Sunday, January 2, 2011

Missing Keys

This is a petty complaint but I really miss that block of keys in the upper right hand corner. This is definitely a scenario of now knowing what you had until it is gone. When it comes to selecting text, nothing works like those Home, End, Page Up, Page Down buttons. Delete, you've been missed as well.

Christmas Gadgets

Christmas brought several new gadgets that I was unfortunately able to use with the Cr-48. This was mainly due to the need for a USB component. Chrome OS being as new as it is we have yet to see a solution to the driver issue. I have high hopes that one will be developed in the future.

That being said, I didn't actually expect these USB items to work. It would have been nice but not very realistic. In the end it was a pleasant surprise when both my new Jawbone headset and Garmin watch were able to accept a charge from the USB port on the Cr-48. I had my obvious doubts.

I have, however, been using my Logitech Anywhere MX with its unifying USB receiver with limited functionality since receiving the Cr-48. The main mouse clicks and scrolling work flawlessly but I receive no response from the Cr-48 when I attempt to click the other accessory buttons on the mouse. Here again I am hopeful for an eventual solution. In the meantime, if you happen to be buying a mouse for use on a Cr-48, there is no need to splurge for any extra buttons.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Email Attachments

I am going to break away from the day by day experiences that originally formed the structure of this blog. Instead, I am going to be covering topics as individual posts. This will allow me the flexibility of blogging as many times per day as I like or none at all if I find nothing pressing on the given day.

With that said, the topic of this blog entry is going to be about email attachments. I've received several in the past 24 hours that I have had no idea how to handle. My first issue came with a zip file. There is no native functionality for handling zip files. This is where WobZIP can come in handy. The service will uncompress your zip files from the browser and share the contents with you. It can even handle your password protected archives.

My second attachment issue I am still working through. A family member decided to send me a Christmas forward yesterday and left me with the task of playing a wmv file on Chrome OS. I've contemplated forwarding the email to Posterous, uploading it to YouTube, and have also tried playing the file from my Droid X. The first two options may or may not work but neither are intended for the purpose and therefore I feel I would be cheating. I'm on a mission to find a service capable of playing or converting this file for me. Any suggestions are welcome.

Note: I've found some of the resources on this Lifehacker article titled Six Days Working Entirely from Chrome OS by Kevin Purdy extremely helpful.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 2: A Few Annoyances

My second day with the Cr-48 has been an interesting one. I know I am not supposed to be rating the hardware but I just can't resist. For the most part, I love it. The unit has a matte black look with an almost rubberized feel making it an enjoyable typing experience. As Brooke pointed out, it also looks very techy which probably does nothing but add to my liking of it. It is also void of any branding what so ever. Not a Google or Chrome logo to be seen. What I don't like, is the touch pad. Perhaps I will get used to it but I find my palm repeatedly hitting the pad as I am typing and moving the cursor to very undesirable locations, this could prove a problem during these blog posts.

On to my day, I sat down this morning and the first thing I did was login to LastPass, or I tried to anyway. LastPass is my key to the internet and therefore I keep it very secure. Along these lines I recently setup Multifactor Authentication on my account. For those who don't know, this requires me to run a small program which generates a key for any computer I have not previously authorized. The problem here is that to my knowledge, I have no means of running this small program from ChromeOS. I haven't figured out a solution to this one just yet.

My next goal was to configure the cloud printing options. This was a breeze. I signed in with my Windows desktop and enables the option from Chrome while signed in with my account. Once this was done I immediately had access to my local printer from the Cr-48. This could not have been simpler, go Google!

As someone who travels often I couldn't help but think about this device from an in-flight entertainment perspective. Here is where I think this device really falls short. Currently, from what I have seen, there is no working way to play media files stored on a USB device. In fact, there is no enabled way to view files stored on a USB device. However, I am not convinced that this is not in the works. After a little digging I found the about:flags page within Google Chrome.

I enabled the Media Player and Advanced File System with hopes of playing media on the Cr-48. The only difference I have seen is now when attaching any kind of storage it now displays a notification window that will scan the contents of the storage. It has never finished scanning my 8GB USB drive but did finish and eventually display a folder structure for a camera SD card with one photo on it. I wasn't able to navigate to the photo but I have hopes of seeing this feature in a future update.

Apps, you have to learn to love them despite their difficulties. It took much longer than it should have to embed the two photos in this blog. I used aviary to take the screenshots and do the editing. The struggle came with getting them into the blogger interface. Both systems try to make it simple - Aviary giving me full HTML and Blogger looking for only a URL - and therefore both conflict with each other. This is a minor gripe and no fault of the OS but unavoidable just the same.

Day 3 could be a slow one, as weekends normally are, but I'll update soon!

A Christmas Miracle

This is the only way I can explain how I was able to open up a package last night and find a new Cr-48 nestled inside. I had to apply as it would be crazy not to but I never expected I would receive one. Google was sending out only thousands of these things and in the tech world I am nobody. Yet, here I sit typing this on a matte black box that runs nothing but a web browser. Crazy, but cool.

Now that I have this I feel I owe it to Google to give it my full review and that will be the purpose of this blog. I've had it for less than 24 hours but I already have plenty to share. Overall I've been thoroughly impressed but, as with any early adopter experience, the device has it's flaws.

Opening up the unit almost immediately displays an initial boot interface where you setup your WiFi access, take your picture, and let the system install any required updates. Once this process completes you can log in with your Google credentials and any Chrome browser data you previously had synced will begin to load. This alone made the whole experience completely enjoyable as everything was instantly how I wanted it. This, and a little game of Poppit, was the extent of my use last night.

In my next post I will share my further discoveries of the day.