Today’s Tech Wonkery

Me, fiddling around with technology today, not just because I’m avoiding work but because I’m thinking about travel — I have a substantial travel schedule this summer, which means I will need to write on the road, and I’m trying to decide the best way to do it — full featured laptop? The Chromebook? A tablet with a keyboard? All come with advantages and disadvantages — the tablet pictured here, for example, doesn’t come with a decent word processing program (I define a “decent” word processing program as one that allows me to use a ruler for formatting). But on the other hand it’s small and superlight (even with an outboard keyboard), and will last hours longer than any of the laptops I own, power-wise (and when it’s tapped out, I can recharge it with a portable battery, which is useful in outlet-strapped airports).

The laptop is full-featured, but craps out relatively quickly when on a battery, and even the 12-inch Dell I have is often too big for airplane use, especially if the person in front of me feels like reclining. The Chromebook is a good middle-ground, but it has to be connected to the Internet to function, which is not always ideal on plane ride, etc. And so on. There are other options available to me if choose to spend money to buy them, but I’m trying to work within the (already ridiculous amount of) technology I have. So.

Yes, I know. My life is hard. Even so. These are things I think about, in order to get you the work you want.

71 Comments on “Today’s Tech Wonkery”

  1. I go iPad when I travel. If I don’t feel like using the default pages, I’ll just use notepad and cut and paste later. Lets me get my thoughts down. I see one of your stops has you at Book Expo America! I’ll try to stop by your autographing event.

  2. Actually, the Chromebook will work “offline”. Work done in Docs (or several different flavours of text editor) will sync when you online again. It’s really the best option.

  3. Take the tablet and the bluetooth keyboard. That’s my opinion.

    I find that the battery life is the most important thing. And you are definitely right about using laptops on airplanes. Its almost impossible unless you’re in first class or willing to contort your arms while using the laptop sort of half folded.

    And unlike a computer programmer who has to be able to compile and run programs, a writer produces text, which he can copy back to his real machine later and fix up the formatting.

  4. What about a bigger tablet with keyboard and external battery recharge when needed?
    What about different software, that while not perfect, allow you to do different parts of the writing, that you could fix once you get back to the laptop?

    MS OneNote for outlining and jotting things in an organized fashion, that you can search later.

    Whatever you have for collecting the prose as you go.

  5. What a question! For me, the answer would be, always have at least a pencil and spare piece of paper, then opt for the minimal which will still give you your best presentation. What I mean is that creativity and forgetfulness can be enemies, so you always want something for the instant, even if its rudimentary; but most creative folks also need to see their creations in their best light, if only so that criticisms of such will be at their most effective.

  6. Chromebooks don’t need to be connected to the net. It should have come set up for offline usage and if not, it’s easy to do. It also automatically syncs your recently edited items to the Chromebook so you don’t have to prep which ones you want in advance.

  7. My wife and I tend to go 2-tablets-and-a-keyboard when we travel. But neither of us is a professional writer. In addition, this bit us when we traveled the other day. My Nexus 7 doesn’t have a micro-SD card, which screwed up some photo file transfers that wouldn’t have been a problem at home. Her tablet did, so I was able to get the photos where they needed to be via a roundabout method. Needless to say, my next tablet will have a micro-SD card or equivalent.

    Good luck on your selection,
    Jack Tingle

  8. That’s funny. I thought that I remembered a previous round of tests like this where I asked if a tablet/Google Drive/BT keyboard combo would be good on-the-go, and you said that it didn’t work well for you. Now I can’t find that post & comments, so maybe I am hallucinating.

    I’d think that would be a great combination for travel, but on a long trip, having both that and a small laptop would probably be good.

  9. Maybe buy an 11 inch Macbook Air? Should be small enough to use on a plane, light, and a long battery life. Just one more piece of technology for you.

  10. Lack of features would bother me more than maneuvering ergonomic issues.I carry around a Dell xps12. I’m not trying to do as much work while traveling through.

  11. I like netbooks for traveling. More than 7 hours battery life and you can bring a smallish wireless keyboard and mouse with you if you want to. I also use mine at home by plugging in a monitor and a full keyboard. And it is so small and light!

  12. I love my NEC MobilePro 780. It’s old, but for 20 bucks on eBay, it was cheap and it’s effective. I can stick it in my purse and when I open it, it’s on, which makes it good for jotting stuff down in a moment of inspiration.

  13. It really depends on whether you expect to work on the road (realistically, not pie in the sky). For most purposes, I would say just take the tablet and phone.

  14. Remember, folks, I’m not looking to buy anything else, so any suggestions to do so won’t do me any good.

    Re: Chromebook offline mode — I’m aware it exists; I’ve been less than successful in making it work for me, I have to say.

  15. Question – do you need to work on the plane? You’ve travelled before, so I assume you know what you really do (vs people who are starting to travel a lot and haven’t before so they assume things).

    A lot of times I just don’t work on planes anymore – they’re cramped, noisy and you’re liable to be interrupted. But when I do, I use an 11″ Macbook Air. However, it has long battery live (~8 hours). The tablet would be my choice of what you have with a good docking/keyboard case. No decent word processor? Either compromise (use something that captures text and can export to something where you can format later) or do non-writing tasks on the plane. Also, does the laptop have a larger battery available? Some do and at the cost of a few more ounces you get another couple of hours.

  16. Ipad mini with bluetooth keyboard. Pages or word for ipad work as basic word processor support and both have the ruler. Add in one note and you have a basic note app. The advantage of all of these are their ability to sync when you have wifi, you can also work with their online versions on a laptop when you have access to a hub computer (such as the times you are home again).

  17. I’ve sometimes had trouble getting my Chromebook to sync everything properly when I go from offline to online mode–is that what’s caused your lack of success, as well?–but backing up my files on a thumb drive while working offline takes care of that potential problem.

  18. I’d also recommend ipad and bluetooth keys. Longest lasting in terms of energy, and that the two components are independent can work in your favor. My wife has the new ipad and I just bought her the newest version of Apple bluetooth keys and she loves it.

  19. My vote(s) are for the tablet+keyboard,for casual usage such as in the air AND the laptop for getting to business on the ground / where there is room. (Assumption: the laptop keyboard will be more like what you are most used to using at your own desk.)

  20. I love my tablet and keyboard for battery life and portability, but I find that when I import my writing from King Office (or whatever it is that my tablet uses), I need to reformat it all. It’s really frustrating. I wish I could have Scrivener or Word across all platforms, but maybe someone will know of a solution I don’t.

  21. Which one feels the best to use?

    For me, if it doesn’t feel good, I won’t use it, regardless of the available features.

  22. I’d personally recommend the tablet, if you can find an acceptable writing app.There’s some free and cheap notepad type apps around, but if you want an MS-Office type thing, you’ll,need to shell oit a few bucks (I’ve use d Quickoffice to write a few things, and it’s not perfect, but is useable.)

  23. pack everything else you need for your travels and then when it comes down to it, see which Tech you have room left for and make that work.

  24. You didn’t mention what word processor you are using on the tablet. There are about a zillion of them available. You should try some and see if you can find one that does what you want. Microsoft Office is actually available on Android Phones, but not on tablets for some strange reason, and the phone version will not use an external keyboard (again, strange). The general opinion is that they are working on a tablet version similar to the iPad version, but it is not yet ready.

    I just bought my wife an ASUS TF100 for $349. For that you get a real Windows system (none of this RT nonsense) with Office included, 64GB of SSD, and a tablet that can be removed or you can treat it like a small laptop. Then you can use the same Office you have been using in the past and have complete compatibility. And, you can plug in a larger monitor when you need it. She loves it.

  25. carrying a spare battery solves a lot of problems. The offline mode works but takes a while to setup since it synchs all the files. Try setting it up at home first. It might take 15 minutes to initialize the first time, after that, synch every so often.

  26. I like the Nimblestand and Apple BT Keyboard

    This way you can pretty much use any tablet you have on hand with the stability of a laptop and have a decent keyboard. Its meant to manage pretty much any electronic gizmo you can think of from phones to full sized, 10″+ tablets. I’ve actually witnessed folk using it two tablets or a tablet and a phone simultaneously, Its only too bad that the product is engineered with the Apple keyboard exclusively in mind, as many other products, like my preferred Logitech K760 have built in switches for sync with multiple devices, which would make multiple devices active in front of you at once something more than an “input one screen while referencing from another” sort of arrangement. Of course, the Logitech board you have in your picture might actually fit in the Nimblestand (I’ve actually thought that before about that model, but $50+ keyboards start to become less and less of an impulse purchase after a point.

    My absolute favorite and most portable setup is the aforementioned Logitech K760 (which I admit I got “cheap” due to a sail and some RewardZone bucks happening concurrently; still $40, though), which is the short size (no number pad) version of their K750 solar keyboard (which I know David Hewson, at least, agrees with me is one of the best keyboards for follk with a high keyboard duty cycle), that I use with my home setup. Having less width for solar cells, they’ve gone for a shorter rank of deeper ones which causes the “deck” past the function keys to be about 2.5″ deep

    For awhile, I was using a couple sets of doubled over suction cups to hold my bare iPod Touch 5th Gen to this deck, which was actually close to ideal in terms of just getting to the writing and ergonomics, but no matter how stable seeming it was, at some point, unexpectedly, it would always let go of the iPod. My finished solution, though, involves a cheap iPod case bought on clearance, a 2″ white PVC “coupler” for like 50 cents at Lowes and a set of 2″x2″ self adhesive velcro. You put a set of soft velcro down on the keyboard (this has not diminished the solar cells capabilities enough to cause even a hiccup in its functionality for me), then wrap the coupler in hard velcro and put another square of soft on the back of the iPod case. This way, the coupler sticks to the keyboard and the case with the iPod in it sticks to the coupler, and given that the coupler is a cylinder, you can use the way you set it all together to change angles for various situations

    This could obviously be done with any phone or phablet (a friends iPad Mini first gen proved too large and heavy for the suction cups, but maybe a purpose built velcro setup could manage the newer, lighter Mini, or maybe even the tablet you already have), but I feel the biggest gain is being able to use which ever piece of hardware you already habitually keep in your pocket, so really you’re only actually carrying a small keyboard extra (the coupler fits in your other pocket with your keys just fine ;-p ).

    In practice, I think that if you can’t find a laptop you can live with for travel working, you have to compromise on editing capabilities (mainly because screen sizes prohibit the visibility necessary to do any proper editing; this is also why there aren’t really any good word processors in the mobile realm, but tons of note takers and “writerly” text editors) and focus on using your time generatively (which isn’t ideal because I usually start a writing session by looking back a bit to get my brain back on track, but there you go, travel and work are difficult bedfellows). As such, the things you really need from your kit are portability, battery life, ease of setup (so you can go right from thinking you should be writing to writing in the shortest time possible) and stability and versatility of the the rig once set up so you can manage to get into a position to write, even in awkward circumstances, and to flow with fluid circumstances as they arise, without undue concern for your setup becoming just another obstacle or requiring too much external support (my litmus test is being able to write in my lap while sitting in the driver seat of a parked car).

    I’d have to agree with other posters, that my ideal hardware would be an 11″ Macbook Air. So tiny, nice keyboard, superb fit and finish, but that’s in a world where budget is no concern, and neither is having a very shiney piece of kit luring would be sticky fingers. My go to hardware is an Acer from their 725 series that I picked up for $250 back when they were clearancing off the models with Win7 and 2gb ram so they could bring the same hardware back with Win8 and 4gb ram in the thing’s original $300 price slot. Its got an 11.6″ screen and a decent keyboard. It can get maybe 4 hours with the wifi turned off, but I’m never away from the house to get more than 2 hours with the wifi on in so its fine for my purposes. More importantly, its obviously not as cool as a piece of Apple gear, so when I leave it laying around the library, no one ever gives it a second look. Well, that and the fact that I get to use all my favorite Windows apps instead of needing to pay to try out some (admittedly interesting but in no way proven to be useful) OSX ones. I’m sure there are newer options of similar size and price but with better performance and battery life, nowadays.

    See, you’re not the only one that’s wasted too much writing time worrying about this stuff ;-p

  27. Spill a Little Coke zero on the tray, use your finger to write words using the Coke Zero, take a picture with the cell phone.

  28. I say go for the tablet with keyboard, and fix the formatting when you get home. Unless the lack of proper formatting is distracting while you work, in which case, um…~points over your shoulder~ OH LOOK, ALIENS!

  29. Does that tablet & keyboard affair actually sit correctly on your lap? If it doesn’t, it seems like it would be difficult to operate from a seat in a departure lounge, or do you have good luck finding tables? Does it really work any better in an airplane seat than the laptop? From the photo, it looks to me like they would be pretty similar in annoyance.

    When you work while traveling, how much is really done in airports & aircraft vs. hotel rooms or other spots where there is a table and power.

  30. I would pick the one that is easiest to replace and causes the lest amount of disruption to your life when you leave it in the airport.

  31. Mike, it works just fine in a lap. Doesn’t weight anything (or at least not much more than whatever tablet you’ve put in it) and doesn’t generate or retain heat like a laptop. It works better in cramped quarters than a laptop because there’s no depth wasted on a touch pad and tablets are smaller than the screen side of any laptop I know. This all lets you get by without the full range of tilt a laptop’s hinge can give you, just by virtue of needing less area.

    This works in my theoretical, sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car with a phone or iPod, but not with the iPad 4 or Nook HD+ (the two tablets in the house) because there just isn’t enough space under the steering wheel and there isn’t any hinge play like my small laptop (which kinda sorta works propped between wheel and knees, but man is that awkward ;-p ).

    I think the Nimblestand is a good option given that its not even as expensive as some stands that are sometimes very device specific and definitely require a table top to work. Its also very easy to just grab at the point where the tablet meets the stand, one handed, and securely move around. Its an even better deal if you already have the Apple Keyboard (or some other type that fits, though I can’t claim to know if any of them do, even if they share the same basic shape of the Apple unit) for whatever reason. Its also harder to leave the stand behind when its firmly attached to the keyboard ;-p

  32. The chromebook, hands down would be my vote for travel. Worth doing what it takes to get offline mode to work if that’s the only sticking point.

    Lightweight like a tablet, yet the keyboard is connected to the screen making it easy to use in your lap. Reasonable battery life, and it’s cheap enough to avoid feeling like you need to treat it with kid gloves like an Air or expensive Ultra book. Good keyboard. Workable screen size. Only issue to me is keeping the files split into bite-sized chunks of 30,000 words or so as it tends to get pokey with big files.

    Have a proprietary charger in mine (boo!), but if yours is the newer Samsung with standard usb charging, all the better for travel.

  33. You can install Linux on your Chromebook. This will allow you to use the word processor in Open Office (I guess they call it Libre Office these days.) I’ve done the version of the install which puts Linux side-by-side with the Chrome OS and it works fairly well, though it would work better if I had the Chromebook with 4 gigs of memory – mine only has 2 gigs and running the two OSes side by side is a real memory hog.

    I’d recommend that you simply nuke the Chrome OS and go whole-hog with Linux if your hardware is supported. If your hardware isn’t supported, then you might need the Chrome OS to provide things like networking to the Linux OS.

  34. I don’t write on planes (apart from a few jotted notes perhaps) but I used my iPad and Logitech keyboard/cover to write a first draft of a novel in three months in a small bar in the North of the Czech republic.

    Not trying to impress anyone – and anyway, it wasn’t a coffee shop…

    So yeah, the tablet & keyboard combo works for me. The formating can wait.

  35. LibreOffice and OpenOffice are actually two different forks from a common base in early 2012. I somewhat prefer LibreOffice over OpenOffice, primarily because LibreOffice does not demand that one load a lot of nonsense at startup in order to use it. LibreOffice also allegedly works better with some of the peculiarities of GoogleDocs files, but I have no personal experience with it for that… just that OpenOffice is quite annoying for that when combining “GoogleDocs” and “different OS”.

  36. Like others have noted, formatting doesn’t seem that big an issue unless it’s stuff you’ll want to publish/post or send somewhere while traveling. For WiP, just type away, then copy to a better program when you get home and format there.

    Pet peeve: I’d like to see a standard submission format someday for electronic markets. Print markets got to that point decades ago, but online fiction markets can still require different file types, different margins, different fonts, etc. Annoying sometimes to have to format a manuscript for one particular market, then reformat it for a second, then reformat again for a third. (I just have to start writing stories that sell on first submission, I guess.)

  37. I found that touchscreens really bite for me when trying to edit. A keyboard with a pointing device or possibly a Bluetooth mouse might solve that. (The Logitech keyboard I got for my iPad has arrow keys, thankfully.) Also, a stylus is about thirty times easier to use than a fingertip. Disclaimer: I have big fat fingers.

    Not just battery life: the portable battery and your charger together will probably weigh less than the power brick for the Chromebook.

  38. Just out of curiousity, how much would it slow you down, if you had to use a typewriter?Thomas

  39. I alternate between a netbook or a tablet with a keyboard when I travel for work. Like John’s tablet, the one I use has a poor word processor so I keep notes on the formatting I want and transfer it all when I get home. Honestly, I prefer to use the netbook, but when battery life is an issue, I go with the tablet and keyboard.

  40. If I have serious work to do while traveling then I take a laptop, and an extra charged battery (my laptop is pretty long in the tooth, bought back in 2007), and recharge as I can. Otherwise I use an iPad mini and just keep rough notes (I’m a programmer, not a writer, so my use case may allow me to do things a writer can’t get away with).

    I’m slightly surprised that you can’t get a passable word processor for the Android tablet: it looks (from cursory Googling) like there are a couple office suites for Android, have you tried them?

    I agree with you that portability and battery life are the most important factors while traveling, which is why I would lean toward the tablet.

  41. How does the can of Coke Zero fit into your mobile computing plans?

  42. For what it’s worth, the Nexus7 and Logitech bt keyboard has been my travel combo for some time now. Works on planes, works in hotel rooms, works in airports if I get delayed. I sync to cloud at every opportunity. The N7 battery is great, and the keyboard runs on regular batteries. Batteries you can buy in any airport or hotel.

    I like SoftMaker’s word processor, TextMaker. It’s completely compatible with Word which is important for me.

  43. If I recall correctly, don’t you have a full size iPad? I recently got an iPad Air, and it would definitely be my travel companion of choice. My workflow is more images rather than text these days, but I’m pretty sure with a BT keyboard I’d be more than happy with just the iPad and my phone.

    That said, I haven’t really used any of the iPad word processors or text editors. IIRC the iPad is Charlie Stross’s travel machine though I can’t recall what he said he uses for writing.

  44. I work in IT and you buy way more gadgets than I do… I have you in one area, I build my own pcs and have lots of external drives for backups, but other than that….

    Did buy a jawbone up24 activity tracker. Need something to remind me to get off my ass. It makes me neurotic… If I don’t hit my step goal for the day. I pace back and forth like a lunatic at home to get my step count up.

  45. “(I define a “decent” word processing program as one that allows me to use a ruler for formatting)”

    This is sort of odd. When you say “writing”, do you mean for a novel? Are you formatting your own copy for print (aka typesetting)? Can you elaborate at all why this is important? Habit? Preference?

    I have not considered this as all that important in a long time. I think alot of other people have stopped worrying about it as well. What are we missing?

  46. If your problem is that the Chromebook syncs all your files, perhaps you could put the ones you want to use in a different account and sync to that

  47. I guess I’d just write it on the iPad and save the formatting for later. It’s not like you’re going to get a lot of downtime to write considering the demands of your book tours and the mind-suck that they are.

  48. I use a Samsung Galaxy Note Android tablet, combined with a Logitech bluetooth keyboard and TextMaker Mobile for word processing, an app I can strongly recommend for your purposes.

    TextMaker Mobile lets you use a rulrer for formatting, it opens/saves Microsoft Word formats (doc, docx) AND LibreOffice/OpenOffice format (ODT) faithfully. It has a broad scope of features, including full track changes functionality (see changes, record, accept/reject, and jump from one to the next), insert/edit comments, footnotes, endnotes, tables, bullets, graphics, photos etc., it has pdf export, spell checker, access to multiple cloud services, you may embedd any fonts, and much more.

    I work as a journalist and use this combination since two years when travelling. Btw, TextMaker Mobile costs about $4 as far as I remeber (Play Store).

  49. Dpmaine:

    You aren’t missing anything, if that particular feature isn’t important to you. It’s important to me specifically for book writing, where I like to confirm to the publishing house style, and like to have that style applied consistently across platforms. This is, for example, one of the annoying things about Google Docs; the Web version has a ruler, but the Google Docs app version doesn’t, and that means more work for me on the backend trying to keep everything consistent.

  50. I had some success writing essays on the move using a palm pilot (yes, I know, I’m dating myself horribly!) and external keyboard – my only issue with it then (and now) is that most (if not all) external keyboards use the US layout, and being English, I consequently spend half my time hunting around for quote marks…

  51. My phone just informed me yesterday that google drive has a new document editing app to support more offline editing. This may just be for the phone but you might see if there’s an update for the chromebook too.

  52. I’ve tried the iPad/keyboard combo. It doesn’t work for me when I’m on the move, as it’s too hard to use it on my lap. I need a flat bench and enough space to use it on.

    Even so, if you’re going to stick with your existing set of equipment, I’d try the iPad and keyboard for the plane, and a full featured laptop for the rest.

    I travel with an iPad and an 11 inch Sony Viao. They’re light, they both fit into my handbag (which isn’t that big), and the battery power is good.

  53. Beth Meacham, many thanks for the recommendation of TextMaker. I have three other word-processing programs on my Android tablet (Kingsoft, Polaris Office, and OfficeSuite 7), and each has its strengths, but none of them do smart quotes, and none of them do track changes. TextMaker does both. Ten minutes with the free trial, and I’m pretty much sold. It does have the rulers, too, though I don’t use them. Lots of features and I haven’t had time to work out what most of the icons are, but the free trial runs for 30 days, full featured, so I’ll be able to give it a full workout, if I choose to, before buying. It’s currently less than $4 in the Play Store, so I might not wait.

    One of the reviews at the Play Store said that the Tab keys of of his virtual and docked keyboards didn’t function with TextMaker. Neither of my virtual keyboards has a Tab key, but I had no problem using the Tab key of my Bluetooth keyboard (Logitech keyboard, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet) with the app.

    Give it a whirl, John. If the lack of formatting rulers is all that’s holding you back from using the tablet, this app might be just what you need.

  54. If you’re using Google Drive to write, the Chromebook doesn’t have to be connected to the web to be functional. You can make your docs available for offline editing and they will automatically sync with their drive counterparts when you get a connection again.

  55. The tablet is light, portable, has better battery life and works with the other keyboard. And best of all, it’s the cheapest to lose. If I remember correctly traveller’s brain has been rough on your laptop collection. They’re also everywhere if you need to pick up a replacement on the road. Just sayin. BTW, it was a delight seeing you on the last tour and I’ll definitely catch you on this one if you swing by. Thanks.

  56. Second Charles’ recommendation for an Asus Transformer (except I think he meant the T100, not TF100). You can get one with a 500GB drive in the keyboard now, and it charges with a regular USB cord, so you can use all those portable batteries with it.

  57. Agree with Todd’s recommendation of the Really pleased with it’s ability to fit every iPad , so when I switched to a mini then an Air it still WORKED Perfectly!

    I just finished a 5 hotel bi-coastal trip and between airports, planes , hotel rooms and meetings- having the uber long battery of a tablet and the super stable multi-position of the nimblstand in my lap for books, movies, presentations and work… I’m never going back to a laptop for travel!

    BTW- I can’t believe how useful a stylus is, now I’m shocked when finger signing documents again. They just posted a Slideshare about Productivity on MS Office (i.e: writing a Word doc on 1/2 a screen) that I shared with my IT dept who is now buying a bunch for our desktops at work!

  58. I also have issues with an offline Chromebook. It says ‘can’t connect to app’ when I try to start up GDrive, even though I’ve set it for offline use. I’d be inclined to go with table + keyboard/stylus.

  59. Speaking as a musician, take the one that “feels right” under your fingers. It might not be the lightest one, nor the fastest one – But you’ve already made your decision.

  60. I’ve been testing a Chromebook with our apps and web services here at work. It’s OK. I don’t hate it but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

    Which tablet is that in your photo?

    I know you don’t want to spend any money but lately I’ve seen deals on some of 8 inch Windows 8 tablets. Saw one for what I think was either a refurbished 8 inch Dell or Lenovo tablet for $150 to $200. They come with Office 2013 Home & Student installed. Don’t know how you feel about inking but the Asus VivoTab Note 8 runs around $300 and includes a Wacom digital stylus. I’ve played with some of these tablets in Staples; they’re kind of nice. I’m thinking about getting one of those later this year.

  61. I like the way you say you’re fiddling around with technology not *just* to avoid work. I mean, avoiding work may be the primary reason, but it’s not the *only* reason…

  62. Picked up a chromebook recently after learning that you can load linux on it instead of chrome. Getting the ‘boot to something other than chrome’ option was a little annoying but once past that I loaded bodhi linux (specifically a sub-distro designed for the chromebook). It’s a handy little mobile device now, word processing, web browsing, even netflix in a tiny, battery sipping package.

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