Talking testing, automation... and anything else.

Feb 13

Chromebook Advanced Shell Commands

chromebookAs I mentioned in my Chromebook review, the Chromebook has a limited built-in shell that you can access via keys: ctrl-alt-t. You can then enter help to see the available commands… the best of which is the ability to ssh into a unix machine and get your mitts on a full shell! But after fooling around in it a bit, I found there are even more commands available when entering the command help_advanced. The available advanced commands are:

Shows connectivity status. "connectivity help" for more details

experimental_storage < status | enable | disable >
Enable or disable experimental storage features.

ff_debug [] [--help] [--list_valid_tags] [--reset]
Add and remove flimflam debugging tags.

modem [args...]
Interact with the 3G modem. Run "modem help" for detailed help.

modem_set_carrier carrier-name
Configures the modem for the specified carrier.

A function that enables a predefined set of tags useful for
debugging the specified device.

A function that performs a suite of network diagnostics. Saves a copy
of the output to your download directory.

route [-n] [-6]
Display the routing tables.

set_apn [-n ] [-u ] [-p ]
Set the APN to use when connecting to the network specified by .
If is not specified, use the network-id of the currently
registered network.

set_apn -c
Clear the APN to be used, so that the default APN will be used instead.

set_arpgw Turn on extra network state checking to make sure the default gateway
is reachable.

tpcontrol {status|taptoclick [on|off]|sensitivity [1-5]|set }
tpcontrol {syntp [on|off]}
Manually adjust advanced touchpad settings.

tracepath [-n] [/port]
Trace the path/route to a network host.

wpa_debug [] [--help] [--list_valid_level] [--reset]
Set wpa_supplicant debugging level.

Logs a message to syslog.

chaps_debug [start|stop|]
Sets the chapsd logging level. No arguments will start verbose logging.]

Still not what I want but a step forward…

Feb 13

I Heart My Chromebook – A Review

chromebookI’ve always been a fan of smaller laptops (my 13″ Macbook is a personal fav) so when Google released their Chromebooks, they had my attention. I eventually couldn’t resist and picked up the Samsung, arm-based Chromebook XE303 for the extremely reasonable price of $249.

After having a couple weeks on it, I must say I really REALLY like it. It’s been shockingly easy to abandon my Macbook in favor of my smaller, lighter Chromebook. In fact, there’s very few things in my daily (non-work) routine that I can’t do on the Chromebook… Chrome Remote Desktop solves the rest.

What’s good:

  • Price!
  • The keyboard and trackpad are great and responsive
  • Battery life – @4.5 hours video; @6.5 hours surfing/etc…
  • Small and light
  • Boots in seconds; wakes instantaneously
  • ChromeOS is simple, intuitive and impressively powerful
  • Chrome Remote Desktop bridges most gaps
  • Overall design is very “Mac-like”
  • Many great, free apps/extensions
  • Setup. If you use Google/Chrome, once you sign in, all your stuff is already there

The bad:

  • The screen is kinda crappy… though certainly servicable
  • Lack of AirTunes equivalent… Google, please make this happen!
  • Lack of full *nix shell is bothersome
  • Power adapter is clunky; wish it was micro usb

One thing that might put ChromeOS over the top for me (and I’m sure I’m not alone) is to allow access to its underlying Linux distro. Like OS X, ChromeOS is just a window manager on top of unix (in this case Linux). I would love to see them continue the trend and allow access to it’s Linux underbelly. In short, give me a full shell!

Long story only slightly longer, this Chromebook is a keeper and has me thinking devious thoughts about selling the Macbook and in its stead, getting a Mac Mini server to command via CRD! And I guess I’ll need a new signature… something like:

Written on my Chromebook… or maybe not (even if it is true).