Saturday, July 14, 2007

List of all 2300-Plus Netflix "Watch Now" Movies


If you're a subscriber to Netflix, you know how cumbersome it is to browse all of the Netflix Watch Now Movies. Netflix seems to highlight many of them, but it takes forever to browse all of them. This site has listed all 2,300 Plus movies that are available as Watch Now as of July 14th, 2007. Each movie listed has the hyperlink to the Netflix site for your convience too.List of Netflix Watch Now Movies

Friday, July 13, 2007

RSS subscribe to your Flickr Contacts Favorites

I'm a big fan of the online photo sharing site Flickr and when I add a new Flickr contact, I often check out that persons favorites. I just ran across a Yahoo Pipe that makes it possible to subscribe to an RSS feed of the latest photos marked as Favorites by your contacts. It's pretty easy to do with Yahoo Pipes:
  1. Go to the Yahoo Pipe's Flickr Contacts Faves Page

  2. Fill in the fields for your flickr name, # of photos to include for each contact and then input either "contact" to show one feed item per contact or "fave" to show one feed item per favorite.

  3. Press "Run Pipe"
  4. Select "Get an RSS" at the bottom of the page

Alternatively, the RSS feed is immediately accessible by
  1. copying the link below:

  2. Change "alias" in the link to either your flickr NSID or photostream alias (what follows in the address bar when you go here)

  3. Change "5" to the number of favorites from each contact to include in the feed

  4. "Contact" unchanged to display one feed item per contact, or changed to "fave" to display one feed item per fave.

The end result is an RSS feed with the most recent favorites (standard is five photos each) for every contact you have set up in flickr. Pretty cool - especially if your contacts have similar taste or interests in photos. Below is a snapshot of the resulting rss feeds taken from GoogleReader:

This is a great way to discover new photos of interest to my flickr contacts and therefore of interest to me!

Get Invited to a Private Beta

Were you one of those persons searching for a Joost , Babelgum or Pownce invite when it was hard to get a private beta invite? Do you like to try out new webapps before they go public? If so, you need to sign up for InviteShare. At InviteShare, they gather the most popular web apps in private beta and let its users add their e-mails to the list. Once people get invites, they share them with others who are part of the InviteShare membership.

Check it out at InviteShare

The MX-500 MX 600 Home Theater Remote Control Review

Do you have an excess of remote controls for all of your home theater devices and want to bring control over everything into a single remote? Do you need good IR or even RF range so you can use the remote from a great distance? Do you want to be able to customize that remote including the lcd labels? Like hard buttons on your remote? Want the ability to make buttons control a more powerful macro where a single button will do multiple functions for multiple devices. And you want this all in a very reasonable price under $200?

One of the best solutions for this type of remote is the Universal Remote Control's Home Theater Master MX-500 and MX-600. I've used the MX-500 for several years with my HTPC's and now also own the MX-600 remote control. Both remotes are nearly identical except that the MX-600 adds RF capability which allows you to use the remote throughout the house and with your components in closed cabinets.

mx-500 on left & mx-600 on right

Who is Universal Remote Control Inc?
Universal Remote Control Inc. began their company making OEM remote controls. They make remote controls for many, many devices some of which you may have used before. My Time Warner cable box's remote control was even made by them.

Layout of the remote:
The feel of these remotes is great. It fits in the hand very nicely and you can reach the volume, channel, fast forward, rewind and "mouse pad" all near the remote users thumb. The remote features 45 hard buttons,a fully customizable LCD screen (always on) with ten hard buttons assigned to those LCD functions, and a nice five-way mouse (thumb-pad). The remote supports ten devices which should be enough for most looking in this price range. You can really make any button do whatever you want it to and I have mine set up so you can basically get to almost any function with no more then two presses of the key. The remote is big - over nine inches long, but it really does feel good in your hand. To power the remote, it requires four AAA batteries which are included. Other hard buttons on the remote include play, stop, pause, fast foward, rewind, chap skip, record all the numbers, guide, menu, exit, info and three non-LCD macro buttons.

I won't bore you with the details of setting up the remote, but I will say it takes a little time to get everything set up just right. There's no internet or PC connection so you do everything right on the remote itself. The remote comes with a pretty large database of IR codes for home theater devices, but I used the learn function for many of my devices so I could make everything just the way I wanted it. I then created several macros including one that turns everthing on, makes sure my HTPC software (Beyond TV) is focused, sets all devices to the proper inputs etc. I set up several other macros as well. Once you get the hang of it, it's not too difficult.

Other Features:
Backlighting - There's a button on the side that lights up all the buttons and the LCD so you can see everything on the remote in the dark. You can turn it off with another push of the button or it will turn off automatically after a short amount of time (configurable in the setup menu).
Cloning - If like me, you have two MX-500 or MX-600 remotes, you can clone all the settings and codes from one remote to another. This made it nice for me since I have so many similar functions on my HTPC setups.

Range - The MX-500 is an IR-only remote, but it has incredible range compared to most remotes. I was able to use it as far as 50 feet as long as there was little or no walls or doors blocking the way. The MX-600 is even better as it uses RF technology and an RF receiver so that it can be used throughout the entire house. You can also place the components anywhere behind doors or in cabinets without problems. Since I use a cable modulator in the house, I've been running my HTPC located in the living room from my upstairs bedroom using the MX-600 remote - I can't begin to tell you how excited this made my wife athough it can be a problem when you are looking for the remote control in the living room :)

You can get the MX-500 for about $76 and the MX-600 for about $117 on sale at Amazon right now. I also use girder and the usbuirt to control my HTPC along with these remotes. The combination is just perfect for me. Bottom line I highly recommend both of these remotes. If you have any questions about either remote, let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wii Blaster & Wii Fit News

The latest out of Nintendo is the Wii Blaster and Wii Fit. The Blaster just looks purely awesome. New Wii Games: Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, Ghost Squad, and Medal of Honor will use the new Zapper for their games. Check out the video below of the new blaster with Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles:

Wii Fit actually looks like it might have potential. Check the preview video out below:

Credit: NintendoFanBoy for the blaster story

HTPCNews is Back

One of the places I've frequented for HTPC news and forums has been offline for a while with no new posts. Brad Gilomen over at HTPCNews announced today that he has the HTPCNews site back in business. he says:

"it's been a while since has been online and fully
operational. Hopefully some of you will find your way back this way over
time and see that it's back online."

For the full story, go the HPTC News

Monday, July 09, 2007

Nyko Wireless Wii Sensor Bar Review

A review of the Nyko Wireless Sensor Bar for the Wii - (or) - How to use the Wii when it isn't near the TV.
This past week I spent a great deal of time helping my dad set up a home theater in his theater/game room. In this room we installed a front-projection TV, a projector screen and the components that go along with it. One of the key components in my parents eyes was the Wii Game Machine. My folks love the Wii sports game and it is a favorite when they have their friends over so it was important to them to have the Wii work with the projector. The problem with this was that their home theater components were a great distance from the projection screen. Far enough that the wii sensor bar wouldn't reach. Thus began my search for a solution.

First it is important to explain what the sensor bar really does in the first place. The sensor bar doesn't really "sense" at all. Instead, it emits infrared lights from the right and left side of the sensor bar. The wiimote "reads" the infrared from the sensor and sends that information via bluetooth to the Wii console and thus tells it where the Wii remote is pointing. Thats about all it does. The cord going from the Nintendo Sensor Bar to the Wii powers the IR lights on the sensor bar.
I considered making a diy sensor bar with the help of this site or modding the original sensor bar like this, but it looked like more work then I had time for so I decided to buy the Nyko Sensor bar for $20 at Amazon. It was just too cheap to not try it!
The Nyko Sensor Bar comes packaged in a plastic tube
The Nyko Sensor Bar looks similar to the Nintendo's wired sensor bar except it is a bit bulkier, has a battery compartment on the bottom, a switch on the back that tells it whether to auto-off after one hour or two hours and a button on top to power it on. When its powered on, a blue led light glows on the front. The wireless sensor bar is powered by four AA batteries and Nyko includes a set of four batteries in the package. Nyko says it will allow up to thirty hours of use, but I wasn't able to test the play time (although it didn't run down the batteries after several days of play). Once you press the power on button, it will run for either one or two hours depending on the setting you select with the switch. Once it runs for that period of time, it begins beeping and flashing to warn you it will turn off soon. To avoid it turning off at this point, you press the power button for another hour or two of use.

Below is a photo of the Nyko Wireless Sensor Bar in front and the Nintendo Wired Sensor bar behind. Notice the IR lights on the left & right of the wireless sensor bar. These lights only show up in a photograph and can't be seen with the human eye. The bright blue led light close to the right side is the power on light
This is the bottom of the wireless sensor bar. The compartment for the AA batteries is found here.

On the top right of the wireless sensor bar is a power button and speaker for alerting you to a pending power off.
Nyko says it's wireless sensor bar has a 25 foot range compared to the standard sensor bar's somewhat shorter range. I had no problem with sensitivity of the controller after switching to the wireless sensor bar, but I did have to adjust the sensitivity settings a little. For our projector setup we put velcro on the bottom right and bottom left of the sensor bar and on the bottom of the projection screen so we could attach and remove the sensor bar when needed.

I highly recommend the Nyko Wireless Sensor Bar for anyone who needs to have the sensor bar and tv screen to be far away from the Wii console. The price is right and it does exactly what it's supposed to.