Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Samsung Chromebook Pro - Early Review

This is a review of the Samsung Chromebook Pro.  I'm not a professional reviewer - I'm a user.  I do have a pretty extensive background in IT - computing, programming and networking.  This is not my first Chromebook.  Some factors about me and about my purchase of this device that will no doubt color my review:

  • I already had a Chromebook.  I have a positive view of Chromebooks in general and what they do, how they're meant to be used, etc.  
  • My old Chromebook worked great as a Chromebook, doing all the stuff Chromebooks do...with one or two minor caveats - a couple of web sites in particular were pretty poor performers (oddly enough Google sites like G+ and Inbox, and the CNN site is horrible)
  • A few things I never expected a Chromebook to do all that well, including rendering 3D in the browser, were sub-par on the old Chromebook.
  • From strictly a nerdist point of view, I was interested in the idea of running Android apps on a Chromebook.  Understand, I didn't need to run them but I thought it would be cool to try out.  Originally it could only be done using an emulator; now Google is slowly rolling out the capability for select Chromebooks, but my old one can't run them yet and probably won't run them well when and if it is supported
  • The old Chromebook was the late 2014 model Toshiba Chromebook 2 with the BayTrail Celeron processor. 
I began hearing about the Samsung Chromebook Pro late last year.  It was one of a pair of new Chromebooks from Samsung (the other being the Chromebook Plus) designed in partnership with Google to run Android apps alongside the main Chrome browser and browser-based apps.  The two models are virtually identical except for the color (silver for the Plus and black for the Pro), the processor (an ARM processor in the Plus and an Intel core m3 in the Pro) and the price - about $450 for the Plus and $550 for the Pro.  For a variety of reasons, the Plus went on sale about 5 months earlier than the Pro - there were persistent rumors of problems with the Pro, everything from heat-related issues to reported difficulties getting the Intel processor to run Android apps acceptably.  Note that in theory, the Pro is supposed to be the faster device - as fast or faster than the Plus for Android, and a LOT faster doing the browser-based work Chromebooks are known for.  That's why it cost $100 more.  

The Samsung Chromebook Pro hit the market a couple weeks ago, and I got mine within a few days of the first units hitting the street.  Having had a few weeks with it, how does it stack up.  That's what I'm going to write about here, but let me give you a hint - I just sold my Toshiba Chromebook 2 on Ebay.

Basic Description

The Samsung Chromebook Pro (I'm going to use the abbreviation SCP after this) is a laptop with a Intel core m3 processor (a "mobile" processor which nevertheless is a good bit more powerful than some of Intel's previous mobile CPUs), a 12.3 inch IPS display with a top resolution of 2400x1600, 4 gigs of RAM, and 32 gigs of SSD storage.  It has a micro-SD slot and two USB-C ports.  As this device is intended to run Android apps, it has a touch-screen, the screen folds all the way back around so the device can be used as a tablet, and it has a pen similar to what Samsung provides with their Galaxy Note smartphones and tablets.

As a piece of hardware, this is a really nice laptop.  It is an all-metal housing, and the black looks sweet.  The screen is gorgeous - bright and sharp.  One of my only "complaints" is that at 12.3 inches it's really not big enough to run at the top resolution (2400x1600) because none of the UI elements scale, and even though you can scale up the content of web pages, you typically don't have that kind of control for Android apps yet.  In other words unless you have super vision, you're probably going to run this at a slightly lower resolution.

If you haven't noticed, this thing isn't using the widescreen aspect ratio that has become so common in recent years - it has gone back to the sort of 3x2 shape we used to have on most monitors.  This works better for web browsing and running web apps - and since this is (after all) a Chromebook that works very well, giving you more vertical screen space.  

However in order to keep the size down, Samsung has a very narrow margin on either side of the keyboard and has shrunk and rearrange a couple of keys.  The one everyone notices - and which I am still getting used to - is the backspace key, which is now smaller than any normal key on the keyboard.  It is super easy to hit the "=" key by mistake.  Otherwise the keyboard works well enough and feels pretty good.

The USB situation is not ideal although I presume this is where things are headed - two USB-C ports.  No regular USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports.  By the way, you have to charge the device through one of those two ports as well.  I bought a hub that passes power through a USB-C connector into the laptop, gives me HDMI and VGA outputs, a wired gigabit ethernet port, and 3 USB 3.0 ports.  That helps.

Back to the screen - the touch screen is responsive.  The device goes into tablet mode when you flip the screen around past a certain point.  The pen works on the screen at any time as a pointer/selector, but can also be used for input in writing and drawing apps, and can also be used as a magnifier for a portion of the screen.  When not in use the pen tucks away in a spring-loaded slot on the device.

What I Like

I like the size, and the form factor.  The extra vertical space on screen gives a bit more content room for web pages, and web-work is still the #1 use for a Chromebook.  The web on this device is really snappy - including some things that used to bog down my old Chromebook, like the Google Inbox email site, Google Plus (G+), etc.  CNN is still kind of sucky - I tend to go to the main page and open a whole bunch of article links in new tabs, and there's so much multi-media crap, Flash, and other junk on CNN that it gets nasty fast.  But everything else has been very smooth, including things that render in 3D in the browser, like the 3D imagery on Google Maps.

The keyboard feels nice.  I listed my one complaint already and I'll mention it again later but overall the keys have a nice feel, and I can type on here for long periods.  The trackpad is awesome, too - I loved the one on my Toshiba but this one blows it away, it's like butter.

I like that the micro-SD is recessed behind a little cover. 

I love the screen, it's beautiful.  The touch aspect is unexpectedly nice - being able to pinch zoom any time, even on regular web pages, is awesome.  The hinges on the screen are stiff enough that I can rotate the screen pretty much any angle all the way until it's flat against the back of the keyboard, and it stays where I put it.  

I like the pen - although I am not, at present, using it much as intended.  Handwriting and drawing on screen is something I have not really "taken to" - I had a Samsung Galaxy Note phone for a long time and almost never used the pen there either.  But this pen can be used like an onscreen finger for anything, which is neat for precision pointing or just flicking around; and it can be put in magnifying glass mode which is sometimes neat for a person with poor eyes like mine.  I do have several drawing and note-taking programs I'm playing with to see if I will use it much for writing.  I've been a long-time user of Google Keep but so far using the pen in Keep doesn't feel very natural.

One of the biggest pleasant surprises has been running Android apps.  I had heard so much FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) about how an Intel processor would handle apps that I guess I had very low expectations.  Let me just say, so far I'm very impressed with what Google and Samsung have done here.  I can access the Play Store, pick an app, and install it, and run it - and apps are smooth and work well.  I have games, including some that do a lot of 3D like Vainglory; I have the full Android version of Instagram which is superior to looking at the Instagram web interface; I have got Snapseed on here which is fun for doing certain kinds of image edits.  I found a nice diagramming tool (for basic network diagrams).  There is just SO much available now that this becomes a much more full-featured device.  

In fact, for those of us that have enjoyed Chromebooks for what they are, adding Android apps feels like it's taking things in the wrong direction...but they're cool to have.

What I Don't Like

To beat the dead horse, I don't like the tiny backspace key.  For someone that does a lot of typing, it's damned inconvenient to reach for backspace and end up typing ====== all over the place.

No USB 3.0 ports is a pain in the butt, having to buy a dongle to turn one of my USB-C ports into USB 3.0 ports is bad, having to use a USB-C port to charge...you get my drift here.

Right now Android apps either operate by default in phone size/orientation, or they open full screen if you have the Chromebook Pro screen rotated back in tablet mode.  There's not much in between.  And the phone size/orientation can leave the app running in a tiny window if you're using a higher resolution.  There is a dev-mode option you can enable to run an app maximized by default and in portrait mode, and that works better for me.  With the dev mode options you can even turn on resizing for some apps.  However until Android O (and new versions of the apps) appears, we will not the capability very widespread.

A little worse is that Android app content doesn't scale (most of the time) - text is super small and controls can be as well.  It's usually better in full screen games which tend to scale as you would expect.

Battery life is rated at about 10 hours.  I have no idea who came up with that number, but I can tell you that if you turn on Bluetooth, or attach a wireless mouse dongle, and especially if you do streaming video, the battery life is heavily and quickly impacted.  I keep this plugged into the charger at all times unless I'm going to be out and about, and then I leave the mouse home.  I used to use Bluetooth so my phone could auto-unlock my screen, but I have disabled this for the time being.

Two Widely Discussed Issues

Almost since Google and Samsung announced a pair of new Chromebooks, one with an ARM processor and one with an Intel x86, there has been a lot written about how the Intel device might struggle with running Android apps.  Some have suggested they should be just fine, since Android apps are (theoretically) pure Java.  Others have rightly pointed out that many Android apps are written with custom, ARM-specific optimizations (since most phones and tablets use those kinds of CPUs).  Of course, Intel-based Chromebooks have had the advantage running Chrome OS and the full version of the Chrome browser.  It seemed that there was a basic tradeoff being offered - buy the Plus with the ARM processor if you mostly wanted Android apps and not so much Chrome, and buy the Pro with the Intel processor to maximize Chrome capability and expect some issues (poor, buggy performance) with Android apps.

I've already addressed this but to be perfectly clear - the Pro runs Android apps like a champ.  I have run fairly complex ones, too - they work, and work really well (given the caveats above about resizing and such, which affect the ARM-based Chromebook Plus equally).  There is a guy who runs a pro-ARM web site and appears writing all kinds of nasty comments about Intel and Intel-based devices who has been spreading a lot of unfounded crap around the comment sections of Chrome and IT web sites, and simply put, he's just wrong.  

The second issue has to do with "The Verge" tech web site.  It seems the Chromebook Pro may have a bit of a bug, probably in software, that causes the device to occasionally freeze.  I've seen it myself.  Not often mind you, and only when performing certain kinds of activities, but it does happen.  It seems to me almost certain that this will be fixed quickly - it doesn't look like it will be hard to nail down.  But The Verge is recommending people "do not buy" the device.  And I think that stinks - it's a really good device which pushes a bunch of new boundaries, and works remarkably well.  I do not believe the "do not buy" recommendation to be warranted.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fresh/Raw Thoughts on the Election of Donald Trump

I just wanted to record some thoughts that I have on the morning after Donald Trump was elected as the next President of the United States of America.

I did not vote for him - I voted for Hillary Clinton.  And I voted for Clinton, not because I thought Trump was awful (although I did think that), but because I thought she was a capable leader and would do a better job.

A lot of political pundits today are talking about this being the "anger" election, about some previously unrecognized undercurrent of hatred and racism and misogyny and so forth.  And maybe all that is there...but I think the real story of the this election is that Hillary Clinton's base didn't turn out.  It wasn't a victory for anger so much as a failure for an apathetic Democratic party.

In poll after poll - including internal polls done by the Trump folks - Hillary was ahead by anywhere from 3 to 8 per cent.  And it does look like she may have won the popular vote by a tiny margin.  But she did not win in a lot of states that the polls indicated she would win, and there's basically one explanation - her people didn't show up and vote.

Donald Trump didn't get some groundswell of new, untapped white male angry people - he got fewer votes than Mitt Romney.  But Hillary Clinton got fewer votes than Barack Obama by a much larger margin.  Maybe the coalition of women, Latinos and African Americans just didn't turn out in big enough numbers, maybe the small but significant part of the white male vote Hillary was expecting decided to sit this one out.  But the numbers don't lie - she just got a lot fewer votes than Obama, and they didn't go to Trump, they just didn't vote for anyone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Two Days To Pixel (and I can't wait)

On Thursday I should be getting my Google Pixel XL (silver, 128GB).  I pre-ordered it from Verizon last week, and today I got the shipping notification.  Today (Tuesday, 10/18) Google lifted the embargo on reviews and all the major tech sites have pretty much published.  The synopsis?  Here's the breakdown:
  • Looks - most point out it looks like an iPhone.  Some folks like that, most think it would be nice if Google had innovated in some way.  Multiple sites griped about the glass on the top third of the back (around the fingerprint sensor).  I am thinking I'll have a case on mine as soon as possible so I will not know or care what the back looks like. 
  • Camera - most sites are genuinely impressed with the camera and from what I have seen, I will be too.  I am VERY excited about this part.
  • Assistant - Google Assistant is Google's "AI" similar to Siri on iPhone.  I have played a bit with the implementation in Google Allo, and for me, it's a mixed bag.  Sometimes it does something neat, sometimes not.  It seems that maybe the reviewers are experiencing the same thing - some reviews were really impressed with it and some not.
And those are the main areas the reviews have touched on.  Here is some information that puts the purchase in perspective for me.  I am currently using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 that I bought nearly 3 years ago.  3 years isn't an eternity of course; and the phone DOES still work, and pretty well.  But for a piece of tech, and especially for an IT person, it's a bit dated.  I've waited quite a while because it's hard to justify spending the money on something like this TOO often, but I decided it was time when Google announced they were doing their first "all Google" phone.

Size-wise, it will be about the same as what I have (0.2 inches smaller diagonally on the screen but a LOT higher resolution, and probably a bit thinner and lighter).  The camera should be a lot better and more important to me, much faster - the camera on the Note 3 is a DOG to open and use.  One review says cell reception is a lot better and I'm hoping for that - I live right at the edge of Verizon's 4G LTE range and am hoping for more than a half a bar which is what I usually get now.  

One thing no one has really reviewed yet is the VR capabilities, and this is NOT something I bought the phone for - but since Google is giving away the DreamVR headset and remote, I am looking forward to trying it out.

I'll post back here soon!

Monday, January 4, 2016

One Year On - My Experience With A Chromebook

Note: If you don't know what a Chromebook is, this article may not make much sense.  Check out this link  to learn the basics - there are numerous other reviews and articles on the Internet that you can find with a quick search.  Then come back here to find out how using a Chromebook has worked for me!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Playtime with Street View

So...

Syfy's "Haven" is almost over, and filming was completed a year ago.  But I was poking around Google Street View looking at the filming locations and came across something nifty.  What you're looking at here is the Google Street View from Pig Loop Rd. of the arena that was used by "Haven" for many of the indoor sets, captured August 2014 according to Street View.  Actually you're seeing mostly parking lot here.  Not much interesting going on, right?  There's a trailer or RV or two parked out there that might have been used by someone involved with the show, or might not.  You could use your imagination and think about whether the sets were present in the building or whether the cast was around...but it's not real interesting.

 

Now, just a few "clicks" west along the same road, looking through the fence...and what do we have here?  That beat-up-looking green minivan is...actually beat up.  It was seen in Season 5 Episode 1, flipping and rolling down the road.  Neat, huh?


So for the next "Stupid Street View" trick, change the view to August 2012.  Same location, same view...but now we see a couple more interesting things (this was imaged during filming of the 3rd season).  We see Dave's VW minivan, and just beyond that a "Haven" ambulance.


And if we stick to the August 2012 timeframe and walk the view back a few clicks west, paying attention to this corner where they obviously liked to park the show's vehicles, we get a nice bonus - Nathan's Bronco and a couple of Haven Police cruisers come into view!

Google Street View Tour of "Haven"

The SyFy TV show "Haven" was filmed using a variety of real-world locations around what is known as Nova Scotia's "South Shore."  A lot of the street scenes and store-front shots were done in the towns of Chester and Lunenburg, but there were many other locations used as well.  Below are links to Google Street View scenes showing a number of these "real-world" locations which stood in for the fictional town of Haven.

For some background on why I put this together, info on Google Street View, and general random thoughts please check out this post.

Note for December 2016: Google has updated many of the Street Views from October 2016 for Lunenberg and Chester.  As expected the Haven Herald signage is gone (you have to use the widget to look at historical views to see it).  Hard is it may be to believe, bear in mind that Haven completed filming in this area in late 2014.  The 2016 shot of the Pew Arena shows a nearly empty parking lot, no RVs or anything parked there.  Nicki's Inn in Chester is up for sale.  The building next to the Chester Playhouse is painted green now.  I'm still waiting for new views of the Mahone Bay Centre and the Grey Gull house, but time has clearly moved on.  One thing that seems slightly odd is there are no user-submitted photospheres from anywhere in Chester.  There are a bunch in Lunenberg including one in the park next to the Town Hall (Haven PD), but it's like no one in Chester (or visiting there) knows how to make them or cares.  Maybe that will change in time.

I have updated the links for many of the locations because somehow they were no longer pulling up the correct locations, not sure if Google has changed how the coordinates work or what.  If you find a link that clearly doesn't show what it's supposed to show please contact me.

Lunenburg

Lunenburg is home to a couple of landmarks which are important to Haven, and has provided street scenes for numerous episodes.  The Lunenburg waterfront is featured prominently and frequently throughout the show as "the" Haven waterfront.  Although waterfront and aerial shots of other towns are sometimes used, Lunenburg is used for more of these than the others - especially as the backdrop for scenes of Audrey standing out on a dock.  The building used as the Haven Police Station is in Lunenburg as well as a church seen in the opening credits.

Lunenburg - Town Hall Blocks

There are city blocks in front of and behind the Lunenburg Town Hall which are pretty interesting and contain a number of locations from Haven, some of which are seen repeatedly:
  • Lunenburg Town Hall Gazebo - This gazebo is seen in various episodes. 
  • Lunenburg Town Hall (Haven Police Station) - Lunenburg's Town Hall served as the exterior for shots of the Haven Police Station.  The interior of the police station was a set located elsewhere.  This building is right next to the gazebo.  In between them is a monument to Lunenburg residents who served during the first world war.  The monument can sometimes be seen on the show but never well enough to read.  Note, in real life the arch over the door is very bright (almost white) and reads Lunenburg Town Hall, while the "Haven Police Station" has a red brick arch and a grey marble slab.  The Haven PD also has flagpoles out front.  At various times, shots of the building with the obvious Lunenburg signage and no flagpoles ended up in the show, usually aerial shots of the building.
  • Lunenburg Courthouse (Haven Courthouse) - this is the north entrance to the same building as the Town Hall.  Seen in the episode where Duke is in court and attacked by lady justice, possibly others. 
  • Homework assignment - I'm not providing a link for this, but try to navigate on your own - Use Street View to travel east on Townsend St. a few "clicks".  You should see the back side of the gazebo and a park area with grass and some benches.  This area was featured in the episode with the fireman whose trouble caused him to make other people spontaneously combust.
  • St. John's Anglican Church - a couple of blocks west of the Town Hall, this church shows up in a variety of episodes (it's kind of hard to NOT show it sometimes), easily spotted in aerial shots of the town, but most famously it is the "burning church" in the opening credits.  The church actually did burn some years ago.  It was very hard to find a suitable Google Street View shot of this due to the surrounding foliage, but there are LOTS of nice photos of this church available.
  • Intersection of Cornwallis and Lincoln - While there are far too many "random" street scenes from places in the area to include them all, I wanted to put this one in because it is featured numerous times during season 1 episode 1 (i.e. the pilot episode).  The view my link brings up is facing east - the scene where Vince and Dave first introduce themselves to Audrey happens on that corner.   Spin the camera around and on the northwest corner of the intersection is the antique shop featured in the episode.  Also if you go back and watch the episode you will see a shot of the Bronco driving down Lincoln.
  • King St. Mural - Head east down Lincoln St. until you come to King St. and turn north (back towards the Town Hall) and you will see this mural on the side of a building - it shows up in one or more episodes.  Look north on King St. to the intersection with Cumberland, you will see a TD Canada Trust bank with some green signage on it.  That building was used as the Haven Post Office in at least one episode.

Other Lunenburg Locations

  • Waterfront (Bluenose Drive) - The Lunenburg waterfront is such a key piece of Haven, yet hard to display with Street View.  That's because we usually see it from the water side.  The particular spot I have linked is right where there is a pier used in some scenes.
  • Lunenburg Angled Dock - Duke's dock - this is the dock where Duke's boat (the Cape Rouge) is located during the show.  Several things to note - the boat was not kept here year round, it was only here during filming.  In real life it sank (I think after season 4) and they only used old footage of the exteriors after that - the interiors were a set in Chester.  The linked Street View Image is from August 2012 with a ship that is probably Duke's - there are a number of later shots but they are missing the ship.
  • Lunenburg Dock - they actually got a Street View camera out at the end of one of the docks looking back toward town, and I think this very dock was used in some scenes.
  • Tannery Road Park - The Street View image may not look like much but zoom in and you will see this little spit of muddy land with the remains of a dock on it - this is where Audrey goes when she needs some alone time, and I think where the Colorado Kid was found.  I was able to verify this is the right location by looking at the buildings you can see behind Audrey and some of the other characters - if you spin the street view around you will see a little house with a red garage or mini-barn next to it.  The red barn is clearly seen in several episodes of the show.  The little house that is currently there is NOT what was there when the show was first filming - it was apparently torn down and rebuilt.
  • Lunenburg Academy - This very cool looking building is seen pretty clearly in the background of one episode, and is one of the most easily recognizable landmarks in the frequent aerial shots of Lunenburg used for Haven.
  • Lunenburg Battery Point Lighthouse - NOTE: there are no publicly accessible roads leading to the lighthouse, so there are no Street View scenes.  There are a lot of photos of this lighthouse online, some of which show up in the filmstrip under the main image if you follow my link.  There are two lighthouses used in the show - the other being at Peggy's Cove.  This one at Battery Point is the one you see in the main credits, and it was used as the "Heart of Haven", where there was a cave underneath with a magical door leading to the Void...Of course it is destroyed at the end of Season 4, but somehow still shows up in aerial shots of "Haven".
  • Intersection of Cornwallis and Fox - I picked a location for the view just a little south of the intersection.  This is where Jordan and the Guard confronted Nathan, Duke and Jennifer as they returned to Haven in Season 4, Episode 1.  The steeple of the church (Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church) is ripped off by a tornado in the sequence.  This is a lengthy scene in the show offering lots of viewpoints and vantages that you can compare with the Google Street View scene. 
  • Kaulback Block - The "Mermaid Building" - during the opening credits there's a brief shot of the camera panning along a second-story row of windows with almost ghostly images of mermaids reflected in them.  If you have Netflix or some other way to pause it will be easier to confirm.  This is the building.

Chester

As with Lunenburg, various places in Chester were used for Haven scenes, and there are a number of points of interest grouped together around a couple of specific areas.  Chester is home to the Haven Herald offices, a couple of blocks on Pleasant St. were used tons of times in the show, and the local hockey and curling arena was home to a number of indoor sets used throughout the series.

Chester - Queen St.

  • Mecklenburgh Inn - The Mecklenburgh Inn was Audrey's home base early in the show (before she started living above the Grey Gull) and was also used in numerous street scenes.  In season 1 episode 2 when the giant brass ball is rolling down the road, it is shown going by the Mecklenburgh Inn.  Just south of here is Chester's post office which occasionally shows up on screen as well.
  • Queen St. Cluster - Ok, I just didn't know what to call this spot, but it's got a lot going on here.  When you click the link to bring up the Street View you should be looking at the building which served as "The Haven Herald" newspaper office dead-on.  If you go up the street north or south a click and look back you can see the sign hanging from the eaves, and if you zoom in you can still see the logo painted on the glass.  These were taken in August 2014 while the show was still being filmed - the signage has since been removed.  Spin the view 180 degrees - the house on the opposite side of the street shows up in a LOT of episodes due to the proximity to the Herald.  Look at the yellow building just south of and next to the Herald (Street View shows it with a sign that says "ABLE Engineering Services") - that building was used as Haven Joe's Bakery.  But in some episodes you see it with the ABLE signage...Go up the street north of the Herald and look back and you will see it is actually a "L" shaped building with a little parking lot - the entrance to the building buried back there in the corner of the "L" was the exterior of the "Gun & Rose" restaurant where Jordan was a waitress.  Finally - note this building has a red roof.  The L-shape and the red roof make this building really stand out in aerial shots, once you know it's there, you can't miss it!
  • South Queen St. Monument - Go south on Queen St. - WAY south until the road dead-ends at the waterfront and turns into South St. - and you will see a neat little black monument.  Almost this exact shot is used in season 1 episode 2 when the giant ball is rolling along.  

Chester - Pleasant St. 

  • Pleasant St. Cluster - another spot where there is just too much going on!  The view brought up in this link is pointing at a space between two buildings which are frequently seen on the show.  The one on the left - the Chester Playhouse - will be very familiar to the fans.  In the Christmas episode where the town gets stuck in a snow globe this building serves as the Haven movie theater.  During season 5, Mara stabs a woman in the eye with a pencil on the sidewalk right in front of the building.  Spin the Street View 180 degrees and behind you is the Kiwi cafe - which is seen in a number of episodes, but in particular was Big Benjy's Ice Cream in Season 1, Episode 4.   You see all these buildings in the episode with the people in bear suits walking around. 
  • Nicki's Inn - Just west along Pleasant St. is Nicki's Inn, which appeared early in the series as "The Rust Bucket", which was partly destroyed by the giant rolling ball.  It also appeared as the "Black House Coffee" shop in Season 4, Episode 2 (where Jennifer bought coffee and found a number of burned bodies).  If you have trouble visualizing it as the coffee shop, they used the entrance in the alley to the right of the front of the inn.  Fans of the series who have followed Twitter and Instagram posts and interviews with the cast and crew may recognize this as the establishment run by Nicki Butler.  She was apparently loved by many involved with the show as well as being a local icon, and passed away unexpectedly back in 2015.  The establishment is now closed and the building was for sale as of late 2016.  Right across the street is a building that appeared as a restaurant during the show (The Irreverent Oyster).

Other Chester Locations

  • Chester Yacht Club Gazebo - that's probably not the right name, but it's the gazebo NEXT TO the Yacht Club.  It is used in a LOT of episodes.  It was the location of the Farmer's Market in Season 1 Episode 4.
  • Homework assignment - just west of the gazebo is a funny looking swimming pool (The Lido Pool) - do you recognize it?  To see it you may have to go south down Peninsula Rd. a half-dozen "clicks" and look back towards the northwest.  
  • Church Park / Pew Arena - This is not a terribly interesting picture, yet in it you are seeing a place where the cast and crew spent a LOT of time - inside that building were housed a number of sets used in the series, including the interior of the Haven Police Station, interior of Duke's Boat, and interior of Audrey's apartment over the Grey Gull.  If you switch to the overhead Google Map view and use the "earth" view which shows the satellite photo you will notice this is a complex of buildings and there are tennis courts - these are featured in at least one episode, Season 1 Episode 5 where a woman's trouble causes men to age and die rapidly - a man dies right on the tennis courts there.  Just north and a little west is a large expanse with a couple of schools.  
  • MAJOR Homework Assignment - if you go west along Pig Loop Road looking at the huge space outside the arena, as you come to the corner, you can see a green Pontiac van shoved in the corner.  It's a little hard to see through the foliage and chain link fence, but it looks kind of beat up.  I'm 95% certain this is the van seen flipping over and tumbling down the road just over 21 minutes into season 5 episode 1.  Hopefully Google will keep this one archived - it's from August 2014.  Now, use the little widget to change to the version from August 2012.  If you look through the fence you will see a "Haven" ambulance.  And if you keep the date set to August 2012 and work your way back east towards the entrance, and keep looking towards that corner, behind the ambulance you will see...THE BRONCO.  BAM!
  • Chester Middle School - It was hard to find a good Street View shot for this, as it's a bit back on the property where the Google car probably couldn't go, but this is the "blue school building" seen in a number of episodes.
  • Chester St. Augustine's Parish - When the "Darkside Seekers" come to Haven, they set up their night shot at the beginning of the episode in front of this church.  Spin the camera 180 degrees and look at the yellow house on the opposite corner - they entered this house and encountered the "Rougarou."

Hubbards

  • Hubbards Shore Club - The Shore Club was featured in the episode when Nathan and Duke time traveled to the 1950's.  I believe the interior of the Shore Club was actually used on the show.
  • Hubbards St. Luke's Anglican Church - This is The Reverend Driscoll's church on Haven.  It is featured in a lot of shows.  The giant rolling ball started out as a statue on the lawn here.
  • Hubbards Bishop's Park Gazebo - Gazebo number 3!  Used in several episodes, just down the street from the Rev's church.  The scene in Season 4, Episode 2 where Duke tells Jennifer the story about a kid who broke his arm sledding when they were younger (the story is about Nathan) takes place here.
  • Hubbards House, Old Post Road - OK, I really struggled with including this but I was just so pleased with myself I can't help it.  This house was used as The Reverend Driscoll's home.  I am 90% certain they actually used the interior of this house.  It's back on another road which was not directly cataloged by Google so the Street View is from a nearby highway looking through the trees.  The house is up on a hill which, when looking out through the front windows, would have a view of the Rev's church (St. Luke's).  Watch the episode (season 1 episode 2 I think) and you will see what I'm talking about.
  • Hubbards St. Mark's Anglican Church - used as the outskirts of Haven in more than one episode.  Now spin the camera 180 degrees - in the current Street View image at the time I am writing this, which is shown with an image date of August 2014, there are HAVEN POLICE CARS parked across from the church!  COOL!  The blue Chevy Tahoe there is Dwight's vehicle on the show as well.  I *think* these cars were parked here for filming scenes for season 5, episode 14 (first episode of season 5b or season 6 or whatever we're calling it).
  • Hubbards House at Tilley's Cove - The Grey Gull.  There are several decent shots of the building from the road, just walk the camera up and down.  Also, use the little widget (in the upper left on my browser) that lets you view historical images from previous years.  The "current" images right now are from August 2014.  However there are a number of really nice shots from April 2012 when the Grey Gull sign was up, and there was less foliage covering the building.  There are also some shots from 2009 prior to the start of filming the show, when the building doesn't have the sign - or windows or doors apparently.  In photos I've seen elsewhere since these Street View images were done, the signage has been removed.  

Other Areas Of Interest

  • Peggy's Cove Lighthouse - Another lighthouse used in the series, in Season 1 Episode 5, where a woman's trouble causes men to age rapidly and die.
  • Mahone Bay Centre - This building appears in numerous episodes as the Haven Medical Center.  Note that early in the show the building was doctored up with signage that said Haven Medical Center, a flagpole with a US flag, etc.  But similar to the issue with the Lunenburg town hall, later aerial shots of this building are missing the Haven-related signage.  
  • Mahone Bay Street Scene - This is one of the many street scenes from all over the South Shore area to be featured in Haven - in particular this one is seen in the episode where Audrey relives the same day repeatedly and various people are getting run over...Be sure to zoom the view out all the way and pan around, and you may recognize more scenes.
  • Robinson's Corner Farm - this is the home of "The Barn", the supernatural construct that plays such a big role in the show but which is seen only a few times considering.  It's located pretty far back on the property off the road, and presented a challenge to find a good Street View angle.  In Season 2 Episode 3 when the "real" Audrey Parker finds the barn, it is shown onscreen flipped left-to-right, but definitely still the same building.
  • Halifax Dingle Tower - Dingle Tower in Halifax was used as the Armory in the final episodes of Haven.
  • Halifax Boondocks Diner - The Boondocks Diner is where Nathan and the "copy" of Audrey (created by Croatoan to trick Nathan) were eating at the opening of Season 5B Episode 13.  The diner in the show was also called Boondocks, but they hung a "Cleaves Mills" sign out front - nice Stephen King reference...
  • Bridgeport Cape Rouge - The Cape Rouge belonged to Duke Crocker, serving as both his home and an important part of his business as a smuggler.  During the winter months when the show was not being filmed, the boat was docked here in Bridgeport (during filming it was docked at the "angled dock" in Lunenburg, liste above).  Note - the boat partially sank in March of 2014 but it was apparently raised, since the linked Street View image was captured in September 2014.  If you have any doubt this is the Cape Rouge (that was actually the original name of the boat), check out this article about the sinking.  There's a series of 10 photos - number 7 is a good shot for comparison the the vessel pictured in Street View.
  • Corner of Montague & Prince - OK, if there is a "Most Obscure Location" on this page, I think this is it.  Take a look at this building.  If you don't recognize it, take a look at these pictures: http://www.farfarawaysite.com/section/haven/gallery1/gallery1/gallery4/gallery.htm and then come back to the Street View scene.  Spin the camera around.  Those promo shots for the first season were done right in that building in the linked Street View scene.  It used to drive me crazy wondering where they were done.  I was absolutely convinced they were done in Chester, but turns out it was right there in Lunenburg.

Conclusion...

And that's all I have for now folks.  If you know of a location that was significant to the show and that you'd like me to add, please let me know.  I'd like to give a special thanks to Pauline P. whose Haven Photo Project  got me to thinking I should share these links, and who kindly helped with a few locations that had eluded me.  Also I would like to to thank Michelle Diesbourg for some locations as well as additional detail about how some were used.