Review Of The Acer C720-3605 Chromebook

Last summer (2014) I picked up a Asus C720-2802 Chromebook and posted a review on

I recently updated to a newer version (same form factor) -- the Acer C720-3605.  I had originally ordered the Acer C720-3404  (which is the Canadian version), but ended up with the U.S. version: C720-3605.  They appear at least on the specification pages on Acer to be exactly the same other than model number (PDF spec analysis). I might have missed something so if there is a difference then please let me know.

The main reasons for upgrading:

  1. Improved Performance (faster processor with dual-core)
  2. Additional RAM (4-GB vs. 2-GBs)
  3. Better HDMI output (for hooking up to a large monitor @ my home desk).
  4. More Local Storage (32-GBs vs. 16-GBs -- excellent for watching more digital content)
  5. Needed a another computer @home for my daughter to use

Here are some stats using Octane 2.0 test:


While I wasn't having any real performance issues with the 2802-series, I've found that I can experience the difference in browsing and streaming media with the 3605-series.  The hardware updates are definitely an improvement in real world usage from my perspective.

All-in-all I have been very happy with Chrome OS and these two Chromebooks (the old one is now my daughter's main system).  For me the key selling points: great battery (more than 8 hours); excellent small form factor; responsive & comfortable keyboard; integration with Google services; and the simple OS updates & patches.

I look forward to using it again as my main note taking system for DEFCON 23.

 You can order your own via this Amazon Acer C720-3605 link or this Amazon Acer C720-3404 link.  Prices seem to be all over the board so make sure you are comfortable with ordering the right model number at the right price.


 Listen! (Size 2.12 MBs, Running Time 2m10s)
Today's podcast is inspired by the Dog Days Of Podcasting (#DDOP).  It is a single focus recommendation on why I have NMAP in my security toolkit and why you should consider it.

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter and/or Google+.  For technology news only updates follow TechNewsRadio @ Twitter.

DEFCON 21 (and 20 oops!)

Defcon-21-badge+stuffDEFCON 21 was in Las Vegas, NV from August 02-04, 2013 and we were there.  Our real-time posts, references, and links are available over on @Technewsradio on Twitter.  

We have a detailed report (PDF) from the sessions attended if you are interested.  Just drop us an email to get the full report or a request via message on Twitter.  A podcast summary is planned but not promised at this time.

Things that we are "worried about" from an Enterprise computing perspective:

  • Social Engineering against users is like a hot knife cutting butter. Only defense seems to be training and awareness. Traditional information assurance (IA) protections: virus scanning, IDS, firewall, etc are not effective.
  • You can't secure what you don't manage.
  • Basic system administration tools and infrastructure services in the Microsoft Windows world can be used for evil: PowerShell, .NET, DNS, browsers, PKI, and SCOM.
  • USB is not your friend.
  • Mobile computing and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are really not your friend.
  • Cloud computing could be your friend but probably won't.
  • Developers writing code for an organization without a security focus is just asking for trouble.
  • If you think your stuff is secure just because you have it behind a lock and a key you are in denial.
  • In a year or less, penetration testing is going to include inexpensive mobile assault options via semi-autonomous very-small drones and robots.

P.S. x 1: We were also at DEFCON 20 and have that report available if you are interested. Just drop us an email or message on Twitter for a link.

P.S. x 2: There are also DEFCON 18 and DEFCON 19 reports.  They are surprisingly still relevant IMHO -- same bat channel.

DEFCON 19 Podcast Review


DEFCON 19 was in Las Vegas, NV from August 4-5, 2011.  This yearly computer network security and hacker conference is full of cutting-edge research, detailed demos, awesome presentations, and a lot of partying. The podcast coverage was pretty good also. Here are my recommendations:

If you are interested in hearing my thoughts about DEFCON 19 then check out the podcast (08-11-2011).  I am the boring "IT Guy" trying to avoid the topic of "hot" women visiting the booth.  If you'd like to see a copy of my notes (13+ pages) then drop me a personal email to: "s h o l d e n"

Here is a Picasa collage from the Network Security Podcast meet-up at DEFCON 19 that was "infected" by Paul & Larry @'s little red balls from one of thier sponsors:


Another Week Of Recommended Podcasts Worth A Listen

Podcast-recommendations-01 Looking through my listened to podcast list for this past week, I'm going to recommend the following as potentially interesting:


TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #372 | 2011-08-20 | Browser Phishing, National Cyber Range & Microphone Hijack

 Listen! (Size 2.9 MBs, Running Time 2m57s)

Today's podcast examines three stories about computer network security:

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter and/or Google+.  For technology news only updates follow TechNewsRadio @ Twitter.

@technewsradio Roundup Posts for May 7th, 2011

The following is a summary of @technewsradio posts to Twitter:

  1. ASIS Bookstore (security pro organization) has announced over 26 new books via their online store
  2. SWFTools is a collection of open source utilities for working with Adobe Flash files (SWF files)
  3. Amazon online cloud services has a bunch of demos available - including Travel Log (Sample Java Web Application)
  4. Google has fixed a SketchUp 8 "dreaded shadow bug"
  5. Franklin Covey's PlanPlus for Outlook (version 7) is now on sale for $80 (vice $100) 
  6. Looking for a open source mind mapping tool?  Then check out Free Mind
  7. Microsoft Press has announced 3 more books in their Step By Step series: Microsoft Word 2010, Excel 2010 & Project 2010 
  8. has an interesting article "Wired—Geek Power: Steven Levy Revisits Tech Titans, Hackers, Idealists"
  9. Listening to "A Witness to a the Egyptian Revolution" by Doug Kaye (Executive Director, The Conversations Network) via
  10. Per Kevin Devin at - A good tool for finding Creative Commons (CC) images on Flickr is here
  11. the Microsoft & Nokia deal seems to leave HP WebOS, BlackBerry, and Intel out of the loop with Apple (#2) & Android (#1) being top dogsDelete
  12. red5 is an open source audio/video (FLV & MP3) server that also supports H.264 
  13. Steven Levy's classic "Heroes of the Computer Revolution" has a new 25th Anniversary Edition

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #367 | 2010-07-09 | Amazon's Improving Cloud of Computing

 Listen! (Size 3.1 MBs, Running Time 3m04s)

Today's podcast is a couple of tech tidbits that examine recent news from Amazon S3 with regards to:

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: TwitterFriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #366 | 2010-07-08 | Web & Wireless Security

 Listen! (Size 2.6 MBs, Running Time 2m33s)

Today's podcast covers two quick pointers to some information security related news.

First up, Dan Goodin based out of San Francisco recently wrote an interesting article entitled "Google tutorial lets developers play malicious hacker" for the UK's The Register

And our second item is from Bruce Schneier's CRYPTO-GRAM newsletter for May 15, 2010 with a reference to a Network World article entitled "WIFI cracking kits being built in China.".

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: TwitterFriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Twitter Updates - ePub, TurboCash, iPad, Windows,, Evernote, etc

The following is a summary of tweets posted to TechNewsRadio@Twitter over the last week:

  • OpenBook Specification for ePub (xhtml, css, etc) - some tools: Calibre & Adobe InDesign
  • TurboCASH has released the 4301 Update (5/5/2010) - this is an interesting open source financial mgmt application
  • Just posted on my personal blog "An Apple iPad ~2 Month Later Review & Update"
  • MacWorld has good references on on ePub & iPad
  • Celina Jacobson has an interesting post examining "100 Excellent Lifehacks for Your Long Commute"
  • Mark Minasi's TechNewsletter#89 Secrets of Creating Default User in Windows 7, Cleaning Up Setup's Little Security Hole
  • is now beta testing drag-n-drop functions to the cloud using HTML5, Firefox 3.6, and Google Chrome
  • Possible Evernote User Group Meeting in San Diego being discussed