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I’m dropping Facebook and Tumblr in favor of Google+, I think it’s that much better than both of them. If you are following me on either of those services and want a Google+ invitation then please direct message me with your Gmail address. Of course, I may have already sent you one!

 
I just made a huge discovery that has greatly increased the usability of my Chromebook - how to copy/move files within and between the internal SSD and external media (USB memory sticks and SD cards). It’s actually easy to do, but requiring about as inobvious a method as Google could possibly create. 
 
I found this method because of extreme frustration in managing files in the File Shelf (the internal SSD of the Chromebook). Using the File Manager (invoked by CTRL-M) you can view files, delete files, rename files, open a limited number of file types, and create folders. However, you can’t move existing files into the folders you may create. All this is made even more frustrating given the fact that if you download a document from Google Docs, you never get an option for choosing a folder and the document is simply downloaded directly to the root level of the File Shelf.
 
Now I know that Google really wants Chromebook users to avoid using local files and store files and documents in the cloud, but sometimes it’s a whole lot handier and faster to have something available locally. This is especially true if you regularly find yourself in situations where access to the internet is simply impossible. I find myself in such situations every week when I’m flying on business.
 
So, how can you move a file into a folder, or move files between external media and the SSD? Here’s how to do it!
 
First of all, you need to be able to access the File Shelf and external media through some mechanism other than the built-in File Manager. This is actually easy to do if you are aware of two very special URLs that you can enter into Chrome:
 
file:///home/chronos/user/Downloads/ - the URL for accessing the directory structure of the File Shelf
file:///media/ - the URL for accessing external media
 
I suggest you save both of these as bookmarks for easy access. Accessing either using Chrome will generate a file listing page containing file or directory names, file sizes, and last modification dates. An example of my File Shelf screen is shown in the accompanying picture. Left-clicking on a directory name will open the directory and reveal the files contained within. Left-clicking on a file name will result in Chrome attempting to open the file. If Chrome doesn’t understand the file type, it will attempt to open it as a text file.
 
Now here’s the big news, right-clicking on a file name will pop-up a menu containing, among other things, a “Save link as …” entry. This is the normal file save operation that you would use for downloading a file from an Internet web page. Selecting this option will open the normal File Save dialog box. You can use this to navigate to wherever you want the file saved to. You can then click the Save button and the normal download operation starts, but this time instead of downloading a file from the Web you are actually copying a file within your Chromebook.
 
When the operation completes you’ll now have two copies of the file in two different locations within your Chromebook. If you wanted to simply move the file rather than make an additional copy of it you’ll need to manually delete the original version, which can be easily accomplished using the normal File Manager.
 
That’s it! I just wish that this feature had been documented somewhere by Google. It took me many days of using my Chromebook to figure out how to do this!
 
By the way, this posting was created using ScratchPad, one very handy tool for creating simple documents offline on a Chromebook. But that’s another story!!!

I just made a huge discovery that has greatly increased the usability of my Chromebook - how to copy/move files within and between the internal SSD and external media (USB memory sticks and SD cards). It’s actually easy to do, but requiring about as inobvious a method as Google could possibly create. 

 

I found this method because of extreme frustration in managing files in the File Shelf (the internal SSD of the Chromebook). Using the File Manager (invoked by CTRL-M) you can view files, delete files, rename files, open a limited number of file types, and create folders. However, you can’t move existing files into the folders you may create. All this is made even more frustrating given the fact that if you download a document from Google Docs, you never get an option for choosing a folder and the document is simply downloaded directly to the root level of the File Shelf.

 

Now I know that Google really wants Chromebook users to avoid using local files and store files and documents in the cloud, but sometimes it’s a whole lot handier and faster to have something available locally. This is especially true if you regularly find yourself in situations where access to the internet is simply impossible. I find myself in such situations every week when I’m flying on business.

 

So, how can you move a file into a folder, or move files between external media and the SSD? Here’s how to do it!

 

First of all, you need to be able to access the File Shelf and external media through some mechanism other than the built-in File Manager. This is actually easy to do if you are aware of two very special URLs that you can enter into Chrome:

 

file:///home/chronos/user/Downloads/ - the URL for accessing the directory structure of the File Shelf

file:///media/ - the URL for accessing external media

 

I suggest you save both of these as bookmarks for easy access. Accessing either using Chrome will generate a file listing page containing file or directory names, file sizes, and last modification dates. An example of my File Shelf screen is shown in the accompanying picture. Left-clicking on a directory name will open the directory and reveal the files contained within. Left-clicking on a file name will result in Chrome attempting to open the file. If Chrome doesn’t understand the file type, it will attempt to open it as a text file.

 

Now here’s the big news, right-clicking on a file name will pop-up a menu containing, among other things, a “Save link as …” entry. This is the normal file save operation that you would use for downloading a file from an Internet web page. Selecting this option will open the normal File Save dialog box. You can use this to navigate to wherever you want the file saved to. You can then click the Save button and the normal download operation starts, but this time instead of downloading a file from the Web you are actually copying a file within your Chromebook.

 

When the operation completes you’ll now have two copies of the file in two different locations within your Chromebook. If you wanted to simply move the file rather than make an additional copy of it you’ll need to manually delete the original version, which can be easily accomplished using the normal File Manager.

 

That’s it! I just wish that this feature had been documented somewhere by Google. It took me many days of using my Chromebook to figure out how to do this!

 

By the way, this posting was created using ScratchPad, one very handy tool for creating simple documents offline on a Chromebook. But that’s another story!!!

Who says you can’t use a #Chromebook without access to the internet? I watched a movie on mine while on a commuter flight today. The movie was ripped from a DVD to an SD card in H.264 format and it played beautifully on the Samsung’s screen.

Who says you can’t use a #Chromebook without access to the internet? I watched a movie on mine while on a commuter flight today. The movie was ripped from a DVD to an SD card in H.264 format and it played beautifully on the Samsung’s screen.

Who says you can’t use a #Chromebook without internet access? I used mine to read PDF business documents downloaded to the Samsung’s SSD drive while on a commuter flight today.

Who says you can’t use a #Chromebook without internet access? I used mine to read PDF business documents downloaded to the Samsung’s SSD drive while on a commuter flight today.

Sunrise over Philadelphia

Sunrise over Philadelphia

A Few Days Working with a Samsung Chromebook

Well I’ve used my new Samsung Chromebook for a few days now at my client site, where I’m working as an IT management consultant. Here are some early impressions in no particular order:
 
Pros
 

  1. The screen is wonderful - bright and clear
  2. It works great with Ethernet if you use an Ethernet to USB adapter - the one I have is Apple’s model that is actually made for the Macbook Air
  3. The battery life is phenomenal, it truly lasts all day including near-continuous use at work for more than 8 hours a day and even more hours in the evening
  4. The keyboard is great: good-sized, great touch, lots of special Chromebook-specific keys
  5. Works with an external monitor and/or projector via the included VGA dongle
  6. Works well with LogMeIn as a thin-client application, providing easy remote access to my Windows machines whenever I need to utilize Windows-specific applications
  7. It boots up from a cold start amazingly quickly - less than 10 seconds
  8. It wakes up virtually instantly from sleep
  9. The WiFi radio works great and very reliably, even with weak signals, and connects seamlessly to hotspots
  10. Works great with Hulu at night in my hotel room, although not with Netflix (promised for a future implementation)
  11. The trackpad works well and the computer supports a USB mouse without any problems
  12. It’s great at Web browsing (of course!)
  13. Applications and extensions are easy to install, and although a limited number are available right now I’ve found some really handy ones to use with the Chromebook


Cons

  1. File handling is simply atrocious right now - clicking on a Microsoft Office file that is actually compatible with Google Docs causes an attempt to start up Google Docs and then fails 100% of the time to load the document - you have to manually load any Office document from the internal SSD disk or an external USB drive or SD card into Google Docs first before you are able to access them
  2. I’m getting at 3 or 4 Chrome errors (“He’s dead Jim”) every day when accessing a variety of pages - they are easily corrected by just refreshing the page, but also a bit annoying in their frequency of occurrence
  3. I’ve had one lockup that required a hard restart (power off - power on)
  4. Although it works with external monitors and projectors, there is no way to manually set external VGA resolution - the Chromebook just seems to try and figure out what it feels to be an appropriate resolution for the external device, leading to some distortion of output due to often inappropriate settings
  5. Google docs currently has no offline capabilities, although it’s promised for sometime this summer, so it’s a brick without Internet access (like when on a plane)
  6. Google docs is VERY limited compared to Microsoft Office - importing anything but the very simplest Office Word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations results in conversion problems - I’ve having to remote into Windows often to get my work done - Google definitely needs to do some work beefing up their apps as I can get more work done with Office documents and files on my Android Tablet using QuickOffice than I can with Google Docs
  7. It doesn’t work with Microsoft Live Meeting or WebEx - so business video conferencing is not possible with the unit

More to follow as I continue to try and use the Chromebook in a professional work environment.

What you see here is a Samsung Chromebook in my hotel room. The company I work for is a leader in cloud technology and I’m going to be testing out this computer for use in my job as an IT management consultant.
So far, after just a day’s usage, it’s frankly amazed me. I thought the limitations of the Chrome OS would frankly make it pretty useless to me, but the fact is that I have actually been able to use it as my sole work computer today. Much of my work can be done in Chrome OS and Google Docs and when I need to use some Windows-based software the Chromebook actually serves as an excellent thin-client into a virtual Windows desktop environment.
To the left of the Chromebook you’ll see two accessories vital to me - the black VGA dongle for connecting the Chromebook to a projector for presentations, and a white Ethernet USB adapter (this one actually an Apple product!). Many times I find myself working in client locations where getting Ethernet access is no problem, but that getting onto their company WiFi network is a major issue. The Chromebook does not have an Ethernet port but the Ethernet USB adapter works great with it in providing access to the Internet.

What you see here is a Samsung Chromebook in my hotel room. The company I work for is a leader in cloud technology and I’m going to be testing out this computer for use in my job as an IT management consultant.

So far, after just a day’s usage, it’s frankly amazed me. I thought the limitations of the Chrome OS would frankly make it pretty useless to me, but the fact is that I have actually been able to use it as my sole work computer today. Much of my work can be done in Chrome OS and Google Docs and when I need to use some Windows-based software the Chromebook actually serves as an excellent thin-client into a virtual Windows desktop environment.

To the left of the Chromebook you’ll see two accessories vital to me - the black VGA dongle for connecting the Chromebook to a projector for presentations, and a white Ethernet USB adapter (this one actually an Apple product!). Many times I find myself working in client locations where getting Ethernet access is no problem, but that getting onto their company WiFi network is a major issue. The Chromebook does not have an Ethernet port but the Ethernet USB adapter works great with it in providing access to the Internet.

The Android Tango video conferencing application is da bomb! Today my wife and I had a video conference call between New Jersey and Grand Cayman Island. She was on the beach in back of the hotel she was staying at with our kids (a Happy Birthday trip for her!) and using the WiFi provided by the hotel. I was using the guest WiFi network at my client work site. The quality of the call was so good that I could actually identify Angel Fish swimming in the water when my wife waded into the lagoon. Simply amazing where technology has taken us! What was science fiction a few years ago is today a free Android (or IOS) application.

Plants vs Zombies is a wonderful game on my EVO 4G, alas it doesn’t display correctly on my Galaxy 7-inch tablet. :-(

At US Air Club in Reagan National Airport

At US Air Club in Reagan National Airport