Google Chrome OS is coming

According to TechCrunch, today is Google Chrome OS day in Mountain View, California. Technical details, demos and an overview of what’s to come will be presented.

The new operating system targets PCs and will focus on netbooks. It is open source and Google plan to launch it to customers in the second half of 2010.

I think we will see a paradigm shift in this operating system, or that is at least my hope. The world has moved on from an operating system that needs to install programs, over to a browser based world where everything is on demand and in the cloud (however safe or unsafe that may be).

Whilst there will always be some need for some users to install software (i.e. to develop software), the day-to-day usage of email, web browsing, sharing documents and communications need no longer be installable software. Google’s existing applications prove this, although their current pricing model would seem to be impossible to maintain long term (i.e. free).

Microsoft on the other hand is hedging all their bets on Windows 7, and although it appears to be a rock solid OS, I have my doubts as to how many more versions of Windows we will see in this kind of format. Apple too, who thrive on a closed marketplace of OS and hardware, could be thrown a huge curve ball if this new concept takes off. Ubuntu and other Linux clones are essentially based on the same concepts as the commercial OS’s too, so where does that leave them?

I’m still puzzled as to how Google are going to get people to switch to Chrome OS. The simple and free part will appeal to those that are not computer literate, and just want to access their email, browse the web, watch YouTube videos and chat online. However, those people are not going to understand how to switch their OS, or even know what an operating system is.

Android appears to be the “model” that Google will try to follow; that is to say, installed by the vendor, but in a world where large PC manufacturer’s such as Dell and HP have tied themselves to commercial operating system manufacturers (namely Microsoft), how will Google persuade the PC and netbook vendors to offer a free OS, on which they gain zero revenue?

Time will tell. What are your thoughts on a new free operating system in the marketplace? How does simple and free sound to you?

UPDATE: The presentation has been made available on Google Chrome’s Youtube channel.


Activating DVB-C channels

We have a rather nice Panasonic 42″ plasma TV. It comes with a DVB-C, DVB-T and analogue tuners built in to the set. Unfortunately, our DVB-C didn’t seem to be working properly, and many of the commercial channels such as ProSieben and RTL were shown as encrypted. Frustrated with this I set out to find a solution, and came across the “Helsinki” trick.

I came across an article that described a similar problem on Philips televisions. The underlying issue is that Germany can’t decide on a standard for DVB-C decryption (used by cable providers). As a result, the big TV manufacturers have decided to deactivate the full DVB-C tuner options from German customers. Quite simply, they don’t want to deal with the customer support when the customer’s television doesn’t work as expected.
The simple trick is to restore your television to the factory settings, then when you restart, select Finland (Finland -Helsinki on the Panasonic) and you can still keep the language setting in German (or English) if you want.
Then go through the Auto-Tuning setup again, and you should get the channels you expected.