In my journey towards DevRel, I thought it would be interesting to share my experience of using a Chromebook for work. I planned to keep track of my day at work to figure out any challenges I might face while using this device. However, I will admit that I cheated a little bit by connecting a USB-C hub with HDMI output to have a second display, using an external Creative sound blaster to make sure I can use my NW-800 condenser micrphone and connect all my USB devices using different hubs, and using my Keychron K8 mechanical keyboard and Logitech M570 trackball mouse. I cannot sacrifice everything, especially as I get older.
Most of my work is done online using various tools, such as Slack to communicate within the IOTA Foundation, Discord to keep in touch with the community, the Google Suite, and Pixlr as a quick and dirty image editor. For browsing, I use Chrome for Business and Firefox for private tools, like ChatGPT.
When it comes to installing apps, there are two fundamental options: Play Store and Install Linux .deb files. Both options have their pros and cons. Unfortunately, Slack does not exist in the Google Play store for my Chromebook.
To work around this, I logged into Slack in Chrome and added it as a shortcut.
This allowed me to have Slack in a nice window, which does not look like a browser. I also use this trick for Discord, Pixlr, Spotify, and others.
Let's do some work
Real action with the Chromebook
I was able to add my work account to Gmail and Google Calendar, but to use them properly, I had to pin the tab in Chrome. By using the shortcut trick, it always loads my user and main Google account, which is my personal account.
After checking Slack for updates on the latest information from within the Foundation, I checked out my goals for the week using a cloud tool. I do this every Monday to define tasks for the week based on the goals using Google Calendar. I plan to keep tasks to occupy around 75% of my time, leaving the rest of my time for planning, meetings, staying up-to-date with what the community experiences on Telegram, Twitter, and Discord.
One of my colleagues, Adrian, asked for help by giving comments on a tutorial about how to test Multichain's bridge between the ShimmerEVM and Ethereum's Görli network to transfer USDC tokens from one network to the other. Helping my colleagues move forward is important to me, especially if the task will impact how our community will experience our tech in the wild. We're going to start with this task, so they can continue with formatting and proofreading after I give my comments.
We shared a guide on hackmd.io, a cloud-based collaborative markdown platform. I made sure to log in using my GitHub account and began the journey. Starting with the tutorial, I needed the Metamask wallet, so I grabbed the Chrome extension and set up the first account with the 12 words, which is mandatory in Metamask.
Surprisingly enough, it worked out of the box. As soon as the Ledger Nano was connected to the Chromebook, it asked if I wanted to connect it to the Linux container or Android, and I connected it to Android.
I walked through the tutorial and successfully swapped USDCs from Görli to ShimmerEVM's testnet. I gave comments to streamline the tutorial and add some structure from my personal point of view.
Time for the first meeting. Since we use Google Meet, it went relatively smooth, once I set the external microphone as input and my headset as output.
My first meeting went relatively smoothly since we use Google Meet. Once I set the external microphone as input and my headset as output, I only had to fight with the webcam, a Creative Live! Cam Sync 1080p V2. It was connected to a USB port on the monitor, which again was connected over two hubs, and the camera did not like. Once connected directly to the Chromebook also the webcam worked perfectly.
Time for a break!
My afternoon will be split by two meetings, but after that, I hope to make progress on other tasks. One of my goals for this quarter is to contribute to StackExchange by answering community questions. Thankfully, this has been going smoothly so far - I just need to collate the questions that come up on Discord and pass them onto our engineers to answer.
I've also managed to add Notion as a web app to ChromeOS without any issues. However, the Ledger Nano hardware has been a source of frustration. I use the Ledger Nano to keep my SSH private keys secure and isolated from my devices as explained in this post, but it's not recognized by ChromeOS or the Linux development environment when the SSH/PGP Agent app is launched.
Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about this, so I'll have to generate an SSH key and copy it to my most important VPSs. Needless to say, I'm not thrilled about this 😮💨
On the bright side, there is a nice interface to manage SSH connections.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with how my first workday on the Chromebook went, and I'll be sharing more of my experiences throughout the rest of the week in my next blog post.