Archive for February, 2006

Blue-ray arrives May 23rd 2006

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Blue-ray
It’s official!.

Now wait about 12 hours until we hear that HD-DVD will arrive May 22nd!!

What I find confounding about all the press is that it’s all about “increased capacity” and “greater functionality”.
People, it’s about the frickin’ HIGH DEFINITION!
Remember that?

I wonder if they are avoiding the words “high definition” because it will remind people of HD-DVD? Hmmmm…

IPTV & WiMax

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Cisco comments on IPTV: It was another hot day on the markets in generel. The buzz on the news-feeds for the stocks in my imaginary portfolio at Yahoo-finance-portfolios seemed to be in the race to get broadband IPTV equipment to market. Nortel (NT.TO) seems to be promoting its efforts — are they on time? The news article calls the area “hotly contested” amoung Alcatel, Cisco/SFA, etc. Personally I’m not as excited since this technology should be delivered to the PC, right? I suppose there must be something behind the scenes in the routers to cut down on the bandwidth usage?

AACS is now ready – let the BD’s flow

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Xbit Labs is reporting
that the hold-up by AACS is gone.
So it probably delayed the intro of both Blu-ray and HD-DVD by about 2 weeks.

No biggie.

Roger’s video direct (.ca)

Friday, February 24th, 2006

This seems to be zip.ca’s system, but it was advertised to me here on techtok through a google ad a few days ago, so I tried it out. The first 2 DVDs arrived today. I was busy catching up on the Olympics (Hurrah for Shizuka Arakawa! She got the gold for Japan in the lady’s figure skating. When I found out, I went and ran through the PVR recording of today’s stuff. Ack, I was rooting for Miki Ando (JPN), but she totally cracked — it was hard to watch.) so I haven’t watched the DVDs yet. Well so anyway, the first movie I received in the mail was “Blackboard Jungle”, a classic movie of some sort which pops up in a DVD quiz game I like to play, so I thought I’d better watch it. The service is good for things you might want to get caught up on. It has (somewhat erroneous) lists of Film Festival movies, for example, and I also lined up “To have and have not” (Bogart) to be sent to me automatically when I mail back the 2 movies I have right now (also popping up in the movie quiz game we play here).

Another bonus is that the local Roger’s doesn’t rent Mystery Science Theater 3000, but rogersvideodirect.ca (zip.ca?) does rent them out one disk at a time. This is good because I’m a newbie with MSTK3000 and don’t know if it’s to my tastes. I also lined up several Toronto Film festival movies and since its a new service, I was sure to skew their ratings system for “The Island” 2005 along with a review of it.

From a financial markets perspective, I think the future is there for Amazon or Google or Cisco to grab hold of a bunch of dark fiber and start shipping the old movies at full resolution (as opposed to Yahoo!’s lo-res thing which has been around for about 3 years now(?)). In the mean time zip.ca’s blu-ray or hd-dvd snail-mail will have to do.

Command-line way to choose the current location

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

There is a command called scselect that allows you to switch your current location in Mac OS X.
Locations are Mac OS X’s way of storing a set of attributes that you can switch easily all at once.
Examples of locations are “Home”, “Office”, “Hrach’s place”.

They are used mostly for changing your TCP/IP setup.
For instance, “Hrach’s Place” for me has his WEP password set up.

iPodDisk

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

iPodDisk
iPodDisk
is a Mac app that runs a mini-web-server that uses WebDAV to translate Finder requests into accessing of the iPod’s database of songs.

End result?
You can drag songs onto and off of your iPod!
A very cool application of WebDAV technology.

Iain and I tested it a bit.
When I double-clicked the app on my G5 with my iPod connected, the only thing that happened was that I suddenly had a new disk on my desktop called “iPodDisk”, which automatically opened.
This thing runs with zero configuration!

After I got over my amazement, I set up my firewall to allow port 8765 through, and Iain was able to mount my iPod on his desktop at work.
it was a bit sluggish, but sped right up to the limit of my upstream bandwidth once I turned off BitTorrent.
:-D

Rating: ☆☆☆
It would get a full 5 stars if it allowed write access, which WebDAV can handle, but perhaps the iPod-library-reading code,
libgpod, cannot.
Actually, libgpod is the achilles’ heel of this app.
When Apple changes its library format, libgpod will have to be updated to track it, if it can.
So next time you update your iPod software/firmware, this may stop working.

Google Pages

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Google Pages
was sort of launched today.

“Sort of” in this case means that as of this morning, if you try to access the site, you will get this response:

  Oops!

Google Page Creator is having a little trouble right now.
This is not because of anything you did; it’s just a little hiccup in our system that will hopefully go away soon. We apologize for the inconvenience, and recommend you try reloading this page.

error.page.display

One hopes that it will get better over time.

Frappr sucks less

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Frappr

I haven’t been a big fan of
Frappr,
mostly because it was a very US-centric site, where non-US people could only enter the city they were in, so you would get a group of several hundred people all piled up on one dot on the map.

I don’t know if it’s a recent change, or I just idn’t notice from the start, but once you add yourself,
you can actually edit your entry and change the longitude and latitude to enough significant figures to pinpoint your house.
To find the long/lat numbers, all you do is find your house in Google Maps, and then click on the “link to this page” in the top right,
which will change the URL to include the longitude and latitude of your house.

This all assumes you *want* to publish this kind of info on the web of course.
You can just use a landmark you like instead.
Or maybe a bookstore downtown you like. :-)

Bush talks about hybrids

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

U.S. alternate energy goals

I was puzzling over why one of my fuel-cell stocks went up 10% yesterday. I consider those kinds of stocks super-high-risk, so I barely made enough for a night on the town. Actually, there’s been a 6-10% decline in several Japanese-stock mutual funds in the last few days, so I think we’re talking red-numbers here.

Hey, I think I’ll change the +ve numbers on my stock portfolio to blue-numbers. heh. Stocks to watch today: (for news!! Don’t buy any on my account! (or Bush’s for that matter))
F,
JCI,
HMC,
TM,
BLD.TO
— say if anyone knows the real situation at BLD.TO, who was controlled by
DCX
& F, and sold their euro-ops to DCX, I believe, send me an email at myob10.at.hotmail.com — Some folks lost a lot of money on BLD.TO as well as F more recently.

And by the way, TM is going to have a Camry in this years NASCAR series, with one in last Sunday’s Daytona 500 Nascar race. Maybe I should get Nascar’s in-car package this year. I sure hope I can find HD converage.

[edited to add links]

RockBox for iPod

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

RockBox
is a firmware replacement for many mp3 players, including the iRiver and iPod (even the latest iPod Video).
It adds much functionality, especially in terms of file formats that can be played.
The RockBox team built upon the success of the
iPodLinux.

Note that RockBox requires an iPod formatted for FAT32, not HFS.

Rockbox has themes; one person has designed a theme that
mirrors like the iPod native interface.
LWN.net
did a review of the Rockbox recently.

Here is a brief quote from the (slightly outdate – doesn’t mention iPod yet) manual:

Open Source jukebox firmware for the Archos Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, Recorder V2 and FM Recorder MP3 players

Rockbox is a replacement firmware for the
Jukebox Studio, Recorder and Ondio players made by Archos. It is a complete
rewrite of the software used to make the Jukeboxes play and record music, and
contains many features and enhancements not available in the original firmware
supplied by the manufacturer. Among the things that Rockbox has to offer are
the following:

  • Faster loading than the Archos firmware
  • Uninterrupted playing of MP3 files – skipping is very rare
  • More control over how your music is played
  • Built in viewers for several common file types
  • Sophisticated plugin system that allows the Jukebox to run games, a calendar, a clock, and many other applications.
  • Totally removable. (Removal of Rockbox before returning the Jukebox for repair under warranty is advised.)
  • Optional voice user interface for complete control without looking at the screen.

Rockbox is a complete from scratch rewrite of the Jukebox software and uses no
fragments of the original firmware. Not only is it free to use, it’s also released under
the GNU public license, which means that it will always remain free to both use
and to change

There is a
FAQ
available, as well as
tips for using the iPod with Rockbox
(what button does what, etc).

It was mentioned in
this Slashdot comment,
which piqued my curiosity.