Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tech Tuesday: Chromebooks Are Here

The Chromebook Experience  Through a new pilot program at the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton
campus, library patrons can test drive a new Chromebook and share their impressions.  Chromebooks--which
have advantages over regular laptops, primarily speed--are available at the library's Circulation Desk.  Photo-

graph by Sandy Cochran.  March 18, 2015.      
They're shiny, new--and just waiting to be test-driven.  Chromebooks are now available at the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus.

As part of a new pilot program, library users are encouraged to use a Chromebook (available at the Circulation Desk on the first floor) and share their impressions. Was it easy to use?  Did it have the features you want?  What else should we know about your Chromebook experience?  Your opinions matter to us, so please share them using the suggestion box here or on the TWU Libraries homepage.   

What is a Chromebook?
"Web browsers with attached keyboards" is a good way to think of Chromebooks, a new kind of laptop made to explore the web. With a Chromebook you can try apps from the Chrome Web Store; take silly pictures using the built-in camera; watch a documentary for class; and kick back with YouTube or Netflix.  Everything is backed up as you do it so you don't need to worry about saving your documents or losing your work.

Graphic design by Sean Spear.
Why should I use a Chromebook instead of a regular laptop?
One of the biggest advantages of a Chromebook is speed.  Because they don't run a full Windows or Mac operating system, Chromebooks are very fast.  The lightweight nature of Chrome OS also lets these machines run for 8-11 hours without a charge. Chromebooks also run everything in the Chrome Web Store and some Android apps (including Evernote, Vine by Twitter, Duolingo and the infamous Yo.)  The list of Chromebook-compatible Android apps grows every day.

Can I work with Microsoft Office documents on a Chromebook?
Yes!  With a Chromebook you can open Word, PowerPoint and Excel files.  Simply plug in your flash drive and open the file to make your edits.  Because Chromebooks save changes as you type, there’s no need to worry about losing work due to a crash or other calamity.

How do you sign in to a Chromebook?
There are two ways:  1) with your TWU account (by entering your TWU email and password at the login screen); or 2)  with a personal Google (Gmail) account.

What if I lose the WiFi connection?
If you get out of WiFi range you can still edit your documents.  If they're on a flash drive, the Chromebook will keep saving changes as they happen.  If your documents are on Google Drive, the Chromebook will upload any changes you make the next time it has a network connection.

Chromebooks--laptops that open your files for class; run very quickly; last all day without a charge; run popular apps and games; and help you take full advantage of everything the web has to offer. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Questions?  Bring your Chromebook to the Circulation Desk; a staff member will be happy to help.

~Sean Spear

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