Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I almost threw my Chromebook out the window

I had an important meeting yesterday, so I gladly took my Chromebook with me. I was proud to show it off and tell yet another person about my little experiment.

The meeting location had wifi but with crazy complicated security where each computer had to be added before you could connect. Of course, there was no guest network option.

So I quietly took out my Galaxy S3 and turned on the mobile hotspot. The only problem was I couldn't get the Chromebook to connect that way either. Not sure why.

I still wasn't worried. This is exactly the scenario I had anticipated when I decided to purchase the 3G version of my Chromebook. I disabled the wifi network capabilities and turned on the 3G function. It connected almost immediately to Verizon, yet I still wasn't able to connect to the Web.

I was very frustrated at this point. However, the offline capabilites of Google Drive and Scratchpad allowed me to do what I need to do for the meeting. I made it through.

Feeling frustrated on the way back to the office, I thought about throwing the Chromebook out the window. It just didn't make sense. I could see one of the three options not working...but not ALL three at the same time.

In a moment of clarity, it dawned on me that I probably hadn't registered my Chromebook with Verizon. That would explain why I could connect to Verizon's network but still couldn't access the Web. When I checked my account status through the "Settings" panel, I confirmed my suspicion.

There was nothing wrong with my Chromebook. It was total user error.

I simply failed to set up an account with Verizon which took about two clicks and two minutes to set up. And just to be sure everything was working properly, I worked the rest of the day using my 3G connectivity from my office. It worked perfectly.

And as far as the Galaxy S3 mobile hotspot not working, I realized later I had accidentally turned it off while trying to silence the phone during the meeting.

The Chromebook isn't perfect, and it can't do everything. But this episode is all on me.

So what's your Chromebook story?

Monday, October 29, 2012

My workflow transition to the Chromebook (Open and Resolved)

The goal of this blog is to document my experience with the Google Chromebook S550 3G. One way I thought might be helpful would be to create an open log where I could document any workflow interruptions I experience while trying to use my Chromebook.

Workflow Interruptions: Transition to the Chromebook—Issues and Resolutions

I understand that—at least for now—the Chromebook will not replace my primary laptop. However, I would like to try to push the option to the edge and see what happens. I am very optimistic that this is a real possibility either now or in the near future.

Note: I want to clarify that my purpose in doing this is not to point out what the Chromebook can't do, but what I have yet to discover. I want the Chromebook to continue to improve and am excited about participating in that reality.

My hope is that this log will one day be able to help others make the transition to a Chromebook should my experience go well and the future of the Chromebook continue to be bright.

What have you been learning about your Chromebook lately?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

10 reasons I chose the Chromebook

I wanted to provide some context for my Chromebook experiment by sharing with you some of the reasons why I choose the Chromebook.
  1. I'm a huge Google fan. They have consistently introduced a new paradigm that values collaboration over isolation. Google has created a new category in the technology space that other legacy providers have been forced to adjust to and account for.
  2. I'm a Google Apps for Business subscriber. These tools are fundamental to how I run my business.
  3. I am uncomfortable traveling with a $2,200 laptop. My primary laptop is a 2012 13in MacBook Air with 8g RAM and 512g SSD HD. It screams, but it's not something I want to take just anywhere. (And if I'm honest, it's way more computer than I really need.)
  4. Business continuity. If I lose the Chromebook, it stops working, or it's stolen, I simply need to get another one and sign in. That's it.
  5. I already do almost everything in the Cloud. There are only a few native, client-based programs that I use regularly: iTunes, iPhoto, Scrivener (specialized writing software), and Microsoft Word (managing Track/Changes on large 50k+ word docs), and Evernote (desktop client). 
  6. Management of fixed assets. I can assign a Chromebook and manage it in the Google Apps for Business Admin console. This decreases set up time and gives me access to live support (from a real person) when I have a question or concern. Since I manage a distributed workforce, this is essential to get people up and running quickly and resolve any issues as well. (There is an additional $150 license fee per unit for this function, but it is a one-time fee for the life of the device.)
  7. Overall cost of equipment. Even using the Samsung 550 3G model which retails for $549, I'm still nearly half the cost of the entry-level MacBook Air. 
  8. Workflow simplicity. Since my team doesn't exist in one central location, web-based technology is essential. This sometimes causes me to rethink workflows to make it easy for us to collaborate and be productive. Our clients benefit from this, too.
  9. I'm enough of a nerd to be curious if I can make it work. I have to admit I like the challenge of experimenting with a Chromebook. (I still remember my Dad beta-testing Windows 95 growing up.)
  10. I feel like I'm participating in something big that has yet to fully take shape. Technology should be for everyone. Technology is not an option moving forward. It is the norm. That means we must find a way to make technology accessible to everyone. It's as basic as reading. You must have access to it today to do just about everything else in life.
There are other reasons, but these are the ones that are top of mind.

Are you a Chromebook user? Why did you chose to use one?

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Chromebook Experiment

This is my second try to make the Chromebook a legitmate part of my workflow. I tried last year with the Series 5, but it just wasn't powerful enough. My primary laptop has been a MacBook Air for three years now. But when the 550 version came out earlier this year, I had to give it another shot.

That's what this blog is all about. I'm documenting my experiment because I'm likely not the only one who is curious about this disruptive piece of technology.

My entire business is based around accelerating what people are doing by helping them understand message context, content development, and how to connect to a target audience through segmentation and complimentary distribution channels. Basically, I help people spread their ideas faster and in more measurable ways.

I think the Chromebook comes out of the same desire: to help more people have the opportunity to spread their ideas and change the world for the better.

The risk is my experiment may fail. The opportunity is that I may discover a new way to create, collaborate, and share ideas through multiple formats using technology that challenges the very assumptions behind how we do those things.

The Chromebook itself won't change the world, but what if it becomes the catalyst that does?