A Cr-48 Update
Posted on December 25, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 8 Comments
Because I know you folks are passionately interested, especially on Christmas Day, some further thoughts on working with the Cr-48 and the Chrome OS:
* The Cr-48 generally continues to be a pretty nifty little computer, although it is not without its flaws. The flaw I’ve noticed the most are the genuinely terrible track pad, with its awful right click mechanism; even with the sensitivity dialed down to its lowest setting, it’s a 50/50 chance of getting the two-finger right click to work. This is apparently something lots of people hate about the Cr-48, so it’s nice to know it’s not just me a case of me being physically incompetent. When I use the computer for any extended period of time I plug in a mouse. Less annoying but still noticeable is the automatic screen brightening, which is a good idea in theory but which in practice is a bit twitchy. If I have a light behind me and I move my head, the screen brightness spasms. I’ll look to see if I can fiddle with that.
* On the software side I’m not really having any problems in terms of daily use. I used the Cr-48 to write the two “interviews” I did last week (with the innkeeper and the Christmas Bunny), and I found it useful, not because of Google Docs specifically but because the computer isn’t all cluttered up with crap and it’s easier not to get distracted. I then cut and pasted the interviews into the blog tool; again, no problems. I’ve also been carrying around the laptop for casual Web browsing and reading, and perhaps not entirely unexpectedly it does just fine with that, with the caveat of the annoying right-click thing.
I suppose if I were trying to use the Cr-48 for more substantial things I would run into more problems, but I’m not; I’m trying to figure out whether it’s because I just tend to spend most of my time doing low-impact things, Web and computing wise, or if it’s because I know the Cr-48 has limitations and just work inside of those. At some point I may try to stretch what I do with the thing, but for now, like I said, it’s working just fine for what I want to use it for.
I agree with the right click issues. I’ve taken to using Alt-Click instead of the two finger tap.
I was under the impression that the Cr-48 isn’t intended for much more than what you are doing. I’ve also been playing with Google Docs to write a document. I find that the limitations of Google Docs over a program like Microsoft Word help with avoiding distraction. However, the mathematics in Google Docs isn’t up to par, yet.
I’ve actually enjoyed my track pad, but that perspective comes from my usage on my Asus 1000HE netbook. Basically this mouse is a huge improvement over that one in every way. True the double-tap isn’t reliable at all, so I too use Ctl-tap and Alt-tap instead of even fooling with it.
Since I view this as a netbook, I use it with the same expectations. HD video didn’t run great on that one, it doesn’t on this one either. And, with this one I have a bigger mouse, a bigger screen, a better battery, so it’s a better netbook experience than I’m used to having. I can understand those running around with MacBooks would have a hard time downgrading to this, but for me, it’s been a joy.
I agree on the two-finger “right click.” It worked for me a couple of times, but hardly has worked since. I tend to just go for the Alt-click option now. The “click-down-drag,” on the other hand, works better than I expected, for doing things like adjusting the volume slider on video clips. Since I usually use the Cr-48 in the living room with me on the sofa or chair balancing it on my lap, a plug-in mouse wouldn’t really be an option.
Oh, and they couldn’t have spared the keys somewhere for dedicated “Home” and “End”? I mean, really, Control-Alt-Up and Control-Alt-Down? Could they have picked key combinations less obvious? (Yeah, Control-Alt-/ to open the keycaps viewer. But still.)
Softwarily, there’s little to complain about. I spotted a bug just now with the rendering of “fi” ligatures in the PDF viewer (they don’t, there’s only a blank space), which I clicked the bug button on. Cosmetic, yes, but maybe a few of these spotted will help Google believe it was a good idea to send me this little bugger. :-)
My teen just bought with Christmas money a new game system that is a Cloud system? OnLive? He seems pretty happy with it but I’m not sure. He says there is no lag. Whatever that means…..He is getting the controller later but has played a few games. He’s all excited.
I actually am having about 90% success with the right click situation… Once I figured out that it works better to take both fingers and make the trackpad click instead of just tapping it. Yeah it takes more muscle but it’s not that bad…
Jeremy @6: I tried that as soon as I read your comment. It worked for me…once. Then it started giving me bogus left-click events. I don’t know whether the first time was a fluke or whether I’m somehow fat-fingering the two-finger click or what; I think I’ll just stick to the Alt-click.
I can’t help but wonder what was wrong with the old “the right half of the pad activates the right click” option. So simple! So useful!