Last night I spent a little time on the Samsung Chromebook Pro. My goal was to find a few offline apps, namely VLC and anything I could find for photo editing. Today I am flying from Raleigh into Denver, and from there I will be driving into Creede with some good friends. Our destination is, well, kinda out there - and both local internet and phone reception will be iffy at best. I was hoping to make a go of it with the chromebook alone. This device is super light-weight, super easy to use, super cheap (as compared to my MacBook Air), and overall a fantastic travel companion. However, this meant leaving the MacBook Air at home - and therefore some of my favorite photo editing tools.

After adding a few photo apps to the chromebook which looked semi-promising, I installed VLC in hopes of watching a movie while in the air. I had forgotten the chromebook had a built-in video player, and have used VLC for so long on other platforms that it was just kind of automatic. I cranked up VLC so that I could test it on this chromebook against a high definition movie, and it worked just fine - including the touchscreen controls. So I stopped the movie.

That’s when I noticed the touchpad was not working. I assumed VLC had put the chromebook into tablet-only mode, but the keyboard worked fine - only the touchpad was unresponsive. I quit VLC, no touchpad. I closed and reopened the chromebook, no touchpad. I followed advice found on the internet - drum my fingers on the touchpad, smack the escape key several times, power off the chromebook - no touchpad. Not even a hard reset changed anything.

I was obviously getting agitated, because my wife raised her voice: “HEY! Take a breath. You are leaving tomorrow, and you know what this is.” And she was, of course, and as usual, correct. I was headed to a remote location in hopes of getting away from the stress of work life, taking a breather, enjoying the outdoors - beautiful vistas and trout fishing in the headwaters of the Rio Grande. And the enemy wanted to steal my joy.

So I prayed for peace, and powered off the chromebook. This morning, I packed both the chromebook and the MacBook Air. My wife gave me a hard time about it, but I countered that the trackpad may simply be the start of my problems and I didn’t want to be that far from home without some way of helping her or my customers if an emergency were to arise.

Sitting in the airport waiting for the plane to arrive, I decided to check again - no touchpad. So I thought it might be possible that somehow the VLC app had installed some kind of driver which affected the trackpad. So I uninstalled VLC. No touchpad, after rebooting, hard reset, etc. Whatever.

After getting into the air I decided to watch a movie - Super 8, if you must know, because I really liked it the first time and none of my family have any interest in that kind of thing. So I started up the Chromebook, and for no specific reason I tapped the escape key several times in the few seconds it took to boot. And guess what - the trackpad worked!

And there you have it … something happaned that really started to get under my skin. I prayed for peace, decided that it wasn’t all that important anyway, and moved on. I denied the enemy that particular foothold - and he gave up. Or maybe I simply fixed my chromebook. Either way, the blues have been averted and I am planning to have a fantastic week.

Now, if only the baby sitting behind me would just stop wailing loud enough to drown out my headphones …