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Chromebook woes ...

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
I know it’s part of the script before you buy a Leica - fragile things, best fixed by an 8 month stay at the repairers in Germany at enormous cost n’all that - but I had a nasty episode over the weekend of the camera becoming dead after the first shot which could only be temporarily fixed by taking the battery out and then in again, plus the camera overheating - which appears to have been fixed by a simple replacement of the SD card. Of course, the hoops I had to jump over to get to that stage and establish that took the whole weekend. So while the subject matter is different, our frustrations appear to have been similar over the weekend.
I've had similar occurences with the M 262 - maybe it's something this generation of cameras and/or batteries does ... That said, my issue wasn't too bad - I just needed to use the blower. It pays to check for dust from time to time, that's all I have to get used to.

How about that iPad... maybe a Pro?
I'm not (yet) a tablet guy, though I try (have tried, a couple of times). But I've looked into the iPad, especially the Pro - it's a great tool for sure. It'd be one hell of a paradigm shift, though (the cheapest vs. the most expensive way of getting a "computer"). For the time being, I'll use up my stack of laptops that have accumulated over the last couple of years (mainly for evaluation purposes - but the machines ended up in my possession). I still have a couple of travel-worthy small units that do work - after a fashion, at least. And there's still the Acer Switch 5 I got for work but don't use regularily - it's a nice compact machine, but I'm really bad at working with the stylus, and the detachable keyboard (more of a type cover, though with really nice keys) is not practical in my usual use (pick up the machine and walk around with it in one hand - keyboard flapping from the bottom?!). I'll learn how to use it efficiently - but it'll take some time and leisure. For now, I have to stick to what I know how to handle.

@BrianS If I could write my own software and optimise it for my purposes, I would do the same thing as you. I am into GNU/Linux, but after the last couple of policy changes I do have to use Windows for work (Office365, OneDrive synchronisation, OneNote ...). The Chromebooks were an attempt at a sort of getaway from my work environment, and as long as they lasted (and to be fair, I probably overused them way beyond what they were meant to endure), it actually worked. I shouldn't be too critical - the hardware *was* cheap and actually held up reasonably well. But the way Chrome OS/Google handle files is, shall we say, "proprietary"? That's all I'm complaining about, really. I guess I got what I paid for, after all - and I sure got what I chose. Once the dust has settled, I'll set up a sensible GNU/Linux laptop for my personal needs.

M.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Okay, situation has changed again: The Acer Chromebook C720 has reached Auto Update Expiration (AUE) - basically the official EOL of the device; this means that once this thing crashes, I can't even revive it (no more technical support, no more recovery images). Time to phase out the two machines, I guess - the C720 because it's no longer safe to use, the CB3-431 because it's frankly no longer reliable - a liability, more like ... I'll try to convert the C720 to GNU/Linux over the summer, though. Might even be fun - and if it works, I might even try the same thing on the CB3-431; after all, I don't have anything to lose now.

In essence, this means that I'm no longer a (regular) Chromebook user for the first time since early 2014. Onwards and upwards, I guess ...

M.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
As a coda to all this: Fired up my oldest laptop (cracked shell, but still running fine): a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E130 from 2013. Updated its still fairly recent Ubuntu 18.04 LTS install. Found a snap (install package) for Polarr instantly. Installed Polarr. All dandy - it's not as slick and fancy as any of the Chromebooks, but it's definitely more powerful and faster than either. And if this wizened old warrior dies, I'll get an Acer Spin 1 (whatever's the current top model at that point in time) and use the living daylight out of it as long as it lasts. According to benchmark sites, that little machine should be more or less the equal of the E130 in 2019 - plus it's smaller, lighter, more power efficient and a convertible to boot. Problem solved - even if things should turn sour again in the not-too-distant future. And in hindsight, this shouldn't have happened at all.

M.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
Built in Obsolescence, accelerated using Amdahl's law.

You can download the Android OS source code- about a Gigabyte of Bloated crap.

My CP/m computer died. The Power Supply smoked. I pulled the Ferguson BigBoard. The Floppy drives still work, board booted up, but power supply blew. A project for when I retire. 38 years old. If my newest computer running DOS lasts as long, I'll be over 95 when it goes. DOS Forever.
 

Covey22

Hall of Famer
Feb 3, 2012
124
Well, to update this thread on my RMA: after they received the faulty Pixelbook, the replacement went out via 2-day, so good deal. And it was a full package replacement, so now I have a second OEM AC brick for travel and convenience, which is nice. I only needed to send in the faulty unit with none of the accessories.

So far, so good. And ironically, when I booted up the new PB, it finally, finally connected to my Pixel phone so I can do proximity unlock (as long as the phone is unlocked, I can unlock the PB by clicking on my user profile picture at the lock screen). I could not get it to work with the other PB to save my life, so perhaps there was more not working under the covers than just the busted USB-C.

The one thing I have to say is that I love the Mac-Air thin build of this unit, but just two USB-Cs built-in just ain't getting it done. I could get a port extender, but it's just one more thing I need to haul around.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
For the record: I don't really know why, but I thought I had posted about my attempt to install Ubuntu on the Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431). Seems I hadn't - probably something went wrong or I can't find the post ...

Anyway, it did work after a fashion (after a FW/BIOS change - the process isn't too complicated), but it hasn't worked out for me: While performance appeared quite okay at first sight, I experienced repeated hang-ups and weird issues; the hardware is simply too limited for anything really serious, at least when using my default setup. It appears I'd have to use a decidedly frugal configuration, and after trying a couple of options, I don't like any of them enough to make the ensuing hassle of getting them to work for me worthwhile. I'm back on Chrome OS for the time being. But I'll not buy another Chromebook - to my mind, this way of handling OS support is basically a rip-off.

If I try to install GNU/Linux again or not I'll decide in a couple of weeks (when I have more time on my hands to solve issues). At the moment, I seriously doubt it.

Oh, well. I wanted to safe a couple hundered bucks. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered and just gone ahead with a new purchase. I'm getting too old to enjoy fiddling with that stuff anymore - kind of a pity, but still true. I'll think about that stuff again in a couple of weeks at the earliest - too much time wasted ...

M.
 

Covey22

Hall of Famer
Feb 3, 2012
124
Sadly, I may need to move to a Surface Book at some point in the future. I love how fast and lightweight ChromeOS is, but there's just way too many apps that I still need. At the moment though, this works just fine. I think they have reached the limits too of the physical footprint. The USB-C ports seem to be one of the weak points of this "thin" design. I've seen quite a few Warranty Returns based on my problem where the ports just die.
 

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