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.


  1. For printing, you may look into a Lantronix Print Server for $125. I have heard great things about them.

    Another nice trick that I picked up this week was increasing the file swap to give your Chromebook a RAM upgrade for free. The device doesn't need to be in developer mode or anything special like that. You can specify a portion of the SolidState Hard Drive to act as RAM.

    To turn on File Swap press "Ctrl+Alt+T" to get to the crosh> prompt and enter the following command: swap enable 2000
    This adds an extra 2GB of RAM. Other valid numbers are 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4500 or 6000. Personally, I really want to try 6000 just to see what my Chromebook would perform like with 8 GB of RAM... but for now 2GB is fine.

    1. Wow that is a cool tip.

      I love tinkering with electronics, so I am considering buying a stick of 8gb RAM to get the machine to 10. I know I don't need it, but why not?

    2. Thanks for the heads up on the lantronix print server to. Looks interesting. Definitely cheaper than buying new printers.