Roadblock/Beyond My Ability

So today I tried to update the app icon image that this website puts on a phone’s home screen when you save it to an iPhone (or Android, I presume). Right now, it is a cropped image of the header of this site–sand dunes from Abu Dhabi.

But it doesn’t look professional, does it? (Try it out–save to your homescreen!)

To fix it, I went online (using my Chromebook) to search for app icon creators that are free and work in-browser. I found a few, tried them out, but they were terrible. So I searched a bit more, and kept seeing the same thing: it should be done in Adobe Illustrator.

I’ve got Illustrator on my Mac, but I’ve never played with it. I’m not a designer or very artistic that way, so it’s unexplored country. Still–I was at a roadblock. To get what I needed, professionally, I had to use a full OS beyond ChromeOS. So I opened up my Mac, after letting it lay dormant for the past week.

After exploring more, I suddenly realized another thing: what I intended to do in Illustrator is WAY beyond my comfort level and ability right now. Something else I’ll need to learn! I also know I’ll be using my Mac soon for personal music creation in LogicProX, so I’ll also be playing with Illustrator then as well. In the meantime, I’m going to push my Chromebook to try to sketch out ideas using Google Keep so that once I figure Illustrator out a little bit, I’ll have some ideas to work with.

The consensus after all of this: the Chromebook is super useful but not enough for the heavy user, or professional. Still, it’s been pretty good all week for handling the lighter tasks. Great for a secondary device or a student. And for the price that these things cost, I’d say that’s a pretty reasonable expectation.


Day 4 with Chromebook: Steady as She Goes

First up: I need a name for this machine. My Macbooks and iPhones have always been named, and I need to continue the tradition. @MrFiliplic is calling his CB, but I need something with flair. Pizazz. Sparkle.

Anyway, today I did normal stuff with the Chromebook. Lesson plans were created Sunday night using Google Docs (along with learning to create a Table of Contents with it), and I updated them yesterday and today. Worked pretty well. Used the tablet feature to take attendance and explain some work today, and that all went well.

In terms of the tablet feature, it works pretty easily, but I find the screen has a tendency to rotate and swap orientations. I’m sure I can lock it in a certain orientation, but I haven’t investigated yet.

We were also given a pen to go along with our machine, and as a stylus it works decently, but there’s a strange feature with it. It has a clicker at the top, and for the life of me I can’t figure out what it’s for. Of course, I’ll have to Google it, but it’s certainly not obvious or intuitive. A small problem, but still a problem for a casual user. I love playing with this stuff and I can’t seem to figure it out. Of course, it will probably turn out to be something totally easy and obvious. Figures.

For now, I’ll keep on keeping on. I’ve downloaded the new iOS11 for my iPhone, and am working on creating some videos with Apple Clips and the new screen recording feature. I’ll then try to upload them to my Google Drive and deal with the rest of it on my Chromebook.

Until next time…


Chromebook Review: Battery Life pt. 2

I eventually ran out of battery on Sunday evening, and charged it with my MacBook Pro USB-C charger. The computer told me it would take about 1 hour and 35 minutes to charge to full, but I found I got to 100% closer to 2 hours. Still, not too bad. (I did do some work at about the 90% mark, so that may have slowed it down a bit.)

Monday morning I sat at 100%; I’ll be seeing how far I can go with it fully charged.

In the morning, I attended a meeting where we used a lot of Google apps, and I spend most of my time on my Chromebook. When I left the meeting, I was around 75% battery. Not too shabby. I went back to work at school and used the Chromebook for most of the afternoon doing attendance, creating/modifying lesson plans, and showing students their assignments. I also did a small bit of Google Casting of my screen onto the smartboard.  As I write this, it is now nearly 7:45pm, and I’m sitting at 42% battery. Very good. I’m suspecting that, perhaps, I can almost squeeze two days of light use out of this. I’ll keep from powering it up again and see how far I can go tomorrow.

My colleague, @MrFiliplic is also keeping track of his Chromebook use, and as luck has it, also recently posted about his battery life. Check him out here for more insightful words.


Chromebook Review: Battery life pt.1

Well, it’s Sunday and I’ve been playing with my Chromebook off and on over the weekend. My daughter created some drawings in Google Keep last night, I checked my Classroom and updates some assignments, and I’ve tinkered with settings.

The whole time, I haven’t charged my Chromebook. As I type, I’m sitting at 11%. So hard to say what the normal “real life” battery life will be, but so far it’s been very good. That being said, I’m comparing it to my MacBook Pro, which has gotten so far very good battery life. I expect longer life out of this, as it’s a “smaller” machine and doesn’t do quite as much or work quite as hard. But I have to say, so far I’m impressed.

On a side note, this computer has USB-C inputs for charging (and for a data port, I’m assuming), as my MBP does. Thus, I don’t have to take a charger with me anymore to school (I like having it just in case–even IF my MBP does get long battery charges). I can leave my MP charger here, and my Chromebook charger at school. The more we get common adaptors, the better IMHO. I have not experimented on whether both USB-C ports charge (there’s one on the left and one on the right), but once this battery finally runs out, I’ll be sure to check it out and report back here.

Until then, time to play around more! I’ve got lesson plans to prepare for tomorrow with a substitute, so it will be a good chance for me to do that on this device!


Google Ninja

As part of my ongoing personal Professional Development Plan, I’ve signed up to be a Google Ninja this year. It’s a pretty exciting series of trainings where I’ll get pushed to learn more about the Google for Education ecosystem as well as get certified as a Google Educator (Level 1 and 2, hopefully). We’ve already met once as a cohort across our district, and we’ll be meeting up again for some great training.

Part of what we will be doing it so take part in a Chromebook challenge. We’ve been given Chromebooks to use for the school year, and our goal is to try and use them exclusively for 30 days for school. The former Tech Coach at my school, @MrFiliplic, is also on the same challenge, and for both of us it definitely WILL be a challenge. I’ve been tied to my MacBookPro for years now. I first got a MBP in 2009, and I haven’t looked back since. It will be a hard transition for me to make, but I’m willing to give it a try. The biggest benefit will be to have something that actually ISN’T my personal device for school work–I’m very used to always having my own computer to do “real” work on the go when I’m at school. Though it’s just a Chromebook, I feel that I’ll be able to leave my personal computer at home.

The Chromebook comes in a few days. Once it does, I’ll post more about my first impressions.