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He’s dead jim

He’s dead Jim & Captain I cannae hold her

This He’s dead Jim is getting to be a bit of a nuisance. I often find tabs have crashed on my Chromebook with the message “He’s dead Jim”. This is usually a memory issue.

Google reveals that lots of people have the same issue. Indeed my lovely daughter Hannah has the same problem and she has the same model of Chromebook as me.

Now the thing is I only paid £150 plus VAT for this Chromebook. It’s a low end job but serves me perfectly apart from this bit about getting my name wrong. My name as you all know is not Jim.

Problem is that references to Jim are becoming more frequent and a pain in the proverbial. Online advice suggests rebooting my Chromebook more often to get rid of unnecessary background processes. I’ve just done this and it remains to be seen whether it has an effect. I will have to tell you later.

In the meantime I’ve been thinking about upgrading my Chromebook. They are very cheap but this is part of the problem. What I’d really like is a Pixel but that costs over a grand and in my mind shies away from the whole concept of disposability of hardware which I am a fan of.

If I lose or break (difficult) my Acer I just buy another, log on and hey presto I am up and running. If my device costs a thousand pounds this principle doesn’t apply.

The Pixel does have some benefits – 12 hours battery life (wtf omg!!!), a better screen resolution and better audio. I’m not sure the touch screen functionality is an attraction.

Whether it will cure the He’s dead Jim problem I am not sure – I wouldn’t be very happy if the problem persisted on a device I paid that much cash for. It could push me toward the dark side (ie the fruit).

I’ll have a think about it and if a conclusion is reached be sure you will be the first to know.

Check out more Chromebook posts.

PS I just chucked in that comment re “Captain I cannae hold her” for a laugh. If you don’t understand you are not on my wavelength 🙂

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This Chromebook is Dead

Deceased, kaput, no longer of this world – dead Chromebook motherboard

It is with a tinge of no real sadness that I present to you an image of a dead Chromebook motherboard. The Samsung Chromebook too is dead, on account of the non functioning motherboard.

It wasn’t a huge loss because these things are so cheap they are almost disposable. And disposing of it I am indeed doing. The dismembering of the Chromebook, I hesitate to call it a computer because that makes me think Microsoft, has been done for two reasons.

Firstly out of simple curiosity to see what it looks like inside. Secondly although I didn’t keep much data on the 16GB solid state drive there would have been some files of I know not what provenance and so it seemed to make sense to permanently delete this memory. Just what you would have done in the old hard drive days but slightly different.

As you can see the ssd now has a nail in it, driven firmly in by my handy Leatherman Multi-tool. No one should be without one.

The dead Chromebook motherboard itself is worth dwelling on. It’s diminutive nature represents beauty and the plastic shell in which it was mounted, consisting mostly of screen, keyboard and a couple of speakers, evidence of how cheap these things really are to churn out.

It is the future. Low cost, disposable computing resource and User Interface.

I include an earlier photo of the dead Chromebook motherboard for comparison together with

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The Hump Day Five (16-July-2014)

The Hump Day Five is on Red Alert this week, getting all Google-y powerful on music in the cloud, Leftovers, and Ping Pong Mania.


Started watching a new TV show a couple of weeks back called “The Leftovers”. If you haven’t haven’t seen or heard of it, the premise is quite simple. On 14-October at a precise moment in time approximately 2% of the world’s population randomly disappears without a trace. Drivers from moving vehicles, criminals from prison cells, babies from car seats, one moment there the next moment gone. It doesn’t take much imagination to see compelling story elements in such a framework, and in fact it is easy to see how the utter chaos of such a situation could become too much of a good thing (entertainment-wise, that is). The creators, though, very smartly opt to confine the drama to a single small town somewhere in America and how “The Departure”, as it is called, has affected and continues to affect the populace three years down the line. Succulent details are offered via ancillary media — overheard radio, television news programs being watched by this-or-that character, etc., not a small amount of Internet-y stuff — and go so far as to include a list of celebrities who number among the 2%. Dark stuff riddled rich with despair, sure, and as television goes it isn’t for everyone, but if you like your diversion disturbing and in-your-face I highly recommend checking it out.


Since late June a new application for both iPhone and Android has been making its way through the zeitgeist in direct response to the once-again-heightening tensions between Israel and Palestine: Kobi Snir’s Red Alert Israel. The idea behind this new app is to alert users of incoming rockets so they can stop whatever it is they are doing and take shelter*. The alerts received (tied directly to Israel Defense Forces and Homefront Command) can be configured quite tightly — there are a great many individual areas, considering the country’s small land mass — and each alert offers allows for comments, which can include prayers and encouragement, as well as — not surprising, but enraging nonetheless — inflammatory notes full of disparagement and outright hatred. Red Alert Israel also includes streaming Israeli radio (in Hebrew) to supplement its alerts with more detailed information (I assume). All in all, it is a noble idea that falls definitively on the side of the angels (and I say this even knowing that there is no Red Alert Palestine equivalent).

So I am sensitive to the dead-serious nature of Red Alert Israel and applaud and support its above-reproach mission, but I would be fibbing BIG-time if I said the image of people running for cover from flying ordinance with their hands flailing high above their heads clutching their phones didn’t loosen a small smile. Got too many episodes of The Simpsons under my belt, I suppose. Please excuse (or feel free to flame me up but good in the Comments).

The Red Alert Israel app is free, as you would expect, though it does run shifting banner advertising, because in these times absolutely nothing should go unsponsored. I mean, think about it…is there an advertiser out there who wouldn’t want their product or service to be associated with the saving of lives? And thus a new business model is born!

*The users in Israel, that is, as it is quite evident that Red Alert Israel is being downloaded and put into use by people living elsewhere..for purposes of showing solidarity, inspiring prayer and greater empathy, to stoke flames of outrage, to feed whatever vicarious needs, perhaps to serve as the basis for gambling or drinking games, etc.


For someone who spends as much time driving keyboards and mice as I do, I really can be late to the party at times. Take cloud-hosted music (aka online music lockers, aka online music storage services). Available in various flavors for a few years now (the majors all bowed in 2011 — Apple, Amazon, Google — whereas an early achiever called AudioBox left the starting block in 2009), it was only this past weekend that I started to consider the idea of throwing some of my music up into the ether for ready access across my computers and smartphone. Naturally, I was aware of the cloud-hosted music concept, but that awareness was mostly relegated to Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud/iTunes Match service, and as I trust Apple’s software and service offerings about as much as…well, not at all, actually, I put up a willful “blind spot” to the whole idea. Of course, it also helped that my music collection far exceeded the 25,000 song limit put on the $25-per-year service by Apple, and that at the start – as is unfortunately so often the case — the service was available to U.S.-based users only.

A couple of years passed, and then along came KoryChrome. And with KoryChrome came promotions for Google services. And with the promotion in particular of Google Play Music — which I learned is now available in France and which includes the ability to load/match 20,000 songs absolutely free — came my revisiting the subject of cloud-hosted music this past weekend. 20,000 songs for uploaded/matched for free? Songs I can access from any Internet-connected computer capable of running a browser (Google Chrome need not be that browser, either), or from any Internet-connected smartphone? All without commercials or listening limitations?

Yeah, I know this party started ages ago, but as far as I am concerned there is still beer in the fridge and it’s still ice-cold.


On the subject of KoryChrome, La Famille Kessel returned to our Pays d’Auge family hovel in Blangy-le-Château this past weekend, and my keen and cool new Chromebook was thus reunited with its power source. And this time that power source made it into my computer bag for the trip back to Paris at weekend’s end. No doubt, a great many of you will now breathe easier and will stop wanting for sleep.


Got struck hard by a serious wave of irony a few hours ago when My Missus and I put The Boy on a train to summer camp. The camp he is attending is called “Ping Pong Mania” (translate from French), and it promises to be exactly that, with 90+ minutes of table tennis play and training each morning and another such session each afternoon. I blush with a certain amount of pride in saying that my kid is really quite masterful at the game, in no small measure because other than ping pong his free time these days is overwhelmingly consumed by Minecraft, Clash of Clans, SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition, youtube videos galore rooted in gameplay and game parody and what-have-you, and a bevy of other sofa-bound veg-and-play games and experiences.

My hope is the next 10 days will find The Boy matched up with other kids his age who are at or near his level. Otherwise, his hesitance to get off the couch and get out in the world (read: separate from his MacBook and iPad and Nintendo DS3) will have been justified…or so he will say and think, anyway. And this is where the irony lies as 32 years ago I remember feeling similar hesitation at heading off to summer camp, too…summer computer camp!

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The Hump Day Five (2-July-2014)


Friday afternoon found me riding the Eurostar rails, on KoryChrome (new Samsung Chromebook 2*), pounding out on a “First Impressions” piece…on KoryChrome. Using Writebox, one of those sometimes-useful writing applications that are intended to take the distraction out of the process, I was about 700 words into it when for reasons unknown I decided to go exploring. A sparse environment — which, of course, is the point — there were only six (6) icons to check out in the upper right-hand corner (which conveniently hide when you aren’t hovering your cursor over the spot), and as I was enjoying my new application and curious about it I thought I’d see what I could do with it.

Faux Leather Stitching!

I won’t get into the nitty-gritty about what the Writebox icons are for (syncing, settings, preview…the usual), except suffice it to say for the one that has me typing here now, a + symbol in the farmost left position on the very short toolbar. That particular icon opens a new Writebox file that effectively dumped my nearly-finished “Hello (again) KoryChrome” post into the ether of lost-forever 1s and 0s.

Infuriation and frustrating, yes, and the prospect of starting the post from scratch makes me shudder (still haven’t gotten around to that, but keep reading)…but from the I-can-rationalize-anything perspective, I am truly glad that as I make my approach on 50 I am still able to touch the hot part of the stove.

*Handed off to me by good ol’ globehopping Tref at our Pissup in a Brewery event this past Thursday at Fourpure Brewery in Bermondsey…if you missed it you are the lesser for having done so, but there will certainly be others so watch this space.


As long as I have the date here pinned to my short trip to London last week, I will burn a line or two on my latest experience with airbnb. Finding a reasonably-priced non-lethal-seeming accommodation for said trip that was within the Underground’s boundaries proved to be quite the challenge (only later did I realize this was due in no small part to Wimbledon being among the other usual goings-on in London), but eventually I did manage to wrangle a roof and bed in the tiny Bermondsey flat of a young couple (complete with an adorable 3-month-old kitten named Binxy). This being my third airbnb experience I was hoping it would be the charm, and I am glad to report that it was just that. If you consider yourself something of a brave traveler and have not yet taken a chance on airbnb or one of the other Internet home-invite services that are shaking up the hospitality industry, well this is me adding to the white noise urging you to do so.


The “Broadband Week” is coming up fast and I am furiously editing away on received submissions. That said, if you have an idea for a Contributor post that aligns with our theme there is still a sliver of time remaining to pitch it and get it in for publication next week. So if you want to see your name up on our marquee, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]. I will be glad to help you bring your epiphany to the page.


Last week in London I finally got my hands on a Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, the little-bit-country-little-bit-rock-and-roll smartphone I have been kvelling over quite a bit here since its announcement two months ago, and I was far from disappointed. With new gadgets I wait for that special tingle (usually it comes from putting fingers on the device, but there are no hard-and-fast rules about that), and once I feel that it is just a matter of determining whether its strength is enough to kick me into “Want”. Consider me kicked well and good. Just need to find a way to get my provider to subsidize the pocket beast…


My lead-in KoryChrome tidbit illustrated for the umpteenthsomething time that I could do with a few more smarts, and I expect that my Hump Day Five wrap-up for the week is sure to remove any lingering doubt.

Hot off the Eurostar back to Paris on Friday I found myself in a rented Škoda barreling towards our tiny family hovel in Pays d’Auge’s Blangy-le-Château. Over the 8 years La Famille Kessel has so often made the jaunt that certain routines have formed, including for me the ritual of connecting AppleKory up — power source, monitor converter, USB peripherals, etc — and at visit’s end, disconnecting it all. Sounds simple and is simple, though early on I did once make the gross error of leaving my MacBook Pro power adapter behind. This resulted in a frantic run to the Apple Store Carrousel du Louvre upon arriving back in Paris that Sunday evening to buy a new one. As with all things Apple, the new power adapter wasn’t cheap, but the impossible alternative was to go a few weeks with a single battery charge. And in the end, the €69 I pushed across for it has turned out to be quite a good investment, both for peace-of-mind (it lives in my computer bag, making it possible to always leave the original at home) and from a value standpoint (darn thing has put in 7+ years of service and counting).

So. Routine. Routine is good. And as so often happens when a routine undergoes any kind of change, things go pear-shaped. Last night, just as France was putting the spank to Nigeria to reach the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil quarter finals, the new KoryChrome’s battery slid down to 2% and I realized I had left her charger back in Blangy. Not too long after she became just a sleek good-looking techy brick, and will remain so until the Friday following the next (or until I can suss out a replacement, of course…for a new product that is not yet for sale on the right side of the Atlantic).

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Office365 – How Low Can You Go ?

It seems to me that a tipping point has arrived for businesses large and small, many of which after having drastically cut back on their IT spend over the last few years now find themselves coasting into 2014 on the fumes and vapours of Windows XP and Office 2003/7.

Andrew Beardsmore is a new contributor to and this is his first post. He’s been obsessed by tech for two decades and has spent most of that time fixing everything from networks to netbooks. Now he’s sharing the knowledge, and the obsession.

I recently had a bit of a tweetup with @EvanKirstel regarding Microsoft’s amazing deal with Office365 (check it out at:

It seems to me that a tipping point has arrived for businesses large and small, many of which after having drastically cut back on their IT spend over the last few years now find themselves coasting into 2014 on the fumes and vapours of Windows XP and Office 2003/7.


Home users who extravagantly trotted off to Currys/PCWorld during their “hey, we’re going bust” sales and splurged on full versions of more recent MS Office software (though intending to only blow a few hundred quid on a chunky Windows 8 laptop) probably won’t have heard yet of Office365. They also may not have noticed those early ChromeBooks, or if they did they weren’t entirely convinced by the PCWorld sales folk when faced with what looked like Ubuntu. That is, Ubuntu without a hard drive…or apps.* Their new high capacity laptop hard drives, overflowing with growing photo libraries from flashy megamegapixel point-&-shoots, are already laughing at their puny free two gigabyte Dropbox accounts, and buying yet another discounted external USB hard drive ‘My Brick’ to backup and fill with all their pics and videos of school plays and homework projects, as well as every family member’s iPad/iPod/iPhone backup…well, it just seems so ‘2011’, doesn’t it?

Now these home users are included in this mini-cloud revolution also. (Not every household bought a NAS — though perhaps they should have — as they ARE expensive. Expensive, anyway, when compared to the wares peddled by Microsoft.)

In my opinion, the principles are broadly similar whether you are purchasing enterprise licensing or you are a home user “with a lot of stuff”.

  • Both need humongous space and/or backup and want a whizzy new version of Office.
  • Both want to be able to access it all whilst mobile (even if your mobile data provider hasn’t heard of your holiday home’s postcode, and thus offline editing is also needed).
  • Both want to share and collaborate.

With monthly offers that include an Office365 subscription (spanning multiple devices and user accounts) AND one terabyte of online storage now available for less than the cost of three lattes, just how cheap does it all need to be? And would you trust it if it got any cheaper ?

How does $7 a month sound? (In dollars because — Yup — stateside rollout first.) For this amount you can put Office365 on your PC and get a terabyte of storage thrown in. Make it $10 and you can install on five PCs and have as many as five user accounts (each with its own terabyte of online storage). A terabyte? That’s one thousand gigabytes for those of us with suntans and more interest in Wimbledon than “The IT Crowd” reruns.

Interestingly, Microsoft commissioned a recent survey and decided that about three quarters of us only have about thirteen gigabytes of ‘stuff’, so one thousand gigabytes should pretty much cover it. To be honest, though, this number sounds like it’s been picked more to justify their updated freemium offering of a fifteen gigabyte deal.

Many will forget about their Dropbox accounts, mothball their GoogleDrive accounts, lose the power supply plugs and mini USB cables for their ‘My Bricks’ (and never again dream of owning a NAS). They’ll take the plunge into subscriptions-based software purchasing** just for the great one terabyte ‘giveaway’ alone. Got a smartphone that you take pics on? How about letting it backup all those precious shots automatically to OneDrive (smile!).

Think about it. Never again will you need to go through a ‘fork-lift’ upgrade process between versions of Office — remember the advent of the blasted ribbon in Office 2007? — as your device will instead accept the more frequent but gradual improvements and changes in the same way your smartphone updates its apps whilst you sleep. It will backup and sync continuously, silently, all the time. If you’re a small to medium business, what this means is that the guy who takes the backup tapes home every night and puts a new one in every morning won’t have to continue to lie each time he forgets. Or you can rethink your price plan with MozyPro, or whoever. The AD-like control you get over the data it handles will sufficiently please both your sysadmin and your CIO/CISO.

Many will consider Microsoft’s new 1TB + Office365 $7 per month subscription a no-brainer. And, if you’re bulk buying for business, the deal gets even better, as according to the third link I offer below it is just $2.50 (yearly commitment). Such a huge saving is certain to ensure your continuing position with the company, that is if you can persuade your CFO. And if against all odds it turns out to be a rubbish idea and they fire you, well, they can just cancel your user subscription!

N.B. I wonder how many smaller partnerships and LLPs will be tempted to take the home licensing route on their mixed-usage mobile devices…pay the $10 five-user rate, out of guilt, and call it BYOD when it’s in the office?!

*Company-wide Chromebook deployment: Great way to to upgrade to a modern OS, get a new office productivity suite, AND equip your workforce with mobile devices for less than the price of a desktop refresh. I want to know more about the experiences of companies who have ‘gone Google’ in this manner. I like what I have seen so far with Google Appcare. However, having recently dropped their cloud offering’s pricing, I wonder how they feel about Microsoft’s new deal? To quote mine host, it’s “certainly warming up in the cloud wars”).

**Just quietly say ouch and forget it’s happening.

Chase the following links for specific details and price plans for Office365 and OneDrive:

Thanks for reading. You can find more on the subject of Office365 and similar tech at

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The Hump Day Five (25-June-2014)

On Wednesday’s Editor-in-Chief serves up The Hump Day Five, a weekly collection of short (and not so short) glimpses of the life in progress.


Bolting to meet My Missus for a Pay-For-Weekend-Well-Spent swim (the value of which we will immediately negate with a hearty follow-up Mexican lunch), and just realized that my mobile phone charge is at 9%. And being that this is my still-hanging-on iPhone 4 that ‘9’ might as we’ll be a ‘2’ as over the three-something years iPhoneKory has occupied my key right-pocket space I have seen it go from 7% to black so many times…

Is seven the new zero?


Despite promising myself I wouldn’t do so, I hung until 02h00 on Sunday/Monday watching the USA-Portugal World Cup match on ESPN via SlingBox, all the way to its bittersweet 95th minute. And in spite of a poor connection and a wildly unbalanced announcer team (Ian Darke = terrific, Taylor Twellman = dead awful), and although France has been my one-and-only International association football team since I moved to Paris in 1999*, I could not help but get caught up in it all. This was helped along in no small measure by social media, as both my Facebook and Twitter feeds were crackling with excitement and the wonderful over-the-top enthusiasm borne of sports spectatorship. Every breakaway, clearance, crossover, save (Tim Howards’s remarkable double-save!), and goal, by the USA or Portugal, had my feeds flying fast. But with that insane last play, with less than 25 ticks left in Injury Time…silence.

Yes, silence. The stunned heartbreak of that gorgeous equalizer — its sheer beauty cannot be denied — led to what may very well be the loudest imaginable Internet silence I’ve ever (not) heard. I have no doubt that goal was replaying on constant loop through the minds of a great many Americans on Monday, I am just as certain it was doing so in a soundproof vacuum.

*No true lover of the “Beautiful Game” will ever forget France’s unbelievablyf*ckingamazing come-from-behind last-gasp victory against Italy in the Euro2000 final, a game…no, an experience that galvanized this transplanted American’s association football fandom.


Readers going back three months — my long-term dyed-in-the-wool fans — will remember my enthusiasm for the latest Marvel Studios film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, and perhaps even the near-pathological (pathetic) need I had to see the film after having to wait 10 days following its release to find my way to the cinema. (And no matter if you aren’t one of those readers, because my preface sentence sets the table for where I am heading, regardless.)

With all of the build-up, all of the hype, the fact that I so thoroughly enjoyed “Captain America: First Avenger” (I expected to hate that first film as the character is an all-time favorite of mine — since I started reading super hero comic books at the age of eight — and just figured there was no way Hollywood could get it right), the scads of terrific reviews I was so careful to scan-without-spoiling, you would think that disappointment was inevitable. Not only was this not the case, though, but the film so deeply captured my imagination that I soon after found myself pondering a newed look in on the comic book itself, figuring the source material for such a great flick might be worth my time.

In days of yore (and up until actually not all that long ago), it was a lot more difficult to find and read back issues of comic books than it is today. In fact, without admitting to anything here or anywhere, I will say that despite my predilection for riding near the cusp of the Internet for lo on 20+ years now, I still find myself utterly floored by the ready digital availability of comic books new and old (and extremely old). A minimal amount of surfing revealed that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was based on Ed Brubaker’s run on the “Captain America” title from 2004-2012, and a single google-bing turned up the following torrent:

Brubaker Cap Torrent



In less than a year I will turn 50, a number on the age scale that I know is supposed to mean…something. A greater sense of dignity? Less prone to silly excitements? Better perspective on what was and is and will be? Conversations turning ever more towards health issues? Yadda yadda yadda. To all of that, I have to call “Bunk!”, because (1) in my mind’s eye I am not balding, overly thick in the middle, saddled with mild hearing loss, or in need of glasses to read, (2) I feel no less a thirst for life than I did 10 years ago…or 20, and (3) I still get all kinds of giddy in the lead up to putting my mitts on new techy toys…such as the new KoryChrome (Samsung Chromebook 2), which I look forward to running my fingers over for the first time at some point tomorrow!


Today is the first day of summer vacation for The Boy, and he is marking it in style, sitting on the couch in front of the TV while simultaneously playing both “Minecraft” and “SimCity 4” with friends on his MacBook, and also looking in on “Clash of Clans” via the family iPad. Now if only he could get his toes engaged in some kind of input manipulation My Missus and I would have one reasonably efficient and well-entertained child! The drums, perhaps?

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Wherefore Art Thou, KoryChrome?

Knowing that Tref was heading over to the U.S. for this week’s Genband Perspectives 14, I asked the fearless namesake of the cracking website you hold in your hands if he would be up to muling a spiffy new Samsung Chromebook 2 back over the pond for my pickup at’s Pissup in a Brewery (which you really don’t want to miss) later this month. Unsurprisingly, he responded with a hearty “Sure, M8.” and I was off to the races…well, off to find a shipper who could deliver the device shipping-free and tax-free to Tref at his Orlando hotel prior to his return flight, that is.

Naturally, my first surf-to destination was, however although they had my desired Chromebook in stock I would have to pay extra for both shipping and sales tax (6%). Sales tax? Amazon? Said to be on the cusp for years, I guess some law somewhere was passed and it finally took hold.

Next I tried, which promised free shipping…and no sales tax. Oh, except in states in which the company has a physical business presence, such as Florida. Needed to go all the way to the final click to learn that (and confirmed it with a Samsung Phone Drone, too).

Finally, after a few more hits-and-misses my search ended at New York’s famous B&H, which not only promised free shipping to the Sunshine State but a tax-free transaction as well. The only problem was that I would have to wait a little over 30 hours to actually place the order due to my having stumbled onto the B&H site during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, because although you can peruse B&H’s website during Jewish holy days — the Sabbath each week, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the two-day periods that bookend Sukkoth and Passover…and Shavuot — you cannot actually place an order while any of these days are in progress. To their credit, B&H clearly indicates such restrictions on their site when pertinent, even going so far as to offer a very useful countdown clock on the site that indicates when they will once again be open for business. Free shipping, no sales tax, a one-week window for it all to happen in…I could wait 30 hours.

Faux Leather Stitching!

The reviews are rolling in on the Chromebook 2, and while they aren’t universally great — it’s certainly no “Jesus Phone” — they reflect my expectations for the my soon-to-be-new friend and then some. Sleek, light, stylish (that faux black leather case and stitching!), the Chromebook 2 also has a lot more under its keyboard than its predecessor (which was NOT saddled with the moniker “Chromebook 1”), being markedly faster and offering a somewhat better screen and trackpad. All good stuff. Good enough, in fact, to pull me back into the Chromebooked less than four short months after having eBayed the original KoryChrome back in February. References to “The Godfather, Part III” unnecessary.

30 hours later. 09h00 Eastern Standard Time (15h00 in Paris’s GMT+1), and following a quick touch-base with a B&H Phone Drone (who assures me the package will arrive on the promised date of 12-June, which is one day to spare…might even show up on the 11th) I pull the B&H trigger on Chromebook 2. And less than 30 minutes later I learn that my delivery window is short by a day due to my having boneheaded the nitty-gritty detail of Tref’s #orlandoroadtrip. Yes, our man’s adventure runs from 6-June to 13-June, but he is actually set to clear U.S. on 12-June…the day B&H Phone Drone near-guaranteed the new KoryChrome would make its grand entrance in Orlando.

Did I really do that? Me, the guy who in the past 15 years has overnight-flighted the Atlantic no less than 120 times? Well, no matter. Chromebook 2 hadn’t shipped by this point — B&H was happy to take the order on the Friday, but due to the Sabbath it woudn’t actually ship until Sunday — and I was relatively sure I could cancel it if need be. So I pinged Tref, just to let him know my swirling thoughts on it all. He clued me into his late-ish departure time on 12-June, and with that I made my leap of faith (into the abyss?), opting to let the order fly. After all, even if the package misses Tref in Orlando, how hard could it be to arrange for its return via the hotel, United Parcel Service, and B&H? (He writes with a touch of both sarcasm and extreme naiveté.)

And that is where things stand on this fine late spring Wednesday. B&H confirmed my order on Sunday via an efficient email, and I know that the package left Maspeth, NY on Monday evening. Where between Maspeth and Orlando it is now, though, is nothing more than a WAG, though ever-faithful readers are welcome — encouraged, even! — to join me in attempting to track the new KoryChrome’s voyage to Orlando. Crossed fingers, good thoughts, focused karmic energy, muttered chanting, speaking in tongues…whatever any of you have to give that can help ensure the new KoryChrome’s safe passage into Tref’s hands, I’ll take it!

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First night without a phone

Yesterday I smashed the screen on my S4. Correction. I accidentally dropped it and the screen smashed. This wasn’t a wanton act of vandalism by a man frustrated with the inadequacies of his communicator.

Although I’ve stuck my SIM in Kid4’s Galaxy Mini i’ve decided that to use that device is too much of a hassle. It wouldn’t let me delete his Google account as to do so would render some of the apps unusable. I did add my personal and business accounts to the device but deleted them before they had managed to synch. I decided I didn’t want my credentials on someone else’s device if deleting them after the fact was going to be problematic.

Now I lie in bed typing on my Acer C720 Chromebook having used it to check Facebook, Twitter, respond to a comment on this blog, read the papers (the news is the same wherever you look), check mails, look at the weather forecast and no doubt do a few other things subconsciously that I’ve already forgotten about. Ordinarily I’d have done all that on the phone. The Chromebook form factor isn’t as convenient for a Sunday morning.

Two other things I’ve not done with my phone spring to mind. One is I haven’t taken a photo of the beech hedge in our back garden. It is just coming into leaf and I quite liked the way that one part of it is budding before the rest showing a little splash of green colour in an otherwise brown hedge. I use the phone a lot in this way, taking ad hoc pictures of things that catch my eye. Check out the photo of petals lying in the road at the end of the post.

The other thing left undone is that I didn’t wake up in the night and didn’t check the phone. Maybe I wasn’t destined to wake up last night or maybe it was because the phone wasn’t there. Why on earth do I need to use the phone at 3am anyway? I don’t.

There is a third “not done” thing. I went out to early doors at the Morning Star without a phone. I also left my wallet at home and just took cash. Normally before leaving the house I check that I have phone wallet and house keys. Yesterday I just checked the house keys. Very liberating. Conversation flowed in the pub and I was 20 minutes later than normal leaving. This was done with a modicum of guilt knowing that Anne couldn’t call me to remind me that tea would very shortly be on the table.

It mattered not. The initial experiment was a success and my first 24 hours without a phone has almost been completed. I’m feeling remarkably relaxed…

petals in the roadOther posts with with photos:

Mobile phone photo competition
Photographic evidence of a great night out
Poignant phonebox photo

Business chromebook End User phones

Mildly interesting Microsoft news on the wireless #Nokia

I know it’s the weekend but there was some mildly interesting technology news on the wireless (Home Programme) with the ratification of the sale of the Nokia mobile phone division to Microsoft.

Microsoft have an uphill battle to catch up with iOS and Android. Although commons sense suggests there has to be room for a third mobile market player my experience with the Nokia Lumia 920 suggests that Microsoft has a huge hill to climb. They lost me.

They also lost my daughter who bought a Chromebook when her windows laptop broke. It fits beautifully with her droid. My wife’s laptop has some adware on it. I suspect they are about to lose her too. It’s far cheaper and easier to buy a new Chromebook. All she needs it for is the occasional document, emails and iPlayer.

These big companies all too easily lose touch with the end user. A couple of years ago I tried to get in touch with someone at Microsoft. Left multiple voicemails and sent multiple emails inviting to person to speak at an industry bash. Not a peep. No acknowledgement. Nothing. These people spend all their time attending corporate meetings to discuss plans, strategies stock option price and bonuses. Useful and important things I guess.

Just spent a couple of nights at the DeVere Wokefield Park for UKNOF28. It was full of corporate types (no idea who they all worked for) wearing near identical suits and some of them, employees of the month no doubt, clutching bottles of cheap champagne. I suppose they could have been Microsoft staff.

Anyway Microsoft have a lot of cash, at the moment. They will spend a large fortune trying to catch up. This cash can easily disappear though especially if their Average Selling Prices have to plummet in an increasingly competitive commodity market.

I think I should stop here. I was only trying to tell you the mildly interesting news about the sale of the Nokia handset business sale to Microsoft. I heard it on the wireless set in the kitchen, on the Home Programme. In case you missed it…

chromebook End User google H/W

Contagious Chromebook Ardor

Yesterday morning found me doing the usual, staring at my monitor and rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, catching up on all of the whats and wheres and whos that took place while I lay me down to sleep. I slid on over to this website to put one last tweak on my piece scheduled to post a couple of hours hence and noticed that Tref has put up not one but two posts featuring Chromebooks, Second Hand HP Chromebook for sale £199.99! and New HP Chromebook for £170 with voucher code save30est. Now being well aware of Tref’s enthusiasm for Chromebook technology, philosophy, and hardware, seeing these two postings didn’t surprise me, but they were enough to give my own somewhat-dormant Chromebook interest a nudge. A nudge that as the day wore on started to feel more and more like a good hard shove.

I bought a Samsung Chromebook when they were first released in the U.S. in November 2012, driven by the same curiosity that pulled me back to Apple in 2008, the sharp design, and the remarkable pricepoint. From the get-go I was delighted with it, too, so much so that I deemed it “KoryChrome” (fellow Paul Simon fans will smile at that), had a protective sleeve made, and declared it good.

KoryChrome 1And KoryChrome was good. It opened me up to the possibilities of the Chrome operating system, turned my attention to Chrome apps and the Chrome Web Store, provided plenty of configuration itches for me to scratch, and on more than one occasion it helped me out of a business communication bind (with AppleKory, Google Docs + Google Hangout = Beachball). What KoryChrome didn’t do, though, was transform my cyber-life or work practices, and once I figured out how everything worked and had login environments set up for me, My Missus, and The Boy…well, there just wasn’t much use or fun to be had, as all three members of La Famille Kessel have MacBooks that are already quite light and which go mobile with no discernible difficulty. Despite this, though, KoryChrome held its spot in our household for well over a year, until I finally steeled myself up and put it up for sale on eBay this past February. Purchased for $249, sold for $150 just 15 months later, and I got to keep the 100GB of Google Drive storage that came with KoryChrome through to November next. All in all, I dropped $99 to improve my knowledge, increase my marketability, and satisfy my curiosity.

All of which leads me to ask…what is it about the recently-announced Samsung Chromebook 2 that has my eyes lighting up, my fingers tingling, and my thoughts racing to justify making a pre-order in time for one my May visitors from the U.S. to make delivery (got my crosshairs on you, Marcos Campos)? It must be the stitched faux leather finish…yeah, that must be it.Faux Leather Stitching!

Related posts:

chromebook End User google

New HP Chromebook for £170 with voucher code save30est

chrome_logo_headerHot on the heels of my last post about CashConverters trying to sell a second hand HP Chromebook for £200 Gavin Lewandowski dropped me a line on Twitter saying he’d just bought a brand new one for £170 using a voucher code save30est. Link is here though it is likely to be a time limited offer so may not work for very long.

I paid £180 for my Acer 720 from PC World Business. These laptops will keep coming down. They can hardly have any components. Even at the existing prices they are almost disposable. At least if you lose one it isn’t going to break the bank.

I’d buy another one if I didn’t already have two Chromebooks:

Using different Chromebooks for personal and business
Comparison of Samsung and Acer Chromebooks

Business chromebook google H/W

Second Hand HP Chromebook for sale £199.99 !

CashConverters in Lincoln are selling a second hand HP Chromebook for £199.99.
hp cash converters chromebook

Caught my eye in the window as I was walking home from work yesterday. Second hand Chromebook for two hundred quid?! When you consider that I paid £180 in VAT for the Acer Chromebook I’m using to type this post makes you wonder how clued up the management at CashConverters are about this sort of thing.

I suppose they are offering easy terms.

Business chromebook google H/W

Acer C720 and Samsung XE303 Chromebooks – using different devices for personal and business

chrome_logo_headerI bought the Acer C720 Chromebook for use at home and the Samsung XE303, which up until now was my only laptop is to be designated as my business machine. It is somewhat misleading to suggest that their respective uses are solely for personal and business. Reality is that in the modern always on world it is difficult to separate work and play but at least I would get a feel for the user issues in respect of each environment.

Switching between work and personal accounts is a fairly straightforward matter. You click on your image in the top right hand corner of the screen and can choose the relevant account you want to access. This seems to be true across all Google Applications, at least as far as I’ve been able to see. So for example I can easily switch between Drive, Gmail and Calendar for each of my Google accounts.

There is added complexity here because I actually have multiple Google Apps accounts for different businesses but to keep it simple I’m just going to talk about

One of the purposes of having a separate business identity is to

Business chromebook H/W

Comparison of Acer C720 and Samsung XE303 Chromebooks – physical differences

I have a shiny new Acer C720 Chromebook (in Granite Gray1) at home. I also have a shiny not so old Samsung XE303C12 Chromebook that I have been using as my main office laptop since last Autumn.

I decided I needed two devices because I want to separate my business and personal life and having both sets of credentials on my one and only laptop means that the line between the two is somewhat blurred.

Due diligence was cursory in nature. There aren’t many useful reviews out there and no useful comparison of the differences between the two. Unless I’m not doing a good job of looking this seems to be the case whichever Chromebooks you might want to compare. In general hardware reviews often boil down to a comparison of specifications. Intel vs Arm hardware, screen size, battery life etc etc. This seems to be true regardless of the type of hardware – mobiles, tablets, laptops, TVs etc etc etc.

In the absence of what I considered to be useful guidance I decided that battery life was the most important feature and all other things considered I might as well go for  the cheapest. I got a result here in that I ended up paying £20 less than the advertised price of £199.99. Check out how here.

The Acer C720 I went home with turned out to be just as good as the Samsung I paid £230 for (it’s now £199.99) and in some respects even better. The screen sizes are the same but the battery life is notionally better in the Acer than the Samsung.

Acer C720 WiFi chromebook battery lifeBeing at work I just unplugged the Samsung from its power supply and am told there are 4hrs 43 minutes of battery left. It varies depending on how much power the Chromebook is taking from its battery at any given time.

The screenshot on the right shows the Acer, unplugged after fully charged for the first time, with a whopping battery life of 11. hours 41 minutes. Once the Chromebook properly realised what was going on this settled down very quickly to 7 hours 40 mins (pic here) – still more than respectable. Clearly also better than the Samsung although lets remember that the Samsung is a few months old now. A quick Google suggests the Samsung battery life spec is around 6.5 hours cf 8.5 hours for the Acer.

My test was far from scientific but the Acer does certainly seem to have a longer lasting battery. I’ve had the Acer now for 4 days and only charged it up twice.

Weight is also a concern. The longer battery life needs to be accompanied by something that is not so heavy to cart around.  The Samsung Chromebook is great for this at 1.1Kg. I don’t really notice it is there, certainly compared with the Dell Microsoft Dinosaurusbook I used to use. Also the Samsung is only 17.5mm thick.

The Acer is much heavier than the Samsung. Only kidding. It’s 1.25Kg and 19mm. Nothing in it really. The two photos below show one on top of the other. With the Acer on top it looks quite a bit thicker than the Samsung. However when you stick the Samsung on top  there doesn’t seem anything in it.

Acer Samsung Chromebook comparison

acer samsung chromebook size comparison stacked

Acer C720 Samsung chromebook comparisonThe other views also show very little difference. Front on or side by side they are pretty much the same.

Acer Samsung chromebook comparison side on

The Samsung has slightly more sophisticated looks but on balance I prefer the Acer. The touchpad on the Samsung has occasionally locked up on me and with the Acer I don’t sense this is going to happen. It is somehow more clickable.

The final point for this first Acer C720 comparison with the Samsung X303 Chromebook is about power supply connections.

It is such a shame that the two use different connectors. This is presumably down to different Voltage specs – I’ve not bothered looking. Life would make so much more sense if everyone used the same one. Then I’d have a backup if one ever broke on me. As it is if that happens it will be a faff buying another. Hasn’t happened yet but I don’t think I’ve had a laptop where the power supply hasn’t died on me at some stage. Maybe the better battery life signals less strain on the power supply and longer component mtbf.

side by side comparison of power pins for Acer and Samsung chromebooks

Remaining reviews this week are going to focus on the practical experience of using two different Chromebooks for personal and business use. The software is the same for both. I have already made my mind up on a favourite and that is the Acer. The feel of it, the better battery life and the fact that the touchpad seems better has clinched it. I also managed to get the Acer at a lower price than advertised though both Chromebooks are notionally the same price. Not sure I’d bother going for any more expensive alternative.

Until tomorrow…

More good Chromebook reads:

Samsung Chromebook XE303 first impressions
Just bought an Acer Chromebook Ash – review to follow.
Samsung Chromebook crash fix and print drivers – who needs em?
Footnote to Samsung Chromebook Free Galaxy Phone offer
Samsung Chromebook offer not very customer friendly
or search chromebook for lots of useful articles

1 fwiw and sorry about the poor spelin – copied straight off the box

Business chromebook

Chromebook week on

chrome_logo_headerLook out for a series of posts on the Chromebook this week. You may recall I bought an Acer Chromebook last week to complement my Samsung. The idea was that I’d have one in the office where the main sign-on is the Google Apps for business account and one at home where I used my personal account to log in.

I’d then not need to carry a bag into town when I walk to work. Freeeedom. Friday was the first day in which this was put into operation. This was a specially useful day for the freedom to kick in as I met some mates for beers after work and then headed to the Lincoln Drill hall where Kid3’s band was headlining the bill in the special Drill Hall tenth anniversary concert. The last thing I needed was to have to cart a bag around.

Today I find that the bagless society has not completely arrived as I have to carry the carrier bag with the packup so lovingly prepared for me by Mrs Davies. I’ve also found that due to circumstances totally within my control I’ve ended up with the logons arse about tit1. The Acer machine, which is at home has the business logon and the Samsung at work has the personal one. Will sort that out later.

It has been an interesting experience getting to grip with the fact that the machine logged on to the business accounts has had services denied to it that are easily accessible by the personal machine. This is a good demo of the strength of the Google Apps service where a business is concerned.

More on all this later after I’ve climbed on Shanks’ Pony and hit the road to the office.

Hasta la vista amigos.

Read other posts on Chromebook – there are loads:
Samsung Chromebook crash fix and print drivers – who needs em?
Footnote to Samsung Chromebook Free Galaxy Phone offer
Samsung Chromebook offer not very customer friendly
or search chromebook for lots of useful articles

PS It’s a beautiful sunny day. Yu need to be walking to work on a day like this.

1 That’s now blocked by all the consumer ISP porn fiters.

chromebook End User H/W

Just picked up my Acer C720 WiFi Chromebook Granite Gray


Picked up my Acer C720 WiFi Chromebook. Granite Gray not Ash as foretold in this previous post but hey. Might never know what colour ash was 🙂 Also it’s a shame that international language seems to have dumbed down to the lowest common denominator of Americun English. Ah well.

Back at the office I thought I’d bang out some words of wisdom for you before user testing the product. I bought the Chromebook from PC World Business. One does this ostensibly when one requires a VAT receipt from PC World, dont ya know.

Whilst hanging around waiting for the PC World Business system to boot up I got into conversation and casually asked whether there were any discount codes available. The “sales advisor” (I imagine that’s how it’s speld) tapped his keyboard and hey presto a £20 discount appeared.

So my Acer C720 WiFi Chromebook Granite Gray was not £199.99. It was £149.99 plus VAT which I’m sure your quick thinking minds will have totted up to £179.99 give or take a bit of rounding. Result eh? 🙂

I took a look at other Chromebooks on sale whilst hanging around. They were pretty much identical to the Acer. Small differences in build quality perhaps but these are all commodity items. It’s like buying bags of cement, or tins of baked beans.

Now what is interesting is I happen to know the discounts are not available from PC World’s Retail arm. This is because PC World Retail buys its stuff from Dixons Retail who in turn get it from a UK Distributor who buys his from the European Disti who gets it from the manufacturer. I also happen to know (it’s spring – a little bird told me) the manufacturer’s price is £90 so there is plenty of margin in there if you can buy direct from the manufacturer but sod all if you have to slice it 4 ways.

Apparently most of the Samsung products bring good margins – it’s only Apple who are greedy. What do I care? I got an Acer C720 Chromebook for £179.99.

More on this as it happens.

Read other posts on Chromebook – there are loads:
Just bought an Acer Chromebook Ash – review to follow.
Samsung Chromebook crash fix and print drivers – who needs em?
Footnote to Samsung Chromebook Free Galaxy Phone offer
Samsung Chromebook offer not very customer friendly
or search chromebook for lots of useful articles

chromebook End User

Just bought an Acer C720 WiFi Chromebook Ash – review to follow

samsung chromebookJust bought an Acer C720 WiFi Chromebook Ash. I assume that ash is the colour:) I have to go and collect it from PC World on Tritton Road in Lincoln in an hour. It’s OK – it’s only a short walk from the office in case you’re wondering.

I already have a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook – pictured here lying on top of my old Dell laptop (bless). I’ve decided to buy a second so that I don’t need to bother taking a bag to the office. I’ll just leave one in the office and one at home. All the content is in the cloud so no messing about transferring stuff.

The other reason for buying a second Chromebook is because I want to force a separation between my business gmail account – and my personal one. I will still be able to access both from either machine but I want to build up the business profile on Google and other social media platforms and it can get confusing having two live accounts on the same machine.

Before buying I went online to look at reviews. Tbh they are all rubbish. You get side by side lists of specification features plus a bland analysis concluding in why you should by one nearly identical mass produced consumer commodity product over and above another.

I cogitated over thickness, battery life, screen size and price and ended up buying one of the cheapest which also seems to be amongst the best on battery life and thickness. Battery life is increasingly important – if you can get a day out of your machine when out and about then that is a result. I’m sure the Acer 720 WiFi Chromebook Ash will do the job. You can be sure I’ll also let you know if the colour doesn’t turn out to be ash, which will get us all thinking:)

I did think about just buying another Samsung Chromebook but figured it would be just as well to do a comparison between the two. Also there don’t appear to be many reviews out there that offer real user experience of the machines.

To finish off it is worth noting that when I last tried to buy a Chromebook from PC World they didn’t have any in stock. Shows how the Chromebook stock has risen innit?

Ciao amigo.

Read other posts on Chromebook – there are loads:
Samsung Chromebook crash fix and print drivers – who needs em?
Footnote to Samsung Chromebook Free Galaxy Phone offer
Samsung Chromebook offer not very customer friendly
or search chromebook for lots of useful articles

PS I did ponder buying a chromebox but it only seems worth doing if you need more horsepower.

chromebook Engineer media video webrtc

Bandwidth use for Google Hangouts #WebRTC

Was on a WebRTC conference call this morning. I was calling from the Chrome browser in my Chromebook. Volume could have been slightly louder but the quality of the call was terrific. All I did was click on a link and hey presto. I’ll tell you more about it in due course.

We chatted for over half an hour. It wasn’t video as the other participants were using standard SIP phones. We were hooked up through a WebRTC gateway in the (good ole) US of A.

One on the subjects that came up was bandwidth use of video streams when making WebRTC calls. Using a gateway minimises the amount of processing that you have to do locally and also cuts down on the internet bandwidth you need.

Google Hangouts apparently use your laptop/local device to do the video mixing and thus you need more i/o bandwidth. Google tells us that for person to person video hangout the min bandwidth required is 256kbps/512kbps (up/down) and ideally for the best experience 1Mbps/2.5Mbps).

For calls with more than 2 persons the ideal scenario changes to 900kbps/2Mbps. This means that many people living with poor quality ADSL connections will not be able to properly experience the power of Google Hangouts.

It also explains why calls at weekends (that’s when we hangout) to my daughter at Durham University are also poor quality. It has been known for four of us kids to be on the hangout – one in Durham and three in separate rooms in the house in Lincoln (me and the two lads still at home).  We have 7Mbps up in our house but in Durham it is an ADSL connection shared between four in a student house.

Shame really. For the want of a few quid more on the broadband line it could be much better. Students however are always skint and conserve the cash and we should recognise that they are representative of many people in the UK.

With time everyone will be on a faster broadband connection but for the moment, and I know I’m quite likely to get noises of agreement (or maybe just the occasional assenting nod) from readers in rural areas, many still have to live with limitations of their internet connection.

Mind you I’m all right Jack:)

That’s all.

Apps chromebook End User

Samsung Chromebook crash fix and print drivers – who needs em?

chromebookThe Samsung Chromebook was the subject of a number of blog posts in the latter part of 2013. The conclusion was generally good though not perfect with a specific mention of the touchpad locking up quite annoyingly on occasion.

Well in the last few weeks the good ole Samsung Chromebook has been hanging on me to the point where I almost considered it unusable. I figured this was just an extension of the touchpad problem. Don’t think it is. Googling comes up with lots of other people with the same problem with all sorts of suggested solutions that didn’t seem to do it. This included switching to the beta version of Chrome OS. Not sustainable.

One clue came with the suggestion of logging in as a guest to see if the same problem exists. This provides a “clean” instance of Chrome without any extensions you might have installed yourself. Maybe it was an extension problem. I figured I’d bypass the guest login stage and just see if there were any obvious rogue extensions, bearing in mind I’ve not had the Chromebook that long and am wary of sticking in extensions in any case.

Microsoft’s Ctrl Alt Delete doesn’t work for Task Manager on the Chromebook. It’s simpler than that  – shift esc. There was nothing immediately obvious. Then I looked at the list of extensions. I had Google Cast, Tweetdeck, Alexa Traffic Rank, Proxlet Tweet Filter (uh? must go with Tweetdeck?), Tweetdeck Launcher and rollApp File Opener. I installed the latter when I was having problems opening a Powerpoint file. I don’t recall it making any difference and have not used it since.

I zapped rollApp. The problem appears to have gone away. Sorted. There you go. All your Chromebook IT issues sorted. Anytime. Just let me know.

Just to finish off I had intended to write a post on how easy it is to print from the Chromebook. Supposedly you have to use the Google Cloud Print Service. I don’t recall setting this up. I just press print and the Chromebook sees my home printer and off it goes. None of this loading driver stuff one has to do with other operating systems. Simples.

Business chromebook wearable

Microsoft putting staff into PC World stores

galaxy gearMicrosoft are staffing PC World stores to assist in the selling of Microsoft products in the run up to Christmas.

I’ve noticed that occasionally an update appears in my LinkedIn timeline saying that someone or other is now  a Microsoft Ambassador. Students usually. On Sunday I was stood at the Samsung section of PC World looking at tablets and a sales assistant came up to me asking if I needed help. She was wearing a Microsoft polo shirt and turns out was actually employed by them as an Ambassador.

Had a chat with her and shared my experiences with Windows 8 PCs (I reverted to Windows 7 and then subsequently to the Chromebook) and Windows Phone on the Nokia Lumia 920. Her take was that most people are still looking for standard types of PC. Although personally I am writing off Microsoft (I expect it to take 20 years) they are certainly coming out fighting. I saw two Microsoft Ambassadors instore.

It looks like the merchandising from the big consumer players is hotting up in the run up to Christmas. It’s amazing how many tablets and different varieties of laptops are on show. Just based on PC World you would think that the whole tech world was based around Microsoft, Samsung and Apple.

Although Chromebooks are uber cheap it seems obvious to me that the reason for this is partly the need to differentiate. The small solid state hard drive helps with this. On one pod PCW had three Chromebooks on show including the HP version I thought had been recalled due to power supply problems.

I left PCWorld with wallet weighing the same. No additional receipts to bulk it out (it’s never cash!). Might well buy a tab or two though – just to leave lying around the house. Handy.

Pic is 5 Galaxy Gears – say that ten times quickly 🙂 Looked a bit plasticky to me.

chromebook End User phones

Footnote to Samsung Chromebook free Galaxy phone offer

samsung chromebookYou may have read my Samsung Chromebook special offer not very customer friendly post. Well the free phone arrived yesterday. It was a Samsung Galaxy Mini. I’ve not seen it other than a quick glimpse as I got in from London at around 9pm. I bought the Samsung Chromebook on 30th September and the phone arrived on 14th November – six weeks later.

My 13year old lad took me by surprise by calling me whilst I was on the tube. Must have been an overground bit. The tone of the sporadic conversation was “is that phone for me?”. “Yes”.

When I got in I immediately received an IT support request which I promptly bounced back. I’m not going to touch the Galaxy Mini. Should all be self evident. I might see if I can persuade the lad to write a few words describing his experience once he has had time to play with it. Ve shall see…

PS anyone got the HP11 Chromebook – I’m sure we’d all like to hear more about the USB power supply overheating problem.

Business chromebook Cloud phones

Samsung Chromebook special offer not very customer friendly

Samsung chromebook offerI bought my Samsung Chromebook via What particularly attracted me to the deal was the offer of a free Samsung Galaxy phone. The model of phone wasn’t specified so my expectations weren’t high.  The Chromebook was only £229 so it wasn’t going to be a high end phone but I figured it would be ok for one of the kids.

The Chromebook itself came very quickly – Anne collected it from our nearest store (400 yards from our house!). The phone however didn’t materialise. Hmm. The Tesco portal told me that the order was only part fulfilled so I assumed the phone would follow. It didn’t.

Apps chromebook End User gadgets

How to do a print screen using Chromebook

error message using east cost wifiThis is dual post really because I was going to write briefly about an error message that came up when using’s wifi. I couldn’t access Google drive because open DNS is blocking it! Rather than stick the text of the message in I thought I’d just do a screenshot but there was no obvious way of doing it.

A simple Google search came up with the goods and it is quite impressive. You do a ctr shift  []]] (the key above the number 6 – took me a while to find it) and the cursor changes to a + select tool. You can chose which bit of the screen to print – uber impressivo.

This might be old new s to some of you but as you know it sometimes takes me a while to catch up 🙂

chromebook End User

Life without a laptop – Samsung Chromebook charger left at home

Samsung chromebooks have no future unless they change to USB micro charger.
I’m on the train to London.  I’ve left my Samsung Chromebook at home and only have 2 hours of battery left. I ran it all morning on the battery thinking I’d plug it in on the train.
It isn’t the end of the world.
I’m using my Samsung galaxy s4 to write this post. However I will say that Samsung’s days as a chromebook manufacturer are numbered unless they change charger connectors. Theirs is a tiny proprietary job.
The new HP chromebook has a microUSB connector for charging. I always carry at least one micro USB cable.
Nuff said.

chromebook Cloud End User

Chromebook just crashed

samsung chromebookMy Samsung Chromebook just crashed. Just like that. Fortunately the recovery process was like lightning – even restored the browser tabs. Most of the time taken to recover was downloading the web pages. How many times have we all gulped when realising that we are about to have to reboot the old Microsoft PC. It would have been time to stick the kettle on.

4g Business chromebook mobile connectivity

54 minutes 315 Megabytes 4G conference call using Google+ Hangout

sweyn hunterGoogle Hangout for 54 minutes using Samsung Chromebook and EE4G Huaweii MiFi clocks up 315Megabytes.

Just had a very pleasant 54 minutes video call with Sweyn Hunter using Google+ Hangout. My Huaweii 4G MiFi (courtesy of EE) tells me that it used approximately 315MB of bandwidth – probably slightly less as I did some emails before hand.

At Sweyn’s end he had “good old fashioned BT ADSL” with maybe 512k uplink speed. He lives in Orkney. The video quality was great though it did freeze two or three times in the 54 minutes. The only slight issue was an element of half duplex/one way speech in that if he was speaking and I tried to speak at the same time. I quickly got used to that and it didn’t detract  from the quality of the conversation.

Also 54 minutes was a long hangout for what was just a casual chat – I’ve never met Sweyn but converse with him from time to time on Twitter – @sweynh – I’m sure he won’t mind me telling everyone. The point being that if we were comfortable having a 54 minute video conversation the quality must have been good – otherwise we would have cut it short.

Sweyn is an interesting bloke I’m sure he won’t mind me saying – you should follow him. He is organising an Island Govcamp in Orkney next year on 6th and 7th September.

Might try a hangout using O2 and Vodafone sims in my various phones next time. It will be interesting to see if personal video calling is going to at last get mainstream with 4G. Bandwidth cost is still going to be an issue. You can work out for yourselves how quickly you will eat up your own data bundle.

Business chromebook Cloud

Samsung Chromebook test #3 – writing presentations

samsung chromebookIs the Samsung Chromebook any good for creating presentations? I’m about to find out. I have one to finish and am now off out to London for a couple of days – IPExpo and a dinner in Westminster ce soir. I also have to finish a presentation I’m doing next week on behalf of NewNet so it needs to be done whilst travelling.

I have my old Dell laptop out but the weight difference between it and the Chromebook is making it a no brainer. The Dell stays at home. I guess it is possible to buy thin, light laptops but not at £229.

I’ve moved the original presentation, started using Microsoft, onto my Drive. I’ll let you know how I get on.

chromebook Cloud End User

Touch pad on Samsung Chromebook locks up

In the interest of fairness, whilst I have been raving about the Samsung Chromebook it does occasionally have the odd glitch. I’ve already mentioned the wifi disabling itself. Well the touch pad also sometimes locks up so that you can’t click it. You end up trying to get it back by pressing esc and other keys. You can see where the cursor notionally is by areas of the screen being highlighted but you can’t click. It isn’t a huge problem but is definitely a glitch. It shouldn’t happen.

chromebook Cloud End User

Chromebooks, backups and crackling open fires

samsung chromebookSat in front of the first roaring open fire of the season tonight. Well it’s more of a nice crackling sound than a roar but you get my drift. I’ve got my Dell laptop back but I’m still using the Chromebook. I’ve been using it all day and still have 1hr 13 mins left on the battery. It’s now ten past seven in the evening.

I’m going to be announcing #trefbash2013 soon and in preparation did some photo editing using the Dell. Only because I had my Western Digital 2TB drive plugged in to restore some of the files onto the repaired  machine and the photos from last year’s bash were on it.

I used instead of irfanview which was

chromebook Cloud End User

Chromebook on the move

No science here but I’m using the Samsung Chromebook hanging off the Huaweii MiFi with an EE SIM whilst on the train to Laandan. The Chromebook didn’t like the on-board WiFi so I’m not using that but the MiFi works well so no probs.

Although I’m accessing WordPress on what is essentially my private cloud it isn’t particularly sensitive to the bandwidth available so I can’t say I’ve noticed whether it is affected by the speed of internet access provided by the cellular connection. If I was using YouTube I suspect that would be a different experience, unless in a 4G coverage area.

As I continue to use the Chromebook it does occur to me that it is strange that every screen I look at is a browser window. Other than that it is very much business as usual. Expecting to be able to give you an update on the photo uploading tomorrow. Meetings in town today.

Read other posts on Chromebook – there are loads:
Just bought an Acer Chromebook Ash – review to follow.
Samsung Chromebook crash fix and print drivers – who needs em?
Footnote to Samsung Chromebook Free Galaxy Phone offer
Samsung Chromebook offer not very customer friendly
or search chromebook for lots of useful articles