Author Topic: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?  (Read 31752 times)  

Offline tomreynolds

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Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« on: January 03, 2014, 11:13:51 PM »
So here's my dilemma: right now I'm doing most of my writing on a 5+ year-old 13" Macbook in Scrivener, which is a great workhorse but the battery life kinda stinks even with a new battery and it's too heavy to lug around everywhere I go really. Add to that the fact that this Macbook has literally my life on it, so even though it gets backed up pretty religiously it'd still be a major pain to lose or drop it.

So here's my question: is anyone out there writing using a Chromebook and if so how has it been? The new Acer C720 ( http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Chromebook-11-6-Inch-Haswell-micro-architecture/dp/B00FNPD1VW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388819201&sr=8-1&keywords=c720 ) is under 3 pounds, less than an inch thick, and only $200 with I think something like 8 hours of battery life.

It seems like I could use Scrivener's sync functionality to sync .txt versions of my chapters to an external folder (Dropbox or Google Drive) and then use something like http://writeboxapps.com/ to edit from there. I've tried it out and it works pretty well, but I'm just curious if anyone has written on a Chromebook for extended periods and if they liked it. A $199 light, 11" laptop that I can bring to the coffee shop just to write with would be pretty ideal.

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Offline Lefty

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 11:24:23 PM »
I have a Samsung 550 that I use. Once finished, I copy the file to Word to clean up then format. We got two of our kids the Acer 720 for Xmas. The battery seems to last a long time. I really like mine, and I can obviously access all of my files anywhere.

Offline nomesque

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 11:32:34 PM »
i used to use one of the little Asus Eees to do my writing. The lightness and convenience was great. The Linux OS occasionally drove me insane. :D I have an Asus T100 now, and I think I'm happy that I shelled out the extra $200-300 for it.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 11:56:45 PM »
I've been using my Asus eee PC since 2008--it's been around the world with me. Great little machine. Unfortunately, 1 GB of RAM just isn't enough to cut it anymore, not to mention the replacement battery has been giving me some issues. For Christmas, my parents gave me some money for a new computer, so I bought an Asus X200CA with a touchscreen, as well as a 128 GB SSD. One I figure out how the UEFI and secure boot work, I plan to replace the hard drive and install Ubuntu 13.10 (I don't really have the patience to try Windows 8, and besides, Linux is so much better). But dang, I'm going to miss that old eee PC. :'(

Offline Rin

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014, 12:11:53 AM »
They are flipping fantastic. My writing output probably doubled last year because of all the writing I was able to do whilst commuting. And because of the short boot time, and the flash memory, I basically boot up on Monday morning, and shut it down on the weekend (treat it like a phone, or a tablet, there's rarely a need to actually power the thing off).

I have a Samsung 11.6", the keyboard is amazing and comfortable - it doesn't have A CAPS LOCK  FOR CONVENIENT SHOUTING but that's it's only fault, and in six months, I think I've noticed that maybe three times.

In short: they're cheap, light and work well for writers - buy one at your earliest opportunity.
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Offline Leanne King

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 12:12:37 AM »
I considered a Chromebook for Mrs P who wanted a cheap second machine for web browsing. However, web browsing usually turns into "oh, and I'll just edit this document while I'm here, and save this photo in Evernote, and listen to some music, and maybe watch this video" etc etc. So I researched a bit, to make sure Chrome OS was up to it. And I kept finding articles like this one: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/chromebook-week-of-hell/

That was one of the more generous reviews I read. The other problem I had was that the Acer is $199 in the US, and 299 in Europe - what's up with that? Acer make a full featured Windows 8 touchscreen laptop for the same price. Needless to say, no Chromebook was purchased. Ubuntu or Crunchbang on an old netbook is far more flexible, and cheaper.

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2014, 12:31:29 AM »
Needless to say, no Chromebook was purchased. Ubuntu or Crunchbang on an old netbook is far more flexible, and cheaper.
Seconded. I just had to replace my workbook and heard much the same things. A laptop with Fedora and Openoffice works fine even with 1 Gig memory, and cost well under 200 (it also weighs under 1.2KG which is the nearest to my old Disgo I've found).

Offline Island Lady

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2014, 01:19:49 AM »
My old Toshiba laptop started to die on me last October. I went through the pain of researching absolutely everything I could find because this time I wanted something I could carry in a bag to work and on flights etc.

Colleagues have Ipads (and are always demonstrating how wonderful they are) but they don't use the range of software that  I use (I use Photoshop, CorelDraw etc. as well as the Office Suite.) and I didn't want to compromise or have to buy a second machine to use all my favorite programmes.  I already had a small (cheap) android tablet for reading ebooks so I'm familiar with touch screens etc. I'm also a fully trained touch typist and the tablet screen keyboards drive me mad. I know I could have an additional keyboard but that then set me off looking at Chromebooks as it seemed like a good compromise.  However, I couldn't work out if I could use my favorite programmes in flight mode, so I was put off these.

In the end, after weeks of consideration I bought an ASUS 200e, a hybrid between a tablet and netbook which has a touchscreen, windows 8 and it still has the traditional windows desktop as well. Unfortunately it cost almost twice as much as a Chromebook (and prices here in the UK are significantly higher than in the US), but it does cover all the functions I want from it and it is light at 1.3kg. It has turned out to be perfect for my needs.

Offline ameliasmith

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2014, 01:22:03 AM »
Another Asus user here. I looked at the chromebook and came across the same reviews, saying that it's useless for actual work. I paid under $300 for it last summer, and it's on Ubuntu (I don't like the looks of Windows 8. Does that make me a Luddite?)

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Offline Leanne King

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2014, 02:50:16 AM »
Forgot to mention: Scrivener is still free on Linux, which is another good reason to go with a 'full' distro over Chrome OS.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: Re: Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2014, 08:06:43 AM »
Forgot to mention: Scrivener is still free on Linux, which is another good reason to go with a 'full' distro over Chrome OS.

It is?

Offline Leanne King

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2014, 09:22:20 AM »
Yep. As long as it's in beta, it's free. Current version is good until December 2014.

Offline scribblr

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2014, 09:54:07 AM »
One thing that seems to be true when using anything related to Google (Chromebook or Google Chrome) is that the Google will have copies of your book even before you publish.   :P

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2014, 10:10:05 AM »
I only have a CR-48 running Chrome OS (okay, I'm bragging, I have a CR-48), but I've never been a big fan of Chrome OS. It was already kinda when we received the beta machine. Fine for web browsing, but nothing else. (Including watching videos in that browser...) Once they updated the OS so that it resembled an actual OS, it...still only really browses the internet. But it's more disappointing because it looks like it should do other stuff well. (It doesn't.)

As others said, I'd just repurpose an old netbook and install your Linux distro of choice.

Offline nomesque

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2014, 12:12:20 PM »
One thing that seems to be true when using anything related to Google (Chromebook or Google Chrome) is that the Google will have copies of your book even before you publish.   :P

Ah well, they do anyway. I use Google Drive. :D

Offline Andrzej Tucholski

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2014, 12:14:30 PM »
Is there some reason you don't want to have just another macbook? I just bought MBA13 mid2013 and this little tricky juggernaut can run 21 hours on single battery charging. And if I work with wifi + scrivener + evernote + spotify it's still more than 12 hours :)

Offline Zenferno

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2014, 12:40:32 PM »
I purchased a Samsung Chromebook in October and am thoroughly enjoying using it for writing.  I get about 6.5 hours of battery life on a full charge.  It's light and comfortable to carry around (I bought the Techair Z Slipcase): from bed to desk to park to library to meetings.  And as you mention, it's not the end of the world if it gets broken because everything is saved in the cloud.  I left my PC for the family to use so I use Chromebook for everything.  My only frustration with it is I don't have the use of Scrivener (and a few other downloaded software programs) and am not sure how I'm going to format/upload my new book to Amazon.  I'll be doing the opposite of you and buying a Macbook Air as soon as I have the money.  Since you already have a MBA for the heavy lifting and just want something low-cost to write with, I can definitely recommend the Chromebook.  There's a new model out now called Chromebook 11.
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Offline ellenoc

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2014, 12:44:49 PM »
You're probably tired of no, I don't have a Chromebook, but.... But that's what I'm saying anyway. I'm another with an Asus Eee, 11" screen. I wrote one novel on it and liked it for the weight, etc. Running Scrivener on that small screen was a crunch, but what made me go and get a 15" Samsung laptop in the end was the reflective screen on the Asus. Here at home I had to position myself carefully with regard to windows and lights, and when I took it to the library, it was almost impossible to get in a position where it wasn't a problem. The one time I tried to show a friend something on it outside, suffice it to say she never saw what I tried to show her.

Of course I don't know what kind of screen is on Macs and the Chromebook, but the reflective screens are almost ubiquitous these days, so I thought I'd mention it. I could only find Samsung and one other brand that made laptops with matte screens and only the Samsung was affordable.

This thread makes me want to take the Asus out, charge it up and try Linux just to see what it's like.

Offline rjspears

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2014, 07:17:34 PM »
I have an Acer C7 and have been using it for several months.  I got a refurb for only $120.  That's a fraction of the cost of a MacBook and less than I've seen any other netbook.  At that price, it was too hard to pass up.  It's small and very portable.  Having a computer boot up in less than 7 seconds is great.

I absolutely love it.  I've been using Google Docs/Drive for my writing for the past three years.  I love not having to worry about having to save files to USB drive or deal with emailing files.  Plus, I've used the offline feature a few times when I didn't have internet access and it was seamless.

I even got my editor to edit my last manuscript in Google Docs.  The commenting feature was almost as good as Word and I've actually had some serious issues with track changes in the past.

If you watch for deals, you can usually find a bargain on them. 

As for those who say you can't do actual work on them, I say pfaugh!  Along with writing, I have a "real world" full time job and do 85% of my work (word processing, spreadsheets, and even presentations). 
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Offline Terrence OBrien

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2014, 07:37:38 PM »
Chrome Writers,

Do you experience any lag time in using the Google word processor? Startup, changes, going from page 34 to page 278? Opening multiple files at the same time? How about printing?

Any performance differences from one WiFi source to another? Do you always have to be in range of a WiFi?

I have been thinking about one since I recently had the 1 gigabit Google Fiber service installed at the house.
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Offline jvin248

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2014, 08:03:50 PM »
Get the Chromebook.
At $200 you can drop or destroy five or ten of them before achieving the cost of a Mac, or two or three or four for a windows 8 laptop that has as much learning curve as the Mac or ChromeOS anyway.

Install libreoffice, this looks like a good link http://blog.rollapp.com/2013/11/libreoffice-cloud.html but google docs will work for most tasks. However, do think about where you will use it most to write and if there are any problem wifi signals that will cause issues working to the cloud, local-apps is a good consideration.

I'm also a netbook (HP) user for travel - it came with windows 7 but I immediately installed Debian Linux and LibreOffice. So a Chromebook I might search for current techniques like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O7B4gZekYg



       

Offline Lefty

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2014, 09:17:22 PM »
Chrome Writers,

Do you experience any lag time in using the Google word processor? Startup, changes, going from page 34 to page 278? Opening multiple files at the same time? How about printing?

Any performance differences from one WiFi source to another? Do you always have to be in range of a WiFi?

I have been thinking about one since I recently had the 1 gigabit Google Fiber service installed at the house.


I haven't had any of those issues. You don't have to be on WiFi - you can work offline. I have 3G on mine also, but I never use it.

Offline valeriec80

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2014, 10:40:49 PM »
Why don't you just go to Newegg or TigerDirect or something and get a laptop that's like a Chromebook and nearly as cheap, but will run Windows? (Then you can just install Scrivener, because I don't get the point of having Scrivener if you can't actually, like, use it.)

My boyfriend got a Chromebook, and I swear this little laptop I got is the same kind of laptop as that Chromebook, but it's got a Windows OS, and I think it was like $80 more expensive. You could definitely find good deals on either of those sites, though.
   

Offline CraigInOregon

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Re:
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2014, 12:13:19 AM »
Wow, lots of Chrome venom in here from folks who've never used it. I've tested out and am saving up for one.

Chrome isn't Windows? Good. Not everyone wants Windows.

I would love to see Chrome OS merge with Android OS at some point. But failing that, I love what I've seen so far. I used Google Drive for a while before picking up Scrivener and it works fine.  I prefer Scrivener, but I was able to move projects back and forth between Drive and Scrivener just fine, and fast.

I use Scrivener on my desktop but I want my next laptop to be a Chromebook for other reasons and using Drive is better than using  Word for me.

My only undecided bit is if I want to spend less and get the Acer 720 with the Haswell Celerons but the terrible trackpad and
loud keyboard, or if I want to spend a bit more for the HP 11 with the nicer hardware but less powerful processor....  Or maybe wait until they have more 4GB RAM models out.

I love Scrivener, but I won't let that dictate what laptop I use as my out-in-the-living-room, distracted writing laptop. I like Chromebooks and intend to own one soon, so don't let the Windows and Mac zombies dissuade you. A Chromebook can be a fine solution.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 01:15:51 PM by CraigInTwinCities »
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Offline kathrynoh

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Re: Anyone Writing on a Chromebook?
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2014, 12:27:34 AM »
I'm another one that's been looking into the Chromebook.  My laptop needs replacing and I've heard so many horror stories about Windows 8.  I was wondering if it would be okay to tide me over until I can get a windows machine with a stable o/s.  My main concern is with being able to write offline (in case I go to a cafe etc with no wifi).

Buy Scrivener for Windows or Mac