What Is A Chromebook?
(hover mouse for answer)

A computer which uses Chrome OS, a somewhat Linux based operating system. Most useful as a netbook while connected to the internet.
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Chromebooks have some distinct advantages and also some disadvantages. If all you do is browse the internet and check your email you’d be kind of crazy not to buy a Chromebook. They boot up in seconds, not minutes, are lightning fast and most are quite inexpensive compared to “regular” laptops.

The main disadvantages are that they generally have very small (and usually not upgradeable) hard drives. They are primarily Cloud devices and primarily Google Cloud devices. Most anything you do on the laptop that gets saved ends up on Google Drive. Not great if you have some proprietary data. Really not great if you don’t have an internet connection somewhere and can’t access that data.

Another disadvantage is that you’re pretty much stuck with Gmail, which I don’t use.

However you can boot into Linux using something called Crouton and run Linux side by side with Chrome OS so it is quite configurable. It is possible to wipe some Chromebooks and replace the OS with Linux however it is somewhat “dangerous” and extremely geeky and has some pretty severe limitations.

First and foremost you need a Google account. Click the buttons below to get set up a Google account and to explore Chromebooks.

Now it is time to select a particular Chromebook. I would opt to get one with an Intel Celeron chip in case you wished to dabble with Linux. The ARM chips will have much less software available and the Rockchips probably even worse if at all. If you are just dabbling the lowest price one is the Acer 11 C670. I’m a fan of Amazon. It can be had there by clicking the button below. Newegg.com sells refurbished ones at even better prices.

This is by far the best deal especially considering Newegg is currently offering a $20 rebate on the refurbished Chromebook. $119 and free shipping is a great deal!
So now you have a Chromebook. Let’s play! Select your wifi network, sign in with your Google account and then let it boot.

Here’s something interesting……I haven’t used a Chromebook in 2 years however all my preferences were maintained. All the apps I had……still there. All the browser extensions…….still there. Amazing. You can configure a Chromebook, power wash it (delete everything), log back in and you’ve lost NOTHING. Nothing.

Below I have:

- Chrome

- Google Drive

- Files

- ICloud (web page)

- Dropbox

- Pandora

- Spotify

- TuneIn Radio

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Now here’s something us power users want to do. Chrome has three “channels”. Stable, Beta, and Developer. Developer is the cutting edge. Let’s do it. Click the little guy in the lower right corner and then click on the “Settings” gear.

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Now click “About Chrome OS” on the top middle.

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Now this box opens. Click on “Change Channel” and select Beta or Dev Channel and then reboot.

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Then it will look like this. You are on the cutting edge now. Nothing can stop you.

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Here’s another neat trick. Right click on any app on the toolbar at the bottom and select “Open as Window” and it will open like an app, not like a browser window. Highly configurable.

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And Chrome OS has come a long way with hardware. Now an external DAC plugged is recognized automatically and works. A couple years ago this was not the case and had to toggle some special settings and even then it was buggy.

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