10/13/14

Chromebooked: The Interface Tour

One of the more intimidating aspects of switching to a new operating system is learning a new interface. Fortunately, Chrome OS has an advantage in that the Chrome browser can act as an intermediary between your regular system and Chrome OS. If you're at all familiar with the Chrome browser, you'll get along just fine with Chrome OS, but there are still a few differences. I'll walk you through a few of them.

What Windows calls the taskbar, Chrome OS calls the shelf. It works pretty much exactly the same way, except the menu looks different and it gives you access to all of your apps whether you purposely put it there or not. Which isn't as obnoxious as it sounds, because there's really no other way to get to them. Whereas, in Windows, you can open the file explorer, go to Program Files, and find all your apps there. The file explorer works a little differently in Chrome OS. And that's where Google Drive comes in.

There is an app called Files in your Apps menu, in most cases it's also pinned to the shelf, and if you click it you'll find a fairly familiar interface, except the default folder it opens to is Downloads. The way it works is sort of as though you have two drives, one is your Downloads drive, and the other is Google Drive. When you log into Google Drive, you'll automatically have 15 free GB of storage, or you can pay to get more. The amount of storage you have in Downloads varies according to which Chromebook model you have, but it's generally pretty low because if you want to keep something you've downloaded, you're expected to put it in Google Drive. The idea behind this system is that all your files are saved to Google Drive and you can access them from any interface. Of course, you have your Google Drive browser interface, or if you're more comfortable using the familiar facade of Windows, you can use this Files app. You can create folders here and organize yourself as you see fit.

Another essential part of any graphical user interface are the Minimize/Maximize/Close buttons. These are pretty unique in Chrome OS. Minimize and Close are pretty normal. You'll get the hang of them easily. Maximize is pretty different, though. You can click to maximize or... windowize? the window? Make it smaller? Anyway, that's easy. The unique part is that if you hold it down, two arrows appear and depending on which arrow you land on, you can move the window to take up that side of the screen. Very useful if you wanna compare two documents, or whatever.

Lastly, you've got your clock and notification windows. Notifications are pretty simple to understand. They hook up with Google Now so you can get weather and road conditions and such in there. If you don't have any Google Now cards or notifications, the notification button will not show up. Don't worry, it's still there, it's just not going to be visible until it needs to be. The clock menu holds all the extra stuff an OS needs: Shutdown, Lock, Help, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Volume, etc. It's all really pretty self explanatory, once you figure out where it is. And here I just told you! So you have no excuse!

That's pretty much all you need to know about the Chrome OS interface. If you use Chrome on Windows or Mac, you pretty much already know everything else. See? It's easy! I'm gonna go play around with the new Hangouts app and then get back to you about that. Until then, keep playing around!

10/11/14

Star Trek: Asterisk "Ensign Ro"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S05E03
Air Date: October 7, 1991
Written by: Rick Berman & Michael Piller
Directed by: Les Landau

Premise
A strong-willed Bajoran ensign is taken out of jail to help complete a mission, but not the one Picard thinks they're completing.

Recap
The day starts with a haircut. You don't normally think about Picard needing a haircut, but there he is, with what little hair he has, getting it cut by Mot, the barber. Mot is very talkative and very opinionated when it comes to Starfleet tactics. Picard just wants it to be over with. He seems to be more uncomfortable with Mot than he is with children. Finally, Riker calls in with an emergency. A distress call from a Solarion IV. Mot knew they shouldn't have colonized that planet. It's so close to the Cardassian border.