“He’s Dead, Jim!” – Upgrading the Memory in My ASUS Chromebox

"He's dead, Jim"
“He’s dead, Jim”

My ASUS Chromebox has been working well for more than four months, but I am beginning to see the dreaded “He’s dead, Jim!” screen.

I have begun to use more Chrome Apps, and I keep a lot of tabs open. I will often scroll through 30 blog posts in Feedly, and open interesting posts in tabs in for later reading. So 20 tabs and 3 or 4 apps is not unusual. And the result is the “He’s dead, Jim!” screen appearing regularly. Basically, Chrome OS is running out of memory. It does it gracefully, stopping the pages I am NOT viewing, bit it is annoying. When I switch to a previously opened tab, I see the message, and have to re-load.

I have never had a current tab die, but having to refresh each page is a pain. So today, I upgraded my ASUS Chromebox with another 4Gb of RAM.

I have been running continuously for five hours, and deliberately opening more apps and tabs than I normally open.

Cog - Lots of RAM left
Cog – Lots of RAM left

I have not lost a single tab or app, and Cog is telling me I am using about 60% of available RAM.

The Chromebox is running well. I cannot say faster, because speed has rarely been an issue. I have rebooted and run the Octane benchmark, and it is slightly faster, but that could be random noise. But importantly, I have not once been bothered by issues relating to running out of memory.

I really believe it it time for Chromebook manufacturers to crawl out of the crib, and start building Chromebooks and Chrome Boxes with real performance. The Chromebook Pixel was an outlier, but one loved by a fanatical and vocal, if small fan base.

We may not need another Pixel, but we definitely need a few high end Chromebooks. From my experience here, I think a Chromebook with a good quality 1080p screen, 13” or above, minimum 4Gb ram, expandable, 32 or 64Gb drive and a good backlit keyboard is sorely needed!

The Australia tax will make it 50% more expensive here, for no reason other than the fact the the manufacturers can get away with it, but I will still pay for a premium Chromebook.

You may like to read my original review of the ASUS Chromebox or why I think Google Drive / Docs users would not have suffered the same fate as Sony in the Sony Hack.

Enjoy! – Phil Stephens

Arlec 3.1 Amp 2 port Fast USB Charger + GPO

Arlec DA30 USB Charger
Arlec DA30 USB Charger

A good USB Charger is essential for the Small/Mobile Office user.  Australian users will be impressed by the Arlec DA30 High Powered USB Charger. These are advertised on the  These are advertised on the Bunnings web site.

The DA30 has has 2 USB ports, charging at 3.1Amps plus a GPO (Power outlet). That makes it a pass-through power outlet. This allows two USB devices to be charged, while still providing a power point for another device. This is a Get Out Of Jail Free card for someone in a place where they can only access a single power point.

The label says USB 1 is 1 amp and USB 2 is 2.1 amps. Unfortunately, the outlets are not labeled, so I used a current meter, and found the left hand port is the 2.1A and the right hand port is 1A.

My research has shown that USB charging ports are not all equal. This device is advertised as being for an iPad and iPhone. I do not own Apple devices, only Android. I am testing charging rates on other devices to see how well it performs there, and it seems to perform quite well.

It has matched the best charging rate for each cable and device across all the chargers I have tested. In reality, most devices will not allow charging at much above 1.5A, so the DA30 is a good, quick charger.

I TRUST Arlec, an Australian company based in Sydney. The products may be manufactured overseas, but an Aussie brand used heavily in building and in industry will maintain it’s quality and protect it’s brand. Arlec, and Australian manufacturer, will maintain standards that many importers will not. I am using two of these chargers, and  recommend that Australian based nomads, both Gray and Digital, support Arlec and buy this product.

I have purchased two, and will soon buy two more. One thing I cannot get enough of is USB charging ports.

This device is a fixed 240 volt Australian pin layout. International travellers need chargers that work form 110 to 240 volts and fit multiple power sockets. This WILL NOT work safely overseas, but here in Australia, this looks good.

My only complaint is the Blue LED is a little bright in a dark bedroom.

For use inside Australia, I recommend this charger for daily use. Beside the bed, in the office or in the suitcase, car or caravan while travelling, this is a great device.

For international travellers or those flying with severe weight restrictions, you should look further.