I’ve experienced the computer revolution throughout my adult life, from mainframes that I operated while at University, to minis, PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. I’ve used RSTS, TOPS-10, Unix, DOS, Windows, iOS, and macOS. The capabilities of personal computing platforms are remarkable. From the 1980s onward, I’ve witnessed the birth and development of Usenet, and from it, the Internet and the world wide web.
The capabilities of today’s desktops, laptops, and tablets are nothing short of astonishing. But most citizen computer users are poorly matched to their computing: they use highly-complex, over-engineered, multi-purpose operating systems, all in support of… a browser.
Yes, there is a downside to all of this. The complexity shows in two ways: first, there are way too many “dials and knobs” on computers that consumers buy – they’re way too versatile and powerful. Second, they are far more expensive than they need to be. The result: I’m the IT department for many family members who all occasionally get stuck and cannot figure out their overly complicated machines. There are millions like me in the world, citizen IT for the tens or hundreds of millions who cannot figure out how to keep their computers working correctly.
This is why Google designed the Chromebook. Chrome OS is a new browser-based, Internet-centric operating system. Simply put, a Chromebook is a laptop with a browser, and just enough OS to run it. The result: a simple, low-cost, high-performance laptop perfectly designed for 99% of the world’s Internet users.
Chromebooks account for 60% of the computing purchased for K-12 in the United States. Let that sink in. Enterprises are offering them to employees: in the age of all web applications for business and online document and office software, Chromebooks are uniquely and perfectly positioned as a platform of choice.
I wrote Chromebook For Dummies, 2nd Edition, to further help the masses understand how to buy a computer that will actually work for them – reliably, and nearly perpetually – and at low cost. Chromebook For Dummies helps ordinary citizens understand how to select and use a Chromebook, whether they want to surf the web, stream music or videos, look at pictures of family members on vacation, or write poetry.
Chromebooks are brilliantly simple and powerful machines. Chromebook For Dummies helps users use and enjoy them.