Chrome OS: Month Four in the Clouds

     So, what have we to report this month? Well Dev branch of chrome has recently hit the .12 milestone which brings a few improvements (but also breaks several extensions I use as of the time of this writing, which is why I haven't upgraded yet.) Still nothing on Offline Google Docs, which disappoints me greatly. Courtesy of Google Groups I've gotten wind of a FPS that works in browser (sadly uses Flash, so not really chrome specific.)



     No new extensions have seemed to jump out at me as 'must have'. However since I'm fairly sure I didn't go into it last time let's talk about an extension that I feel almost deserves integration into the stock chrome OS build; Panelize.

     This extension makes a bookmark folder that it looks in and gives you a button on the toolbar that you click for quick access. Once you're in it's little menu you not only get an option on what page you want opened but also how big the pop-up window-lette (my word for those little popup things used in chrome OS for everything from desktop notifications, to access to the file system, media player, etc) is.
     Traditionally this opens up at what seems to be a common phone resolution, which makes it really good if you want to (for example) open the mobile friendly version of Gmail up while you're doing something else. Yes yes being able to minimize windows has been around since Windows (probably actually since XEROX PARC, however everyone knows Windows so it's the baseline here) so whoopidee-doo. I now have functionality I used to enjoy as a matter of routine. So What?
     Given Chrome OS is actually fairly minimalistic and mostly exists as an always maximized browser window with nothing else open it's actually handy to have. Think how often you swap between windows while surfing. Now take that away. Imagine how nice it feels to have that back. This is especially handy in low bandwidth situations such as when you're having to take sips from that monthly Verizon plan you picked up as secondary access while you're away from Home and Network (and can't get to a Starbucks or McDonalds) or, like me, your primary connection is fairly lousy and you're willing to trade pretty for fast.

     Speaking of bandwidth sipping, Google actually came out with a simi-helpful extension as an april fool's prank. Chrome Lite.It pretty much strips the web of all color and makes everything look like it's been rendered by ASCII (even buttons look like they were made out of ASCII characters even though they're clickable.) Layouts in some pages are broken, the Chrome Store doens't seem to work right, and it was written as a joke.... but for someone such as me who sometimes wants just text and not have to deal with the hassle of the different bad color and or font choices the Web throws at you.
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