Tech on the Cheap: A “ChromeBook” for under $100…

There are sometimes that a full laptop is not really needed, but you need a little more chromium_osthan maybe a tablet can offer…. That is the niche that Google shoots for with their “ChromeBook” products. I have watched the and how they have improved the products and marketing for several years. A good friend of mine still owns one of the original Cr-48 prototypes that Google sent out for “public beta” testing.

I would love to have one of the current products, but the budget does not allow. But, I was able to get the next best thing for far cheaper. Here is what happened…

I did some trading on Craigslist (I have several awesome stories that begin this way) and acquired an Asus 1005hab “Seashell” Netbook. It was in great shape, but after a few day of use and preparing to resell, I noticed that it had a non-genuine load of Windows 7. Bummer. I can’t sell this like that! I only had a small amount in the machine, so I decided to keep it for a while with a different OS that I could legally install. I knew this netbook had a small hard drive and an older generation single core Intel Atom CPU, but it also had 2GB ram (the max for netbooks).

I looked at my options, Linux based OS choices, It had an OEM key for Windows XP, and I remembered reading a couple years ago about a project called Chromium. This is the open source version of the Google Chrome OS. Bingo. I checked the Hardware List, then downloaded a build of Chromium OS and installed it from a 4GB flash drive. It was about a 30-45 minute process total (including the download time).  All the hardware, including the webcam works. It works really well overall, the only caveat being a great deal of searching and coding are necessary for flash video and java to work. For things like word processing, email/facebook, and writing blog posts, this is a good fast, way to go. It auto-updates, no viruses/malware issues, fast performance and respectable battery life overall.

Keep in mind that you can find a full on Chromebook used in the $150-200 range used. But this was a great option for far below that price range as well…

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Brent Lacy

Youth Pastor. Web Designer. Homeschool Dad. Former Child Abuse Investigator. IT Technician. Writer. Lock-in Survivor. Rural Ministry Advocate. These all describe the experiences and stories that are part of Brent Lacy’s time in ministry. Brent grew up on 160 acres of corn, soybeans and cattle in Southern Illinois. He is currently a Rural Ministry Specialist with National Network of Youth Ministry (NNYM), based in Rockville, Indiana where he lives with his beautiful wife and three awesome kids in the Covered Bridge Capital of the World! His book "Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You're Planted" is available at and on the Kindle Store.

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