Acer C7 Chromebook Fail

I got a Acer C7 Chromebook to try out. Hey, for $199 you cannot go wrong… Well, maybe you can.

I had not seriously used Chrome before (OS or Browser), as I still mainly used Firefox for the most part.

I went over to my couch and sat down with my Chromebook and tried to find replacement Chrome apps to cover my day-to-day doing. The biggest app I spent time trying to find was a solid Remote Desktop App. Although I can do a lot from the Chromebook itself, there are still a few instances where I needed specific applications on my desktop. I spent some time trying out the default Chrome Remote Desktop client. However, Chrome and the app needs to be installed on the desktop computer you want to remote desktop into (not a problem) but the app will not change the screen resolution from the desktop computer to the size of the Chromebook’s window, similar to what the default Windows implementation of the Remote Desktop Protocol. The reason that not-resizing was unacceptable to me is because my desktop computer has two monitors, so the size of my desktop’s screen is huge, and I hate scrolling around to find all my windows.

Therefore, I set out to find Remote Desktop Protocol client, and found several that required the installation of additional software on some computer. I do not understand why I need a middle software to run this. In the end, I found Chrome RDP, which is a RDP client that does not need any software to be installed. Chrome RDP current costs $4.99 (they say it is an introductory price), and it comes with a 7-day free trial to make sure it works for you. Sniffing the packets sent from my computer, Chrome RDP connects right to the computer I input.

One of the other app I wanted to have was a SSH client, and quickly found the Secure Shell app from Google. It works great, and I have had no problems with it.

Now that I had replacement apps for mostly everything I do, I was able to get to work on solely using the Chromebook, and now I started running into software/hardware issues.

The first issue I had was I was actually able to hang the Chromebook! For a short time, whenever I looked at Amazon.com’s Black Friday Deals, and I scrolled to the next page of them the whole ChromeOS would freeze. Not cool; how am I suppose to shop! I re-created the issue three times (attempting to find more deals) before finally giving up. I tried again an hour later and it no longer crashed the ChromeOS; I guess there was some deals on page 2 Google did not want me to know about.

The second (and fatal) issue I had was that the “A” key on the keyboard started to squeak, and then eventually stick pressed down. It would eventually come back up after enough taps, but then it would get stuck again after a few more presses. Now, I had only owned this Chromebook for two day, and had used for for maybe a total of 4 hours. I am very good about having clean hands when I use my laptop (especially a new laptop!) and did not spill anything on or drop the Chromebook.

I thought, well the Chromebook comes with a 1-year warranty, so I guess I need to take advantage of that. So I go to the Acer Chromebook Support Page, which as of November 23rd 2012 did not list the Acer C7 Chromebook. Great, so I figure out how to call up Acer Support, tell them my issue, and they say that I can send in the Chromebook and they will repair it, but I have to pay for shipping to Acer!

After searching the internet about Acer Support, making you pay for shipping is pretty standard for Acer. I am mad now; this is a brand new Chromebook, this is a factory defect, yet I have to pay extra money to get it operational.

I decide to escalate things, and take this issue to Google. I look at their Replacements policy, which indicates that within 15 days of delivery I can exchange a defective product for a new one. I click the link to “email our support team”, which only talks about returning Nexus devices and not a Chromebook. So, I instead call the 800 number listed in my order confirmation, and start the replacement that way.

The support person on the phone was very helpful in wanting to help replace my Chromebook, however, the first thing he said to me was that Acer handles the Acer Chromebook warranty claims, not Google. He made it sound like issues with the Acer Chromebook is fairly common. I explained to him that I was within my 15 days, and he was able to replace my device under “Dead on Arrival.”

So, I am getting shipped a new Acer C7 Chromebook, but now I have this bad taste in my mouth about Acer.

Overall, I love the Chromebook, but hate Acer. Think twice before buying an Acer (Chromebook or other).

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Clock-Puzzle Game

Final Fantasy XIII-2 contains an interesting mini-game where you have to find a sequence of numbers around the circle.

Nathaniel Johnston does a nice write up of the game:
“The way the game works is as follows:

  1. The user may start by picking any of the N positions on the circle. Call the number in this position M.
  2. You now have the option of picking either the number M positions clockwise from your last choice, or M positions counter-clockwise from your last choice. Update the value of M to be the number in the new position that you chose.
  3. Repeat step 2 until you have performed it N-1 times.

You win the game if you choose each of the N positions exactly once, and you lose the game otherwise (if you are forced to choose the same position twice, or equivalently if there is a position that you have not chosen after performing step 2 a total of N-1 times). During the game, N ranges from 5 to 13, though N could theoretically be as large as we like.”

I created a brute-force solver in JavaScript to solve the clock puzzle problem for those who need a helping hand on the problem.

On the timed puzzles, the best thing to do is take a picture of the game, pause the game (which will distort the screen), and find the solution.

Cannot Resize Outlook 2010

I recently came across a problem where my Outlook 2010 window became a toolbar and I could not resize the window to see my mail:

Outlook 2010, Toolbar Only

I could press the Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons, but I could not resize the window because it would only let me move the bar.

To solve this problem, I pressed Alt + Space, clicked “Size” in the toolbar that appeared and pressed the down key a few times and then Enter and the rest of Outlook appeared below the toolbar. I was then able to resize Outlook with a mouse like normal.

Getting Mathematical Symbols in Office 2007 (For Windows)

There are a lot of math symbols that I find myself wanting to use in either Word or PowerPoint documents and the typical symbol table is rather small and does not have fun things, like “bowtie”.

Though, these symbols are there; they are just hidden. To access them, go to “Insert” -> “Symbol”.

A new window should popup which has a list of symbols in it that you can insert… But, like I said, not a lot of them. To unlock more, click on the drop down box next to “Font:” and select “Cambria Math”. This list has a lot more math symbols in it. Just scroll through to find what you are looking for, or use the “Subset” drop down box to find the area where the symbol you are looking for is at.

symbols

This will work in both Word and PowerPoint.
Though, Word has an even faster way of accessing these symbols, just by typing \SYMBOL in the document (Like LaTeX). It is something called “Math AutoComplete”

It can be enabled by in Word, clicking the circle in the upper left hand corner, and going to “Word Options”.

In the menu, select “Proofing” and then press the button “AutoCorrect Options…” From there, select the tab “Math AutoCorrect” and check “Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of math regions” and “Replace text as your type”.

math-autocorrect

Now in Word when you typing something and want to insert a mathematical symbol, just do what you would normally do in LaTeX. Type in “\bowtie”, followed by a space and it will appear!

You can then copy these symbols from Word to PowerPoint. So, it makes it a little easier than finding things in the symbol table.

Though, their list does not have everything LaTeX does so sometimes you still have to use the table.

Hope this helps someone out there!

Always ask really does mean always ask!

A little thing with Windows Vista Security Warnings is their ability to popup even if you tell them not to!

Everytime I start PuTTY by double clicking on the file,I get a Security Warning saying “The publisher could not be verified. Are you sure you want to run this software?”

PuTTY Folder
putty-security

I always click “Run” because I like using PuTTY for connecting to my school computer. The PuTTY I’m using is coming from a trusted source so I decided to uncheck “Always ask before opening this file.”
Sure enough, next time I open the program again I get the same security warning.

There is a way to fix this though.

To do this, you must “Unblock” the application from it’s original file location. By original file location I mean the location where you downloaded it to. If you move the file before unblocking, you will never be able to unblock the file unless you delete it and redownload the file. If the file you need to unblock came in a zip, you need to unblock the zip before extracting the contents.

To Unblock an application, right click on the file and goto Properties. In the general tab, click Unblock.

putty-unblock

Now you can move the application to any folder you want, and will not get the annoying popup ever again!