Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Haunted by Windows

If you read this blog you know 3 things; 1) I bought a Chromebox for work because I was so impressed with using just a Chromebook for the last 7 weeks of school &summer school. 2) our school has no cloud enabled printers so I have to still use my old laptop as a server.  3) my laptop got stuck in a boot loop on the last day of school and had to be re-imaged over the summer.

I got my laptop back today and it was back to factory default basically. All my programs were gone and my printers were gone too. So I know how to install printers, it is about a 5-10 minute job. I had the drivers on a flash drive just in case.

And that's when problems started. I plugged the flash drive into 3 different USB ports and each time a warning came up saying it didn't recognize the device. Finally for some reason on the 3rd time to a USB port it worked. So as I clicked on the drive to install the drivers, the "updates need to be completed" box popped up and I had to click it away. It took my computer 10 minutes to install the drivers. Then came the printers.

I had the IP addresses, so no need to search just put in the IP address and go. Well then it took about 15 minutes for it to contact the printer and another 12 to query it for the driver and install it. When it was all said and done it took my over 45 minutes to install one printer.

Every time I wanted to do something it would take multiple clicks to get it to register. Signing into chrome was a pain as well. Everything was horribly slow. It was almost  like Windows was taunting me saying "oh you aren't going to use me? Well I'll make your life hell for it!"

I'm not going to miss Windows. Now I need to get some cloud enabled printers on this campus so I can unplug my laptop for good.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Putting my money where my mouth is...

So as you know I have been working exclusively with a Chromebook the last few months and I also used it for summer school. I have never had an issue with it and loved every minute with it. The speed is amazing.  Webpages load almost instantaneously and since I am heavily invested into GAFE, everything just flows together so nicely. I spent the last couple weeks of school having the Chromebook in docked mode hooked up to my 24 inch monitor. Essentially turning it into a Chromebox, my preferred device.

So this past week I took the plunge and bought an Asus Chromebox for $250. I know I talked about the Acer Chromebox and really liked the design of it, but for the extra $30 I got an i3 processor, instead of the typical celeron and a wireless mouse and keyboard. The Acer came with a USB mouse and keyboard. I reviewed the Asus Chromebox, but that was the Celeron 2GB RAM version, which was more than capable of doing my day to day tasks.  So by throwing in an i3 with 4 GB of RAM, there should be zero issues with performance. Even though the i3 processor is a year old, the gains from this year's processor is minimal.  In fact, after researching the differences, some sites said there was no clear winner between the two.

I always felt like if there is technology being used in the classroom, that the teacher should also be comfortable in using it, if not using it as well daily. I also like the fact I have the same OS hooked up to my projector to show the students parts of Chrome OS that they aren't familiar with.

So why buy a Chromebox instead of using the school's Chromebook? Well as I said during my time using the Chromebook, our school has them managed. So anytime I logged out or turned it off, everything was wiped clear. Downloads, extensions, and settings. It became a hassle and I after awhile I didn't turn it off. Since it won't be managed by the school, everything I do on it will be saved.  The other big difference will be the ability to access my Google Drive from the Files App.  Right now we only have access to the downloads.  I am sure there is a good reason for doing it that way, but it wasn't convenient for me. 

The one thing I am still not looking forward to is printing.  We have zero cloud enabled printers on our campus.  This means I will still need to have my laptop turned on, tucked away in a corner so I can use the classic printer cloud print, which basically turns my laptop into a server.  We just bought new printers and I was hoping they would be cloud enabled to print to, but they aren't.  Hopefully, if we get new printers down the road we purchase some cloud ready printers.

So this blog will take a new turn.  I will still be updating my progress using a Chromebox, but I still want to focus in on apps & sites that help foster student learning.