Monday, December 27, 2010

Mashable reposts from American Express OPEN Forum a very useful list of :

6 Free Chrome Apps and Extensions for Small Businesses

I incorporated the Google Shortcut extension already. This one could be a big time saver for myself.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thanks Google !

I really wasn't expecting to be one of those selected for the ChromeOS Pilot, but I am certainly glad that I was. It was sort of like a early Christmas present.

I am optimistic that this platform will soon be ready for market. The more I think about it, I believe that 90% of users could operate in the cloud with little or no problems at all. For my communication needs, I can do it very easily. The only time I will need something more is when processing music or video.

Google could actually stand to subsidize the the deployment of ChromeOS to manufacturers, because their return in the long run would exceed that subsidy cost. I have been wondering what the price point will be when it enters the market, and if Google did encourage manufacturers with an incentive, the cost for a device like the CR48 could reach the 100$ mark. With a price point like that I think users would flock to it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Press on the CR48

The little ChomreOS notebook continues to bring lots of writeups:

Google Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook – Review - Chrome Plugins
By arupchou
As we had mentioned in our preview of Google Cr-48, the notebook boasts of several features. But using it is actually something else; as we found recently when.
Google Chrome Browser - Plugins... -
Google Want to Know How to Demolish their Chrome Notebook! | Tech ...
By Pubudu Kodikara
Google is now finding ways to demolish their Cr-48 Chrome Netbooks! The coolest part is, you are the one whose going to tell them how to do it!
Tech Hamlet | We bring you the... -
SemuaBerita » Google Cr48 Chrome OS Notebook Review Chrome Plugins
By Admin
Google Cr48 Chrome OS Notebook Review Chrome Plugins. As We Had Mentioned In Our Preview Of Google Cr48 The Notebook Boasts Of Several Features But Using It Is Actually Something Else As We Found Recently When… ...
SemuaBerita -
Keep Your Eyes Peeled: A Chrome OS Notebook May Be in Your Future
By Jeff Weisbein
A little more than a week ago, Jeff wrote about a website that was tracking all of Google's ChromeOS notebook shipments in order to determine what regions the were being sent to and who was likely to get a hold of the device first. ...
BestTechie -
Bearly Rambling: Google Chrome Cr-48
By Same as it ever was
So here we go with my first blog posting on my new Google Chrome Notebook. Yes, they really are giving them away. I filled in the form day one, not really expecting to get one. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. ...
Bearly Rambling -

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Weeks and still going strong

I have had the Cr48 for two weeks now and I am still enjoying the experience. I have little to contribute to bug reports. The most annoying thing is the Flash crashes, but this is not an everyday occurrence. As I write this, I am downtown at the local coffee shope (Java J's) and having a nice double Americano.

I am using the Cr48 more in the realm of the same usage as my mobile phone. It is a wonderful communications tools. I can keep chat, mail, facebook, and a few browser tabs going all the time. I keep my Gmail tab pinned to the desktop all the time.

Something I notice, and maybe attributable to the soft matte finish, and the cold dry weather, is a small static discharge when removing the Cr48 from the sleeve I carry it in. This concerns me some that I might zap something inadvertently and brick this notebook. Battery life is phenomenal, I can use the Cr48 normally for a couple of days before dipping down to the warning level (15%). I do use it everyday, but still rely on other computers for specific application related tasks that have no counterpart on ChromeOS. These being music related programs, editors, sequencers etc.

I would love to see a Vmware plugin, that would allow me to use my work VDI session on this device. With that I could reliably work my corporate job from just about anywhere. Maybe that will come along in the future, because the Cr48 would provide an excellent thin client.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Cr48 continues to draw a lot of press

Here is a sampling of articles in my inbox this morning:

Blogs5 new results for google chrome notebook
One Week With the Google Chrome Notebook: An Experiment in Total ...
By Frederic
It's been just about a week since Google's Cr-48 prototype ChromeOS netbook appeared on my doorstep. Since then, I've been putting it through its paces,...
NewsGrange -
Where Can I See a Google Chrome CR-48 Unboxing?
By The Site Press Administrator
Google Chrome notebook unboxing photos and first impressions – Today was Google Day in the Stokes household, as the same FedEx truck brought both a Nexus S and Google's newly announced Cr-48 Chrome OS notebook . ...
The Site-Press World Wide Directory -
Get Google Chrome OS Notebook CR-48, For Free ! | A New Era Of ...
By Paul Acoin
Last week, Google announced a latest product which was its first ever Laptop/ Notebook. The product was named CR-48 and it runs on Chrome OS. A nice and attractive 12.1 inches display screen, Qualcomm Gobi 3G chip plus Wi-Fi and nice ...
A New Era Of Knowledge -
Review: Google's Chrome OS Notebook – Tom's Guide | The Computers ... wrote an interesting post today onHere's a quick excerpt Fox News Review: Google's Chrome OS NotebookTom's GuideWe got.
The Computers Today -
Google Chrome OS Notebook | All State Daily
By admin
Chrome OS Notebook, called the Cr-48. To be clear, the Cr-48 isn't ever going to be a commercial product like the Nexus One (or S) is for the Android smartphone platform, but rather its purpose is forGoogle to gather feedback data in ...
All State Daily -

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More in the Press

I haven't had much time to write this week. Bad weather here has forced me to spend more time traveling and the like. Fortunately the CR48 is continuing to get a lot of press. Here are just a few new articles:

Google Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook – First Look, Hardware and Specs ...
By arupchou
During the recently held Chrome OS event, search engine giant Google provided details into its forthcoming Chrome OS and premiered Chrome Web Store which hosts.
Google Chrome Browser - Plugins... -
Thoughts on the Google Chrome CR-48 Notebook « Chris Schnyder
By admin
Users who already depend on hosted applications such as Gmail, Google Apps or Google Docs are already doing this. For those users, using a Google Chrome notebook will be an easy transition from traditional desktop apps and operating ...
Chris Schnyder -
Google Chrome Operating System | RealityPod | Gadgets, Technology ...
By Neo
Google Chrome Operating System All your apps, documents, and settings are stored safely in the cloud. So even if you lose your computer, you can just log into another Chrome notebook and get right back to work. ...
RealityPod | Gadgets, Technology... -
InformaticsNet » Post Topic » Google Chrome OS Notebook ...
By futu
Chrome OS notebook on the market soon will come to that, it is already the first reviews of various online magazines, a prototype of the mobile computer are.
InformaticsNet -
Insomniac's Dream Sequence: Google Chrome CR-48 Notebook First ...
By peroty
Google Chrome CR-48 Notebook First Impressions Dreamed 1 minute ago | | 1320 words. The moment Google's announcement about Chrome OS and the Chrome Notebooks was over I raced to the site and signed up in hopes of receiving one of the ...
Insomniac's Dream Sequence -

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Technical Specs

Today in the CR48 sub reddit over at, the specs to the CR48 were linked and appear to be correct and verified. Here is the post 

This list is from Importb blog

Dimensions: 0.9″h × 11.8″w × 8.6″d @ 3.8 lb (1.72 kg)
Motherboard: Tripod Motherboard MARIO-6050A240910-MB-A03
Chipset: Intel CG82NM10 PCH
Processor: Intel Atom N455 (Pine Trail) @ 1.66 GHz single-core with hyperthreading
Graphics: integrated Intel GMA (Pineview) @ 200 MHz with VGA port
Audio: integrated Intel 82801G HDA with stereo speakers and 3.5 mm input/output jacks
Memory: 2GB Hynix DDR3 1Rx8 PC3-10600S RAM
Flash: ITE IT8500E Flash ROM
Storage: 16 GB SanDisk SDSA4DH-016G SSD on 1.5 Gbps SATA interface
Display: 12.1″ 1280×800 active-matrix color CCFL-backlit LCD with matte surface
Keyboard: full-sized 74-key keyboard
Touchpad: oversized multitouch clickpad
WiFi: AzureWave Atheros 9280 802.11 a/b/g/n supporting WEP, WPA, and WPA2
Bluetooth: Atheros AR5BBU12 with V2.1 EDR
Mobile: Qualcomm Novatel Gobi2000 PCI Express Mini Card
Battery: 63 Wh removable Li-po battery for up to 8 hours use or 8 days standby
Cooling: fan
Other: integrated USB 2.0 port, webcam, and SD card reader

Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Practices?

After 5 days of usage, I am beginning to get a grip on the best usage or practices for this device. Since you are using the Chrome OS, your are going to be working almost exclusively in the cloud, so that is the mindset you need to adopt. This will not work for everything or everyone so keep that in mind.

Like any OS, it has always been my experience to keep things as simple as you can to get your tasks accomplished. Load only the extensions and applications that you need. Analyze your needs and make your decisions based upon that. It is really not necessary to have every bell and whistle available.

The CR48 platform is ideal for communication. It could also be used for entertainment I suppose, but that is not a side I have explored yet. For staying in touch with email, chat, twitter, facebook, foursquare, buzz or any other social application it is ideal.

A good way to economize on the OS is to utilize the iGoogle personalized home page to your advantage. Set up tabs on your personalized Google home page with things that matter to you. You could have home tab, a news tab, a market tab, or what have you. Each of these tabs can have widgets installed that will be useful to you. As an example, I have a Google tab that contains widgets for Google Latitude, Google services, Google Docs, Google Bookmarks, Google reader and Google notebook. A few other tabs I have are a Home tab with local weather and news. There enough widgets out there that you can customize your home page and its tabs to be most functional for you. Detailed personalization of your Google home page can save you space on the OS apps page.

The real key to Chrome OS, is to embrace all the Google apps and services as much as possible. I have found that integrating those apps and services to be the simplest way. Of course this makes perfect sense for Google also. Here is the link to a list of all the Google services available to you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Using a Chrome notebook

My first wishlist

I have been using the Cr48 for several days now, and overall I am still pleased for what it is. Yesterday I used the device all day long off and on and did not reach a critical battery level until late last night. The battery icon appears to go red once below 15%. Battery life is very good. Yesterday was also the first time I had used the Verizon 3G service. I used it while testing the webcam and uploading a video to Youtube. A 1:34 video consumed 45 meg of the alloted 100 meg monthly service. So that meager allotment might work well for email and text, but once you start handling video it will go quickly. Another thing I noticed about the Verizon service was that the account status shows that it expires on January 7, 2011. According to the documentation with the CR48, there is a  two year free period of service of 100 meg a month. I will have to investigate that further to see what is going on.

So here a few things that I hope the Chrome OS development team will address.

  • File access to external USB and SD storage. How else will one upload photos or documents to the cloud without this? I hope this will be a priority
  • I use Sprint for my Android phone service, and I would prefer to use that for 3G also, especially when I go to an higher data allotment. I hope there will be a way to have these devices provisioned with another carrier.
  • Tether support for Android phones.
  • Bluetooth support.
  • A specification list in detail of the hardware in the CR48. I am curious about the processor type, internal RAM, SSD capacity etc.
Yesterday I also picked up my first accessory for the CR48. I purchased at a local Wal-Mart the Targus Phobos Netbook Sleeve for 17$US. It has a black crinkled cloth finish on the outside and a olive green soft cloth inner lining. It's inside dimensions are 11.7x1.5x8.3 so while not a perfect fit, I think the snug fit will be adequate for my needs, The model number for the this Sleeve is TSS136US.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First test of the embedded webcam

I decided to test the embedded webcam in the Cr48 today also. As there is no associated app with the cam on the Chrome OS notebook, I used the online recorded mode available on Youtube. The resulting video is at 360p. I am disappointed with the resolution and quality of the this first test. In addtion this video was uploaded while on the Verizon 3G network with 2 bars signal strength.

About Chrome OS

This is a screen shot of the OS build and revision levels that are initially on the notebook

Jamendo geeks solve the hidden Chrome OS equation ;-) (and win a Cr-48 netbook ;-)

Jamendo Blog » Blog Archive » Jamendo geeks solve the hidden Chrome OS equation ;-) (and win a Cr-48 netbook ;-)

Jamendo one of my favorite music sites solves a puzzle to win a Cr48. Good job guys !!!

I am seeing more and more press on the Cr48 so I will probably be aggregating some of those stories here as well.

Man solves MENSA-worthy math problem, wins Chrome notebook from Google
By Brad McCarty
Man solves MENSA-worthy math problem, wins Chrome notebook from Google.
The Next Web -
In depth: Google's Cr-48 Chrome notebook » OnlyHardwareBlog
By Manmohan
So how fast is Google's Chrome notebook? I checked out some of the latest movie
trailers on YouTube. Chrome played them ably, and the sound quality cranked out by
the computer was good. However, everything seemed to take a little longer ...
OnlyHardwareBlog -
Google Chrome OS Notebook Is All About The Beauty Of Cloud ...
By Ken
Google has shipped some of their new Chrome OS notebooks to their selected beta tester
and those who are lucky are now playing themselves hard on this new.
Hardware Sphere -
Meet the Google Chrome Notebook!
By Kristy Korcz
Meet the Google Chrome Notebook! Kristy Korcz | December 10th, 2010 at 2:30 pm | .
We just got our Chrome notebook delivered to Sugar HQ, and while we're busy diving into all
 the goodness that a cloud-based laptop has to offer, ...
Ethiopian Review -
cr-48 -Google Chrome Notebook | World latets breaking news
By Admin
”Chrome Cr-48, black MacBook: Separated at birth?” Cr-48, the 12-inch Google Chrome Notebook
that was unveiled just two days ago, is already being delivered to customers who ordered them,
according to TechCrunch. ...
World latets breaking news -

Chrome OS: 10 things you can (and can't) do with the Google PC
I was a little skeptical about this at first, but Google's explanation makes sense:

 "On your Chrome notebook, each web page and application you visit runs ...

How to Install Windows on Google's Chrome OS Notebook

PC Magazine - Cisco Cheng - ‎1 hour ago‎
The fact that the Google CR-48 Notebook runs on an Intel processor implies that it can 
run Windows or some other full blown operating system. ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Adding a few apps and extensions

While feeling my way around on this new notebook, I have looked at lot of apps and extensions in the Chrome webstore. I needed a screen capture utility, and had mixed success in that pursuit. I was unable to load the Google Screen capture, with it returning a Extension Installation Failure message. This message is pretty vague and with no good options to remedy the error I tried another. Next was Webscreen capture extension. This would install and capture but would give and error when trying to save to a file. The option to email the capture did work. The editing tools included with this extension were also limited, so I uninstalled it and looked further. I finally settled on Aviary Capture utility extension. This one seemed to have the necessary requirements and fully funtionally for me,

A second extension that I felt I would need was Web forwarding tool. Something that would allow me to immediately send a url to a variety of locations. The Google share button extension seemed the right choice. It would allow to send to a multitude of destinations like Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and many many more. This one installed with out any problems and seems to work just as needed.

Another handy tool I use frequently is a calculator. After searching the Chrome Webstore I went with one called Mini Calculator extension. It works flawlessly, dropping out of the tool bar when needed, and retains the last calculation. That was just what I was looking for.

Since this notebook is more of an internet appliance, my application list will probably not be very extensive. The NYTimes app was highly rated, and after loading and playing around with it, I will be keeping it. It provides an attractive news interface and very easy to use. This is not merely a web shortcut but a well developed application that  makes a very usable interface for a news reader.

The NPR for Chrome app also caught my eye. Again this one is highly rated and was well thought out during development. One of the features I appreciate the most with it, is the ability to cue up several of the podcasts and listen to those in the background.

I also felt the need for a Image Editor of some type. The web based Advanced Image Editor by Aviary seems to have all the tools that I will need, and I have used it before. It installed easily worked as it should the first time. It also ties in with the Aviary Screen Capture if need be.

One last thing I changed today was to add an additional theme. I went with a fairly simple one, choosing Chrome Professional Theme. Its not flashy or colorful, but has nice contrast and well defined features.

All of these items were installed directly from the Chrome Webstore, and all were free. There are plenty of apps and extensions that you can pay for, and some of those may surpass what I have chosen, but I prefer to go with free software whenever possible.

Day two and a few more thoughts and photos

First, let me say ... my initial reaction to the Cr48 is favorable, Its light (3.8 lbs), battery life seems to be very good, a somewhat minimalistic design which I favor, and robust on starts and resumes. I have struggled a little with the touchpad. It is a single button, multi touch design to which I am unaccustomed. But the more I use it, the easier it gets. I will attempt to do all the postings I can from the Cr48 itself, but may be unable to at times.

Now for a few pictures:
This is the photo of the box and its contents minus the laptop and battery. Again, very minimal.

This is the close up Keyboard view. Note the lack of function keys and Caps lock is replaced with a search key.

Here is the right side view. From back to front there are the following:
Power jack and charging light
Usb slot
Headphone jack
SD slot
Grill for right speaker

And finally the left side view. From back to front are the following:
Video port for external monitor
Grill for ventilation
Grill for left speaker (slightly out of view)

One last detail, the power supply/charger is rated at 19.5V and 2.05A output.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Unboxing the Cr48 Google Chrome Notebook

I wasn't expecting the Google Chrome Notebook. It arrived today via UPS, and due to the holiday season I first assumed it was some items I had ordered for Christmas gifts. I was truly surprised upon opening the plain brown box. I had not received any communication from Google that I would be a part of the pilot program. My first reaction was that it was part of the Secret Santa program I was participating in on . Surely I had the best Secret Santa ever. So after posting to Reddit and expressing my delight, my Secret Santa revealed himself and cleared that up. The notebook was not from him.

I vaguely recall doing one of the Google surveys about living on the web ( Which I do really ). I must assume that I was selected as one of the pilot participants. So I will get to work using this platform and try to bring you some useful information in this blog.

I might have photographed or video the unboxing if I had known what was inside. But I can describe it pretty easily also.
Inside the UPS box, was a single laptop type cardboard box with the plastic carrying handle that is commonly used on them these days. Inside of that container was the laptop in a plastic sleeve, the laptop battery in a plastic sleeve, a 110 volt power supply / charger and three cardboard documents. Topping it off was a nice color insert on a glossy type paper/plastic that is in a triangular shape.

The documents included one describing battery installation and power supply connection. A second document describes the laptop controls, and getting on the web. The last document was a Welcome to the Chrome notebook Pilot Program.

I will photograph these items above and post very soon so you may also get a look at them.

Now here are a few screen captures for you. (any image can be enlarged by clicking it, use your back button in the browser to return to the blog.)

The inital App page with the default app's installed on startup

The various System Setting pages