09 October 2010


I have not ranted about the cloud in a while.  That doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it a lot. In fact, I've been checking the Google Chrome project blog at least once a week looking for updates about the arrival of Google branded netbooks with Chrome OS installed.  They promised Fall 2010!!!  October is here, and still no word.

I have a feeling they felt like they needed to step up their game after the arrival of the iPad, and are scrambling to be as awesome as Apple, but the iPad does not meet my needs.  I want a small netbook, something that fits in a purse rather than a backpack, but I need a keyboard and stand up screen on the go.  I do a lot of word processing, which is just about the only thing that iPad sucks at.  Oh, that and running multiple programs at a time.  Oh, and running FLASH.  COME ON.

Rumors are that Google quietly copyrighted the name "Speedbook" recently, which implies that they are working on their own hardware for the Chrome OS platform.  The phone they made for Android was kind of a bust, but I think this might be an emptier corner of the market.  I am already salivating.  Who knows if I'll be able to afford a Speedbook (although Google has promised cheapness), but it's always nice to have something to aspire to.  Mostly I'm tired of lugging around backpacks.  Backpacks are difficult to make look good, as discussed eloquently by Glitter-and-Spandex at PhDazzle, a blog about PhD fashion and living.  How awesome would it be to have a super-speedy cloud-based computer in your purse?  Not only is it small and convenient, but you don't have to worry about damage (except the expense), because everything is in the cloud!  No setup, no cluttered desktop, no additional anti-virus software necessary, or expensive Microsoft suites.

Of course, speaking of expensive MS software suites, I still haven't found a replacement for OneNote.  Google notes just doesn't do it for me, nor does Evernote.  I like the tab layout of OneNote, and all the customization options.  OneNote is the one thing holding me back from jumping head first into the Cloud revolution (oh yes, I said revolution).

I did find a nice PowerPoint replacement however.  I also found several online LaTeX editors!  My favorites were ScribTeX and MonkeyTex.  The problem with these is that I like to use several files to keep large projects organized, with one main tex file that calls each chapter individually, and neither of these cloud programs were able to do that for me.  Maybe I was doing something wrong?

I experimented with Cloud desktops, but it doesn't really fit into the way I do things.  They are all trying to too hard to look like a traditional Windows or OS GUI, and I don't think that's necessary.  My computer desktop is completely empty, in fact, except for the Recycling Bin, a result of my hatred of clutter and the awesomeness of the Windows 7 search function.  And as I've mentioned before, although I use Google docs more often because of the convenient integration with Gmail, Adobe Buzzword is a great online Word replacement.  If I didn't have Word on my computer, I would use Buzzword over getting Open Office, as I like the GUI better.

Google, I'm getting impatient here.  Tell me more about this Speedbook thing, first of all.  And then, improve Google Notes so that I can have a cloud OneNote without buying Office 2010!  Which completely undermines the point of cloud computing by requiring the purchase of a huge offline software suite.  Oh, and it would be awesome if you could make it compatible with old OneNote files, just like Google docs is compatible with MS Word files.  Thanks!

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