You CAN Use Your Chromebook Offline!

Here’s some tips from Google… when you aren’t online, you can still do lots of things with your Chromebook:

Write emails. Gmail Offline is built to support offline access, allowing mail to be read, responded to, searched, and archived without network access. Gmail Offline will send your messages as soon as Wi-Fi is available.

View appointments. With offline access from the Google Calendar app, you can view a read-only version of your calendar.

View, create, and edit documents. The Google Drive app lets you view and edit Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings files.

View and edit photos. Your Chromebook comes with a built-in photo editor, so you can view and edit photos that are saved to your Chromebook.

Listen to music. You can play music stored on your Chromebook when you’re offline. Copy music files to your Chromebook directly from a storage device like a USB stick or SD card.

Watch videos. You can download movies and TV episodes to watch offline with the Google Play Movies & TV app. Learn how to download videos on your Chromebook.

View Microsoft Office and Adobe .pdf files. You can easily use your Chromebook to view Microsoft Office or Adobe files without an Internet connection.

Take notes. With Google Keep, you can take and save short notes that will save to the cloud the next time you’re online.

Read offline web pages. If you’ve saved web pages for offline viewing later, they will open in Google Chrome on your Chromebook.

Use other web apps. Some web applications also have offline counterparts, which you can find in the Chrome Web Store. These include The New York Times and Cloud Reader from Amazon.

Play games. The Chrome Web Store offers hundreds of games, many of which are also available offline, like Angry Birds and Cube Slam.

Here’s Five, and There Are Many More…

Five what? Five things that you can do with a Chromebook that you assumed you could not do!

Here’s Five, and There Are Many More…

Five powerful things you didn’t know Chromebooks could do

PCWorld – By: Chris Hoffman – “The now-familiar knock seemingly started when the very first Googley laptop rolled off the line. ‘Sure, Chromebooks are nice, but they can’t run Photoshop.’

Well, that just isn’t true anymore. Nor are many other Chromebook myths.

From Photoshop to Office and beyond, here are five powerful things you might be surprised to learn you can do with a Chromebook.

1. Edit images with Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop on a ChromebookAdobe and Google recently announced they’d be making Photoshop available as a streaming Chrome app. This means Photoshop will work on Chrome OS, and even in Chrome on desktop Linux! To do this, the Windows version of Chrome will run on Adobe’s servers and be streamed to your Chrome web browser.

It sounds unnecessarily complicated (and means an Internet connection is vital), but Photoshop is actually such a demanding application that this could be useful. When you use demanding functions, they can be sped up because they’re running on Adobe’s servers—they won’t drain your laptop’s battery faster or send modest Chromebook processors screaming. Photoshop will be integrated with Google Drive, so you can easily keep track of your files.

Currently, this feature is in beta and available only to ‘select North America based Adobe education customers with a paid Creative Cloud membership.’ But it should eventually come to all Creative Cloud subscribers.

2. Use Microsoft Office
Microsoft likes to trumpet how Chromebooks don’t have the full desktop version of Microsoft Office, and that’s true. But unless you’re an accountant, you probably don’t need all those fancy features.

Microsoft offers a completely free web-based version of Office called Office Online, complete with Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online. Microsoft even makes these apps available in the Chrome Web Store. These web apps aren’t just for Chromebook users, though. Windows users could use Office Online to get an official Microsoft Office experience for free, and they let desktop Linux users use an official version of Microsoft Office without hacking around in Wine, too.

If you tried Microsoft’s ‘Office Web Apps’ in the past and weren’t crazy about them, give them another try. Reborn as Office Online they’ve been much improved.

Compared to Google Docs, Office Online doesn’t offer any offline support, which is a bit of a bummer. But it does provide a familiar interface and more-or-less guaranteed compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. It saves those Office documents to OneDrive, where you can access them using Office apps on any other device—even the full desktop version of Office on your Windows or Mac.

3. Run (almost) any Android app
Google is working toward allowing all Android apps to run on Chrome OS. They recently released just four Android apps for Chrome, but enterprising hackers (the good kind) have found ways to make (almost) any Android app run on a Chromebook. Yes, this means you can now use Skype on a Chromebook.

This is becoming easier all the time. You can now use the ARChon Package app on Android to quickly convert an Android app to run on Chrome, or install the twerk Chrome app to quickly package an APK file for installation in Chrome.

This feature is very likely to keep improving, so apps that don’t work perfectly now should eventually work better. When Google is done, Chromebooks will be able to access a whole new universe of software without any hacks whatsoever.

4. Work offline
Yes, you can work offline on a Chromebook. Read your Gmail and compose new messages? Sure. View your Google Calendar? No problem. Edit documents in Google Drive? You got it.

Beyond the basics, you can download Kindle eBooks, videos, music, and PDFs to view offline. Use a Chrome app like Google Keep to compose notes or manage your to-do list with an app like Wunderlist or Any.DO. You can even purchase TV shows and movies from Google Play Movies & TV and download them to watch them offline, too. If you just want to kill some time, you can also install games that run offline.

Sure, many things on a Chromebook can only be done online, but let’s stop pretending that’s unique to Chromebooks. It’s 2014, and even a Windows or Linux laptop feels practically unusable when there’s no Internet connection available.

And, in Chrome 39—which is still working its way through development versions, so you probably won’t have this feature yet—you’ll be able to play an endless running game whenever you see an ‘Unable to connect to the Internet’ page.

5. Use a full desktop operating system
This last feature isn’t for the novice users that just buy Chromebooks for their simplicity. But this is World Beyond Windows, where I tout the benefits of Linux, so I can’t leave it out.

Flip the developer mode switch (it’s in software now, but it used to be a hardware switch) and you can get full access to your Chromebook’s internals. You can install a full desktop Linux system (like Ubuntu) alongside your Chrome OS system. Flip over to the Linux system when you want to do some work with traditional desktop apps and powerful terminal commands.

Or, even better, install Steam for Linux and play games—as long as you have an Intel-based Chromebook and not an ARM one, that is. Or, with Steam in-home streaming, you could run those games on your gaming PC and stream them to a Chromebook running Steam for Linux.

You could also install other Linux applications like Minecraft and Skype for Linux, both of which are now Microsoft applications. Yup, Microsoft makes Skype (and now Minecraft) for desktop Linux, but not Chrome OS. MakeUseOf has a great primer on installing Linux on a Chromebook if you’re curious.

The list of things a Chromebook can’t do is shrinking rapidly. Recent advancements like Chrome apps, Android apps on Chromebooks, and Photoshop for Chrome OS show Google is serious about evolving the platform. It can all seem a bit messy—shouldn’t developers be making Chrome apps and not Android apps?—but it’s undeniably making Chromebooks more powerful and capable.”

Should You Buy a Chromebook?

Should you seriously consider using the Chrome OS, or a Chromebook? In order to decide if you should become a Chrome OS user, let’s consider a few things:

How much do you use your web browser? I assume that you use Chrome as your web browser. Admittedly, I am personally a bit prejudiced toward using Chrome, but it is an exceptional web browser, and one you should be using because of its ease-of-use, and high level of security. Therefore, I’m going to assume that you are already a chrome web browser user!

Try this experiment. Try to use only your Chrome web browser for the next few days to get your work done on your regular computer. If you start to open an application that is on your computer’s desktop, stop and think… “Is there an application within Chrome that I can use instead of the application I’m about to launch from the desktop?” If you can’t find an application within Chrome, make note of this as a possible reason that you wouldn’t want to use a Chromebook as your primary computer. Now, in fact, there may be an application within Chrome that you could substitute however you don’t know what that application is yet. This means doing a little research to find out if there is a Chrome-based alternative.

Obviously, if you need a word processor you can use Google Docs as your alternative. But, as I say, this is very obvious; most likely you ran into a situation where your application is unique, and that’s where you will have to find alternatives within Chrome that you can use to get the job done. For instance, one thing that I needed was a simple, easy, text editor. I’m not talking about a full-blown word processor, but something quick, and simple. I found what I needed with a Chrome extension application simply called “Text.” It turns out that this application is simple, lightweight, and easy to use, and works perfectly for most applications that I have need of a simple text editor.

Your application may be very different from this example, for instance, AutoCAD, or something like that, that you use to do your day-to-day job. If an alternative doesn’t exist for your application, that could be a showstopper for using the Chrome OS as your primary operating system.

However, it may be the Chromebook can fulfill your needs for computer usage for 90% of everything that you do with a computer. If that’s the case, a Chromebook may still be a good investment, as it is light, and easy to use, and very portable. That way, if you have need of a heavyweight, powerful, specialized computer… then you can have it on your desk available for those special needs, and use the Chromebook for everything else that you need to do. That is still a “use case” that is very valid and many people find themselves in exactly that position as a computer user.

So, are you a potential Chromebook user? I suspect that you are!

The Chromest Netcast #4 – Video – “New Hardware, New Features, and a New ASUS”

You’ll soon be able to ‘Cast’ your entire Chromebook Desktop easier, ‘Smaug’ could be the first Tegra X1-based Chromebook to come to market, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 reviewed on a video on the Chromest blog.

The Chromest Netcast #4 on YouTube

Chromest Netcast RSS Video Feed

Chromest Netcast RSS Audio Feed

The Chromest Netcast #4 – Audio – “New Hardware, New Features, and a New ASUS”

You’ll soon be able to ‘Cast’ your entire Chromebook Desktop easier, ‘Smaug’ could be the first Tegra X1-based Chromebook to come to market, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 reviewed on a video on the Chromest blog.

The Chromest Netcast #4 on YouTube

Chromest Netcast RSS Video Feed

Chromest Netcast RSS Audio Feed

The New Tegra X1 Processor is Now Supported by Chrome

More powerful Chromebooks ahead!

‘Smaug’ Could Be The First Tegra X1-Based Chromebook To Come To Market

Tom’s Hardware – By: Lucian Armasu – “Google engineers recently added support for Nvidia’s high-end mobile chip (Tegra X1), to Coreboot, an open source alternative to the BIOS firmware we’ve seen in most Windows PCs.

Coreboot is what Google uses in all Chromebooks because it’s lightweight and more secure than the old BIOS firmware. It’s also ‘free’ (as in freedom) software, which reduces the chance for it to be backdoored.

Patrick Georgi from the Google’s Chromium team added some new software commits with the name ‘Tegra T210’ in them, which is the alias for Tegra X1.

After Tegra X1 support was added in Coreboot, support for a Tegra X1-based board was added with the code-name ‘Smaug,’ as well. This board also supports Chromium OS, which means Smaug could be part the first Tegra X1-powered Chromebook to come to market. It would also be the first 64-bit ARM-based Chromebook to ship, considering Tegra X1 is based on the ARMv8-A architecture.

We haven’t seen nearly as many ARM-based Chromebooks as we should have seen by now, considering that Chrome OS is chip architecture-agnostic. The OS is designed primarily to run web-based applications (and some lightweight local apps); it can’t run legacy programs written for another specific architecture.

Part of the reason for that is that ARM chips haven’t been powerful enough for use in low-end notebooks, which is why some of the most popular Chromebooks until more recently were those powered by Intel’s Haswell-based Celeron chips.

However, Intel is now moving away from making Celerons and Pentiums based on the more powerful ‘Core’ (Haswell, Broadwell, etc.) micro-architecture. Instead, the company is rebranding mobile Atom chips as Celeron and Pentium. This gives ARM chips a much better chance to push back into Chromebooks, where they can compete toe-to-toe against the Atom-based Celerons and Pentiums, or even beat them on performance and power consumption.

The Acer Chromebook 13, which was powered by another Nvidia chip, the Tegra K1, claimed the best battery life out of any Chromebook on the market (13 hours). Future Tegra X1-based notebooks could see either a further improvement in battery life or higher performance, especially on the graphics side thanks to the much more efficient Maxwell GPU architecture.

The Nvidia Tegra X1 has already been used in the Android TV-based Shield Console and the Shield Portable. Some car manufacturers also plan to use the chip for computer vision purposes and for their in-car media entertainment systems.”