What kind of development can you do with an old $50 Chromebook? (ASUS C100P)

Model: C100PA-DB02

  • CPU: ARMv7 Rockchip 1.8GHz quadcore
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 16GB eMMC

Not really usable for development (lol).

While you can develop with it, the lag is prohibitive. This is in the context of ReactJS/ElectronJS/Node in my case. You do npm install and wait like 10 minutes or more. Yeah it’s been like 30 minutes and it’s still not done oh man… this reify:rxjs

tiny boi

Idk why I bought this thing. It’s nostalgia… 2015 or so I saw this laptop and liked the design, it was new then. It’s a good design, metal body, flip over display and small. Of course I did a post like this before but it was with a Toshiba Chromebook 2. I ended up selling it.

What will I do with this computer? (not really anything it turns out). Nothing heavy anyway. Will take a bit for me to figure out what to do with it.

It’s small. I’ve been using 14"+ devices for a while so it’s really tiny comparatively. The bevels are massive on the side. It does have external HDMI out but I don’t have one of these tiny display port to HDMI adapters handy. I opened YouTube and it took a few seconds for it to render (oof). But it does work…

This took me a bit. I tried to use this Arch Linux ARM guide which got me to the point of getting into developer mode/booting from an external storage. However the Arch boot process gets stuck, it gets stuck on Network Configuration/RF kill switch. So I decided to try some other things… originally I wanted “pure Linux” as in completely wipe the eMMC “because it’s faster” although the 16GB size sucks. I could not get ISOs to either burn (balena etcher would fail on Debian ARM isos) or the ones that did like Ubuntu Focal would not work… I don’t know if I had the right ARM or not eg. armhf vs. arm64. On one thing I tried it said intel only not ARM. Anyway I ended up just using crouton. I used various guides (tried anything I could find till I got something to work), I’ll post em below. But eventually I did get it to work, I’m using Ubuntu Xenial with XFCE. I did get neofetch on their (of course).

mmm F1.8

The battery is great. I’m pleased to say. It says 89% capacity which I don’t know if that’s faked eeprom but from a usage standpoint I have been messing around with it for a day and a half and it has not needed to be charged (was still around 40% left). So this is great… I might have just gotten lucky but that’s the one thing that sucks about buying old laptops is the battery is probably bad and the replacements are usually fake.

I really don’t want to do any work on this right now (working on other projects). So I’ll just do something basic. I will pull down the CPA I made with Electron and see if I can compile it for this environment.

This screen is extremely small lol… like websites you see a small corner of it. But I’m still down, I really like how tiny it is and portable.

In general there’s like a 3s+ lag when doing stuff, particularly in the browser. This isn’t a matter of internet, I have fiber. It’s just processing the page takes longer.

Yeah this failed… I can’t even complete an npm install without something failing. And as mentioned it takes so long.

I’ll screw around with this more but I think if I’m going to develop anything on it, it has to be light/performant.

Thinking more about it… maybe it’s the SD card that’s why it’s so slow… doesn’t really make sense though. It’s a good quality card (150 MB/s Sandisk ultra) and on a Raspberry Pi that can run like anything, uses same card. So I think it is just a matter of processing power. I’ll have to check/compare CPUs and see.

I don’t mind having this thing. It has a long battery life. It’s small so I can bring it to a work bench and ssh into some pi robot and do stuff. And mostly yeah I like the build of it.



Software developer and general technology tinkerer

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