New Things! Second Impressions

Gotta say, I’m really disappointed with my new device. Well, not in the device itself. More like the things I can do with it. Maybe if I was a bit more tech savvy, I could make it sing. Like, use the linux mode to force a proper browser, instead of having to use mobile browsers. Or how to get the toolbar to show my RSS feeds. Things like that. I mean, having to use Chrome (I know, using Chrome on a Chromebook? How absurd!) is a bit of a I Hate It situation. At least I finally found I RSS reader extension that Just Werks, after like a whole twenty minutes of searching and fiddling (as opposed to the twenty seconds it took to get one for my old laptop’s Opera – Smart RSS, in case anyone wanted to know).

But the biggest disappointment is that, of the three games I wanted to play on it, two are incompatible, and for no real reason. Dragalia Lost said it was incompatible in the Play Store, but I’ve gotten that message for other things in the past, and with a simple workaround gotten around that issue. I downloaded, installed, connected to my Nintendo account, and updated, no problem. But, when I got to the point of actually playing the game, I got the dreaded 160 Error. While it says there’s a connection issue, it’s actually a compatibility issue. Or rather, it means your OS version is blocked. DL worked on Chromebooks until Feb or Mar, at which point they were blocked. Probably falls under the broad emulator block. I don’t know if I blame this on Cygames or Google. But it really pisses me off something fierce.

Also, Pokemon Masters won’t work, at all. Not in the Play Store, period. QooApp wouldn’t even let me download it. And getting the .apk directly didn’t install. That’s actually really weird. I know whoever developed the game (I don’t know if it was DeNa or Game Freak or what) really screwed the pooch on compatibility – it only works on 64-bit systems, which excludes 90+% of American phones, let alone all the phones across the world – but this is sad. I know I have a 64-bit system – I have 8 GB of RAM, so that’s necessary. But no. No dice.

I haven’t gotten around to trying Princess Connect, but I figure it will work, since that’s more platform-agnostic. I just need to get the will to open it up on my tablet, figure out the menus to get the system link, and we’re probably golden.

I also can see zero reason why Granblue Fantasy wouldn’t work, since that works on Chrome in the first place.

So yah, half the reason I got this stupid thing is out the window. I still need it, since the other half is still valid (laptop coming apart at the seams). But it’s a real drag, since I paid hundreds of dollars more for a system that could supposedly also play my games.

Oh, and also, that second look at Star Trek Online was a disappointment too, but one I was expecting. I did the new mission, and I just have to say everything STD touches turns to garbage. Even in the hands of (slightly more) competent writers, it’s garbage to the core. Even the sci-fi concepts introduced to the Trek universe are garbage. I hate the whole ‘mycellial network’ concept. You just know Kurtzman heard of one of those giant fungus bodies and thought, “What if that was, like, connecting the whole universe, man?” while doing various drugs. It’d be one thing if it were just another realm of subspace, or one of the dime-a-dozen parallel realms in Trek. But no, it ‘connects to all mutiverses’ and ‘if it gets hurt it kills all life in all realities’. And now the baddie-of-the-month is hurting it. But they got Rapp for STO, and Stammets’s whole character is >muh shrooms, so that’s what we have in STO.

Not a great start to my day.

New Things! First Impressions

Me, when I opened the door this morning.

I talked about that 2-in-1, convertible, flip-tablet laptop Chromebook whatever, last week. I talked about the reasons for getting it, and so on. I wasn’t expecting it until tomorrow. You know how they give estimations for when packages will arrive? Well, I got that, and it said between anywhere Sep 6-11. I’ve found they tend to arrive either in the first two days, or the last day. So I was despairing, having to wait a full week from the ship date (which was a couple days after the order date) to get my thing.

So, when I opened the front door to go to work (a bit behind schedule, I might add), what do I find but a rather large box! Inside the box was a lot of plastic air, and then at the bottom a much smaller box, with my laptop in it. As I said, I was already behind schedule, so I just grabbed the machine and charger, shoved it into its case, and ran out the door. (Forgotten: SD card.)

So, my very initial impressions of this machine, my first Chrome OS device: I don’t like it. Well, that’s not at all true. I like the machine. It’s very nice. It doesn’t pop and crack when I open the lid, which is a huge plus right now. In tablet mode the screen is HUGE. But I really don’t like Chrome OS. For one thing, the file system is all wonky. Then, I can’t install my preferred browsers (hint: not Chrome), except for the Android versions. Opera for Android doesn’t allow extensions (like a RSS reader…), so I had to do Firefox, which does. I don’t know how to right-click with the touchpad (though I did it on accident several times; unfortunately, I don’t know what I did to do it). Some of the gestures are counter-intuitive (you mean I have to move my fingers down to scroll down, which is the exact opposite of what you do on a touch screen?), and of course I don’t know all of them, since I use a mouse with my laptop now, and always have.

Oh, and nothing can be installed, except from the Play Store. Unlike Android, where you can give an app permission to install, you just straight-up can’t do it. At least not out of the box. You can set the machine to developer mode, which allows you to actually use the device. But that involves wiping all the data. Fortunately at the time I learned this, I only had one extra app installed anyways (Opera), so not a huge deal, but it really shouldn’t be this way. I’m going to be installing apps that aren’t on the American Play Store, which means using QooApp, so being able to install outside of the store is a real big plus.

I said using the thing in tablet mode was impressive. And it is. For one thing, it’s heavy. Of course it is, it’s a proper laptop. It’s light for a laptop, in my experience, but that’s still heavier than your typical tablet. And it’s big. 14 inch screen, I think. In laptop mode that’s a bit smaller than what I’m using now (15.5″), but way bigger than I’m used to for my tablet (9 or 10″). Doing DuoLingo on that…wow. And it was loud and clear, too.

I only used the thing for a couple of hours, mostly just trying to get the initial setup going, like one does on every machine. Once I get actually using it, I’m sure I’ll have more to think about.

Another thing that happened was the new big patch for Star Trek Online. I’ve said before that I wasn’t too excited about it, and I’m not. But hey, free ship to grind for, that isn’t inherently STD tainted, so yay! Too bad the missions themselves are. But I’ll live. I just did the new queue twice (since you can grind for 60 points a day, and the queue gives 30 points each time), and I have to say, I like it. It’s ground-pounding, which is a nice change: ground pub queues almost always are a lot faster than space pubs, and for a grind, this is important. I think the average run time is less than ten minutes, and that’s with it being brand-new and no one knowing what’s going on. There isn’t a lot of running around, like the last ground queue, and no fixed timers (besides the few seconds at the start of each phase, to let players get in the instance). And, most importantly, there’s no cooldown for the queue, like there normally is. 20 minutes in and out, no big deal.