The Chromebook has now been with its real owner for a month. Mostly positive experiences.
Issue #1 – Adding bandwidth when almost out of bandwidth
The Chromebook gives you a warning when you are about to run out of the free 100MB for the month. This is good. It gives you time to register for the 1GB plan. Successful so far. Unfortunately, the 100MB ran out DURING this transaction. In particular, it ran out between the payment and the acknowledgement screen. Which made the acknowledgement screen say “waiting” forever.
What went well: You can pay by phone which means you can upgrade your plan even after you run out of bandwidth.
What could have gone better: When calling, the answer was that the plan had already been upgraded (from the online attempt) and the solution was to restart the Chromebook. Which could have been done without the phone call
Issue #2 – “Old” version of Chrome
The Chromebook is currently on Chrome version 21. One website required “Chrome 22 or later.” Chrome 22 came out in September. The problem occurred in November. I don’t think it is reasonable for a website to demand the very latest browser. This isn’t a technical website – people shouldn’t have to upgrade constantly. Plus you can’t upgrade the Chrome browser until the Chromebook itself is ready to upgrade. It’s only one website so I find more fault with the website than the Chromebook.
Solution: I used the website on my Mac reading it over the phone to the Chromebook user.
A good thing
When I used the Chromebook, I’d get “dropped connection” type issues and need to refresh the page. Apparently I was pushing the Chromebook too hard by having two tabs and changing pages often. The Chromebook’s real owner never does that and hasn’t had any such issues. This does make sense – we are on 3g and I’d never seek to do so much on my phone.
I have 2 factor authentication set up on my gmail. Needless to say signing on with my id was not the first thing I did with the Chromebook! But now that I’m content that easy things are easy, it is time to try something hard. [turned out not to be hard at all]
I’ll be back with the getting started with the chromebook series. 2factor isn’t something most people have set up so I’m posting this one standalone.
Step 1 – Add a user
Click the “Add user” button in the lower left. It requires network access for this. I was worried, I’d have to re-enable wifi, but it lets you click Verizon for the network and activate over 3g. It is only the initial user that requires wifi.
Step 2 – Sign on with password
This is where I was expecting trouble. I typed in my password. When I enter my password in gmail, I get prompted for another code (my 2 factor code.) I was thrilled when the chromebook prompted me for the 2 factor code. This is great! I can logon to the chromebook using two factor just as easily as I can logon to gmail using 2factor. Good job!
I was expecting my fallback to be logging onto the Chromebook as a guest and then using two factor normally from the browser.
Part 1 covered buying a Chromebook. I tried setting up Chrome OS (Chromium) on a virtual machine last year. In addition to covering set up here, I’ll also remark on how it is different for a “real computer” so techies can support a Chromebook without actually having one.
Part 1 ended with me turning on the computer. Let’s see where we go from there.
The first time you use the computer
- Tell the machine how to connect to the internet. (The dark lines don’t appear on the screen and seem to be an artifact of taking a photo of the screen. Can’t take a screenshot before logging in.) *** Important *** you must connect via wifi the first time; you can’t go straight to 3g. This means you need to take the laptop to a library/starbucks/etc if you do not have home wifi. This seems like it could be a problem as some public wifi requires a browser to get started. Luckily, I am at home where I do have wifi.This step was different than the virtual machine since I was already online for the virtual machine.
- I selected my wifi network and entered my WEP key. There is NO feedback at all that something is happening for about a minute. If your key worked, the continue button becomes enabled. If not, you see a yellow message saying it couldn’t connect. However, either of these takes a little while – in which you are left wondering if the Chromebook is doing anything.
- Accept terms and conditions. I unchecked about sending crash data to Google. If I’m paying based on bandwidth used, I don’t want to waste any.
- Oh, did you want to use your Chromebook? Sorry. The first thing that happens is a system update. It’s a large download. I don’t have the fastest wifi, but the progress bar appears to be going slowly. And I can tell it is busy downloading, because the internet speed on my “real computer” is crawling implying the Chromebook is using it all. I really hope it doesn’t do this for each update! It took 35 minutes.
- After ChromeBook reboots automatically, logon with your google username/password. From here on, it is similar to the virtual machine setup
- Interestingly, you get prompted for an image even if you already have with that google account from another ChromeBook.
- The “home page” screen is a list of things you might want help with for the ChromeBook. (This screenshot is my first taken on the Chromebook!)
- To get started you click on the gmail or chome icons at bottom. Once you are in a browser, you can add more tabs and surf the internet as normal. The icons to use as starting points are:
- Chrome (browser)
- Google search
- Google docs
- Tips and tricks
- Downloads folder
- Current browser tab
- Apps – like a desktop with more icons as shown here:
- You have to be on wifi the first time. Since the laptop supports 3g, it would be nice to go right to 3g
- The icons at the bottom of the screen have text under them. However this text is cut off using the default resolution. Odd since everything else seems to work out of the box.
Part 3 is about getting on 3g