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Any Online astronomy web apps that could be utilized on Chromebooks?

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#1 Sean Wood

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 09:40 PM

I recently purchased a 14" HP Chromebook and am liking it fairly well thus far. I was just curious as to if any other members have them and have found any really useful pages or web apps for astronomy.


Edited by Sean Wood, 11 November 2014 - 09:40 PM.


#2 BoriSpider

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 11:59 AM

Like Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel .



#3 mclewis1

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 05:08 PM

Stellarium and CdC are not web enable apps, they run locally on a desktop OS and not in a Chrome browser.

 

Sean, Just a quick peak at astronomy oriented Chrome apps, there is only one in the Google app store that seems useful (2 others that are image viewers).

 

https://chrome.googl...hemeklp/details



#4 Sean Wood

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 05:31 PM

There is a version of Stellarium that works on Chromebooks that runs through a web porting service called Rollapp. They also have Kstars available.

 

Sky planner also works pretty well but it's a complete web based planning app anyhow.


http://gulinux.net/SkyPlanner/home/

 

https://www.rollapp.com/app/stellarium

 

https://www.rollapp.com/app/kstars#

 

Here's a full list of the apps search for "astronomy" in the Chrome Store:

 

https://chrome.googl...?_category=apps



#5 Sean Wood

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 05:47 PM

This is pretty darn spectacular... Can't say I really see much real value but it is pretty darn interesting in the fact of giving you perspective and the ability to randomly explore.|


http://stars.chromeexperiments.com/



#6 mclewis1

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 06:20 PM

Sean, That's a very cool app ... thanks.

 

And thanks for the info on Rollapp. When I wrote my response above I knew there was something out there for Stellarium, I just couldn't remember it.



#7 ccs_hello

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 10:26 PM

I'd like to suggest inspect the value proposition:

 

What is the price benefit (it certainly is not 10:1) and what are the disadvantages that people have to jump hoops to barely to get useful functions working?

 

Time will tell....



#8 Sean Wood

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 12:11 PM

I paid $161 for the 14" HP refurb on Woot.com for me the cost/benefit is there.It's more the curiosity of it all. Before it's all said and done I'll most likely put Ubuntu Linux on it. I never intended it to be a primary device.  At the low cost of these devices at large, even new, they're worth it in my opinion. They are AND devices not OR devices. You buy them to supplement the hardware you have. Instead of taking your $500-$1200 laptop on vacation with you , you take this. If it takes a dunk in the pool or house cleaning decides they need it more than you you're only our a couple hundred bucks not the cost of your high end laptop. There is a trend toward and niche user base for web based applications regardless of that  with the integration of Chrome's Remote Desktop application these devices definitely do have value. I can use mine at home to RDP into my work computer and operate the CAM/CAD software almost as well as if I were at my workstation. 



#9 rmollise

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 10:45 AM

Assuming you have Internet access, there's Google Sky. Not great, but maybe a bit better than it used to be, and better than nothing. There's also Microsoft's World Wide Telescope, which now has an HTML web version, and is maybe somewhat better than Google Sky. ;)

Edited by rmollise, 14 November 2014 - 10:45 AM.


#10 Herr Ointment

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 09:53 PM

Ya, Chromebooks are cheap but good websurfers....not much else.

 

The Stellarium thing is nice....so thanks for the link!



#11 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 28 November 2014 - 09:07 AM

I purchased my NON-Geek wife a cheap Acer Chromebook 2-3 years ago because she just in not a computer person and never maintained her laptop never did anything but turn it on and use it ..Anyway it has turned into a great purchase all she uses it for is e-mail and surfing the web and she loves the fact that it fires up in a few seconds ...And I have not been called out to fix her computer when she has problems because she just never has had any problems...chrome keeps itself updated ...

 

About a year ago my computer in my shop started giving me problems and I purchased a second cheap Acer for myself..using google sheets and Docs I have all my woodworking plans cutting sheets etc as well as all my Car maintenance (  I play with old Vettes) records available in seconds..

 

IF only Google would come out with a Chromebook that could run android apps they would be fantastic...

 

Bob G



#12 Sean Wood

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 08:27 PM

Bob,

 

Google is slowly implementing the use of some Android apps to run in Chrome OS version 37 and up. None that can remotely be used for our hobby thus far but I did find a link to a hack that will allow you to convert and implement ANY android app to run in the App Runtime for Chrome. Caveats are that you have to use a Unix based OS, Mac os or linux, to run the converter. I haven't tried it yet so I can't attest to it's real functionality. I'll post links for further research if you're interested. It would be GREAT if we could get Sky Safari included in the apps that are able to run in Chrome os.

 

 

https://support.goog...urce=genius-rts

 

http://www.pcworld.c...-this-hack.html


Edited by Sean Wood, 30 November 2014 - 08:30 PM.


#13 btschumy

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 01:45 PM

We do have plans to get SkySafari running on Chromebooks.



#14 Sean Wood

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 09:43 PM

That is EXCELLENT news ....

 

Thank you very much for the heads up. Any speculation on a possible time frame? Will it be an additional purchase and will there be similar tiered levels of functionality like the Android app?


Edited by Sean Wood, 01 December 2014 - 09:47 PM.


#15 btschumy

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:56 PM

No time frame.  We see a market for it on the Chromebooks and have been following Google's progress in getting Android apps running there.  We are pretty much gated by Google at this time.

 

We will be bring our educational apps to Chrome first, but assuming there is not a huge amount of work involved, the full SkySafari suite should follow.

 

There are still lots of questions and unknowns.



#16 Sean Wood

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 01:10 PM

Thanks for the update Bill. Any info as it comes available would be greatly appreciated.



#17 Driven1

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 10:50 AM

There IS a way to get (some) android apps to run and you don't have to have a unix based system to do it. Any system that can run the latest Chrome Browser (37 and up, as already mentioned) can do it to an extent. How do I know? Just tried it! Why? I just purchased a nifty little dongle from the UK called Trigger Trap that allows you to control a Camera in a lot of different ways (including long exposure) via their free Android App. Main issue with the app is it doesn't have a night mode. I already contacted the developers about that. Anyway, I digress.

 

My main interest in seeing if there were some way to get an android app running on my laptop was because, at the moment, all of my scope control stuff is in my Win7 laptop. I had nothing that would control my Olympus camera from it though. Searched as I may, couldn't find a single Windows Program that would do it.

 

So, I started looking into ways to run the Trigger Trap app from my laptop. I tried a program called Andyroid that runs android in a virtual machine. No good. Pegged my CPU and was REALLY slow. Gave up on that and kept hunting. Then I stumbled on this Chrome thing. Wasn't having much luck with that either but I kept at it and finally found a combination of stuff that worked!

 

First, check out this article's first half related to installing the ARChon runtime (NOTE: If you click the ARChon runtime link, it will download). Forget the rest of the stuff on the page about packaging Apps.

 

Second, go to Google Play on your tablet or Smartphone and download and install ARChon Packager. Running this app allows you to "package" any app on your android device into a zip file. You can either send it to yourself via email, or if you have a file manager you can move it from the ARChon Package folder that the app creates in your main storage to an SD card or USB stick.

 

I created a folder on my desktop for the packaged apps and copied them there. Once in there, you have to unzip them. Best to tell whatever unzipping program you're using to unzip to a new folder within the App folder.

 

After that, follow the instructions in the Lifehack article about how to load them into the Chrome Browser.

 

One of the other articles I read stated that an app, once installed as an extension in Chrome would show up as a new Icon in the Chrome App window in the top right of the browser. This didn't happen for me. However, if you go back to the extensions and look at the app you installed as an extension, you will see a little line that says "Launch." I did this and Trigger Trap loaded and appears to be 100% functional.

 

Once loaded, the app is stand-alone. I don't need the browser open to keep it running.

 

Apparently, this will not work for any paid apps at this time and there are no guarantees of ANY particular App being able to be run this way. Lots going on around this right now and there may be improvements down the pike.

 

Bottom line. It worked for my immediate needs.

 

As a side note, I did try it on SkySafari 4 Pro. No joy. :(

 

If you're interested in Trigger Trap, the app is here and their Web Site is here. They have Dongles that will run a lot of popular cameras.



#18 Sean Wood

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 04:20 PM

If you're just trying to get Android apps working on your Windows based PC rather than going through all the rigor of converting the files and whatnot why not just use the BlueStacks App Player. Last time I tried it it SkySafari ran in it just fine. It has full Google Play access. As to whether or not it will function with your USB camera control I'm not sure. Worth a try though.

http://www.bluestacks.com



#19 Driven1

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 06:15 PM

Tried BlueStacks and Andyroid. That's where I started on this little journey through cyberspace. For whatever reason, my laptop just simply wouldn't run the stuff at a reasonable speed through a virtual machine. The Chrome method doesn't cause my laptop to lag at all. A good amount of BlueStacks and Andyroid users have reported the same lag/slow operation issues. Apparently, to go about it through a VM, you need a really snappy CPU and plenty of memory. I figured my 2.0 Ghz dual core and 4 gigs memory should have been plenty. It wasn't. That's how I ended up stumbling across the Chrome thing. If Google does what people think they're gonna do with the Chrome Browser and OS (allow android apps to run natively with Google Play support), things like BlueStacks will become a waste of time.




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