Using Chrome Remote Desktop For Gaming In Chrome OS



In earlier Articles I’ve talked about using Chrome Remote Desktop for using Windows Programs in Chrome OS and for using Microsoft Visual Studio in Chrome OS. While wanting to use Windows Programs in Chrome OS is a slightly more mainstream than wanting to use Microsoft Visual Studio in Chrome OS, there is one area of Computing that’s not fully covered by Chrome OS equivalent web Apps is Gaming & this is where Chrome Remote Desktop really comes into its own, there’s no performance issues for playing built-in Windows Games, more advanced games might have a problem unless you’ve got a Multi-Core CPU, a dedicated Graphics Card and lots of RAM.
I’ve not had much time to experiment with Gaming through Chrome Remote Desktop, and will do a follow-up Article when I’ve had chance to experiment with Gaming via Chrome Remote Desktop, but doing the standard stuff like Programming and using Windows Programs on my aging Toshiba Laptop via my Acer C720 Chromebok via Chrome Remote Desktop is as smooth as using my Toshiba Laptop directly even when connecting over a 3G connection, but Gaming will need a high-speed connection that is as stable as your WiFi connection if you want to successfully Game using Chrome Remote Desktop over the Internet.



Learning To Program In Microsoft Visual Studio: From A Chromebook & Chrome OS User


While there is the Neutron Drive IDE Web App for Programming in Chrome OS, anyone who wants to learn how to Program in any or all the Languages that come as part of Visual Studio, it’s probably best to learn how to Program using Visual Studio since it’s the Industry Standard IDE for Programming.

But Visual Studio is expensive!!!! I hear you cry, well that may be true for the Professional & Ultimate Editions of Visual Studio which have been part of the Visual Studio line since 2005. visual Studio Express 2013 is composed of 3 different Editions (Visual Studio Express Web for Developing Web Applications, Visual Studio Express Windows for Developing Windows 8+ Modern UI Apps & Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop for Developing Traditional Windows Programs that run on all versions of Windows) There is also an Express Edition of  the server-side Version Control Team Foundation Server that also runs on Client Machines thanks to Windows built-in Web Server IIS. These Express Editions including Team Foundation Server are free to Download & use on as many Windows Desktops or Laptops as you like, Visual Studio 2013 only runs on Windows 8/8.1 so if you’re running Windows 7 then you will need Visual Studio 2012. Visual Studio Express takes all the complexity out of Visual Studio Professional or Ultimate.

Programming using Visual Studio & Chrome OS

The only way to Program using Visual Studio on Chrome OS requires a Windows Computer with Visual Studio installed along with the Chrome Web Browser & the Chrome Remote Desktop extension installed and the Chrome Remote Desktop installed on your Chrome OS computer. See my last Article for more on Chrome Remote Desktop.

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop

Visual Studio runs just as smooth as if you were using it directly on your Windows computer over Chrome Remote Desktop when on a WiFi Network but it runs slightly slower when using a Mobile data connection, but this might show that there is some form of compression going on that’s not as noticeable when on WiFi.

Programming in Visual Studio while using Chrome OS gives you all the benefits of Chrome OS. This is true for any Programmer who wants to Program while away from home or the office, as they don’t have to take a heavy Laptop.

With Chromebooks being light and inexpensive compared to Windows Laptops, & Windows Ultrabooks of a comparable size and Wight being the same price if not more expensive than a regular Windows Laptop then a Chromebook makes the excellent companion  for a programmer especially when using Chrome Remote Desktop means that a Programmer doesn’t have to take their expensive Laptop on the road with them to Program.

Visual Studio Express is the perfect IDE for any novice Programmer as it allows you to install the correct tools for what you want to create.

  • If you want to create Web Apps then Visual Studio Express Web Edition is the right IDE for you.
  • If you want to create Windows 8 Modern Apps then Visual Studio Express Windows Edition is the right IDE for you.
  • If you want to create traditional Windows Programs then Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop Edition is the right IDE for you.

It’s even possible to install all three of the Visual Studio Express Editions if you require all three. If you’re a student and lucky enough to be able to get a Student MSDN Subscription then I’d suggest getting one of the none Express Editions of Visual Studio from there. (intact I’d recommend that any student that is able to get a Student MSDN Subscription gets all the downloads that they’re entitled to while they can).

Why I chose Microsoft Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop Edition

  I chose Microsoft Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop Edition because I’m currently interested in creating traditional Windows Desktop Programs not the Windows 8 Modern Apps or Web Apps. Once I’ve learnt how to write Programs in all the different Languages available in the Windows Desktop Edition I’ll move on to the Windows Edition before finally going on to the Web Edition.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to Program since Visual Studio Express originally came out in 2005 so learning to Program for the Windows Desktop was the obvious first step to take in the learning process for me, but for many of you that are reading this and are maybe thinking about learning to Program then the Visual Studio Web or Windows IDE’s might be more of what you’re into for your first step into Programming. (The downside to Programming for Windows & not the Windows Desktop is that you need to pay for a Developer Subscription to distribute your apps on the Windows Store, where as Windows Desktop Programs can be easily distributed  through Source Forge, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive & Copy meaning that you can get your Programs out there with little or no cost involved.)

I’ll do a follow-up Article at some point in the future.

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop



Using Chrome Remote Desktop To Use Windows, Mac OS X Or Linux In Chrome OS



While many people call Chromebooks not real Laptops because you can’t run programs like Visual Studio or Office on them and the fact that some of the Chrome OS apps that do the same thing are a little lacking in features compared to their Windows, Mac OS X or Linux equivalents.

Google does offer a lightweight and convenient solution for anyone who needs to use Windows, Mac OS X or Linux programs in the form of Chrome Remote Desktop, Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to keep using your Chromebook, Chromebox or Chromebase while being logged into a different OS remotely. This is handy if you need to use a particular program doesn’t have a Chrome OS equivalent.

I use Chrome Remote Desktop to log into my Windows 8.1 Pro Laptop to keep it up-to-date as well as  use programs like Visual Studio & PhotoShop. I can see Chrome Remote Desktop being a very useful app for College students, as they can keep their heavy Windows Laptop or MacBook Pro at home or in their dorm room and use a Chromebook at lectures and still be able to use programs like Visual Studio e.t.c. without having to worry about carrying a heavy Laptop all day along with their textbooks e.t.c.

A Windows 8.1 Pro session open in Chrome Remote Desktop, while TweetDeck is open and docked to the right hand side of my Chrome OS Desktop

A Windows 8.1 Pro session open in Chrome Remote Desktop, while TweetDeck is open and docked to the right hand side of my Chrome OS Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop is really handy for me as I prefer the Keyboard on my Acer Chromebook to the Keyboard on my Toshiba Windows Laptop, so Chrome Remote Desktop allows me to Code in Visual Studio while still using my preferred Keyboard.

Google Calendar on the left of my Chrome OS Desktop, while Google Remote Desktop is on the right with Visual Studio running in Windows 8.1 Pro

Google Calendar on the left of my Chrome OS Desktop, while Google Remote Desktop is on the right with Visual Studio running in Windows 8.1 Pro

Chrome Remote Desktop has another handy little feature that is Remote Assistance that allows a Desktop can be shared to allow for someone to help with troubleshooting while not being sat in-front of the computer that needs troubleshooting, but this is beyond the scope of this Article as it’s not really a feature that many people will use compared to the Remote Desktop feature.



Skullcandy UpRock Un-boxing

Skullcandy Logo Skullcandy Navy & Gold

I was looking for some on the ear headphones for YouTube viewing on my Laptop, Phone & Tablet, Podcast listening on my Phone, Music listening on my Laptop, Phone & Tablet & some light gaming on my Windows Laptop as I usually use my Microsoft LifeChat headset for extended gaming and after watching many YouTube videos I decided on the Skullcandy UpRock or JVC  HA-S44X Xtreme Xplosives. After looking at both pairs of headphones I decided on the Skullcandy UpRock’s as the size of the JVC Xtreame Xplosives were a little on the large side for any kind of use other than at home.

I really wanted the Navy & Gold UpRock’s that I’d seen on the Argos website (a UK retail chain) and was a little disappointed that they were out of stock as they were reported to have been an Argos exclusive colour, so I settled on a choice of the UpRock Rasta’s, UpRock in Black or the UpRock Space, while out I went into my closest B&M Store (a UK discount retailer) and saw that they had got the UpRock’s for £9.99 in both the regular & with Mic versions.

I was tempted to get the UpRock’s with Mic until I realized that they were in a sort of Plum Pink, so I decided to get the Navy regular UpRock’s which to my amazement were intact the Navy & Gold version that Argos had advertised as being an Argos exclusive colour. So here’s my un-boxing.


The box is kind of unique design as it has the feel of a box that would contain headphones in the price range of Beats by dr.dre, Soul by Ludacris or Streets by 50 and not of a pair of headphones in the budget category.

Boxed Skullcandy UpRock's

Boxed Skullcandy UpRock’s

The bottom of the box has a rip strip opening but is still surprisingly well sealed shut. once open it revivals the  cable of the headphones and a documentation leaflet.

Opened box revealing the Cable & Documentation leaflet

Opened box revealing the Cable & Documentation leaflet

The cable of the UpRock’s is fixed into the headphones & is non removable like many of the budget headphones on the market, but surprisingly it’s a flat tangle free cable and has a soft touch feel to it with an unusual elongated plug allowing it to be easily removed, but the shape of the plug might not fit in a phone that’s in a case like the Lunatik Taktik Extreme or any other shock or weatherproof case without the use of an extension cable.

Documentation leaflet.

Documentation leaflet.

The documentation leaflet just basically has a few warning information on it in various languages and is nothing of any real interest.

UpRocks out of box still in packaging.

UpRock’s out of box still in packaging.

Now onto the UpRock’s themselves. They are lightweight and covered in a soft touch feeling coating with a matt gold metallic looking Scullcandy logo on the arms where they enter the cups creating a hinge to allow the cups to move, the headphones don’t extend very much but for me I don’t need to extend them to fit my head comfortably. The ear pads are soft and then unusually the covered ear pads are covered in material instead of having the material under the ear pads, the ear pads have the Skullcandy logo on them along with Skullcandy being embossed on the under side of the headband.

They have a clicking plastic sound when shaken, but then for a pair of headphones made of plastic that are normally priced at £24.99 including the Skullcandy web store then this can be forgiven.

I’ll have a full review coming up in the following days or weeks, once I’ve had the chance to use them over a long period.



The Gaza Conflict: An Easy Solution To End It



With fighting still going on in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians which has gone on and off since 2006 & with two failed ceasefire in the current round of the conflict, wouldn’t it be far simpler to end the conflict for good-by simply stopping all Media coverage of the conflict? Now many of you reading may say that it’s harsh, cruel and inhumane to  just sweep it under the carpet from a Media point of view, also some may even say that it’s slightly racist to o, but just hear me out before judging me.

The Militants in this conflict could be compared to spoiled children as the more they get attention from the Media the more they fight hence the two failed ceasefire. As if this wasn’t just attention seeking then they would have managed to keep the first ceasefire going.

Cutting off all Media coverage could be a bit harsh for a first attempt at ending the Gaza conflict, but at least slowly scaling back the coverage to the point that where all coverage of the conflict by the Media has been cut off. Simply ignoring a child that’s showing off for attention is usually the way to stop the child from showing off.

With how the Israeli and Palestinian Militants are acting then treating them like spoiled children that are showing off might be the simplest solution to ending the conflict, as what started out in 2006 as political fighting over election results in 2005 & 2006 has turned into a political fight for who controls and does what.

Maybe scaling back to an eventual blackout of Media coverage of the conflict might be just the ticket to get it into these Militants thick heads that there petty argument over who controls what just simply isn’t worth killing innocent people over, as in the end they’re going to end up killing everyone off in the area including themselves then no one has actually won control of the area, but thousands of innocent people will have lost their lives because members of a few opposing political groups in to areas of the middle east can’t get along like civilized human beings.

When Political fighting turns into military fighting be it Army against Army, Militants against Army, radicalized Religious groups against everyone that doesn’t believe the same as they do or as in this case Militants against Militants then no one is the winner as Political fighting should be carried out in debates that can eventually bring both parties together for the good of the people, but the trouble with Militant groups is that all they understand is that the way to get their point across is to kill innocent people, and in the case of radicalized Religious groups is that they’re right and everyone is wrong and Racist so must die (but more about this last point in a future Article as I don’t want to take this one to far off topic).

Please feel free to leave your comments below, but make sure that they’re not borderline Racist or threatening in any way as they will be removed.

Rant over



Google Photo Sphere Camera Comes To iOS

More-goodies-found-in-the-Google-Camera-APK-including-Photo-Sphere-Live-WallpapersGoogle yesterday released Photo Sphere for iOS devices. Photo Spheres have been a staple of the Android camera since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and the release of the Photo Sphere Camera App for iOS is the first time that Google has extracted a feature of an App to specifically release it for a particular Mobile OS.

Google has previously extracted the Photos App from Google + only for Android and Hangouts on all supported Mobile Platforms, but making a feature of an App as a dedicated App only available on iOS is a first for any developer.

For those of you that don’t know, Photo Spheres are full 360 degree pictures that are very similar to the way that Google Maps Street View works, where you can look around the photo as if you were actually where the picture was taken.

The iOS Photo Sphere Camera App also allows you to tag your Photo Spheres and share them on Google Maps, Sharing your Photo Spheres with Google Maps then creates Street Views of the tagged Photo Spheres, whether Google blurred out the Licence Plates that are captured with the Photo Sphere Camera or not when shared is unknown at present (as I’ve not had the chance to take an outdoor Photo Sphere to check it out.

Most people complain about Devs separating out features of Apps into separate Apps,  but in the case of Google separating out the Photo Sphere Camera feature of Google Camera just to bring it to iOS while keeping it part of Google Camera on Android is a good idea.



Powermat Wireless Charging Kit For iPhone 4/4S Review



After using the Powermat Wireless charging kit for iPhone 4/4S for a week and a day, it’s changed the way that I use my iPhone 4S as I don’t have to remember to plug it in to charge it or un-plug it when I need to go out. All I have to do now is just place it in the charging dock to charge it and take it out of the charging dock when I use it or go out.

Other than the sheer convenience of not being tethered to the mains while charging and having to remember to un-plug it when I go out it seems to charge my phone a lot quicker than using a wired charger, which means I don’t have to worry about running out of power while out if I’ve put it on charge before going out and it not getting a decent charge. The audible sound when placing the phone in and removing the phone from the charger is handy when I’ve got my phone on silent as I know when it’s started charging.

The size of the charging dock means that it’s compact and doesn’t take up much space, as it’s only slightly larger than the phone, this means that it won’t take up much space on a desk, bed side table, Coffee table or any table at side of where you sit, unlike traditional iPhone docks that tend to have speakers e.t.c. built-in and tend to take up a lot of space. The built-in cable management on the plug means that you don’t have any cables to get tangled up, this is a really handy feature that comes into its own if you’ve got your charger on say a kitchen counter where the cable could easily get damaged if not wrapped up.

The Powermat Wireless charging system is really a good idea and it’s really a shame that the QI Wireless charging standard is more widely used as the QI charging mats need you to place your phone in exactly the right place to get it to charge, where as with the Powermat standard you just drop it into the dock and it works. There are QI style charging mats for the Powermat standard, but with the Powermat case you get stickers that you place on the mat to help you correctly place your phone.