A few more days into Chrome and its safe to say I’m exploiting it for all its worth. Still wish it could do a couple things but for the most part it is a lot more feature packed than you’d think. Here’s a couple things I’ve found that I like.

I enjoy streaming radio. While I have an audiophile bone in my body I’m not all that picky......sometimes background noise is good enough. I found a Chrome extension called “Radio Player Live” which allows you to configure radio stations. As much as I love TuneIn Radio they don’t always have everything. With the services available to Radio Player Live and the ability to manually add can get most everything.

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Note that it launches from a small icon in the upper right hand corner of the browser. Click on it and you get your configured stations. I don’t have a lot, but I added a few I can’t find anywhere else. I enjoy Voice of America News maybe because the repeater station is in Tinian where I go to a lot. Never would have heard of it otherwise.

Well another thing I found which is cool or actually this story starts a little bit with the uncool. The Chromebook doesn’t really have very configurable power and sleep settings. If I’m unplugged and streaming my awesome radio and the Chromebook sleeps after like 8 minutes it just shuts it all down. You are done, unless you tap a key or the trackpad or something. Very inconvenient. Another extension called “Keep Awake” does the job. it’s the one next to my blue radio player that looks like a sunset. That particular icon means “system will stay awake”. Awesome. It is that simple and it works. There are two other choices.....”Default power” (which was my problem) and “screen will stay on” which is self explanatory. With my preferred setting it stays awake but the screen blanks which is perfect when you aren’t plugged in.

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Probably my favorite thing is the using Chrome in conjunction with Chromecast to stream to a TV. Very cool to be able to throw your browser screen, or Netflix, Hulu, or Pandora up on a 52” TV screen. Or while my gf or daughter is watching something I can stream whatever I want on another TV screen which is also used as a computer monitor. And of course you can do YouTube with this. Pretty cool feature. But I know what you are thinking. “MY MACBOOK CAN DO AIRPLAY ALREADY.”

Well, okay but my Macbook cost $1500 and you need a $100 Apple TV to pull it off. My ChromeBook cost less than $300 and connects to a $35 device.

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So then I go to my personal cloud server and BOOOOOO the https:// in my browser looks like this. HTTPS:// with a big line through it and red. Very eye catching that something is wrong. My web site has a self signed SSL certificate. Chrome tells you about that for security purposes.....actually a very good feature. Here’s what you do. Open Settings / Click on Manage Certificates under HTTPS/SSL

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Then go to the Authorities tab and then scroll to the bottom and you can import your certificate. Now it’s all green and indicative that things are just okay.

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My Chromebook only has 16GB of internal storage. Another cool feature is that Google gives you 100 free GB’s of storage for 2 years. As long as you’re connected why not use it. It shows up right in your file manager and you can make folders and cut and copy and paste away into it.

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I’m far from wanting to throw away the MacBookAir but the Chromebook does a lot. I’m surprised and my initial reaction was that the OS was crippled. It isn’t so much as it is just a new way of doing things. As much as I demand control of my OS at the system level I’m finding the Chromebook more and more able to just get the job done without needing to get at the system level.

It’s not for everything. But it’s a keeper.

What can’t it do?

For one I cannot get my DOD smart card to work with it, so using it as my only computer on official travel is out the door. Heck with an expensive card reader an iPad or iPhone will do most smart card tasks.

I can’t drive my vinyl sign machine with it. Not a big deal, it really isn’t because my sign machine is tied to a dedicated machine already but don’t we all want to have one device that can do everything?