Posted in Chromebook, Repurpose Equipment

A Dell Latitude D630 Chromebook


I was perusing an article yesterday Learning the Alphabet and found that Neverware has CloudReady, which repurposes old PCs or laptops into Chromebooks for a relatively cheap price per unit.  I went to their site and found that I could download and try out CloudReady for free.  *For personal use, the OS is free.

This Dell Latitude D630 is the same system that I converted some time ago to Ubuntu 14.2 LTE.  I played with that OS for a while and then have just been updating the Ubuntu OS regularly as new updates were made available.

The instructions for creating a USB Install Disk for CloudReady were well spelled out.  I fortunately had an 16 GB stick.  It actually took longer to burn the USB Install Disk than it did to run it on bootup of the Dell and have it install the Chrome OS there.  If I still had Windows on this laptop, I might have tried the dual-boot setup, but not sure this was one of those devices with which dual-boot would work.

CloudReady does not boot my Dell Latitude D630 up in 10 seconds as does my Chromebook.  But, it has connected with WIFI, and Bluetooth, and has run YouTube videos without a hiccup via WIFI.  I can do everything that I normally do for work using my Chromebook.

Here is a COG for Chrome screen shot of my Dell Chromebook.


Running Stupeflix from my Chromebook at home and finding it worked perfectly got me excited about Chromebooks again.  That is why I was reading through some Chromebooks in Education articles yesterday.

I haven’t tried Cloud Convert yet.



Posted in Chromebook, Chromecast



I have tried the Chromecast with my Samsung Chromebook and my Galaxy S III phone.  Netflix works fine via the Netflix app on my phone, but up till now I have not been able to get the Chrome browser on the phone to work with Chromecast.  I just read an article that suggested changing DHCP to a “static” connection would correct this problem.  Hope it does!



  • The projected screen does not display the mouse pointer.


Posted in 21st Century Ed, Audio/Video, Chromebook, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Tools

Chromebook AND iPad Again!

When I first got my Samsung Chromebook, it was new enough that there weren’t any accessories, such as a carrying case, specifically for the Chromebook. I went to a local Office Depot (I think.), and found a Case Logic carrying case for it. About $25.

Both my Chromebook and my iPad can both fit, snuggly, in the same case, at the same time. Maybe a little heavy, but nice to have both, if needed. There is also another zipped pocket for my USB hard drive and a digital camera, and little tripod ($1 at Dollar Tree), and a pair of headphones.

Having both an iPad and a Chromebook provides you with alot of mobile computing capability.  I could view a video while taking notes, or blogging my reactions easily.  I could record video or take pictures with the iPad and push them to YouTube or Flickr, and then create a multi-media posting with text using my Chromebook to “easily” type a detailed article.

I bought this iPad to camera tripod connector from Amazon for about $15.

Here is the iPad connected to the camera tripod ready to take video from the classroom podium.

VRT in action:

The VRT does not work perfectly, but does a pretty good job.  You can paste in a good amount of dialogue (without having to memorize what you are about to say… I would suggest rehearsing a time or two so that you don’t stumble over difficult words or phrases.).

Posted in Chromebook, iPad

Chromebook’s keyboard via Bluetooth to iPad

It would be a major coup if the Chromebook’s keyboard would easily pair/connect to the iPad so that you could have input to the iPad.

The conjunction when talking about the two devices should be changed from OR to AND. Not “Chromebook vs iPad”, but “Chromebook AND iPad.”

They both have their strengths. They actually would make a good, portable, dual-monitor setup.

Instead of buying a $75 Apple Wireless Keyboard, purchase a Chromebook and combine their strengths. I think this would be a major selling point in many school systems.

NOTE: They currently do not acknowledge each other via Bluetooth.


Felix Lin, Director of Product Management

Chrome OS at Google

Posted in 21st Century Ed, Chromebook, iPad

Correct Conjuction: iPads AND Chromebooks…

It came to me this morning while I was playing with my Chromebook and iPad and Windows 7 office PC and HTC EVO 4G Android smartphone and Google Cloud Printing and Bluetooth devices, etc. that instead of posing the question as “iPad or Chromebook”, the better phrase would be “why not, iPad AND Chromebook?”  … and Windows PC and Android phone, etc.

I’m pretty sure that neither Apple nor Google would agree, or even Microsoft, but the really big frustration over the last several years, for me, has been how many things don’t work on the Internet, not because they couldn’t, but because of human intention that they don’t work easily together.  Now that I said that out loud to myself, I also think of how the US Legislative & Executive Branches have also been working against themselves to the detriment of all.

This morning, I was watching the latest episode of “Justified” and heard one of the best quotes that I’ve heard in recent years, spoken by the character, Boyd Crowder, “That’s what assholes do, Raylan, they get old and die from being assholes.”

So, I was pretty happy to print this morning from my Chromebook to the Network printer via my Windows 7 office PC.  I haven’t figured out if I can run the Cloud Printing from any PC that I plug my USB stick into and have Chrome run from the USB drive, but I am going to test that out.

Maybe it was because I was in the Chrome “Settings” section that I was reminded of the Bluetooth capabilities, and then I thought, “I wonder if you can connect to the iPad from your Chromebook and use the actual, full-sized keyboard to type to the iPad.”  *Hey, they don’t even recognize that each other exist.  But, what if they did?

Well, you would have a pretty powerful combination of features.  See this article, which I came across a short time later, while looking to see if anyone had actually thought of putting a different conjunction between “iPad” [ ] “Chromebook”.  Oddly enough, this article shows a mashup of an iPhone and a Chromebook’s keyboard.

iPad or Chromebook: 4 Questions To Ask Before Choosing” an article by Beth Holland on “edudemic”

 Think of it, you could use all those wonderful tools from the PC world, like Prezi and VoiceThread, and Flash apps.  You would have a full-sized keyboard to take notes, blog, wordprocess or power email.  You would have a dual monitor setup with you, that you could easily carry in a single carrying case, and it wouldn’t be too heavy or cumbersome.

I could run a YouTube video, or some other form of recorded class lecture on the iPad and take notes on the Chromebook while it is playing.

Heck, I want my Android phone to Bluetooth connect “successfully” with my Apple Wireless Keyboard so that I can productively blog and email.  The iPad could eventually shrink in size, until it was say, “the size of an iPhone.  IT departments in education could then provide wireless keyboards, wireless monitors and “cloud” printers.  Everyone would BYOD and they would all connect flawlessly –SLAP!!!– and that’s when I woke up listening to the TV, “That’s what assholes do, Raylan, they get old and die from being assholes.”

Oh, yeah.  It would be a much better world if everyone tried to work together, and make the things they make, work well with others, instead of intentionally trying to make things “not work together.”

Posted in Audio/Video, Chromebook, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Tools

Recording MP3 Audio from Your Chromebook

One of the first things I did with my Chromebook was to record several “straight to YouTube” videos. I was in my Civic, parked outside a library, using their free WIFI connection, on a holiday weekend. I had no problem recording the videos, except for when the Chromebook started to fall from the dashboard, and I had to catch it.

I wasn’t aware until a few days ago, when I was listening to a Cool Teachers’ Podcast that there wasn’t an audio recording app for the Chromebook. I went looking and found some online services, but then I came across the most amazing site. “Dennie Hoopingarner’s Technology Showcase” has several examples of his programming skills. The “Flex/Flash” MP3 Recorder is “perfect” for the Chromebook. “Recording and encoding to MP3 are all handled by the Flash file on the client,” so I’m guessing that the memory for the device you are using would be the limiting factor in how large an audio file you could record. *In my initial testing I recorded several short clips, but then did a 5 minutes & a 10 minutes clip. The recording went well. The playback was choppy, but the encoded product played without a problem, and I was able to save the clips to my Chromebook & Windows 7 PC. Since all the processing is on the client-side, there is no need to have a large storage capacity on the server side. It is just serving up some scripting and a Flash file. Once these are loaded on your device, the server goes on to another customer (at least that is how I think it works). **I’m thinking that serving this app from a web page would be useful for faculty & students who need to create short audio clips quickly & easily.

For the 10 minutes recording, it took about 6 minutes to encode it into the MP3 format. I have an Android phone with an MP3 recording app, and that takes about the same amount of time, so 10 minutes to record, and 6 minutes to produce the finished product, which is then saved to your device. *This app also has a “snip” function so that you can remove unwanted segments of your recording, before saving.

So Chrome OS doesn’t use Java, but it does Flash well. Apple doesn’t do Flash, so if you have a combination of iPads and Chromebooks, you’ll have to point them to different apps to create MP3 files.

I sent an email yesterday to Dennie Hoopingarner letting him know how powerful, and useful I thought his MP3 Recorder was, and that it was ideal for Chromebook users. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but hopefully he will work something out to make this app available on the Chrome Web Store (maybe under Educational Apps).

If you look around his web site, you’ll also notice a “Photo Taker” Flash app that also works on a Chromebook, and a Video Recording app.

Experiment #1: microphone to mp3 recorder with flash

Not sure who Jordan is, or if he is even interested/focused on this type of app any longer.  But, since there is a need in the Chromebook arena, someone should polish a Chrome plugin that would do this job, like it does.

What does it take to get an app on the Chrome Web Store?  Developer for Chrome Web Store link.

Posted in Chromebook, Podcasting

Video Recording…

I usually like working in the Widows world, but I am currently playing with a Samsung Chromebook, and I have an iPad2. Not sure what triggered my interest in creating videos with my iPad, or Android phone, but I just took another look and this time there appears to be several “low cost” items to look at.

I’m not focused on the video editing software, but such things as an iPad “holder” that attaches to a standard tripod (I’ve got two tripods that are rarely used.), an iPhone/Android smartphone holder that attaches to a standard tripod, and a teleprompter app that works on an iPad/iPhone. *I don’t have an iPhone.

I just came across, and purchased ($2.99 Apple iTunes Store) an iPad/iPhone app called “Video Recording Teleprompter 2” which appears pretty slick in my initial testing. It’s exactly what I was looking for… a teleprompter that scrolls across your iPad screen while the video you are recording plays in the background, either in landscape or portrait modes.  I’ll embed an example that I post on YouTube later.

Here are three items that I have ordered from that I think will help me attach my iPad to my standard tripod and record my videos:

1 “Grifiti Nootle Ipad Tripod Mount (For 2, 3, and 4) with 1/4-20 Thread to Fit Any Standard Head You Already Use”  ( )
Personal Computers; $14.98
1 “Videosecu 1/4″ x 20 Threads Swivel Video Camera Mount 2-6 Inch Adjustable Universal Pan Tilt CCTV Camera Mounting Bracket with Ceiling Clip 1BO” ( )
Electronics; $6.99— I liked this “customer review” video which shows exactly what I want to do.  Put the iPad vertically on a tripod, so that I can record “hands free” video.  I don’t know if Apple has a slicker app which includes a teleprompter option with a video recording app… if not, then I would try the same setup as I do with my Chromebook & EasyPrompter.
1 “Case Star Cellphone Smartphone Tripod Mount Holder with Cellphone Bag for iPhone 3G/3GS/4/4G ,iPod Touch ,HTC ,Samsung ,BlackBerry – Black”  ( )
Wireless Phone Accessory; $7.99EasyPrompter (free online teleprompter app) my Chromebook, and good bandwidth, I can set up my script in EasyPrompter and then go to YouTube and prepare to Upload (Record Live to YouTube).  I start the YouTube recording, and then switch to the EasyPrompter screen and start it.  *Maybe YouTube should offer a teleprompter option from their online recording menu.

Video Lighting Basics

Posted in Chromebook

WordPress via Word from my Office PC via Chrome Remote Desktop on my Chromebook…

So, I could type a Word document using my Chromebook and the Chrome Remote Desktop and then print this from wherever I am. Although, I would still need to go to the network printer around the corner from my office to get the paper copy. *I don’t know how to set up Cloud Printing yet.

This picture of ramps from the Western Carolina Farmer’s Market in Asheville, NC is on my office PC.

I could publish this to my WordPress site.

Posted in Chromebook, Web 2.0 Tools

New Samsung Chromebook Worth a Look…

The following is not an endorsement by FSU or ITTS, and “buyer beware”… Oh, and I’m getting nothing back from either Samsung or Google, unless I can “work a deal” later;-)

The new Samsung Chromebooks went on sale at the end of October. The price was $249, and there were several sites listing that price, including and But, when I heard about them, about a week after they went on sale, there were none to be had at any of the listed sites. All on backorder! I went online and found what I thought was a good review, so it hastened my purchase. I think I would have bought one even if I hadn’t seen the review, but maybe not as fast.

It took about two weeks for mine to arrive. The Samsung box that the device came in is about 14″ tall, 14″ wide, and about 2.25″ deep. Now that I look at it, it’s almost like a small pizza box. The shiny silver laptop is 8″x11.5″ and about .5″ thick. It is lightweight, but sturdy, and the full-sized keyboard is comfortable.

You don’t install programs to it. It is basically a web browser (Chrome) with the capability of adding various plugins (many free) to provide more functionality. So, it boots up really quickly (about 10 seconds) and you are able to start browsing, or check email in a short time.

If you have a Google account, Gmail, or use Google Docs, then all your “stuff” is going to be there when you login the first time. And, if one Chromebook gets damaged, lost, or stolen, then get another, and login to it, and there is all your data. That’s because most of your info resides “in the Cloud”. *You can also use Chrome on a Windows PC, and login to your Google account, and your data would be available there also.

The Chrome browser plays Flash and can display PDF docs. I’ve found a few areas in Blackboard that don’t display properly, but the majority of Bb content works perfectly.

I was in Elizabethtown, NC on Veteran’s Day, and attached to the e-town Library free WIFI, and pulled up YouTube. I created several YouTube videos while sitting in my car, uploaded them, and then played one of them back with almost no hiccups.

Some of the ITTS staff were in Chapel Hill earlier this week, and I was able to post some talking points to my WordPress site, by sending an email from my Chromebook. Then I got up and gave my presentation after pulling up the posting from the Web as it was projected behind me.

I hooked the Chomebook up to my HDTV with an HDMI cable. The device comes with one HDMI port & two USB ports. As soon as I attached the HDMI cable between the two devices, the Chromebook screen popped up on my TV. I played a YouTube video, with sound pushed to the TV with no problem, and then played a game.

I tested out the Bluetooth capabilities. I have a wireless Logitech Z515 Bluetooth speaker system. The Chromebook hooked up to it with no problem (you have to supply a Bluetooth dongle via one USB port) and I started streaming an iHeartRadio station to the speakers.

I bought a cheap Cisco Linksys WIFI router from WalMart and took it home. There was an install CD for Windows or Mac, but… the Chromebook has no CD/DVD player. However, I contacted the Cisco tech support via Chat, and the rep quickly walked me through visiting a special IP address where I was able to remotely add my network name, “The GIBSON Network,” and enter a password. All this was sent back over the Internet to the router, and very quickly I had a secure home network where not only my Chromebook could connect, but also my Logitech Revue, and my HTC EVO 4G (Android phone). I suppose that other routers can also be setup remotely… but, I don’t know that for a fact.

There are apps and options to allow you to work on email and Google Docs while offline (not connected to the Internet by WIFI). Then, when you are connected later, the data is uploaded automatically to the Cloud.

There is a “Citrix Receiver” app that, “in theory,” will allow you to use the Citrix apps (e.g. Outlook, MS Word, etc.) on the Chromebook. I’m still having a problem getting that to work, but eventually the bugs should be worked out.

The Chromebook may not be for everyone, but it may turn out to be an inexpensive, but powerful Internet device for those that use the Web for most of their work processes. *It might be worth looking at as a pilot project for some areas. There are quite a few higher ed institutions that are using Google Docs officially for their students, and the Chromebook is made to “fit like a glove”.



Posted in Chromebook, Web 2.0 Tools

So the 9 year old said, “I’ve been singing ever since I was 3.”

Have you ever seen one of those child prodigies who are performing way beyond normal years? They may be 8 or 9 years old, but in an interview they say, matter of factly, “Well, I’ve been performing ever since I was three,” and that to them seems like almost “all their life.” I guess at my age, I would have to say, well, I’ve been doing this for 20 years.

I’ve only been using my new Chromebook for less than a week, and I already have to say, “It’s great!” It’s not perfect. It won’t do everything that I may need a PC to do, but, for the majority of things I do, especially online, it performs wonderfully.

The list of what it does well generates quickly:

· Boots within 10 or 15 seconds

· Connects well via WIFI (cause it can’t use a hardwire cable)

· Is fast (it’s a browser, so what are you really asking it to do?)

· Saves docs to the web (the Cloud), but can also be used offline for documents & email

· Displays Flash and PDFs well (not all Flash code works though)

· With even fair WIFI, can create and push video to YouTube

· Publish to WordPress via email

The device has no CD or DVD drive. I bought a cheap Cisco Linksys WIFI router from WalMart. It comes with a Setup CD. So, what do you do? Fortunately, the box hinted that if you had a browser, you could create a secure home network. No details, but when I plugged the router in, connected the Chromebook to it, it went to a web page with a Chat offering. The Cisco tech came on chat fairly quickly and I let him know I was a novice at router setup, but was an IT professional in other areas. He directed me to an IP address and there were some tabs and menus that quickly had me naming my new network, “The GIBSON Network” and adding a password to it from online. Worked great, and all without having access to a CD/DVD drive.

I plugged my Chromebook to my HDTV via an HDMI cable and the device’s port, and didn’t have to click on any other buttons. The Chromebook’s video immediately popped up on my hi-def TV. There was a little “overscan” (at least that is what I think it is called), but I later read about a way to correct this. I just haven’t gone back to test out the possible solution. Pushed Adele’s “Rumor Has It” YouTube video to the TV with sound, with no problem.

Haven’t tried the USB ports yet, well, except for turning on Bluetooth and adding a dongle that allowed me to easily connect to my Logitech Z515 (think that is the number) Bluetooth speaker system. Pushed iRadio stations to the wireless speakers from both the Chromebook and my HTC EVO 4G (Android phone).

Have heard that you can’t connect an external hard drive via these USB ports… but that surely should be possible in the future.

CTRL + “+” zooms the page larger and CRTL + “-” shrinks the page, and there is a “full screen” button to get rid of the URL window at the top of the Chrome browser.

So, I am happy with my new Chromebook and barring it becoming a lemon in a day or week or two, all the functionality that I need for most of my work it there… and it boots so quickly.

Still have to get the Citrix Receiver to work so that I can use Outlook and Word (If I ever have to again.) for work, and maybe remote into one of our servers if necessary.

We’ll see.