Google+ Hangouts on Air Tip – Q&A

Google+ Hangouts on Air Tip – Q&A

I really like the Q&A feature of Google+ Hangouts on Air. It’s really “upped the game” on hosting engaging and interactive webinars using HOA.

But I had run into issues using Q&A with my events. For some reason, the Q&A app wasn’t always asking me which event to connect to, even for events that should be within the 30 minute window specified by Google.

What the heck was going on?

After some frustrating experimentation, I discovered that the issue was this – your Google+ Hangout on Air MUST be named the same as the name of your event.

I haven’t seen this documented anywhere, but it is definitely a thing.

You’re welcome. (In my best Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy, Voice).

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.

Google and Android Market – Really?

Google and Android Market – Really?

I would love to search for apps on Android Market. But I can only do so from Android Market on a mobile device – not from a laptop or desktop.

Really, Google?

I would love to provide a link to my Android apps on Android Market. But, again, I can only do so from an Android Phone but not a laptop or desktop.

Really, Google?

For a company that is predicated on Search and Links, the current state of Android Market is pretty damned lame.

In so many ways, Google has a more compelling story to tell than Apple and iPhone.

If only they could finish the unfinished bits of the ecosystem.

Like the parts that enable your apps to be discovered, and downloaded.