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HP X360 14" i3 8Gb Chromebook

After seeing the X360 14" at BETT 2019 it seemed like a worthy successor to my Pixel 2013 (which I still have running Cloudready).
The X360 14 has an i3-8130U processor at 2.2Ghz (Turbo to 3.4 Ghz), 8Gb DDR4, 64Gb storage, and full touch-flip 1080p IPS display.

Performance figures:
Octane 2.0: 33990
Speedometer 1.0: 93.8

Android apps work out of the box. The only issue I've had with them is the voice notes don't work with the Keep App as it requires the Google App that appears as incompatible in the PlayStore. Hopefully, this will be worked out in due course.

Linux Apps (assuming your devices is not enterprise enrolled) also work well. I've got LibreOffice, GIMP, VLC, Putty and Gnome notepad installed:
The only issue with Linux apps at the moment is the lack of audio - however, this is coming in v74 and already present on my Pixel which is on the dev channel of Cloudready.

This is a brief video of the device side-by-side with my Pixel. In about five years the price ha…
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Import Domain Google Classroom Assignment Details into a Google Sheet using GAMADV-XTD

If you want an overview of all of your Google Classroom Assignments across your domain, you can do this for free using GAMADV-XTD. There are paid for options to do this - but its pretty easy using GAM - in fact, a lot easier than I thought it would be!

Prerequisites

GAMADV-XTD setup on machine somewhere (I have a Virtual Machine just for GAM).Optional - a list of all the classes you want to grab data for. You can do all your classes or just the active ones - but you may want to be selective. The command gam print courses todrive will export a list of all your domains classes to a Google Sheet. A target Google Sheet to receive the data.
To pull Classroom data into the sheet run the following command:

gam print course-work course "comma-separated list of classes"  creatoremail todrive tdfileid "idofsheet" tdsheet "Raw Data"

"comma-separated list of classes" = 1590000591,15942000091,15942120091 .... etc
"idofsheet" = the long string of char…

Some new Chromebooks at BETT

Fancy a new Chromebook? There were lots on offer at BETT this year. If you are after touch-flip devices, the main manufacturers were all sporting new Gemini Lake Celeron based devices. All based on the N4000 chip - this gives them all an Octane score of around 16000. Much better than we have seen from entry-level devices before.

The first one - the Dell 3100 2-in-1


I liked this one - seemed pretty rugged. However, Dells support has been pretty poor in the past....
The next - HP X360 G2
Other than being blue - it looks much like the current X360. This model had 8Gb of RAM. My favorite of the 4 new 11" flip devices. 
And from Acer - an updated Spin 511

Pretty similar to the current Spin - just faster with the N4000 chip. Acer was making a big thing about their new reliability pledge. If it fails in warranty - they fix it and refund you the cost of the device. They have some ground to make up on the reliability front - so I can see where this is coming from!
Lenovo was outing their u…

First AMD based Chromebook from HP - the HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE

I had a chance to have a brief spin with one of the first AMD based Chromebooks the other day (thanks to Ian Nairm and C-Learning) at BETT, the HP 11A G6 EE. This device uses the AMD A4-9120C APU and the quick benchmarks I managed run set this Chromebook a bit above the current G5 and G6 EE's from HP and perform better than the HP 360 G1 and Acer Spin. 
In terms of physical appearance and connectivity - it much the same as current gen HP 11's and similar "clam-shell" Chromebooks. The model I looked at was touch screen and the screen folded 180 degrees.
It's not as good a performer as the new Gemini Lake Celeron based Intel devices. They seem to be hitting around 16000 on a quick Octane Benchmark (all I had time to run). However, they are more expensive. However, the graphics performance did seem good - webcam was responsive and high-resolution video was smooth - the Radeon R4 Graphics clearly helping here.
It's good to see lower-end Chromebook performance no…

Simple Sign in System

This is a brief demo of how to make a sign in system using Chrome Sign Builder, Google Forms and a Kiosk mode Chromebook.

Fast, Cheap Chromebox on a budget

We have some ageing Haswell based Chromeboxes from HP, Asus and Acer. These boxes go end of life in terms of ChromeOS updates in less than a years time and while we can keep them going for a while - they will rapidly age after support ends. So our options are as follows:
Buy new Chromeboxes - the basic ones are around £200. They have the advantage they run Android apps. However, the base model is only slightly faster than our current models. To get better performance you need to get the i3 model at >£300.Hack Cloudready onto the old Chromeboxes. We have done this to some older Samsung Chromeboxes and it works really well - but its a lot of effort!Buy refurb ultra small form factor PCs and install Cloudready.  So we tried the third option. The device we went for was the HP 8200 Elite Ultra Slim - i5 2400S, 8Gb DDR3 for £90 on eBay. We added a 60Gb SSD (had some spares) and installed Cloudready and enrolled on the domain.

The result is a very quiet, fast Chromebox that seems to work r…

Acer Spin 13 Chromebook - a quick look.

A few days ago I got to try an Acer Spin 13 Chromebook. This is a high-end device - in the same price bracket as the Pixelbook. The one I looked was going to be priced around the £800. For this you get:

8th Gen i3 8100 processor16 Gb RAM64Gb SSD13" touchscreen 2256x1504 and touch flip format 
I ran a quick Octane benchmark and it scored a decent 33000 (my Pixel 2013 does around 21000).

To use its similar to the Pixel 2013/15 - same aluminum case and quality finish. The Pixelbook is a much more luggable device if that's what you are after. So it's basically a fast, touchscreen, high-resolution Chromebook with a price to match. It feels well built and the keyboard was responsive - a nice machine.

Would I buy one? Probably not. For school, the price is way too high and I manage just fine on a regular 11" Spin. As a private buyer, I currently have an Acer R13 Chromebook that does everything I need (not as fast) and cost less than half the price. I also have a Pixel 2013 r…