A couple of observations as another week on Chrome OS comes to a close:
- One of my bigger complaints was resolved last weekend, as Google stood up a semi-official forum for members of the Cr-48 pilot program. It got off to a fairly rocky start as — according to a subsequent apology e-mail from Google — someone stumbled across a hidden Google Group. In posting a question to that group, they apparently unleashed a mail-storm of a couple hundred e-mails to all members of the group, where group membership comprised (at least in theory) anyone who either had received or was going to receive one of the pilot Cr-48s. Google quickly shut down the group, apologized, and then went ahead and created an invitation-only Google Group specifically for pilot members. So now we have a forum… if only it weren’t Google Groups. It suffers badly from not being searchable (supposedly they are working on that) and at present it is getting so much traffic that it is hard to keep up with. Couple that with a very low signal-to-noise ratio, and it borders on something between useless and unusable; it is however better than nothing and there are several official Googlers hanging out there. It’s a step in the right direction.
- I took the leap to the “dev channel” on Chrome OS this morning. Performance and responsiveness are significantly improved, Flash stuff in pages is much better, and the trackpad is definitely less flakey. I know this leap will likely come back to bite (or at least nibble on) me with some flakiness or instability at some point, but I just wasn’t willing to wait any longer for any sort of updates.
- I’m definitely liking the box and the OS. For certain kinds of tasks, I’m using it more and more. The form factor and the battery are spot on. The one downside on the hardware is the keyboard in low light: the absence of a backlight and the small labels on the keys make it almost impossible to use in the low light of early morning or evening. Until I started using backlit keyboards on my Macs and my one Dell laptop, I never really knew how wonderful they are, particularly for my usage pattern. I doubt I will ever buy a laptop with out one now. (But clearly we’re not operating in that space here in the pilot.)
- The more I use this, the more I’m looking for Web- and cloud-based solutions to almost everything I’m typically doing with my laptops. I’ll never be able to go completely to that platform, just based on some of the stuff I’m doing, but more and more of it is being done without special software or local storage.
Stay tuned, more to come…