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Showing posts from October, 2012

Chromebooks - new Samsung Series 3

Chromebooks - new Samsung Series 3 Samsung have just released a new Chromebook and my resolve was weak so I bought one.
For those of you who don't know these run Chrome OS, not windows. This is a browser based OS - so its essentially Google Chrome with a few addons. You sign into the device with your Google account. If you are a Google Apps user, the device can be configured in your Google Apps Admin Centre.

A couple of picts:

This model is the Samsung Series 3 WiFi. Costs £229 inc vat. There are reviews online - but some brief observations:
Startup in seconds and login is about 2 seconds. Power down in a second or two.Silent and next to no heat.Battery seems to last forever - I'm sure it does not - but I've yet to see it go down.You get HDMI out so with the right cable can connect to most things. I've had it doing HD iplayer on a 37" 1080p TV - no issues.There is on SD card slot. You can download stuff to this as well as downloading stuff locally. You can also us…

Start Button for Windows 8

Windows 8 Start Button Some people complain about the lack of a start button on windows 8. While I like 8, this can get a little annoying if you work on a desktop. Stardock Start8 is a simple way around this. Cost me £2.80ish from the Stardock site and works a treat. You can start straight to the desktop and have a classic 7 start menu or a windows 8 menu.
Windows 7 Start Menu Windows 8 Start Menu


GMaiI - Some Tips

Some Tips for GMail I see a lot of students and staff with very vanilla GMail setups. There are a few quick things you can do to customise your experience. Have a look at the vid below - I take a vanilla setup to a more personalised look in a few minutes.

Just an update to this - a new 'compose' window was launched yesterday. I'd suggest you go with it when prompted. Quite slick. It adds an 'add picture' button - so the addin is not really needed any more.

OpenClass

OpenClass - VLE extension for Google Apps I've been looking for  way to have true VLE functionality in Google Apps without having to resort to another platform - e.g. Moodle.

OpenClass may be the answer. I have just added this to our domain. Its free and is in the store for Apps addons.

I allows you to make sites that have assignments and markbooks attached to them as well as being alble to upload content packs. It appears in the 'More' section in Google Apps. It sync with Apps for user creation and seems at first glance quite easy to use. Will trial with some students sometime soon.

Useful Chrome Extensions

Three Useful Chrome Extensions
G New Doc - two click creation of Google DocsTerminal for Chrome - adds a Google Apps control panel to ChromeSave to Drive - adds a save to drive link to the right click context menu in Chrome.

See vid below for demo:

Server 2012 as Terminal Server

2012 RDP  We have just deployed a Server 2012 Terminal Server. We had a 2008r2 box that was giving issues and needed a rebuild - so thought - lets give 2012 a shot! The Server runs a classroom of 30 Axel M80G thin clients.
The benefits so far:

It works! So all the group policies seem to apply reliably for all users - this was an issue on the old install. Logon and off times are much faster. General video performance is better. Applications load a lot faster. The install takes up much less hard drive space. The students like the funky user interface. 

 The challenges:

Had to create a new mandatory profile. Did this on a clean built Win 8 Enterprise VM. Deploying the classroom Ricoh printer via Group Policy did not work. Every time a user went to print the spooler crashed. This was resolved by manually doing an admin add of the printer via IP address not name. The Axel Thin Clients needed a firmware update. The mouse pointer got stuck in one shape or simply disappeared. The latest firmw…