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Education Chromium

Phil Shapiro says 20,000 Teachers Should Unite to Spread Chromebooks (Video) 101

Posted by Roblimo
from the computers-for-eager-young-minds-and-fingers dept.
Phil Shapiro often loans his Chromebook to patrons of the public library where he works. He says people he loans it to are happily suprised at how fast it is. He wrote an article earlier this month titled Teachers unite to influence computer manufacturing that was a call to action; he says that if 20,000 teachers demand a simple, low-cost Chromebook appliance -- something like a Chrome-powered Mac mini with a small SSD instead of a hard drive, and of course without the high Mac mini price -- some computer manufacturer will bite on the idea. Monitors? There are plenty of used ones available. Ditto speakers and keyboards, not that they cost much new. The bottom line is that Phil believes Chromebooks, both in their current form factor and in a simpler one, could be "the" computer for schools and students. Maybe so, not that Android tablets are expensive or hard to use. And wait! Isn't there already a Chromebox? And even a Chromebase all-in-one Chrome-based desktop? In any case, Chrome-based computers look pretty good for schools and libraries, especially if and when prices for the simplest members of the family get down to where Phil thinks they should be. (Alternate video link)

Phil Shapiro:Hi, this is Phil Shapiro. I’m holding in my hands my Chromebook laptop, this thing is so fast, it’s an Acer C720. I take it to work with me at my public library job, I loan it out to the public and I say try out this Chromebook and almost everybody I loan it to is very impressed.

Robin Miller:I’m Robin Miller for Slashdot, with us today is Phil Shapiro, who you just saw on the intro to this video, and he likes his Chromebook, he maybe thinks you should have one too. Why Phil? Why the Chromebook?

Phil Shapiro:I love that Chromebook, it’s so simple, there’s so few things that can go wrong, it boots up in about six or seven seconds, it wakes from sleep in one second, it’s so light. I explain it to people it’s like a MacBook Air at one-fifth the price.

Robin Miller:Okay. And what happens when we are in the basement?

Phil Shapiro:What happens when we are in the basement?

Robin Miller:Away from our friendly signal, when we aren’t online?

Phil Shapiro:Oh, you can use your Chromebook offline, there are ways of doing word processing, and so you can use it for word processing offline.

Robin Miller:Okay. How about for building a spreadsheet?

Phil Shapiro:Yeah, you can do all your Google docs, you can do it offline or online and then your Chromebook is going to automatically synchronize it the next time you walk in to a WiFi zone.

Robin Miller:So, it’s not really a worry that I’ve always had about being out of range of a signal when I use this Chromebook?

Phil Shapiro:No, those Chromebooks they are very functional and the more that you live in the cloud with your work, the more the Chromebook just makes so much sense, you get a lot of value for your dollar.

Robin Miller:What about iPads? Now there is a school district in Texas that’s gotten some heat about having spent millions on iPads, and their wireless stuff isn’t up to snuff, the students are breaking them like mad and in fact the State of Texas, the various school districts there are spending millions upon millions upon millions for iPads, and you have a better idea I hear?

Phil Shapiro:The iPad is not a bad educational tool, but I can tell you in the hands of kids, those kids they put things through the ringer and the Chromebook is so durable, it’s so light weight, there’s so few things that can go wrong, it’s solid state, there’s no moving hard drive inside of it. Some Chromebooks do sell with hard drives, but those were some of the earlier ones, all the current ones are solid state. And you can easily store them in a small_____ 3:12 for a whole class room, you don’t need to buy a laptop cart. Those things are so small and light, you can almost fit them in the drawer of a teacher’s desk for the whole class. Lock them up or something and let the kids take them home, please, every weekend, let the kids have unlimited use of this great tool that the school purchased, but can be used at home, because it’s so light to walk it back and forth, it weighs just a little bit more than a Kindle.

Robin Miller:You also talked, as I recall,_____ 3:46 and we’ll run this for the people. Let’s hear Phil’s thing with the teachers.

Phil Shapiro:Wouldn’t it be interesting if I could buy this laptop without a screen and without a battery and without the speakers, so that it would be a very affordable desktop and very light weight. So you see if we take off the screen and we take off the battery and if we take out the speakers, we’re going to drop the price in this thing maybe down to about $100, for a very fast, very light weight desktop kind of computer, so I could send a suggestion to Acer, the manufacturer that I’d like to buy it without the screen, without the battery and without the speakers. And they would probably ignore my request because it’s just request from a single person, but how about if I assembled 20,000 teachers who were all interested in buying this Chromebook without the screen, without the battery and without speakers. If we assemble that many people, we could ask Acer to sell it to us in that configuration. Yeah, so, I totally love the idea that if people band together, we have the power to tell computer manufacturers the exact features that we want. And they would find it really hard to ignore that because computer manufacturing is highly competitive.

So if teachers are able to band together we can get some of these Chromebooks without a screen and without a battery and price will drop and we’ll call it our own little homemade Chromebox, but the neat thing is, it’s going to be great for the computer manufacturers, they don’t have to do any new design, they have to sell us the same product with a different configuration, so they’ll use the Chromebooks in the classroom when we want with the screen and for home we could have a Chromebook with a VGA out-port and a donated monitor and the kids could have a very affordable computer for their home virus free.

Robin Miller:When you’re talking about a monitor you’re probably talking about a CRT at this point?

Phil Shapiro:That’s true, I mean, we could make the Chromebook into a ecological devise where instead of taking the CRT monitors and throwing them in a dump or trying to recycle them, we can put them to use, there’s no reason, and there’s some gorgeous CRTs out there and I can tell you when you have a family with four kids or five kids or three kids, educationally we want every kid, every student to have their own computer, sharing doesn’t work, one computer, two computers for a family, that is a recipe for stress when the homework is due the next day. We need one computer per student at home and the Chromebook is one of our best hopes of having a very modern virus free computer right in the home.

Robin Miller:Rather than pressuring Acer, ASUS or HP or whomever into making something, have you considered just doing it with the Raspberry Pie or a similar device?

Phil Shapiro:Robin, that’s a great concept and I’m all in favor of the Raspberry Pie as a tool that teachers can begin to start building their own self-designed educational technology. But the Raspberry Pi is quite a lot slower in speed. My Acer 720 Chromebook is as fast as a Core i3 laptop. It is blazing fast.

Robin Miller:I have an older – not really huge it’s same hardware pretty much, Acer Subnotebook, the main difference is, it has a hard drive and a couple of friends of mine have now switched to SSDs and have told me what you are telling me that if I stick to an SSD in there, it will be the equivalent of a blazing fast new Apple or whatever. So this is not specifically Chromebook, but yes, having a Chromebook makes things simple because there ain’t nothing there, it’s all in Google super farms and the network_____ 8:26 computer, the old one just replacing the hard drive with a SSD, I get really fast, right?

Phil Shapiro:That is true. That is true. But the very cool thing about a Chromebook, if we move to say the Chromium operating system, it’s totally free, virus free, license free and it belongs to the public, the Chromium OS belongs to the public. Chrome belongs to Google, but Chromium is more ours and we can modify it and we can use it to our own needs. And so that’s really exciting that we can just kind of cut out the financial entanglement that computer corporations tend to have when their own interest need to intersect with their pocketbook – interest need to emerge, there’s no pocketbook interest with the Chromium OS, none that I can see.

Robin Miller:You’re certainly not sounding like a good capitalist, oh-oh. We are going to have to take care of that somehow. No, I understand your point, now do you think you can get 20,000 teachers to pressure really computer manufacturers or one computer manufacturer into making this______ 9:51 Chrome or Chromium box?

Phil Shapiro:That’s a great question Robin. I’m not sure if I can assemble them, but I know that all the teachers that I talked to who use Chromebooks just love them. They just love them. I was in Arlington Public School this last week and I heard that at one high school the teachers there are clamoring. They did not have enough Chromebooks at the school and it’s meeting all of their needs and taking away their stresses, so.

Robin Miller:Let me just repeat this, not iPads but Chromebooks?

Phil Shapiro:Teachers are clamoring for the Chromebooks because it takes away their stress and it increases the amount of learning. And it’s the most physically prudent way of using public dollars, somebody is got to talk about how do we use public dollars to increase learning, there’s nothing I can see that beats the Chromebook for that.

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Phil Shapiro says 20,000 Teachers Should Unite to Spread Chromebooks (Video)

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  • by cyborg_monkey (150790) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:42PM (#46729121) Journal

    Yeah, still have it.

  • by mellon (7048) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:42PM (#46729133) Homepage

    I am not thrilled that this is considered a good idea. In principle I suppose you _can_ learn to program on a Chromebook, but only in a very limited way. If this is the wave of the future in education, some thought needs to go into how to design a programming curriculum that can work with these devices.

  • Chrometeachers need laptops, sure but it's not the essential tool of Chromeeducation.

    For some Chromereason, I feel like TFA is taking benefits of ***USING ANY LAPTOP*** and recasting them as Chromebenefits of using one company's product

  • by KalvinB (205500) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:44PM (#46729145) Homepage

    Chrome laptops are consumption devices. They are not creative devices.

    Schools need computers that you can hook Arduinos up to or Raspberry Pis or install Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, PHP, Ruby, Visual Studio Express, etc. on. Computers you can install Gimp or Photoshop on.

    They do not need fancy TVs.

    The iPad failed in LA, not because it was expensive, but because it was a very dumb idea.

    We need to get people involved in schools that at least have some clue about technology and what would be most useful to kids.

    And frankly, until we get that sorted out, you'd be better off buying the students $200-400 worth of notebook paper and pencils.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:55PM (#46729249)

      Well, books are consumption devices too, and there's room for them in schools. If all you need is a browser to gather information or prepare a report, it's not a totally dumb idea. And already my (middle school) kids use prezi to prepare powerpoint type reports online, then email the link to their teacher who puts it up on their Prometheus board (prometheanworld.com) for presenting to the class. They would be happy with a Chromebook if it ran Minecraft.

    • by Richy_T (111409) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:58PM (#46729271) Homepage

      It is not too bad if you have a real computer you can SSH into.

      I haven't tried Google's version of VNC/RDP yet. I refuse to run the server on my main system.

    • by Teckla (630646) on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:07PM (#46729353)

      Chrome laptops are consumption devices. They are not creative devices.

      This is nonsense. There are a lot of web apps and Chrome apps for creating things.

    • by zoid.com (311775) on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:23PM (#46729493) Homepage Journal

      Not true. In our elementary schools they are pretty much using browsers only with occasional word processing and presentations. The chromebooks are berfect for this. At this grade they are not doing any tech type stuff and if they do then they go to the labs. They are using the laptops for courseware not programming.

      • by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:19PM (#46729885)

        i don't think there's an age that's too young for students to start learning to program (Even if it's using symbols, versus numbers and or text) -- the concepts that they'd pick up along the way (logic, reason, problem solving) are worth way more than ipads, or any other $tech). And these concepts are not limited to just IT/tech.

        We seem to have this bias that kids are too stupid to pick up things like math or science until they're in middle school, that sounds more like an artifact of the teaching methods than their potential.

    • I work in a K-12 school setting. And let me be up front about it...Google is Evil Empire 2.0. I'm not a fan of signing over 1,000 students to Google so that they can harvest personal data and target ad services to them.

      But nobody, absolutely nobody does a better job at KISS than Google. With Google Apps, school districts can now setup dumb-terminal-2.0s (i.e. Chromebooks) at $250 a pop, teach almost anybody how to administer the @school.k12.xx.us user domain, and no longer depend on specialized staff for server administration. Kids have access to their files at home, at school, on vacation, on their Chromebook, on their school computer, on their iPhone... nothing else comes even close to this level of simplicity and usability. And while Google Apps doesn't cut it for power users, it does exactly what it needs to do for the average student and teacher. And schools are signing up in droves.

      You're smoking the FOSS pipe thinking that schools can and will be willing to pay for techs who know how to work with Apache, MySQL, et al. And the iPads haven't failed in LA. There's been a setback, but they're still being deployed. (Though I'm sure not a fan of Apple by any means, either. Root canals are more pleasant than administering iPads.)

      And as far as getting people in schools who have a clue about technology, stop your ranting and talk to your local school board member. They represent public interests in your neighborhood school. And besides, in my community, our board members are expecting me to add more tablet technology into our K-12 schools. Why? Because they're convinced that's how kids learn these days. The only way they'll see otherwise is if they get educated by people such as yourselves.

      • by walterbyrd (182728) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:26PM (#46731045)

        > I work in a K-12 school setting. And let me be up front about it...Google is Evil Empire 2.0. I'm not a fan of signing over 1,000 students to Google so that they can harvest personal data and target ad services to them.

        You think MS is any better? You must not have been keeping up with the news. Microsoft is worse - far worse - when it comes to harvesting data from k-12 students.

      • by walterbyrd (182728) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:33PM (#46731075)

        Bill Gates Marginalises Teachers and Harvests Schools’ Data for Profit at Expense of Privacy
        http://techrights.org/2013/06/21/bill-gates-marginalising-teachers/

        Bill Gates Brings NSA-esque Surveillance to Children
        http://techrights.org/2013/12/03/indoctrinate-control-and-spy/

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:06PM (#46729791)

      Schools need computers that you can hook Arduinos up to or Raspberry Pis or install Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, PHP, Ruby, Visual Studio Express, etc. on. Computers you can install Gimp or Photoshop on.

      Schools need to get their act together to properly teach reading, writing, math and science. Unfortunately, our populace is so scientifically illiterate that folks are attacking Cosmos [salon.com] because it doesn't show "their side" - superstitious beliefs based on Iron Age Jewish Myth.

      The skills that were mentioned by the parent are not appropriate for K-12 students and will distract from subjects that are being short changed now - let alone if programming and Arduinos.

      How can students get any value out of learning the programming and Arduino if they can't understand basic math and science?

    • by chmod a+x mojo (965286) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:16PM (#46729863)

      Umm, no, chromebooks are not just media consumption devices. I'm on one right now, find me another 100% Linux compatible laptop with a decent keyboard for ~$300USD. It should also be x86_64 and have a battery life of ~8-10+ hours with normal use and WiFi on.

      QuickOffice / GoogleDocs ( even offline ) damn well better be good enough for highschool papers, it's good enough for college papers unless you are juggling enough sources to need a reference manager.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @07:30PM (#46730327)

        true but when you wipe chrome os off and replace it with ubuntu, arch or windows 8 they suddenly become much more productive for real work and are no longer the media / web consumption

        the current generation of chrome web apps are awkward, clunky, slow and unresponsive, lack required features and place your data in somebody elses hands

        so i bought the 199 acer c720, installed arch linux and have got a great REAL laptop that is so much more useful than chromeos that I only ever boot into chrome to watch netflix. windows 8 runs pretty well on it (but no acpi support) to but the stock ssd drive is too small for windows 8 to really be useful so i stuck with arch linux,

        i want google to keep promoting them to retarded american school boards so I can keep converting sub 200 intel haswell based chromebooks into real tools for people

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:04PM (#46730955)

          true but when you wipe chrome os off and replace it with ubuntu, arch or windows 8 they suddenly become much more productive for real work and are no longer the media / web consumption

          I can't figure why anyone wouldn't dual boot instead of wiping Chrome. My Chromebook is dual boot Linux or Chrome. There are some very compelling aspects to Chrome.

          And spare me the idea that you are only being tracked and merchandized when using Chrome. Don't want that? Pull the ethernet cable or turn off the wireless adapter if you don't want any of that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:17PM (#46729879)

      Chrome laptops are consumption devices. They are not creative devices.

      Nonsense!
      Think of all the personal information the pupil will generate and hand-over to Google in over a decade of schooling!

    • by Angrycrow (3613387) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:12PM (#46730651)
      IF there is a deal to be made where you can get the Chrubuntu experience in the classroom then I think it's viable. I remember early phasing in of laptops for classrooms in the iBook days. It was not the best solution. Even walking students through the install process and setting up that account could be good for those kids interested in CS / Creative Tech. But I agree on your point that having staff that can make a good curriculum is more important than the actual brand of parts you put in front of them.
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:56PM (#46730915)

      Chrome laptops are consumption devices. They are not creative devices.

      Oh, I really have to disagree

      Schools need computers that you can hook Arduinos up to or Raspberry Pis or install Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, PHP, Ruby, Visual Studio Express, etc. on.

      I sorta agree, but we must remember that this is the equivalent of armies always being ready to fight the last war. Computers you can install Gimp or Photoshop on.

      They do not need fancy TVs.

      You can indeed do Gimp on a Chromebook. Note that I cheated a little bit, because I dual boot my chromebook into either ChromeOS or Ubuntu. But the concept behind the Chromebook is valid for the most part. While I'm not a cloud fan, the general performance of the things for webwork is tremendous. And I can boot into either OS in about as much time as starting a program.

      We need to get people involved in schools that at least have some clue about technology and what would be most useful to kids.

      And frankly, until we get that sorted out, you'd be better off buying the students $200-400 worth of notebook paper and pencils.

      I agree wholeheartedly about the technology, certainly Pi's should be required, and hey, I still believe that slide rules are cool.

      But at some point, we gotta move on, and these things are slick and easy. Chrome, or something akin to it is the wave of the future.

  • by Scowler (667000) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:45PM (#46729157)
    How is this better than competing Linux alternatives? Besides being more tightly wedded to Google services and the cloud, I mean.
    • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:20PM (#46729461) Homepage

      For what they seem to be talking about, even discarded hardware running some discontinued version of Windows would be a better idea than a locked down web terminal.

      This sounds like some completely clueless idiot latching onto the latest fad or something he heard about in the news.

      • by nobdoor (1496229) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:16PM (#46729857)

        Giving previously discarded windows machines to students? There's no way a school's sysadmin would be able to support anything that's not homogeneous.

        These things are a good option because the hardware is decent and dirt cheap. The school district can also install any OS they want to on them, not just ChromeOS. If you can find where to get an x86 processor (that's Haswell no-less), 2GB ram, and 32GB SSD on a laptop for cheaper than $200, I would agree with you. I haven't been able to find anything that beats the Acer C720 at its price point.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:15PM (#46730999)

        For what they seem to be talking about, even discarded hardware running some discontinued version of Windows would be a better idea than a locked down web terminal

        You must have a newsletter - you know so much about chrome books..

        No discarded Windows machines aren't nearly better.

        Options: ChrUbuntu. I'm running it this very moment on my cheap Chromebook

        Option 2: programs written specifically for ChromeOs

        Unless you have some technical reason that I don't know about that precludes any kind of programming app to be written for a Chromebook, And if you do, I challenge you to educate us, it can be done.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:16PM (#46729855)

      It's better because a student will spend 12 years interacting with a device run by an ad company, bent on extracting every piece of information they can from individuals.

      Then, when said student one day becomes a politically active 30 year old, a replica of their mind is just one subpoena away from Google HQ.

  • by QilessQi (2044624) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:46PM (#46729167)

    "Phil Shapiro says 20,000 Teachers Should Unite to Spread Chromosomes (Video)"

    I was wondering whether the video showed the actual spreading of the chromosomes....

  • Nooooo. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:47PM (#46729175)

    Why do people think that relying on a corporation's cloud for all of their computer use is a good idea?
    I'm fine with the idea of demanding low-cost computers, but why must it be Google's spyware'd up version of Linux? Why not some other solution?

  • Does the Chromebook use OpenSSL?

    Might want to harden those things significantly.

    But I think that schools should change the way they roll out computers -- have appropriately powered computers for creative work, and have a whack of these for consumptive work/staff tools/etc. Makes a lot more sense than a homogeneous network of anything.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:54PM (#46729229) Journal

    > especially if and when prices for the simplest members of the family get down to where Phil thinks they should be.

    Has anyone tried to get Chrome running on the Raspberry Pi?

    • by khellendros1984 (792761) on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:24PM (#46729503) Journal
      For Chromium OS, a guy called Hexxeh had some builds, but he seemed disappointed by the performance, so the port is on an indefinite hiatus. For the Chromium browser, I saw posts that indicated that it could be built for and run on the Pi. I haven't tried it, and I didn't try to find binaries. For Chrome itself (browser and OS), Google doesn't seem to have produced appropriate binaries.
    • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:47PM (#46730851)

      Yes, its been working for as long as I can remember. Well, Chromium, but it works, I presume thats close enough for you.

      Its slow as balls because Broadcom is a bunch of pricks who just recently released the specs for A DIFFERENT chip thats much like the one in the Raspberry Pi, so hardware acceleration for graphics was pretty much non-existent. Maybe sometime in 2016 we'll see an accelerated graphics stack and chrome won't suck on it, but you'll be able to buy an iPhone 5s off contract for less than the raspberrypi before it actually has usable graphics stack based on past experience.

      You don't want to use a Raspberry Pi, its crappy hardware with a broken USB stack, shitty graphics stack due to Broadcom not making a driver or release the specs.

      The Raspberry Pi is a utterly stupid design anyway. They took a video processor that had a neat little SLOW arm chip attached to do 'other things' ... and then tried to turn it into a general purpose computer.

      You know its a stupid design and the wrong implementation when the ARM core that you run Linux on ... is not what it boots from. It boots the video core, then the software enables the ARM core and boots it.

      For $10 more you can get a beagle bone black which is superior in every way ... well, except it doesn't have the rabid fanboys that the RaspberryPi has.

      I tried using the raspberry pi with chromium in kiosk mode to display a page with 6 Monitis (www.monitis.com, I don't work with them and don't recommend their service either really) charts on a single page. Since its mostly static and only refreshes every so often you'd think it wasn't that bad ... but when you put it on a screen on the wall, not directly in your view ... you still get drawn in by the fact that it'll start an update ... draw part of the page ... and pause ... and then the next or rest.

      The RaspberryPi is a pretty much never something you should actually choose. Its certainly not a $35 general purpose computer

      • by Dan Askme (2895283) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @07:16AM (#46732583)

        The RaspberryPi is a pretty much never something you should actually choose. Its certainly not a $35 general purpose computer

        Running great as my £25:
        - Webserver
        - Ftp server
        - Bittorrent server

        Also runs great as a external device controller. You know, robotics and real world implementation that school kids can learn stuff from?

        You don't want to use a Raspberry Pi, its crappy hardware with a broken USB stack, shitty graphics stack due to Broadcom not making a driver or release the specs.

        Broadcom released specs and driver source this year http://blog.broadcom.com/chip-... [broadcom.com]

        Yes there are better devices out there, yes the Pi is now "slow", but its also old in a fast paced ARM race.
        But the Pi is designed for exploration and learning. Which is does not only as a device, but as a foundation and community.

        £25 for your kids to learn from a hands on device, count me in.

        • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:01AM (#46733419)

          You should read my whole post before you reply. Broadcom released the specs to a chip LIKE the one in the RPi, NOT the ACTUAL Pi.

          The Pi was NEVER fast, it was ALWAYS crap and it just has a big following.

          And just because you can run a few servers that do basically nothing ... doesn't make it impressive. I can't say I've got a bit torrent client, but I can run FTP and Web servers, including SSL, on $5 micro controllers that will be more than happy to serve my personal requirements ... and thats not impressive.

          And I wasn't talking about running some network services ... I specifically was talking about GRAPHICAL environments which you just completely ignore.

          Reading comprehension is hard but you really should put more effort into it.

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:56PM (#46729253) Homepage

    I like it but it's not possible to get full functionality without signing your soul away to Google.

    I'm sure it won't be long before they're require google plus to login either. You already need a gmail account.

  • by Mr. Sketch (111112) <mister.sketch@gCOUGARmail.com minus cat> on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:57PM (#46729263)

    You mean like the ASUS Chromebox?

    http://promos.asus.com/us/chro... [asus.com]

    • http://www.google.com/intl/en/... [google.com]

      It turns out they are not that much cheaper though, so I don't really see the value proposition in practice implied by Phil Shapiro since they are not yet $100 and screens still cost money:
      "Review: Asus crafts a tiny $179 Chromebox out of cheap, low-power parts"
      http://arstechnica.com/gadgets... [arstechnica.com]

      I'm surprised Roblimo could miss pointing the Chromebox out, just mentioning the Raspberry Pi. Although he was right to point out the SSD speedup is significant for any small computer.

      Another big miss is that for US$50 you can buy an Android Smartphone and use it only with Wi-Fi. Example of what we paid $50 for a few months ago, but now is $31?
      http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-... [amazon.com]
      "The Kyocera Hydro is sophistication and style in a mainstream Android smartphone that can work for everyone. Plus it offers water-resistance, giving consumers the âoeno-fearâ durability and security they demand. With a 3.5 inch HVGA touchscreen, 3.2 MP camera and video, and Android 4.0, you get the best of all worlds."

      Although I would much rather use the Chromebook with a keyboard for making content than trying to use an Android phone. But $30 to be connected with the global internet? That is an amazing realization of many educational technologist's dreams (e.g. Alan Kay Dynabook or OLPC XO-1). And perhaps also some nightmares... See also the 1950s short story by Theodore Sturgeon called "The Skills of Xanadu" on where that all could lead.

      My own hopes and predictions from 2000 based in part on seeing the "Cybiko":
      "[unrev-II] The DKR hardware I'd like to make..."
      http://www.dougengelbart.org/c... [dougengelbart.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

      Also, I don't see why a teacher or librarian is so keen to limit people's mobility (although it doesn't surprise me, going with the "school is prison" meme).

      A big value to my $250 Samsung Chromebook is how light and portable it is. I still use my Quad Core Mac Pro Desktop with three big screens for work and running VirtualBox VMs (and the Chromebook could not replace that, especially the screens) -- used to run Debian for about five years until we (my wife especially) got tired of all the random breakage with every "apt-get dist-upgrade" around 2008 (probably much better now). But I use my Chromebook (with Linux under the covers) for just noodling around or surfing the web and posting on Slashdot sitting in our living room, or doing some light for-fun development work. As I said in another post, I wrote this JavaScript-based information manager tool bootstrapping system entirely on the Chromebook:
      https://github.com/pdfernhout/... [github.com]

      Why do I use the Chromebook instead of my desktop (treadmill workstation actually) Mac Pro? Psychological and social, mostly. I gain some distance from my daily paying work by using a different computer in a different place. I also have done it partially as an experiment in learning about the next generation of computing. It's true that our two-year old Macbook Pro is still a much better computer as far as keyboard and screen and CPU and what it can do -- but it is often otherwise in use these days. My wife would always complain about me leaving a lot of tabs open in Firefox. And so on. The Chromebook is more a personal computer just for me. And it was cheap enough that I could justify it as an experiment compared to another $1000-$2500 Macbook.

      We did however buy a $1000 Win 8 ASUS laptop a few months ago anyway. What a disappointment as a laptop. Even with a bigger screen and much faster pr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:01PM (#46729301)

    How about you keep all your bloody electronic distractions out of my classroom, so I at least have a *faint* hope of competing for my students attention. Thanks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:01PM (#46729303)

    there's no way they'll do this unless it pushes their anti-science agenda. Crappy out of date textbooks block learning so they're not going to replace them unless the replacement is even worse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:02PM (#46729317)

    Last Christmas I picked up a dual atom powered Asus Netbook with 320GB hard drive,with 11 inch screen for $199.
    Some times we try to fit problem to a particular device when there are viable and attractive standards already available.
    This Chromebook only solution may have been interesting during the One Laptop Per Child was in its heyday , but not now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:12PM (#46729387)

    I'm a tech for a library system in California that piloted a Chromebook rollout at several of our large branches. Staff was fed up with the things shortly after testing began. These things just aren't made to take the wear and tear the average library patron gives them. It got so bad we had over half of our initial 40 machines in for repair at once. When we got them back (from Samsung, in this case) and asked branches to take them back, they actively refused; it was more work than they wanted to put in.

    And this was supervised with mostly adult users. I cannot imagine what kind of chaos would occur with students that are not supervised.

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:14PM (#46729395) Journal

    I was having this discussion about my boss's Chromebox. Which I was laughing at for being a thin client. "it'll revolutionize the world"" he said. "We've had citrix for years." I said. All this dies is give you a thin client where the server is any internet accessible site.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:14PM (#46729397)

    Here is a link [jsfiddle.net] to a html5 (flashless) version, using a demo from Ooyala.
    Beta could support html5 video, but it does not. Why?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:22PM (#46729481)

    Only be handed out to girls.

  • by cyocum (793488) on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:22PM (#46729489) Homepage
    Given the fact money is unevenly distrubuted through the school systems, thanks to local property taxes, some teachers must buy basic supplies for their own students. Laptops will not fix the funding problems. We need a more stable source of revenue than local bond and property taxes. Once these schools get something more akin to a real amount of money to spend on educating their charges can we then even contemplate giving them laptops or chromebooks or whatever. Let's deal with the underlying problems first rather than throwing solution du jour at them.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:23PM (#46729913)

      The only source of revenue a government can utilize for education is *le gasp* TAXES. And since everyone on slashdot is a stark-raving tea-bagged imbecile, this alternative is not the correct one, as paying the government for the services they provide does not make sense to a moron.

  • by AndyKron (937105) on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:11PM (#46729843)
    I'm waiting to Google to come out with something I can shove up my ass to look for polyps while enjoying targeted advertizing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:21PM (#46729901)

    Cheap, throw away hardware is a BAD thing for the economy. 1. Where does it go when you throw it away? 2. What will IT people do for a living if everyone bought a new $150 shitbox instead of fixing it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:23PM (#46729915)

    They both are just two sides of the same coin. They both are evil

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @06:36PM (#46730009)

    Real solutions are available at reasonable prices.

  • by rsborg (111459) on Friday April 11, 2014 @07:18PM (#46730253) Homepage

    I thought I turned off ads? These product evangelists annoy me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @07:51PM (#46730475)

    Not as long as Google remains a member of ALEC

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday April 11, 2014 @08:35PM (#46730783)

    Phil is possibly a moron on top of it.

    A chromebook is just a computer, and not really any cheaper than an equivalent Windows machine (slightly, but not much).

    A decent chrome book that 'isn't slow' will costs you $250 AT LEAST ... and right next to it on the shelf is the Windows $250 laptop that ... works exactly the same if you run everything in a browser like Chrome.

    Oh, and the windows machine doesn't start off with you giving everything you have to Google.

    Again I state, Phil has no idea what he's talking about.

    • by walterbyrd (182728) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:46PM (#46731121)

      IMO: chomebooks blow windows laptops right out of the water, in many respects.

      Every time I start my windows laptop, I want to groan: wait . . . wait . . . wait, while windows makes long series of updates. When I want to shut down it's the same thing. Even when windows is booted, it's not *really* booted - the computer is unusable because of so much crap going on in the background.

      Plus I don't like being a victim of msft's non-stop format scams, and so many other vendor lock-in scams.

      Then there is the anti-virus headaches. AV software can slow your winbox almost as much a virus. And it's nearly as hard to remove. AV software hardly works anyway.

      Getting on a chromebook, or a linux box, after using windows is like a breath a fresh air.

    • by edremy (36408) on Friday April 11, 2014 @11:17PM (#46731561) Journal
      $250 for a decent Chromebook? How about $200 for the Acer 720p? Find me a Windows laptop with specs anywhere near it for $200- and it better include a SSD because the 10 second boot on a Chromebook is pretty essential. I can't even find a new Windows laptop on Amazon for $200, and the few used ones have Atom processors, 10" screens and Windows 7 Basic.

      Yes, it's not a great development device. But it boots in seconds, needs no antivirus (or even maintenance), has a 8-10 hour battery life, a 13" screen and a decent keyboard and trackpad. Stick Linux on it if you want to hack away

    • by egranlund (1827406) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:49AM (#46733659)

      A decent chrome book that 'isn't slow' will costs you $250 AT LEAST ... and right next to it on the shelf is the Windows $250 laptop that ... works exactly the same if you run everything in a browser like Chrome.

      Google was running a deal last year where a school could get a chromebook for $100 a piece if you were at a school. My boyfriend was able to get an entire classroom set of chromebooks for $2000 raised through donors choose.

      Spec and hardware wise they aren't the greatest things, but they're great for having everyone in the classroom do a quick online-based activity or other work without having to fight for the computer lab.

  • by ikhider (2837593) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:27PM (#46731047)
    It is far better to get a laptop with local software and storage. Laptops are mobile devices. If you are mobile, you may not always have a net connection. Therefore local program/storage is far more productive then some cloud crap. Why not a nice netbook with a light GNU/Linux flavor like Puppy? Heck, even Slackware can run on modest environs. Go L/K/Ubuntu if you have to. You will have a far more useful device with a lot more tools at your disposal. Rasberry Pi can run GNU/Linux, and it is wayyyy cheaper. Depends on what you want the kids to do, but more tools and functionality is better than something tethered not only to the cloud, but one specific company. Heck, even when I search on the 'net, I use other search engines like Wolfram Alpha, Blekko, Duckduckgo and on besides the big turd.
  • by Goody (23843) on Friday April 11, 2014 @10:40PM (#46731413) Journal

    "something like a Chrome-powered Mac mini with a small SSD instead of a hard drive, and of course without the high Mac mini price"

    So basically nothing like a Mac mini...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @12:11AM (#46731763)

    Why in the flying fuck would you want to give people useless items like a chromebook? That's just like purposefully spreadingSTDs.

  • by Goldsmith (561202) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @02:23AM (#46732073)

    We already load up teachers with tech they have no idea how to use.

    Teachers are not engineers or programmers.

    Look, the landscape of teaching is shifting enough already. We're seriously going to drive these folks crazy if we continue to change major parts of their job on a yearly basis. The least we could do is give them a little time to catch up with the regulatory changes in teaching before starting on another technology refresh.

  • by DTentilhao (3484023) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @05:54AM (#46732447)
    "After a year of planning, Penn Manor High School [pennmanor.net] has officially launched a 1:1 computing program. Laptops are in the hands of approximately 1700 students! Here are a few fast facts and notes about the unique program ..

    The laptops are running Linux, specifically Ubuntu 13.10, along with several dozen free and open source programs. Our program is believed to be the largest open source 1:1 implementation in Pennsylvania. By using open source software exclusively, we estimate an initial cost savings of at least $360,000 on licensing fees
    ."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @07:43AM (#46732645)

    Low cost... Mac mini with a small SSD.

    That's like selling out low cost vehicles made by Ferrari.

  • Sorry to say, from the slurring of the interviewer in the video, which suggested clogged arteries throughout your body. Check out health ideas here for unclogging them through nutritional changes:
    http://www.drfuhrman.com/libra... [drfuhrman.com]
    http://www.diseaseproof.com/ar... [diseaseproof.com]
    "Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounted for 32.3% of deaths in the United States in 2010, but you can protect yourself. A significant number of research studies have documented that heart disease is easily and almost completely preventable (and reversible) through a diet rich in plant produce and lower in processed foods and animal products."

    More in general:
    http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]
    http://www.changemakers.com/mo... [changemakers.com]
    http://www.changemakers.com/di... [changemakers.com]
    https://www.newschallenge.org/... [newschallenge.org]

    Good luck Rob, I think we may have we met once briefly around 1999 at an Open Source conference in NYC (one where Ralph Nader spoke), and thanks for all the stories.

    And the shift does not have to be that unpleasant as your tastes will adapt after six weeks:
    https://www.drfuhrman.com/libr... [drfuhrman.com]
    "Scientific evidence suggests that the re-sensitization of taste nerves takes between 30 and 90 days of consistent exposure to less stimulating foods. This means that for several weeks, most people attempting this change will experience a reduction in eating pleasure. This is why modern foods present such a devastating trap--as most of our citizens are, in effect, "addicted" to artificially high levels of food stimulation! The 30-to-90-day process of taste re-calibration requires more motivation--and more self-discipline--than most people are ever willing to muster.
    Tragically, most people are totally unaware that they are only a few weeks of discipline away from being able to comfortably maintain healthful dietary habits--and to keep away from the products that can result in the destruction of their health. Instead, most people think that if they were to eat more healthfully, they would be condemned to a life of greatly reduced gustatory pleasure--thinking that the process of Phase IV will last forever. In our new book, The Pleasure Trap, we explain this extraordinarily deceptive and problematic situation - and how to master this hidden force that undermines health and happiness."

    Another good health resource if you are willing to take one week to do a medically supervised water-only fast in Santa Rosa, CA for a quick reboot of your taste buds. Compared to a heart bypass operation or years of physical therapy for a stroke, you won't even have to stop posting to Slashdot the whole time during a fast. Posting would help keep you busy and distracted as your body re-calibrates itself and goes into "garbage collection" mode and shifts to new biological pathways during the fast. See:
    http://www.healthpromoting.com... [healthpromoting.com]
    "TrueNorth Health Center was founded in 1984 by Drs. Alan Goldhamer and Jennifer Marano. The integrative medicine approach they established offers participants the opportunity to obtain evaluation and treatment for a wide variety of problems. The staff at TrueNorth Health Center includes medical doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, naturopaths, psychologists, research scientists, and other health professionals. The Center is now the largest facility in the world that specialize

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:34AM (#46733305)

    Sick of MS overpriced bloated hard drive thrashing products. Try installing exchange 2013 on server 2008 easier on server 2012( but still require other software installs), it's a long install and server restarting process. These fucking idiots could not include all the packages that is needed to install exchange 2013 they make you go web surfing downloading the individual software including hot fixes yourself and I thought linux was bad with dependencies. This is what you pay $$$ for.

    Windows 7/8/8.1 all are slow at downloading updates and then take forever installing them. Sudo apt-get dist-upgrade is fucking faster then the windows regular updates on a fios connection. Companies like adobe and autodesk really need to start targeting linux for development and stop with the overpriced MS products, sick of it.

  • by bokmann (323771) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @11:30AM (#46740019) Homepage

    As TFA suggests a ChromeBook without a keyboard or monitor, something like a mac mini, I suggest a Raspberry Pi. You could get a trivial case and the power supply and still be in for under $50. Give each kid their own SD card paritioned into an unmodifiable boot partition, a modifiable 'system' parition for software, and a section for their work, and have all the benefits he's talking about, but even better. The kid plugs in their own SD card and gets to work. Could still back up to cloud, forgoing their own partition on the SD card entirely.

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. -- Errol Flynn Any man who has $10,000 left when he dies is a failure. -- Errol Flynn

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