Beyond Hyperconvergency: HCI to Private Cloud with Ability to Extend to Hybrid and Power Your Business

beyond-hyperconvergency:-hci-to-private-cloud-with-ability-to-extend-to-hybrid-and-power-your-business

Making the move to hyperconveged infrastructure is an important first step for businesses pursuing digital transformation. But it’s still a first step—and it doesn’t guarantee a complete private cloud.

What other pieces do you need to build the best private cloud you can? This webinar will give you the must-haves, including:

  • Security, backup, and disaster recovery
  • Automation, self-service, and intelligent operations
  • Freedom from lock-in and proprietary technology

In this webinar, you’ll learn how the Nutanix solution can build a private cloud platform the right way, giving you public cloud-like abilities and an easy path to hybrid cloud.

Live Webcast: Why Edge Computing Could Be Your Key to New Markets

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Join us for this LIVE Event on:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


2: 00 pm ET / 11: 00 am PT / 18: 00 GMT

Improving digital interactions by moving workloads to “hard to reach” places.

Digital businesses excel at being connected – to their customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders at all times, anywhere in the world. This connectivity can help your digital business become increasingly data-driven, and capable of delivering innovative products and services that drive greater revenue.

But what is the path of least resistance to achieve this connectivity? How does edge computing fit in with my current “cloud first” or hybrid cloud model? What’s the best way to bring down the cost of operating applications and workloads? …These are just a few of the lines of inquiry technology companies are facing today.

Tune in as our panel of experts launch a lively discussion, bringing different perspectives on how “the edge” has become increasingly relevant to tech organizations. Leave with a new lens to examine how your business may benefit from rethinking edge computing, as you strive to reach new markets.

Headless CMS might be key to liberating your front-end development

headless-cms-might-be-key-to-liberating-your-front-end-development

A cofounder of the Strapi open source project–which has 450 external contributors and users that include IBM, NASA, Walmart–reveals how the headless CMS is impacting front-end software development.

Website design. Developing programming and coding technologies.

Image: scyther5, Getty Images/iStockphoto

As important as it is to modernize back-end infrastructure, far more developers will engage with front-end development. As Kelsey Hightower rightly reasons, though, “There’s a ton of effort attempting to ‘modernize’ applications at the infrastructure layer, but without equal investment at the application layer, think frameworks and application servers, we’re only solving half the problem.” To enable that front-end development, key innovations have been helpful, among them the rise of the headless content management system (CMS), which decouples front-end development from the back-end CMS. 

In a world where content is as likely to show up in a smartphone app or IoT device as a web page, and where developers have been spoiled by rich front-end frameworks like React, developers don’t want to be locked into an all-in-one CMS that ends up doing nothing particularly well because it tries to do everything. Instead, argued Pierre Burgy, CEO and cofounder of Strapi, the company behind the eponymous open source project, developers want a headless CMS. There are several reasons for this.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

Square peg, round hole

People have been building CMSs for eons, with scads available across a variety of languages. But that doesn’t mean developers like using these traditional CMSs, said Burgy in an interview, because a CMS constrains developers more than it enables them. Yes, it helps them manage content and push it to websites, document management systems (like SharePoint), and more–but, it also tends to lock the developer into using their preferred front-end system.

“Most of the time developers don’t really like this,” said Burgy, “because the creators of the CMS tend to be focused on the content management interface, not the front-end experience.” In a traditional CMS, all of the components are inside the CMS: Front end, authentication, content, everything.

The headless CMS changes this dynamic by letting the CMS “finally do what it’s supposed to do: only manage content,” noted Burgy. This means more emphasis can go into enriching these back-end CMSs even as developers are freed to use their favorite design tools, including the increasingly popular JAMstack (JavaScript, API, Markup) development architecture. 

It’s a win for all. 

APIs to rule them all

One reason that headless CMSs like Strapi have taken off is because they enable developers to build with APIs, not calcified front-end systems. As mentioned, the traditional CMS is an all-in-one solution that removed developer choice, but in a JAMstack world, each of the individual components is split. As Burgy explained, there is a front end somewhere, there is the front-end hosting somewhere, there is a CMS somewhere, there is a service provider somewhere, there is maybe an authentication system, a payment processor, etc., but these are all accessed via APIs. “APIs in the JAMstack are really the glue between all of these different parts,” described Burgy. 

This API-driven JAMstack approach, said Burgy, results in better customer experience:

JAMstack is cool for developers, which ultimately is a very good thing for the end users. For developers it means they can use modern technology, and it gives them much more flexibility when they develop, because they don’t have all of the constraints from the CMS. This added flexibility for developers means they can develop faster, because they don’t rely and don’t depend on the CMS. From an end-user perspective, a website made with JAMstack yields much better performance which, in turn, increases conversion rates, especially on ecommerce websites.

As developers look for a headless CMS to pair with their preferred front-end framework, Burgy argued that a full cloud approach (headless CMS as a service like Contentful) isn’t ideal because larger companies want to self-host (more than 50% of the market, according to Burgy) so they can maintain data privacy and heavily customize their CMS. When Burgy and team founded Strapi in 2015, he said it was a “no brainer” to make it open source so companies could host it themselves and tweak it to suit their individual needs. Two million downloads later, Strapi has 450 external contributors and users that include IBM, NASA, and Walmart. 

The approach seems to be working. 

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views herein are mine and don’t reflect those of my employer.

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How to change the axis of rotation (sort of) for a shape in PowerPoint

how-to-change-the-axis-of-rotation-(sort-of)-for-a-shape-in-powerpoint

When a shape doesn’t spin in a circular motion as expected in Microsoft PowerPoint, consider where the shape’s axis of rotation is. You might need to force a new one.

Illustration: Lisa Hornung, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

It’s easy to make shapes spin in Microsoft PowerPoint; simply apply the Spin animation. However, achieving the right spin within the right area isn’t always that simple. Sometimes you need to force the axis of rotation to recognize a different area—you can’t really do that, but there is a workaround that does this trick. In this article, I’ll show you how to do so by forcing a triangle to span the entire circumference of a circle, similar to the hands of a clock, instead of spinning in only one half of the circle.

SEE: Office 365: A guide for tech and business leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

This article assumes you have basic PowerPoint skills, such as inserting shapes and applying properties. For your convenience, you can download the demonstration .pptx file. You can apply this workaround in the browser edition.

What is axis of rotation?

Merriam Webster defines axis of rotation as follows: The straight line through all fixed points of a rotating rigid body around which all other points of the body move in circles.

A great example of this concept is a compass dial. Its axis of rotation is the center of the dial. The dial circles around the circumference as expected because the axis of rotation is the center of the dial, which is also the center of the circle. This concept might be better explained with a visual.

How to create a spinning arrow

A center axis of rotation is inherent in some shapes, such as lines. When you can use one of these shapes, do so, because what you need is already there. For example, let’s add a double-arrow shape and apply a spin animation to create a simple spinning arrow:

  1. Click the Insert tab, click Shapes in the Illustrations group, and choose the left to right double-arrow shape in the Block Arrows section. Position and size the inserted arrow (Figure A).
  2. Click the Animations tab.
  3. From the Emphasis section, choose Spin. PowerPoint will give you a quick preview.

Figure A

  Add a double-arrow shape.

A figure can’t show you the full spin, but the arrow spins from the center—its axis of rotation is in the center of the arrow. (Figure B).

Figure B

  The arrow spins around the center.

Play around with a few different shapes and you’ll see that many shapes spin as expected, whereas others don’t. For instance, try a square and a triangle, and you’ll find that the triangle spins, but the axis of rotation might not be where you expect!

Creating a false axis of rotation

It would be great if every shape spun as expected, but because of the axis of rotation, some will surprise you. We can illustrate this by trying to create a clock dial. The double-arrow will spin correctly, but it’s a double-arrow, not a traditional one-arrow dial.

To get the results you want, you might use a long, narrow triangle, as shown in Figure C. But the lone triangle won’t spin as expected. Instead of spinning around the circle, which is what you want, it spins in the top half only (see Figure D). That’s because it exists only in the top half. It’s spinning correctly, but it’s not what you want.

Figure C

  Insert a long, narrow triangle.

Figure D

  The triangle spins only in the top half of the circle.

The obvious solution is to change the axis of rotation to the bottom of the triangle. There’s no way to do that, but there is a workaround. In a nutshell, copy the triangle and rotate it, lining it up with the bottom to create a double-arrow dial, then set the new triangle’s fill property to nothing. Finally, you group the two shapes and in doing so, you change the axis of rotation from the center of the lone triangle to the point where the two arrows meet.

Let’s work through an example using the triangle in Figure C (in the downloadable demonstration file):

  1. After positioning and sizing the narrow triangle, select it, press Ctrl+B and drag a copy to the side.
  2. With the copy still selected, choose Rotate from the Arrange dropdown (on the Home tab).
  3. From the submenu, choose Flip Vertical (Figure E).
  4. Drag the copy to the lower half and line it up with the arrow in the top half (Figure E).
  5. With the lower triangle still selected, choose No Fill from the Shape Fill dropdown (Shape Styles group on the contextual Shape Format tab).
  6. Choose No Outline from the Shape Outline dropdown.
  7. Hold down the shift key and select both triangles and then press Ctrl+G to group the two. (If you’re working in the browser editing, hold down the Shift key.) The two selection boxes will turn into one. If this doesn’t happen, try again.
  8. With the grouped triangles selected, apply the Spin animation as you did before.

Figure E

  Create the lower half of the dial.

By changing the axis of rotation from the center of the upper triangle to the center of the fake dial, you force the spin animation to work around the clock! As you can see in Figure F, the upper triangle now spins through both the upper and lower halves of the circle. You can use this workaround any time you need to adjust the axis of rotation for a shape.

Figure F

  The upper triangle spans the entire circle.

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Why multi-factor authentication should be set up for all your services and devices

why-multi-factor-authentication-should-be-set-up-for-all-your-services-and-devices

More than ever, now is the time to make absolutely sure that your services and devices are using the best protection available to keep data secured and away from unauthorized hands.

Image: PrettyVectors, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Multi-factor, two-factor, 2-step—regardless of what it’s called—relies on more than just the username/password combo to verify identity before providing access to a device or service. By relying on multiple factors, such as pairing up something you know (password) with something you have (smart card or smartphone) it minimizes the risk of unauthorized access.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) isn’t bulletproof. It has shown that it can be defeated by combining other unscrupulous methods, such as social engineering with the theft of a user’s RSA token, for example. Despite its weaknesses, MFA has been proven to offer much more protection than solely relying on a password, which is often repeated across various sites, written down on notes on or near computers, or easy to guess due to poorly designed or non-existent password policies. 

SEE: VPN: Picking a provider and troubleshooting tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

With the rise of remote teleworking, this issue has taken more of the spotlight than usual, and rightfully so. There may be indicators that someone has accessed your computer at the office, but if you’re working from home, you wouldn’t be onsite to identify those signs. The same rules apply to services we rely on—whether they be work-related or bills we’re obligated to pay. If you haven’t already done so, there’s no better time to secure your accounts with MFA, and here are a few reasons it should be done sooner than later.

Cloud-based services

The internet of today is vastly different from just a scant 10 years ago because companies of all sizes an online presence, and many have evolved their services to function in this space. There are too many services to possibly list, but some of the most commonly targeted ones include email, banking, and shopping sites. While the focus of this article is on business-centric usage, we would be remiss if we didn’t factor in the very real possibility that users can essentially perform job functions on personal computing devices and, given the ongoing pandemic, are likely to be doing exactly this. So, any attempt to compromise work accounts can and may extend to or come from personal accounts used on the same hardware.

SEE: Microsoft: Using multi-factor authentication blocks 99.9% of account hacks (ZDNet)

Services that leverage cloud-based access are prime targets for threat actors to attack. From obtaining reset password information through compromised email to obtaining banking information to be used with unauthorized wire transfers to using the saved credit card information linked to your favorite shopping site: Each of these scenarios can be thwarted before they start with properly implemented MFA to alert you that something is afoot.

X-as-a-Service

The popular “as-a-Service” or cloud-based model adopted by enterprise customers of all sizes has proven popular when fast growth or rapid expansion is required without the typical upfront costs associated with provisioning hardware quickly. In some cases, such as with Azure and AWS, infrastructures for entire organizations are hosted globally on IaaS platforms, which are quite impressive and accessible from any device, anywhere in the world. 

SEE: More companies use multi-factor authentication, but security still weak from poor password habits (TechRepublic)

The security implemented with such infrastructures must be protected at all costs—doing anything less is akin to leaving the vault door open at a bank except that the assets at a bank are federally insured. And this does not merely include virtualized servers, but any services, like applications that may be used for other non-commercial means, like accounting software, HR, or medical record portals, which are all high-level targets.

Physical hardware

Computing devices are among the most widely attacked and compromised targets, given that endpoints are used frequently and by many users. This presents various opportunities in the form of variables like time and number of victims that an attacker exploits to gain access through one means or another. 

Safeguarding the hardware can be one of the most difficult tasks to execute when multiple users are sharing the same hardware. Simply put, it’s tough to make sure everyone is following proper procedures. If a restriction is enabled to log out users after 10 minutes of inactivity, users need to honor that and not find ways to circumvent that by say, installing software like Caffeine, which keeps the cursor moving to prevent inactivity locks from kicking in.

SEE: Microsoft: 99.9% of compromised accounts did not use multi-factor authentication (ZDNet)

When devices are 1:1, it’s a bit easier to manage hardware defenses, especially when the end-user has additional, non-company data on these devices. Users are more likely to be extra careful and enable additional enforcements to keep data secured. Some hardware, like smartphones, may pull double duty as the default trusted device that receives one-time passwords (OTP) from services and other hardware when attempting to access those. But the smartphone itself may require a complex pin and biometric factor in order to unlock, adding another layer of security. 

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The tablet PC market surges 26% worldwide amid the pandemic

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It’s an excellent time to invest in a versatile tablet, as vendors ramp up production to meet demand and retailers boost sales by offering device and data incentives.

Image: bernardbodo/iStock

In recent years, the popularity of tablet PCs has waned, but in the second quarter, worldwide tablet shipments hit 37.5 million units, up 26% from the same quarter last year, according to Canalys. 

With the coronavirus-imposed work-from-home (WFH) culture, and 90% of the world’s 694 million students shifting to virtual learning earlier this year, it makes sense that tablet vendors and carriers are experiencing a kind of renaissance. Canalys analysts released a report outlining the increasing world demand for tablets.

Consumers and businesses need and want affordable access to basic computing power. They’re also looking for larger (than mobile) screens to facilitate the new normal’s WFH policies. Vendors are ramping up production and retailers hope to further boost sales with offers of device and data incentives. 

SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)

Despite Lenovo’s position as fifth among the world’s top five tablet vendors, it had the largest growth, with a 52.9% annual growth rate, shipping about 2.8 million devices. The four other competitors more than held their own, with Apple, which had the least annual growth at 19.8%, shipping over 14 million in the quarter, more than double than Samsung, which shipped about 7 million, but saw 39.2% annual growth. Huawei, with a yearly bump of 44.5%, shipped 4.7 million devices. Amazon jumped 37.1% in recorded annual growth, shipping more than 3 million tablets. 

Image: Canalys

The double-digit growth of the top five tablet vendors reflected shipment numbers usually associated with a Q4 holiday season, Canalys found.

Apple maintained its No. 1 status as market leader with its iPad shipments growing 20%; the company’s shipping numbers (more than 14 million units) represented a second-quarter record. While Huawei may not have the same name recognition or popularity in the US, it had a strong performance in Western Europe.

“Tablets enjoyed a renaissance in Q2 2020 because the devices tick so many boxes for remote work and education use,” said Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt in a press release. “The ability to collaborate virtually as well as view and interact with digital content has become paramount, especially in the education space.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has increased competition for communal screen access between household members forced to stay indoors,” Dutt continued. “Tablets help overcome this problem by allowing each family member to have their own device. And they are more budget-friendly than desktops and notebooks. For users with greater productivity needs, the proliferation of detachable tablets has been a boon. These devices have gained traction as primary devices for work and it is vital to include them when evaluating the PC market as a whole. Apple and Lenovo’s recent success shows that having a tablet offering as a mainstream PC vendor is invaluable.”

Image: Canalys

Each of the top five vendors increased the total PC (including tablet) shipments from Q2 2019 numbers. The top five shipments in both Q2 2019 and Q2 2020: Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Amazon, and Lenovo, grew 14% from Q2 2019 figures, with 110.5 million shipments for Q2 2020. In this category, Lenovo held the No. 1 position, as it shipped 20.2 million desktops, notebooks and tables. Apple was No. 2 in this category, with 18% growth, year-on-year, and 19.6 million shipments.

Dutt’s colleague, Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton, also in a press release, added: “The channel and carrier ecosystem around tablets has also played a significant role in this stellar Q2 performance. Vendors and retailers in mature markets have offered massive discounts as part of their back-to-school promotions.”

Stanton said: “They have also ramped up their capacity to manage online sales and delivery in the face of lockdown measures. Carriers have also taken important steps beyond just providing devices. For example, in the United States, AT&T offered 60 days of unlimited wireless data service for education-issued tablets to qualifying schools nationwide. In many mobile-first markets in Asia Pacific, where 4G connectivity is often cheaper and more reliable than broadband, having a wide range of connected tablet options has been vital to ensure remote education is possible.”

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How to make and receive phone calls through your Windows 10 PC

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Learn how to direct phone calls through your Windows 10 computer–if you have an Android device.

close up on business man hand holding smartphone for working or using feature on application with virtual technology interface

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

You need to make make or answer a phone call, but your mobile phone isn’t within arm’s reach. No problem–if you’re in front of your Windows 10 computer and have an Android device. You can make and receive calls meant for your phone through your Windows 10 computer; the trick lies in setting up your phone and then using Microsoft’s Your Phone app to enable the calling option.

Sorry, iPhone users, this trick won’t work for you. But if you own an Android phone, the steps aren’t too difficult. For this to work, your PC will need the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, aka Windows version 1903, or higher. Your PC must also have Bluetooth. And your Android phone must be running Android 7.0 or higher.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

If your phone is not already linked in Windows 10, linking it is your first step. Go to Settings and then Phone. If your phone isn’t linked, click the button to Add A Phone. At the next screen, choose your type of phone—Android or iPhone–and click Continue. Again, the calling feature works only with Android (Figure A).

Figure A

On your Android phone, go to the Google Play store and install Microsoft’s Your Phone Companion app. Open the app and sign in with your Microsoft Account if requested. Grant the necessary permissions by tapping Allow for each prompt. If you would like the Your Phone Companion app to be always available, tap Allow when asked if you want the app to always run in the background (Figure B).

Figure B

Back at your PC, check the box that says Yes, I Finished Installing Your Phone Companion App. Click the button to Open QR code. On your Android phone, tap Allow to allow the connection with your PC and then tap Done. You should see a screen indicating that your phone and PC are linked (Figure C).

Figure C

On your PC, the Your Phone app is already open, as that’s what you’re using to set up the connection. If you don’t see it, click the Start button and open the app from the Your Phone shortcut. At the window for the Your Phone app, click the Settings icon at the bottom of the left sidebar. Scroll down the Settings screen to the Calls section and turn on the switch to Allow This App To Make And Manage Calls From My Phone (Figure D).

Figure D

From the Your Phone app on your PC, click the icon on the left sidebar for Calls. Click the Set Up button. On your phone, tap Allow when asked to make your phone visible to other Bluetooth devices. You’ll then be asked to confirm the PIN displayed on your PC and phone. Click Yes on your PC and tap Pair on your phone (Figure E). If Focus Assist is turned on, you’ll receive a notification asking you to turn it off to allow for phone calls.

Figure E

Now let’s say you want to make a call. At the dialpad screen in the Your Phone app on your PC, type the number you wish to dial or start typing the first or last name of the contact you want to call. Then click the phone icon below the dialpad (Figure F). You can then conduct the phone call through your computer and click the Hang Up icon when you’re finished.

Figure F

To be able to answer an incoming call, make sure the Your Phone app is running. Click the Accept button in the notification to pick up the call (Figure G). Click the Hang Up icon when you’re done.

Figure G

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Google and Amazon most impersonated brands in phishing attacks

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WhatsApp, Facebook, and Microsoft rounded out the top five as the most spoofed brands last quarter, says Check Point Research.

PHISHING Button on Computer Keyboard

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Phishing attacks typically try to lure in victims by impersonating well-known companies, brands, and products. The goal is to arouse interest, curiosity, or even fear among recipients so that they’ll be more likely to take the bait and fall for the scam.

Brand phishing in particular works by spoofing the websites of popular organizations or products through which attackers often try to obtain login credentials or other confidential information. A new report from cyber threat intelligence provider Check Point Research highlights some of the most spoofed brands seen during the second quarter.

SEE: Zero trust security: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

Released on Tuesday, Check Point’s “Brand Phishing Report for Q2 2020” found that Google and Amazon were the most impersonated brands last quarter, each accounting for 13% of the brand phishing campaigns analyzed. At the same time, Apple dropped from first place in the first quarter of 2020 to seventh place in the second quarter, accounting for only 2% of the brand phishing attacks seen.

Elsewhere on the list, WhatsApp and Facebook tied for third place, each representing 9% of the observed brand phishing campaigns. Microsoft accounted for 7%, Outlook for 3%, and Netflix tied with Apple, Huawei, and PayPal for 2%. Looking at industries, the most impersonated were technology, followed by banking, and then social networks.

Image: Check Point Research

Among different attack vectors or platforms, email accounted for 24% of the brand phishing campaigns, with Microsoft, Outlook, and UniCredit the most impersonated. Web-based attacks encompassed 61%, with Google, Amazon, and WhatsApp the most spoofed. And mobile brands accounted for 15% of all attacks, with Facebook, WhatsApp, and PayPal the most imitated.

Phishing exploits conducted through email rose to second place from third place in the previous quarter. This change may be due to the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions through which businesses have started to reopen and employees have begun returning to work, Check Point said.

In one brand phishing campaign spotted by Check Point in late June, attackers tried to imitate the login page of Apple’s iCloud service. Using the domain name of account-icloud.com and registered under an IP address located in Russia, this attack tried to steal iCloud login credentials. In another campaign seen in May, a fraudulent website attempted to impersonate a PayPal login page. Using the domain of paypol-login.com, this site was registered under an IP address in the US.

To protect yourself and your organization against these types of brand phishing attacks, Check Point offers the following advice:

  • Verify that you’re using or ordering from an authentic website. One way to do this is NOT to click on promotional links in emails. Instead, search for your desired retailer and select the link from the search results.
  • Beware of “special” offers. An 80% discount on a new iPhone is usually not a reliable or trustworthy purchase opportunity.
  • Beware of lookalike domains, spelling errors in emails or websites, and unfamiliar email senders.

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How to install Collabora Office on your Chromebook

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If you are looking for a way to work with documents locally on your Chromebook, Collabora Office finally makes that a reality.

Image: Jack Wallen

If you’re a Chromebook user, you’re well aware that the myths your device of choice can’t function without a network connection simply aren’t true; however, that functionality doesn’t always work as expected. For instance, you might forget to make a document or spreadsheet available offline, which means you’re out of luck when you’re offline. So when a full-blown office suite comes along–one that doesn’t require a cloud service or network connection to function–you jump on it.

That time has come. Thanks to Collabora Office Suite, fans of the Chromebook device can enjoy an office suite on their laptops that functions locally, as you’ve come to expect from such a tool. I’ll walk you through the process of installing Collabora on your Chromebook.

SEE: Tips for becoming a Chromebook expert (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What you need to install Collabora Office on your Chromebook

The only thing needed to install Collabora Office is a Chromebook that supports the installation of applications from the Google Play Store. Considering Android app support was added to ChromeOS a few years back, chances are pretty good your device supports this action. 

How to enable Google Play Apps

The first thing you must do is enable the installation of Google Play Apps. To do that, open the Settings application, scroll down to the Apps section at the bottom, and click the entry for Google Play Store (Figure A).

Figure A

Managing your apps on a Google Chromebook.

In the resulting window (Figure B), click Turn On (associated with the Google Play Store). You’ll need to accept the license agreement, so click More and then Accept. 

Figure B

Enabling Google Play apps on a chromebook.

Once the enabling of Google Play Store is complete, you’re ready to install Collabora Office.

How to install Collabora Office

After you enable the Google Play Store, it will open, ready for you to find and install applications. Click the search field and type Collabora. When the Collabora Office entry appears, click Install. Allow the installation to complete and then either click Open to open Collabora Office or close the Google Play Store and open Collabora Office via your Chromebook app menu by clicking the menu button, typing “collabora,” and clicking the entry that appears. When you first open Collabora Office, you’ll need to grant it permission to access photos, media, and files (Figure C).

Figure C

Granting Collabora Office the necessary permissions on Chrome OS.

How to use Collabora Office

When you open Collabora Office, you’ll see what looks like a fairly empty window (Figure D).

Figure D

The Collabora opening window is pretty blank.

The document create button is missing. The only way I have been able to consistently make that button appear is by opening a document from Google Drive and closing that document–then the + button will appear. To open a document from Google Drive, click the folder icon in the top right and then navigate to a document in your Drive account. Once that document has opened, close it out, and you’ll see the document create button appear in the bottom right corner (Figure E).

Figure E

The document create button has finally appeared.

Click the document create button and then select either New Spreadsheet, New Presentation, or New Text Document (Figure F).

Figure F

Creating a new spreadsheet, presentation, or document from within Collabora Office on a chromebook.

The document create button is really flaky–it will vanish at the strangest times. If it does, close and reopen Collabora Office, and it will reappear.

Another item of note: In order to edit documents from Drive, they must be moved to Play Files, which you’ll find in the My Files app (Figure G).

Figure G

The Play Files entry is found in the left sidebar of My Files.

If you download a file, simply copy or move it from Downloads to Play Files, and you’ll be able to edit the document/spreadsheet/presentation within Collabora Office.

Enjoy that fresh new smell of productivity on your Chromebook.

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