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.

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