Google Changes Everything With The New Google Chrome OS

Price out Windows Vista (or soon-to-come Windows 7) or Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard and see how they stack up against free! Google’s new OS will be open source which means free.

A little after midnight Google made a startling announcement. Late next year Google will roll out an operating system–Google Chrome.

Price out Windows Vista (or soon-to-come Windows 7) or Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard and see how they stack up against free! Google’s new OS will be open source which means free.

Some of you reading this are more technophobe than technophile so here’s a quick explanation. An operating system connects the programs you run with the underlying hardware that is your computer. Different operating systems interface with programs differently. Software must be written or rewritten for each OS. That is why my Mac friends kvetch so often about applications they want not being available for their machine.

Google’s OS promises to untie applications from a specific OS.

The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Actually there are lots of promises starting with security and speed.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

This is a huge announcement. Microsoft and Apple stock will plunge this morning. As of now their business plans are suspect.

It’s more than just a tech thing. This is a seminal moment in the history of communications, computing and media.

Our Busy Weekend

We found out his Mac notebook doesn’t have a VGA out port. He couldn’t plug in to the projector. Seriously–no VGA plug? I am surprised even though my friends with Mac always tell me how much they like their machines and how frustrated they are by some tasks they can’t perform or programs they can’t run.

For the Foxes this was a busy weekend. We had events Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday evening was spent with Harvey and Sandy in Woodbridge. They have an annual Chanukah party. We’ve been going most years for as long as I can remember. Ages ranged from 11 weeks to too old to gracefully ask.

We get to Wodbridge totally on smaller secondary roads. At one point we take a narrow 2-lane road twisting along the shore of a reservoir. There’s water on one side and a fence on the other. Saturday evening was extremely foogy. No fun driving in that.

menorahs-w250-h250.jpgDuring Chanukah Jewish families light the menorah each night at sundown. The tradition at Harvey and Sandy’s party is all the families bring their own menorahs and light them at once–which was great because the party used to be early in Chanukah.

Saturday each family lit seven candles plus an additional ‘helper’ candle. Helaine and I discussed standing by with 9-1 dialed on the cellphone. The dining room was noticably warmed by all those candles.

We look forward to the “pigs in blankets” served each year. As we walked in someone was carrying them to the basement. That’s where the kids usually hang out. Did we go downstairs just for the pigs? I’ll never tell.

Harvey always has fun toys to play with. This time he had X-Plane installed. Running on his Mac with a flight yoke and pedals it was amazingly fun to fly. It was impossible for me to easily control.

One of their three grown, daughters&#185 was home. She works in New York as a production assistant on some Bravo productions. Both Helaine and Stef were impressed she was working on Top Chef, which they enjoy and I’ve never seen.

Sunday the occasion was totally different. It was my friend Farrell’s mother’s 90th birthday. Being 90 is a difficult job. Ruth is equal to the task.

I wrote about Ruth in August 2005. She was about to get caught up in one of the biggest news stories of the decade.

I just got off the phone with my friend’s mom in New Orleans.

We’ve never met in person, but she knows me. I’ve fixed her computer by remote control. She’s seen me on TV while visiting her daughter in Connecticut. I’ve known her son for over 25 years and he’s a trusted friend.

She understands I’m looking out for her.

“Leave,” I said. “Leave now.”

ruth_meisel.jpgRuth lives in Connecticut now, near her daughter. Her home was flooded and destroyed in Katrina’s aftermath.

A few days ago Farrell sent me an email, looking for a way to make a slideshow of family photographs. I suggested Animoto. Farrell came with the slideshow in his laptop…his Mac laptop.

That’s when we found out his Mac notebook doesn’t have a VGA out port. He couldn’t plug in to the projector. Seriously–no VGA plug? I am surprised even though my friends with Mac always tell me how much they like their machines and how frustrated they are by some tasks they can’t perform or programs they can’t run.

I found a way to convert the slideshow video to an m4v file (never heard of it before) which was somehow compatible with another laptop–a Dell. We used ‘sneaker net’ in the form of a USB stick to move it. The slideshow did go on.

At age 90 you get a note from your congressman (Rep. Rosa DeLauro) and a proclamation from the governor declaring your birthday as Ruth Meisel Day in Connecticut.

Ruth wore a crown. It’s good to be Queen.

&#185 – Sandy went to the hospital to give birth to their second child. It was only after the delivery they discovered there was one more child in there. Really.

Watch What You Steal

I’m going by what I’ve just read online – but it’s a classic technology story.

Someone has their MacBook laptop stolen. There’s no trace until a few weeks later when photos begin to show up on Flickr. It turns out this Mac was set to automatically upload any picture manipulated in Photobooth to Flickr!

Yes, that’s right. Most likely the ‘current owner’ of the laptop has been posting pictures that the former owner can now see.

Who are these people? I have no clue. But, based on a similar story with a purloined photo shooting cellphone, I suspect this Mac will somehow find its way home.

And you think she looks surprised now. Wait!

Wow – Thanks For Responding

Yesterday, I asked for laptop advice (which continues to come in). I appreciate it all. I have not made up my mind yet, so don’t stop.

I do want to address one suggestion – Apple. There are two consistent comments I hear from Apple owners.

  • I love my Mac
  • Why don’t they write this software for my Mac?

I am much more familiar with the Windows world, where I know how most things operate – even ‘under the hood’. Mac’s operating system is based on BSD (a Unix flavor), which I’m not quite as conversant in. So, yes, that lack of deep knowledge is also a problem.

But, again, it’s the easy availability of software that’s my main concern… and the price. A comparable Mac seems to be 40-50% more than its corresponding PC.

Steffie will gladly tell you how much prettier Macs are than PCs. I agree. That isn’t entering into this decision.

I have looked at all the brands you have recommended. Believe it or not, at this time, Dell seems the best value. I have looked at a Dell laptop with Vista home premium (or whatever the second step on their ladder is called), 2Gb RAM, 120 Gb drive, 14.1″ WXGA+ resolution (love them pixels), for under $1,000.

Software or OS tech support, the scourge of PC buyers, is less of a concern for me since I do most of my own IT work. We were very satisfied with Dell when it came to hardware support.

I also appreciate the two of you who wrote to explain the difference between Core Duo and Core 2 Duo (32 vs 64 bit processor). Why don’t the laptop manufacturers reveal this on their configuration tools?

As a guy, by law, I have difficulty committing. Hopefully, tonight or tomorrow I’ll make up my mind and pull the trigger.

Computing Denial

Who knows why these things happen – but they do. My main home computer has become unstable… unable to work for more than a few minutes without crashing to the dreaded ‘Blue Screen of Death.’ I have the luxury of backup machines, but this main box is the one I depend on and store my most important files on.

That a symptom of computer sickness has developed its own well know nickname (and the acronym BSOD is well know too) is a left handed tribute to Windows computing.

It’s possible there’s something I introduced to the computer that’s got it feeling sickly, though most likely it’s just a driver (or two) or a program (or two) that don’t play well together. I’m not wise enough to know if this is because of the way Windows is designed, but there is a constant litany of Mac and Linux users saying this doesn’t happen to them.

The answer to this BSOD problem is simply to reformat and start again. There’s no doubt I’ll be doing that sometime in the next few days. I just need some time to decide how to do this without losing too much, or any, of my data.

I know I’ll want my mail and address books. There are documents that I’ll need to save too. The scare is that I’ll forget something and end up losing forever something I’ll want or need. That’s why I’ve been reticent to do it.

The funny thing is, reformatting and rebuilding a computer is something I’ve done dozens of times for friends and family members. In fact I had to reformat and redo my dad’s machine while I was in Florida.

It’s a never ending cycle.

Mac Users… I’m So Embarrassed

I compose this blog on a variety of computers. Most of the time, the typing is done at home on one of a few Windows XP machines, using Internet Explorer. From time-to-time I will also compose on my Linux machine at home (or if it’s a really slow night, my Linux machine at work) using Mozilla as the browser. Most of the time, the blog looks exactly as I want it to look.

Without going into all the details (since I’m not sure I totally understand it), a blog like this is only possible because of CSS or cascading style sheets. I can define the look of the blog’s component parts and keep things uniform through a master style sheet. That’s why the column on the left looks as it does, the main blog body and headers look as they do, and how

I can put text into a bounded box with mono spaced type by adding a few characters

I don’t own a Mac and never use Macs. I had no idea what this blog looked like on a Mac. Now I do, and I’m not happy. You can take a look yourself if you really want! That capture was sent to me by Michael Dreimiller.

I had somehow left out one tiny little command. It was a command that deactivated big type. Without it, every once in a while, big type would appear where I didn’t want it.

My Windows browser could care less. Unfortunately Internet Explorer really doesn’t follow the exact CSS protocol (even though it accounts for the vast majority of web browsers). So I was short changing Mac owners.

The fix took about 10 seconds. I’m still not sure if everything else is Kosher. For that, I will run the rest of the site through a ‘validator’ later tonight and see what changes are necessary. Though I started with a perfectly valid style sheet, I have modified it mercilessly over the months. Who knows what evil I have done.

Anyway, if you’re a Mac user, my profuse apologies. Feel free to reread whatever looked awful earlier. Everything should be fine now – I hope.