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ItAintRalphTho

Debating with Chromebooks?

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I'm looking for a budget computer (under $300) to use for the upcoming debate season, and i've seen that a lot of Chromebooks are really inexpensive, have usb ports, can import word files, and google docs works offline.  Im not going to be using it for much besides debate, essays and music.  No videos, gaming or other fancy schmancy graphics business.  Do any of you have personal experience with chromebooks as a debate/school tool, and how did it turn out?

Edited by ItAintRalphTho

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I think the main issue is that dropbox wouldn't work and maybe verbatim. Chromebooks run ChromeOS (linux) Which not a lot of software supports. You also can't remove the OS and install windows. In the end there is probably a better alternative with less hassle.

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If you could get MWord on the computer you could use a limited version of verbatim, just no macros. I posted a modified template a while back that should work with it. That being said, the verbatim program and extras probably won't be able to be used since afaik there's no linux installer.

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I'm using an HP chromebook right now at camp because my regular laptop died. My experience so far has been pretty frustrating.

 

As you probably know, it can't run MS word proper, and by extension verbatim. That's a disadvantage right off the bat. Cutting cards and writing blocks just got harder. But let's get to the non-obvious.

 

Firstly, it's much more slow and sluggish than my regular laptop (probably due to less memory). This is problematic given that this is essentially Google Chrome in device form, which is a browser that is very memory-intensive. This is even more problematic during practice rounds.

 

Secondly, multitasking isn't the greatest - you can do alright with Pandora in the background and one, maybe two google docs open, but the usual 5 or more tabs I have open at a time on my regular laptop will not do so well on a Chromebook.

 

Thirdly, you're limited - as I said, it's literally just a separate device to access Google Chrome on. Although there are a lot of apps that can make up for the limited standalone functionality, they will oftentimes take up valuable memory on the browser proper.

 

Fourthly, Google Drive/Docs isn't great for debate. At all. Even with offline functionality, it's just not as streamlined as MS Word, or just having a regular laptop with files stored to its storage memory. Dropbox will also be a pain to use since you have to use the website, and the files also open within the website. Office Live, while a convenient app, isn't close to a full replacement for Word. I find that navigating between different windows is much easier than navigating between tabs. Generally, the whole Chrome thing means the chromebook is very dependent on the internet anyway.

 

Would I use this computer as a main debate computer? No, I'd take a regular laptop any day. It's faster and more convenient. As a side device? Solid maybe. For <$300 it's not terrible, but it's not something I'd recommend wholeheartedly either.

Edited by Saudade
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Extreme couponing! One of my few true hobbies (because debate isn't a hobby; it's a way of life). http://slickdeals.net/ is one of my favorite sites. $300 is your budget? I'll find something and edit this post later.

 

http://slickdeals.net/f/7044840-asus-15-6-laptop-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive-black-250-ship-best-buy-highly-rated-in-reviews?v=1

 

http://slickdeals.net/f/7029908-hp-15-6-notebook-amd-a6-5200-4gb-mem-500gb-dvd-win8-refurb-199-99-ar-free-shipping-newegg

 

http://slickdeals.net/f/7043326-refurbished-newegg-toshiba-c55t-a5222-notebook-265-30-rebate?v=1

 

Those were just some that I found by typing into the search "notebook" and "laptop". Of those three, I would definitely go with the second one and not give the other two a second thought.

 

However, in addition to that, make sure to use a cash back website, such as Ebates.com ( http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=biFU6Wjxay6yU0YyZQUCwA%3D%3D%26eeid=26471 is my referral link), Fatwallet ( http://www.fatwallet.com/?referral=arnealp is my referral link) or through your credit card's online web portal (I don't have a referral link for that).

 

If you're willing to wait, I'm sure that more deals will pop up. As a note, the best deals usually come around the back to school sales.

 

Don't be afraid to do some deal stacking. I got my current computer by signing up for a credit card that got me $400 cash back after spending my first $500. If finances are an issue for you (which sounds to be the case), do some kind of banking deals.

Edited by Phantom707
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Alright what about those of us (thankfully not me, but someone on the team I help out with), who are already saddled with chromebooks?  Any tips or tricks?  I have some ideas, but as I don't currently have physical access to the computer I can't experiment.

 

also can I have a link to that modified template?

Edited by Backcountryguy

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Backcountryguy, on 08 Jul 2014 - 12:32 AM, said:

 

Alright what about those of us (thankfully not me, but someone on the team I help out with), who are already saddled with chromebooks? Any tips or tricks? I have some ideas, but as I don't currently have physical access to the computer I can't experiment.

 

also can I have a link to that modified template?

I would suggest installing Linux and going from there. http://lifehacker.com/how-to-install-linux-on-a-chromebook-and-unlock-its-ful-509039343 Then you get the ability to install things like Open Office (or whatever the successor to it is now, possibly LibreOffice). Or your teammate could install WINE and then Microsoft Office for Windows. I don't know the particularities of what kind of chromebook your teammate uses, so I don't know how smoothly/quickly the system would run.

 

I believe that this is the template which SnarkosaurusRex referenced. http://www.cross-x.com/topic/56815-verbatim-extras-for-microsoft-word-starter/

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Just get a Toshiba, I kept breaking all my other stuff, got a Toshiba, surprisingly tough and pretty cheap at best buy

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Install a desktop interface behind ChromeOS, you can then "Alt+Tab" between ChomeOS and the desktop, install full software from Linux, etc.

That would allow you to use the DebateOS template with LibreOffice, which is compatible with Verbatim.

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If anyone is looking for a cheap debate laptop (under $300), here's a pretty good deal. http://slickdeals.net/f/7080752-hp-15-g012dx-laptop-amd-quad-core-a8-6410-2ghz-15-6-1366x768-led-4gb-750gb-radeon-r5-igpu-win-8-1-299-99-again-free-shipping-free-store-pickup

 

You can also go to your [local] post office and ask for a mover's coupon booklet. Among other things, that should contain a coupon for 10% off of purchases from Best Buy.

 

If you (or a family member or friend) have an American Express credit card, you can sign up for the following deal. http://slickdeals.net/f/7060252-amex-offers-best-buy-spend-250-get-back-25

 

If you're able to use both, the computer should come out to a total of around $265.

 

This is just one deal, and better ones may emerge later on.

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