Day 6: Chromebooks are great. Until they’re not.

STATUS: The frontend needs work. The backend REALLY needs work. But I have paper mockups!

MOOD: Fatigued, but excited!

I signed up for Startup Weekend in two weeks. My very first startup building event. I’m excited. I’m a little scared of not being able to pull my own weight (my web development skills aren’t great), but I’m really excited to finally experience what it’s like to really build something out of thin air, even if it’s basic.

I can’t express enough how much I love my girlfriend. She’s unbelievably supportive of what I’m trying to do. She’s incredible, and I love her to death.

Anyway, my work day started off with a short conversation with my Mom. She runs a successful (and growing) daycare business and got immediately on board with my business idea. Apparently, she is willing to completely back me, both morally and financially. While I am hoping to not need to use any of her money to launch thinglistr, it is really nice to know that I have some semblance of security in case I need it.

I began work at around 11pm tonight, which is much later than I’d like to begin working and has been the trend du jour this week. I love chasing that pump, but it’s making my ability to start working at a reasonable time difficult.

Today’s goal was to get started with Meteor. I had spent a few days struggling with the creation of my new WordPress theme, and a comment on a Reddit post from someone experiencing the same woes as me recommended that I try it. I ran through the tutorial, and…damn. It’s tag-based compiler is AWESOME, and I’m just getting started with it. The fact that it comes preinstalled with MongoDB and has a really nice syntax for working with collections built-in makes me fall in love HARD with it. It is directly relevant to my interests, and I like that a lot.

What I DIDN’T like as much was my Chromebook. I think that the best way to describe what became of my experience with doing “real work” on ChromeOS this week can be summarized as follows:

Working on a Chromebook has been like trying to build a tree-house anywhere in Manhattan. It’s theoretically possible…if your tree-house is two feet tall and can double as a cat toy.

My Toshiba Chromebook made for an AWESOME Reddit machine. It was light, quick (enough) and has a screen that, surprisingly, really does give the MacBook Pro Retina a run for its money. I couldn’t have asked for more.

My startup did, however. All of a sudden, I needed space for three SSH windows and a RDP terminal with dozens of hungry tabs open across two Chrome profiles. And this is just for the MVP. Imagine the amount of power I’ll need when this thing goes live.

What was once my perfect Reddit companion has become, well, a slow and unnecessarily compromsing piece of shit, really really quickly. You see, the thing about Chrome (or any web browser these days, really) is that it needs LOTS of memory. Chrome WAKES UP to about 400 MB of RAM. That’s about 5% of the amount of memory most people have on their machines (8GB). And that’s just when it starts.

At the moment, I have the Chrome RDP extension open (but idling) along with Gmail, reddit, Spotify, Google Sheets and my bank’s website. According to chrome://memory, all of this is using 3 GIGABYTES of memory. In other words, more than 50% of the memory on most people’s machines.

Before the crash, I had most of this open along with a few SSH windows along with an established RDP connection and a few more tabs in an incognito session.

The ironic thing? ALMOST EVERY Chromebook on the market, including mine, only has TWO GIGABYTES of memory installed. TWO. This means that the minute you start doing any semblance of ANYTHING is the minute when your machine slows down. Then, at any moment’s notice, your machine might even just reboot randomly.


I ordered myself a MacBook Air. It’s coming on Monday. This thing is GONE the minute I start using it. (We’re back to square one, I guess; I sold my original Air to get this thing because I wasn’t doing anything with it.)

At least I learned a little about Meteor. Progress!

Day 6: Chromebooks are great. Until they’re not.