ChromeWorld – Day 1

This is the second episode of a series:

This isn’t easy.

I’m not sure I can do this for a week, let alone a whole month. I want to learn how to do it, but stay productive at the same time… I have a job to do and slack time is not included.

Challenge 1: Make my Mac a ChromeBook.

I opened the Chrome browser on my Mac and maximized the screen. I did this for my three profiles I have in Chrome (one personal and two work related). The latest version of MacOS, El Capitan, has a nice swipe-up feature that allows me to easily switch personalities in full screen.

It is not exactly a ChromeBook, but if I stay in this environment, I can simulate Chrome Desktop.

Challenge 2: Quick – Take a screenshot and mark it up with directions.

I do this all the time to show staff how-to work on a computer, sometimes that includes ScreenCasting, but not today. All I had to do was take a screenshot, add 5 labels and arrows to the picture with directions.

On the Mac, I use the screen capture key combination of “command-shift-4” to draw a box around the the part of screen I want saved as a picture. Because I customized this using a trick from OS X Daily (see here), all of my screen captures are saved in a single folder.

ChromeBooks have a similar option. but I found it a real effort to draw on the picture.

I use Preview on the Mac to add text and arrows to the picture for directions, and then email picture to the staff. I thought I could just upload the photo to Google Drawing, but it wasn’t opening the .png file in Drawing. I could add the file to Google Drive, but the suggest apps for opening it, did not include Drawing. Fortunately I had just added the free app SketchPad 3.5 to my Chrome desktop yesterday. It is very easy to use and included some nice drawing tools. Sorry Preview, but I may have found a new way of doing things when this experiment is over.

Challenge 3: Organize Photos for a presentation

Google Photos. Hands down one of the easiest tools I have used. Unlimited storages space for your photos if they are under 16mb in size. For this experiment I had copied hundreds of earthquake related photos out of my usual repository.

Today I uploaded and organized the photos using this program.

The app also has a nice editor. The editor is not a replacement for Adobe Photoshop, but has the tools I use 90% of the time, and all I need for making my presentation.

Everything else I did today was directly related to using the same Chrome apps I used the day before. Many of the tools we all use are in the browser now, so maybe this will not be such a big challenge after all.

ChromeWorld… An Experiment

My Reflection in Chrome

Questions:

  • Is it possible to use only Google Chrome on my MacBook Air at school for a month? 
  • Will I be able to survive the month using only Chrome Apps and nothing else? 
  • Will I find the equivalent apps on Chrome that I use daily on my Mac?
  • Will I find happiness in my Chrome reflections?

I think it is possible for this MacCentric individual to adapt to a Chrome world, but I want to find the stumbling blocks along the way. I am responsible for our school’s BYOD program. It is important for me to discover if parents can save hundreds of dollars each year. For example, the cost difference between a MacBook Air and a good Chromebook can be about $600. I’ll set the life-span for a laptop to 3 years, so that would be a savings of $200/yr, or a total savings of $20k for our community with around 100 students in the secondary.

There will be challenges. I use MS Office a lot and I really like using Excel. I do a lot of web development and use Text Wrangler to clean up my scripts. In two weeks, I am part of a three person team giving a presentation in Abu Dhabi. I promised to create at least two video segments and a couple of slide shows. Will this work without iMovie? I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at least once a day at work. How will I mark up screen captures without Preview?

More than ever, I would appreciate your comments, guidance, and feedback. I will try to keep a diary of my weekday exploits in a ChromeWorld.

Day 1 will be October 7.