Cr-48 mail list mistake shows who gets a laptop

Over the past weekend, I checked my Gmail on my phone and was surprised to see over 100 emails all coming from what seemed to be a bunch of random and confused people who were also receiving the emails. After a few seconds of looking, it became apparent that this was in fact a mailing list group for the Cr-48 laptop, and we were all on it.

I didn’t mind all that much, since I knew that it would be easy enough to remove all the emails at once, should I need to… but that’s not what seemed to be the general response from all the other people on the list. Many were upset about getting all the emails and being put on the list without being asked. Others were just curious about the list, since they knew they had signed up to receive a Cr-48, yet had heard nothing at all from Google about it. Some people thought this was how Google was notifying them that they are going to receive a laptop. (In all actuality, none of the people who got laptops were ever notified about it before just finding it in their mail.)

After about a day’s worth of the mailing list bouncing emails between thousands of users, one of the list admins finally put a stop to it and sent out one final email that revealed a key piece of information which they probably decided was just best to not hide anymore. Here’s the email in full, sent from chrome-notebook-team at google dot com:

Earlier this morning, you may have received a large number of emails from regarding the Chrome notebook Pilot program user forum. We apologize for this inconvenience, and you will not receive any more messages from this address. Instructions for deleting these messages are at the end of this email.

What happened? We planned to launch our Chrome Notebook Pilot forum next week to all users who had been selected for the Pilot program. Last night, around midnight Pacific time, a user discovered this forum and posted a message. Unfortunately, we had misconfigured this forum to email every post to every member. Thus, the first post started an avalanche of responses. Some messages were unsubscribe requests, others were thoughtful comments or questions, but all of them were emailed to every user. We have since deleted this group.

We’ve created a brand new user forum, which you can sign up for here:!forum/chrome-notebook-pilot

Rest assured: you will not be added to this forum unless you sign up using the link above.

The goal of the forum is to provide a centralized place for Pilot users to share their Chrome notebook experiences and tips. In addition, with a centralized forum, our team can more effectively respond to your questions and feedback.

If you are receiving this email and have not yet received a Cr-48, you should be hearing from us soon. Again, our apologies for the flood of emails, and we hope you will join us at the new forum.

Chrome Notebook Team

How to delete previous messages:

1. In the Gmail search box, type “from:chrome-notebook-pilot-

users” and press Enter.
2. Click the checkbox to the left of the Archive button to Select All.
3. At the top of the search results, click the link that says “Select all XX conversations in Search results.”
4. Click the Delete button. You should not receive any more messages from this address.

Other email programs
1. Use the search function in your email program to find messages with the sender
2. Select all the messages in the search results.
3. Delete the messages. You should not receive any more messages from this address.

You are receiving this email message because you requested communication from Google when you applied for and were accepted into the Chrome Notebook Pilot Program.
Google Inc. | 1600 Amphitheatre Pky | Mountain View, CA 94043

I found one piece of text quite interesting in that email….

If you are receiving this email and have not yet received a Cr-48, you should be hearing from us soon.

I obviously don’t have an easy way of confirming this, except personally contacting the people who were sending confused emails in the list, but the way I interpret this statement and the email is that all users who were selected to receive the Cr-48 have been added to the list, whether they have received the laptop yet or not.

I would put my money on the fact that it’s safe to say, if you were put on that list and had no clue why, you should be getting your Cr-48 in the mail sometime soon.

Importing bookmarks in my Cr-48

So I wanted to import my bookmarks to my new Cr-48, but was having trouble finding an easy way of doing so. I realized that my bookmarks were being synced from my Google account, but I never really had anything in there, since I use Firefox at work, instead of Chrome. I would love to use Chrome, but I can not set a separate proxy in Chrome like I can in FF, so it basically renders it useless on my office computer.

While trying to think of a way to get my FF bookmarks into Chrome OS, I first looked into Firefox addons that would help me sync my FF data to my Google account, bookmarks specifically – no luck, though.

Next, I looked in the bookmark settings and found the Import and Export utilities in both Firefox and Chrome. I figured this would be my best bet, since importing my bookmarks into Chrome would put them in my Google account anyways; something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.

When I exported my bookmarks from my office computer, I saved the file onto my USB drive, then plugged it into my Cr-48. I was half-expecting to see some type of notification that I had just inserted a USB key, but I didnt notice anything at all. When I went to use the bookmark import feature, it asked me to select the file I wanted to import…

Unfortunately, there was only one box, and it was blank. Apparently, Google didn’t put in the ability to open files from, or even VIEW a USB drive.

This got me wondering if USB drives were even supported at all.

I was thinking of the other possibilities of how I could get my bookmarks into the browser. I realized I could have just put the exported file onto a remote web server, then just browse to that via the Cr-48, then save that file to the disk, then import that file using the bookmark manager… but I wanted to try something first.

I flipped my switch under the battery to enable developer mode, then proceeded to boot into a command line.

Once in there, I went to see if my USB key was actually active and mounted; and it was! Perfect… now all I did was copy the exported file from my USB key and put it into my Download folder on my home directory. After I did that, I was able to run the bookmark import feature and select the file I had just copied.

Now all my bookmarks were listed in Chrome, and will soon be synced with my Google account 😀

Free Internet

So when I got the Cr-48, I knew it had wireless built into it, but what I wasn’t expecting was 3G wireless built in. When i found out that it did, it made me raise my eyebrow and say “that’s pretty cool”. I wondered how I could utilize that, if at all. I figured I would have to basically find a carrier that would support it, and then sign up for a new plan and everything. It was something I was thinking I could do later and stuff, but there was no way I was going to do that for a test unit laptop.

Imagine my surprise when I looked into the details a little more and found out that Google is actually giving me free 3G service with the laptop 🙂

Apparently, I get a small and simple plan from one of the big cell providers (The big V) that gives me 100 megabytes of data to use per month for the next 2 years. Sweet. Sure, 100 megabytes isn’t going to go far in this day and age of the internet, but its a good backup for those times I’m away from a wireless hotspot. Then again, 3 days in, and I’ve already used 20 of those 100 megabytes… and that was only doing light stuff. I wonder how long this will last.

Anyways, it was really smart to make this 3G enabled from the start… this type of standard in laptops could really make a difference in the way people use them.

Cant type in the dark

Ok, so I found a flaw. Since Google changed the keyboard layout on the Cr-48 a little, I’m finding it kind of hard to type in the dark. I’m actually doing so right now, and I’m having to backspace a lot more frequently than normal – which the backspace key itself is kind of hard to find.

I did figure out pretty quickly that I can just tilt the LCD screen down towards the keyboard really quick to light up the keys – something I had to do when entering my passwords and stuff.

What would make this better? In my opinion, putting a backlight on the keys would work, but that would also drive up the price a little too much… in all honesty, I think just making the print on the keys would make them easier to see in the dark.

Initial Cr-48 reactions

Once I was told I have a large package awaiting me at home, I didn’t even think twice about it, but as soon as I got home for the day and remembered it, I went over to it and saw the return address: “Outer Loop, Louisville, Ky”.

The address looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite remember why… then all of a sudden it hit me. Had I really just received a Cr-48?? I tore open the box and confirmed that I had.

After the initial shock had worn off, I took the notebook out of the box and was just admiring it’s plain black rubberized finish. I’ve always had a thing for plain mattes, and it seems society is now catching up with me and bringing it into modern styles. I love it 🙂

Included in the box was a large sheet of vinyl decals to put on the notebook – something that Google just started including recently, according to Engadget. Although I thought about putting some decals on, I think I’m going to leave it plain, as it suites my tastes better.

Opening the notebook, you could tell it has a very sturdy and rigidly designed mech… something missing from many of yester-year’s laptops. The black matte is strewn across the laptop on every inch of viewable surface, both on the outside and the inside of the lid. I would go as far as saying the design is ALMOST Mac-like, in terms of minimalism and simplicity. Bottom line: it’s pretty as hell 🙂

Once I popped the battery into it, the laptop immediately booted to a screen asking me which wireless connection to use. I was at home, so I just chose my access point. After putting in the wireless key, the next thing the Cr-48 did was update itself. It was a quick and almost seamless update. All I saw was a progress bar and a title. No user interaction required; just as this type of process should be.

After the update, I was immediately greeted to the Getting Started page, which walked me through the basic and hardware-specific features of Chrome and the Cr-48. After only a minute or so into using this, I came to the realization of what Chrome OS (Chromium?) really is. It is simply the Chrome browser, without the option of closing. The entire operating system front end is basically just an internet browser. At first, this made me cringe a little, since when most products have their own proprietary operating system GUIs, they always fail in some major way – but almost instantly after thinking that, I told myself that I was looking at a Google product, and that brought me back pretty quickly. The ability to update over the air at any time is what is setting internet devices apart from the crappy products that existed only years ago.

Since I already live my life on the internet, the concept of working on the cloud is not new to me, and I completely understand both the pros and cons of doing so. Hopefully the Cr-48 will make itself useful in my life. (I’m already pretty sure it’s going to)

Finally, a blog

Well, I finally added a blog on the site. I’ve been looking for a place to keep random posts and publications online for a while, but could never really decide where to put it all. Looks like I’ll just be keeping everything on my project site. Sounds as good as any idea 🙂

The thing that really kicked me into creating the site was what will most likely be the subject of the next few blog posts: My new Google Cr-48 laptop 😀

I will be posting whatever I have to say about this new piece of hardware that people all across America are receiving as we speak.

….anyways. Ill see about styling the blog to make it match the rest of the website, but don’t be surprised if it stays looking like a default WordPress site for a while.