Chromebook questions

I currently have a laptop linked in through HDMI to my home entertainment system - and hanging off the laptop by USB is a 2TB drive with movies, music etc.

I want to switch to a Chromebook but the staff in stores that I have spoken with know little to nothing about them. I've searched the forums but found only limited info on here.

My questions:

1. Will the Chromebook 'see' and run an external drive?

2. Can I download and use preferred apps to play movies (VLC being the main one)?

3. Can a Chromebook run itunes?

4. Given that it is not a windows OS, what can I expect the GUI to look like when accessing my drive? Can I still sort my movies by name etc? Keep the integrity of my file system?

5. Will the Chromebook connect to a home entertainement system via HDMI (yes it has the port but I'm wondering whether the Chrome software will see the system).

Any and all replies appreciated.

Thanks

E
 
To answer pretty much everything

http://promos.asus.com/us/chrome-os/chromebox/

Or you can get one of these and slap any version of Linux (or even Windows!!) you feel like using on it

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Barebones Systems/Intel i3/Intel NUC BOXDC3217IYE Intel Core i3 Dual Core Barebone Unit ?productId=62435

Maybe the second option is best, especially as VLC Player is not available on ChromeOS so you would have to scrub that requirement if you got yourself a ChromeOS system.

Oh, have a thought about the Raspberry Pi as well, plenty tutorials out there to make it happen. I doubt you would get a smaller media centre than that, and no Google snuffling through everything you are doing, adding to their data mining mountains.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/

Treat yourself, splash out on the most expensive one.
 
Thanks for the reply hb, much appreciated.

Think I will leave it for the time being, I really like what I see about the Chromebox but the more I read, the more it seems I will be held to ransom by Google and I'm not too keen on the idea. The lack of VLC compatibility is a real issue for me as I have movies in many different formats.

Raspberry Pi - first time I've heard of it but I'm not convinced, mixed reviews and I'm concerned that it may not do what I am after, given the processor speed and ram.

Thanks again.
 

Bad CO

Admin
I've got two Chromebooks, one a laptop and the other as my main desktop machine. I love them to bits and am a complete convert

BUT

I completely recognise their limitations. Some key ones are that you have to be utterly comfortable with operating in the cloud and pretty much do everything using the (excellent and free) tools that Google provides, such as Google Drive, docs, etc.

Playing the hundreds of different video formats on them is a problem although no doubt it will be addressed at some point. Personally, I tend to cast videos from my tablet using either MX player or VLC onto my main TV via a chromecast but I know that won't suit everyone's requirements.
 
You might want have a look at "Kodi", which is free/open source home theatre software: http://kodi.tv/
Here's a Wikipedia article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodi_(software)

It was formerly known as XBMC, but was renamed to "Kodi" recently for some reason, possibly due to trademark concerns (XBMC originally stood for XBox Media Player, because it started some years ago as an open source media player for people who had hacked their XBoxes to use them as media player hardware). It's free, like VLC, but it's more of a "do everything" solution. It supports all sorts of different hardware, and the site forums can probably give you a better idea of what works well and what doesn't than a site like ARRSE (no disparagement intended).

I don't watch a lot of movies or television so I don't use it (or anything else), but it's been a well known and well regarded piece of software for a long time, particularly under the XBMC name. There is commercial hardware shipping with it pre-installed, but again I can't really comment on it.

As for the RaspberryPi, the ARM CPU is pretty low powered, but it has a pretty good GPU (graphics processor) which does the video encoding/decoding in hardware. In fact, the chip was originally intended primarily as a graphics processor. The GPU should be doing most of the actual work. The hardware is very cheap (less than £30 without a case from some sources), so you don't risk much by trying it out. The design originated in the UK, and a lot of them are manufactured in Wales, so availability should be good in the UK. It's been a huge success around the world, so it's not an obscure piece of kit. Ask on the Kodi forums for opinions on the hardware. There is a special version of Kodi put out just for the Raspberry Pi.

I can't offer first hand experience for what you are asking, but the above may give you someplace to look further.
 
I have a chromebook which I have used with a chromecast dongle to watch films etc through linking to Netflix through my wireless router. I usually though link Netflix to my chromecast dongle through my Nexus 5 smart phone so I don't actually need a laptop at all to watch the telly.

So I can't answer about running stuff off a 2 terabyte memory stick but it will run streaming from your router. You just need to configure google chrome to connect to your chromecast dongle which is easy.
 
I've got two Chromebooks, one a laptop and the other as my main desktop machine. I love them to bits and am a complete convert

BUT

I completely recognise their limitations. Some key ones are that you have to be utterly comfortable with operating in the cloud and pretty much do everything using the (excellent and free) tools that Google provides, such as Google Drive, docs, etc.

Playing the hundreds of different video formats on them is a problem although no doubt it will be addressed at some point. Personally, I tend to cast videos from my tablet using either MX player or VLC onto my main TV via a chromecast but I know that won't suit everyone's requirements.

I am tempted by a Chromebook regularly; my main issue is collaboration with others. How do you find working with people who are mainly on Win and MS Office? Also do you find any issues with Google's PowerPoint equivalent?
 

Bad CO

Admin
Although you can use Word, etc via the browser based online service I think you'll find that an incredibly frustrating experience. I'm a moderately advanced user of word (styles, track changes, sections, etc) and powerpoint (slide masters, animations) but there is no way I'd attempt to do this on ChromeOS.

For productivity then, in my opinion, ChromeOS is only really any good with the Google Apps. Personally I happen to like them although do occasionally find it frustrating that some must have feature is AWOL. For sharing/collaborating with other users they are absolutely top drawer though.
 

3123

Clanker
Have searched and found 2 threads on Chromebook here.

Wondering if the info above is out of date. I'm starting a distance learning Uni course soon and think I need to replace my steam driven laptop.

Anyone have any thoughts? Dont use the current laptop for movies etc but has anyone used chromebook for study/ docs and file saving etc...is it similar to a laptop in that way but cloud based.

Bit of a biff when it comes to best tech type of stuff. Any advice appreciated.
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Have searched and found 2 threads on Chromebook here.

Wondering if the info above is out of date. I'm starting a distance learning Uni course soon and think I need to replace my steam driven laptop.

Anyone have any thoughts? Dont use the current laptop for movies etc but has anyone used chromebook for study/ docs and file saving etc...is it similar to a laptop in that way but cloud based.

Bit of a biff when it comes to best tech type of stuff. Any advice appreciated.

As @Bad CO mentions above, if you're comfortable using Google Docs and various other proprietary systems and if you're solely using it for writing notes/essays etc. then you should find the Chromebook is spot on for your needs. It has the added bonus of being ridiculously cheap too for the most part.

You'll need internet access of course but that's easy enough in this day and age.
 
Chromebooks are great if you have a use for them within their limitations. I managed a kid's playbus business for a couple of years covering the Greater London and surrounding area's. We had three buses and drivers including myself and assistants for when the kid's were on the bus.

That included taking the bookings and sending confirmation, scheduling the work, managing staff and planning packages to attract customers etc. I did it using the software on the machine which was primarily the Google Docs and the Google calendar. I didn't need to liaise with anybody else so interfacing wasn't an issue.

The key point for me was having the ability to go online and work wherever you were and if I wasn't able to find a hotspot, I tethered the Chromebook to my phone. It all worked really well and enabled me to manage the whole process really effectively.

It was also an economic solution. Chromebooks are comparatively cheap to buy, simple to operate and relatively robust. There isn't a traditional hard drive spinning around trying to cope with being shoved from pillar to post and if the machine was nicked, it wasn't an arm and a leg to replace and everything was on the cloud ready to be logged onto with another machine.

I like it a lot but it was just me working with it and not having to share information with other users other than emails of course.

All that was probably two years ago now so my knowledge is a little dated but I'm not sure though that a Chromebook would be the best solution. The issue would be compatibility with the systems used by your distance learning providers. I happily used Google docs but occasionally something would come through in Word and while I could read it, it sometimes didn't look as it probably was in the original format.

I also tried writing in Google docs and reformatting what I had written into Word to send of to other people. I simply couldn't make it work. Whatever I did to reformat etc, the document always looked like a dogs dinner. So I gave up and just stuck to Google docs which is an adequate word processor but I'm not sure it's a solution for a distance learning course.

So these are some of the pro's and con's in my experience. For what I was using the Chromebook for, the machine was an almost perfect solution providing you didn't want or need good compatibility with others. The world of Chromebooks has probably moved on quite a bit since I was using it.

Others may be able to update you on that but I can't. The compatibility issue in particular is something to explore closely. Even if you decide you can convert files from Google docs to Word and it all works ok, it's still a task in itself to have to do it which takes time you could be using to do something else. There is a cloud based version of Office that may work for you but again, I haven't used it and I don't know what the costs are.

My Chromebook is now my grandkids point of access to their internet games when they visit but, if I was asked to go and manage a similar business to the one I originally bought it for, I'd have to say sorry kids but the machine has got to go back to work.
 
Have searched and found 2 threads on Chromebook here.

Wondering if the info above is out of date. I'm starting a distance learning Uni course soon and think I need to replace my steam driven laptop.

Anyone have any thoughts? Dont use the current laptop for movies etc but has anyone used chromebook for study/ docs and file saving etc...is it similar to a laptop in that way but cloud based.

Bit of a biff when it comes to best tech type of stuff. Any advice appreciated.

My own personal view is that I would rather look at one of the new generation of Android "2-in-1" systems, basically an android tablet with built in keyboard, think android netbook with touchscreen. You should be able to do more than you do with your old clunker, things like playing/streaming movies, etc, choose from an array of decent document packages (I use Polaris free, does what I used to need it for), etc, etc, and you're not so tied to needing an internet connection either.

If you don't want to spend money on a new laptop, one of these things may be a worthwhile option.
 

3123

Clanker
Thanks for the info all.

The document creation part (assignments and research etc) is a main point of interest obvously.

I'm used to Word documents, where saving and sending is simple, not to say I'm not open to using new applications.

Good food for thought, many thanks gents.
 
Thanks for the info all.

The document creation part (assignments and research etc) is a main point of interest obvously.

I'm used to Word documents, where saving and sending is simple, not to say I'm not open to using new applications.

Good food for thought, many thanks gents.

If you must have Word, then you can get Microsoft Office Mobile for Android, which has Word, Excel and Powerpoint, and I'm seeing things that tell you how to run Office365 on Chromebook.

The options are there, you just have to figure out what is right for you.
 

Bad CO

Admin
Two and a bit years later and I'm still using both my desktop (chromebox) and laptop (chromebook). Having recently started using lightroom though I've had to get a 2nd hand windows laptop for that.

Bottom line is that my initial assessment is still accurate; chromebooks are excellent vfm provided you can live with their limitations and are prepared to invest some time into overcoming the differences.
 
My 1st choice would be a Lenovo Thinkpad,

I've been buying Office 2016 via a terrorist of Pakistani heritage on Ebay, well for £5 there must be something dodgy going on & £5 does buy 12 bottles of bleach from Aldi ?
 

Bad CO

Admin
That's what I've got for my lightroom laptop. Got a second hand one about 5 years old which had been upgraded with a SSD. Total was about £150.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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