Becoming Clearer


A vision of the future become much clearer to me yesterday.  First of all, Canada 3.0 kicked off.  From there, MindShareLearn sent out a tweet indicating that Barret Xplornet was in a position to offer broadband throughout the country. 

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This is exciting to think that internet access could be available everywhere.  The logistic boggle the mind.

The second thing that helped me refine the vision came from reading Hexxeh’s updates about his builds of the Chromium Operating System.  As you know, this project will ultimately deliver a Google operating system.  I was intrigued and so went to Hexxeh’s website and downloaded his current build of the OS. 

It takes a few minutes but I expanded the build and created a bootable USB key.  I didn’t want to do a complete install since we’re still a ways away from a full release but I did want to check it out.

First test — I booted from the USB key on my Netbook.  It was a tad slow but certainly as fast as many of the locked down traditional OS machines that I run across daily.  And, it looked like — well, Chrome the browser.

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The only exception was the multi-blue Chromium icon.  I checked a tab or two for internet access and it worked just as well as Chrome the browser on a computer next to it!

So, I was curious about the icon and clicked it to reveal a menu as you see in the photo above.  All of the links go to web resources.  Ah, so this is what a web-based operating system looks like.  Very interesting.  I poked around and was quite impressed. 

Does it feature my favourite applications?  Absolutely.

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Themes?  Absolutely.  I went to the Google Chrome theme and installed my favourite theme “Late Night” and the whole desktop changed.  Designed nicely for Netbooks you’ll notice that we’re fullscreen with no status bar taking up real estate. 

The only indication that this might be different from the browser (other than the Chromium icon) are the battery and connectivity icons.  The connectivity is interesting with three options for Wifi, Ethernet, and Cellular.

Now, this was with my Netbook, admittedly a lower powered CPU but things went nicely.  I tried booting from the USB key on an older Notebook computer.  It was an even snappier response as it was when booting from a machine with an i7 processor.

But, back to the vision.  With an operating system like this, all that’s required is connectivity.  Therein lies the importance of the announcement aboe.  For those of us who live in locations where DSL or cable are not options, this levels the playing field. In a race to provide access to all students, this could address the issues of equity.  Instead of saving up for a thousand dollars for a new shiny machine so that you can collaborate in the cloud…why not go to the cloud first?

These are exciting times with a lot of converging ideas and concepts.  They aren’t converging to our traditional way of thinking so we need to keep eyes and minds open.

And, Hexxeh?  According to his website, he’s a 17 year old student.  I shared the link with a couple of my Computer Studies teacher friends.  If this doesn’t inspire those budding computer programmers…

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