Listening to Free Music on a ChromeBook

My mother decide she’d like to listed to music on here Chromebook. Conveniently the new Chromebook has good speakers. The gotcha is that she has limited bandwidth at home.

Luckily, this is still possible via a “simple three step procedure”

Step 0 – pre-req

  • Go to Amazon Play on the Chromebook and download the Amazon music app
  • Right click the Amazon music app and pin it. That way it always shows up on the bottom
  • Login to the Amazon music app using the account with a Prime membership. Note this must be the actual account with a Prime membership. Not one you merely shared free shipping with. (Amazon allows up to 10 devices with access to the music on a single Prime account so they must be ok with families sharing)

Step 1 – pick Amazon Prime songs

  • Go to Amazon Digital Music
  • Search for what you are interested in
  • Filter by Amazon Prime on the left
  • This will give you a list of albums with at least one free prime song
  • Each one tells you how many songs are included with prime
  • Click on the albums you are interested in
  • Click “Add” and the icon turns into “Listen now”. This makes it accessible via the app

Step 2 – download to Chromebook while on free wifi

While my mother is bandwidth limited at home, she has free wifi in the lobby and at the library. So for this step:

  • Open Amazon Music on the chromebook
  • Go to My Music. I had tow wait about two minutes for the new songs to show up
  • For each song, click the three dot icon at right and choose Download

Step 3 – listen to music on Chromebook

  • Without being online, open Amazon Music
  • Choose “Offline Music”
  • Click “Shuffle all”
  • Click “play” on first song. Then they all play

Chromebook the third!

I bought my mother a Chromebook in 2012 and again in 2014. That one lasted longer and here we are five years later. It’s time to replace the Chromebook with her third one. Definitely a happy customer.

I went the Best Buy like the last two times. The number of Chromebooks on the market exploded! I think they had nine in the store. I went with the Acer Chromebook 15. It’s a basic machine with built in speakers. Like actual speakers, not embedded ones.

Comparing the stats from 5 years ago

My mother wants to listen to music now. This means I care about the hard drive now when I didn’t five years ago. Everything is better on this machine except the CPU. The computer is never CPU bound though so that seems ok

Asus (2014)Acer (219)
Screen size13.3″15.6″
Price$299$240
CPUIntel 2.16 GHzIntel 1.6 GHz
RAM2 GB4GB
Hard Drive???16GB
USB1 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.02 USB 3.0
HDMIYesYes
Weight3.1 lbs4.41 lbs
Headphone jackYesYes
Battery life???12 hours

Setting up the Chromebook

  • The Chromebook was set to Sept 18th 1:00 on May 15th 10:21. Maybe that’s when it was built/packaged? It got fixed automatically when I connected to wifi
  • I chose “let’s go” on the welcome screen and connected to my home wifi.
  • I then got the ChromeOS terms page. For about a minute, it showed me a cert invalid page. Then the screen loaded with the terms. Weird.
  • I chose not to send data to Google and accepted the terms. (My mother is bandwidth constrained so don’t want to use up any helping Google.)
  • Signed in. My profile was automatic. Since I signed on as my mother, I got her giant accessibility cursor
  • I accepted Google Play/Google Drive since I want to use an app. I did not enable location services.
  • On settings
    • disabled Bluetooth
    • disabled sync for passwords/addresses/google pay
    • changed time zone to Pacific
    • turned off check if have payment methods saved
    • on site settings, disable microphone and camera
  • Installed Keep Awake browser extension
  • Covered camera
  • Right click desktop and choose “set wallpaper”. Choose light blue under solid colors
  • I tested the USB, HDMI headphones and that a Kensington security lock works with

chromebook and att wifi – part 2

Two years ago, I set up my mother with an AT&T 4G wifi hotspot. Overall, she is happy with it. The hardware is starting to get less than optimal. It doesn’t keep a charge as long. I think a wire needs replacing. It shut down randomly twice. Since it is two years old, I decided to buy a new one for her and keep the old one for me to play with.

The price came down. Without a contact, the ATT Velocity hotspot is now $60. (two years ago it was $150). And this time, I could buy it from BestBuy rather than AT&T. A far easier buying experience. No shipping so sent right to me.

Setting up an account

Since I bought the hotspot from BestBuy rather than AT&T, I had to set up my own account online. Hardly difficult. The steps:

  1. Go to http://att.com/activateprepaiddata
  2. Enter the SIM number – this is listed as the ICCID on the bottom of the box
  3. Enter IMEI number – this is on a sticker inside the phone (easy to see before putting in the battery). It’s also on the bottom of the box.
  4. The zip code of the user – I used my mother’s
  5. Enter user’s email. I used my mother’s
  6. Pick a plan. I chose the same plan I had before. $25/month for 2GB
  7. Sign up for autopay
  8. Choose a password
  9. Then I went to manage account to set up a name. I repeatedly got “We seem to be experiencing system issues. Please try again later.” on saving. It was true though. I waited 5 minutes and then it saved.

Trying out the hotspot

The battery/case comes separated so I put that together. The device tells you the charge, connection strength and whether you have any new messages. Unlike last time, I didn’t have any messages right away. I had the flashing green light and six messages once I signed up for automatic payment.

New since last time – the device appears to tell you how much bandwidth was used up. This is an illusion. Once I started using data, it directed me to the web for this.

It still shows the number of connected devices.

I connected to the wifi using the default password from a Chromebook and went to http://attwifimanager. I logged in with attadmin (the default) and changed:

  • Network name (it prompted me that I would be disconnected so I reconnected) – I made sure to use a different password
  • The wifi password (it prompted me that I would be disconnected so I reconnected – should have done this with the network name to save a reconnect)
  • Set max number of devices to 2
  • On advanced settings, changed admin login

There was an option to hide the password on the device. I chose this because my mother wanted a password that has other meaning.

Connecting from the Chromebook

Connecting to the new wifi name is easy. Note that the network name is case sensitive
  1. Click the connection from the wifi list
  2. Type password

This didn’t work on the first shot. I tried from my iPad and also no connectivity. So I rebooted the hotspot and it worked.

To remember the connection 

  1. Click the wifi icon and click “Connected to X”
  2. Click network name
  3. Click “Prefer this network”
  4. Ensure “Automatically connect to this network is checked”
  5. Click “close”

 

How fast is the connection?

I ran a speedtest both to see how fast the connection was and to use a chunk of bandwidth to see how reporting worked. The answer was:

  • ping 36 ms
  • download 13 Mbps
  • upload 9 Mbps

Problems

Every once in a while, I have to push the power button on the wifi device for the ChromeBook to connect. I haven’t seen a pattern on this, but it only happens on trying to connect.

Support

Most problems can be dealt with online at att.com/my prepaid, but they do have a phone number: 800-901-9878