Tag Archives: chrome

Got Mom a Chromebook

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My Mom and Dad have always been wary of technology. I finally taught Mom to text a few weeks ago and she’s doing great…except that she calls me to make sure I received her text…but I’m not complaining. She can text now!

Mom is starting to realize, though, that she needs to have an email and be able to do some basic web browsing. I explained to her how a Chromebook works and asked if she would be interested and she enthusiastically said yes.

I decided to get Mom a Samsung Chromebook with built-in 3G. It comes with 100MB of data per month and 100 GB of storage on Google Drive free for 2 years. This is perfect for Mom. She won’t have to worry about getting internet for the house and if we see that she needs more data we can bump her plan up.

Newegg and Amazon appear to be the only places you can get the 3G model so I went with Newegg because it was the cheapest. Unfortunately, when the Chromebook came in and I began setting it up, it didn’t take long to realize that the sim card was missing. New egg is in the process of sending me a replacement.

I’ll let you know what Mom thinks.

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The Latest Chrome OS Update

I liked the old boot screen

I updated the Chrome OS on my Samsung Series 5 yesterday. I thought chromebooks were supposed to update automatically when you turn them on, without the fuss and interruption that you associate with updating a Windows machine. However, when I went to the About Chrome OS page in Settings, I saw that there was an update available. I had to manually click a button to begin the update. Since this was the first time I had gone through this process, I didn’t try to open any other pages or do anything else until the update was complete. It took several minutes and reminded me of Windows updating on my school computer. Oh well, no big deal.

When the update was complete, the first thing I notices was the new boot screen. Instead of the black screen with “Chrome” in the center (which I really liked), the new screen is white and any graphics look pale against it.

Once I logged in, I noticed that the app icons on the New Tab page were huge. In the old New Tab page, I could adjust the size of the icons, but I haven’t figured out how to do this since the update.

For the past month, Google Docs has given me the option to use the Classic or the New view. I’ve been using the Classic view since the New view is pale, like the new log-in screen, and difficult to read.

On a brighter note, I like the features of the New Tab page and the new format of the Chrome Web Store.


I Am One Step Closer To Getting A Chromebook.

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I’ve spent the last week researching Chromebooks. I played around with Google Docs yesterday after school to make sure that my school’s firewall didn’t block any of the Google stuff. Equations were easy to create and edit in the word processor. My lesson plans looked good when viewed in the spreadsheet. When I got home, my daughter informed me that she wanted to sell her Nintendo DS on eBay. I figured, what the heck, I’ll sell my iPad 2 and Gateway netbook while we’re at it. I got everything listed earlier this evening, now I’m having sellers remorse. I’m selling all my stuff so that I can buy a gadget that I’ve never played with or even seen in real life.

However, I have studied every spec and read or watched every review I could find. I’ve listened carefully to the many criticisms people have had with the Chromebooks, and they have not dissuaded me from getting one. I find the whole concept intriguing. I’ll let you know how practical a Chromebook is for school.

By the way, is there any reason I shouldn’t buy a new Chromebook on eBay?


Samsung Series 5 Chromebook vs iPad 2

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Earlier this summer, I was torn between which gadget to replace my netbook with:
•A more powerful ultraportable laptop, like a 13″ MacBook Air or Acer TimelineX
•The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
•The iPad 2

Cost concerns eliminated the ultraportables from consideration, so let’s focus on the Series 5 w/ Wifi & 3G and the 16GB iPad 2 w/ Wifi only.

Now, this may seem like we’re comparing apples to oranges, but both of these system are priced at $499, and were in competition for my money.

Storage
Series 5: 4GB, with documents and music stored online and Apps are web based. There is also an SD card slot.
iPad 2: 16GB, with documents, music, and apps stored locally on the device. However, storage is becoming less of a concern for iOS devices with the arrival of services like Dropbox. In addition to that, a new feature of iOS is online backup of iTunes and App Store purchases – so you can download apps and music that you’ve purchased when you need them, delete them when you are done, and re-download as needed.
***In my case, this category was a tie, but I don’t require a lot of local storage.

Design and Portability
***I like the design of both devices – large enough to meet my needs, yet still portable.

Productivity
Series 5: Google Docs has evolved into a very capable office suite for a math and science teacher (like me). The only strike against Google Docs is that you can’t work off-line (though this may change in the near future).
iPad 2: iWork is a nice, simple office suite for educators. I don’t get bogged down in a bunch of features that I don’t use. The main strike against iWork is that it’s word processor lacks an equation editor – a must have for a math and science teacher.
***I lean toward the iPad 2 in this category because there wasn’t a way to work in Google Docs off-line, but I was able to work around iWorks lack of an equation editor with an app called MathBot.

Battery Life
series 5: 8.5 hrs
iPad 2: 10 hrs
***iPad 2 takes this category.

Connectivity
Series 5: Wifi and 3G, with 100GB of free data per month from Verizon – that’s awesome!
iPad 2: Wifi only
***At the $499 price point, the series 5 wins this category, with the free data making this a very compelling device.

As you know, I chose the 16GB iPad 2 with Wifi because I was concerned about not being able to work on documents off-line. I considered the 3G version of my iPad, but in the end, Wifi connectivity is sufficient for me. On rare occasions that Wifi is not available, I can use iWork on on my iPhone. We will see how well the iPad works as my primary home computer for the 2011-2012 school year.