the better apple notebook made by google and friends

I’m now approaching my first month using the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, 13IML05. I purchased it from a Costco when it was selling for US$400, $100 less than what was claimed to be the regular price. It came with a tenth generation Intel Core I3 processor, 8GiB of RAM, and a 128GiB SSD. It’s powerful enough to drive the Chrome browser which is the centerpiece of Chrome OS on this notebook.

If you’re always in Chrome, if you’re using the web-based versions of major applications such as Microsoft’s Office 360, or if you prefer the Google equivalents to Word, Excel and PowerPoint (Docs, Sheets, and Slides), then paying twice or more for an equivalent machine from Apple is a waste of your money. Really.

Before you pipe up about how Google is stealing your personal information, let me remind you that your personal information has been mined and cross-correlated by data brokers for decades, long before everyone started to voluntarily share that with various web companies. After all, how many years did you have your address and phone number in the AT&T white pages? Remember the opening of the first Terminator movie? Just a few sheets of paper in a Terminator’s hands and he was off and killing all sorts of folks because they happened to be named Sarah Connor.

It has a long battery life, allowing me to sit in a comfortable piece of furniture and word smith. It’s light weight and comfortable and cool in operation. And if I want to get real crazy, I can open up a Linux shell and go do fairly complex Linux “stuff”, usually in shell or Python. Chrome OS is essentially Linux with the Chrome browser as the primary UI.

There will always be a niche need for something as complex as a MacBook Air or Pro. I get that. You need a Pro to edit video and do series “creative” work, except… It’s getting to the point where a lot of that can be pushed back up to the “cloud.” All you need is a UI into that, and you’re on your way to getting some serious work done.

As for the argument of being “locked in” by Google, what do you think you have using Apple products, or Microsoft products? I’m truly tired hearing the about the evils of Big Tech. In spite of what you might think, it’s not nearly as bad as the critics would make it all out. We get in “trouble” with Big Tech because we’re too lazy to think through to the consequences of our actions.

I enjoy using the Lenovo. I enjoy using the web-based tools (such as the latest WordPress editor, Gutenberg). I like the quality feel of the Lenovo, which I believe is at least as good as any MacBook Air. This also means I’m giving up my attempts to write using my iPad Pros. I’ll continue to use them as content consumption devices until they eventually die or else Apple refuses to eventually upgrade them with iOS. On that day, I’ll probably continue to further use them until they just die and I will then recycle them. But not replace them. I’ve purchased my last iPad.

A key part of my decision process is retirement. Whatever reason(s) I may have had to buy and use Apple gear is vanishing as time goes along. I no longer see the benefits, and I now question if I ever did or if I was just fooling myself into buying Apple gear because of the perceived coolness factor. Who knows anymore…

adding photos to your instagram stream from the desktop

I don’t have Instagram installed on my iPhone anymore, and haven’t had it on my iPhone for more than a few years. The primary reason is Facebook’s total lack of ethics in regards to privacy, along whatever other nefarious deeds it wishes to perform on my iPhone through their apps. And that includes Facebook and every other Facebook controlled app.

I still have my Instagram account, and I still upload photos from time to time. I do that via my personal computer and Google Chrome (the irony of using one privacy abusing company’s tool to circumvent another’s privacy abusing tool isn’t lost on me). I did this in the beginning because I take the majority of my photos with my cameras, and in spite of trying to do all my post processing on my iPhone, in the end I still go back to my PC and its photo post-processing tools because the combination is so superior to the smart phone and its apps.

When I want to upload photos I’ve finished processing to Instagram, I go to the website and then right click on the page, anywhere really.

It looks pretty much as you would see on the app, with one major exception. You don’t have the button to add any photos. To get that button you right click on the page (anywhere that’s not an active link) to get a property menu.

You want to click on Inspect. When you do you’ll get the following rather frightening looking page.

I think it’s rather impressive looking, and there’s a lot in the code I find fascinating. But I would, me being me. The problem of uploading is still there, that being no upload button. What you want to do is go up to the little itty bitty icon that sits in the upper left corner of the middle panel of code. It looks like an outline of a smart phone over an outline of a tablet. If you hover the mouse over it, it will display “Toggle device toolbar,” which is where the button is located. If you click that you’ll get the following:

It’s now closer looking to the mobile app, but it’s still missing the vital button. Now refresh the page to get to the final result:

Now you have your upload button at the bottom. From this point forward every time you want to add a photo you can. Just click that button. What I find interesting is that when the mouse icon moves over the Instagram button it turns into a round translucent gray ball, just like the mouse pointer on the iPad with the latest versions of iPadOS. Which I find amusing as there is no tablet version of Instagram.

One more note: if you leave this page, and then come back and redo all of this, it will remember the state of the “Toggle device toolbar” toggle.

Is this better than the app? Not really. In particular, it doesn’t know about your location, so if you want to add a location using the desktop version then you’re out of luck. I personally don’t like to do that anymore. When I did add a location, I tended to obfuscate my exact location. Now I don’t bother.