Skip to main content

Google Pixel Slate - day 1 review

It's still not a great day for my Google Pixel Slate. The starting point should be a better understanding about the hardware and the compatibility of the hardware but Google is not good at that as they have already demonstrated. But now one full day into this machine I have some impressions and ideas as to how useful it's going to be.

The First Boot

This was fine. You have to respond to all the usual ChromeOS questions. Nothing out of the ordinary here. However, I have noticed that after I shutdown the machine that pressing the power button does not cause the machine to wake or respond immediately. There is a 4-plus second delay and there is no feedback to know whether or not you have kicked the power. So I have found myself click click clicking the power button until I just give up.

Keyboard

The keyboard has a great feel. The rounded keys have caused some reviewers to complain but that's silly. The extra space between keys just means that you need a little more precision but that's the same as those smaller 3/4 keyboards. Only now it's basically full sized and cruft is not going to get stuck between the keys.  The back lighting is adequate and seems to be triggered by some photo sensor. I have not found myself wanting to override the levels, however, it might be nice to have without getting extra points. One place it fails is that unless the desktop is flat the keyboard will bounce as your palms put pressure on the rest. The stand is nice and adjustable however I have popped the table from the case on more than one occasion. Editing code or a document on your lap is nearly impossible. The tablet mode is hard because it's so heavy.

Screen resolution

The default screen resolution is kinda big. It make the Slate feel like a big phone and not a tablet or laptop.  The size was easily changed in the settings.

External display port hub

One of the use-cases I'm interested in is using my Slate as a developer's code edit station. The Slate's screen is ok for simple DEVOPS functions and even some real code editing but having documentation or references, monitors, or multiple code portals... requires an external monitor. Unfortunately there are some limitations here. Lucky for me I recently purchased two. The one from Lenovo failed and the off brand worked. I might end up using a bluetooth mouse and keyboard so I can use it like a traditional laptop but I'm not there yet.

Pen a waste

I'll start off by saying I'm not a fan. First of all I really do not have a need for a pen. It's really just a fine pointer but I have the trackpad and a finger... Touch monitors are great, fragile, and I never use them... so I do not need a pen. Also, there is a button on the pen and the instructions say that it's a trigger for search. Well that's just dumb.

sudo required but silly

If you have some unix experience then you probably know what 'sudo' is. For those who do not... it's a tool for elevating a user's permissions from the current user to the root or administrator. It seems to me that the linux user is a single user. Therefore anything and everything is reflected by the user therefore the user-jail is not necessary. What is not clear is the multi tenant capability when more than one user has access to a ChromeOS machine...

linux ok

It seems to have some features... someone said they had docker running but it's not clear how much ram or disk was permitted. The entire linux install is very vague. I see that I can install code and editors, share the display through some XWindows tunneling, clone some repos, edit, compile and so on. On the bad side I've had some crashes which seems to require reboot. Daemons seem sticky. And I do not see anyway to baseline the linux container.

Flutter/android dev

Even though Flutter has been released 1.0 it's not ready. The documentation is limited to Windows, Mac, and Linux. While this machine has a linux environment it's not clear how to make those linux commands work. Not all of the dependencies exist and the flow of installation goes all over the place. One document makes reference to crosh commands that do not exist. and another to packages that do not exist... furthermore there is nothing that addresses Slate and Android development. The are whispers but nothing concrete.

Headphones

This is yet another Fail. Since the machine has two USB-C ports and included in the box is a dongle for USB-C to micro jack...  I have become accustomed to Bluetooth keyboards, however, the Jabra I have keeps getting dumped by my desktop ChromeOS device. It seems to work fine on my laptop. Just a few minutes ago I had a Slate crash that was stuck some place in the Bluetooth and Android house. It took a reboot which did not immediately fix it. I had to follow up with re-pairing the headphones to get the music to play,

Conclusion

The reason my boss sent this machine to me was because we are considering Flutter... and since I am a strong proponent for ChromeOS because it protects assets and keeps me productive... we were on the verge of having to deploy other systems. We have a mix of all 3 platforms. But sadly this machine cannot build and test Flutter code securely. The worst is that in order to install/test Android code you have to move to developer mode and that is reported to decrypt the harddrive.  That's evil.

This machine is not a replacement for my Asus Chromebox desktop. There I said it. I really wanted it to be a good development environment but my existing Chromebooks and Chromebox work just fine. The only skew is that the day may come when Google repairs the holes so I stand ready.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Entry level cost for CoreOS+Tectonic

CoreOS and Tectonic start their pricing at 10 servers. Managed CoreOS starts at $1000 per month for those first 10 servers and Tectonic is $5000 for the same 10 servers. Annualized that is $85K or at least one employee depending on your market. As a single employee company I'd rather hire the employee. Specially since I only have 3 servers.

The pricing is biased toward the largest servers with the largest capacities; my dual core 32GB i5 IntelNuc can never be mistaken for a 96-CPU dual or quad core DELL

If CoreOS does not figure out a different barrier of entry they are going to follow the Borland path to obscurity.

UPDATE 2017-10-30: With gratitude the CoreOS team has provided updated information on their pricing, however, I stand by my conclusion that the effective cost is lower when you deploy monster machines. The cost per node of my 1 CPU Intel NUC is the same as a 96 CPU server when you get beyond 10 nodes. I'll also reiterate that while my pricing notes are not currently…

eGalax touch on default Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS

I have not had success with the touch drivers as yet.  The touch works and evtest also seems to report events, however, I have noticed that the button click is not working and no matter what I do xinput refuses to configure the buttons correctly.  When I downgraded to ubuntu 10.04 LTS everything sort of worked... there must have been something in the kermel as 10.04 was in the 2.6 kernel and 4.04 is in the 3.x branch.

One thing ... all of the documentation pointed to the wrong website or one in Taiwanese. I was finally able to locate the drivers again: http://www.eeti.com.tw/drivers_Linux.html (it would have been nice if they provided the install instructions in text rather than PDF)
Please open the document "EETI_eGTouch_Programming_Guide" under the Guide directory, and follow the Guidline to install driver.
download the appropriate versionunzip the fileread the programming manual And from that I'm distilling to the following: execute the setup.sh answer all of the questio…

Prometheus vs Bosun

In conclusion... while Bosun(B) is still not the ideal monitoring system neither is Prometheus(P).

TL;DR;

I am running Bosun in a Docker container hosted on CoreOS. Fleet service/unit files keep it running. However in once case I have experienced at least one severe crash as a result of a disk full condition. That it is implemented as part golang, java and python is an annoyance. The MIT license is about the only good thing.

I am trying to integrate Prometheus into my pipeline but losing steam fast. The Prometheus design seems to desire that you integrate your own cache inside your application and then allow the server to scrape the data, however, if the interval between scrapes is shorter than the longest transient session of your application then you need a gateway. A place to shuttle your data that will be a little more persistent.

(1) storing the data in my application might get me started more quickly
(2) getting the server to pull the data might be more secure
(3) using a push g…