Archive for 'Tutorials'
Anyone who knows Chrome, knows Hexxeh- the fellow behind pretty much every open source Chrome OS build available on the net. If you’ve used a Chrome build, and it wasn’t on a Chromebook- you probably used on built by him. You probably get the idea by now- he’s kind of a big deal, guys-at least when it comes to the Chrome open source community. Now, you’re probably wondering what Hexxeh has to do with this story, right?
Turns out, he’s been busy- on top of developing new Chromium builds for all of us to fiddle with; he’s also managed to do something very interesting with Apple’s new Macbook Air- he’s jammed Chromium into it.
I’m not just talking virtualization, either-Hexxeh’s tossed OSX out the window for this one. The Macbook seen here is one hundred percent Chrome. Pretty spiffy, no? Now, unfortunately, the Macbook Air isn’t going to have all the same features one might find in a Chromebook- it’s simply not built to accommodate some of the features that are standard fare for Chrome- such as verified boot or boot speed optimization. According to Hexxeh, his jury-rigged Macbook Chrome takes around twenty two seconds to start up- pretty damned fast, but left in the dust by a traditional Chromebook.
Aside from a massive leap in hard drive space and slightly improved graphics hardware(which you’ll need to do some BIOS tweaking to get up and running); Hexxeh’s Macbook Chrome isn’t all that different from a traditional Chromebook. I mean, you could have double the RAM if you shelled out extra for the 4 GB model, and about .24 GHz more processing power, but that aside…not a whole lot to see here. Still, Hexxeh says it’s pretty awesome-we should probably take his word for it. After all; he is the expert here. Anyway, those of you who enjoy tinkering with code are probably clamoring to find out how to do this yourself, aren’t you?
While Chrome OS keeps things beautifully simple, it does have a crosh shell which gives the user some powerful features. One of these features is SSH which allows you to exchange data between another computer and your Chromebook, giving you secure access to other computers on your network.
For example, lets say you are working on your Chromebook and you decide you want to upload some pictures into Picasa, but they are in your other computer. All you need to do is use ssh to access those pics, transfer them to your Chromebook via SFTP or SCP protocols. Once they are transferred, you can upload them into Picasa. And you didn’t even need to get up from your comfy chair and you saved some wear and tear on your sneakers.
Step 1: Access the Chromebook terminal.
Ctrl + Alt + T
Step 2: Access the SSH sub-shell.
Type “ssh” in the command line
Step 3: Log into your the target host.
You will have to know the host IP to do this. If you don’t know the IP of the host you are trying to access use “ipconfig” in the host system and keep a record of it for future reference. (I’m assuming the computer you are trying to access is in fact yours and is easily assessable.) The basic form of a ssh login is “ssh  (port is usually port :22)” In crosh, this is entered by the following:
Type “host” and the ip address you want to connect to, then press “enter”.
Type “user” and type the user login name, then press “enter.”
Type “ls”, and you’ll be able to see all the files in the user home directory and browse the host file system with a range of terminal commands.
Step 4: Log out of the host system.
To quit the session, type “quit” and you’re done. Type “exit” to quite the crosh shell.
So there you have it. SSH is a pretty simple and handy tool to know, and Chrome OS gives you access to it.
The Samsung Series 5 is not built like the Cr-48 in the respect that you can just swap out the battery. Because of this, Google and the designers from Samsung decided to put the developer toggle switch in a different spot for this device. It will be interesting to see where they put it in the Acer Cromia, which is reportedly getting a name change and being delayed until July. We’ll see about that, since the first delay was extremely abrupt and suggests that Acer wants a lot more information about Chromebook sales before they sell them. But without further ado, check out where to find this switch.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll need create a recovery USB drive to load a new image of Chrome OS on the machine. This image will not be verified, and therefore you’ll be able to root the device using the normal Linux commands. First, you’ll need to go into the terminal by hitting CTRL+ALT+T. Then type “shell” to drop to a full bash shell. You’ll be the special user named chronos. Type “sudo su” and your rooted!
Did you have any problems doing this on your Chromebook? Let us know in the comments.
Since I rely on my Google Account for so much, I decided to give Google’s two-step verification process a try. I didn’t want one day to come to the unpleasant realization that my Google account had been hacked. Just recently Google disclosed a phishing attack originating from Chinese hackers. As mentioned in the Official Google Blog, 2-step verification is a highly recommended way to protect your account.
Basically, the way it works is this: two-step verification generates a unique 6 digit code. You then sign in with your regular Google account password then you will be asked to verify. You enter the number you previously generated and bingo! You are in your Google account. It just takes an extra few seconds and a hearty second level of security is added.
Google 2-step verification uses your mobile phone – something you likely have with you all the time – as a tool to give you an extra level of security to your account. Any mobile phone which has the Google Authenticator app can be used. Any phone you have access to really can grant you a second level of security for your Google account, but a phone of the mobile variety is obviously more convenient.
Chrome session syncing is a rather useful function that allows you to access your open tabs and browser windows across multiple platforms and systems. Say you’re on your desktop computer, and you’re looking at a few web pages in Chrome. With session syncing, you can open up the exact same web pages on your laptop with the click of a button. What’s more, it’s incredibly easy to set up. Well, easier than it used to be. You used to either have to use command switches or download a plugin. Now, however; you simply have to do the following:
Step 1: Open The Chrome Options Menu
See that little wrench in the upper right hand corner? Click on it, and then select options from the dropdown menu that appears. That’ll load your Chrome options page in a new tab.
Although Google has released the source code for Chromium OS, Chrome OS requires specialized hardware to run- hardware that, at the current juncture, will only be available on the Chromebooks which are slated to release in June. For many of us, this means that we’ll have to wait until June to give Google’s newest platform a whirl.
There are a few ways of getting around the whole specialized hardware hurdle; one of them is to use VMware and run Chromium OS via virtual machine. It’s actually not all that difficult to do:
Step 1: If you don’t already have a Google Account, create one. You’ll need it to log in.
Step 2: Download the VMware version of Hexxeh’s Chrome OS Vanilla. Do note that in some of the newer versions, there are bugs with networking. Hexxeh recommends either downloading an older version, or waiting a few days for a new build to release.
Step 3: If you’re running Windows or Linux, swing by VMware’s website to nab yourself a copy of VMware player or VMware vSphere Hypervisor. You’ll need to create an account to download, but don’t worry- both products are free. If you’ve a bit of money in your pocket, you could shell out a bit extra for one of their premium Virtual Platforms, but it’s not strictly necessary. If you’ve got a Mac, you’re going to need VMware Fusion, instead. If you’re running Linux, look here for further instructions on how to install VMware Player.
Step 4: Configure VMware Player with vmware-config.pl
Step 5: Place the downloaded image in the VMware folder. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s a good idea to keep organized, as a general rule.
Step 6: Open the image in VMware Player, by using an existing virtual disk, ensuring that the VMware Player is configured to use Bridged Networking instead of NAT.
Step 7: Log in with your Google Account information. Enjoy!
That’s…basically all you need to do. Rather simple, isn’t it?
I recently had a run a recovery of my Cr-48, and to my surprise the Google support pages don’t offer a how-to for Windows, only Mac and Linux. If you’ve ever loaded a bootable USB image you’re probably familiar with this process, but here are the steps for those who have not done this before.
You’ll need a USB drive that is 4GB or larger.
So, what did you do over your holiday break? Spend time with friends and family? Maybe relax a little bit? Flash your Cr-48 BIOS?
Ok, so most of you probably wouldn’t dare make an attempt to do this, but some devoted techies spent some time recently doing so, enabling them to load operating systems such as Windows 7 and Mac OS X on their test pilot machines. We can’t condone your activities here, because we’re just passing on the information. If you’ve worked in support or development, however, you probably know a bit about how to do this already but here it is specifically for the Cr-48. Best of luck!
Many people don’t realize that the Cr-48 has Bluetooth built in. That’s because it doesn’t exactly work right out of the box. The hardware is an Atheros AR5BBU12 Bluetooth V2.1 EDR if you want to get technical by the way. You can play around with it if you’re interested, and here are the steps to do so.
1. Enter developer mode.
2. Get to the terminal by hitting CTRL+ALT+T.
3. Open up a bash shell. Just type “shell” in the terminal.
4. You’ll need to put your Bluetooth device into discovery mode. If you don’t know how to do this with your device you’ll need to consult a manual or Google it.
5. Type “hcitool scan” to have the Cr-48 scan for Bluetooth devices. You should see device(s) with their addresses listed.
6. Type in the command “hcitool cc xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx” to connect the device, using its address.
7. Depending on your configuration, you may need a key. You can enter this by using ”hcitool auth xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx”.
While these are the steps to complete the process, the rate is limited for this working. Let us know if you’re able to connect your Cr-48 to Bluetooth devices.
Here is a video on how to get into developer mode and to the shell in order to root your Cr-48.
1. Turn off the Cr-48. Make sure you have a pen nearby or this is going to be difficult.
2. Flip the Cr-48 over.
3. Remove the battery.
4. Right beside the battery contacts there is a small bit of black tape. Take the tape off. Check my picture below.
5. There is a white switch under the tape. For user mode, the switch is away from the battery contacts. Use your pen to switch it towards the contacts.
6. Put the battery back in and start the machine. There’s an ominous message but you can hit CTRL+D to get past it. If you do nothing the device will eventually beep and start the process into developer mode.
7. The C-48 will wipe itself and replace the image with a developer copy. This takes 5-6 minutes.
8. You’ll need to go though the initial setup process again.
9. Once you get logged in, you can hit CTRL+ALT+T to get to the terminal.
10. While you can get to this shell in user mode, this terminal offers an extra command to use. To see all commands type “help”.
11. Type “shell” to drop to a full bash shell. You’ll be the special user named chronos.
12. Type “sudo su”
Photo of taped location in the battery compartment.
If you want to be able to sync your browser preferences up with other instances/devices, you’ll need to set up syncing. Right now, it’s apparently not done for you automatically. When I first popped open my Cr-48, I was missing a lot of stuff that was in my browser on my other machine, so here is the way to get it running.
Go to your options menu under the wrench icon. In that dialog box click on Under the Hood and then Set up sync.
One of the biggest new features in the stable release of Chrome 8 was the integrated PDF reader. This was done to help ensure better security, as Adobe’s PDF software has been subject to malicious attacks.
But the integrated Chrome 8 PDF reader doesn’t actually use Adobe’s own reader software. It uses the PDF software from a company called Foxit. That means some users of Chrome 8 are missing functionality that they need within the reader only Adobe provides. This includes saving, paginating and printing PDF documents.
If you’re one of these people, this post may be helpful to you, and even if you’re not, you might be interested in the inner workings of Chrome’s plugin system.