What I have been doing for all this time

So, yeah, I just recently rejoined the blogging world, after a period of very sporadic posting. Let me tell you that it was not for lack of things to write about that I haven’t posted, but for lack of opportunity. You see, technically, I am not allowed to access the Internet from the company computers. Technically, because it says in my contract, as it does in everybody else’s, but nobody seems to give a [redacted]. I still feel somewhat uneasy when I go on-line from my workplace, where I spend most of my waking hours nowadays. And since my old laptop kicked the proverbial bucket (old? it was barely 2 years old! That ought’a be a lesson in buying cheap and trashing expensively), I was lacking the proper tool to go on-line at will!

So, just two weeks ago, I got a replacement. Yes, I am talking about the Chromebook I bought. It’s a nifty little thing, as I may have mentioned in an earlier post, just enough to get going with surfing, shopping, surfing some more, and again, surfing some more. The big idea is to do everything on-line. No more downloaded programs, no more installing, junking up the registry, which this machine doesn’t seem to have for that matter. Synchronized data. Accessible everywhere with your Gmail account.

At first I thought that was enough. It has a built-in media player. But it’s capabilities are limited, as it only seems to be able to handle certain codecs. That doesn’t matter if you are watching a video stream, but if you have something downloaded… well, you are more likely to win at roulette than find a downloadable version that will play on your Chromebook. And the music player is very… basic. No randomize, no visualization, no equalizer. Sure, there are webapps that let you play local files, but they require access to the Internet. Have I told you that I burned through my 3 GB of download volume per month on my mobile connection in a single day? Do you know how much of a pain it is to load a webapp with <10 KB/s? Or Gmail? 3 Gmail accounts? Also, still no Skype webapp.

Except for the Skype problem, I have found a solution for everything. It is called Ubuntu. It took me quite a while to get behind the Linux logic and work out all the kinks. Well, most of the kinks. Mail? Thunderbird gets my mail, and I don’t have to run 3 browser tabs. Media player? Parole media handles everything, with the proper libraries. Download my favorite TV series so I can watch them during the night shift? JDownloader handles that. Yes, J is for Java. No, it doesn’t take forever, and my screen never freezes for no explicable reason at all. Linux and ARM have Java down, while it gobbles %CPU like a steroid-injected ogre on x86/x64 with Microsoft. And guess what? I DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY A DIME, and I DIDN’T HAVE TO STEAL ANYTHING! Also, Chrome OS doesn’t support smb (Windows’ Local Area Network data sharing). Install Xubuntu-Desktop -> access any shared network resource.

Now, my Chromebook is not a mere Chromebook anymore. I gave it a new name today

XrUbuntu Book (read X as Ch).

If you need help doing something similar with your Chromebook, contact me.

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