The Power of Habit and a New Chromebook

A few weeks ago, one of my classmates floated the idea of starting a book club for us psyc grad students to read Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. A professor had recommended we read it. I’ve skimmed the introduction and it’s seems like one of those books that’s full of useful information but written in a comfortable way so you don’t feel like you’re being lectured to. Based on what I know of neuroanatomy, I believe the idea behind the book is that you habituate yourself to something and it changes your neuropathways, leading to changes in other areas of your life. Hopefully, these changes are for the better.

This is a round-about way of getting to the point of my post, which is to detail a recent and significant change in my life that I can only pray will be a positive one. I had planned to train myself into the habit of posting once a day- something short and sweet so I’d get the writing practice but wouldn’t overtax myself. Maybe a flash fiction or, if I’m feeling adventurous, a poem. I had planned to start this quest after the first week or so of my new semester (which began after Labor Day) once things settled down and I had a new set schedule. UNFORTUNATELY, any computer-related plans of mine were rudely put on hold when I spilled water all over my laptop. It limped along for a few more days before dying.

Although I was able to rescue the files I needed before it joined the big ol’ e-cemetery in the sky (THANK JESUS, BUDDHA, SPONGE BOB), I knew there was no way I’d be able to function as a grad student without a replacement laptop. While I had been wanting to save up for a really nice laptop, right now all I can afford is something cheap. Like dirt cheap, since that’s how much grad school pays.

I ended up getting a Chromebook. It was a risky move, since I knew it can’t run several programs I need. My plan is to shell out $300 for a laptop that I can lug back and forth to school, take notes and write papers on, and continue to save up for a really nice desktop on which I can do some sweet gaming serious graduate student research work. So far, my little Chromebook has been holding up its end of my plan.

My Chromebook! It’s an Acer c720P, one of the nicer and cheaper Chromebooks. Photo from Acer’s e-store.

What I like about my fabulous new Chromebook:

  • IT DOESN’T RUN ON WINDOWS 8. Instead it runs on a Linux-based OS called ChromeOS.
  • It boots in about 7 seconds.
  • It’s super light, only around 3 lbs.
  • Decent battery life.
  • Chromebook was developed by Google, so it’s already synced up with all my Google related stuff. It actually uses GoogleDocs as its default word processor.
  • It comes with a life-time of automatic, non-invasive updates so (they claim) it’ll run just as smoothly in years to come as it does now.
  • I’ve heard it’s virally immune because of it’s simplicity. Apparently, Google has been daring hackers to try and take it down.

What I don’t like:

  • Because it runs on ChromeOS, I can’t install my favorite softwares. I actually don’t care about this for the most part. This is the big reason why I’ll be saving up for the nice desktop. BUT, there is one software that I’ve been kept from for too long and am already starting to feel the withdraw effects…
  • I cannot install Scrivner! At least not easily. I’ve read I could replace the ChromeOS with Linux and then install Scrivner but I don’t want to mess with that… And now that I’ve tasted the glory that is writing with Scrivner, there’s no way I can return to using any other word processor for serious writing…
  • The keyboard is wonky. There are fewer keys than your typical keyboard so it missing some old standbys like the PageUp and PageDown keys. OR THE CAPS LOCK KEY. This is only a minor quibble, and I can manage without them, but I do wish I had a caps lock key…
  • It may depend on the internet just a little too much. Luckily, I’m mainly using this for typing papers and notes, and GoogleDocs can be accessed offline. But with the ongoing Net Neutrality battle being waged in the internet’s series of tubes, I’m concerned about owning a laptop that’s so heavily based around online access.

At the end of the day, I knew what I was getting into when I bought the Chromebook. I’m very happy with it, and will now be using it to get in the habit of posting once a day.


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