Even more computer weirdness

So, because I evidently need a stream of things to play with, I grabbed a little 11” Chromebook (a Lenovo N22) absurdly cheap. Woot had a bunch of models for around $75 and this one was one of ‘em, except I got it through Amazon since it would have taken longer otherwise.

Initial impressions: it’s a refurb, but it’s pretty nicely done. The screen is good enough (1366x768). Case design is chunky and kinda ugly but when it’s open the worst parts of it go away. It has a couple neat party tricks, in that the webcam rotates 270 degrees and it has a built-in handle. The keyboard is nice enough, given the size and the slight oddness of the Chromebook layout. It’s not fast but it’s good enough; I can put YouTube videos at full-screen and it’s fine with that. Battery life so far is awesome; it’s reporting about 13 hours remaining after an hour or two of unplugged use including installing software and stuff.

Oh, and it’s not running Chrome OS anymore. ‘Hacking’ these things has changed a good deal since the last time I had a Chromebook and you’ve got the option to install a third-party EFI setup on there that makes it into a regular x86 PC. GalliumOS is what I’ve got on here; with the base system install, my typical stack for basic web development stuff, and a few other things, I still have 10GB free on the internal 16GB storage.

I tried not to completely wipe Chrome OS off of here, but it ended up being more of a roadblock - Chrome OS has also progressed a great deal in the years since I’ve used it last, and the Crostini thing has even been more fully baked into the base OS (so you get Debian Stretch more or less running in a hypervisor of sorts), so it has the potential to be useful for more than just basic stuff, but there’s too much that doesn’t work still. (Some of this stems from the fact that their GPG keys had expired earlier this year. If I’d known a bit more about apt at that point, I might have just kept with it, but decisions were made. And yes, regular X/graphical apps run in Crostini - just for the hell of it, I fired up rxvt and it came up just fine.) You can dual-boot Gallium and Chrome OS, but dual-booting to essentially choose between running Chrome in forked Ubuntu and Chrome in Chrome OS seemed dumb, so I just went ahead and did the full install. Plus, I won’t have to worry about Google bricking it when they decide that this thing is too old for Chrome OS updates.

So now I have 4 weird computer projects to ramble on about on here: this Chromebook, the accidental Xubuntu/Windows build (now my gaming PC!), the HP all in one, and the Pentium 133 nostalgia machine. It’s going to be fun when I get a Raspberry Pi or two, or maybe start fiddling with one of Ben Eater’s bare computer kits…

Some More Information For Y'all

Hi, I'm James. Some people call me 'murgee'.

I'm a web developer, general computer nerd, and music geek based in Memphis, TN.

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