So, I applied to participate in the Google Chrome Notebook test program. Anyone who knows me knows I've spent YEARS in beta programs for various companies. It started with (no defunct) Allaire and their little products called Cold Fusion and Homesite. You might remember them? Maybe not. I was working quite a bit with CF using Homesite, and THANK GOD I did. Not because CFML was an amazing language or anything, but rather, because Homesite FORCED you to build your web content in HTML code. That's right, you had to build your stupid HTML table structures the HARD way. Stone tablets, hammers and chisels were the advanced tools of the day. And it taught me HTML (and later CSS, XHTML) in a way that folks who ride around on Dreamweaver training wheels can barely grasp.
If I had a dollar for every Dreamweaver "developer" I've sat next to who absolutely freaked the fuck out over clicking the code-view option, I'd be rich. "What the **** is that?!?" is their usual reaction. Then you'd hear me respond something like "these, right... here (pointing at screen with greasy chicken wing finger goo).. are called 'tags'" and they respond with "ooooohh! I've heard of those!" (giggling like a 10 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert).
My love affair with beta testing continued on with Microsoft, Google, Adobe (for a very short period), WinZip (yes, they too had a beta program), Autodesk, Amazon and a few others. I won't go into my quasi-subjectively objective views on the evolution and current state of "beta" trials, because I've already blogged about it (search the "beta" tag for more links). Some ask "what the **** do you find interesting about doing that?" and usually with a look like I just told them I was eating a live cat with a fork and a baseball bat. I always answer: "because I get to see what's coming around the bend. And isn't that what humans really want: to see into the future?" The downside of course is the NDA part, but that adds the sexy mysticism and secrecy to the mix. It takes geekism and turns it into Illuminati nerdism. So, as you might expect, I can't say a lot about current testing, even some past testing (yes, some NDA's bind you to STFU even when the trials are done, years ago).
I've only had this notebook for a few hours. I'm already forming some opinions (likes/dislikes) but I need more time with it before I can formalize an opinion of it. I will say this, based on 3 hours of use: If it was sold for $100-$200 it would be the most ass-kicking, boot-to-the-face coolness in years. Not because it's amazingly advanced. It's really not. It would be because the utility for the cost (ratio) would be absolutely perfect. The nirvana of putting connectivity into the hands of a larger (and less fortunate) base of users.