Chromebook Update!

About a year ago, I wrote a post about switching to a Chromebook, so I thought I’d give an update to my decision.

I still love it!

There’s only one set back to it—booklets. When I do a retreat or lead a service, I generally use my own liturgical booklets. Each booklet’s geared specifically to the situation. And in each case, I need an office suite that has some sort of drawing application—one that will allow me to use text fields and add images. If you’ve never created a booklet (or pamphlet) it can be a trying task if you don’t have the right application. Most people think that you can just use a word processor (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc.), but for the life of me, I can’t get them to do what I need them to do. For example, when using Google Docs, I just create a document. The whole page is like a giant text box. I start typing and the text appears on the page from left-to-right and fills up the space between the margins. Sure, I can add an image to this document, but it’s still just flowing from left-to-right, top-to-bottom until the page fills up and another page is added.

But when creating a booklet, well, that’s a different beast altogether. The page layout is landscape. The first page is blank on the left half of the page and first page of text starts on the right side. The text then flows to the top of the left half of the second page. It then flows to the top of the right half of the third page. And on and on. When I reach the bottom of the last page, the text then flows to the top of the opposite half of the previous page. In other words, the text runs in a zigzag pattern on alternating pages like this:

I should clarify that the text doesn’t “flow”—I have to create a text box for the text and images, and when I’ve run out of space, I create a new page, add the text box, and start adding text from where I left off on the previous page. And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to do this with an online document creator! I’ve even tried the Drawing app in Google Docs but I can only create one page! As you can see from the above image, I need multiple pages.

And this is a crucial issue for me. So much so that I was considering purchasing another laptop! Of course, I’d install a Linux OS on it (probably Linux Mint). I even went so far as checking out various sites and even bookmarked a few promising candidates.

But I didn’t want to do this—I really like my Chromebook. It’s fast, reliable, and secure, and everything I need to do, I can do on my Chromebook—writing documents, social media, listen to music (streaming or my own offline collection), organize, edit, and upload pictures, etc.  And I’d bet most people do the same things and would be perfectly fine using a Chromebook.

Except for this one issue!

Well, I recently found a solution! Robby Payne over at Chrome Unboxed has an instructional video and step-by-step web page dedicated to installing and running Ubuntu in parallel to ChromeOS! That means that I have a window running Ubuntu (with the Xfce4 desktop experience or DE) while accessing everything else in ChromeOS! After I had Ubuntu installed, I was able to install LibreOffice, the open source suite that I create my brooklets with. In the image below, you can see I have a window open to a YouTube channel (Chrome Unboxed) and another window with Xubuntu running and the LibreOffice Draw application loaded with the Celtic Christian Retreat Service Booklet open!

Now, I don’t have to worry about buying another laptop anytime soon! Thanks to Robby Payne and all of his work at Chrome Unboxed! Here’s his YouTube video walking through the entire process. Make sure you switch it to full screen or watch it on YouTube!

In the Love of the Three in One,

Br. Jack+, LC


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