Chromebook diaries: day two

About The Author

CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

Day two of managing my working life entirely from a Chromebook, and while nothing is really completely wrong, I'm a little less buoyed up about the experience than I was.

Obviously, my desk was completely spotless before today...
(Credit: Nic Healey/CNET Australia)

Late yesterday afternoon, I caved and tracked down a laptop dock so I could use the C720 with a full-size keyboard, mouse and screen. It hasn't exactly been a smooth process.

For some reason, the Chromebook won't use the dock's HDMI port and thus won't recognise the monitor unless it's plugged into the HDMI port on the C720 itself.

The Chromebook has also spontaneously rebooted itself three times while plugged into the dock, making me lose a little bit of work (very little, thankfully) each time. The dock is designed to supply power to a laptop — you plug the dock into the power socket and then run a cable with interchangeable plugs from the dock to the laptop — and I'm worried that the Chromebook is having issues with this. So I'm just using the standard power brick that Acer supply with the C720.

What this means is that the dock is pretty much functioning as nothing more than a USB hub for the mouse and keyboard, and my desk is an even bigger riot of cables than usual. The mess actually has me bad tempered, and I'm renowned as an individual who can tolerate a lot of mess.

In fairness, I'm not sure whether I should be blaming the C720 or the dock for this, so I'm chalking it up as "one of those things".

I took the Acer with me to a press conference this morning with the intention of being able to write directly into our work CMS and post a story from the event. Using tethering to my phone for data, I figured this would be breeze, forgetting that I'd need a VPN to access the CMS — something I'd been relieved not to have to set up yesterday. So, looks like I'm muddling through that procedure after all.

Speaking of tethering, getting the Chromebook to connect to the ad-hoc network on my Galaxy Note 3 took several goes, and I'm still not sure why the sixth time I tried the password worked when the first five hadn't. Once connected, everything was fine, but I'll be interested to see how much data got used during the morning.

The final few concerns are certainly not deal breakers, but they have proven annoying. Firstly, I can't print to any of the work printers, even when I'm connected to the network via Ethernet.

Secondly, while I can access files and images stored in my Dropbox via the Chrome app, I can't find a way to save anything to Dropbox. I can only seem to save to Google Drive. And I haven't found a way to change between my work Google Drive and my personal drive when saving files.

I can open both Drives separately via the tab at the top of my respective Gmail accounts, and I can open all the files, but if I've created a new document, I have to be very careful about which version of Drive I open because I can't change the destination once created. Or at least, I haven't found a way to do it — I could be missing something quite simple.

In fact, I've just realised that it's not clear on what Drive a document is being created when I hit the Google Docs button in the taskbar.

But I'm still able to get everything done. Perhaps not as efficiently as I could normally, but I'm getting work done, and I have to say that the lightweight frame and small size of the C720 has made it very easy to drag around with me.

Let's say that while some of the shine has come off, overall the experience is still mostly positive. At the very least, it's still productive. Oh and I didn't cheat yesterday about getting my half-finished article off the network drive at work. I did, indeed, rewrite it from scratch.



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KenN posted a comment   

You could create an IFTTT rule that moves stuff from Google Drive to Dropbox, but that would be an added 'hop' that really should not be needed.

I look forward to seeing your entire experience with the Chromebook.

 

IanR2 posted a comment   

Remote Desktop to transfer files is not cheating... Chromebook users do this frequently.

 

Nic Healey posted a reply   
Australia

True, I just wanted to put in some strict rules on this, for some reason...




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