Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.13.558.3

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.13.558.3. The Chrome browser
version is 13.0.775.2.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beta Channel Update: 0.12.433.57

Beta Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.57. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.68.

The lack of new features in these beta releases and the lack of dev channel releases in general would seem to indicate that Google is focusing all it's energy on bug fixes and polish so that 0.12 is ready to be the first stable channel release of Chrome OS. We're less than 3 weeks away from the first Chromebook retail units in stores!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beta Channel Update: 0.12.433.48

Beta Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.48. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.60.

Once again, it looks like we're in that weird time period where beta channel has a newer version than dev channel. If you're on dev channel and you're now envious of beta channel users, you can drop back to beta channel and grab this update, then switch back to dev channel so that you're ready for 0.13 when it hits.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beta Channel Update: 0.12.433.38

Beta Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.38. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.50.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beta Channel Update: 0.12.433.38

Although it's not showing up at cros-omahaproxy.appspot.com, 0.12 is being pushed to the beta channel as we speak. Once again we have beta channel and dev channel on the same version again for a few days. It's likely that sometime next week we'll see dev channel jump to 0.13 with the new 2.6.38 version of the Linux kernel.

With just one month to go until Chromebooks hit retail channels, it seems likely that 0.12 will receive a few stability patches in beta channel before being declared the first stable channel release of Chrome OS. In terms of features, we know that Enterprise support is enabled in 0.12 (but not on Google's server side yet for regular accounts). Also, Chromoting (Citrix / Remote Desktop support) has also been enabled in the OS but not on Google's server side for some time. The avatar image selection introduced in 0.12 (those cool waterpaint style icons you can choose for your login instead of a picture of yourself) is another sign that Google is starting to polish things up for a final release.

Chrome OS Stable here we come!

Coming Soon: Linux Kernel 2.6.38 with improved performance

Chromium OS, the open source project for Chrome OS, recently switched from Linux kernel version 2.6.32 to the latest version, 2.6.38. It's likely we'll see 2.6.38 hit Chrome OS in a few weeks with the first 0.13 dev-channel builds. To give you a rough idea of the difference in age between the two kernels, Linux 2.6.32 was the kernel for Ubuntu 10.04 released April of 2010 while 2.6.38 is the kernel version included with Ubuntu 11.04 released just last week. That's not a perfect picture of the difference between the two because it's likely Chrome OS developers backported some of the best patches from 2.6.33 - 38 to their 2.6.32 tree but backporting patches never offers all the benefits of moving up to the latest kernel.

Keep your eyes peeled for 0.13 and the new 2.6.38 kernel.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.433.38

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.38. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.50.

Google Music Beta on the Cr-48

I was lucky enough to get a Google Music Beta Invite last night and I've had a few hours to play with it on the Cr-48 and my Windows laptop. In a previous post, I took a look at Amazon's Cloud Player on the Cr-48. I'm not one for lengthy in depth reviews but I figured I'd offer some pros and cons I see with Google's Music offering so far. If you've got questions I didn't cover, post them in the comments and I'll do my best.


  • Google's web based music player offers a better experience than Amazon's in my opinion. With Amazon's player, I couldn't find an easy way to see my current playlist and pretty much everything is read only, no editing song details or playlists. Google's player allows you to create playlists and will even automagically create them based on your selected favorite song.
  • Being integrated with your Google Account, Music Beta Player keeps you logged in pretty much all the time. Amazon's Cloud Player would log me out after a few hours and I'd need to re-enter my password.
  • Google's made a point to be sure no one's outdoing them on cheap cloud storage. 20,000 songs is a lot. I have 1,200 in my collection right now, doubt I'll ever fill Google Music where even Amazon's 20gb offering after purchasing an album could be to little for me.
  • Performance on the Cr-48 is pretty good!
  • The Google Music Beta Music Manager application for uploading your songs is Windows / Mac only. No Linux or Web support. It's understandable that they didn't release a native app for every platform but a web based Flash or HTML5 upload option would have been nice.
  • There's no way to purchase music and add it directly to your Google Music Library. You'll need to either purchase it from iTunes (DRM free version only) or Amazon MP3 and then upload via the Manager app. Doesn't look like we're in a "living in the cloud" world just yet with Google Music.
  • This is a minor technical issue most users won't notice or care about but I was rather annoyed to have the Music Manager app prompt me for my Google Account username and password when solutions like OAuth for Installed Apps exist and are strongly recommended by Google. Seems Google didn't follow their own recommendations on this one.
All in all, Google Music Beta looks pretty great. I hope Google continues to add improve the service as time goes on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chrome OS Goes Retail June 15th. Major Announcements.

Google made some major announcements regarding Chrome OS today, to many for me to list in a single post. The biggest news is that Chromebooks (yep, that's an official name now) will be available for retail purchase June 15th at Amazon.com and Best Buy. Pricing ranges from $350 for the Acer to $480 for the Samsung wiht 3G. There will also be monthly fee option for Educational Institutions and Businesses, $20 and $28 irrespectively. If you haven't already seen the video below, take a look, it's a pretty awesome glimpse into Google's plans for Chrome OS.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coming Soon: Enterprise Support for Chrome OS

It looks like Google is getting closer to allowing enterprise management of Chrome OS devices. This is a screenshot of the Enterprise Enrollment Out of Box Configuration (OOBE) for Chrome OS dev-channel 0.12.433.35. You can see it yourself by getting to the login window and pressing CTRL+ALT+E.
The Chrome OS Enterprise Enrollment Screen
To see the screen, you'll need to have wiped your device and not logged in to a Google Account yet. Currently, trying to login to at this screen with any of my Google Apps accounts fails with a not allowed error. But looking through Google's bug reports on Enterprise functionality, it looks like Chrome OS Enterprise support will eventually offer the ability to set policies on devices. Admins will be able to disable the camera and mic, configure WiFi profiles and certificates, force password login on wake and disable guest mode and login from non-approved accounts.

If you're a Google Apps admin, managing your mobile fleet may soon be much easier with this functionality!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.433.35

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.35. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.46.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.433.28

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.28. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.22.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dev Channel Update: 0.12.433.22

Dev Channel has been updated to version 0.12.433.22. The Chrome browser
version is 12.0.742.16.

Beta Channel Update:

Beta Channel has been updated to version The Chrome browser
version is 11.0.696.57.

How to Disable the Automatic Light Sensor on the Cr-48

The Automatic Light Sensor (ALS) on the Cr-48 is responsible for reading current light conditions and adjusting the display backlight appropriately. Unfortunately the sensor is a little to sensitive for some user's taste. Until Google gets the sensor setting right or allows us to disable and adjust the sensor from the GUI settings, it's possible to disable the sensor entirely. Just get a shell prompt and run:

echo 0x29 | sudo tee /sys/class/i2c-adapter/i2c-2/delete_device

this disables the light sensor so that the backlight is not adjusted with changing light conditions. You can still adjust the backlight using the dim and bright buttons above the 7, 8 and 9 on the keyboard and the display will still dim after a period of inactivity. Disabling the ALS is temporary, it'll be re-enabled after you reboot and you'll need to re-run the command. Feel free to share your experience with the ALS in the comments below.