Lenovo X140e Ultrabook

On Saturday, November 26, I received a new-to-me Ultrabook.  I subscribe to e-mails from Discount Electronics and they were offering this ~ $900 PC for $144 plus S/H.  Since it was an “Ultrabook” I jumped on it.  I already own an HP’s 3105mHP 3105m Netbook.  This new machine is lighter and faster.

But there is one catch.  It is shipping with Windows 8.1.  Most of you who have suffered through the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8 to 8.1 to Windows 10, remember the “Metro” interface and how the “workflow” so to speak of Windows 8.1 was significantly different from Windows 7.  Ouch.

I gritted my teeth and found a Youtube tutorial video on how to get around in Windows 8.1. I wasn’t impressed.  So I googled (everyone’s friend🙂 something like “how to make windows 8.1 look like windows 7.”  Ask and you shall receive.  I found this page and downloaded the classic shell.  After installing it and clicking on a couple of choices about how I wanted my Ultrabook to look like as a Windows 7 machine I had it back.  The workflow, the menus, (I kept the new file manager though) and every other thing I was used to.

So I am happy as a clam (gorilla? chimpanzee?) Whatever.  :)

Tlm

 

Where did some of my other posts go?

I am refocusing this blog on Galenson Consulting topics including IT Support, Technical Reviews, Web Design, Web Development and any other GC related topics.

I exported a complete copy of all the posts on this blog.  I then deleted all personal musing, book reviews, and other opinion pieces.  I will be importing all of those more personal posts into a blog called Ed Art Composer.  Don’t get me wrong.  EAC will also be exploring the use of a cellphone to create and post personal/opinion videos.  This includes additional equipment, several new books and eventually a probable upgrade to a Moto G cellphone.  A Moto G has a bigger camera, adjustable camera focus, and camera stabilization features that a Moto E doesn’t have.

Tlm

Want more than a Chromebook with a turnkey installation?

If you have tried CloudReady, the excellent software only clone of a Chromebook and it either won’t install or you need the flexibility of a user-friendly Linux as well as features of the Chromebook, I would like to suggest CUB – Linux.  CUB – Linux was previously known as Chromixium but Google asked them to change the name.

The goal is the same.  To provide a near Chromebook look alike, with easy access to Linux features.  If you have used the Chrome browser in Windows but mostly not anything else in Windows, you will get the same general feeling except that CUB – Linux will run on older intel hardware that won’t run Windows 10 or CloudReady.

CUB – Linux will co-exist with Windows as well as another Linux installation.  If you have XP/Pro and want to upgrade but Windows 7/10 etc are not usable choices you should try CUB – Linux.

If you have very old intel hardware that won’t run CUB – Linux fast enough, then you may find that Puppy Linux will run on it.

HTH,

Tom

RISC vs. Intel cpus in the Chromebook world

One of the original main advantages of a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) was that it used less power than a CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer).  The Intel cpu that is at the heart of most Windows and newer Mac’s is a CISC.

When the Chromebook first came out and began to sell like hot cakes some vendors were taking advantage of the RISC cpu/motherboard to sell systems with longer battery times and lower costs than the Intel/AMD-based cpus.

Intel has been designing lower power draining cpus/motherboards for laptops for years.  They apparently got busy and created something for the Chromebook line(s).  That is why you have Intel-based Chromebooks with 10+ hour battery times and lower costs than the RISC-based systems.

Tom M

Turn your older laptop or desktop into a Chromebook clone

Recently I received great news.  “CloudReady has a Chrome OS platform ready for your non-chromebook hardware”  If that link to the article on Tech Republic doesn’t work, here is the website.  You are probably interested in an individual copy of the Chromebook clone product.  It is free for individual use.

If you have an Intel PC hardware platform (usually a windows laptop) that is 8 years old or younger that you would like to run a fast, robust operating system on but it isn’t up to running say  Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, then this is a turnkey solution.  I have successfully installed it on 2 out of 3 laptops and a desktop I tried.  It failed on a non-standard old SSD netbook.  They have a list of tested hardware that is quite extensive on the website.

The User Interface is exactly like my ASUS Chromebook.  You will experience the Chromebook exactly except for two things.  1) If you are used to the 7 second boot time for many Chromebooks, you won’t get that.  It will boot exactly as fast as a Linux distribution would on the same hardware (around 30 seconds on mine).  2) The hardware-based security features are mostly not present.   For most people, School districts or Companies neither of the above will be deal breakers.

You will need a 8 GB Flash drive to install the Chromebook clone OS from.  The native setup only supports standalone booting and UEFI “dual booting”.  If you choose, standalone booting, all the previous information on the hard disk is deleted during the install.  With UEFI “dual booting” the previous operating system remains and is also bootable.  You will need either a fairly fast internet connection or quite abit of patience to download the operating system.

If you have a Chromebook or a Chrome browser and sign in with a Google id, CloudReady will download/clone all your extensions, applications and allow you to access your Google Drive-based data on your “new” cloned Chromebook.

Because I have an ultra-thin Chromebook I have not been motivated to move over and use this product full time.  I have one very slow (1 GHz) sub-notebook that “barely” runs Windows 10.  I may turn it into a CloudReady notebook again.  I have turned a Dell Optiplex 760 (desktop) into a Chromebook.

If you have been wanting to experiment with a Chromebook or have wanted a Chromebook but couldn’t afford a couple hundred bucks for a new/used on on E-Bay this is your path.  Educational and Commercial licenses and support are available.

If you are a school with obsolete laptops available this is an excellent, very low-cost way to repurpose them into Chromebooks.  Both Educational and Commercial licenses and support are available.

Any questions?  Post a comment.

Thanks.
Tom M

Should I buy a Chromebook as my primary machine?

If you spend 99% of your time online using a Web browser, sending/receiving e-mail, printing out coupons etc then the answer is “Yes.”

If you have windows or macintosh specific programs running on your machine at home or in the office which has fulltime Internet connectivity then the answer is “Yes.” (The remote desktop option will let you run those windows specific applications on the machine “back there” and get the results wherever you are tied into the Internet at).

If you are out in the middle of know-where (pun intended) with no Internet Connectivity (not even a mobile hot spot) then the answer is “maybe.”  In the last year the Chromebook applications for doing writing and reading/creating Gmail offline have improved significantly. Since these run on any Chromebook it doesn’t matter if you have a brand new one or an older one.

So if you want a low-cost, fast booting, highly transportable laptop I commend the entire Chromebook line to you.  If you have specific needs like 10 hour battery time then you will need to read the reviews to find what you want.

I will say that an Asus c200 (smaller screen) or Aus c300 (larger screen) which has a 10+ hour unplugged from the wall time may be an excellent choice.  I like the quick/ease of use of my Aus c300.  Its running as low as $199 new and $118 used as I write this.

I will convert your old/slow Laptop/Netbook into a faster Chromebook-look-alike

Have an old Laptop/Netbook that you aren’t using because it would be too small/slow to upgrade to Windows 7?

I am offering a “Turn on your Netbook/Laptop into a Chromebook-look-alike” service. The results will boot significantly faster than XP or Windows 7. Be more responsive than XP/Windows 7 and be more secure than XP/Windows 7. And be menu driven for ease of access.

You need a functioning/bootable machine (doesn’t need an operating system though) with a battery that provides you with at least some un-plug time and a charger. Generally any 1 Megabyte memory machine with some kind of hard disk (can be VERY small) or even a really small/slow SSD (like the original Netbooks had) will work. Ask me before you send it.

You pay the shipping and handling and a $50 upgrade charge.

What you will be getting is an open source Linux distribution that a) Runs on the Chromebook (Chromium OS), b) an open source Linux distribution with a Chromebook look-alike desktop or c) an open source Linux distribution that looks like Windows 7 that will start up the Chrome browser (or possibly the Fire Fox browser if there are issues) as soon as you logon.

The reason for the 3 pronged approach is Chromium OS will not run or even startup on all hardware.  And Chromixium in conjunction even with the commercial Chrome browser has shown one decided specific machine hickup.  The result will be a faster, secure user-friendly netbook/laptop with a menu driven interface.