My Cromebook WiFi Works Again

I believe it was in mid January when I started having connection issues with my Cromebook (CR48) and couldn’t fix it.  I’m still not sure what happened but I was very frustrated that I couldn’t use it anymore.  It became a paper weight on my desk.  The 3G worked, but the WiFi kept disconnecting.

This is what happened.  I would be typing (as I am doing now) and suddenly lost my connection.  I noticed that my words weren’t coming out right, instead other words were being selected and deleted with every key I hit.  I would look over at the WiFi icon next to the clock and it showed that it was trying to connect, then I’d see an X.  The only way I was able to continue with my blog post, tweet, Facebook update or IM conversation was to turn 3G on.  I’d have to save my work or put the person I was talking to on hold and reboot.  At first rebooting helped, but it would disconnect again.  I got to the point that I just stopped turning it on.

What happened today was I went to play with my PSP and wondered if there was an update available.  I tried to log in to my network and it wouldn’t let me.  I noticed that it said my network was not compatible.  That didn’t make sense since Chips iPhone and my Nook haven’t had any issue logging into the network.  I loaded the Linksys EasyLink Advisor program and went into the security settings and it gave me an error.  I starting thinking that maybe that was the reason I was having issues, so I reinstalled the WPA security and viola, my Chromebook is online with no issues.

I have typed this entire post on my Chromebook without one disconnect.  Before that would have been impossible since as soon as I started typing the WiFi would disconnect.  The problem has been solved and I hope someone who is also having issues might see this and check their own network security settings.  Good luck!

My CR-48 Brick

In the middle of December of 2010, Google surprised me by sending me an email asking me if I wanted to test a laptop with the new Google Chrome operating system if I sent in bug reports.  Happily I accepted the task and received my free laptop 2 days later.  I was shocked that I actually got it and I did the happy dance.  It’s sometimes mistaken for the pee pee dance, but it was a happy one.  I have had a wonderful year testing out this wonderful toy, but sometimes good things have to come to an end because it’s a brick now.

Ok to clarify, the laptop isn’t broken, it just won’t stay online.  I have it connected through my WiFi network, but as soon as I try to type something, it loses the signal.  The only way to get it back is to reboot.  Rebooting used to help, but now it just won’t stay connected anymore.  It will stay connected for hours, but as soon as I try to type something, it goes offline.  I can watch videos on YouTube, I can browse people’s Facebook page, I can look at any website in the world, I just can’t type anything.

At first when this would happen I would switch over to Verizon 3G, but I only get 100MB free data every month and I have already used 50MB over the last few days every time I want to type something.  At this point it’s just a waste of electricity having it on because if I want to type something, I have to do it on the desktop.

I tried doing research to get it fixed.  I went to the help section and looked at boards and found out that this is happening to a lot of people.  Someone said that Google was in touch with him and sent him an email with a link to a website that has instructions on how to take the laptop apart to re-seat the wifi connection, but I’m afraid I might just make it worse.  I really don’t know if that is the problem because it never gets moved, so there is no reason for anything to be loose in there.  It stays on my desk in the same spot all the time.  I rarely if ever bring it to another room of the house, and when I do pick it up, it’s to dust.  And, it only goes offline when I try to type something, why would it stay online for hours at a time, but then shut off as soon as I try to type something if the problem is that the wifi connection is loose?  I don’t think they are related.

A few of the people say that it’s not a software glitch, that the hardware needs to be re-seated, but that does not seem to make sense in my case.  I think it’s a software glitch and the only thing I can do is wait for Google to put out a new update.  How long will that take?

I have cleared my browsing data, browsing history and emptied the cache.  Before that whenever I would move the mouse it would go offline, so now at least it stays online until I type something.  It has gotten a little better, but not by much.  I deleted the cookies, cleared saved passwords and autofill form data and I deleted all of my files because they were redundant anyway.  I most likely downloaded images for blog posts or to transfer to the micro SD card for my phone.  The remaining files that aren’t on my computer were transferred to a USB flash drive.

I will continue to do research on the matter because I really want my CR-48 back.  I have lived my whole life without it, but I don’t know if I can live without it now.  I know that’s sad, but it is such a cool thing.  For anyone who doesn’t have one, they don’t know how awesome it is so they don’t know what I mean, but trust me, if you had one you’d understand.

I posted on the Google help boards, so hopefully I will hear from someone who can help.  Will update on the matter.

New CR-48 Discovery – VGA-Out

I’m not quite sure when they fixed the VGA-Out but my CR-48 is now able to hook up to my television.  This is very cool because I’ve been wanting to get it hooked up for a long time so I can watch Hulu on my TV.

There is one little issue though.  When I plug the VGA cable into the chromebook, the screen stretches.  It basically goes from a widescreen, I’m not quite sure what the exact resolution is, to 1024×768 which is a 4:3 screen.  So if you have a widescreen 16:9 HDTV like I do, you will have to set it to 4:3.

When you watch a video on Hulu on your TV with the CR-48 or I assume any chromebook, you will notice that when you click the full screen button, which sits next to the volume button, your screen won’t look the same as it does when you watch it on your netbook.  Instead, it will cut off the right side of the video and you will see a small video on your screens.  Not exactly the effect I was hoping for.  To fix this you can click the pop out button on the right side of the video instead of the full screen.  You will see a small 320×240 box pop out on the bottom right of your screen.  Just resize it so it covers the entire screen.  It’s not the ideal situation but I’ll take what I can get until they fix the issue, if they ever do.

You can watch YouTube videos with better results.  Just go to YouTube, browse the videos until you find the one you want to watch and go into full screen.  Your video will be normal, however since you are still in 4:3 mode on your HDTV it will be as if you are watching a program that is in letterbox mode.  No problem if the YouTube video isn’t in widescreen format.

Those are the only 2 websites that I have checked so I’m not quite sure how it will be for every website, or every HDTV for that matter.  I highly doubt that a 4:3 TV would even have a PC-In so if you don’t have an HDTV then this most likely won’t apply to you.  But I’m not positive.  If you have a 4:3 flat screen then it might have a PC-In.  If that is the case then no problem.

The reason I want to watch web videos on my TV is for the simple fact that sometimes a video that I am watching doesn’t have a high enough volume for me to hear it and the best way to get around that is to use the tv’s speakers.  Also, I get to see it bigger when it’s on my tv rather than my little 12″ netbook screen.  I’m sure anyone can appreciate that.

I don’t know why it took me this long to check to make sure that it worked but I’m glad I finally did.  Now if Netflix would just get their service working on the Google Chrome OS, I will be set.

Acer and Samsung Chrome Netbooks Announced


I saw the news this morning on Twitter from Editor for PC Magazine Lance Ulanoff:

Google: ACER introing netbook-sized ChromeBook #$349. Samsung’s ChromeBook: $429 for Wi-Fi Avail June 15. #io2011

I was way off on the price.  I figured that since the Google Chrome OS is a browser-based only computer that they would sell a Google Chrome OS Netbook for $150-$200.  I never thought they would sell as high as they are.

Chrome OS Site also reports the specs for the Samsung netbook along with other pictures of the netbook from different angles.  The Samsung Chrome OS netbook will sell in WiFi only for $429 and 3G for $499.

I have been using my CR-48 Google Chrome OS netbook since mid December when they first started shipping and I love it.  I still use my desktop computer but only for things that I can’t use my CR-48 for like photo editing with Gimp, balancing my checkbook via Microsoft Money and playing Lord of the Rings Online.  My CR-48 has basically become my default computer for everything else, as it was supposed to be for the pilot program.

I cannot say that I agree with those prices because you can get a netbook for the same price with Windows installed and be able to install software that you want on it to do everything my desktop computer can do.  The Google Chrome OS is internet only.  You can get the internet on a Windows netbook so why pay that much money?

It’s a great operating system, I just don’t think it’s that great that you would pay $500 for it.  I think that they will go down in price eventually so I would wait until they are a more reasonable price.

GPS on CR-48

I’m browsing through the Chrome OS Help page under the “Chrome OS Known Issues” page and notice they have a “Can’t Use GPS” and when I click the + it shows “While the Cr-48’s hardware has GPS capability, we do not currently support this feature” and out of curiosity I open the Google Maps page and notice there is a thing above the little man you drag.  I mouse over it and it says “Show My Location” so I click it and boom… it narrows onto my house with a little glowing blue dot ON MY HOUSE!

Ok so I don’t know why but when I took the screen shot it moved away from my house but it’s still close lol.  So much for GPS not being supported because hello, it’s working.  Now we just need to take a little trip somewhere to find out how good it works.

I’m loving this Chrome OS netbook more and more every time I discover something new about it.

Gmail Video Chat with CR-48

I got my CR-48 in December the first week they were shipping them and I didn’t really mess with the video chat until Christmas day when a friend of mine got a webcam for Christmas.  We tried it but my mic didn’t work so she couldn’t hear me.  When we came home from San Diego after Christmas we tried it again but my mic still didn’t work.

I’ve been so frustrated that the mic didn’t work and that I had no volume control but realizing I wasn’t testing the laptop but the operating system I started to come to the realization that it might never work.

Whenever Google would do an update on the Chrome OS I would check the mic settings and it never worked, that is until yesterday when they did their update.  I immediately checked the mic settings and not only did the mic work but so does my volume control.  Finally!

I emailed that same friend about trying again and she finally got on Gmail today so I sent her an IM directly from the Gmail site using Gmail chat.  I started the video chat but her video didn’t work at all.  I thought, well let’s go to Facebook using the Social Plus extension.  That didn’t work either so we went back to Gmail but I waited for her to engage me this time.  I don’t know what she did but it worked and we talked for about 45 minutes I would say.

It was a success!  It was as good if not better than using Skype.  Since I’m on a cloud based computer I can’t install Skype so Gmail chat is the next best thing.

The only strange thing about it was that when she held something up to her webcam it looked like a mirrored image to her but it looked normal to me.  I held up a package of something and it was a mirrored image to me but she saw it normal.  It was a little strange but if you think about it, we’re sort of like looking in a mirror, she can see me as if I were on the other side of the glass and vice versa.  A bit weird but that’s fine, I’ll take what I can get.

I’m just really excited that I can video chat lol.

CR-48 Upgrade Today

Earlier today I was sitting here doing a survey on e-rewards on my CR-48 netbook and I look over at the wrench and see that it has a little dot on it.  That dot lets me know there is an upgrade.  I go ahead and let it upgrade which means I lose the survey (which was boring me anyway, no loss) and it reboots.

After it loads back up I immediately check my Gmail settings which I always do when there is an update so I can check to see if the mic is working yet.  Finally it works!  Not only does the mic work but the volume control works as well.  FINALLY!

So now when a friend wants to video chat with me either in Facebook or Gmail I can.  I was able to video chat before, I could hear them but they couldn’t hear me so now they can and I’m so happy.

Although, I sent an email to a friend of mine who has wanted to video chat with me and every time she asks I say no.  She has yet to return my email the whole day and now it’s after midnight so it’s too late cause she’s 3 hours ahead of me so she’s in bed lol.  Maybe tomorrow.

I know the mic works because I opened the Aviary audio editor and recorded my voice and it worked.  It wasn’t as loud as I would have liked for it to be but I’m sure they’re working on mic volume control.

Another thing I tried was Runescape and they still have yet to upgrade the missing plug-in for that game.  Oh and I hope they open a file structure soon too.   :p

I know, I’m like a child with this thing lol.

My Old Dell Inspiron 1100

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to bring out my old Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop and see if I can get it working. The computer works, it’s just that the screen doesn’t. When you turn it on the screen lights up and you can see everything but then it dims out and you can see shadows of what is on the screen but only if you have a bright light on it. I had to use my desk light so I could see the screen.

Normally I sit here with the CR-48 (the smaller laptop) and the desktop going so it was a bit strange having this bigger laptop on my desk taking up so much room.

What’s the point of bringing it out if it doesn’t work you ask? Well, I was trying to see if I could hook it up to my TV. I have a Panasonic HDTV that I can plug a PC into. The laptop has a monitor plug as well. In fact when Chips computer wasn’t working and he needed a computer, he was using the laptop until the screen decided to go black then we hooked his monitor up to it so he could still use it.

Well, it works great on monitors but not so great with my HDTV. In fact my TV didn’t recognize it at all. I think maybe because it’s an old laptop from 2004.

My point for wanting to hook it up to the TV was so I could use that as my internet tv box. I could have it hooked up to the tv and watch Hulu and Netflix with it. If it was slow (which it is) then I would reformat it so I could have a faster laptop for this purpose. Unfortunately since it doesn’t connect with my TV then there’s no real use for it so I may as well toss it back in its laptop case in the closet.

I would like to buy a new screen for it and while I’m at it upgrade the hard drive and give it more memory. If I couldn’t use it as my internet tv for my HDTV, then at least Darrin would have a computer to bring with him to work but that’s gonna cost a lot of money that neither of us have. He has a desktop at his job but I figured he could use a laptop as well for when he’s out and about.

The whole exercise wasn’t a complete waste of time though, at least I learned that it does not work on the tv and I got to give it some windows updates. One of the windows updates was for the video driver which apparently did no good since the screen is still black.

I paid $700 for this laptop in 2004 and today since the screen doesn’t work the laptop is probably worthless. Then again what else is new lol.

Live Go on my CR-48

One of my favorite things about this Google Chrome OS (aka CR-48) laptop is this website called LiveGO. Since the Google Chrome OS is a browser-based operating system, I won’t be able to load these separate programs like Windows Live Mail for my emails, AIM, Yahoo IM, MSN Messenger etc.  I am so thankful for LiveGO because without it, I would have to load several websites just to check all my emails and see all of my buddy lists for chatting.

One of the things I really wanted was to be able to Skype and unfortunately that feature is not available but I read that it will be coming soon as well as some other features like Todo lists, calendars, notes and a quick menu.

The only thing that I really don’t care too much about is seeing Twitter on there because I like to look at lists.  I want to see tweets in their list of importance to me like friends/family, celebs, true blood RPers, gays, mentions and direct messages.  That’s where TweetDeck comes in which I don’t mind having in a different tab.  And actually I keep my desktop on for TweetDeck then do everything else on the CR-48 laptop.

I am really looking forward to LiveGO’s new additions because I really want to Skype with people, especially at Christmas time but since it’s only a week away I don’t see that happening so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I have to show another screen shot of this LiveGO program showing some emails and my buddy list (everyone blurred out) as well as the dashboard.

Notice how the buddy list on the right shows Google talk and Facebook buddies?  It also shows my AIM and Yahoo IM buddies.  I can’t connect with my MSN buddy list since I connect to Windows Live Messenger via my Gmail email address.  I guess I should sign up for Hotmail so I can make it easier so I can see those buddies too.

In the left you see all of my services that I have connected, Twitter is connected but signed out.  It shows in my Gmail and Yahoo Mail the number of emails I have so I know if I have email.  Then in the middle, on the top it shows my actual emails (in this case spam) and the bottom it shows my social feeds from Facebook.  If I had Twitter signed in you would see that but I signed out because it scrolls so fast from all 2000 people I follow tweeting every second.

So that is what I’m using now instead of many different websites and/or programs.  I am all set to spend the next 6 months in Google Chrome heaven on my CR-48.

My Chrome Apps and Extensions

I am really enjoying Google Chrome these days. This is my Google Chrome front page. As you can see I have a few apps and unseen a few extensions.

The apps that you can see are pretty cool. The top ones are what came automatically in the browser and the rest I added. If I can’t use programs on my desktop then I gotta find a way to use them on the browser only laptop.

Typically when you are given things in a new product, the first thing you do is get rid of the junk you don’t want. Well, I did get rid of something. There was an icon for a Poppit game from Pogo but when you click it, it loads the Pogo website with the Pogo logo but the game never loads. So screw it, it’s gone lol.

Entanglement is a really cool game and I like to play it so I kept it. I’m not very good but I’m just a beginner. You gotta start somewhere right?

The Gmail and Google Talk ones I can do without but I’m not going to get rid of them if I may need them one day. Instead of using those, I downloaded the app LiveGO . It allows me access to MSN, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL/AIM all in one web page. For Facebook MSN, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL, it allows me to get access to my inbox and IM. It doesn’t have MySpace or Skype and I really wish they would get Skype on there so I can use the webcam. The IM’s have the webcam button but it says Coming Soon when you mouse over it. Hopefully they will get that up and running soon. For now I can use Google Talk to video chat, although I haven’t had the opportunity yet as I still don’t have any Gmail friends in all the years I’ve had Gmail.

TweetDeck is great. I’ve used that for Twitter on my Desktop so I now use it on the laptop in browser format instead of the installed version my desktop has. I actually like the browser version because the program takes forever to load and the browser loads instantly.

Autodesk Homestyler is such a cool one. You get a measuring tape and measure the rooms in your house and add rooms in the program according to the measurements. Ok I don’t needthis but it’s neat. I can add furniture to each room so I can make decorating decisions. I’m not a decorator but Darrin is so he can use that.

Google Books I added because I’m a book-worm. Although I have a Nook so I don’t need that but I was using it to look up books. I may get rid of it if I need the space though.

Todo.ly is a to do list lol. Yeah I know, lame. I may get rid of it if I don’t use it that often.

Picnik is for photo editing, although they want you to pay for premium features, I just wanted it so I could use it for the webcam. Since I can’t have Gimp on this laptop I needed something but if I really need to make a graphic I’ll just make it on my desktop.

Spider One Suit FREE … It’s Spider Solitaire lol. I can’t imagine a world where there is no solitaire on a computer.

SoopBook is for writing your own book. You can write it in there and invite people to read it and correct your mistakes. Although I don’t know if I want anyone messing with my autobiography but it’s a good way to write it since I am using this as my primary computer.  It also gives me a backup so if my computer crashes then I don’t have to worry about a backup copy.

I haven’t been writing my book at all lately anyway because I’ve been too busy. When I am ready to write again I have SoopBook and/or my desktop to write with. Although I could use SoopBook when we aren’t home and I have the laptop with me so there’s a good reason to keep it for a while.

Do I really need to explain YouTube, Hulu, Google Maps and Scratchpad? I’m sure you know what those are.

I have a few extensions which are on the very top of my browser, to the right of the address bar. I’m using GlueAOLGmail and Yahoo email notifyer so if I’m not in LiveGO then I can see if I have email or not. Then I have Aviary for taking screenshots for blogging (example above).Amplify extension which I use occasionally for blogging and finally After the Deadline which is a great spell/grammar checker, not just for blogging but anywhere you type on the internet.

I am still adding extensions and apps so this is not all I am playing with. There will be more but for now, this is what I’m up to. Playing with and learning how to live with a browser only based laptop, it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds. I’m sure anyone can cut their ties to programs if they really had to. I guess this is an if you were stuck on an island, what program would you bring with you” type of question. Well, in my case I’d have to say the Google Chrome browser would be the only program I need since I can find a way to add all of my programs as web apps.

Ok that’s it for now. I’m tired and my eyes are too blurry from staring at this 12.1 inch laptop screen for the last 16-18 hours lol.