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November 21st 2009 3:06 am

Do You Cook?

Trust me, I am going somewhere with this. And yes, it's all about Chrome OS.

Do you cook? Do you have a kitchen? Even if the answer to both of those is "no", you eat, you must, you know enough about food and cooking to understand my point. If you don't eat, let me know how you sustain yourself, I'd love to spend grocery money on more gadgets. But let's say you answered "yes" to both. Do you cook on a stove? 2-burner, 4-burner/broiler, convection, gas, electric, microwave, hybrid, wood-burning...? Can your stove simmer, broil and bake at the same time? Can it simmer, sautee, broil, boil, chafe, stew, re-heat and fry all at the same time? Probably not. Why? Because most of us aren't really Cooking. Chefs Cook in a Kitchen at a restaurant, it's their profession. The rest of us, most of the time are eating by ourself or in a relatively small group. In spite of the recent trend of commercial grade appliances unnecessarily making their way into modern kitchens, we don't NEED those huge ovens (or freezers large enough to park a van in). Some of us don't even need an oven, just that little miracle called the microwave. How many made it through college on a microwave- or hotplate-heated diet? My belabored point is that there are the right tools for the right job. While many of us, gdgt readers, are Computing in some way as a profession, how many users out their in the big wide world are just computing? If netbook and smartphone sales numbers are any indication, quite a lot.

Where one could make the argument that just because one CAN survive on microwaveable dinners doesn't mean one SHOULD, I don't believe the same argument applies to modern computing, that is, just because one can survive on a netbook (or a low powered full sized laptop) doesn't mean one should. But for a bunch of people who are typically early adopters, I keep reading some pretty unimaginative, short-sighted reviews of a product that really hasn't been released. The main argument against Google's Chrome OS seems to revolve around power computing, but my own anecdotal experience leads me to believe that power users' equipment is not as in demand by the average user, this browser OS concept is A future, maybe THE future.

I use Photoshop, AutoCAD, Solidworks, and Sketchup regularly, because i Cook. I am fully aware that these (and other programs I rely on) do not currently run in my browser. Is there any real reason that these programs can't? I'm not asking you if they should, that's a different question. I'm willing to bet that most of you reading this are Cooks, within your circle of friends and associates, the go-to guy or gal when it comes to technology and gadgets. Is your rig set up the same way any of their's are? Do you know how they compute? You've been de facto tech-support at 12:37 am the night before their big presentation, when you wished they had LogMeIn installed so you could just do it for them. My Mom could do everything she needs to do in a browser OS, because she already does with the exception of managing a wireless connection every now and then. My girlfriend, my sister, her husband, a close friend, his wife all could too, because they already do. I didn't cherry pick these people, they are just the first ones I remember helping in the last several months with technology issues. None of them Compute, they just compute. I think they make up the majority of computer users, casual, web-browsing cookers.

In the scheme of things, I'm not even a power user like my brother is. He REALLY Cooks. His place is a command center, he has machines running Windows, Linux, stuff I've never heard of, a server, redundant drives, more glassy screens that a Best Buy, even he agreed, most users just cook. We talked for hours today about OS's and gadgets and came to the same conclusion, it's pretty silly that all the people who can remember a time when the internet was new, dial up was the only way and high schools still taught Typing (on a typewriter) are so convinced of what the future of personal computing is NOT.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, this Chrome OS thing just really struck a nerve for some reason.

I run a dual booting macbook. Actually I guess it's triple booting now that i have Chrome OS running on Virtual Box. It cooks what i eat. Is my solution the right oven for every cook? nope. IS yours? Ask me what i'll be "cooking" on in a year or two, I have some fairly solid ideas, but I'm not about to guarantee what it WON'T be.

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IMHO you're right. But in some cases such an OS would be a great help. For example, you have a server (your own or hosted) and you do all your cooking there. The only thing you need is the access. Instant and remote, from anywhere and anytime you wish. You bookmark some web-clients (I've seen Java-based SSH, VNC and RDP clients on the Web - btw, does ChromeOS support Java? :)) and then you login to your personal cooking place. Google has set up its own userspace that is powerful but, in my opinion, very limited it. You can't compile C code in Google's "cloud" but on your own SSH server you can. Of course we shouldn't wait for Google to begin providing such SSH userspace or remote desktops but we can rely on any of existing solutions. Just google for them (oh no, I said this word again.. :-D)
In fact the only issue is that we needn't a special OS for this purpose and these solutions. Any minimal Linux or FreeBSD installation with working X, sound, browser, Flash, Java and wireless connectivity will satisfy your need in such a remote client.
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