Chromebox

krause734

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 30, 2010
592
1,404

krause734

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 30, 2010
592
1,404
Also got this decent HTPC keyboard (not nearly as good as Apple's):

https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-920...&qid=1500646361&sr=8-2&keywords=htpc+keyboard

I will probably switch back to a Mac Mini if they ever update them. I've been using the Chromebox for a while now and it's a good experience. Boots up faster than the Mac and is fairly smooth and quiet. The Chromebox is definitely more functional than an Apple TV and I like having a physical keyboard.
 

lowendlinux

macrumors 603
Sep 24, 2014
5,258
6,508
Germany
Just ordered an Asus Chromebox for my TV to make it a Smart TV. I was going to use my mini as an HTPC but figure I will try this out and see if I like it. Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, Google Play, Web Browsing, etc. They boot up almost instantly and it's not a bad operating system if you know it's limitations.

https://www.amazon.com/Asus-CHROMEB...UTF8&qid=1500460946&sr=1-1&keywords=chromebox
Why did you pick the Chromebox over an Intel compute stick?
 

MacBH928

macrumors 601
May 17, 2008
4,184
1,556
I've had Chromebooks in the past and I much prefer them to Windows. Instant bootup, low energy usage, simple, fast, no anti-virus. Also this Chromebox has several USB ports and the ability to run dual displays.
1-Does it have VLC? Can you stick HDD to it and play videos from there?
2-I am guessing no iTunes or AirPlay?
3-Do you NEED Google Account?
4-Is it possible to turn it into an Android box instead?

Also, release date is 2014 so tech is pretty old.
 

lowendlinux

macrumors 603
Sep 24, 2014
5,258
6,508
Germany
1-Does it have VLC? Can you stick HDD to it and play videos from there?
2-I am guessing no iTunes or AirPlay?
3-Do you NEED Google Account?
4-Is it possible to turn it into an Android box instead?

Also, release date is 2014 so tech is pretty old.
It has VLC and yes you can plug a HDD and play movies
 

krause734

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 30, 2010
592
1,404
1-Does it have VLC? Can you stick HDD to it and play videos from there?
2-I am guessing no iTunes or AirPlay?
3-Do you NEED Google Account?
4-Is it possible to turn it into an Android box instead?

Also, release date is 2014 so tech is pretty old.
I uploaded my iTunes Library to Google Play. Not a bad alternative. I am pretty sure you need a google account to get it started. Android Apps are supposedly coming to ChromeOS soon, maybe some Chromebooks already.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,668
9,380
Prescott Valley, AZ
I uploaded my iTunes Library to Google Play. Not a bad alternative. I am pretty sure you need a google account to get it started. Android Apps are supposedly coming to ChromeOS soon, maybe some Chromebooks already.
Android app support is already available on many Chromebooks. I use a few apps on my Acer R11 Chromebook, but there are some minor limitations and one major one at this point in time. Hopefully Google will get them resolved soon.
 

raqball

macrumors 68020
Sep 11, 2016
2,079
9,275
My HP G1 has Play Store apps in the Beta and Dev channels and everything works fine. Window resizing of the apps is supposed to be coming at some point. That's really the only issue I've seen with Android apps on ChromeOS.

Screenshot 2017-07-28 at 07.55.39.png
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,668
9,380
Prescott Valley, AZ
My HP G1 has Play Store apps in the Beta and Dev channels and everything works fine. Window resizing of the apps is supposed to be coming at some point. That's really the only issue I've seen with Android apps on ChromeOS.

View attachment 710558
The main issue for me is the "sandboxed" storage for Android apps. Android apps can only see the "Download" folder on the ChromeOS side but can't see the SD card nor any USB storage devices. Because of that, I limit my use of Android apps to those that don't require access to data/document files (all games) or support cloud storage options. I installed the Android version of Simple Mind Pro (mind mapping software) and it easily accesses my maps on DropBox (that are created/modified by the macOS and iOS versions)
 
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raqball

macrumors 68020
Sep 11, 2016
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Yeah, I am surprised they have not come up with a solution to that yet but it does not really bother me.
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,668
9,380
Prescott Valley, AZ
Yeah, I am surprised they have not come up with a solution to that yet but it does not really bother me.
Android app support on ChromeOS is huge. I have confidence that they'll resolve it. I'm pleasantly surprised at how a convertible Chromebook like the Acer R11 (and Samsung Plus, and Pro) handles notebook and tablet tasks.

I'm liking the web versions of iWork and MS Office more than their iOS counterparts. The UI's of the web versions expose more of the functionality...and yet still quite usable in touch mode.
 
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raqball

macrumors 68020
Sep 11, 2016
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You can add your own shortcuts / web apps as well if you want.

1. Use a text editor app from chrome store ***
*** I use text editor (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...bfghdkjmjhdgbg?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher) and json editor (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...gllgjcamhihfaj?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher)
2. Copy and paste this code:
{
"name": "Name_Of_App_Here",
"description": "Description_Of_App_Here",
"version": "1.0.0",
"manifest_version": 2,
"icons": {
"128": "icon_128.png"
},
"app": {
"urls": [
"URL_Of_Website_Here"
],
"launch": {
"web_url": "URL_Of_Website_Here"
}
}
}
3. Change the items I marked in red to what they need to be
4. Save the file as manifest.json
5. Find or create an icon you want to use and size it at 128x128
6. Save the icon as icon_128.png
7. Make a folder on the local drive and name it whatever.
8. Put the .json and icon file in that folder
9. Navigate to Chrome Browser Settings >> Extensions >> Tick the box nect to Developer Mode
10. Click Load unpacked extension and select the folder you made in step 7

Rinse, lather, rinse and repeat for every website you want to make a custom web app for. Each web app you make needs it's own folder and these folders must remain on the local drive.
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,668
9,380
Prescott Valley, AZ
You can add your own shortcuts / web apps as well if you want.

1. Use a text editor app from chrome store ***
*** I use text editor (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...bfghdkjmjhdgbg?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher) and json editor (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...gllgjcamhihfaj?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher)
2. Copy and paste this code:

3. Change the items I marked in red to what they need to be
4. Save the file as manifest.json
5. Find or create an icon you want to use and size it at 128x128
6. Save the icon as icon_128.png
7. Make a folder on the local drive and name it whatever.
8. Put the .json and icon file in that folder
9. Navigate to Chrome Browser Settings >> Extensions >> Tick the box nect to Developer Mode
10. Click Load unpacked extension and select the folder you made in step 7

Rinse, lather, rinse and repeat for every website you want to make a custom web app for. Each web app you make needs it's own folder and these folders must remain on the local drive.
I used this exact method to create an iCloud launcher. I've attached it in this post. this allows me to launch it in a window (I'm a big fan of the "open in a window" feature in ChromeOS). The limitation with this is that when an iCloud document is opened, it launches as a tab (no way to keep it in a window)... but pressing the "fullscreen" button makes it feel like a "native" app.
 

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