Sunday, July 31, 2011

Is Netflix For ChromeOS Almost Ready For Release?

The Netflix plugin continues to be worked on and updated for ChromeOS and Google. We are told Netflix is actively working on getting switched over from Silverlight to another format that will play nice with all OS's including running natively on Linux and ChromeOS. 

Here is the latest from Engadget - Engadget Link

So cross your fingers and think happy thoughts! And maybe soon we will see some Netflix on the Chromebooks! Or maybe we will see Ke$ha, rainbows, and unicorns on our Chromebooks first... Oh Wait... LMAO.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Google + Interview With The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

My local paper, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette recently interviewed me about Google +. Check it out! I hope I have made the Google Chrome community proud =) I am honored to have been chosen as a Guru and will continue to serve as long as I can! =) Pittsburgh Post Gazette Interview

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Price Is Right?

I have a challenge for my readers. Someone posed a very important question to me the other day. They asked if the Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook was worth it's $499 price tag. There is no easy answer. I answered in the standard way. If you are looking for a power house that can do everything imaginable and do it with ease then maybe you missed the point of a Chromebook in the first place. I then reminded them that the target audience is users who simply use the web and don't do much else. I challenged him to find a netbook or notebook running any OS with hardware specs and design that matched or beat the Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook.

He was unable to do so. He never came close. That is my challenge to you all. Find me a netbook or notebook that has the same or better specs as this Chromebook. It has to be at or around the same price. No higher. It also must have all the features this currently has. It needs to have a clean and minimalism design that matches or beats this Chromebook. I have yet to find one myself. I searched for hours.

Goodluck! If you think you found one, post a link to it in the comments. If you do happen to best this Chromebook then the prize is a virtual hug from yours truly! Ready? GOOOOOO! =)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Verizon 4G LTE VS. Verizon DSL

As promised here is the speed tests comparing the difference between Verizon 4G LTE and Verizon DSL in my area.

Verizon 4G LTE:

Verizon DSL: 

Yea my usual internet sucks that bad. My 4G is gonna run out in 2 weeks. So I will enjoy the speed while I have it! So as you can see... If Verizon 4G LTE is available in your area you should check it out for sure. Especially in the case of a smartphone or tablet. 

Verizon 4G LTE: Mobile Data Speeds You Have To Experience To Believe

Let me start this article off by saying I am a very blessed young man. I have had the privilege of getting to know  some pretty amazing people since I started beta testing for Google. With that being said, today I was blessed with a Samsung Verizon 4G mobile hotspot. It was given to me by a Chromie named Earl. He is a wonderful soul. So thank you so much Earl! You are blessing to me and to others! 

Now to the techy details! First off, I currently crawl the web using Verizon DSL 256K. It actually never gets above 86K in my area but that is a whole other story. Enter Verizon 4G LTE. The device itself (Pictured above) is another fine product by Samsung. It is light, clean, easy, and portable. It also has pretty decent battery. Within seconds I was online and flying into the world wide web. It blows my DSL away. I feel like I just switched from Dial Up to Cable. Like for real. I can actually watch YouTube video's in 720P without having to wait all day just for it to buffer. I can have multiple tabs open and do things without having to wait. This network is bad ass! 

I will admit I had my reservations. 4G is being touted by every major company out there it seems and I thought it was all just bait and switch. With Verizon's 4G LTE all of my expectations and reservations were BLOWN AWAY. It's the real deal. I have my Samsung Chromebook and my Droid connected to it all day at home. It fly's through everything I do on both without missing a beat. 

I understand that many people have yet to have this network available in their area. I also realize that it is not very full of traffic yet. However, it is still a huge increase over my current connection and I could not be happier. I would recommend getting a 4G LTE phone from Verizon if you have it available. Also if you are looking for a mobile data solution this is the way to go. You will be glad you did. 

*I will post speed test data in a different post later on this week!* 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waking Up With My Chromebook

My morning routine (On the days I actually wake up in the AM that is) is simple and always involves my Chromebook. I grab my Chromebook first thing and head to the table with my coffee and fruit loops. I open up my Chromebook and I am on Google News and Google Reader in an instant. No waiting and now hassle. I haven't picked up a news paper in YEARS.

I usually turn on some good jams while reading all the daily happenings as well. My Chromebook is my breakfast buddy. Hey if you can't have a significant other then a Chromebook is a close second right? =) I couldn't and wouldn't go a day without my Chromebook. Oh yea and I get 11 hours of battery... (Here's lookin at you $1000, 11in Macbook Air. Mister 5 hour loser). Just sayin. Yay cloud and yay Google =)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Unofficial Webstores For Google Chrome

I am not sure why it has taken me this long to post this but here it is. The official Google Chrome Webstore is wonderful truly it is. However, it lacks certain apps for one reason or another. Don't you ever find yourself wishing there was another place that had the apps that the official Google Chrome Webstore is missing? Well take heart! There are two very well maintained unofficial webstores that I use daily.

1. Unofficial Chrome Apps - Is my favorite. It has a huge selection and you can even submit to have an app made for free!

2. Chrome Underground - This is also a very good resource for unofficial apps.

Know of any other sites that offer Chrome web apps? Post below in the comments and let us all know about em!

My Chromebook Is a Jukebox!

Do you remember going to those old diners and finding a jukebox hiding in the corner all dusty and forgotten? I used to love to go out to places like that and put a quarter in and rock out to some Cher or Elton. Well recently I discovered that Chromebooks could be just as exciting as those old things sans the quarters! Chromebooks offer a wide variety of music webapps. Below I will discuss my favorites. At the end of reading this you will be able to turn your Chromebook into a jukebox and party like its 1955!

1. Google Music Beta - This is currently by invite only. Once you have an invite you can upload all your music (Windows/Mac support only for the upload). After it's been uploaded you can stream that Green Day or Incubus day or night straight from the Google Music Beta web player. There is an UNOFFICIAL Web App for it as well.

2. Grooveshark - Another awesome and amazing webapp that cranks out the tunes. I am partial to Grooveshark. It is my webapp of choice for music usually. Check out the UNOFFICIAL Web App for it as well.

3. Amazon Cloud Player - This is a lot like Google Music Beta. It allows you to upload your library to it and then stream it from your web browser. I use this rather often as well. One unique feature this one has is the ability to purchase music through Amazon MP3 and have it upload straight to the cloud after the purchase. Very handy and works well on Chrome and Android. Get the official Web App here.

4. Pandora - The good old trusty Pandora. I have used this service for years. It is not the best but it gets the job done. The good news is Pandora is set to release a brand new HTML5 powered web app here soon. It looks pretty streamlined and clean. So check it out and enjoy.

5. Last.FM - Another one of the classics. It has had it's ups and downs for me over the years but it is still a usable option that should not be ignored. Check  it out as well.

I am sure there are more alternatives that work just fine on the Chromebook but those are my top 5 favs. Do you guys have any that I may have missed? What are the pros and cons of each alternative you have? Please share below in the comments! Chrome on! =)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chromebooks: The Future Of Computing is NOW

When Google decided to create Chrome OS and Chromebooks they knew they were on to something amazing. They single handily helped to propel cloud computing into overdrive. Now every major company is making "Web Apps" for their services. Give it a few years and ChromeOS will be the dominate OS among most of the younger generation. Affordable hardware, insanely long battery life, crazy light weight/portable, all with an amazingly social and cloud based OS running on it. What more could you want from a future computing device? The future starts now! Best of all We will never have to see that damn blue screen EVER AGAIN.

Ready to join the ChromeOS party? Two Chromebooks are now available with more on their way!

Acer AC700 - Click Here To Purchase Via AMAZON

Samsung Series 5 - Click Here To Purchase Via AMAZON

Monday, July 11, 2011

Storm Knock Your Power Out? There's a Chromebook For That

Today I was reminded of just how much I love my Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. The skies were going crazy outside and the storms got so rough it nuked my power thus nuking my internet. So all was lost right? WRONG. Enter 3G. All I did was turn on my 3G and I was right back on G+ looking at pictures of cats and chatting away. I was on like 15% battery power and it lasted all the way until my power came back on. Everyone else in my house came over to me and just sat and watched in amazement as I continued to Tweet and read the news on My Chromebook. So I would say that is yet another win for the Chromebooks!

Let's Talk Limitations

Okay so I feel it is only fair to point out the serious limitations a Chromebook still has. I want to have this blog be a place where potential buyers can come and see what the Chromebook is all about. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Though I have yet to find any ugly.

Here is a list of limitations I have encountered. This is not everything it is just what I have come across since I started using Chromebooks both the CR-48 and now the Samsung Series 5.

1. No Netflix support - To be fair Google has the plugin ready for testing they are waiting on Netflix to make the needed changes so Google can put the Netflix plugin into action.

2. Very limited native file support (.zip is just one example) - Google has been constantly improving and adding more file types to ChromeOS so this is simply an issue of when not if.

3. The built in media player is VERY limited (Cannot play a lot of file types) - Google is working to add more codecs and file types to the media player.

4. Lack of streaming plugin support (DivX, Real Player) - Once again it doesn't support a lot of closed, 3 party plugins in system wide.

5. Doesn't support any native apps (VLC Player, Transmission, Cheese, etc.) or native printing or most any device that needs drivers (Like my Logitech USB headset) - Don't hold your breath for much change on these. Native client will help with some of this but it will still be really limited.

6. No java - Once again this is unlikely to ever come to ChromeOS.

7. Little to NO offline apps - Google is working to bring more offline apps by the end of summer and more in the future. Again this is a when not if issue.

8. Poor and rudimentary file manger - No easy way to move files and folders and no easy copy and paste function. It is very limited and needs some serious work.

9. If your an owner of an "i" device (Apple) good luck. No iTunes and no native support. This does not effect me but it will effect many.

10. No CD/DVD drive and no CD/DVD burning support for external CD/DVD drives. (Once again not a big deal to me.)

Even with all the limitations the Chromebook does what it was designed to do. It was designed to be a thin client a cloudbook. It was not meant to ever compete with systems running full fledged OS's. So if your like me and live in the cloud already then what are you waiting for? Acer ships for $349 and Samsung ships for no higher than $500 for the 3G model. ChromeOS is only gonna get better with time. Many of those limitations will be overcame sometime in the near future. This is a Beta OS after all and truly the first of it's kind.

A friend of mine just bought a 3G Samsung Chromebook and couldn't be happier. He came from a Windows 7 machine. Remember different strokes for different folks. If you need to do serious audio/video/picture editing I would say move on to something else. If you just wanna check your Gmail, Google +, Twitter, and browse Reddit all day then this baby is for you! It is a web browser based OS after all and it does just that! =)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chromebooks: The Art of Simplicity

Simplicity. Its the mantra of Google Chrome and Chrome OS. The Chromebooks scream simplicity in the hardware design and the OS that runs on them. Chromebooks weren't meant to tackle all your heavy duty tasks such as audio, video, and picture editing. They weren't meant to be used for coding and application creation. They weren't meant to play WoW and or The SIMS on either. I think there is a huge misconception and or confusion about what they were meant for. They are not here to compete with any product (Netbooks, iPads, Xooms, Etc.). They were designed with PURE web users in mind. Users just like me. 

I spend like 98% of the time on the web when I am on a computer. I don't do anything heavy and crazy like some people do. I Tweet and +1 things as well as email and watch YouTube. I listen to music and keep up with the news, weather, and social lives of my friends and family. I also watch the TV episodes I may have missed if my dish goes out. I video chat and hangout with my buds online all day and night. That is pretty much my daily online life. The Chromebook works for all of those things and it does it in a FAST and SIMPLE way. If you ask me, for someone who just uses the web, there really is no better option. I think you don't realize how much you don't need a full blown OS until you leave it and try something like ChromeOS. It will change your perspective trust me on that one. Being able to go from a cold boot to Google + or Twitter in under 10 seconds is INSANE. That alone is worth the price of the machine. Oh an the 10 hour battery life isn't to shabby either =) 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WiFi Only Acer Chromebook Finally Gets Release Date (Hopefully)

Reports are coming in that the Acer Chromebook will be released on July 11th from Amazon. The WiFi only version will be available at first with the 3G model coming later this summer. At just $349 it looks rather tasty if ya ask me.

Specs include:

  • 11.6” HD Widescreen CineCrystal™ LED-backlit LCD: (1366 x 768) resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Dual-core Intel® Processor
  • 2GB DDR3 Memory
  • Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
  • 16GB Solid State Drive
  • 1.3 Megapixel HD Webcam (1280 x 1024)
  • High-Definition Audio Support
  • Two Built-in Speakers
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™
  • 2- USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1- HDMI™ Port
  • Full-sized Chrome Keyboard with dedicated keys for the web
  • Oversized, Multi-touch Touchpad
  • Memory card slot for storing photos, music, and video
  • 6 hours of continuous use
  • 3.2 lbs 
So what say you? Are you excited for it to finally be released (Almost a full month late)?