Richard Bucker

How do you REALLY use your computer?

Posted at — Sep 6, 2019

How do you REALLY use your computer? Most people surf the web, type emails, word processing or other office functions, watch movies and unless a smartphone is close by listen to music, do your taxes. Some even write software, draft schematics, mix multi-track music and so on… but what does the average person use it for?

It’s my belief that MOST people need only a browser and a cloud account for email and other office functions. On occasion I’ll print and sometimes I’ll even scan. But the thing of it is I’m a professional programmer. I need speed, memory, and screens. Gotta have lots of screens.

In the past I have had PCs running windows. I upgraded to various linux installations running on fanless/silent PCs. When the first iPods hit the market I was all about the Mac. I’ve had 4-6 variations of the macmini and macbook. My employers have provided me with Macs and Dells running windows and linux.

However, I’m in love with my ChromeOS machines. My kids have an ASUS ChromeBox which I only reboot from time to time to get updates. My in-laws have the same machine and aside the random reboot I merely delete the occasional 3rd party toolbar. My ASUS ChromeBox drives two 34 inch monitors and I write code, devops, business docs etc all day long.

The best part is that I can reach over, grab my my ChromeBook (laptop/tablet) hit the road and everything I was working on it right there in the cloud.

Now granted I’m going all of this on ChromeOS and using gmail, however, I could do all of this with an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab (DEX?) and there is a cloud version of office365 as well as some apple functionality in iCloud.

Here’s what I know and why I know this is the way to go. First of all while Chrome devices do have a wide range of prices you can get a lot more done. That $1000 Mac or PC costs about $350 on the ChromeOS scale. I can attach external monitors, keyboards, mice, trackpads, cameras. While I’m not going to edit or produce the next Beyonce album or video on a Chrome device editing a home movie is not unreasonable.

Talking to people about their phones or computers can be as partisan as who should win the next election. UGH! But here’s the thing… My WHITE macbook has not expired but it is end of life (EOL). We have over 500GB of video and pictures and while it’s all securely backed up we have had one serious failure in the last 8 years and it took 6 months to restore from backups. (Apples iPhoto sync just could not get the job done) All that media has a “cloud” premium to pay too. iCloud is not free… Neither is Backblaze. My MacBook Air failed about 4 years ago and would not boot. I decided to shelve it and only recently decided to repair it.

Repair rundown…
1) macbook is just getting slower and slower. There are no upgrades. It is EOL.


2) Macbook Air - I purchased an OWC 1TB replacement SSD and after several reboots, network installations, iTunes upgrade and payment verification circle jerk I finally got Mojave to install and that was about 45 minutes ago. This machine is limited to 4GB and the 11in screen, while initially fun, is a waste of time. Many apps still do not like the 11in screen size.

3) My daughters’ ASUS ChomeBox is an early i3 or celeron. I have never installed virus protection (an extra cost), It just works. There was one time my ChromeBox failed and while I was waiting for a replacement I used theirs and did not miss a minute of work. Just the other day I rebooted her machine and there was a message from Google… this machine is nearing EOL and you may not get updates. 

While I might have spent my savings… it’s time to save again and refresh their hardware.