Christian Heilmann

Moving on – line that is

Monday, July 16th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I killed my Macbook Air the other day and I am still not convinced about the current ones. The intel video chipset has/had problems with WebGL on Chrome and when I tried to connect to a projector, it did nothing whatsoever which is a deal breaker for me as a presenter. It seems the way to fix that issue is to reboot the machine with a power lead attached and connected to the projector. But this still sounds like a hack to me and I don’t buy macs to reboot them before a talk. So I am waiting for the rumoured MBP 13” upgrade which would be cool.

What this taught me though is things I told people for years – back up all your stuff online as you can get it there as a last resort. Of course this is more frustrating than anything when you are on the road and offline or on a very slow hotel connection, but it is better than being stuck as it means that if your hardware deserts you, you can still use some other machine.

For the moment I switched to the company 15” macbook pro for work but it is incredible how unwieldy and slow this one feels in comparison. It has a traditional hard disk, and coming back to that from SSD is just weird – especially for video and presentation work. For example I recorded a voiceover for slides using the Quicktime recording in Keynote and the audio and video was completely out of sync.

So I thought that this is a great opportunity to make a total switch and give full online working a go. I am writing this on the Chromebook I got at the last Google IO and which subsequently left a shy retired life on my shelf. Upgrading to the latest Chrome OS I found it to be actually quite useful. The machine is not as heavy as the 15” MBP to carry around and the keyboard is good. The trackpad is utterly woeful however, but I am 90% a keyboard user.

For editing I use WordPress, Google Docs, Wikis and Etherpad. For coding I am using Cloud 9 IDE which ties in with Github. Storage is Google Drive (although dropbox might be better, just not sure how to do that with a Chromebook. I miss Skitch and I am still not quite happy with Twitter’s page instead of Tweetdeck/Client. I also would love to use Spotify but alas there is no web version except for setting up my own play buttons.

Things I can not do of course is video editing, but I might give the YouTube editors a go.

All in all it is incredible just how much you can do online already and in a lot of cases our offline storage is more of a Linus blanket than really having things handy as we fill up our hard drives without tagging or naming files properly. I will see how far I can go with this and try out the new features the Google infrastructure promises us.

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