Google Group Re: Chrome Notebook Cr-48 Computer – Would You Buy One?

While browsing the Google Group for the Chrome Notebook Pilot program, I garnered some interesting information from other participants. What is interesting is that others who have been using the Chrome Cr-48 notebook computer have similar views of the product. Most everyone agrees that the Chrome notebook is a solidly built unit. Some of the favorite features are the matte black finish, the portability, bright screen, ease of use, fast boot in under 15 seconds, and the overall quality of the hardware. This basically confirms my opinion of the notebook and my experience.

Some of the prior complaints of issues with connecting to a home Wi-Fi router have seemed to have been resolved with an update, that seems to have worked. I know my personal experience of having issues on the Lockergnome site have faded. Bottom line is that it was not the LG web site but the protocol the Chrome notebook was using. Once corrected the notebook now loads all web pages very quickly. I am now able to use the notebook to write my blog posts and will be able to take the notebook with me when I travel.

But there was one post that caught my attention. A question was asked ‘Would you buy a Chrome notebook’? The answers may not be what Google is looking for. Why?

First of all it really doesn’t matter how many of these notebooks they give away for testing, if the consumer models do not sell. This one statement reflects most of the opinions about the Cr-48:

Get a free Cr-48 for testing is one thing. Pay $250 out of your pocket is another.

There are other hurdles Google is going to need to figure out. First is that people do not like change, especially when they are comfortable with a Microsoft Windows box. Have you ever tried to get a Windows user to try Linux? The first question they ask is why? You can talk until you are blue in the face and they don’t want to try something new no matter how much more secure their system will be. Since Google Chrome is basically Linux in a browser, most users will be uncomfortable using it. Second there is the issue of cloud computing. Ask the average computer user about cloud computing and they will give you a blank stare. When you do explain what cloud computing is many of the users I have spoken with are reluctant to give their private data to any company, no matter how much they may trust the company.

Yesterday one of the Google people asked what people liked most about the Cr-48. I responded that the hardware and the way the system is sonstructed is fantastic. The hardware includes the ability to connect to Wi-Fi, 3G and eventually will be Bluetooth enabled. The SSD is also nice and helps boot the computer quickly and 2G of RAM seems sufficient. The case housing is solid and so is the keyboard. Only down side is the built-in tracking which stinks. :-) I told the Google people if they try to cut costs and produce a flimsy notebook, it will bite them in the back side.

I would also not be surprised if Google doesn’t offer some type of supplement on pricing, similar to what the cell phone companies provide for smartphones.

Now here is my opinion. I am not afraid of change and I believe that the tech savvy bunch will have no issues using a browser controlled notebook computer. In fact I like the Cr-48 notebook and use it daily along with my personal laptop computer. I also have no issues of storing my stuff in the cloud, since I have no super secret documents that I want to hide from public view. I am sure others will disagree with my assessment of cloud computing.

So will I be buying a Google Chrome notebook when it becomes available mid-year? Honestly, I am not sure. I would need to see the final consumer version before making a commitment.

Comments welcome.

Source – Google Group

Life Outside Of Mobile Computing

There should be an image here!One thing that definitely drives me batty is constantly hearing the drivel about how the mobile world is the only one that matters in computing today. Yes, notebooks, netbooks, and mobile smart phones have changed the way we use computers. But to say that desktop computing is no longer a big part of this world is simply untrue. Take myself for example. I’m quite geeky, I prefer the geeky OS choices, I have computers connected to everything under the sun, and yet when the chips are down, I prefer my desktop in my home office as I know I can work there undisturbed. Can the guy sitting at his local coffee house on a netbook make that same claim?

Don’t misunderstand me; I love access to content and email with my smart phone and/or netbook. I’m thrilled to have this as an option. But the idea that this is to be the future seems a bit narrow minded. That said, yes, desktop systems are finishing dead last in contrast to the aforementioned alternatives. But could that be due to folks getting longer use out of existing systems? Maybe not, but I suspect it may be so.

Let me put this another way. When I happen to retire a desktop system, I often downgrade it for other duties outside of daily use. In a less geeky household, an older system is generally held over for the kids to use or perhaps donated to friends/family. With netbooks/notebooks or smart phones, not so much. Generally when they are upgraded, that’s it. Most non-geeky people I know are not passing along the old smart phones or notebooks to others. Generally, they end up in a bin somewhere in a closet.

Now for a final thought. Is it possible, maybe, that just because more people are buying mobile devices that it’s not reflective of their value? Remember, we used to be the society that fixed things. Now we just throw things out. So could it be that here in the near future, we will see a resurgence of desktop purchases simply based on the fact that they have a longer lifespan in most homes? Just some food for thought.

[Photo above by Landii / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Unknown World Mobile Home]

Fake Firefox Flash Update

Over the weekend and for the last couple of day if you had Firefox it would prompt you for a flash update. This update looks a little odd because it looks exactly like the Firefox update page that you get when Firefox is updated. This page may have many people confused because it is an exact clone of what the official Firefox page looks like.

Some Anti-virus systems are able to detect and block the link that this fake update page is pointing to. Others detect it too late, because this update once installed, is very hard to remove. Most free and paid anti-virus systems are unable to remove this virus once it is infected in your system. You will have to use a 3rd party Malware removing program such as Malwarebytes.

Just run a full scan on your system and it should pick it up no problem. Malwarebytes will remove it and restart your system. The virus should at this point be removed but for extra measure run another scan to pick up anything that could be left behind.

Microsoft Heads To The Cloud, Google Says The Desktop Is DOA, What Does This All Mean?

During the past few days we have been reading about several different approaches for the future of computing that appear to have a common theme. Or are the themes the same?

On one hand we have a memo from the head honcho of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, telling his people that the company needs to embrace the cloud. In a small excerpt of his memo he states that:

My goal was to challenge people to look at the cloud more broadly and understand the multidimensional nature of the cloud transformation happening today. Other companies have defined the cloud in a narrow, one-dimensional way. Although these companies provide some interesting components, Microsoft is uniquely delivering on a wide range of cloud capabilities that bring increasingly more value to our customers.

To keep our momentum, it is critical that  every Microsoft employee works to deliver the full benefits of the cloud to our customers.

Of course, there is more work to do. We have strong competitors. We need to be (and are) willing to change our business models to take advantage of the cloud. We must move at “cloud speed,” especially in our consumer offerings. And we need to be crystal clear about the value we provide to all our customers.

Over at Google, the head of their European division made a startling statement, in which he has made a prediction that the desktop PC as we now know it, will be dead in 3 years.  His statement stunned his audience when John Herlihy of Google Europe said:

“In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs,” Herlihy told a baffled audience, echoing comments by Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the recent GSM Association Mobile World Congress 2010 that everything the company will do going forward will be via a mobile lens, centring on the cloud, computing and connectivity.

So what does this all mean?

I believe that we are heading towards an era when small devices such as smart phones, mini laptops and other future devices will be using an operating system that may not be powered by Windows. There is a possibility that these devices could be powered by a derivative of Linux such as what Google is using in their new Chromium operating system. The devices will no longer ‘boot’ in the traditional sense and will most likely be instant on devices. Storage in the traditional sense will be limited and the devices will be using cloud computing to store your stuff on a companies server. The traditional hard disk will die and the newer SSD will be replacing these mechanical devices.

So will this all happen in the next 3 years? I seriously doubt it will. For any of us Window users who have tried Linux, we know the obstacles that must be over come to get people to make the switch to something they are not familiar with. Though I applaud Google and their attempts to come up with an alternative to Windows, it is still unknown exactly what Chromium will be and how well it will work for the average home user.

The problems with cloud computing come down to trust. Will we trust any company to store our data on their servers? How safe will our stuff be if we do? Will our data be hack proof?

These and other questions remain. I believe that a 3 year prediction of the death of the PC is self serving and wishful thinking on Google’s part.

Just my two cents.

What do you think?

Comments as always are welcome.

Source – Microsoft memo

Source – PC will be DOA

Living With A SixthSense

I think that it is rather difficult to articulate exactly where computing is headed. Then I happened upon this today and found myself tossing Web based or localized applications right out the window. This concept, called SixthSense, was nothing short of incredible.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/lNVJIBvi17Y" width="350" height="288" wmode="transparent" /]

Once you get past the scary start-up music in the above video, you can see how we might be seeing the lines between mobile devices and desktop computers being blurred in ways that even Apple or Microsoft have not thought of yet.

I might even go out on a limb and say that it is something like this that will make what we use today meaningless. Not saying keyboards and mice will be obsolete, mind you — just used less and for different things in the future to come.

[awsbullet:future tech]

L.A. Is Going The Google Way – 30,000 Employees To Use Gmail And More

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to go with Google for their email needs and also to use Google Apps. and more. L.A. will be the first major U.S. city to use Google over other rivals like Microsoft. This has been a hard fought win for the search giant, and if successful, could entice other cities to go with Google as well.

The L.A. Times article also states:

Before the vote, several council members had voiced objections to the contract, including whether the city would see any real cost savings, as Google had contended, and when the new system would be ready to store data from law enforcement, where security standards are more rigorous.

Because Los Angeles will be among the earliest adopters of the Google system, council members expressed concern that the city might be signing on before Google’s cloud system was fully proven.

“It’s unclear if this is cutting edge, or the edge of a cliff and we’re about to step off,” said Councilman Paul Koretz.

The contract was approved pending an amendment that would require Google to compensate the city in the event that the Google system was breached and city data exposed or stolen. No such clause existed in the contract.

Google has been working hard to gather support for its cloud system and use of its apps in the sky. This experiment should be a proving ground on how well Google can pull this off, or fall flat on its face.

What do you think? Is the cloud here to stay?

Comments welcome.

Source

As More People Use Google Services, Is Google Able To Handle The Load?

I support Google and the services they offer, including their mail service known as Gmail. But yesterday the system suffered another outage which according to their official web site was caused by an under estimate of usage. Which made me start to think. Is Google going to be able to handle the load in the future? If and when the company comes out with their Google OS and more people use their services, will Google finally show their Achilles heel and will there be more down time?

According to their blog site Google reps state the following:

Gmail’s web interface had a widespread outage earlier today, lasting about 100 minutes. We know how many people rely on Gmail for personal and professional communications, and we take it very seriously when there’s a problem with the service. Thus, right up front, I’d like to apologize to all of you — today’s outage was a Big Deal, and we’re treating it as such. We’ve already thoroughly investigated what happened, and we’re currently compiling a list of things we intend to fix or improve as a result of the investigation.

Here’s what happened: This morning (Pacific Time) we took a small fraction of Gmail’s servers offline to perform routine upgrades. This isn’t in itself a problem — we do this all the time, and Gmail’s web interface runs in many locations and just sends traffic to other locations when one is offline.

However, as we now know, we had slightly underestimated the load which some recent changes (ironically, some designed to improve service availability) placed on the request routers — servers which direct web queries to the appropriate Gmail server for response. At about 12:30 pm Pacific a few of the request routers became overloaded and in effect told the rest of the system “stop sending us traffic, we’re too slow!”. This transferred the load onto the remaining request routers, causing a few more of them to also become overloaded, and within minutes nearly all of the request routers were overloaded. As a result, people couldn’t access Gmail via the web interface because their requests couldn’t be routed to a Gmail server. IMAP/POP access and mail processing continued to work normally because these requests don’t use the same routers.

The Gmail engineering team was alerted to the failures within seconds (we take monitoring very seriously). After establishing that the core problem was insufficient available capacity, the team brought a LOT of additional request routers online (flexible capacity is one of the advantages of Google’s architecture), distributed the traffic across the request routers, and the Gmail web interface came back online.

Though the blog entry goes on to state that Google is going to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, it does make wonder. If we continue to flock to Google services, will this one day bite us all in the butt?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source.

What A Google OS Will Mean To You And Me

For years Linux has tried to become a viable operating system, but has garnered less than 1% of the market place. Though Mac users proclaim the simplicity of the Apple operating system, the high price of their hardware has kept many of us from making the switch. Microsoft with their Windows system still has a 90% plus market share. No matter how many complaints we hear about Windows, in particular Windows Vista, and how poorly Windows works the majority of us still use it. That was than and this is now. With little fanfare Google made an announcement on their web site last evening, 07-07-09, that a Google OS was coming in mid 2010.

Google states on their blog site the following information:

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

First we need to analyze the impact of what the Google Chrome operating system will have on the way we all will compute in the future. This statement:

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.

The word initially is a keyword. What this means is that Google is looking at the Netbook computers first, but will eventually port the operating system onto other computers such as laptops and desktop systems.

Next is this statement:

And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

This says it all folks. We have been pounding on Microsoft for years asking for a operating system that just works. An operating system that is impervious to attack by viruses, malware and other stuff that can attack our computers. An operating system that doesn’t need a ton of updates that can and has rendered some computers to not function after an update is applied.

Google also states the following as well:

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don’t want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

This strikes home, Especially this statement:

They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them.

Wouldn’t this be nice. We have all experienced the slow down that happens using Windows. You can blame any number of things that can cause a system to slow. Anti-virus programs from Symantec and McAfee are notorious for bringing systems to a crawl. We throw more and more RAM on our systems trying to keep them from slowing down. But overall, this added weight of Windows and the programs we need to run in order to protect the OS takes its toll.

Having access to your data, not having to worry about backing up your stuff, all of this coupled with all of the above is going to knock Windows for a loop. Our systems will run better, run faster, be immune to attack while offering us the ability to store our stuff in a cloud environment. It doesn’t get any better than this.

The bottom line is this. Thank you Google. I look forward to using your new operating system.

Comments welcome.

Source.

PS There was one other sentence in the Google announcement:

However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web.

I wonder who Google is talking about? LOL

What The Google Outage Means

The Google outage of last week will go down in history for several reasons. Besides the annoyance for people not being able to use their email it also demonstrated how quickly an Internet company can respond to an outage. I’m not talking about the software or hardware fix, I’m talking about how Google let us know there was a problem with 20 minutes of it happening. A fix was made within 1.5 hours. That was the good news.

The bad news is that the outage diminished the confidence many of us had in Google. The confidence of knowing that our email will work 24 x 7. The confidence we have it being able to use Google apps. in the cloud. One would believe that Google is keenly aware that if they expect us to use the cloud that we need a 100% reliable system. A system that is free from hacking and free from down time.

Some would argue that Google provides free services and this is to be expected. You know the old saying ‘what do you want for free?’ But with the Internet and other options available from Microsoft and Yahoo, why do many of us use Google? Should we expect more from Google than from other companies?

You decide and let us know your thoughts.

Comments welcome.

Google Gmail – Collect All Of Your Contacts

If you are a Google Gmail user, the search giant now has a new application that can round up all of your contacts and import them into the cloud. Called Google Contact Manager, the software can round up your contacts from popular email programs and other email systems such as Hotmail and bring them all into your Gmail account.

According to this entry on the Google site it states the following:

Today, my contact information is spread across various programs and devices. Some contacts are on my phone, some in Outlook, some in OS X Address Book and some in my Gmail auto-complete. This makes it challenging to communicate and collaborate with my friends, family and coworkers.

Now you can import your contacts from common places, in common formats, and manage them online in Google Contacts. We’ve enhanced the recently launched standalone contact manager to support importing contacts from Outlook, Outlook Express, Hotmail and Yahoo in CSV format, and OS X Address Book in vCard format. You can even add birthdays for all your contacts (a top user request).

With all your contact information in the cloud, you can view and manage your contacts by going to www.google.com/contacts whether you’re at an internet cafe, a friend’s house or on your iPhone. In addition, having your contacts in Google Contacts allows you to easily sync them to mobile phones, email them from Gmail, share documents with them in Docs, invite them to Calendar events, tag them in Picasa and do lots of other cool things on various Google apps.

If your organization uses Google Apps, access the standalone contact manager by going to www.google.com/contacts/a/example.com (replace “example.com” with the domain name you use) instead.

One important note: these import and management improvements are only available in the standalone contact manager. We’re working to make these improvements available in Gmail as soon as possible.

Give this new Gmail feature a try and see what you think.

Comments welcome.

Google Gmail Blog Site

gOS Cloud Computing In A Browser

gOS  is offering what they describe as an operating system that uses a browser. gOS is calling their new system Cloud and it uses a browser which resembles Google Chrome. The new operating system boots in seconds and propels the user onto the Internet via the browser. The option than allows the user to open Linux or Windows as well. On their site gOS describes their OS as:

User Experience


1.Power On

In seconds, the user sees a browser with an icon dock inside.

2. In the Cloud

Users can browse the web, email, chat, & use applications.

3. Switch to Windows

Switch from Cloud to Windows or a Linux OS

They also state:

Cloud Facts

Feature List

  • Web browser with Icon Dock Inside
  • Network Manager
  • Power Button
  • Boot to Window XP/Vista or Linux OS
  • Battery Life Indicator
  • Volume Controls
  • My Files & Viewers

This seems promising and worth a look-see.

Comments welcome.

Source

Network Computing – Where Did It Go Wrong?

The idea is just a broken one – network computing. The official reason why it will not work was at the time of its inception likely is a combination of bandwidth access (or lack there of) along with the dropping price of stand alone PCs with a real hard drive.

Fast forward to now, I see that for most people, a stand alone PC is “okay”, but a growing segment of the population frankly needs something managed as updating their OS is something that they find to be more than they can tackle due to issues arising when things go wrong.

I have grown tired of watching users of Windows, OS X or anything else you throw at them, being too much as there is always going to be some level of responsibility for maintaining things. Unfortunately, many individuals are not equipped to this task.

In the enterprise world, I see the growth of thin clients being used, sometimes with Linux but often connecting to a Windows server. Based on what I have seen, it appears to be the perfect marriage as both Windows and Linux thin clients today are more robust than ever.

Ignoring mistakes like Webtv amongst others, does anyone see managed services for “Ma and Pa Kettle PC User” being a boon, technology allowing for subscription based/diskless computing again? I am interested in hearing perspectives from both sides of the issue. Because regardless of how bad an idea it may seem like, the fact is that I have talked with a number of people about the concept of Windows (or any other OS) as a service they subscribe to, using old hardware, they loved the idea.

  • Use a thin client with something like Thinstation which is Linux but works well with Windows Server. It can also provide a seamless Windows experience, but not rely so heavily on the client hardware.
  • Many people would rather just have the software they need installed, ready to go, than have to deal with the installation and maintenance of it themselves.
  • In a bad economy, who would not want to be able to use the latest operating system environments without having to fork over their first born just to cover the cost of hardware that will likely overwhelm them anyway? $30 per month vs $399 plus endless calls to the local tech for help? Seems fairly obvious.

Clearly, the concept is not all bad. It is just a matter of getting the logistics in play. We have seen it working in the local fields of the enterprise and remotely via VPN. Is there room for the home user here, too?

Is Cloud Computing A Trap?

There is an interesting article concerning cloud computing being a trap that should be avoided, since we would get locked into a system which takes away our ability to control. Richard Stallman takes it a step further calling cloud computing hype and just plain stupid. In the article he also mentions that:

But Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the computer operating system GNU, said that cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time.

“It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign,” he told The Guardian.

“Somebody is saying this is inevitable – and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it’s very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.”

Mr. Stallman brings up some very valid points. Keeping information on your computer vs in the cloud is basically the way it has been done for ever. But it also doesn’t confront how the Internet has changed the way we use computers. Storing information on the Internet could in fact make it easier to access information when one is away from their system.

What do you think? Do you support cloud computing or are you sticking with the traditional way of doing things?

Source.

Are Netbooks One Trick Ponies?

Most of us will agree that the new Netbooks will make lugging that laptop through airports and while traveling easier than their heavier laptop cousins. But I read an article that seems to indicate that Netbooks are limited. The author states that without Internet access, the Netbooks are nothing more than scratch pads. But is this assessment accurate?

Isn’t any computer without Internet access limited on what it can do? Without Internet access some of the more common functions of a computer are lost. Without email, surfing the Internet and having the ability to sync with a corporate network limits the functions of any user. But what about gadgets like the iPhone? Aren’t they limited as well if a connection to the Internet can not be made?

I believe that any device, no matter what it is, is limited is many ways without a Internet connection. The author also stated:

“I am convinced this class of products will sing when WiMax comes
out,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group. “It
kind of depends on … being always connected. As a disconnected
device, outside of email and word processing, it’s not quite as
interesting.

“It’s more focused on the future than on the present.”

By eschewing video editing, the ability to play DVDs, or power
gaming, these users forgo the need for cutting-edge chip speed or tons
of hard-drive storage capacity, and the extra cost they require. 

I think that Netbooks will fill in where laptops have left off. The Netbooks will shine when users start to use cloud computing and learn how to rid themselves of a hard drive packed with file, no matter if they are photo’s or audio files, and learn how to store these files off of the computer system. Also the new SSD will reduce computer failure and the loss of information, if the information is stored remotely.

To me, this to be is what the Netbook is all about.

Comments welcome.

Source.

Google Chrome – No To Browser War

It sure didn’t take long for the media to make the new browser from Google called Chrome an entry into the browser wars. I found several articles that were titled:

Google launches web browser in battle with rival Microsoft

Google takes on Microsoft with browser

Inside Chrome: The Secret Project to Crush IE and Remake the Web

Could Google’s Chrome be death blow to Firefox?

How about this. How about Google seeing that both IE and Firefox were becoming bloated and slow. How about Google wanting a fast browser that could run their applications in which they have invested a lot of time and money trying to develop. How about Google wanting a browser that would diminish the role that the operating system plays.

With this in mind, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for Google to introduce their own browser that will enhance their current crop of cloud applications?

What do you think? Share your thoughts.

Comments welcome.