Chromebooks and ChromeOS

Installing Android on (almost) any Chromebook

Android has come to ChromeOS devices, which is supposedly great if your device is one of the few for which Android is supported. What if your Chromebook or Chromebox does not support Android? This video shows a method for installing the Android Play Store on those devices which will eventually be allowed to run Android apps. It involves putting the device into Developer Mode and running the Canary builds, so this is not for the faint of heart. After some other low-level tweekery, you have the Android Play Store. (Apr 14, 2017)

Installing Skype, photo/video editing, word processors, and more on a Chromebook

Chromebooks offer respite from antivirus software hassles, system maintenance hassles, and more. The idea is that with the Chrome web browser as the only user interface, people can compute in safety. But what about the whole slew of existing software that runs outside web browsers - Skype being just one example. What about video or audio editing? What about traditional word processors or spreadsheet applications? None of those run inside a web browser. Yet. For a long period of time the only way to install Skype involved installing Crouton, the add-on supporting Linux software as described below. Since this was originally posted in Feb 2014, Microsoft released an official Skype for Chromebooks. However, Crouton is still useful because of the need for other software such as Gimp, for image manipulation. (March 1, 2017)

Can I use a Chromebook with ATT DSL? Or other WiFi router to the Internet?

Chromebooks are popular inexpensive computers that are wonderful to use around the house for light-weight web surfing and e-mail and writing. Chromebooks connect to WiFi and sometimes to Ethernet. They can connect to any LAN supporting either. If that LAN has a gateway to the Internet, they can easily use that gateway and provide access to the general Internet. (2015-11-12 01:25)

Revisiting software development on Chromebooks - rapidly improving state of Chrome apps for developers

Chromebooks make surprisingly great laptops for software developers. If you don't know much about the Chromebook model, you might dismiss it as just a web-browser with delusions of grandeur. I'm a long-time software developer, writing code for a living since the mid-80's primarily on Unix/Linux/MacOSX systems, and I've pretty much abandoned my MacBookPro in favor of a Chromebook. The Chromebook is much faster than the MacBook (primarily due to the SSD drive), and lots lots lots cheaper to buy/own than any MacBook or MacBookPro. Yes the Chromebook doesn't have native code apps, but there is a growing list of Chrome apps available and if you're desparate enough for native app support you can always jailbreak the thing and install Linux and access the open source native apps. The result is a system with a top-of-the-line modern web browser (Chrome), with a hugely great security story, many very interesting Chrome apps, and the possibility to install Linux. (2015-11-12 01:25)

Mounting Dropbox, SFTP and other remote filesystems on ChromeOS

A crazy limitation of Chromebooks has been the inability to access remote file systems (other than Google Drive). While Google Drive is a fine cloud oriented file system, and works great with Google Docs, I need to access files on my Drobo (with SMB/CIFS protocol), or various remote services like Dropbox or an SFTP connection to webservers. My needs may be a little more complex than most because of the web development work I do. Anyone contemplating adopting a Chromebook in a business would have to be nervous about handing company documents or other files over to Google for safekeeping. Hence, there's a serious need for Chromebooks to access remote file systems other than Google Drive. (2015-03-28 12:14)

Successfully mounting Drobo shares from a Chromebook with Crouton/Ubuntu 14.04 installed

The last couple weeks I've switched my working environment from a MacBook Pro to a Chromebook that has Ubuntu installed under Crouton. A lot of my work is developing Node.js software, and writing website content, and my habits are to live at the command line typing commands. But it also means accessing the large amount of content I have stashed on the MacBook Pro, and a Drobo 5N. MacOSX can easily mount shares on the Drobo, letting me access those files as if they were on the local machine. By default Chromebooks cannot do this, meaning the Chrome browser side of my Chromebook cannot (at this time) access anything stored on the Drobo. Because Ubuntu is installed (via Crouton), that side of the Chromebook theoretically can mount shares on the Drobo, but I ran into problems trying to directly mount the SMB share using Ubuntu 14.04 tools. Fortunately I've developed an alternate method that's nearly as good and quite easy to implement. (2015-02-16 13:10)
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