Thursday, June 26, 2014

Asus Chromebox -- 1-Week Update

The new Asus Chromebox arrived a week ago, so I've had a chance to break it in and see what it can do.

So far, I haven't really noticed that it has half as much RAM as the older Samsung it replaced. In one week I've had exactly one page crash with an error message along the lines of "Chrome may have run out of memory or there may be a problem with the page." Given that I only had a few tabs open at the time, that I frequently work with 20 or more tabs open and that on refresh the page came right up, I doubt it was lack of memory.

What can I say? It's a Chromebox. As soon as I started it up and pointed it at my home network, it updated to the latest version of ChromeOS. As soon as I logged in for the first time, it began importing all my synced bookmarks, installing all my synced extensions, etc. Within a few minutes after first boot, bada-bing-bada-boom, I was completely back in the saddle.

Over the course of my computing life, I've noticed that all non-Mac machines seem to have their own small quirks. The Samsung would sometimes have trouble coming back from sleep/suspension to two monitors. The Asus sometimes comes out of sleep/suspension with the keyboard not wanting to work right (some letters work, some don't). In both cases a restart (a matter of a few seconds with a Chromebox) fixes it. Right now I'm using a (pretty worn out -- about half the keys no longer have visible markings; fortunately I'm a touch typist) USB keyboard and a wireless USB mouse. I'm planning Real Soon Now to buy one of those wireless mouse/keyboard sets that work through a single USB dongle for both devices and see if that gets rid of the keyboard weirdness.

My recommendation, as usual: If your computing life takes place pretty much entirely on the web / in the cloud (or if it could), your next machine should be one of these.

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