Farkling Your Chromebook

LAST UPDATED: April 3rd, 2019

What is a “farkle” or “farkling” you might ask? Well, if you do a quick search on Google, one slang definition might mean –

Farkling 101

A fart that comes out the butt and goes up the front towards and under your balls or vagina lips. Ok, GTK!  lol  As a noun or adjective it is typically used by motorcycle enthusiasts when adding accessories to their beloved bike; i.e. hardwired micro-c plugin adaptor for your smartphone so you can listen to music while you ride.  I have owned various motorcycles over the years and my last chapter of riding was in the genre of “adventure riding” inspired by the unparalleled www.advrider.com forums.

So, why not “farkle” my 1st Chromebook?

The first PC I ever owned was a Dell laptop running Microsoft Windows 3.1.  A person still needed to know a few DOS commands to make things happen.  Then, Windows 95 came and true beginning of the bloated, dumbed down personal computers started to evolve.

steve balmer memeOver the years Steve Balmer continued to degrade the integrity of the Microsoft experience mostly by trying to play in the hardware game versus focusing on their true mission statement of effective operating systems and business software.  I actually tried to bail on Android at one point and purchased a Microsoft phone and it was an abysmal experience.

Both Microsoft and Apple have learned over the years is no matter how big you think you are, the consumer marketplace is fickle. Dell trounced Microsoft in the PC world; laptops and desktops and Apple killed it with the IPAD.

Now that Google seems to have figured out how to uniformly monetize the consumer activity experience via Android and the Chrome browser, they are now the champions of personal data mining which allows for discounted personal/business appliances.

Welcome to Chromebook!

For years, true computer coders and geeks have relished working in the Linux-based platforms so Google created a Chrome operating system tied directly into using their Chrome browser. Remember when planet-earth was insulted that somehow Microsoft had “forcibly” made consumers of their PC’s to use only Internet Explorer. linux stock image In fact most of anyone younger than thirty years old might not remember that IE was basically the only real browser around.  If you want to get some laughs, talk about Netscape (or, fondly called “Netscrape”) and even today I literally know some dinosaurs still using the AOL browser.  Not to leave out Apple, they still force their users to use their substandard default Safari browser.

As a graphic designer and photographer, I have always known I need a desktop machine with horsepower and a high resolution precision color monitor to get my work done.  Also, I have never really wanted a laptop whereas some clients want to see me work.  NOT HAPPENING! 

Talking about laptops and Chromebooks has to include the conversation about smartphones because that is truly the DNA for these appliances.  And, even though it seems like a thousand years ago, migrating from the Blackberry phone to an Android phone seemed like pure anarchy.

Point of reference – Two other technological events have happened over time that I thought made no sense and I could not fathom the uniform developement and acceptance into the marketplace:

  1. Back in 2002 maybe when I was shooting much more commercial and stock photography someone told me of a guy that could fly a camera and take photos of shopping malls and other real estate.  I was like NO WAY.  The camera must suck and you really need a photographer to compose the shot.  NOT SO JOE! Hello DJI!
  2. Also in the realm of photography.  I had jumped into the commercial photography business purchasing the then benchmark Nikon D1 professional digital camera body for $5500. The old skool film guys swore digital photography would never be as good and accepted.  Secondarily, if you said that a DSLR was capable of shooting both still images and professional-level video, I would always say NO WAY JAY!  Here are some videos I have shot with a mirrorless Sony a6300. Very capable.

You might be asking yourself
– What is the point of all this backstory?  The point is that sometimes it takes a village of seemingly unlinked technologies to come together to produce an appliance that really makes sense to the general consumer.

I would hypothesise that the Chromebook introduced in 2011 was Google’s response to the mass deployment of IPAD to students from kindergarten to being seniors in high school.  The IPAD scratched an itch where people could be gathering information and producing without the over-specced and pricing laptops that required an operating system.

As of 2015 Chromebooks now are known to be the most common computer bought by US K-12 schools.

Back to smartphones.   After owning the Samsung Note II, 3, 5 and for a 4 day period owned the Note 8 (which I returned promptly), my personal style no longer wanted or needed a phablet-type phone. I have a tablet and I have never warmed up to that experience.  So, I starting hunting for the prized catch of the best Chromebook.

Get a full cup of coffee and about 60 minutes and hit up Amazon and you will find pretty quickly an animal to your liking. I did Google queries like Top Ten Chromebooks, etc and basically the HP Chromebook and the Acer’s had the most write-ups.  I ended up with the Acer Chromebook 14 Full HD CB3-431-C5Fm for $289 on Amazon.  With over 1000 reviews and an average 4-star rating seemed legit.

Quickly enough, Amazon delivers my 1st Chromebook and for the most part it looks like and acts like your standard laptop.  BUT, there are some nuances to figure out and I am sharing those with you now.  chrome syncIf you are already a power Google user (Gmail, etc), you will know that if you “login” to your Chrome browser you can synchronize all your personalizations to your new Chromebook quickly.  But, like me, I did not necessarily want all the same bookmarks on my Bookmarks Toolbar on my desktop to migrate to my Chrome.  So you can untoggle that.

Personalization: When I get a new computer, let alone a “laptop” the first thing I must do is to manage the  Taskbar /Shelf – this where you pin your preferred apps or programs for easy access.  Keep your desktop clutter free!

The next is to make sure I have the Bookmarks Toolbar toggled on.  If you opted to “synchronize” your settings with Chrome on your desktop, those shortcuts will already be there.  If not, if you visit a website regularly, just drag the URL into this toolbar. Then, EDIT PROPERTIES and modify the title to save space and if the website has a “favicon” that you easily recognize, just delete the text all together to afford more bookmarks in a limited space area.

shell case for chromebookLastly, and the most confusing to me as a Windows user was how to place a folder of my favorite images on the Chromebook so that the Wallpaper Changer app could rotate through my fav 30+ images on the desktop.   Chromebook does not natively come with a feature to rotate your desktop image.  Even though if you look at your Chromebook file heirarchy, you see a folder called Images but you cannot seem to copy and paste anything there.

Open your Chrome Files App and I then clicked on the master folder “Downloads”. In the empty space to the right, I right-clicked and created a new folder called Slideshow and pasted all my photos in there from a thumbdrive.  Then, I opened up the Wallpaper app and created the connection to this folder link. Also in the Wallpaper Changer app I went to settings and toggled on Static wallpaper mode, Change system wallpaper and Change lockscreen wallpaper.  Adjust to your own personal taste.

Chrome Extensions: AdGuard Adblocker, Bitmoji, Calculator, Camera, Chrome Remote Desktop, Cite This for Me: Web Citer, Docs,  Eye Dropper, F.B. (FluffBusting) Purity, feedly Mini, Google Docs Offline, Honey, Palettab, qSnap: Screen Capture, Google Sheets (Excel equiv), Google Slides (Powerpoint Equiv), 

Google Playstore Apps: Bluemail (best email app – I leave the Gmail app on the Chromebook because it has Bitmoji built into it but Bluemail is great to manage my other multitude of email accounts), Snapseed (best Google imaging editor – free), TV Guide, CCleaner, Netflix, Notepad, Acrobat Reader, Winzip, Dropbox, Brother Print Service Plugin, Cloud Print, and Wallpaper Changer.

Accessories: Hard Shell Case ( I originally was thinking of a “skin” but this acrylic case is a way better idea!), Silicon Keypad Protect (plenty of style options but since these Chromebooks are so inexpensive, the keyboard will typically be the first to fail due to dust, dirt or liquid spills…), mousepad and mouse, and case.

There you go.  Now you understand farkling.  Most of you would say you don’t have the time or interest to do this and I get that.  But, for those of us that farkle, we have no choice and we are probably more productive in the long run.


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