Tag Archives: Chrome OS
The bad news is that the Acer Cromia is, well…we’re not really sure where it is, or when it’s going to arrive. The good news is that at least one of the Chromebooks is still available on the market. The Samsung Series 5 shipped as planned, right on schedule. Now, I know I haven’t exactly been a proponent of this model, myself. To me, at least, the Acer Cromia just seemed the best choice of the two. It was more affordable, had better features, and came at a lower price. The S5 is still an excellent system, mind you. It’s just that the Cromia seemed like the better choice.
You’ll notice I’m now speaking of it past-tense. See, the problem is, that none of those advantages really mean anything at this point. No one really knows when the Cromia will be available to the public- Acer’s nebulous statement of “some time this month” doesn’t really help matters all that much. Truthfully, the way they’ve been handling the launch of the Cromia doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in their newest product.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Those of you who are stoked on picking up a Chromebook now have only one choice- the Samsung Series 5. The beautiful Arctic White 3G edition goes for $499.99. Grab one for yourself on Amazon- because god knows when the Cromia’s coming.
So, we’ve got a (relatively) new functionality in Google Chrome’s browser and OS. Known as chrome://sync-internals, it’s pretty much what’s written on the box- it lets you view internal and technical data about your connection to the Google Cloud. It’s pretty simple to use, and pretty simple to navigate as well- though I get the feeling that several tabs (and for that matter, some of the information) is intended primarily for devs, and not for your average, run of the mill user.
Anyway, I’ll give you folks a rundown of the sync-internals page, and then go over how to search your sync data. The first tab, “About” is pretty straightforward. It’s pretty much a summary page, and tells you the status of your sync. You can see when you last synced, whether you’re authenticated, the server you’re syncing to….you get the idea. Note that here, like much of ‘sync-internals’, you’ll need a touch of technical knowledge to understand some of the listed information.
A lot of people like to say that history repeats itself. People will make the same mistakes, for the same reasons, over and over again. That’s pretty much one of the fundamental laws of the human race. That’s essentially one of the rules by which we’ve operated for..well, centuries. Now, a lot of you are probably wondering where I’m going with this – what the hell some pseudo-philosophical nonsense has to do with Chrome, or even technology.
I’m getting to that.
Security and the Mac
Back in 2000-2006, the Mac platform was picking up speed. The way Apple marketed the Mac, it seemed new. It was unique. It was a hot, hip alternative to Windows. They were pretty confident in their new operating system, and anyone who watched TV would be virtually inundated with lauding the superiority of Macs over PCs. One of the often touted reasons? The Mac was supposedly a virus free platform (ironically enough; the very year that ad aired was when the first Mac OS X-specific Trojan was discovered). Now, for a time, Apple’s claims about the security of their system seem legit. Instances of malicious software on the Mac were rare, if not completely unheard of.
That would soon change.
As a result of its supposed immunity (and to be fair, the Mac platform was immune to traditional Windows viruses), most Macs generally didn’t contain security software. The problem with that, of course, was that when a Mac was hit by a virus, it was hit hard. See, once the crusty little virus-forging trolls realized that more and more people were using Macs, they began designing viruses for Macs. And once they did that, well…the holes in Apple’s security became blindingly obvious, and the once ‘secure’ Mac OS was left at the mercy of malware. All it took was the right virus.
We can all agree that Chrome OS is a rather awesome, unique idea- perhaps even revolutionary. We can probably also agree that the concept behind the Chromebooks is a pretty awesome one. I mean, who doesn’t want to worry about data being lost, right? We can also collectively nod our heads at the fact that this news has been causing quite a few waves in the PC industry. One thing we might not be able to agree on though is this: while Google Chrome sounds like an awesome OS to pre-load onto a computer, is it a viable OS around which to build your own system upon?
Now, a lot of you will probably point to Chromium and say “Well…yeah, it does.” Thing is, Chromium and Chrome are two different operating systems. While both work on similar principles- namely, cloud computing- and both are derived the same source code, Chromium is completely open source- a whole different ballgame from Chrome OS.
Now, in order to determine whether a custom Chrome machine is a viable option, I’m going to have to look at several key factors. These are, in no particular order, hardware requirements, hardware optimization, and cost effectiveness. Now, if you’re particularly astute (or just a huge tech head), you’ve already realized that these three are very much interrelated to one another- hardware optimization influences cost effectiveness and software optimization and so on. Just the same, these are the three deciding factors in whether or not this OS is suitable as a build platform.
What are the most basic, bare bones requirements of a Chrome machine? What sort of stresses does Chrome OS put on the hardware involved? If Chromebooks are anything to judge this by, the OS doesn’t really put any terrible strain on the system. To be safe, we’ll set the lowest benchmark for the system at 2 GB of RAM and at most, a 1.7 GHz dual core processor. Minimum processer benchmark, I’d say somewhere around 1.4 GHz. Hard drive space, we’ll set at 8-16 GB minimum.
Rather low end as far as custom builds go, and pretty easy to come by. Not particularly expensive too. So, as far as base hardware requirements, Google’s Chrome OS is looking like a good choice. Also, your system pretty much has to support OpenGL. That’s a given. Ah, but there are other things to consider.
Here’s the deciding factor. If Google’s OS requires specialized hardware to run, building a rig on it will either be entirely pointless, or so much trouble that it’s not worth the effort. Now, the trouble here is that…we don’t actually know a whole lot about what sort of optimization might be necessary to run Chrome. While we can infer from the Chromebooks that it’s not a horrendously memory-intensive OS, there’s really no way of telling whether or not the hardware’s been modified or optimized in some way to run with Chrome.
See, the problem here is that we don’t really have all the information on the Chrome OS yet. There’s no real word on how the software is optimized, the highest grade system that could feasibly be run to its fullest extent, whether or not the OS requires special or modified pieces of hardware to properly run.The information simply isn’t there. I’ve done a bit of research about the OS, but the problem is, nobody seems to know the details. There are so many conflicting reports; it’s hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t.
I’ve heard people say that Chrome OS will only run with hardware that’s specifically optimized and manufactured to run Chrome. Others have said that it’ll run on pretty much any system. I’ve heard people say that if you’re running Chrome OS, you need a solid state drive on which to boot it. Others have retorted that it’s merely recommended that you have it.
There’s only one thing we know for certain. Fortunately, it’s all we really need to know to render our verdict here.
Pretty much the only thing everyone seems to agree on is that Google’s Chrome OS isn’t going to be intended for desktop PCs- at least, not at first. It’s optimized for x86 and ARM-based systems. So, that’s a point against its viability as a custom rig platform right there. I mean, seriously, have you ever tried building a laptop computer from scratch? Second question, how many gray hairs did you have after such an experience? If Google’s new OS is optimized for laptop computers they are probably saying what they mean.
The PA is asking people to turn off their mobile hotspots. Floating Chrome Logos move up the screens.
Vic Gundotra hits the stage. 600,000 viewers watched Google I/O sessions yesterday. Verizon hotspot vouchers are being given out!
Most important platform is the open web. Chrome team has set the pace. Here comes Sundar Pichai.
First looking at Chrome browser. More than 160 million users up from 70 million last year. PDF fully sandboxed. Flash is partially sandboxed.
Good news for Chrome users: A Netflix plugin for Chrome and Chrome OS is ready to be released. This is based on the reports that are coming in over at the Chromium site.
This upcoming Netflix plugin will enable the streaming of movies via HTML5 technology, rather than Microsoft’s Silverlight software, which requires the user to download and install it onto their computer -something you’ll only be able to do in limited functions with Chrome OS.
Netflix has been working for quite a while to implement HTML5 for its video streaming. Back in December 2010, Netflix stated its plans to implement the technology, convinced it would lead to a better user experience.
John Ciancutti, VP of Personalization Technology at Netflix, explained Netflix’s decision to pursue HTML5 technology in this way: “The technology is delivered from Netflix servers every time you launch our application. This means we can constantly update, test and improve the experience we offer….Our customers don’t have to go through a manual process to install new software every time we make a change, it ‘just happens.’”
The release is conveniently coming in time for the release of the new Chrome OS devices expected to be announced next week at Google I/O.
Considering Netflix has more subscribers than Comcast and 7% of people subscribe to Netflix, this is a big win for Chrome and Google, who is a big proponent of HTML5 technology. It is also worthwhile to note that this will also enable Linux users to enjoy Netflix as well.
UPDATE: The link to the Chromium report has been password protected. Go figure.
Companies like Microsoft and Apple have followed the model that you need to sell software/hardware to make money, but that’s not the only way: you don’t need to actually sell software to make tons of money. An alternative model exists. The model is simple: provide a quality service for free and sell targeted, but unobtrusive ads, and you are in business.
The model is good, its potential is perhaps limitless, but of course not so simple in its execution.
Google has been the most successful with this ad model by far and they continue to hone it down to a science. The company has gradually expanded its services and the infrastructure. With Chrome, its services come together as a unified whole, a cloud based operating system that guarantees a high level of use. With a Google account, you can already have your Android or future Chrome OS device synced with all your Google services all without a single cable. The more the user uses your services, the more valuable your ad space, the more revenue you get, and the user pays very little.
Another Internet behemoths is Facebook, with over 500 million users.
What if Facebook wanted to get into a piece of the cloud OS action? What if Facebook were to offer a cloud operating system to their users? This is purely a thought experiment, but suppose Facebook and Jolicloud decided to synergize on a cloud platform, each bringing their resources and expertise to the table thus resulting in a cloud os based on the growing “social” premise that is the rage right now.
Let’s see what both could bring to the table. Facebook is working on a more powerful messaging features, which would, at some level at least, attempt to compete with Gmail and Google Talk. Jolicloud already has social features like “sharing” and “following” that could be made even more powerful if they integrated with Facebook, encouraging others to adopt this hybrid OS as well. Jolicloud has announced plans to offer Jolicloud OS on Android and iPad. You can already access your personal Joli OS desktop on any desktop via Chrome and the Jolicloud app. With the Jolicloud mobile app, you will be able to access your Jolicloud desktop on all your devices. Not only that, if you already have a Facebook account, which is pretty likely, you can log into your Jolicloud desktop thanks to the Facebook Connect button. Right now. No sign up required.
This begs the question, which is a better premise for your cloud OS: one that is based on “organizing the world’s information” (Google) or a “social network” (Facebook)?
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.
Who doesn’t already have at least some love for the Cr-48? I mean, come on, it’s the little Windows destroyer that could, right? Apparently, there might even be a little bit of customer support action in the cards.
I don’t think this is too much of a valid argument since it is indeed jailbreak-able, built for techie-types and such; but head Chrome honcho Sundar Pichai did say today at the Q&A session that there will be technical support available for the Cr-48.
There may be a very good reason why it has taken until the very end of 2010 for Google to hold an announcement regarding Chrome OS. It’s possible that the company has not been able to get Chrome OS out of a unfinished state yet.
It may or may not be a problematic issue, but the fact that we can see through the open source Chromium OS site some of the issues that are blocking Chrome OS from being launched in a more stable mode suggests that tomorrow’s event may be just a preview of what’s to come.
Some of the problems being reported include hardware issues with the prototype devices that are being tested by Googlers themselves. One titled “Clicking-and-dragging is difficult to do” describes a user becoming “mad with rage” because the trackpad did not behave as expected.
Many of you have asked for it, so we’ve given what the people want. Now there are categories on the site tagging as to whether a post is based on Chrome or Chrome OS. We hope that you like it. Many pieces are based on Chrome, while quite a few are based on Chrome OS. At least now you’ll know what you’re dealing with when you click on a category or post title.
Of course, there are still some that straddle the line or are based completely on Google themselves. Those will likely not have either of these two tags.
Also, don’t forget to let us know about anything you’d like to see from this site. Seriously. We actually read and reply. Ask anyone.