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Thursday, June 30, 2011

pics of chromebook in places I love to use it

so I've decided to take pics of my chromebook at various places I use it ... to show how portable and versatile it is.. enjoy!!

top left and right is my office.

[and bottom two are at home in bed :)

google plus picture upload is soo easy

so last night there was a special event at jack straw studios in seattle. professor greg fields was doing a presentation on the archival work he has been doing of the NW SiSiWiss medicine and the teachings that Johnny Moses has shared with the people. he has been recording and videotaping for the smithsonian and a book that is being published. while there I was taking pictures. my new google+ widget for my evo immediately uploaded my photos to picasa.. and when i used the widget to post to the wall of google plus it let me upload up to 8 photos from my phone to the wall with the post.. it was so easy that I posted photos without missing anything from the presentation and stories at all. thank you google... I hope more invites go out soon!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

google romance

OMG this one is so funny!!!


Google +

heya... just got an invite to be in Google plus... this is one exciting program...
here is a quick screenshot... it's google's answer to facebook but the layout is really nice and google circles is much easier way to add people to groups.. and I love the hangout where multiple people can video chat. way cool...
I am really hoping this catches on because facebook hasn't been this much in a very long time. right now it's just us beta testers but hopefully other people will be showing up soon!! see you in google plus

Monday, June 27, 2011

a little about the chromebook

so answering some questions about the chromebook that I have been asked.

the chrome Operating system is rather unique. the main idea that google is pushing here is the cloud. for all practical purposes this is basically a thin client. there is only 16gig of storage on the chromebook. there are many ways to store data in the cloud such as google docs, amazon cloud, dropbox and many other places. I personally use amazon cloud player for music, picasa for pictures and google docs for everything else.
android and chrome are 2 completely different operating systems and have nothing in common other than they are both google products. my android phone can access all the cloud based services as my chromebook as can my work computer and my ipad2. but the chromebook really uses local storage as temporary storage and if you ever reset the notebook you will lose any stored data. you do have a multiple card port in the front and 2 usb ports for external storage and many people use those.. in this respect it's much like tablet or phone using mostly external storage for data.
it takes a little getting used to; working in the cloud, we are so used to having applications and data on our local computer. for me, the cloud has brought freedom and safety. I can work with all my data wherever I want and if my notebook gets destroyed I still have access to the data from any device, even a library computer if it ever came that. I have had computers crash and even with backups I've lost most or all of my data, maybe the new computer doesn't have a floppy drive anymore or the backup got corrupted and the new computer can't read it. or I haven't made a back up in months even though I should have.
on the other hand with the chromebook I could just replace the chromebook, setup my google and voila all my data and preferences are there. immediately.
the chrome OS is basically the chrome browser on steroids. If you've ever used the chrome on windows, mac or linux, then you will immediately know how to use the chromebook. it really is that easy, and if you have your browser in sync mode, then all your bookmarks and themes and apps will appear automatically on the chromeOS or vice versa. there are some apps designed specifically for the OS that won't appear in the browser, but for the most part you are set to go.

though there are ways through a usb adaptor to connect the chromebook to a lan this is really meant to connect wirelessly. there are wifi only versions and wifi/3g versions. the samsung series 5 that I have is both and comes with 2 years of 100mg per month verizon data free of charge. when you use up the 100mg you then have the option of paying for a day of unlimited data or for monthly tiered caps of data, similar to a phone or tablet on verizon. I rarely use the 100mg (it lasts quite a while unless you watch videos, then it's gone in 5 minutes) because I use wifi as much as possible and when I don't have wifi access I have a sprint evo 4g with hotspot and I use that since I am already paying for unlimited data on sprint. at home I use my home wifi and it works great.

the battery.
the battery life on this is extraordinary. with the occasional you tube video and email and surfing I can last all day long on my chromebook and just plug in at night. I never carry the power chord with me unless I am traveling for several days. I have even sat and watched back to back hulu videos and I am still getting close to 6hours of battery life. I am just amazed at how long the battery lasts. I had to buy an oversized battery for my evo to last as long as my chromebook. with the samsung, the one disadvantage is that you have to open up the chromebook in order to get to the battery. it isn't removable. I really liked having a removable battery on the cr48... but if anything, the samsung appears to last just as long and maybe longer than the cr48 did.

1) well battery life is an obvious advantage over most laptops. because the only thing that has to run on the chromebook is the browser there is no OS to speak of eating up your battery. as far as I can tell I can last just as long on my chromebook before needing to plug in as I do on my ipad.

2) instant on and off. the sleep to wake time is about the same as my ipad, but awakening from a cold boot on the chrome book is faster than the ipad. and way faster than any windows or mac laptop I've ever used. if I am in sleep mode, I lift the lid and within seconds I am connected and working or playing. if I have powered off, it is about 8 seconds from the time I turn it on to the time I am up and running... for me that includes typing in my password.
all you have to do to be in sleep mode is close the lid or if you want a password, hold the power button momentarily until the password screen appears. if you hold it longer than that it will power off.

3) updates are automatic and run in the background and have little to no affect on the running of the machine while they download. when there is an update there will be a little green arrow on the wrench letting you know you can install the update.

4) there is no need for antivirus software. this is as close to a closed system as it gets. each tab is sandboxed so if you go to a malicious web site all you have to do is close the tab and you are protected. and each time you boot from the off position the chromebook does what is called a verified boot and makes sure you are booting from a clean boot. so you don't need antivirus and you don't need to update antivirus software or run scans or defrag the hard drive, etc etc... time saved? hours and hours.
now lets say something does manage to corrupt your OS... on my cr48 I was running the dev builds which have the latest updates but can be very unstable.. at one point the cr48 froze and when I turned it off it told me I had lost my OS or it had become corrupted. on the cr48 you removed the battery and flipped the dev switch, then plugged in a usb recovery drive; which took about 5 minutes to make on a windows computer, and it reinstalled the OS ... the time it took? about ten minutes from start to finish. and because I am synced to the cloud, once I booted up again I had all my preferences and bookmarks and apps and I was good to go. ten minutes... years ago when I would reformat the hard drive and reinstall windows it would take an hour or two and occasionally more jsut to reformat and then adding back the apps and the data and updating to the latest windows, well it would drive me crazy.

4) I've had a lot of people ask me how I feel about carrying a brick when I have no signal. the thing is; like my evo and my ipad, they don't do a whole lot when I don't have signal either. on my phone I can play music, read stored emails , read downloaded books , or maybe watch downloaded movies and a few games work offline as well. and that's about it. well the chromebook is about the same. there is limited storage and you can download songs or movies or books into google books (kindle is available yet for the chromebook but they keep saying they will have a full blown web kindle app soon) and angry birds... and thats about it. in the near future google has promised that google docs, email, and calendar will have an offline mode hopefully by midsummer.
but here's the deal, I've almost never had this issue. I go to some fairly remote areas and I almost always have some kind of connection even if it's roaming 3g on my evo (remember my data on the evo is unlimited so even roaming is free) and believe me when I'm any more remote than the san juan islands or the reservation, then it's probably on purpose and I don't really want a working computer when I'm backpacking, you know what i mean?

5) keyboard - this is more comparing to a tablet or phone... having a keyboard is really nice. especially if you do a lot of typing. heck I can even use skype or gtalk as a phone in a pinch with or without a headset. but seriously, I like to type a lot, emails, blogs, the chrome forum in google groups. so I really like having a keyboard. when I am out and about with the ipad I just keep running up against it's limitations. it's kind of a newspaper on steroids. but the chromebook is a fully functional notebook. it's larger than a netbook and boots faster than netbook and the keyboard is a full sized keyboard and really easy to use... so I would take this over a netbook any day of the week.

1) must be connected to work. I don't have this happen very often but it has happened once or twice and when it does it is very lame. it will be a lot better once the google apps are offline capable. but even now I could play solitaire or angry birds offline. and though the media player is very basic, if I have taken the time I can play songs or videos offline as well. but there are the occasional time that it really is a brick, at least for now.

2) the thing about working in the cloud is that when you do things you are connected, if you're not close to a wifi you are moving lots of data over a 3g/4g network. streaming videos, streaming music, storing docs in the cloud... sprint has the unlimited plan but no one else does... and if you're a passenger in the car signals can come and go. and well streaming music and videos eats up data fast... so in the car or out and about, I tend to use my phone for music unless I have a wifi connection.. my phone has locally stored music. and sounds great with headphone or plugged in the car stereo.

3) netflix doesn't work yet. this is a major annoyance. I really can't wait for netflix to work on here. really... netflix is slowly switching over to html5 and once that is up and running it will work on the chromebook.. we already know the netflix plugin is ready for the chromebook... so once netflix itself is ready we are off and runnning. we are hoping it will be soon, probably midsummer as well. in the meantime, hulu and amazon and individual website work great!! there are plenty of alternative options.

4) peripherals - this isn't designed to plug a dvd player into as an example. movies have to be downloaded or streaming, no discs need apply. this is a total non issue for me, but I could see it being to some people.

last and certainly not least is printing. printing must be done in the cloud. it's incredibly easy to set up, however to print to a home printer you must either have a printer that is cloud capable or have your home computer on all the time. as far as i know, only hp makes a cloud capable printer so printing can be a pain depending on your circumstances. like mine.. but what i do is store things in google docs and access stuff i need to print through another computer at work or home or even fedex. my home windows computer is old and dying as is my home printer so though I could make it work, it's just easier for me to print from somewhere else.

so to sum it all up... there are tons of advantages to the chrmebook and a few disadvantages. whether it would work for you really depends on what you intend to use it for....
good luck and enjoy!!!

guess not everything about the chromebook hehe

being a geek never sounded so good. so I guess tomorrow is tau day... 6.28. and here is a song for tau day...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

chromebook central guru

So I was amazed and excited to have the people at google choose me to be a chromebook guru for chromebook central at google groups. as part of the deal I got a free chromebook that I will use and test and post about. this is all very exciting. so far I have made an unboxing video which I posted to you tube here - .

i am going to cheat a litte and cute and paste my initial review here... I hope you enjoy it!

this is fast. noticeably faster than the cr48. the look is very nice. I love the white front and I love the google chrome logo... the chrome sign is 3d and looks wonderful. true to samsung form however everything feels plastic. in the body it's no big, it looks elegant and feels solid in the hands. where I notice is the keys on the keyboard and the trackpad. the cr48 keys felt nicer to me for typing. these keys are well placed and I can type faster than the cr48. the letters and numbers are whiter and way easier to see and just feels good. but I miss the slight rubbery feel on the cr48... the same for the trackpad. the trackpad works real well but I like the feel of the cr48 track pad better. that said this is an elegant looking machine. and the screen is brighter and easier to see for me. it feels lighter than the cr48 which is nice. makes it feel more portable and the cr48 already felt portable. so this is a real plus. when i lay the samsung on top of the cr48 it is slightly smaller and thinner. which is nice. it is a little heavier than I expected but it's plenty light and portable. it's funny the weight doesn't bother me on this but I am bothered by the weight of the ipad which ways a lot less than this machine. I think the difference is I don't have to constantly hold the chromebook it can sit there while I use it, but an ipad has to always be held to be used so over time it's weight becomes more noticeable. in my video I messed up and called the sim card slot the sd card slot. silly me... the multicard slot is in the front and I didn't see it at first. the external ports are laid out in a very nice way.

It comes in stable mode. I switched to beta but so far no change. maybe they're on the same build. not really sure. I like having this one being stable so I probably won't go to dev mode on here. beta is fine with me. using it is pretty much the same as the cr48 except for one thing. I couldn't get it to see my Evo when I plugged it in. on the cr48 it could see it... I think I will have to check the flags. it looks like getting to the battery would be a pain too.. i liked the removable battery. going to miss that. for those that cared tap to click was on by default on my machine... looks like they listened to us. yay!

Video on the other hand was choppy and unwatchable until I turned off pepper flash.the general public won't know to do that unless they come here and find out about it. I hope they get that fixed soon. everything works really well video wise except netflix doesn't work at all. I remember reading that some of the samsung owners had netflix working. please share with me what you changed in your set up to get it up and running. I would love to see netflix working on here.

Well no crashes yet. hehe... I am a happy camper here... this wendi from chromebook central signing off. hehe