The Chromium team is hard at work with bringing new features to Chromebooks, recently a change was made to set Debian 10 (Buster) as the default operating system for the Crostini “Penguin” container. Unfortunately this change does not upgrade existing installations of from Debian 9 (Stretch) to Debian 10. You are in luck though as upgrading your existing container is pretty easy, here are the steps.
If you are the owner of a modern Ultra-Portable Laptop such as the Google Pixelbook, you likely already carry a USB Type C hub to allow you to connect to classic USB devices. Most USB Type C hubs often pack features such as USB-PD Pass-through and HDMI output to allow you to use the hub as a docking station when you need to share your laptop to a full size display. I have a growing collection of USB Type C Hubs and when I got my hands on the MINIX NEO Storage Type C Hub, I could definitely say that it stands out from the others by packing a 250 GB M.2 SSD inside.
The Chrome team has just released the first Developer Build of ChomeOS 76 and it brings at least one welcomed change that eliminates the need to manually enable GPU support on Crostini. I am currently doing a teardown of the build to try to spot other changes and will update this post accordingly.
Over the past month, I have been researching Machine Learning and the insane amount of future possibilities that will result in the breakthroughs being made today. Projects like Keras and Tensorflow are pushing the boundaries on what computers are capable of and enabling just about anyone without a multi-million dollar server cluster to get into machine learning. I have built a simple setup script that will automate the process of setting up all of the tools needed to get started with Miniconda, TensorFlow, Keras, Pytorch, OpenCV and more in a ChromeOS Crostini Container. Here is how to get started:
Google is currently pushing ChromeOS 75.0.3770.10 to users on the Dev channel. Software developers and Road Warriors all over will start to rejoice when they hear that Crostini containers will finally route connections through a VPN if active on your Chromebook.
Heads up all ChromeOS users on the Dev channel, Google is currently rolling out ChromeOS 75.0.3761.0 to your devices. After performing a quick backup of Crostini, I took some time to install the update and find out what changed – it seems that it is not much. It is important to backup your “Downloads” folder as many items were deleted after the installation.
Just a FYI, ChromeOS 73.0.3680.0 is currently rolling out to the Dev Channel and carries a nasty surprise. It appears to delete anything stored in your Downloads Folder without warning after installing it. Please backup your Downloads folder to Google Drive or an external flash drive prior to rebooting. This file deletion bug does not seem to impact anything outside of the Downloads folder including Crostini or Android files. It also does not impact any other files stored in folders outside of your Downloads directory.
Update : Method to recover your Downloads Files
One of the most understated features of ChromeOS is its ability to automatically connect to a compatible phone and share its internet connection in a feature called Instant Tethering. This feature currently only supports the Google Pixel line of phones but I was greeted to a pleasant surprise when I opened my Pixelbook at a train station and was greeted with a setup window for Instant Tethering on my Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
I have a problem, I love USB battery packs and my collection keeps growing, it is getting so bad that I am running out of space in my backpack. Many of my USB battery packs have a similar set of features, the ZMI 20,000 mAh Battery Pack is very different as it not only puts out enough power to charge my PixelBook at full speed but it pulls double duty by acting as a USB 2.0 hub at the same time.
It is healthy for people to have hobbies outside of their day jobs, one of my personal hobbies is 3D Printing. I have been planning to cover more 3D Printing stuff on my blog (along with the normal stuff I cover). I have covered a few 3D printing posts in the past but I feel it is time to start posting more. My first post will be getting my favorite slicer, Simplify 3D to run on a Chromebook via Crostini.