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My choice of tech for the summer: HP Chromebook 11, Kindle Fire HDX and more

It seems all of us have made some switches thanks to warm weather here in the northern hemisphere, where summer is in full swing. Working outside seems prevalent, and that means, in many cases, an entirely different set of hardware.

I, for one, make my porch my office when the weather gets nice, and to do so means certain sacrifices – or does it? As it turns out, not so much. I'm managing just fine with what I am using, able to get the job done with only the very rare exception that forces me to flee to my (rather baking) third-floor office to use a Windows computer.

The computer

It doesn't get much simpler than a Chromebook. I am using the HP Chromebook 11, which is light and easy to carry around. I could lug a 15.6in Windows 8.1 laptop out here, but why should I when this gets the job done?

I write in Word, but that presents no problem – Microsoft has released an app specifically for Chrome. It will not work offline, as Docs will, but I'm not worried about that. My router may be a mile away in that office, but an extender isn't far off at all.

Images are obviously a large part of my job, and for that I've grown accustomed to PicPick and Photoshop, but Pixlr can get the job done nicely – at least in most cases. It won't handle vectors, which is my reason for occasionally scurrying off to the overheated office.

To go along with the Chromebook, and because I hate touchpads, I am using a Microsoft 1800 wireless USB mouse with the laptop. It makes me feel more at home with what I'm doing.


I don't require much when I work. Background music playing is plenty to get me through the day. From both my phone and Chromebook I can stream audio to the Braven BRV-1 waterproof speaker. Yes, the speaker may be immune to the rain blowing in on my porch, but nothing else is, so I am still left grabbing items and running inside.

The speaker works quite well, looks good and has solid sound. It has the added bonus of being able to charge a phone if you need to do so in a pinch.

For the music source itself, I subscribe to Google Play Music All Access. Having got in early, I have a $7.99 plan. Those who subscribe now can expect to pay a couple dollars more (in the UK it's currently £9.99 per month).

Other items

Naturally, I keep my phone close by, as well as a tablet. The latter is mostly for entertainment breaks – I am known to stop and spend a few minutes playing a game (don't tell my boss). Mostly I use the Kindle Fire HDX, which is also a great device for watching video from Prime – something I occasionally use it for while lying in bed.

Summer in my area (near Baltimore in the US) also means a chance for massive thunderstorms and the potential power outage here and there. For that, two batteries – an 11,200 mAh Gorilla Gear and an 18,000 mAh Hyperjuice can keep me up and running.

There are, of course, also the low-tech items – a flyswatter nearby keeps me sane. Nobody likes to be annoyed, after all.

What are you using this summer? Has warm weather brought about changes to your routine?