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Chrome Device Lifecycle Update

Like any hardware, Chrome devices have a useful life.  Per Google’s policies:

  • Every Chrome device receives regular updates from Google until it reaches its Auto Update Expiration (“AUE”) date, subject to support from component manufacturers. When a device reaches AUE, automatic software updates from Google will no longer be provided.

  • Chrome devices that have not reached their AUE date will continue to receive OS updates and function with Chrome Education Upgrade and Chrome Enterprise Upgrade (a.k.a Chrome management licensing). After the AUE date is reached, existing and future policies may not work as intended, and technical support will not be provided.

  • Google will publish a model’s AUE date after its release, giving buyers time to make purchase decisions. Please check the AUE date when making a purchasing decision.

For your convenience, we are providing a link to Google’s Chrome Device Auto Update Policy here on our site.

Don’t Lose It, Use It (for PD)

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June has arrived and the 2014-2015 school year is almost at a close. Now it is time to turn our attention on the summer and beyond. As the next academic year approaches, it’s important to consider how to continue improving the classroom experience and incorporate techniques that appeal to a wide range of learning styles.

As always, here at Cumulus Global we are ready and excited to help with any technology needs you might have, but we are sensitive to the fact that budget can be an issue. So, to celebrate the end of this school year and to welcome in the next, we are offering special pricing on our Professional Development and Training services.

For a limited time, you can save money with prepaid professional development services.

20% off on-site or live web training sessions

  • Full Day On Site Training – $1995 now $1,596
  • One Web-Based Session – $695 now $556
  • Series of Three Web-Based Sessions – $1925 now $1,540
  • Series of Six Web-Based Sessions – $3,500 now $2,800

10% off our Professional Development planning services

  • Basic Professional Development Plan – $995 now $895
  • Full Professional Development Plan – $1,995 now $1,795

A great opportunity for surplus funds, you can use your prepaid services anytime during the 2015/2016 fiscal year (subject to availability of a Certified Google Apps for Education Instructor).

For more information or to discuss your options, please contact us or fill in the form, below.


Chrome Support for Windows XP Ends

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As announced by Google in October, 2013, Chrome support for Windows XP will end on April 30, 2015 — a full year after Microsoft discontinued support for the Windows XP operating system.

This means:

  • Chrome will continue to function on Windows XP, but no new features will be added.  Chrome will continue to get updates on Windows XP until (at least) the end of 2015.
  • Google will no longer provide Google for Work support for any issue related to Chrome on Windows XP, including Google Apps for Work, Education, and Government. If you have an issue on an XP machine with Chrome, you will need to reproduce the issue on a supported platform to receive support.

That fact that Google will still provide updates, means Chrome users on Windows XP systems will continue to have a secure and reliable browser, with some additional time to move to a supported platform.

 

 

 

Chrome Extensions, from Google, for the Google Apps User

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We are often asked which Chrome extensions we like and recommend for use with Google Apps. While extensions often relate to third party applications and services, here are several extensions from Google we install for most implementations:

  • Application Launcher for Drive
  • Chrome Remote Desktop
  • Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer
  • Google Calendar Checker (for some)
  • Google Docs
  • Google Docs Viewer
  • Google Keep (if the user uses Keep)
  • Google+ Notifications
  • Hangouts
  • Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides
  • Save to Google Drive
  • Send from Gmail

These can be added by users or configured and pushed out using the Chrome Management service within the Google Apps Admin Console.


If you want assistance managing chrome extensions and other applications through the admin console, please contact our Service Team.


 

 

 

Chromebook SSO Eases Access Administration

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Single Sign-On (SSO) enables users to access multiple systems and applications with a single username and password, and a single login screen.  And while many schools and businesses use SSO for Google Apps and related solutions, Chrome devices have always required a separate login.

To easy access administration and simplify user logins, Google has launched SAML-based SSO login for Chrome devices.   Organizations running current versions of Chrome on devices registered via Chrome Management licenses can now extend their Google Apps SSO login to the registered Chrome devices.

Feel free to contact us if you would like more information or assistance with your setup.

 

Google Extends “End of Life” for ALL Chrome Devices

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Google is updating the official “End of Life” policy for all Chrome devices, including retroactive coverage to previous models.

This change extends the minimum “End of Life” (EOL) term from 3 years to 5 years, adding at least 2 additional years of automatic Chrome and security updates.  When a device’s EOL term is reached, Google no longer guarantees Chrome updates will be provided.

The new minimum EOL term is now 5 years from the date the device hardware is made available for purchase. Some models may have a further extension based on regional releases and the length of sale. Google will be updating the EOL policy and projected dates on the Chrome OS End of Life Policy page soon to reflect this change.

Cumulus Global Publishes Google Accessibility Overview

 

As more businesses, schools, government offices, and non-profits move to cloud computing and Google Apps, user accessibility becomes and important part of the evaluation, selection, and implementation processes.  To help organizations understand and plan for accessibility, Cumulus Global has published a Google Accessibility Overview report covering Google Apps, Chrome, and Chromebook / Chromebox devices.

“Accessibility goes beyond ADA and Section 508 compliance, it is about enabling individuals to work to their full potential,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global.  “Our intent is to make it easier for organizations to understand how Google products and services fit with their accessibility needs.”

The report provides current information, along with links to all source materials so that readers may track updates and new capabilities over time.  The report is available for free at: http://goo.gl/sfu66.

What Might Your Browser Say About Your Intelligence?

In an online poll of over 100,000 people, AptiQuant, a Canadian firm that provides online employment assessments found a relationship between IQ and browser choice.  In the report, AptiQuant finds that individuals with lower IQ scores are more likely to use Internet Explorer than other browsers, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

The authors of the study note that “Although observational findings linking resistance to change/upgrade software to scores on cognitive tests maybe distorted by a lot of factors, it has been suggested that individuals on the lower end of the IQ scale tend to keep using outdated versions of antique web browsers.”  They extend this observation to their hypothesis:

“Because cognitive scores are related to tech savviness, we hypothesized that choice of web browser is related to cognitive ability of an individual.”

What the study found is that:

  • A significant number of individuals with a low score on the cognitive test were found to be using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) versions 6.0 to 9.0.
  • There was no significant difference in the IQ scores between individuals using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple’s Safari; however, it was on an average higher than IE users.
  • Individuals using Opera, Camino and IE with Chrome Frame scored a little higher on an average than others.

From this, the study concludes that “… the IQ score and the choice of web browser are related.”

While interesting, the study does not establish browser choice as an indicator of IQ.  Rather, it does seem to support the general notion that intelligence relates to willingness to change and adopt new tools (in this case, software).

And, before you tease your IE-using friends, remember that this survey was far from scientific, with self-selecting users who responded to web advertisements for a free IQ test.

 

I Love My New Chromebook, but …

As we prepare to offer Chromebooks to schools and SMEs, our first unit has arrived.  Never has setting up a new computing device been so simple.  Once you power up, the OS walks you through connecting to your wireless network and downloading the latest Chrome OS updates.

Enter your Google Apps username and password, and you are up and running.

We are using the Samsung 5 WiFi edition.  The keyboard is fine, but compact.  Performance is superb as is screen, audio, and video quality (through the built-in camera).  Boot up takes ~8 seconds and coming out of sleep is instant.  A far cry from the coffee break required when returning from Standby on my Windows laptop.

I love it, but ….  it does take some adjustment.

ChromeOS is an OS in a browser.  There is no “closing” the browser to see your desktop.  Your “desktop” is the new tab screen, with your applications listed in a logical order.

There is local storage, about 50GB, and the ability to use USB and SD cards for more space.  The local storage is not like a traditional hard drive.  There is no letter, it is simply accessed through the browser.

Google could make moving to Chromebooks easier with a few changes to Google Apps and Gmail in particular.   When composing emails, Gmail has an “Attach File” link that assumes you are loading a file from local storage.  I suggest that Gmail should also have a “Share Doc” link that lets you browse your Google Docs collections and select links to include/attach in the message.  If I am moving to the cloud, make sharing content from the cloud the default.

Aside from that, I find the Chromebook more useful for working on the go than my iPad, as I prefer the Chrome browser interface to the mail, calendar, and ‘mini browser’ interfaces on the iPad.

Let me know what you think.
–Allen