Tag Archives: google

Chromecast Setup & First Impressions

I purchased a Google – Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player from Best Buy for $35 and received 3 months of Netflix for free. Since I’m already a Netflix customer, they just credited $24 to my account.

I’m impressed by how small and simple everything about this device is…the packaging is attractive, the instructions are simple, and when you consider what its capable of, the Chromecast is tiny.

It’s just a dongle with a small button and micro USB port on the back, an HDMI connector in front and an LED indicator.

Back in the box we have a USB wall charger, an HDMI port extender, a micro USB to USB cable, and some tiny instructions.

Setup is easy. First, plug the Chromecast into an HDMI port on your tv. If the LED indicator doesn’t light up, you’ll need to attach the dongle to a USB port on the tv or an outlet. My tv’s USB port didn’t supply power, so I’m going to use the provided  charger to to plug it into an outlet.

Now that the  Chromecast is receiving power, the LED indicator will light up.

Next, switch your tv to HDMI input…and you should see the setup screen.

To set up the Chromecast, you’ll need a computer with the Chrome browser installed or an android device. We’re using a Nexus 7. Launch the Chrome browser. And you’ll be prompted to launch Google Play. The link will take you to the download page for the Cromecast app. Install the app. I had to give Google my phone number to proceed…

Now open the app and accept the terms.

Select Setup and allow your device to connect to the  Chromecast. Let your device know if you see the code on your tv. Now you can choose a name for your Chromecast.

Then you’ll have to put in your wifi password so the Chromecast can connect to your network.

Once it’s connected, you  can watch a tutorial or just finish setup. You’re still in the Chromecast app, so go back to the home screen and launch Netflix or YouTube.

Even though I couldn’t setup the Chromecast with an iOS device, I can still cast YouTube and Netflix videos from my iPad to the tv …in fact, you can cast from any iOS or Android device that’s logged onto your wifi network…no app is required.

We went my YouTube channel and tried playing one of my old video. When you press the cast icon you’ll be given the option to play the video on your device or on the tv. It just takes a few seconds for the Chromecast to start streaming video…at this point you can do other stuff on your device or just let it go to sleep…the Chrome cast takes care of streaming the video.

When your done casting, tap the icon and send the video back to your device.

Chromecasting works basically the same on both Android and Apple devices. One thing to note is that you’ll have a few more options on an Android device…like access to video playback controls from the drop down notifications menu and from the lock screen. That’ll make multitasking more convenient.

Overall, the Google Chromecast is a great value at $35.

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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.


My Nexus 7 Has Arrived…FINALLY!

For the last 3 weeks I’ve felt like a 9 year old child waiting for Christmas.  But at long last my wait is over and the new Nexus 7 tablet has arrived at my door.

Lots of people have been complaining about a “shipping scandal” and the “lack of communication” from Google.  However, when I pre-ordered my 8GB Nexus 7 from the Google Play store, it was clearly stated that the tablet would ship in 2 to 3 weeks.  I received a confirmation via email shortly after I placed my order then another email notifying me when the tablet shipped and included a tracking number.  My tablet was delivered exactly 2 weeks after I ordered it.  I’m satisfied with that service.

The Kid and I did an unboxing that you can check out below.

Nexus 7 unboxing video


Nexus 7 Has Shipped!

Nexus 7

I pre-ordered Google’s Nexus 7 on July 3, and I received an email bright and early this morning (July 14) that my order has shipped.

I ordered the 8GB model of the 7″ tablet from the Google Play store for $199.  After sales tax and shipping were included, the total cost was $225.

The 8GB model is currently only available at Google Play, but the 16GB model is being sold at Google Play as well as retailers like Staples, Game Stop, and Office Depotfor $249.  I’ve heard that many of the retailers are sold out and may not be getting another shipment until mid August.

Nexus 7 covers – rumored to have the auto sleep/wake function.

If the rock bottom price hasn’t enticed you to purchase one of these shiny new tablets, Google Play is offering a $25 credit with

the purchase of a Nexus 7.  With this credit you can purchase apps, music, movies, books, and it just occured to me that you may be able to purchase the Nexus 7 cover, which is listed in Google Play as coming soon for $19.99.


My Nexus 7 Is On The Way!

I pre-ordered Google’s new 7″ tablet, called the Nexus 7, from Google Play.  It should arrive in 2-3 weeks (July 16-20?).

Earlier this summer I almost bought an iPad 2 (again).  I heard rumors that Microsoft was making an Office app for the iPad and I got iPad fever. Unfortunately, it was just a rumor.  MS has their own tablet in the works, and they’re hinting that the “Pro” model could cost as much as an ultrabook laptop…I’m not interested.

However, on June 27 at Google I/O developers’s conference, Hugo Barra announced the Nexus 7…starting at $200…I’m interested!  So I started comparing the Nexus 7 to the iPad:

Exterior Design:  The Nexus 7’s display is made of a scratch resistant Corning Glass instead of Gorilla Glass like the iPad.  I don’t know what that means in terms of durability if dropped, so I’m glad the Nexus 7 has a non-slip textured back instead of a slippery aluminum back like the iPad.

Operating System:  I used Apple’s iOS 5 when I had an iPhone and I’m currently using Android 3.2 Gingerbread on my Galaxy Note.  I like using both, but Apple has a better system for getting updates out to all users.  The Nexus 7 that I just ordered comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and since it is coming straight from Google, I’m hoping that I will be able to update the OS each time a new one is released – like Apple devices.

Apps Store:  In order to download apps or even browse Apple’s App Store you have to download iTunes to your computer or you must already own an Apple device that has the App Store on it.  I like to browse an app store before I buy the corresponding device.  If I can’t get the apps I need, I don’t want the device.  For example:  The Blackberry Playbook was an awesome device with a horrible app store.  Fortunately, Apple has a great App Store.  I like Google’s app store, called Google Play, because it is online, you don’t have to download it, and I could check out the app selection before I ordered my Nexus 7.

Apps:  Apple has a larger selection of apps, but I’m happy with the apps offered by Google.  Plus, the Nexus 7 uses Chrome as its browser so I’ll also have access to Chrome’s Web Store with its selection of web apps.

Portability:  I like the 7″ form factor for a tablet.  I had a Blackberry Playbook and I took it with me everywhere.  When I had the iPad, it stayed at home.

Storage:  Neither the Apple iPad, nor the Nexus 7 come with expandable storage.  That’s fine with me.  It keeps the cost down and with all the cloud storage that is available, I don’t need it anyway.

Price:  I had planned on getting a 16GB iPad 2 for $320 – this model is refurbished by Apple and includes a 1 year warranty.  A 16GB Nexus 7 costs $250 and comes with a $25 credit at Google Play.  I ordered the 8GB model for $200 and it also comes with a $25 credit.


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?