We’re happy to offer up a smattering of Chromebooks for checkout. You’ve probably seen these lean little machines in recent adverts and now you may check one out for three days. Yup, that’s right, go ahead and take these things out of the building.
Chromebooks run Google’s web-based Chrome OS which means you simply log in with a Google account (hint: your UTC email address is a Google account; log in with [your UTC ID]@mocs.utc.edu and your password) and everything tied to that Google account loads onto the machine. That includes your Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc. plus any applications you install via the Chrome Web Store. And the rest of the internet is still there. This also means that you don’t have access to any local hard drive or have a native file manager which can sometimes be … weird. Head of Library IT, Jason Griffey puts it succinctly: “If it works in a browser, it works on a Chromebook. If it doesn’t work in a browser, it doesn’t work on a Chromebook.”
You are able to connect USB drives and peripherals to two USB ports, access files from one SD slot, connect devices via Bluetooth, connect the machine to a display via HDMI, and access the on-board webcam and mic however. And, once you log out of Chrome OS, all of your stuff is erased from the machine so you don’t need to worry about the next user seeing or accessing your stuff. Cool, right?
Web-based weirdness aside, there are a few other campus-specific limitations worth mentioning:
- Assignments or tests that require the Respondus LockDown browser do not work on Chromebooks. You’ll have to use another library machine for that.
- You can’t print from a Chromebook since there’s no current web-based printing solution on campus. Instead, you may create and save documents in Google Drive and either access them from another library machine or save to a USB drive and print from another library machine.
- If you have no internet connection, a Chromebook is somewhat crippled. If you’ve already logged into the machine when online, you may still access some services such as Google Drive in offline mode.
- Chromebooks have no optical drive, so CDs and DVDs are not usable.
Check one out and let us know what you think.