ChromeOS Questions?

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:53 am

Funny story: I got a CR-48, apparently thanks to a coworker's friend who passed along the sign-up page about 2 minutes after they popped up a QR code for it.
No idea how large the beta actually is, but if you have questions, ask away and I'll try to find the answers. I've barely been on the thing long enough to post this though, so some first impressions from a very brief time on it:
1) It's too heavy. :( My Macbook Air weighs a little bit less, and despite the screen dimensions my Air is only about 1" wider (and slightly thinner).
2) Maybe I'm just spoiled by Magsafe connectors, but the power connector feels cheap and doesn't connect too well.
3) The arrow key layout is weird. Also, I just noticed, but there don't seem to be enough editing shortcuts -- you can jump by word but there's no beginning/end-of-line. (The combination you expect to do that is forward/back in the browser.) :(
4) It's Google Chrome. Like, really, you don't quite understand until you start it up. But all the settings you can change are accessed via the Chrome Wrench menu, and while there are some additions it basically looks the same as a full-screen browser window.
5) There aren't quite enough feedback indicators yet. It looks like there are 16 levels of brightness, but there's no indicator telling you where you are when you change it. You just push the buttons and see if they work. Similarly you can have a bunch of different windows (actual windows, not tabs), but there doesn't seem to be an indication of which window you're in -- you just have to push the "Change Window" button and see if you move, and where too.
6) This is making a strong argument in favor of cloud-based stuff. I literally just switched away from LastPass to a password solution that syncs over the cloud but runs locally, and I'm realizing the Chrome extension is unlikely to work without local storage. Unfortunate. :(
7) The touchpad is annoying me, but still probably the best I've used that wasn't on an Apple product.
8) I can't get a right-click menu on Flash ads. I can still kill Flash via chrome://plugins or the task manager, though!
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:01 am

Aaaaand for those of you wondering about Flash, it doesn't even give the option of 720p playback on Youtube. At least, the max I've found is 480p and I checked on my Air that some of those videos had 720p content available.
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:31 am

Hmmm there's a problem with your post. The beta is to test the software. I don't believe the harware is expected to be tethered to it in any way or reflect the potential end hardware that it will use. With that in mind i'd like to see more info about the software very specifically.
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:22 am

Heiwashin wrote:Hmmm there's a problem with your post. The beta is to test the software. I don't believe the harware is expected to be tethered to it in any way or reflect the potential end hardware that it will use. With that in mind i'd like to see more info about the software very specifically.

You mean more than "it's Chrome"? I think that's all there is too it. It's Chrome.

I don't know about the cloud thing. There is absolutely no noise about it in the architecture industry. Autodesk Revit from the cloud? Can't see it happening.
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:18 pm

Heiwashin wrote: With that in mind i'd like to see more info about the software very specifically.

Well, like I said, ask away. I got it yesterday and only played around with it for about an hour.

One other thing that was interesting is that there are at least a few apps -- a notepad, and Google Talk at least -- which extend the in-Gmail chat interface to work across all windows. I'm pretty sure it's still HTML5 rendered, but you get a chat window which you can keep popped-in or else "minimize" down to the bottom of the screen, which stays there across all tabs (and possibly windows, haven't checked that yet). Unlike in Gmail, though, when they're minimized the entire interface disappears, except for about 2 pixels to let you know that there are minimized tabs. Then when you bump your cursor into the bottom of the screen the full header information comes up. That part I like.
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:58 am

I also got a Cr-48. I really like it. Both hardware and Chrome OS. Certainly the keyboard and shortcuts are a bit different than I'm used to (try Ctrl+Alt+/), but the touchpad is very nice once I cranked down the sensitivity a bit. I find myself having to stop and think about what I'm really trying to accomplish on the system every now and then. It does everything I'd want to do on that screen (12.1" and adequate resolution) just fine. Autodesk Revit, no way. But that's not the point. Pandora plus Google Docs plus GMail plus a couple other webpages all work fine. I can read my magazines (using Flash) too.

Once the support for local storage is worked out a bit more and Google Cloud Print is fleshed out I can't see why Chrome OS won't be a valid choice for a highly portable system that doesn't need great computational power. It feels to me like attacking 80% of a given market is the way to start out - if you shoot for, say, 95% you're not likely to succeed. And Chrome OS seems to be a product that would work for at least 80% of the folks out there. I'd submit we here at TR are probably biased towards the power user group, but I can easily think of 9 close friends and family members who count on me for tech support and would be happy with Chrome OS. And in that sense, I think Google has a chance for a grand slam. Once you get your noodle properly wrapped around the Chrome OS experience, I think it'll be very natural for many people and actually reduce a lot of the fussiness that makes PCs (I suppose that mainly counts for Windows machines) hard to use. That's not my viewpoint, but it's the viewpoint I believe to be shared by the average Joe. Maybe I'm a hopeless optimist?? :)

I guess my biggest gripe is having to give up some programs I'm so used to. KeePass, foobar2000, Paint.NET, JPdfBookmarks, etc. Yet I think we're at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can be done through a browser. (Admittedly, if that's not the case there's no hope.) So I'm trying to keep optimistic since my experience will be more and more similar between Chrome OS and Windows 7 as I move towards doing more and more work in my browser.

BTW, to get more system info in the Chrome OS GUI, type "chrome:system" into the URL bar. Ctrl+Alt+T brings up a castrated command prompt.

Finally, maybe I've just missed the obvious here, but I never got an email or note with the system so I started a Google Docs document (what else?!) about my experience in addition to submitting bugs/issues. Is there a specific channel to communicate this to Google? And do we send the Cr-48s back at some point or are they keepers?
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:38 pm

So... just so i'm understanding this correctly. The entire os is a browser and you have no local applications for most functions, other than the browser. Can we see a screenshot or is that asking too much of the os? As far as applications of such a device go, i guarantee i'd likely be the first one in line to purchase one depending on the 3g deals. Long story short, all of my notes, documents, and assigments are done and kept online as it is, with rough copies on the home pc for backups sake. I even do my programming assignments in the cloud if i have time and copy them over later to continue. I'm curious about startup times, and how it handles different types of documents. Lets say i'm accessing online spreadsheets, pdf's, and other such things. Does it run locally, or does it do something closer to what i'm imagining this thing would do, and send a copy to google docs where you can read it.

and no i haven't actually done any research or looked at reviews, i'm just being lazy.
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:23 pm

Heiwashin wrote:So... just so i'm understanding this correctly. The entire os is a browser and you have no local applications for most functions, other than the browser.

Well, there is a Linux OS underneath the browser, but you can only access it via a "secret" keyboard shortcut. No idea what you can make it do via pseudo-rooting, haven't tried and probably won't.
However, I did notice it has SSH, so maybe I can make real use of it after al!!
Can we see a screenshot or is that asking too much of the os?

You'll have to look online, sorry.
I'm curious about startup times

10-15 seconds startup, about 1.5 seconds wake-from-sleep. But I occasionally seem to hit some sort of intermediate thing which takes like 6 seconds -- I'm not sure if that's wake-from-sleep failing miserably or what.
and how it handles different types of documents. Lets say i'm accessing online spreadsheets, pdf's, and other such things. Does it run locally, or does it do something closer to what i'm imagining this thing would do, and send a copy to google docs where you can read it.

It's all web apps of one form or another. There is local storage which is accessible to the web apps, so they can do local caching, but it depends on the app to implement.
Chrome has its built-in PDF reader now, so once the PDF is downloaded that's local.

I haven't tried to plug in an SD card with any pictures or whatever yet -- apparently it's got some pretty nifty bits about automatically starting up Picasso Online!
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:25 pm

Chromium OS, the open-source side of Chrome OS, has been out for a while -> http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os

Chromium OS is available to the public -> http://chromeos.hexxeh.net/

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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:29 pm

Well i'm gonna download it and give it a run.
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:05 pm

Got mine yesterday. Flash definitely sucks on it bit otherwise I like it.

If you still want to see a screenshot here you go:
Image
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:05 pm

I never did get it working on my laptop but i didn't really put a lot of effort into it.
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Re: ChromeOS Questions?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:37 am

I had tried the Hexxeh builds on my Netbook a while back and it never really worked right so I ended up going back to Linux.
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