My curiousity about Chromebooks has persisted. I am going to start teaching free classes at my local library in about two months on Internet secutity and privacy and I used this as an excuse to buy a Tosiba Chromebook 2. I had already bought earlier this year a little HP Stream 11 Windows 8.1 laptop using the same excuse :-)
I will start out this "review" with a list of the good and not so good things about the Chromebook 2 (all just my personal opinions). The good:
- The number 1 reason: security. Nothing (except for a few SSH keys) is stored locally and I think that if a Chrombook gets compromised it is automatically reset with a factory image.
- The screen is fairly high resolution 1080p and looks really nice. Some of the user comments on Amazon complained about reflections in the screen, and this would be a problem if it was used outdoors.
- 4 GB of main memory which helps the performance. Most Chromebooks seem to only have 2GB of memory.
- The keyboard and trackpad work well - no complaints.
- Contrary to some reviews, the battery has been lasting about 8 hours - not bad at all.
- This laptop is inexpensive, given the nice display.
The not so good:
- The laptop case is plastic. It looks OK, but I expect it to get dinged up easily. I also bought an iPearl hard shell cover that should help prevent some case damage.
- Only 16 GB of storage. How much would it have added to manufacturing costs to make this 32 GB? I did try using a 32 GB SD Card for a while which worked fine except for the card sticking slightly out of the case. I think that I will use the external memory card only for movies while flying or other cases where I temporarily need a lot of local space.
- Privacy: I find myself using Google, Dropbox, and Microsoft web services a lot on the Chromebook. There are issues using these services that I have blogged about before: FSF and practical Internet privacy and security.
Using the Toshiba Chromebook 2:
Writing: As you might expect, I find this laptop great for web browsing and watching Netflix. It is also pretty good for writing. I use leanpub for writing. My markdown manuscript files are stored in a book specific Dropbox folder, and I use a web interface to generate preview PDF, Mobi, and ePub files (which get put back into Dropbox). I use the Chrome StackEdit app to edit the markdown files. This is a simple and effective workflow that lets me concentrate on writing.
I am very happy that I bought the Chromebook - no buyer's remorse :-)
July 5, 2015 (next day) edits):
For web based Haskell development, I left fpcomplete.com off of my list - an excellent web based IDE and Haskell learning center.
Also, I spent some time this morning working on a Clojure project using Emacs + cider instead of IntelliJ. To be honest, since I usually use IntelliJ, I forgot how great cider has become. Beautiful integration with lein, nice auto-complete, etc.