Tag Archives: Chrome OS
A very interesting series of tweets from Liam Mcullough earlier this week. For those of you who don’t know, Mcullough- also known by his nickname, Hexxeh, is the man who’s more or less been solely responsible for pretty much every Chromium OS release since Chrome first hit the market. He’s also the fellow who loaded Chrome onto a Macbook Air. With that information in mind, it was pretty clear what his intentions were when he tweeted on Sunday that he was “picking up an Asus transformer tomorrow, with the keyboard dock.” That said, he continued by establishing that he was “not interested in running Android on there.”
After spending about a day fiddling around with his new purchase(which apparently rather impressed him), Hexxeh managed to load Google’s Chrome OS onto the rig, as made evident by the screenshot above. Though it’s kind of hard to tell due to the lighting, that is none other than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, complete with a shiny new OS- and it definitely isn’t Android.
Now, before you folks go getting all excited; there are a few things we’ll first need to establish. One; this isn’t as much of a total system overhaul as with the Macbook Air, either- in this case, he booted straight from a USB drive, in order to make it easier to work on the image. Second, the current build of Chromium on the Transformer is suffering from some…pretty nasty bugs, if Hexxeh’s to be believed. When asked about how well it ran, he responded with the following:
“runs terribly things to some huge bugs in the LDK, gonna try to work around them by patching Chromium and the WM. Basics like WiFi, touchscreen work, sound is MIA right now but that’s an easy fix.”
So….long story short, he’s still working feverishly on getting this system up and running. Those of you expecting a touch-based UI might be a bit disappointed, though. Hexxeh’s made it clear that he’s not keen on building a touch interface for the transformer at the current moment- seems likely he’s more focused on getting the basics working before he starts fiddling with the onscreen keyboard- something which is made possible thanks to the transformer’s rather excellent keyboard dock.
Currently, Hexxeh’s managed to shave ten seconds off the boot time of the Transformer (No word on how long it takes to load, I’ll keep you posted), and the release date for this build is…basically “TBA.” According to Mcullough, when or if he releases this build hinges entirely on when he finds the time to finish it.
Considering how fast he seems to work, I’d imagine it’ll probably be some time next month.
Either way, it’s pretty exciting news- as he put it, the experiment is basically “complete proof of concept” regarding the viability of Chrome as a tablet OS. Of course, we sort of knew the concept was true from the beginning- Hexxeh’s just demonstrating it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Image Credits: Hexxeh
Mozilla’s been having a pretty rough time lately. Their browser, Firefox; started out in a pretty sweet spot- as an excellent alternative to Internet Explorer. Now, it seems as though their browser is the one people are seeking an alternative to- and that alternative just happens to be Google Chrome. It’s no secret that both Firefox and IE have been losing market share to Chrome lately- and if they keep going at the rate they’re going, Chrome could very well end up as the dominant browser in the market.
Recently, Google nixed Firefox’s Google Bar. While versions that already had the bar designed for them still kept the addon, any version beyond 5 no longer offered it. Naturally, there were a lot of fans of the browser who were rather unhappy with Google’s decision- and a great many people who felt that a move like this only underscored that Google no longer saw Mozilla as an ally; but an enemy instead. I won’t go into the details of the Google bar’s demise- because honestly, they’re irrelevant to us. What we are going to focus on is an announcement that Mozilla made shortly after Google officially cut support for the Firefox addon.
Apparently, Mozilla is working on a web-based operating system.
Google’s been marketing its Chrome OS as more secure than traditional PCs. And they’re right, in a sense- It is a lot more secure than your standard, run of the mill operating platform. That doesn’t mean that Chromebooks- and their users- are completely invulnerable. I’ve cautioned before against making such assumptions, and stories like this only drive home what I’ve been saying. Whitehat Security researcher Matt Johansen doesn’t believe for a second that the Chrome OS is safe or secure- and he claims he’s found evidence to prove it.
The slogan for the Chromebook is “Ready When You Are.” The truth of the matter is that’s only partly true because services many find essential are not being offered yet. Ironically, one of these services is one of the biggest sources of web traffic in North America, accounting for 24.71 percent of aggregated traffic is not accessible via Chrome OS. The cloud app I speak of, of course, is Netflix. Netflix is one of those services that validates the cloud because it allows the user access to thousands of movies and television shows (about 12,000 to choose from) via the Internet and can make you wonder whether you need a dvd collection at all.
Yet, Chrome OS — the ultimate cloud operating system — is currently unable stream Netflix movies. It’s taking time for Netflix to migrate to the HTML5 technology. Not a small feat considering the amount of movies they are streaming. The Netflix plug-in is in the Development Channel for Chrome OS, so it is only a matter of time that it will be available. But the fact is that it isn’t working yet.
What is a Chromie supposed to do in the mean time? You may be a bit disillusioned by the change Netflix’s pricing plans as well. Such questions may lead one to ask: what are the alternatives?
Well, the ones that come to my mind are Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube. All of these services can be used quite easily in Chrome OS and that shinny, new Chromebooks.
Hulu is mainly for television shows, though if you get Hulu Prime, you get access to the Criterion Library. Many excellent films are to be had here for the film connoisseur but more mainstream movies are not in Hulu’s offerings. So if you want the latest Adam Sandler film, you are out of luck.
There is also YouTube. YouTube has been working hard to extend its digital offerings and offer commercially produced movies as well as user content that has come synonymous with the brand. It offers 3,000 movies for rent, some of them at no cost. The issue I see in this service is that the movies you are most likely are going to want to watch are rentals. A Netflix streaming subscription is $8 a month. That would be only two rentals on YouTube.
Last, but not least is Amazon Prime. If you are a big Amazon shopper, this may be a no brainer for you because you get free 2-day shipping as a member of Amazon Prime. The “Prime” catalog, while it has many movies and television shows to stream, is not as extensive as Netflix. Amazon has around 5,000 movies for streaming, however 1,668 of them offered for free on-demand streaming for Amazon Prime members. Not a very high number if you ask me.
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.
Bit of a slow week this time around- it appears I was rather mistaken when I estimated we’d be seeing some major updates. We’ll actually be seeing a major update to the stable channel next week. For now…I don’t hvave all that much for you guys. Aside from the Canary channel (which updates every day, regardless) the only changes we saw were to the Beta channel and the Dev channel- and even then, there was nothing particularly major. Chrome’s Beta channel’s gone from 13.0.782.55/13.0.782.56 to 13.0.782.99 on all platforms. The Beta channel for Chromebooks also received pretty much the same upgrade, going to 13.0.782.99(Platform version 587.80). Finally, the Dev Channel’s been updated to 14.0.825.0 from 14.0.814.0. Safe to say that’s the largest update in the list, and it brings a number of changes to WebKit with it.
There was always speculation that the CPU for Chromebooks would be upgraded to higher specifications. It was just a matter of when. More details on the next generation of Chromebooks is out. Chrome OS chip-set support will grow to include Intel Core i series processors. Intel is supporting this by giving Chromebook manufacturers a 10-20% discount for related processor quotes, according to “sources from notebook players.”
It will be interesting to see how this affects Chromebook specs. With greater CPU power, will obviously come faster performance, but will the Chromebooks still be able to maintain their superior battery-life with more power consuming chips?
Besides Samsung and Acer, Asustek Computer is likely to join the Chromebook upgrade project “after the forth quarter.” The fact that other manufacturers are interested in producing Chromebooks is a sign that Chromebooks will continue to be with us for a good while and will succeed in going beyond a Google experiment.
The question remains out when Chromebooks with ARM processors will be manufactured. From the looks of it, Google is sticking with Intel, at least for the time being.
Looks like the folks at Google have been busy. The Developer Channel updated to 14.0.814.0, Beta is now at version 13.0.782.55(Windows/Mac/Chrome)/13.0.782.56; and the Stable Channel’s current build is now 12.0.742.122(Windows/Mac/Chrome)/12.0.742.124(Linux). The Chrome OS Stable channel also saw an update, going from R12 to0.12.433.231 R12 release 0.12.433.257. It’s been a pretty big week for the Developer channel, and an even bigger week for Adobe Flash- every channel that’s been updated-with the exception of the Developer channel- got itself a shiny new Flash player.
Mostly pretty minor updates- bugfixes and such- but still worth taking a look at. Let’s start with the browser.
Been a lot of talk lately about Google’s Chrome OS- none of it good. See, a lot of folks have been buzzing about the fact that Chrome isn’t actually as secure as Google makes it out to be. Quite the opposite, actually- as a result of its outdated Flash player, they say; Google’s supposedly secure Chrome platform has a few glaring, terrible security holes. It’s not secure, and so long as Google still uses Adobe’s Flash software, it will remain insecure.
Now, those of you in the know are going “Wait, wait, hold on, back up a minute. Google just updated their Chrome OS last week! That updated included a new Flash player, didn’t it?”
Why yes. Yes it did. But security experts still aren’t satisfied that this fixes the security issues inherent in Chrome. Do their claims hold water?
Let’s find out.
It’s no secret that Google’s trying to make a completely browser-centric computing experience with their Chrome OS- and, to a lesser extent, the Chrome browser. They’ve just taken a rather considerable stride towards accomplishing that, by incorporating a task manager user interface. Now, while it’s pretty clear what the task manager would be used for in the Chrome OS, some of you are likely wondering just what sort of purpose it might have within the Chrome browser. Have a look. It pretty much does what you’d expect of a task manager- except it only operates within Chrome. Basically, it lets you view processes and applications running within the browser, and pick and choose which ones to terminate. Pretty convenient, and makes it a lot easier to track down a misbehaving plugin or app and get rid of it.
Unfortunately, this function isn’t live in Chrome just yet. It’s going to be coming fairly soon-probably in the next release/update- but for the time being, it’s only live in Chromium. If you want to give the task manager a try and don’t want to wait, you’ll need to download the latest version. There, it’s currently only available via command switch. Once you’ve got it enabled, you can visit chrome://taskmanager to view it.
via Chrome Story
One problem I’ve noticed folks citing again and again with Google’s recently released Chromebooks was the lack of offline support for several of Chrome’s apps- Google Docs among them. This lack of functionality was considered by many to be a rather major flaw- yes, Chromebooks were supposed to operate off the cloud. But at the same time, the cloud isn’t all-encompassing and far-reaching. Until such time as it is, 3G is there to pick up the slack. But what about those of us who don’t really care for the idea of having to use a 3G connection to access the Chromebook’s core apps when a network connection isn’t available?
Up until now, we’ve sorta been out of luck.
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.