Monday, December 2, 2013

Acer C720 - Update Day 6

Work-from-home setup
Acer C720, Samsung 2230
Logitech K750, Logitech Couch Mouse,
Fujitsu ScanSnap si3000
Technically, I've really only been playing with the Acer C720 Chromebook for 3 days.  I received the device on Monday, the 25th of November, but didn't really start the deep dive until Friday.  Since Friday though, I have used the Acer exclusively for doing a bunch of work including working on a PowerPoint (Google Slides) presentation for a talk I hope will accepted for the YAPC::NA conference in Orlando in June.

So far using the C720 has been fantastic!  I'm surprised at how little I actually need my Macbook Pro for the things I routinely do.  Some additional observations:

I saw some slowness with about 7 or 8 tabs open however I can't tell if that was due to Black Friday holiday surfing by the masses or the Chromebook was straining under the memory usage.  Next time it happens I'll Ctrl-Alt-t into the crosh and use top to view the CPU and memory consumption. My guess is the internet was slow, I've not seen that repeated.

Acer does make a model for $249 with 4GB of RAM and I have one in the box ready to break out should I discover 2GB just ain't enough memory. I ordered both the 2GB and 4GB models since the 2GB model seemed to be more readily available.  As luck would have it the 4GB shipped 2 days after the 2GB model to my home.  I now have 2.  Someone is getting a nice Christmas gift.

I did fire up the Macbook this morning to use my Fujitsu ScanSnap s1300i portable scanner,  a honey of a little scanner that is fast, reliable and versatile.  I may look into the next generation ScanSnap that supports WiFi scanning.  If I can scan directly to Google Drive, then the only reason left for me to use the Macbook will be to edit videos using iMovie  - I'd be surprised to see a cloud based video editing package that was not cumbersome to use although using iMovie can be a pretty frustrating black hole in which to toss a few hours of your day.   WeVideo looks promising, but I'm sure I'm not the first person who has failed to decode their pricing model.

Some additional tips that have made using the C720 a little easier the last few days.

Home key (start of line) - Ctrl-Alt-up arrow
End key (end of line) - Ctrl-Alt-down arrow

Drag and drop icons to your shelf
I sort of miss the Home and End keys, however if I hook up my C720 to my external keyboard the Home and End keys naturally work as advertised. I meant to mention in my last blog entry on the C720 that if you heed my advice and purchase the Logitech Solar Keyboard (easy on the wallet, fingers and the environment!) make sure that you pick up the PC version, not the Mac version.

You can add some often used apps to the bottom docking bar (aka shelf) by dragging and dropping the icons from the search panel.

Working from Home

I've run into a bit of a snag connecting to our corporate VPN.  So far, I've been unable to connect and I've gotten few clues as to why.  Since it's the holidays right now (Thanksgiving), I'll have to wait until next week so I can see if anyone at the corporate data center can see what is going on at the other end of my VPN connection.  Until I either get it to work or determine it won't, I'm not going to detail what I've done so far.  I will say that I've been trying to use L2T/Ipsec+pre-shared key setting to connect to a Cisco VPN.  I've seen some indications that I'm not the first person to have an issue doing this.  More research needed.


  1. I gave up using my Samsung Chromebook for work after I discovered my usual method of Dyanmic Forwarding and --proxy-server="http://localhost:" refused to work, also my backup method of utilising sshuttle failed too because ChromeOS comes without the nat module built-in. Every now and then the chrosh tab would die and just hang there which was a bit of a nuisance as well. I wanted the Chromebook to work as my little developer machine, but it just failed, so I have since sold it. I hope you have better luck!

    1. Thanks for the feedback...clearly the Chromebook is aimed more at the consumer market rather than the developer market where are needs are a bit more...well technical.

      My major issue thus far has been the VPN issue, although I'm homing in on that problem. I think the problem has to do with aggressive v main mode, however I have no visibility (yet) into the corporate network. I'm getting a NO_PROPOSAL_CHOSEN during phase 1...hoping my network gurus in the data center will help me figure this out.

      I'm encouraged by seeing on the Chrome discussion groups the steady progression of issues that have been fixed from release to release. I would hope that some of your issues, if they are brought to the attention of the developers would get fixed in upcoming releases.

      Thanks again for the info.

  2. Technically, I've really only been playing with the Acer C720 Chromebook for 3 days. I received the device on Monday, the 25th of November, ...


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