Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Google Drive

I am now the owner of one of these new fangled Chromebooks and would like to share my experience with it so far.

My little netbook was on her last legs and so my hubby excitedly suggested I look into the Chromebook. So I did. I read all the reviews I could find about the pros and cons of the machine. Most people's issues were pretty low key and everyone praised how fast it powered up and how the keyboard is a regular keyboard size and the beauty of the Cloud, etc.

I must've missed the reviews that said if you are a writer stay away from this laptop because it will give you nothing but grief. Now, just to prepare you, what I find annoying you may see as minimal, but I figured it is important to point out the quirks anyway. What is going on is that instead of getting work done, I am constantly fighting with a system to work or recognize my work and not lose anything I have typed.

The computer itself works lovely and is lightweight. Yes it moves fast and the speakers work well. Just a little note here, you cannot stream Netflix, they are working on making it compatible for Google OS, but You Tube works just fine. Which it should. Now, when you buy a Chromebook, if you have a Google account, you have access to the whole suite of Google products. This is fine as I save all my work on Drive as a nice backup to my Dropbox and hard drive. There computer has no hard drive, which is fine, but then again, you are to use all the Google Suite. ONLY the Google Suite. So that means, for me, good luck getting Open Office. I had to use RollApps to get Open Office Writer, which looks like a 1995 version of Word by the way, and downloaded my work from Drive to that and needless to say, the counts and formatting are off so for now I am not using RollApps. I have no issues using new products or learning new formats, I have an iPad and that was a learning curve, but the issues with Drive are ridiculous.

My spellcheck in Drive does not work. That is, when I right click, since they removed the actual spell check button. So I have a bunch of underlined words that I need to manually fix every time.

Formatting goes off. Oh yeah, good times right there.

There is no delete button, just a backspace,. Getting used to this has been entertaining. I keep hitting the upper right button on my keyboard trying to delete and end up almost shutting computer off half the time.

One good thing is it saves automatically so you never have to worry about hitting Save or Ctrl-S. What does suck is it saves offline and online. Or it is supposed to, but my novel is only offline and has yet to synch with the Cloud. Why is this? Well, it seems that Drive is currently having issues running in Chrome. Yeah, I am not joking. Go read the forums and figure that one out.

The biggest issue that I am really pissed about is if I am working on page 125 out of 312 and I shut down for the night or for a few hours or whatever, when I go back it opens at Page One. I emailed their tech team to tell them about this and their answer was "But if you are co-sharing the document, how will it know where you last left off?" Okay, clearly we missed a coding class that day, so I asked if they could add a "Go to Page" or "Last View" feature. The response was the engineers will most likely not add those even if they are a good idea.

These are the great tech minds of Silicon Valley people.

Google's Forums are filled with all kinds of quirky and even serious issues people are having with Drive so no, I am not alone, but it seems like Google rushed to get something out that performed so beautifully, they forgot to consider true, practical applications. "It powers up quickly" Great, now can we stop reformatting my book? Thanks.

So, right now, I am charging up my old Acer and am going to try and salvage my novel from Drive. I emailed the whole document to myself and I am going to cut and paste it from there into Dropbox/Open Office. The only other thing I could do is have both computers open and go line by line to make changes in Dropbox to assure it is up to date. (Because every writer likes to waste and lose precious writing time to technological blunders.) I may need to write long hand or get a typewriter if this keeps up.

I have already considered sending the computer back and get a plain old netbook, but I am not so sure yet. It would be nice if Google took their customer's complaints seriously, they seem to with certain issues, and implemented these little things. To them it may seem trivial, but to those of us actually writing in the program, it holds up our productivity and that is not a good thing.

Cheers!
MissFifi

*UPDATE: My spell check is now working. Amen.





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