By my use of a computer, I could either be called a super user or a lay user. Because, either I am processing huge datasets on computational systems that require large configuration systems, or I am just browsing and reading, or at best watching youtube videos. But I am not an average user who finds much utility in keeping some applications in the computer. For example, I never found any great use for having an Adobe PDF Reader in the computer. Or for that matter, I don’t even enjoy having different browsers or great storage space in the form of a hard drive inside the computer. Cloud storage was always my preference.
So, when I knew my brother-in-law was coming to India, I wanted him to bring me a super-computer with 6th Generation i7 Processor with 4GB Dedicated Graphics (IRIS Tech for 3D Camera Support), 32GB RAM, 17-Inch Monster Machine. Just before he placed the order he politely enquired if it was the machine that I really wanted or if I am flexible on my selected configuration. Being the kind of user I am, and with a feeling that this machine would hit me hard on the pocket (it always did, but then sometimes desire takes over reason!), I jumped to the other extreme and asked him to buy me a Chromebook. Chromebook has a processor that would have troubles competing with latest celeron, has only 2GB RAM, but was available in Red Color in ASUS Store. I have no idea how my brother-in-law looked at my move from one extreme to another, but my family simply put this incident away as if it was just another thing that I would do.
I got my Chromebook today. With a lot of excitement, I opened it. And it was on and ready for use in something like two-seconds. At least that is how it felt. Laptops usually take longer to even wake up from sleep mode. But this chromebook booted up real fast. The first screen asked me to choose a keyboard layout and asked which network to connect to. In the second screen, I supplied the password to connect to my home wi-fi network. In the third screen, it asked for a Google Login, and I casually used my gmail login. And that is it! It synced all settings from my browser and made the system ready for use. There was a three-step tour to get used to the interface, and I took that tour, and in the end I realized I was searching to find something new in there that I may not be familiar with. Honestly, I did not find anything that excited me in the chromebook. That however was never what I expected–to be excited with a new purchase. But there was a kind of eerie calm that shrouded me. Because that was it! Chromebook just has the browser as an interface to do anything. There are of course apps one can download to the browser, they are available as icons from the ‘app launcher’–a button like the one in the left-bottom in windows.
Suddenly, the investment I made appears over-valuated; which technically I realize is not the case. The more I think of my feelings during that first login into the chromebook, the more I am tending to rationalize that greatness is in simplicity. 🙂