Chrome Book Day 7

Open Apps

Well, day 7! 1 full week of using only a Chromebook for all of my computing needs as a technologist. Pictures above is what you see when you hit the tile apps button on the Chromebook keyboard. I found this very useful and it can be found on just about all mainstream operating systems. I did use Beagle Term yesterday to program a new Cisco firewall using a serial to USB cable and it worked great. And I have said before now that you can install Andriod Apps the Chromebook feels more like a full computer. You have to watch because some of the Andriod Apps are written for a phone screen but many will go full screen.

Using this Dell 3380 has been fine. I do wish that they would have put a better screen on this machine. Reading the text is a little looking at the old VGA graphics of the past. But when I connected it to a good monitor I found that the resolution was great and more readable. Everything that you are going to do with a laptop of any maker will be fine using a Chromebook. So why on earth is anyone spending major dollars on other machines? I am still partial to my Macs at home because of my workflow in creating my videos and podcasts. And I still like my MacBook Air for the great keyboard. But workflows can be changed and buy a better Chromebook would solve the keyboard issue. Remember you get what you pay for. But as for the Chrome OS, it will and is a major player in computers. And I have seen in the hands of students they are doing great things with their Chromebooks.

So overall if you have been following this test you can see that the Chromebook is a machine that can be used every day for any type of computing. I will still be testing it out to see if I can use it for photo and video editing? If I come upon something to report about in these two areas I will report it here.

Thanks to Google for giving all computer users another outlet for computer usage. And if you are on the fence about buying a Chromebook, don’t be. Just grab one today you will be happy to live virus and spyware free.

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Chrome Book Day 6

Server Connect

I did a little experiment with File System For Windows which can be found inside of the file manager on the Chrome Book.

File System For Windows

You will need some information about the server you are connecting to. I found that using the servers IP address was the best way to connect. Leave the port number as the default. Use your network username and password, add the domain name and then the shared folder name. You can get all of this information from your IT department. Once all of the information is added click on the mount button.  Now when you open your file manager on the Chrome Book you will see the shared folder. You now can open any of the files from your server share just as you would from your Google Drive.

All of the items that I have shown so far are items that come with every Chrome Book and Chrome OS device. When you work with a device every day you will find ways to make it fit your daily computing needs. I have been so impressed that I am really looking into buying myself a shiny new Chrome Book. I am leaning towards the Asus C302CA. This Chrome Book is a 2 in 1 which means that it is a laptop and a tablet in one unit. You can find cheaper units but I want something with a great keyboard and now that we can install Andriod Apps it will also replace my iPad. I am sure I will give you more updates if or when I buy the unit.

Asus 302CA

The only drawback I see with this unit is that it has no standard USB ports and I have to buy some dongles. It also does not have an HDMI port so I will have to buy a USB-C to VGA and HDMI dongle. But from what I am seeing it is sleek and light. To be honest I still have to play with some video editing and photo editing tools so that I can take it with us on those long motorcycle trips and produce my videos.

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Chrome Book Day 5

Skype

I had to use Business Skype today and found a little quirk with the Andriod App. When I had the app open on my second monitor which I use in extended mode I noticed that when I bought the mouse on the laptop screen the Business Skype went blank. When I moved the mouse back onto the extended monitor the message came back.

This is still not enough reason to say not to get a Chromebook. You won’t always be using the second monitor and may never use the Skype Andriod App? But as I report to you the good points I felt it was only fair to report the bad findings.

I also tried to connect to our local shared drive off of one of our Windows servers. I only gave it a few minutes but could not connect. I will give that a little more attention today and see if I can connect to the local shared folders. I will give you more on that tomorrow.

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Chrome Book Day 4

SSH

On day 4 I had to work on one of our switches in a networking closest. So I grabbed the Chromebook off my desk and headed to the networking job. Once we got the wiring completed I opened the Chromebook and then opened the Andriod App Termius which is a telnet and SSH client. I added the address for the switch in a very nice interface and clicked on connect. The screen opened as you see above. I was able to work on the switch using SSH just as I would on any machine using Putty.

I feel really strongly that with Google adding the Andriod Apps it opens the Chromebook up to working just as an everyday computer. There is no reason for professional technologist that you can not use a Chromebook. One of the selling features to me is that it is instant on and fast to load a program. But even more than that you can just get work done.

This Chromebook I am using is the Dell 3380. It is the same one that we hand out to our students. I am not a supporter of handing out 11″ screens to the students, this one is 13″ and has a very clear screen. The keyboard is okay but the keys are a little noisy. It does have two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and HDMI out which is nice to connect to an external monitor which is how I use it on my desk. If I think in our next round I might look for one with a better keyboard? But overall this model has been holding up and the students really enjoy using it because it is fast to start and they say they can get work done faster.

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Chrome Book Day 3

Evernote

First, let me say the more you use anything the more you will become familiar with whatever it is. I wrote my Monday Tech Tip for work using Evernote and the screenshot/clipping tool built into the Chrome OS. To use the clipping tool hold down Ctrl/Shift and tap the windowed key.

Once I created all of my screen grabs I was able to open Evernote on the web. The Android client is not great and really not even good on the Chromebook. I think it made more for a touchscreen. But the web version of Evernote works great. I was able to get my Monday Tech Tip completed and then emailed it to all of our users.

With each day my nerves and worry about using only the Chromebook/Chrome OS for one week is diminishing. I am almost to the point of buying one for myself. Some pointers would be, but it with 64 Gig Storage and 4 Gig of ram. If you have to settle for a 32 Gig model you will be fine but with installing Andriod Apps you may fill it quickly.

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Chrome Book Day 2

On day two I started digging into some of the applications that I use on a daily bases. Since I can now install Android Apps on the Chromebook I was happy to find MS Word. I was really excited until I tried to use the Android version of Word. It is very stripped down version which makes sense it is for a tablet or phone screen. The first picture is the Andriod version of Word.

Android Word

As you can clearly see from the toolbar it is very stripped down. I guess in a pinch it will work but for real work, I would suggest that you use the Office 365 online.

Word Online

You can see from this toolbar that it is more of a normal view of what we get on the desktop version of Word.

I am also creating YouTube videos of key points about the Chromebook. I hope between the blog and the videos it will help you better learn more about using the Chromebook and Chrome OS on a daily bases.

 

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Chrome Book Day 1

Desktop

Day 1 of my life without a traditional computer went well. For the next 7 days, I will only be using a Chromebook. I did luck out today I found that the Chromebook I am using allows me to install Andriod Apps. How would this make a difference?  Well for starters I was able to install Business Skype, Microsoft Word, a Telnet Program, Twitter App and my trusty Evernote. This is a huge leap in the right direction for the Google Team and the Chromebook.

I can tell you that if you don’t have an Office 365 account you will not be able to use the MS Office Apps. It does require you to log into your account. If you don’t have an account you still have access to all of the Google Apps. If you buy a new Chromebook you will also have 100 GIG of online data storage.

I was also shocked to find out that I could connect my DropBox and One Drive cloud storage directly to the file explorer program. Now it really does not matter where your data is stored you can have access to your files.

My partner at work asked me to remote into her desktop computer. I searched the Andriod Apps and found a Microsoft Remote Desktop client. I opened it and logged right into her machine. So yes the Chromebook can be used in a technology environment.

Using Google Cloud print which I set up for our students I was able to install a printer and print just like I normally would from Office. Is there a learning curve? Sure, but overall I had a successful first day with the Chromebook connected to an external monitor.

External Monitor

I will give you more updates on the weekend. I want to post something daily so that I can keep on task with learning how to survive with only the Chromebook.

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ChromeBook or iPad

ChromeBook or iPad

I have set myself up for a challenge. I am calling it one week in. In what you might be asking? I want to try to be all in one of the newer OS’s that have been said to be a replacement for the standard computers that we have been using for years. The two OS’s I am challenging myself with is the ChromeBook and the iPad IOS. I have to admit I am already having some anxieties over only using one device for an entire week!

This post is being written using the iPad. Normally when I write I use the program Grammarly. I just installed the Grammarly keyboard which seems to be working. However, it will not allow me to use my external keyboard. I am touch typing this with the on-screen keyboard.

So why do I want to do this challenge? Mainly to see if a normal computer can be replaced by one of these newer devices? So today I will be removing my trusty MacBook Air from my laptop case and I will be carrying and using a ChromeBook for the first week. Next week I will switch over to the iPad. I will blog each day to let you know where I am with the test.

As for this morning post, I am using the Word Press app on my iPad. I hope you follow me on this test and once and for all we together will see if one of these new devices can in fact be used for day to day computing without using a normal Mac or Windows PC?

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Does Operating Systems Matter

Operating Systems

I have been working with computers since the early day’s of DOS, yes we didn’t even have a graphical user interface. When you wanted the computer to do something most of the time you would have to be able to write a program and then do the project.

Then came Apple and Windows with their pretty point and click graphical user interface. You wanted to open an application you simply double clicked on it and it opened. What was even more impressive was the fact that you could have multiple applications opened at the same time. Which I believe was the beginning of giving all of us a little OCD. This is because we could be working on one project and quickly switch to another application and look at the news. You may do this today? You are working on a large project and you open another tab and check your email or facebook?

At one time the operating system meant that you choose it because of the application you are used to using. Such as running Microsoft Windows because you are a Microsoft Office user. Or using a Mac because you enjoy using Final Cut Pro. Or you might have been a FREE type of person and you went with Linux?

In today’s modern computer world the operating system is really the less important thing on the computer. Why is this? Easy most software vendors have found that programming for the web is the best choice for their applications. I am working on a large database program now and after careful consideration, I decided to write it for any web browser. Why would I choose to do this? I am like the big guys. I want my application to work on any operating system as well as any device that may could be invented for years to come. As long as there is a way to view the Internet I can adjust my program to run on that device.

We see in schools today most of the daily work is done inside of the browser. We have Google Suite and Office 365. Kids take their tests using a web browser. Teachers are teaching from the web browser. So you can see that the operating system basically boils down to what you want to look at all day.

One last thought of today’s post. This is why when Google released the Chromebook it is such a great hit. Because people who use a computer know that the only place they will be spending their day is inside of a web browser and most people choose to use Google Chrome so why not buy a full function laptop for a few hundred dollars and put the saving into some other form of technology.

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Will Robots Replace Humans

Service Robots

I have been watching some of the new releases from CES. I have been amazed by how many robots are being displayed this year. It reminds me of when computers or TV’s were the hot topics. I am not talking about a robot the sweeps your carpets or even ones that mow your lawn. I am talking about full-fledged service robots. These are robots that interact with people as well as provides a service to the food and hotel industries.

There is a hotel in Japan that is entirely run by robots. As soon as you check into the lobby you are greeted by a robot. There is a robot who will help take your baggage to the room. Then there are robots cleaning the rooms and bringing room service. I guess the only bright spot in all of this is that we will not have to tip the robot for the added services?

Next, I found a restaurant in Japan who are using robots to bring your food to the table, take your orders and even bus the table when you leave. It won’t be long before they are also cooking your food.

These robots from what I have seen stand four feet high, cost $5000.00 each and will last 5 years before needing to be replaced. If they were paying someone $10.00 an hour each year it would cost $20,800.00 for a human worker. Then we have to have human sick days built into that as well as vacations, taxes, and insurance. We can see just on a cost savings why these companies would be doing this. But where does it leave the human race?

We have seen for years where robotic arms do a lot of the manufacturing jobs in the USA. These machines have been putting the working man out of many companies. So with this write up you might think I am somehow excited? Not the case at all. I am really worried about our future generations growing up just to become people who service the robots that will be servicing all of us. Then what happens when the robots can service themselves?

Technology is a great thing. It helps us in our daily lives. And I see it is even good for doing tasks that we don’t want to give time to. But when I see this as a movement to replace us and take all of our jobs I get really worried. I just hope the government is making plans to have some sort of cash flow to give all Americans to allow us to live a normal happy life.

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