December 17, 2013

The demise of studentry

This semester I was teaching an after school program. Twice a week for an hour and a half I would have between 4 and 12 kids in grades 4th-10th.  A diverse mix of gender, maturity and education.  Some days were fine, many were awful. Most were disappointing on some level.

The purpose of the program was to expose kids to advanced concepts they weren't getting in school or at home, to broaden their horizons.  I was asked to join because someone heard that I liked Sketchup.  I agreed because it seemed like a small commitment and I was under the impression that the kids wanted to be there.
The reality was that the kids did not care. For some it was a baby sitting service. For some it was a holding pattern until they went to dance class.  For all of them it was after a full day of school and an hour of tutoring. The worst kids were rude, disrespectful and flippant, the best were fun, silly and charming.  No one cared about what we were doing.

I expected to walk them through the Sketchup tutorials and have them draw the school building, then the campus and then upload something to the 3D Warehouse.  About 2 weeks into it they stopped caring about drawing accurate measurements. They forgot what they learned the week before. Some of the kids couldn't or wouldn't read.

We moved from Sketchup to Google Sites to desktop and laptop disassembly, game design with Agent Cubes and participated in the Hour of Code. Nothing kept their attention for more than two weeks, usually less.

It was obvious which students had parents who spent time with their kids in the evenings and weekends; who didn't just indulge them but also guided them to overcome difficult, strange and frustrating obstacles. Perseverance was evident in some but not all.

I think trying to get their attention and keep it after such a long day limited the range of success that we could achieve. I'm not a teacher and I don't know how to manage groups of students. I think I can instruct but only if the student wants to be there and learn.

Today is the final day and I'm very relieved.

December 10, 2013

Metro effectual

I've had Windows 8 on my laptop for over a year.  It's an i5 with 8gb RAM. It has a capacitive single touch screen.  Metro didn't make any sense, I navigate it with mouse / touchpad and keyboard.  I found myself actively avoiding the Start page and it's been annoying to use Windows.  
A friend purchased a Venue 8 Pro on Black Friday and I got to play wit it and Metro finally made sense!  When used with a touch interface then it's just fine. Even the MS Store showed some value.  Having a one size fits all OS does seem to work in my opinion.

There's too much confusion and blurring of product lines:

  • Windows 8 for desktop, laptops and tablets.
  • Windows 8 for ARM tablets
  • Windows 8 mobile for phones
The Metro interface has no business being on a server.  That's the worst way to get people to move to a core install.  Especially if the Server Manager only runs on current edition of the client.

Renewing tools.

When I purchased this house I found a sledge head under the house, it was a rusted, 8lb beast with the remnants of the handle rotting away.  I used a wire brush and the rest of my sand paper bits from my Dremel getting rid of the rust. I made the handle from a koa branch in the yard. I was going for a Hammer of Thor look, but it's immediately obvious upon first use that this it's not a one handed tool. 

The ax was purchased with a broken handle from a yard sale for 2$. Thankfully I had a rescued axe handle that fit well enough. It has a small gap in the front, but from what I can tell it's alright.   I put as much of an edge on it as I could with only a bastard file but I don't have anything else with which to clean up the face.

This ball peen hammer was found in the yard buried in the dirt. I nearly threw it in the rubbish, thinking it was a rock.
I used a wire brush to remove the dirt and big chunks of rust and then soaked it in vinegar for two days and finished it off with more wire brush.  I used a few sand paper bits from the Dremel to get as much of the pitting cleaned out.  This was a learning experience for making my own handles, which I did from guaivie. Guaivie is incredibly strong wood which is growing around my house. The head is in awful shape, but I don't really mind.  It's the only revenge I have for the previous owners discarding it and other trash in my yard.

I still have a hatchet handle to make but with the holidays approaching,I think that project will be put on hold. None of these are treated with any linseed oil because the budget for the entire project was $2.

November 22, 2013

It is the danger

Taking the Me out of Game.


November 13, 2013

Battlestation 2013

Now with more dog.

  • Latitude E6420 ATG Win8 
  • Dell 2007FP
  • $2 card table with warped top
  • free lawn chair
  • Razer DeathAdder mouse
  • svelt Apple keyboard. No numberpad, fine. Swapped FN & Ctrl buttons, not fine. Media keys are for show, not fine.
  • Win8 

The server is still boxed. I have no where to rack it up, and with dual 750w PSUs it's entirely too expensive to run even with a PSU removed.  It's sitting in a box getting older by the day. 

September 20, 2013

Business account

One of my side jobs is for the Department of Edu. To pay me I needed to get incorporated to get on the DoE approved vendors list.

Starting an LLC is pretty easy. In HI it's about $50 and some paperwork. Once I got my business license I submitted my invoice and received a cheque written to the name of my business. To cash this cheque I need a business account.

My bank's requirements are the business license, Article of Organization and a EIN.  The business license and AoO come together as part of the application process, the EIN comes from the IRS and can be applied for online using a Wizard, but only during business hours.  It takes <10 minutes if you have all the information ready, the same information outlined on the business license and the AoO.  Additionally, my bank asked that I hand write:

I am applying for a business account with [my bank].  I will be the only member to access the account. 

They asked why type of business I have. IT consulting.  They didn't know what that was.  After all these incantations the account was opened and deposited my DoE cheque which, despite being issued by the state, has is held for 2 days.

None of the requirements are available on the website.

September 18, 2013

Art is not a competition

Art is not a competition, it's not an achievement . Liking music does not make you cool. The art you create makes you cool.

Every now and then I come across this meme:
It's smug and snarky. When I meet someone that feels this way then I don't want to be friends with them.  If you share your art then the feeling they get from experiencing it belongs to them.  If you experience someone else's art then that feeling belongs to you, the art does not.

September 17, 2013

Time != money

I spent the weekend rebuilding a server for a customer. A server that I didn't break.  They're paying me, but for what? Ten or twelve hours of my precious weekend?

I still went swimming twice.

I taught my after school programs today and the kids are borderline savage.  Most of them are in fourth and fifth grade so that shouldn't be too big of a surprise.

I went swimming afterwards and saw two turtles swimming together.  There was a lot of cloudiness in the water which caught the light in an enchanting way.

Now I'm home and working on a laptop for an acquaintance, recovering pictures.  In the last 6 weeks I've probably worked on four or five laptops.  I don't accept money when working on personal gear. Money brings with it expectation and I don't want any expectations.  The $25 or $50 they can't afford to pay me is not worth the obligation, expectation and guilt that comes when their shitty laptop dies in 6 months or their kid installs shitty adware and I get blamed.

 So I work for free, or if they insist then I accept food which is what I would've spent that $25 or $50 on anyway.  But this way they get to share a piece of their life, they're expertise with me in exchange for mine. Usually I prefer not to get anything in return, because it means I generate good will. I produce Aloha and that is much more valuable than anything else.  I make the ties to my community much stronger.

My time is spent working on computers.  The value of those few scant hours is immeasurable in community building.

August 31, 2013

Device Mangler

Windows 7 SP1.  Fresh install. It has most of the drivers from the MDT pool which is nice but it's missing two devices:

  • network controller
  • unknown device
The network controller properties says Manufacturer: Unknown.  Toshiba's site lists three different possible vendors for Wifi on that model: Atheros, Broadcom and Realtek.   What about unknown device? How are you supposed to troubleshoot that?  What I really want to know is why. Why are you supposed to troubleshoot that?  

Those are major vendors.  The laptop has a Windows 7 certification sticker.  Even after SP1 Windows doesn't even know who built the NIC? I know MS doesn't make the hardware but surely it should be able to ID the major manufacturers of product that carry a Windows 7 sticker.

I hate it when people say "It's 2013, c'mon already!" but that's how I feel right now.  

At work I manage a lot of Apple products and these are problems that don't exist.  I have a lot of other problems with Apple but driver issues are not one of them.

August 21, 2013

This is how I work.

I was a big fan of the How I work series and Cory Doctorow's caught my attention.

Current gig: System Administrator
Location: Hilo, HI
Current mobile device: Optimus Elite
Current computer: Optiplex 960 and Macbook Pro
One word that best describes how you work: unfocused

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Synergy.  I was issued a Macbook Pro and I came across a spare Optiplex. Moving my arms between external keyboard and mouse & keyboard and touchpad was stupid. Synergy is an IP based KVM.  I even contributed to their project because they saved me so much heartache at work.
Tasks Free.  No unneeded permissions, just access to the tasks list of my Google accounts.  I use Tasks at work and home to get everything done.

Google Apps for both work and home.  Their tools are incredible.  I understand that if I'm not paying for it, then I am the product and with the recent revelations about NSA spying that there is zero privacy when using these Google Apps.  I'm not sure what to do about that.  I'm afraid convenience may win over privacy which is an awful thing.

Leatherman Core and Super Tool 300.  I alternate every few days between the two.  They're both enormous, heavy duty multitools and I use them often in my IT work.  I say "they're not always the right tool for the job, but they are a tool for the job." It usually beats having to walk back to the office to find a screw driver or pliers.

What's your workspace setup like?
Usually messy. I try to clean up on Fridays but I don't always get the chance or do a complete job. I sit at a folding table with a monitor on an old dock station stand and the MBP on a similar stand adjacent. Whatever projects I'm working on are usually scattered around the table.  I try to work on them quickly to clear space before the next thing lands on my desk.

What do you listen to while you work?
Pandora.  If no one is around then it's a shuffle of all my stations, if there are kids or coworkers then I push Motown.

What's your best time-saving trick?
I'm a decent Googler. I completed Power Searching With Google and that helped narrow down my searches. I also make my users email me with their requests to submit a ticket.  If it's important they will, if it's not they won't.

What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Gmail tasks. Integrates with Calendar and Tasks Free app for my phone.  I try to pick 1 or 2 things a day and complete them.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?
Multitool. I didn't start carrying it until I was 25 but have used it several times a week since. The phone works with everything ethereal and intangible: information, communication, wireless scanning. The multitool is for physical things. They're a good match.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Documentation.  Pretty much every job I've ever had has suffered from a lack of documentation. Procedures, troubleshooting and accounts; there is often a something missing.  I make it a point to document anything I do.  All the troubleshooting resolutions and anything I configure goes into a Google doc, it's easy to search, share. 

What's your sleep routine like?
Fall asleep around 10:30, sleep heavily and barely move until I wake up a little after 6am. It's not very interesting.  Weekends I get a nap in the afternoon.

Fill in the blank. I'd kill to see ________ answer these same questions.
+Jay Bazuzi

What's the best advice you've ever received?
Be the change you wish to see.

Is there anything else you want to add for readers/fans?
The next few years will decide the future of our country and the Internet. Widespread surveillance undermines everything the Internet should be and falls into the old ways of ruling people.  Corporations and Governments are not our friends, they have an agenda. Sometimes that agenda aligns with my values but it's coincidental and is most often a means to and end.

July 6, 2013


The original toilet. The tank is connected to the bowl via a separate pipe.  It was sealed using several layers of stuff, the last of which I'm pretty sure was packing tape.
The seat lid was deteriorating, but I don't think it has mold, it was just old.  Also: gross.

My monkey wrench on it's widest setting was just barely able to fit around the pipe's bolt.  I'm glad it's gone and it's now up to modern standards.  The old bowl and tank are destined to become planters. I left VA in part to avoid becoming a redneck.

The tank is fastened to the wall.  In the center it hangs on a bolt. On the right it's screwed against the wall.

This is single wall with some particle board paneling. I could almost hear the wall breathe a sigh of relief when I removed it.

It's neat to see the effects of the different exposure had to the screws.

There is no toilet flange At least it's not a separate piece that gets glued to the drain pipe. The drain pipe is more or less level with the floor board. The old toilet had a wax ring that just lined up with it it. The toilet had two of four bolts screwed directly into the floor, front right and back left. Front left and back right were empty.

In the interest of getting our only toilet up and running ASAP, I put in the new toilet without a flange telling Wife not to rock back and forth.

I picked up a replacement flange after work. It fit inside the drain pipe I then screwed the flange to the floor. That feels like a bad idea. 

Thankfully the floor does not have any dry rot. The wet spot is from the removal of the old toilet. The brittle spot on the left side of the drain pipe is where the old toilet was bolted to the floor.

The drain pipe looks like steel and I feel like the next time I have to replace the flange I'll be installing new pipes. I read somewhere to replace the toilet flange every 5 years. So I scheduled that (I like putting things in GCal really far in the future).

The toilet has been in use for a few weeks now and after tightening down the toilet there have not been any leaks.  I'm happy this project is done.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange

I recently took a contract to migrate a non profit from GoDaddy email to Google Apps. Despite a good deal of research and assurance from Google Enterprise support we ran into several problems, enumerated here.

The GAMME tool likes to run on a machine set to Greenwich Mean Time.  It will not run in Hawaiian Standard Time. In Win8 it will not run at all, Win7 gives and error message until the time zone has been changed.  The Irish Google support guys figured that one out.

Do not change the MX records until the mail migration is complete. If MX records are changed from GoDaddy's servers then the GAMME IMAP authentication will fail.  In hindsight this seems logical, at the time it was not obvious and was not documented.

The GAMME tools looks for a migration.txt with the format:


GAMME will only migrate mail if the destination account exists, it will not create a new account. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do if you can't change everyone's passwords. There's supposed to be support for using an admin's credentials instead of the user's but that was never successful. Documentation says to run it for no more than 25 users at a time, the realistic number is more like 3 or 4.  More than that and it would error out.

We ran GAMME against a particular user several times because their account had over 10,000 emails and kept failing. Each time we ran, the tool counted a different number of emails to migrate.  The user should have pruned before migration, but GAMME should be able to give a precise count.  There's no way to know if it got all that mail.

Google support indicated IMAP server type to use is Gmail.  That's if you're migrating from gmail to Google Apps. The most success was had with Cyrus IMAP migrating one or two users at a time.

Most accounts in GoDaddy were paid accounts which gives the users IMAP support.  Free email accounts in GoDaddy do not support IMAP, migrating them is not possible using GAMME.  Account must be elevated to a licensed account.

Folder structure was supposed to migrate and be translated into folders, this did not happen. Folder structure was lost.

There is no straight forward, accurate procedure for migrating from GoDaddy to Google Apps.  Many of the instructions from Google support were wrong or ended up being trial and error troubleshooting. Most of documentation is for an actual MS Exchange or Lotus Notes Domino server.

Google Enterprise support is often just as disorganized as others' support teams.  The Irish team seemed to be the most technically minded but you don't get to choose who answers your call. Each team we spoke with has a different approach.

I will continue to help institutions use Google Apps but I will never promise to migrate mail, it's just not worth the heartache and difficulty.

June 10, 2013

Pushing Wifi profile in MDT 2012

Surprisingly undocumented how to deploy a WiFi profile.  I guess best practices says to use RADIUS but that is beyond the scope of most SMB Sysadmins ability.  This will do in a pinch when you just need to skip the step of manually entering in the wireless key for each machine.  Keep in mind that this will store the key in clear text, as configured by the key=clear switch. Pretty much everyone already has access to the Wifi anyway, we only have security to keep the general public at bay.

Thanks to Serverfault for helping me put this together

Show the network profiles:
c:\netsh wlan show networks

Identify and export WLAN profile to XML
c:\netsh wlan export profile name=”SSID” key=clear

Copy the XML file to MDT DeploymentShare\Applications

In MDT create a new Task Sequence for Run Command Line:
netsh wlan add profile filename=WiFi 

Start in:

June 2, 2013

House buying

I really didn't know what was involved with purchasing a house.   I'd read a little bit about flipping houses and I've sold a few houses but the Realtor took care of most of the work; I just had to sign the papers. Even having a Realtor guide me through the process I was still overwhelmed at times.

Inspectors evaluate the house's integrity. This includes the plumbing, electric, appliances and structural integrity. I followed my inspector around and asked as many questions as I could. My house is pretty simple, with very few secrets, so he didn't tell me a whole lot that wasn't obvious.

My brother recommends one every 5 years. If you live in a house that you love this makes a lot of sense. It keeps your house honest.  I skipped having the barn inspected, it's in rough shape and is not of immediate concern.

Most inspectors charge by a bracket of square footage. 500-1000 sq ft was $325, my house is 684 sq ft. Another inspector's estimate was $100 more. My inspector is insured and a member of ASHI. He also teaches at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in town and I got a lesson last weekend about how to install a toilet.

Termites are a big problem in Hawaii. My house doesn't have any termites. The Surveyor said it's because my house is redwood and termites will usually seek other sources.  The barn has termites. The house is actually made from Fir which termites also don't like.

Orange - Barn
Blue line - Creek
Green - House
 Pink - Driveway
This is especially important if it's a large lot, old,  your neighbors are anyone other than your family, or strange in any way. Surveys trace the boundary of your property. The value is you can now see if any of your stuff encroaches on a neighbor's land or if their stuff encroaches on yours.

My house has a driveway that is actually on my neighbor's land. The neighbor's land is fenced and the fence allows the driveway, so to the unsurveyed eye it looks like the neighbor's land is marked by the fence and the driveway is mine.  The survey revealed this. He also mapped the house and barn.

The surveyor showed up 2 hours late, had pretty poor interpersonal skills and it cost ~$1,000. It's still worth it. He sent a CAD drawing a few days later with exact measurements of everything on the property, boundaries and structures. He used a Nikon DTM-420 with a module to collect all the data points.

This is performed by the bank, and payed for by the Buyer.  Our appraiser decided to appraise the barn, which was not supposed to be part of the property value and determined it was unsafe and had to be demolished before they'd lend.  Great. That added another 2 or 3 weeks while the Seller found a contractor to demolish the barn. I had plans for that barn. He also complained about a few leaks all of which I could have fixed myself within a week or two, but the bank wouldn't hear of it. $250 for the plumber to resolve those issues.  Our home inspector was so annoyed when he heard about the barn that he inspected it for free and submitted his proposal to try and persuade the Underwriter to allow the barn. They didn't care and the barn was demolition. The foundation is still present so the permit still exists and we can rebuild if we ever want to.

If I got to repeat this process again I'd talk to the bank about what their appraiser is looking for. If your property has something funny on it, it might be work talking to the loan officer before the appraiser goes. Anything written in a report is serious business.

We hired a Realtor.  As a buyer it makes a lot of sense; the Seller pays the agent. All Realtors are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are Realtors.  Realtors have a legal obligation to serve your best interest. has a list of reason to use a Realtor.

I really wanted someone objective. Our Realtor gave recommendations for all of the other agents I needed: surveyor, termite, house inspector.  I was skeptical that she wasn't just hiring her friends, so I searched for quotes from other vendors and the ones she recommended were always cheaper and legit; they had insurance, were bonded and certified in their respective fields.  So even though I ended going with her recommendations, I'm still glad I looked around and verified she was being straight forward with me.

Making extra calls for quotes, is a lot of extra effort. It means using vacation time, staying late and dealing with people I don't know.  Extra quotes keeps everyone honest.

The offer was accepted on February 20th 2013.  Our closing date is March 24th. I was not prepared for such an ordeal.

I am making a huge commitment by buying this house. Putting in an extra few hours, days or weeks of work upfront to make sure it's the right move is totally worth it.  It's difficult now, but in a month when we close I'll be satisfied that I put in the ground work to make this a good purchase.

May 31, 2013

Your face is slower than 78% of the US

Well, shit.
Hawaiiantel DSL. They sent a Pace 4111N-030 modem / Wifi / Router / Switch combo device.

 It's not likely to get upgraded anytime soon.  When I called to inquire about Internet a month or two ago they said they provided Internet but did not mention that I would be restricted to their slowest plan. I am restricted to their slowest plan. They promise 7Mb / 1Mb.

Maybe it's peak usage time. Maybe over the next few years they'll run fiber over Saddle Road or run additional lines up from Hilo as they prepare for more subdivisions. Most likely this is what I can expect unless I want to pay for my own fiber drop.

At some point I hope to disable everything but the modem and use my own router to manage the network.  I might just buy a separate modem and return their all-in-one.

April 21, 2013


I've rooted my phone.  My first root of a smart phone. Previously I had an iDevice I could not figure out how to Jailbreak, so my friend +Brent Ciszek took care of it for me.  After that I got an Optimus S from a coworker. My friend +cas baskin asked to look at it while I was looking at his baby.  He came back 15 minutes later with it rooted, running CM.

Rooting a several months old phone is easy. The longer a phone has been released the more time the rooting community has had time to work on getting root, then they usually end up packaging the steps into an app you have to download outside of the Play store. Usually the OP will have a fairly clean description of what needs to be done. 

The guides and files are posted on a forum with 20+ pages of "thanks yo'ur a god!" and "It didn't work, what do?".  The OP  it often named "sneaky1" or "SluttyDude".  Usually I'll read the OP and the first and last 3 pages. The gives the pulse of the success.  

This is really the only challenge; trust.

April 10, 2013


Today I was in a meeting (lol) with my friend before she goes on maternity leave.  The daughter of one our friends walked into the office eating a purple sweet potato. My friend said "I want one, go get one for me." but it was said in a nice way.

The girl smiled and skipped away like young girls do and came back a few minutes later with a whole sweet potato and plunked into my friend's hand, smiled and scampered off.  My friend got up, went to the kitchen and returned, handing me half a sweet potato.

I said thanks and we continued our meeting.

It was nice to be included and shared with.  This happened on my last day before a trip, so there could have been resentments about me leaving and excuses to exclude me.

February 22, 2013

That, too, passed.

Some things have changed since last time.

The car is resolved, I'm thankful for insurance for insurance money. I'm now in the market for another car.

The big news is that we have an accepted offer on a house.  It goes into escrow tomorrow and if everything goes well, in 45 days (4/8/13) we'll be moving into our house sitting on 2.44 acres of land on the Big Island. Jessie is coming for an extended visit in a few weeks and the house will close while she's here so we can move in together.  I hope she'll make a honey-do list for me to work on while after she's gone.

If you're reading this we're probably friends. This means you're invited to stay with us in Hilo.

The last remaining piece of this puzzle is the rest of my family: the wife and animals.

I've even been offered some side work by the end of the summer. I'm thankful for things to be finally lining up.

February 7, 2013

Curtains for yoou

Her room is on the corner of the hallway and she keeps the door open.  

Over break she received a lot of packages in the neighborhood of 10 or 12.  

A few days after she got back I was walking to my room and her room looked fuzzy, a little distorted.  When I got closer I realized she had put up a transparent curtain, you'd see this in a walk-in freezer, or maybe a hospital. 

A few days after that she added a shower curtain to the doorway.  Blue polkadots on semi transparent white.

February 6, 2013

Google Apps for Relationships

GAfR. Same tools as Business and Education use I guess, but applied to my long distance relationship.

Hangouts for face to face time. Seeing each other's faces is critical. The most important piece.

Drive for project and organization. We're looking for a house, so I have a folder for that project.  Inside is a master document with all the houses I've looked at, my review and their prices. In that folder are collections pictures I take of the houses with the address. These could be moved to G+ albums, but it's easier to have them all in one spot for right now, they'll also be deleted once we settle on a house.

Calendar since we're in different time zone it's difficult to stay organized and keep track of each other.  I keep all my major events on their for the wife so she knows when to reach me.

Youtube. I recorded a video for Valentine's day.  The video editor leaves something to be desired but I'm still thankful for Youtube's existence.

Android, while it isn't part of Google Apps, is an amazing way for us to connect. We play Words with Friends. We are able to send pictures of our day to each other, we have unlimited texts and take advantage of it.

Hey Chief

I've lived here for about 6 months. Every day I come home from work in the afternoon.  Ed is on the lanai smoking and drinking and often on the phone.  I give him the old pistol greeting and he returns with a "hey chief."  He usually hasn't unlocked the door and so I have to borrow his keys to get in.

Once a week or so I'll hang outside while my laundry is finishing or I'm waiting for a ride, we'll have a somewhat one sided conversation. We're not friends, but we get along alright.

 Two weeks ago Ed asked me what my name is.

January 17, 2013

Youtube video editor

I'm really excited about Chromebooks.  I think they're what netbooks were supposed to be.  $200 right now for the Acer, 4.5 hrs of battery life, 18 second boot time, instant wake up. It's awesome.

So I'm evaluating it as a daily driver and replacement of my current laptop, an e6420 ATG behemoth.  It's heavy, powerful and has mediocre battery life.  I can run all kinds of things on it. So what. I spend most of my time on the web.

After a weekend of using a Chromebook I think they're amazing machines. I can see replacing them every year with a newer model. This really depends on not wanting to install anything locally, and being in the cloud as much as possible.

Things I would miss in a Chromebook:

  • Steam
  • Camera Control software for my DSLRs
  • Torrents

Steam would be a loss for reals.  I could push Steam to the Latitude and make it the HTPC and play games on the TV. That might be OK.  I've given up games until I have a house, so right now I wouldn't even notice it. Plus Chrome has a few games, some that overlap with Steam like Plants vs Zombies.

Camera Control would be a significant loss but a seldom one, I've only used it a few times but it's really really cool.

Torrents I could push to the server, no problem there.  It even has a web management interface.

There's a serious push from Google for Chrome and Chromebooks. Chromebooks are getting cheaper and more powerful and support isn't going away anytime soon. There's supposed to be a touchscreen model this quarter. Lenovo is piloting a ruggedized model. Some of the nicer Chromebooks get 8 hours of battery life and have 3g access for when I travel.

I'm getting tired of worrying about backups. I saw people at this conference last weekend typing their notes in Word on a Macbook Pro. $1,600 for taking notes and using the web. My anxiety level went up because I was so worried about their HDD dying, their laptop getting stolen or destroyed and them losing work. That just goes away with Google Apps.

Anyway, like I said, I'm evaluating it as a real replacement.  Last night I tried to delve into the Youtube video editor.  It's easy enough to edit together video but audio is another problem.  You can't upload straight audio tracks.  I guess that's to keep users from using copyright songs, but it's annoying.  I wish more music was Creative Commons.  Like maybe 10 years after it's released make it CC and let anyone use it.

So to get this into Youtube I have to edit it on my machine using Windows Movie Maker and then upload it. I'll still get a take down notice because of the music, even on private videos. I'm not sure how people manage to get around that.