February, Already?

AR Test
AR Test

I am shocked to look at the calendar, and realize that February is almost over.

Where to begin?  Well, the test with ChromeOS is going well.  I have found that I need the access to my R810 less and less as I move things over to the Pixelbook.  I have even found myself doing some light python coding on it.  The flexibility and the speed is very nice.  I have also been enjoying one of the major benefits of the Chromebook life style: major battery life.  I can take my Pixel out of the bag when I get to the office and not plug it in all day, and still have a couple of hours of juice left over when I get home.

On of the things that I am still not totally sure about is doing my photo workflow.  I have been doing some reading, and finding a few tools to play with.  To that end, I am going to set myself a challenge of taking, processing, and posting a photo at least once a week.  As I get more comfortable, I might even move that up to many a week.  It will be good to get back into that as I have done that in the past, but I did fail the last time I tried daily.

The photo above is from my playing around with ‘Augmented Reality’ which is all the fade now days with ‘virtual stickers’ you can insert into photos.

A month in, using ChromeOS only

As I pointed out a while back that I was moving to ChromeOS more seriously.  Well, since Christmas day, I have parked my R810 to the side, and installed Chromium OS on my Lenovo X260 and started using it full time.  What is Chromium OS?  It is the open source version of ChromeOS.

So far, everything has been working great.  The only thing that has not worked for me is DRM protected video stream, things like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video.  Not a major lost, but I missed it on a recent trip.

The other major issue I have run into is photo processing and management.  Under ChromeOS, there is not many options for this, only pure web-based solutions like Google Photos.  There are some pretty decent solutions in the Android world.  How does this help me?  Well, the newer version of ChromeOS running on newer Chromebooks can run Android apps.

Sadly, my Acer C720 and HP Chrombook 11 G1 are both too old to get the Android solutions.  Additionally, both systems are starting showing their age in running modern web apps.  So, my solution?  I am buying a Google Pixelbook.  I opted for the smaller of the versions which should have more than enough horsepower for me to run for many years.  It arrives today, so I will be having some fun setting it up.

On Smartphones and Two-Factor Auth

So, my trusty Nexus 5X gave up the ghost suddenly on me.  Given that it is an Android device, I was not worried about losing things like my contacts and photos, or even my apps as Google does a pretty decent job backing those things up.

However, there was one application I use which does not get its data backed up. FreeOTP which is a One-Time-Password application for Two Factor Auth.  This allows me to have another layer of protection on web sites past my password.

Most sites which have this option will allow you to either have a list of one-time use codes to get in to reset in case something happens to your phone (like me), or will let you set it up on multiple devices, like your phone and your tablet.

Then, there are those that do niether.  And those are a pain to recover from. 🙂

Always get the list of codes (if avalible) and store then somewhere that you can access if your phone ever dies or gets lost.  And, try to set up a second device if you can.

Really moving in on the Chromebook

As I mentioned a while back that I was experimenting with using a Chromebook, I decide to see how far I could take it.  On my recent trip to the UK, I only took my Acer C720 with me.  During the trip, I used it for things like uploading photos I took, Skype to chat with the family, checking email and news, and remote access while in the hotel room.

This worked out pretty well, to the point where I am trying to use it or my HP Chromebook 11 G1 full time.  While I can get lots of things done in a browser now days, there are some things I find my self sshing back to another box to do.  So, I decided to see if I could do that on the Chromebooks.

The ‘normal’ way is to install Linux into a chroot using something call Courton. I have done that in the past, but the work flow is not something I can adapt to easily as it involves more than a simple key combo to switch between.

I found a project called “Chromebrew” in the vein of “Homebrew” for MacOS.  Setup is pretty simple as I had turned on Developers mode on my boxes a long time ago, so it was a matter of downloading a script, reading it, and then running it.

From there, I used the crew command to install some basic tools (git, vim, & python), and I can now do 90% or more of my day-to-day work on the Chromebooks.

The only thing that I have not figured out yet is a decent VPN solution, but I am working on that.

I suppose at some point, I will upgrade one of the Chromebooks to one of the newer generation which can run Android apps as well.

Back from London (again)

So, when I started the new job last November, my boss told me that the new position was not a traveling position.  Well, after three trips this year (including one to Columbus, OH), and the one I just got back from, I think he was wrong. *grin*.

So, this time, I was in London for most of the two weeks, but I did get a side trip to Bournemouth to meet with the team there.  I was over there to get brought up to speed on a new project I am starting.  This one will be more project management  vs development.

Oh and of course, I took some time to take pictures.  Some are here: