Sunday, May 5, 2013

Get yourself a sneak-preview of the ChromeBook experience

As a tech junkie, I am very curious about all the tools at my disposal, especially those that I may have a chance to use professionally. ChromeBooks - Google's affordable hardware and operating system platform - are appealing to me on a cost/benefit level, but I can't speak personally about the user experience.

Yet.

I plan to change that by taking ChromiumOS for a test drive. There are some good tutorials out there going over the steps you need to take, so I won't repeat them here. Click on the link to find one of the many that exist. If you're nervous about installing an operating system, have no fear.

You can install and boot from a USB drive, leaving your hard drive untouched.

That means that if you make a mistake, don't like it, or just want to go back to your original configuration, all you will need to do is shut down, remove the USB drive, then turn on your PC, and all will be back to normal!

An important note: this is an unofficial release of the ChromiumOS. It is similar to what comes installed on ChromeBooks, but with a few restrictions. The operating system is updated daily by Hexxeh - an intern with Google - and lacks a few of the features that are included with the official version. At the time of this writing, Flash, MP3, and PDF were not supported due to licensing restrictions (note that it is no problem for the official ChromiumOS - it is simply a legal issue). However, I believe that the general feel of the operating system should be a worthwhile experiment.

I have downloaded ChromiumOS build 4028 from http://chromeos.hexxeh.net/. Depending on the build you download (a new one is released each day), your experience may vary.