Chromecast – Initial Thoughts

Chromecast – Initial Thoughts

My initial impressions / thoughts on the Chromecast:

  • My two televisions HDMI ports aren’t powered, so that means I need to use the Chromecast’s USB power cord. I’m out of luck on my downstairs TV (I’m out of outlets). So far, this has been the case (needing external power) of many of the reviewers I’ve seen the past few days. Perhaps I should use this as an excuse to upgrade to a better (bigger) TV set.
  • Setup was straightforward, once I got past the power issue.
  • Upon startup, the Chromecast broadcasts a WiFi SID, where you pair up with a code on the screen. You basically give your Chromecast your WiFi router’s password, and go on from there. But beyond that, I don’t see a way that you explicitly set a password on the device itself (pretty much, once you’re connected on the same subnet, you can access the device). This has potentially bad consequences for anyone wishing to use it in a public setting, because if anyone can get on your local subnet (via password or if the device is on an open network), then they can access the device. I fully understand I may have just missed something – someone please correct me if I have missed where to password protect the Chromecast itself.
  • WPA2 Enterprise / RADIUS is not currently supported.
  • Netflix and YouTube “casting” worked great. I couldn’t get Chrome on my iPad to recognize the device. Casting from Chrome on my MacBook Pro worked fine, though it was very jerky. Also, I expected moving from tab to tab to be more fluid – you have to explicitly tell the device to cast the tab each time you navigate to it. Otherwise, this worked fine.

So on balance, my summary is this: for the price, it’s a no-brainer. But, if you already have Apple TV, it already has superior mirroring options from what Chromecast offers (which is basically, just from a Chrome tab). If you have to support iOS, PC, OSX, and Android, then Chromecast is worth a look. Security-wise, I would be reticent about sticking these in an enterprise setting. I suspect these little bad boys might even be an exploitable security hole, if someone can root it, and thus gain access to your local subnet.

Anyway, that’s my initial take. I apologize in advance for any blatant overlooking of capabilities – corrections and “gentle” chiding is actually much appreciated.

And as always, I would love to hear feedback on your experience and findings with the Chromecast.


MashTalk: Is Google Chromecast an Apple TV Killer?

Mashable Hangout talking Android and Chromecast.

Things that excite me about Chromecast:

  • Cheap. $35.
  • Simple.

Things that don’t excite me about Chromecast:

  • So small, I think these dongles will sprout legs and walk away in classrooms, unless we secure them.
  • This is not an AirPlay replacement. Content is played from URLs from the device. So, bummer, because this (mirroring applications from tablets and phones) is where we have a particular need on our campus.
  • It looks like this device, like all consumer devices, is designed for consumer WiFi environments, and not necessarily enterprise or campus environments. Will withhold further judgement on this “con” until I play around with an actual device early next week.
  • Power. Unless you have a newer TV, you will need to run external power to the device. Again, bummer.

Net-net: Still excited about the device, but not as excited once I started seeing some of the challenges.

This is a 1.0 device, and cheap enough to give it a fair look, kick the tires, and see where it can – or can’t – fit into our classroom teaching environments.


Blending learning and 3D printing: Hendrix College’s CIO explains what’s working

Blending learning and 3D printing: Hendrix College’s CIO explains what’s working

Believe it or not, not every college and university is rushing to throw its name into the MOOC hat these days.  Many liberal arts schools—like those in the Associated Colleges of the South—are still focused largely on meeting the technological demands of students already on campus.

David Hinson serves as executive vice president and CIO for ACS member Hendrix College, a small liberal arts college in Conway, Ark.  At Hendrix, blended learning and classes taught via teleconference are front and center for Hinson, and keeping the school’s infrastructure up to par with the growing number of devices brought on campus by students is a much greater priority than becoming the latest member of MOOC mania. If his spot on the “20 Rising Star CIOs” list alongside The Huffington Post’s 50 most social CIOs on Twitteris any indication, he’s also helped increase his institution’s visibility.


Shorter tenure, higher turnover among college presidents

Shorter tenure, higher turnover among college presidents

Over three years, from July 2011 through June 2014, 16 of 36 four-year colleges and universities will have seen the exit or arrival of a president.


Harvard Business Review: CIOs Must Lead Outside of IT

Harvard Business Review: CIOs Must Lead Outside of IT

The CIO paradox is a set of contradictions that lies at the heart of IT leadership. Be strategic and operational. Stay secure and boost innovation. Adopt emerging technologies, while weighed down by the past. Many CIOs have buckled under the CIO paradox, while others have managed to be effective despite it. In working with these successful CIOs over the years, I have found that they all share a common set of practices, philosophies and approaches. We are in the midst of a computing renaissance, when all CIOs will need to raise their game and master this same set of practices.


Why Mobile Web Apps Are Slow

Why Mobile Web Apps Are Slow

Okay, but how does JS performance compare to native performance exactly?

Dropbox for the Enterprise ‘Will Be Dropbox’

Dropbox for the Enterprise ‘Will Be Dropbox’

The market for file storage and sharing is crowded, but Dropbox seems to have the drop on Box, and others.


3 Questions With Higher Ed CIO David J. Hinson

3 Questions With Higher Ed CIO David J. Hinson

David J. Hinson is executive vice president and chief information officer for Hendrix College, an undergraduate liberal arts college in Conway, Ark. He also has his own blog, David J. Hinson’s Logorrhea, where he talks about IT administration, particularly in a higher ed context. In addition, he is an active mobile developer who has developed commercial apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7.


Liberal Arts College Expands Horizons with LifeSize

Liberal Arts College Expands Horizons with LifeSize

For more than 130 years, Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas has been providing students with an intensive, well-rounded education, and US News and World Reports has consistently rated them as one of the best “up-and-coming” Liberal Arts Colleges in the country.  The university is constantly looking for ways to improve the learning experience of its 1,400 students, and functions as an educational laboratory, finding ways to combine classroom education with hands-on participation.  That’s why new Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer David J. Hinson decided to add video conferencing solutions to the school’s academic arsenal.

Process – You’re Doing It Wrong

Process – You’re Doing It Wrong

If you have created a process intended to demonstrate how busy you are, you’re doing it wrong.

If you have created a process in order to justify why you’re going to say “no” to a request, you’re doing it wrong.

If you have created a process that benefits you, but no one else on your team, you’re doing it wrong.

If you can’t measure how much more effective your process has made your team, compared to not using your process, you’re doing it wrong.

A good process helps everyone do their job more effectively, in a shorter period of time than otherwise not using the steps required by its methodology. A great process does this, and is invisible to the constituencies that it serves.

So, if you design a work methodology that coerces people to adhere to a process that you know is meant to separate them from you, is meant to show how busy you are, or that is crafted solely for you to point at a chart on the wall and say “it’s not in this sprint”, you’re absolutely doing it wrong.

End of serving-the-methodology-rather-than-the-customer rant.