Welcome to the Sep 16, 2012 issue of
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|TODAY'S TOPIC: WE GOT A CHROMEBOOK||
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After my HP notebook burned out a month ago, I debated with myself over what to replace it with. Finally, I decided to order an Acer Chromebook. It arrived just after I posted the previous issue of CompuNerds.Net-News. Click on the thumbnail photos to see them full-size: the first thing that strikes you about the Chromebook is its size: it's enough larger than a netbook so that it can have a full-size keyboard. The keyboard on the netbook that I got for my wife about four years ago was about 92% of full-size, which made it difficult to type on for any extended length of time, so we finally just gave the netbook away. And the Chromebook's 11.6" screen is noticably larger and easier to work with than a netbook's 10.1" screen. Yet the Chromebook is just a bit more than half the size of our 15" Toshiba laptop... and weighs only 3.3 pounds, which makes the 10-pound Toshiba feel like a boat anchor. The Chromebook's outside dimensions are about 8.5" x 11" so that letter-size papers fit nicely in the slipcase with the Chromebook.
Before buying a Chromebook, I googled for "run LibreOffice on Chromebook," and found the must-have, "killer app" that clinched my switch to the Chromebook: "Install Free Nexus with LibreOffice." You'll find it in the Chrome Web Store by searching for "LibreOffice." It integrates right into Google Drive, and is uncanny how fast LibreOffice starts up with my *.doc, *.docx, *.xls, *xlsx, *.ppt and *.pptx files! You can generate PDFs from your documents and do everything else you can do in LibreOffice, including saving your files in Microsoft Office formats. (If you'd like a PDF copy of this document, click here.) The right-click context menu gives you formatting options in LibreOffice. In addition, the Options tab on the right shows how you can share your documents as you edit them or after you save them. I can easily imagine that if Google promotes this app as a way to open, update and save Microsoft Office files on the Chromebook without having to buy Microsoft Office and an expensive Windows 8 ultrabook for ultra-portability, Google would see a stampede of folks snapping up Chromebooks. (If you just can't live without the Microsoft Office 2010 "ribbon" interface, you can use "Install Free Nexus with Microsoft Office.")
With Dropbox you can always access your stuff from any device when you need it: your documents, photos, HTML files and music. Use this referral link to sign up for 2Gb of space free, and get an extra 500Mb: http://db.tt/Ul9t6eGf. Then grab your own referral link so you can get up to 16Gb free by inviting others to join Dropbox! You can keep stuff private, or share files and even whole folders with family, friends or the whole world.
The next impressions are the startup and ease of setup: it started up in eight seconds flat, as advertised! I entered my Google username and password, then those of my wife, and our Chrome browser tabs, bookmarks and other settings were imported automatically in seconds: we were ready to go! This sure beats the countless hours it takes to set up a new Windows PC. Cheryl's and my personal homepages, Google Plus, Google Drive, Google Play Music albums, and Google Picasa photos were all right there in our Chromebook logins, just like our Google apps on our notebook PC. Battery life proved to be as they claim: six hours. After setting up Google Cloud Print, we could print to our network printer at home. In this photo I've clicked on the full-screen key (located above the number 5) to make the tabs, omnibox and bookmarks bar disappear.
On the right side are the power-in port and a USB port, and on the left side are USB, HDMI, audio-in and audio-out ports. The Chromebook has a built-in webcam and microphone as well. A one-finger click anywhere on the large "Touch-Anywhere" touchpad equals a left-click in Windows, and a two-finger click anywhere equals a left-click in Windows. Two-finger swipes let you scroll horizontally or vertically. The top row of keys let you switch full-screen on and off, adjust brightness and volume, and turn the computer on or off. The Acer Chromebook has Bluetooth in the hardware, but it appears to not be activated yet in the Chrome OS software. So if we need to transfer photos from my wife's cellphone, for now we must connect to my smartphone's Bluetooth.
Here you can see all my tabs across the top of the screen just like on the PC, of course, because it's the same browser and settings. My online Russian course I teach came up normally, and it was easy to go into Chrome's Settings and add a Russian keyboard: now I can keep up with my online students using the Chromebook. Switching keyboard layouts is the same as in Windows: press the Alt+Left Shift keys. One difference with the tabs, though, is that clicking on the New Tab shows your most used web pages. I've set up the display so the launcher only appears when I move the mouse pointer down to the bottom of the screen: this plus the full-screen mode gives me more screen real estate for the browser and applications. If you click on the right end of the launcher, you'll see a menu that gives you options to shut down, sign out or lock the Chromebook, change WiFi and Bluetooth connections, set up the keyboard for different languages, adjust volume, brightness and other settings. To sum it up, the Chromebook is a lightweight computer that promises to be a heavyweight for getting things done!
The Security Blurb:
See the article GoDaddy goes down, taking countless websites offline; Anonymous claims responsibility to learn how a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack can bring down one of the largest website hosting and registration services in the U.S. The development websites - registered on GoDaddy's DNS servers - where I work went offline for over half of the day on September 11, along with thousands of others. Later GoDaddy announced (whether true or not) that it wasn't Anonymous, but rather an error in its software that caused the outage. Regardless, DDOS attacks can bring down major websites, and have done so in the past.
The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!
"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"
Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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