Category Archives: Chromebook

Cloze – Email but with so much more

I have tried Cloze on a number of occasions and each time I have found it better than before. There are many things it doesn’t do, but what it does do is amazing.

What I have found great is that it works across all platforms, so I can use it on my Chromebook, my PC and as an app on my Android phone and tablet.

It doesn’t notify on received emails, you still need your regular email app for this, but the way it brings everything together is great.

You can have a two week free trial with all the features in place, it then reverts to a limited free version but is still amazingly useful. I would thoroughly recommend you give it a try.

Skype on Chrome OS

Until now, Skype did not allow voice calls on Chrome OS. Now it does. It does not allow video calls yet, but voice is at last there and works as it should.

You can use the web version of Skype at which will take you to the login page, or you can add the Skype extension to Chrome which gives (almost) instant access from the browser.

Or, of course, you can do both.

IMAP Email

A while ago I said I was using Gmail (and Inbox) for emails since I couldn’t find a reliable IMAP email client that I could use on my chromebook as well as my android phone. I had tried Aqua mail on my Android phone and found it excellent, but it misbehaved on my Chromebook.

This seems to have been overcome now and I have returned to using Aqua Mail on my Chromebook and Android phone. It’s nice to have IMAP push for instant emails again.

For those that are not aware of Aqua Mail, it has free and paid for versions on Android, the free one only allowing two email accounts. I paid for the upgrade to have more accounts as it was so cheap and the product is really good.

On Chromebooks it is the full version and it’s also free which is great.

One thing that might confuse is when you want to download an attachment. The only way I have found that works is to click on the three dots by the attachment (in the middle of the screen) choose share then save as and then carry on as normal.

I thoroughly recommend it now – at least give it a try.

Using a Chromebook Offline

I was asked today how useful a chromebook could be if you have limited access to the internet. The person concerned was looking to take a portable computer with him while travelling and writing was an important necessity for him. Google Docs works well offline but I thought that before I answered him I would see for myself how well it performed with no connection.

The first difference I noticed when starting a new offline document was that I was asked for a name for the document. When online it starts by calling it untitled document. From then on it was almost identical with the following features missing.

  • Word wrap around images was not an option when offline.
  • Saving in a format other than gdoc was not available. Having said that though, print is available and you can then use that to save as a pdf. This would allow taking the document to a commercial printers which was what the enquirer was after.

Auto save still works as it does online but of course it is to a local memory such as the sd card etc.

If you have access to the internet later, you can add the word wrap to the image and it will remember it when you are offline later.

So the answer I gave was YES, it is a useful tool for writing even with limited access to the internet. And with its longer battery life than many windows or mac based laptops it will remain useful for longer.

In addition, the ability to open the chromebook and be writing in under 15 seconds can make a great difference when touring and trying to capture a quick note.

Google Chromebooks

It’s been a long time since my last post. No excuses really, just busy with my new life in Scotland. So today I thought I’d spend a few words on how I find my Chromebook after more than a year in operation.

As each month has gone by, I have found that I’m using my Chromebook more and more and I would estimate that around 90% of my work now uses it rather than my Windows Laptop. But why would I choose to use a small, relatively underpowered computer when I have a fully fledged laptop at my disposal? I will list some of the reasons here:

  • When I turn on my Chromebook, it takes around 10 seconds before I can use it, compared to several minutes for my PC.
  • Apps start almost instantly and run quickly.
  • Battery life is up to about 8 hours, more if I can reduce the brightness of the screen.
  • I can add a second monitor as I can on a PC.
  • I now use Google Drive to store most of my information with it synced to my pc and my Chromebook so it’s easily accessible.
What apps/software do I use?
  • Word Processing
    • Google Docs
    • MS Word Online
    • True Novelist (useful for writing fiction)
  • Spreadsheets
    • Google Sheets
    • MS Excel Online
  • Website Development
    • Caret – Online editor
    • sFTP – FTP upload software
  • Email
    • Gmail
      • I have five email addresses that I use and Gmail can cope with that, sending emails as if they were from my domains and allowing me to receive emails to each of the addresses.
      • The only real downside of Gmail is that it can take up to 30 minutes to retrieve emails from the server.
      • There are a couple of IMAP email clients but I found that neither are very good if you have more than one email address.
  • To Do Lists
    • Asana – works with Chromebook as well as Laptop
  • Music
    • Spotify – Similar to PC version but more like the Android version.
  • Calendar
    • Google Calendar – syncs with Sunrise on my PC and Android phone.

Downsides? There aren’t many but I think perhaps the most notable one is that to print I have to use Google Cloud Print which can mean that I need my PC on. With many new printers though, they can become cloud printers which can be printed to directly with no PC needed.

There are other reasons I like it, but I think these are probably more subjective than the ones shown above.