Monday, July 25, 2011

Ordered Motorola Triumph from Virgin Mobile.

From the Virgin Mobile web site:

How it works:

First, buy the phone you want. 
Then, relax for a few days (or obsessively check the tracking info), while your phone is shipped to you.

When your phone arrives, hug the mailman, bust open the packaging and run through the streets cheering. After that, you should come back here to activate your phone, add money to your account, and at that point you'll set-up your customized talk/text/mobile web plan.

Virgin Mobile is still in the mode of dealing with old folks and criminals even with it's first real entry into mainstream smartphone competition.  At least I didn't have to jeopardize my current Verizon Wireless phone number and I can check out the Motorola Triumph Android phone.  It should be able to connect to the web via WiFi.


Chromium OS on Acer netbook: no sound and no phone.

Overall I'm very pleased with Chromium OS on Acer netbook, which had been a brick due to several failed attempts to install stupid Ubuntu Linux.

However, Chromium OS on Acer netbook does not play sound.  I have not figured out how to check the camera but I'm guessing that it will not work either.

Google Talk and/or Phone: I installed it from the Google Chromium OS Web Store but it does not integrate into my address book as it does in WindowsXP.  I had to enter the phone number myself and dial (connect).  The call went through but I heard nothing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thinking the unthinkable: switching from Verizon Wireless to Virgin Mobile!

Wow!  The Virgin Mobile prices are amazing.

For unlimited data and unlimited voice:

Verizon Wireless: $30 + $70 = $100

Virgin Mobile: $55 no contract, no penalty on the Sprint 3G network.

Save $45 per month!

I would need to payoff about $70 remaining on my two year penalty to Verizon Wireless for early termination.  That's out of $175.  I learned that if I got a new Verizon Wireless Android phone with a two year commitment the penalty would double to $350.  Verizon Wireless has gotten carried away.

I could payoff the $70 in two months of savings.

I would have to buy a new Android phone, the Motorola Triumph for $300, which is at least as good as my Motorola Droid, which has developed some screen anomalies.

I'd be about even in about in about 8 months ... with a new better phone.

The only drawback is that Virgin Mobile is limited to Sprint's 3G; no 4G.

I'd like to buy the Motorola Triumph with an option to return and cancel to try it in parallel for a couple of weeks.  Then if I like it, switch my Verizon phone number to
Virgin Mobile and cancel Verizon.

I sent an e-mail to Virgin Mobile asking about this.  Let's see how its customer service responds, if at all.

Chromium installed!


Where stupid Ubuntu failed, Chromium succeeded.  Yesterday I installed Chromium on my dead Acer notebook.  It's working well.  I followed the lifehacker instructions, which were bizarre not difficult.

Instead of wasting that $500 I spent on the Samsung Chromebook (refunded) I have basically the same thing for free.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Chromium OS locks up.

Well, that didn't last long.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chromium OS running on my dead Acer netbook.

I had cooked the Acer netbook trying to load stupid Ubuntu Linux.

I just got Chromium OS to run on the Acer netbook.  It does not appear to be installed but runs from the thumb drive.

I followed instructions on and downloaded a vanilla build from Hexxah.  I have no idea what I'm talking about.

This included running Image Writer for Windows.  This utility supposedly writes the unzipped image of the vanilla build onto a thumb drive.  Unfortunately, it gives the impression that it has killed the thumb drive, which does a very convincing job of playing dead by making Windows think it needs to be formatted.

As you can imagine I repeated these steps many times with several different types of failures before I finally decided with no real expectation for success to simply put the dead thumb drive into the Acer and turn it on.  To my amazement Chromium OS came alive.  However, it gave no indication that I could choose to install it.

This is further than I got with stupid Ubuntu.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Samsung Chromebook returned.

I'm really disappointed in google.  How difficult can it be for a world class techie company to create a stripped down operating system (OS)?  All the damn thing had to do was connect to the Internet efficiently.

Instead it took longer and longer to fetch e-mail: 2-3 minutes.

Interrupted itself with of all colors a blue background and that adolescent pseudo techie language that tells you nothing except the pizza boxes and soda cans must be piling up in googleland creating massive cases of acid reflux in the miscreants who failed on the ChromeOS project.

The irony is that google's mobile OS, Android, works well and does 100 times more stuff.

All google had to was create a simple OS.  It failed.  I felt more and more foolish hoping that I could keep my  Samsung Chromebook.  I couldn't.  Too bad.  It was a nice piece of hardware but the OS sucked.

Chromebook crashes ... often.

Maybe crash is a bit extreme but many times I get:

He's dead, Jim.

Either Chrome ran out of memory or the process for the webpage was terminated for some other reason ...

It's happening repeatedly while I write this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Samsung Chromebook is often SLOW!

Speed is the primary benefit according to a video by google.

If my Samsung Chromebook has its lid down and I open it and click refresh in gmail it can take two minutes to finish "loading".  This happens often but is not the only time when my Samsung Chromebook is slow.

I have until July 14 to return the Samsung Chromebook.

The lack of speed and quirks with the Apple-like touch pad are issues.

Is there a home key or equivalent?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chromebook connected to Verizon Wireless!

After several more aggravating conversations with Samsung I decided to simply try to register my Samsung Chromebook with Verizon Wireless.  It worked!

Samsung had no clue what the heck was going on.

OK, now let's see how this thing performs.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I just wrote to google.
sender-timeSent at 9:03 AM (UTC). Current time there: 1:03 PM.
dateSun, Jul 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM
subjectGoogle confirmation - Share Success
Important mainly because it was sent directly to you.
hide details 9:03 AM (0 minutes ago)
Thank you for writing in to tell us your story. While we can't guarantee that we'll respond to each and every message, we do read every note and really appreciate your taking the time to share your experience with us. If we're interested in exploring your story further, we'll get in touch.

If you're looking for help, need an answer to a question, or would like to send us feedback, please visit Google Help at We aren't able to respond to requests submitted through our testimonials contact form.

The Google Team


Google product your story is about:: Other
If "Other" is selected above, please enter the name of the product your story is about:: Chromebook
Please tell us your story about this product::

You might want to read my blog about the problems with my Samsung Chromebook.
What do you like best about this product?: The idea. However, Google has work to do. I have used google docs exclusively for years. If you lose me, your Chromebook efforts are doomed. I'm google's biggest fan.
Name:: Kenneth Matinale
Email address::
Can we ask you a few more questions about yourself?: Yes
Phone number:: XXXXXXXXXX
City:: White Plains
State:: NY
Country:: USA
Age:: 63
Job title:: retired

Talking to Samsung about Chromebook.

Samsung never heard about the 3G problem but has an open ticket because I called July 1 because my PC arrived with no OS.  Samsung did nothing about that and it's been two days.

A Samsung supervisor is being consulted ... I'm waiting ...

I'm using Google Phone to make this call on my Samsung Chromebook while I write this post.  Cool.

The rep came back and said I had to talk to a Samsung cell phone person because it's a carrier (Verizon) issue.  The transfer resulted in a voice message stating that they are closed and that I should use live chat online.  I had already checked that ... it's closed, too.

I had also tried to send a-mail through a Samsung online form but the drop down for the model is frozen: nothing drops down even though I had selected the preceding info.

You can't make up stuff like this.

Samsung apparently never got the word from Verizon.  I spoke to Verizon last night but Verizon only communicated with Google.

From the play 1776:
Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?

Samsung shipped an unregistered Chromebook to me.

That explains  why:

1. there was no OS
2. Verizon Wireless did not have my Chromebook in its database for free 3G service.

I hope Verizon Wireless, Samsung and Google get this straightened out.  I'm starting to like my Chromebook.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chromebook probably going back.

Verizon FIOS support got my wireless router working.  Good job.

However, I could not get the 3G account.  I called Verizon Wireless again and this guy did as much as could be expected.  Result: my Samsung Chromebook is not in a database.  That's why I could not get the 3G service.

MASSIVE disconnect among Google, Samsung and Verizon Wireless.  The Verizon Wireless guy sent messages on my behalf to Google and even included the fact that I had to load the OS.  The Verizon Wireless guy will monitor but advised me that unless my Samsung Chromebook gets into that database I will not get the 3G service and that I should return the Samsung Chromebook.

Amazing!  You can't make this up.

Chromebook unchained.

My Samsung Chromebook won't connect to my Verizon FIOS wireless router, which works fine with both my Dell WindowsXP laptop and my Motorola Droid.  Another reason that it should have an Ethernet port.  How much can that cost?  Samsung could not have excluded it for weight considerations.  Considering it's dimensions the damn thing must be made of lead.  It's heavy.

A friend loaned me a Verizon Wireless MiFi hotspot device.  I connected the Samsung Chromebook to it via WiFi and then to the Internet.  It worked well.  However, I did not want to use up too much of my friend's transmission bytes.

I breached Chromebook security and found the Settings under the menu and found an application for the two years of free 100M per month Verizon Wireless 3G service. The only way you can get the free service is to open an account and supply a credit card so that Verizon Wireless can charge for exceeding the limit.  Verizon Wireless does not even have the sense to ask if you are an existing customer.  You must open another account.

I filled out the application and submitted it  It was rejected without reason and I was told to call Verizon Wireless, which I did.  I switched off my friend's MiFi hotspot device.  The Verizon guy who finally answered told me to fill out the form again.  I explained that I did not have an Internet connection and that was why I wanted the 3G service.  He insisted.  The guy wouldn't open the account by phone.  You can't make up stuff like this.

In fact the real problem that media reviewers miss is that the Chromebook requires an Internet connection to do ANYTHING, not just work.  I cannot find help on the Chromebook itself. There are no definitions for options in Settings.  What the heck are some of those things?

If my Chromebook won't work with my Verizon FIOS wireless router it's going back.  After having to load the OS myself I should send a bill to both Google and Samsung.

Those snotty reviewers who wrote that the Chromebook is something for their mothers should actually try that.  Give a Chromebook to your mother and see if she can do what Google says in its insert: "Plug in the power.  Open the lid.  And you're all set."  Good luck with that.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Samsung Chromebook finally arrived. It won't boot.

You cannot make up stuff like this.

I had read that it came with no written documentation.  Actually it comes with lots of written stuff, just in really tiny font size and with no useful information.  Written items include Safety Instructions, which includes stuff like don't set the battery on fire or smash it with a hatchet.  The Samsung Quick Start Guide does not even indicate what color the LED should be when the battery is charged; it remained a reddish orange after a couple of hours of charging.

There is one piece of paper from google, which cheerfully states: "Plug in the power.  Open the lid.  And you're all set.".  Unfortunately, that no more useful than the tiny diagram of the proprietary function keys with their explanations in super tiny font size.

I decided to remove the charger and open the lid even though I did not know if the battery was fully charged. The lid appears to be backward because Samsung its name on it upside down.

I pushed the power button and the screen came to life.  There was a frowny face on a laptop screen with a thumb drive pointed towards it.  Underneath was this:

Chrome OS is missing or damaged
Please connect a recovery device.

I was aghast.  What the heck?  Who the heck ships a PC, especially one with a new experimental operating system, and does not bother to turn it on to see it if boots?  Samsung.

I called Samsung and after long delays concluded that the people with whom I had spoken were well-intentioned but not entirely familiar with the fact that Samsung does not have a direct sales channel but instead directs a buyer to either or  I had chosen and will call them next.

I am not inclined to try to download a version of Chrome OS to a thumb drive and install it, especially after my failed attempt to do this with Ubuntu Linux onto my SLOW Acer netbook, which is currently a brick.

Ah, progress!  While I was writing this the LED finally changed color to green, perhaps indicating that the battery is charged.  Just to check I closed the lid, re-opened and pushed power: the vulgar mask of failure re-appeared.

I decided to try the recovery URL and was re-directed here:

I learned something that Samsung could not tell me: that these Chromebooks come with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) version of the operating system (OS):

First choose the model of your Chromebook:

Samsung Chromebook Series 5

After choosing Samsung I saw this:

Before starting this process, you'll need the following:

A Windows, Mac, or Linux computer with administrative rights.
A 4 GB or larger USB flash drive that you don't mind clearing.

This is another reason I do not want to do this.  Why should I need another computer and why should I waste a USB flash drive?  The only USB flash drive I have is that stupid SanDisk that I had to re-furbish just to get it to load stupid Ubuntu Linux, which of course, failed to load on my Acer netbook. What the heck.  It's not doing me any good.

By the way: why doesn't my Chromebook come with an Ethernet port?

OK, I'm foolishly trying this recovery procedure.  Google wants me to download and run the recovery program on my semi-trusty old WindowsXP Dell laptop.  Again I must choose Samsung.

I plug it in and the "SanDisk Cruzer USB Device" is recognized.  I am warned: "All files on SanDisk Cruzer USB Device will be erased.".  Here goes ...

It's downloading.

It worked.  I managed to demolish my worthless stupid Ubuntu Linux boot devise.

I started the Samsung and then inserted the boot SanDisk Cruzer USB Device.  On screen messages that it validated the official recovery image, reset security, about to copy system image.  It will "take some time".  Hey, it's already further than stupid Ubuntu Linux from those snot nosed techies who only care about themselves and their snot nosed techie friends.  It's clear that some profit motive is necessary, not phony baloney save the world fake altruism.

System is about to reboot.  Cool.

Yikes!  I think it worked!  It wouldn't take the password for my Verizon FIOS router but it took it from a friend's Verizon Wireless MiFi 3G portable hotspot.  I seem to be online.  No idea how to make it work with the free Verizon Wireless 3G  that is supposed to come with it.