Monday, August 3, 2015

The pleasure of a Chromebox

I have always wanted a laptop. Back in the 80s when Radio Shack TRS-80 and Apple ][ were all the rage, I wanted a model 100.
Since it was only a BASIC interpreter with some limited real world applications like a terminal program... but I still wanted one. The idea of a battery powered device that I could take with me made be very happy.

My next target was the Sinclair. They distributed a number of models. Some required assembly and others were pre-assembled. There were also some other variations.
Later on I fell in deep love with the Osborne. The first and second models were my favorite.  I'm not sure why I liked it. It was big and heavy and the screen was small and text only(if I remember correctly).
The one luggable that I actually own was an IBM that I bought from my father when I moved from Florida to Chicago in the late 80s.
Later I had some luggable envy when my boss came into the office with his P70. It was nice because it had a decent hard drive and it ran OS/2. We used it for everything from documentation prep, slide shows, lab lessons and software development. I remember being on a train just outside of Berlin on a Sunday afternoon wondering if I would give up the computer for my safety.
I had a very serious crush on the Toshiba T3200. At the time I worked for a company that removed copy protection. We were trying to remove the copy protection from Lotus Symphony. Symphony was an all-in-one suite of business apps. Word Processor, Database, Spreadsheet.
Since then I have had a number of laptops. One of my early favorites was a Sony C1VN that had the Transmeta Crusoe chip inside. I recall finally having enough money to purchase my own. I even bought a few high capacity batteries. Battery technology, at the time, was terrible but the laptop gave me a lot of fun. I eventually put Slackware on it and was developing some Java applications. When closed this laptop would fit in my cargo pants.  I took my C1VN across country and produced a daily blog.
Even today there are a number of Sony models that are just darn awesome. As I wrote that previous line I started to look for some models that might make an impression on me but when I looked at the Sony site I found this:
After almost 20 years of VAIO, we're evolving away from the laptop and desktop business. Check out our ultra thin and powerful tablets and feel the best of Sony at your fingertips.
I find this to be interesting as it might be at the heart of the computer experience for us all. Just look at Apple going smaller and lighter. The latest MacBook is less capable because it does not need it. The work is done in the cloud. And the price of the big iron is getting more expensive.

I sure would like a laptop I can fit in my pocket.
I also wanted one of these. In hindsight I would never be able to get anything done but the form was nice. The function was lacking, however, if it were implemented today it might have a few more practical features.
In many of the intervening years I have owned Multiple MacBooks including the original Intel, the second generation plastic, Unibody, 2x MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and a few Dell laptops.

Then, around May 2015 I purchased my first Google Pixel 2 (i7).
This was not my first Chrome device but my 4th or 5th ChromeOS device.

Even the ASUS Flip is a quality device. It could replace my Pixel 2. It's a very small form factor so to be practical to get a lot of work done it needs an external keyboard and monitor.
Now, after all that... After 6 days in Houston on business I'm sitting down at my computer to get some DEVOPS stuff done, but instead of opening my Pixel or MacBook... I'm using my ASUS MU0075 which I recently upgraded to 16GB. I like my Pixel. It's a good road warrior. Moreover I like the sync'd config, auto updates, 9 second boot time, and consistency.
And so that was the point. It was nice to come home to a familiar desktop even thought it is identical to my laptop.

UPDATE: Someone just reminded me that I once used a Palm Pilot with a modem attachment as my remote console to debug system problems.

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