Moving the Dropbox Folder on a Cr-48

Thanks to these lovely instructions and this wonderful set of compiled programs, I was able to install Dropbox on the Cr-48! There was one thing that bothered me, however, and that was the inability to view the file/directory listing from the browser. By default, the dropbox folder is stored in /home/chronos/user/Dropbox and it seems like the only directory that is viewable from the browser is /home/chronos/user/Downloads (which can be seen by typing Control+o in a tab). You can also type in file:///home/chronos/user/Downloads in the address bar to see a listing. But if you try to view the Dropbox folder, you get an access denied error code. From a permissions point, the Dropbox folder has less restricted permissions than the Downloads folder, so I guess there is something else restricting access.

Anyways, it seemed like I could resolve this if I moved my Dropbox folder inside the Downloads folder. So here are some steps on how I was able to do that without messing up the syncing.

First some notes:

  • the ~/.dropbox contains the sqlite database file config.db
  • the ~/.dropbox-dist directory contains the dropbox binary for starting/stopping the service

The steps:

  1. Stop the Dropbox process. I tried doing ~/.dropbox-dist/dropbox stop but it didn’t work (it said “Another instance of Dropbox is running!”). So I ran a ps and killed the process.
  2. Move your dropbox folder to the new location (somewhere inside the Downloads folder so it’s viewable from the browser). You may want to backup your files just in case too.
  3. Update the dropbox folder location in config.db.
    1. sqlite3 ~/.dropbox/config.db
    2. Check the existing path: SELECT value FROM config WHERE key=”dropbox_path”;
    3. Update to the new path: REPLACE INTO  config (key, value) VALUES (“dropbox_path”, “/path/to/new/location”);
  4. Start the dropbox service again. You can either run ~/.dropbox-dist/dropbox start, or assuming the .bashrc file contains a script to automatically start the service in the background, you can exit and reopen the terminal.
  5. Test it! Make a new file in the folder, and it should appear when you login to your dropbox account online.

Alternatively, I just came across this script, which is more official. I probably would’ve tried it if I saw it earlier.

Hello CR-48

The Cr-48 I won in the LucidChart contest arrived last Friday! Here are some shots of it, if you don’t know what it looks like already (basically it’s just matte black all over and completely unbranded and unlabeled).

First Impressions

I really like the feel of it. The rubbery matte texture makes it feel solid and rugged, but it’s still thin enough to feel slim and compact (although it’s no Macbook Air or iPad 2). The uniform thickness is also a nice change for me. The opening/closing of the lid also feels polished and nicely balanced.

This was my first experience with a multi-touch trackpad so I was not accustomed to it. I discovered I tend to keep my thumb on the mouse buttons and that was harder to do on the trackpad where sometimes my thumb was I guess above the “button zone.” Clicking also sometimes resulted in slight movement of the cursor before the click so I had to push down carefully so the cursor would remain on what I wanted to click on. The two-finger scrolling is nice, but doesn’t perform smoothly in the OS itself, which is unfortunate but hey; Google clearly emphasized this is reference hardware and that things might not work well.

ChromeOS may not seem like much more than an overglorified Chrome browser, and I guess that’s what it is. But for what it’s worth, I like how it’s simple in that way. Logging into it was just like signing into your google account and that one step reduces the redundancy of signing in again from your browser. For myself in particular, the first thing I usually do when my computer boots is open chrome anyways so it’s nice how this is streamlined for that use.

Another aspect of the simplicity I like is turning it on and off, and putting it to sleep/waking it up. When you open the lid, it begins booting up. As advertised, it boots quite quickly. To shut it down, you just hold down the power key until everything on the screen zooms away into darkness. In 2 seconds, your computer is off – no more of that annoying waiting to make sure all your programs shut down correctly and that your computer actually turns off (this is a problem with my work laptop; sometimes I initiate the shutdown and put it in my backpack, only to discover at home that it didn’t actually shutdown and almost overheated because it was in my backpack). Quick on/off is nice.

In terms of running the software, it’s not zippy. Sometimes there’s an ever-so slight lag that makes you think your click or keypress didn’t register, and the mouse cursor doesn’t change to indicate that it’s busy for that half a second of uncertainty. This is actually observable in linux as well, and this small detail is something that Windows actually does very well (except that generally it’s busier for much longer than half a second – but at least the mouse cursor tells you that the CPU is attempting to do what you requested). It’s running a 1.66 Ghz Atom processor, and those have never been zippy from my experience, but I was hoping for a zippier performance since ChromeOS is, at least from an experience perspective, supposed to be much simpler/lightweight than a full-fledged OS.

Upcoming Plans

I just booted into developer mode, which gives the user access to a limited chrome shell and limited bash shell. I’m trying to see if this can be used for programming. So far, thanks to helloandre’s cr48 repository on github, I have git, vim, and python installed and was able to configure ssh easily to access my github account. I’m guessing it could be feasible to develop client-side stuff like javascript interactions and HTML/CSS and some simple python scripts. But it would be awesome if somehow if I could also get ruby working on it too, since I just so happen started to pick it up.


LucidChart and Cr-48

Well this was a pleasant surprise.

A few weeks ago I was looking for a wire-framing/prototyping/mock-up solution online (I will write a post about my findings later), and one of the ones I came across was LucidChart. Basically it’s a web-based diagram creator built with HTML5 and javascript; an alternative to something like Microsoft Visio.

As luck would have it, I saw that they were holding a contest and giving out 100 Cr-48 notebooks, and all you had to do was make something to enter. Since I wanted to play around with the app anyways, I figured I would try to draw something to get a feel of what the app was capable of, and enter it into the contest for kicks. I ended up drawing some renditions of Kirby, my all-around favorite Nintendo character. You can see it here.

The contest ended on February 12 and several days after that, I got an email saying “Congratulations! You’ve been selected to receive a Cr-48 from LucidChart and Google!” I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that subject line and let out a “WHAAA??” like the minion in Despicable Me.

You can see all the winning entries on LucidChart’s blog entry. Yay! I have received my tiny bit of internet fame.

Anyways, I plan on making use of the Cr-48 and writing my thoughts and reviews on it here. I’m quite excited for it.

I also wrote a post about chrome OS here, if you’re interested. And if you don’t use the chrome browser, you should. Because it’s fast.