18. So far the thing that’s bugged me most have been the touchpad (buttonless push-and-drag takes some getting used to; better at the bottom of the pad) and the relative dearth of IM options, as I’m used to Trillian and hang out in several IRC channels. And the lack of splitscreening that I can figure out, and the fact that there’s no cloud-Scrivener.

    Otherwise I’m delighted!

  19. Warren Terra@31,
    I read a statement online from Google urging the public to support a free internet and contact their Rep or Senator. I just went back and reread it, and it’s from 2006, by Eric Schmidt. I then looked at their latest public policy statement, which makes them sound like the reincarnation of Nathan Hale, but basically supports giving the FCC more control over internet access.

    So you tell me, because I sure don’t understand all of the issues involved here. I’m not advocating one position or the other, although I don’t see how more government involvement is going to make anything faster or less costly.

    I honestly don’t understand how this issue will affect the internet.

  20. Billy Quiets,
    I’m not remotely an expert on Net Neutrality, let alone on this proposal. But the basic idea is that the telecoms, who provde everyone with their internet access, want to be able to charge both users and content providers based on factors other than their bandwidth usage – for example, based on a cross-marketing deal, or based on their both being owned by Time-Warner. This could easily be abused and could restrict competition. Net Neutrality advocates want to block it through government regulation; the only currently viable avenue for this is FCC action. Telecoms companies say that they want less government regulation and that they’ll be able to offer better and cheaper service.

    Now, obviously, I’m hardly unbiased: I’m a fan of the (somewhat) regulated free market but afraid of the unregulated variety, especially after seeing not only the Wall Street crash but the rewards taken home by its worst perpetrators. Your philosophical mileage may vary. If you really want to read up on the subject seriously, it may not be easy; most articles on the internet written by grassroots sources will be strongly, even vehemently pro-Net Neutrality, while there’s a stream of well-funded claims from the anti-Net Neutrality side. Neither side can be trusted to play fair, or even to be in full possession of the facts. But I would hardly start with Drudge, and especially not with his headlines – always read the full article, and critically.

  21. Warren,
    Thank you. It always bugs me when I can’t separate the bullshit from the truth, and I’m not real clear on this one .I appreciate your candor.

    It’s funny. I knew that the Google guys were tight with the administration, so I was really wondering what they thought about this. I looked it up (Googled it, actually) and got bamboozled.

    I don’t see how anyone who makes their living online could advocate the government getting in their business, but I guess we’ll see.

    How about that Drudge headline, though?

  22. I just got one yesterday too! Mine showed up with no warning, UPS dropped it off and that was it. Apparently they liked my application!

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