In the part 2 of this series, we looked at some of the ways you can move into the cloud for email and word processing. This week, we’re going to look at more amazing things you can do with a chromebook including using your other computers through the chomebook and additional features of the Google suite of apps.
Remote Desktop – Run desktop apps from your chromebook
Chrome Remote Desktop is an app you’ll want to grab from the chrome web store right away if it doesn’t come preinstalled. If you’ve used GoToMyPC, Teamviewer, or anything else to access your desktop while you were on vacation, then you already know the gist of how remote desktop works. If not, allow me to enlighten you on this powerful feature.
Chrome Remote Desktop opens a full-screen portal to your other computers – as many as you like! The only requirement is that you install Google Chrome on the other computer and enable remote connections which is a quick and painless process.
What about when the other computer reboots or is on the login screen? Well, that just works too. The Chrome Remote Desktop listener runs in the background at all times, so if you connect after a reboot or after it’s locked itself, you can still connect, log in, and use that machine like it was right in front of you from anywhere in the world! Heck, I do it when I’m upstairs and I don’t feel like going downstairs to get on the Mac.
Spreadsheets, Presentations, Calendars – Google Apps
Spreadsheet app … check. Presentation app … check. Online storage app … check. Once you really start to look at the powerful tools available in the cloud, you just start gravitating away from the old desktop approach to computing.
I had to create a presentation for my step-daughter’s 2nd grade class. I used Google Slides and whipped it all together on my chromebook. Even the graphical edits I had to make on a few pictures I was able to do in the cloud using a Google Drive add-on called Pixlr Express. Any of these tools can be used from desktops as well, and since the output is stored in the cloud, you can move freely between platform – Chromebook, Mac, PC, even Linux – and continue to work seamlessly. No more saving, either. Everything you do in these apps is saved as you work, so you won’t lose your precious gems when disaster strikes. My presentation was about building websites to help the community, by the way, and it was a major hit, thankyouverymuch.
And spreadsheets? Oh man, I love Google Sheets. It’s lightweight and I have access to my worksheets anywhere. I can easily add collaborators or attach a Google Form to collect data. I created Vandertech’s Website Quote Worksheet in Google Sheets. Open it, make a copy, and play around!
Battery Life Crushes
The battery life on these things is no joke. 9 hours is a typical running time with normal use. Close the lid, come back the next day – your battery life hasn’t budged. Try that with your HP or DELL clunker.
We’ll talk about Chromebooks more over time, but I think you now have quite a bit more information to inform your search for the next great laptop. Me, I’m a chromebook guy for the foreseeable future. These things are inexpensive, rugged, and powerful. I use it 90% of the time I’m on the computer, which is a lot of the time in this line of work. Hopefully this saved you some money and time. Comments and questions welcome!
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