The Chromebook: A Bit Like an Underdone Brownie, Though Nothing Like an Underdone Cake.

So my desktop computer broke, forcing me to rely on my three year old Dell Mine 9 netbook, on which I've installed JoliOS which is an interesting experiment in that it is a bit like the idea of the Chrome OS but with more hardware reliance. A reliance that my Mini 9 lacked the hardware to maintain, it turns out. Anyway, I fixed my desktop and decided that I needed a better travel laptop than the Mini 9, which currently can only run one program at a time, and by run I mean what I did in high school when Phys Ed required me to run a mile.

Long story already long, I bought a Samsung Series 5 Chromebook, which came in this past Friday so I've had a weekend to devote to it.

After booting it up the first time (wherein setup is limited to picking a WiFi connection and logging in with your Google Account) my initial reaction could be summed up with "Well, this is weird." The Chrome browser is the computer's OS. That's it. They added a rather rudimentary filesystem (if there's a way to figure out how much space is left on the harddrive I'm so far at a loss). There's a built in media player, which I've yet to have a problem with. Anyone who claims this thing is a paperweight when not connected to the internet is being a liitle intellectually dishonest. It certainly lives and breathes on the web, but it's not brain dead when offline. The keyboard is much nicer than most netbooks I've used (unlike the Mini 9 I don't have to retrain myself to find the apostrophe key everytime I sit down with it). I'm typing this post on it. It's wide, spread out, very easy for my long fingers to slide over. It's also super light (less than 3.5 lbs) and rather thin (the curved edges make it look even thinner than it is), and it puts out almost no heat. Finally a laptop computer that can actually be used on a lap.

An aside, I am just now attempting to charge my phone via the USB (since my Thunderbolt has a battery life less than one half of the Chromebook). That's working, but despite claims that Chrome OS is scanning the external drive it has yet to give me file access.

As I said, it lives and breathes on the web. That's what it's designed for, and it goes from off to surfing in under ten seconds (assuming you don't have an overly long password, I suppose). If you're not living on the internet as well, the computer's not for you. Cloud storage may prove to be a trend (I can't imagine giving up physical harddrives myself, but then a few years ago I couldn't imagine a terabyte of data). It works for me and my style. I need an easily portable computer for internetting while travelling. That's what this is: a terminal for the web. I still have my Windows desktop for the heavy lifting, but this is great for blogging, social-networking, and youtubing, though currently, sadly, there is no support for Netflix (they're working on that). Also, the touchpad, while multitouch, doesn't have a lot of use (they're working on that, too). And flash runs a bit slowly (guess what?).

And that brings me back to the title metaphor. Chrome OS is underbaked. It's not quite where it needs to be to be truly perfect, but a little uncooked brownie batter is still pretty delicious. It works, it's just not quite there yet.