Tip: Best Sketching/Drawing App for ChromeOS

There are a few really nice Chromebooks that have full stylus support. Google’s premium-level Pixelbook is one. The Samsung Chromebook Pro Plus is another.

When using the Google Keep app or Microsoft’s OneNote for notes, having a good stylus comes in handy. However, what if – as an artist or budding artist – you want a great sketching or drawing experience?

There are many Android options in the Google Play store for those that own Chromebooks that have Android support, but clearly the best is a browser-based option, Sketchpad.

Sketchpad: https://sketch.io/sketchpad/en/

Sketchpad can be installed as a PWA, supports layers, a larger number of pencil options, and you can even turn on automatic save to Google Drive.

 

 


 

Tip: Locating the Android Apps Designed to Work Best with ChromeOS

It’s awesome that Google enabled the ability for ChromeOS users to use Android apps on their devices. This opened up ChromeOS users to thousands of apps. However, not all Android apps work great, or display great, on a ChromeOS device. Most were designed to look great on a small, smartphone screen, making them a poor choice for the larger ChromeOS laptops, 2-in-1’s, and tablets.

However, there is a growing number of good Android apps for ChromeOS. Many Android app developers are modifying their offerings to work better across device types, and that list is growing every day. So, then, how do you locate these ChromeOS compatible Android apps?

A new website has been propped-up that attempts to solve the problem of locating ChromeOS compatible Android apps.

Made for ChromeOS: https://madeforchromeos.com/

The Made for ChromeOS website contains a curated list of the proper Android apps that run best on ChromeOS. You can manually peruse the list but also use the search function.

Additionally, at the top right of the website, you can make app suggestions, making this a truly community-led effort.


 

Tip: Hover to Show Windowed Previews of Running Apps on ChromeOS

For those coming from a Windows environment are keen to the small window previews for running apps, ChromeOS has this option, too. It just has to be enabled.

To enable it…

Open up the Chrome browser and type the following into the address bar:

chrome://flags/#shelf-hover-previews

Once enabled, you’ll need to restart the ChromeOS device for it to take full effect. The browser will give you an option to ‘Restart,’ but this doesn’t always work. You’ll want to take the extra effort and restart the ChromeOS device manually.

Now, when you hover over the icon of a running app on the ChomeOS Shelf, it will display the running instance.


 

Tip: Enabling New Bluetooth Drivers for ChromeOS

Some ChromeOS hardware can have issues with the current drivers for Bluetooth connections, which can lead to frustration. It’s not always an issue but really depends on how well the specific manufacturer put the hardware together.

If you are having Bluetooth connection problems, you can enhance it by enabling a new set of Bluetooth drivers that Google is currently testing.

To do this…

Open up the Chrome browser and type the following into the address bar:

chrome://flags/#newblue

This will expose the new – but experimental – Bluetooth driver and allow you to enable it.

Once enabled, you’ll need to restart the ChromeOS device for it to take full effect. The browser will give you an option to ‘Restart,’ but this doesn’t always work. You’ll want to take the extra effort and restart the ChromeOS device manually.

These drivers will be enabled by Default in future builds of ChromeOS.


 

Tip: Run the Google News Website Instead of the Android App on ChromeOS

Google does a pretty great job with its news app. Its available for iOS and Android and is probably one of the better news sources available, providing all sides of a story in unique full coverage panels.

The Android version, of course, runs on ChromeOS. And, while it works, it can sometimes run into problems and like some other Android apps, makes ChromeOS feel like a Frankenstein monster with Google piecing together obtuse support just to serve the masses.

Use the web version of Google News instead!

Logged in with your Google account (just like in the app), you’ll still get your personalized news and

You can even use the Chrome browser feature to “create a shortcut” and set the launch style for the website to open in a window instead of in the browser – making it feel very much like a normal app.

Google’s news site:  https://news.google.com

 


 

Tip: Install ChromeOS on Almost Any PC

The days of Windows on the majority of PCs is almost over. As ChromeOS continues to improve and installation methods become easier, installing ChromeOS can breath new life into an old PC, laptop, or Windows tablet.

So, if you have old PCs sitting around that don’t meet the specs for some of today’s modern operating systems, you can still give it life and make it run like a new computer – sometimes better performing than a new computer – thanks to Chromefy.

Chromefy is a tool that provides the ability to install the full version of ChromeOS on just about any modern PC, laptop, or Windows tablet.

The process is still a bit convoluted and not for the computer newbie.

Steps involved:

  • Install Chromium OS.
  • Resize disk partitions.
  • Download ChromeOS.
  • Install ChromeOS using terminal commands.

 

But, if you have some good computing skills and an old laptop, jumping through the Chromefy hoops can revitalize a computer to make a perfect holiday gift.

Chromefy:  https://github.com/imperador/chromefy


 

Tip: Using Bookmark Folders on ChromeOS to Save and Open Sets of Pages

Bookmark folders are a great to way to either retain a set of pages that you access frequently or to save pages you haven’t yet read until a later time.

In the following example, the Bookmark folder is used as a Startup to open the pages that are accessed frequently.

The self-created Startup bookmark folder resides on the Bookmark bar at the top of the Chrome browser for easy access.

Now when you want to open the common set of pages, just right-click the bookmark folder and choose the option to open all the pages that reside inside the folder.

Note that you can open a series of pages everytime you open the Chrome browser using the option in Settings.

But, then again, you may not want to open these pages on every startup, so the Bookmark Folder option might be a better choice.

Another great use of this is to save pages to view later. For example, say you’ve opened a bunch of pages for research purposes but you’ve run out of time. Right-click in the tab area and choose to “Bookmark all tabs…” and then save them into a new Bookmark folder.

Now, when you’re ready to go back to your research, you can either open each bookmark individually or use the same “Open all…” option as before.


 

Tip: Outweb and Appscope are ‘Appstores’ for PWAs

If you’re looking for a great set of Progressive Web Apps, Outweb and Appscope might be your best bet.

Both Outweb and Appscope have developed a sort of ‘appstore’ for PWAs.

Running the Chrome browser or ChromeOS…

[1] Tap or click to open one of the PWA apps…

[2] Then use the install option in the Chrome browser menu to install the “app

And, of course, you can also use this option to install the PWA for both Outweb and Appscope to keep tabs on new submissions.


 

Google Duo Now Works on ChromeOS

For those wondering why Google would not develop its Duo application to work on Android tablets and ChromeOS devices, you can stop scratching your head.

Google has now delivered an updated version of its high-quality video call app. This version now works on Android tablets and, yes, also works flawlessly on Chromebooks.

Download the latest: Google Duo – High-Quality Video Calls

 


 

Tip: Configuring a Pin Code to Login to a ChromeOS Device

Those coming from a Windows device may be used to using a pin code to log in. ChromeOS has that option, too. You’ll need to set it up first.

To do it…

[1] On the ChromeOS device, go into Settings.

[2] In the People section, select Screen lock.

[3] Tap or click the Pin or Password option and tap or click the Set Up Pin button.

 

[4] Enter your password, and then select Confirm.

[5] Select PIN or password and then Set up PIN.

[6] Enter a PIN of six digits or more, and then select Continue.

[7] Re-enter your PIN, and then select Confirm.

Now when you log in or come out of standby, you’ll be prompted with a number pad where you can either enter your Pin or your Password.

If you go 24 hours without accessing the ChromeOS device, you’ll need to enter your password (instead of the Pin) again.


 

Tip: Configuring Phone Unlock for ChromeOS

With ChromeOS, you can sign in to or unlock the device when your Android phone is nearby.

Requirements:

  • A phone with Android 5.0+, Smart Lock, and Bluetooth.  Additionally, the phone must have a lock screen, be unlocked, and be within 100 feet of the ChromeOS device.
  • A Chromebook with Chrome OS version 40+ and Bluetooth.

 

To do it…

[1] On the ChromeOS device, go into Settings.

 

[2] In the People section, select Screen lock.

[3] You’ll be prompted for your login password. Type in the password and then select Confirm.

[4] Tap or click the Setup button next to Smart Lock.

[5] Follow the onscreen instructions.

 

 


 

Tip: Best RSS Feed Reader for ChromeOS

Gathering and reading RSS feeds is still a very valuable way to capture news and information. There are a number of RSS feed readers available for ChromeOS. Some are web-based and some have subscription costs attached. But, Feedbro is a ChromeOS/Chrome extension that offers full-function features to pull in content to read offline if you want.

Feedbro offers a lot of customization, allowing you to not only import and export your own feeds, but change how you read them, how often they are updated, and how they are organized.

The reading panel itself works like most any well-organized application, providing the ability to organize similar content into folders and then manipulate the reading panels to your preference.

Because Feedbro is a Chrome browser plugin, it will work for Mac, Windows, and Linux, too.

You can get it in the Chrome Web Store as an extension: Feedbro