Recently I sat in a downtown coffee shop and flipped open my Windows 10 tablet, thinking I’d start a blog post on a photo topic. Instead, I spent the next 20 minutes futilely trying to connect to the wifi, thrashing in a leghold trap of arcane settings and options nested like Russian dolls.
That experience changed my life: after 25 years of Windows, I now have a Chromebook. Flip up the screen and BLIP, there’s Chrome, ready for me to enter a URL without any keyboard lag. The battery lasts for days.
Of course, ChromeOS isn’t a full blown operating system like Windows. Here are some things the Chromebook doesn’t give me:
- Massive updates scheduled to occur any time I really, really need to use the system.
- A swarm of faceless background processes sucking the life from my CPU.
- Bootups that stall out into an endlessly spinning cursor.
- “Office Updater” running in the background – even though I don’t have Office.
- Relentless attempts to sell me Office.
- Generous and repeated offers to make Edge my default browser.
- A 30 day trial of McAfee Antivirus that’s harder to uninstall than an intestinal parasite.
- Malware in a thousand varieties.
- Driver updates like the one I probably needed to get on the wifi in the coffee shop.
- “Dell Assistant” popping up to offer no useful assistance.
I used to be a software engineer and I’ve used every version of Windows since 3.0 . I came to realize that internally, Windows is like the geology of the Grand Canyon: countless fossilized layers going back a billion years.
I did my time, and now I’m free.
Well not totally; I still need a powerful Windows system to run Capture One. But maybe its days are numbered. I’ll bet PhaseOne is already working on an online version. And I know that hotel in South Dakota will be upgrading their cr@ppy wifi… any day now…
Update: A writer for FStoppers praises the Chromebook as an alternative for the traveling photographer. It still needs a serious raw file editor; but maybe someday, if 5G ever really pans out, we’ll be able to do it all online. Even in South Dakota.