Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Ongoing Phone Dilemma

PhonesMy dilemma is simple really. I currently own an LG CU500 which is good, has 3g and does the basics very well, but I continue to drool over the Samsung Blackjack my wife owns(not the second version) and even more with the other phones like the iPhone and Blackberry. I've struggled with this decision since October of last year and now have a chance to get a Blackberry Pearl at work, but with the iPhone coming out in 3G in 60 days or so I don't know what to do. Should I: [NOTE: RSS READERS WILL NEED TO CLICK THROUGH TO THE SITE TO SEE THE POLL]

Poll Answers

What do I want in a phone?

  • Quality phone calls and signal - duh.
  • I'll use it for Internet - probably quite a lot which makes me lean towards the iPhone....
  • I'll need to use it for work e-mail & calendar (Microsoft Exchange) (which makes me lean towards blackberry) but also to access my gmail account
  • I'd like for it to take photos for me - doesn't have to be the best quality - just a way to snap a shot when I don't happen to have my camera handy.
  • I'm a little concerned about using the virtual keyboard/numpad of the iPhone. I've had some limited exposure to the iTouch and it's interface is nice, but my fingers tend to hit the wrong buttons more than I would like.
  • The N95 is in last place since it has no keyboard

What do you think I should do? Please vote and put any comments below. Thanks for your input.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Flickr Video Arrives!

The long rumored feature of video has arrived to Flickr Tuesday night at 8:30PM Central. 

flickr video


I've gathered the details as Webware, Techcrunch and Wired has outlined:

  • 90 second clips maximum - nothing longer initially at least.  Think of this as a place to put little clips from your digital camera or camera phone that you wouldn't normally upload to YouTube.  Together with the photos they tell a story.
  • 150MB size maximum
  • Uploads for Pro users only for the time being at least ($25/year for pro membership)
  • Anyone can view the videos although you can still control the privacy of the videos like you do with flickr photos.  You do this by making the video visible to friends and/or family or public.
  • Videos show up alongside photos
  • Videos can be shared, embedded individually or as part of sets.
  • Video includes tagging, geotagging
  • Search videos by tags, and descriptions
  • Uploads directly from camera phones.
  • Upload from web, uploadr, e-mail or API
  • Option to view videos full screen.
  • API for third party developers - yeah!
  • Licensing options including creative commons.
  • Support for English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese.
  • 700 kbps
  • 12 FPS, keyframe every 12 (fixed)
  • Scaled within a 500x500 box with aspect maintained
  • Audio is 44.1 kHz, steroe, 44kbps
  • 2pass VBR, 700 kbps
  • Photostreams are now coined MediaStreams to better describe the collection of photos and video.

To upload your video (if your a Pro Flickr member) head to the web uploader page (uploadr app can't upload video quite yet) and upload your video.

flickr video upload

Flickr has a nice long faq on their new Flickr Video feature that is a must read.

Its obvious the point of the flickr videos is to be a "video photo album" with small clips to go along with photos.  Certainly not to be a YouTube replacement.  For that we already have Yahoo Videos.  That being said, who knows where this will lead.  I'm sure at some point we could see that 90 second rule laxed and eventually see more of a YouTube-type feature set.  I'd expect the uploading capability to be rolled out to free users eventually as well, but for now it's a Pro-flickr exclusive.  One thing I've noticed while browsing the sample embedded videos this evening is that there are some slow buffering problems with playback, but that may be because of so many people accessing the very few videos out there at the moment.


Techcrunch and Wired both have announcements on their sites about the flickr video and Webware has a more complete review of the flickr video features that's worth a read while you're waiting to try the site out yourself.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Shorts - HTPC News on the Web

Photos of the HD-PVR In Action - Want to see the Hauppauge HD PVR board in action (albeit naked without the case on?)  The Snapstream blog has the scoop - check it out here.  Dave Zatz of ZatzNotFunny already confirmed that SageTV will have support for this device and is now saying that both Snapstream (BTV) and Elgato (EyeTV) could also support the device.  Obviously Snapstream is well on their way to supporting the device given their blog post.  The latest version of GB-PVR already has support for the HD-PVR according to a post in their forums by a forum administrator.

As I mentioned earlier today, you can get your preorder in at the Hauppauge website.hdpvr-1


Microsoft Vista Media Center Going Global? - Chris Lanier speculates (with some very good points) that Microsoft is moving towards VMC support outside of the United States.


Online Spotlight Missing in Action? - MissingRemote has a story on the rarely used Media Center "Online Spotlight" apps.  I've always been envious of the Fox Sports Lounge while I used Beyond TV/Media and SageTV, but haven't really seen many others I was interested in.  Read the story at Missing Remote.


Dish Network HTPC Tuner? - Is DishNetwork readying a tuner for Media Center PCs?  Chris Lanier has the latest.


Slingbox Add-ons - The GizmoLovers Blog has a good write-up on various aftermarket add-ons for your Slingbox.

Hauppauge HD PVR Preorder Sales Begin

The Hauppauge HD PVR Recorder Model 1212 is for sale as of 11:30 Central Time Today.

You can order yours for $249.00 plus shipping at the Hauppauge Website at this link



A few things to note with this. 

  • Although SageTV has said they'll have support at or very soon after release, there is no guarantee of support (or timing of support) for various HTPC software.
  • There's no guarantee of the quality of output at this point since we've only seen a few video samples on the web.  While everyone hopes and expects it will be good, there's just no guarantee until we hear from people actually using or testing these.
  • The demand on your HTPC will likely be high so performance there could be an issue - especially for those with older PCs or videocards.
  • The shipping date on the Hauppauge website says May 1st, but that date has been slippery so we'll have to wait and see.
  • $250 isn't bad, but you have to include the fact that you'll need one of these plus a cable/satellite box for each channel you want to record.

All of that being said, I'm still excited about this device and will have a review on it out at or soon after release date.  Stay tuned for more information!


Want to see the board on this thing?  See photos of it in action (albeit naked without the case on?)  The snapstream blog has the scoop - check it out here

Sunday, April 06, 2008

In Review - The Weeks Past Posts

Here's a review of the week's posts on GeekTonic.  In case you missed any of the posts from this past week, I always post a review of them each weekend.  For anyone keeping track there still is no preorder link for the Hauppauge HD-PVR.

  • I've spent a lot of time on this yet-to-be released product, but it's important to those of us HTPC users so I aim to keep everyone as updated as I can. Today I posted some photos of the device thanks to SHS who is also keeping everyone very informed on today's developments.  Just this evening, Hauppauge updated their website with further details and photos of this component video recorder.  Here are some highlights...
  • Details on the Hauppauge HD-PVR are flowing in now.  UPDATED 4/4/2008 8PM CST.  We had photos of the device this morning thanks to a post by "SHS" on the SageTV forums that included photos of the coming-soon (not soon enough) Hauppauge HD-PVR component video recorder…
  • Apple's iTunes Store surpassed WalMart as the No. 1 music retailer in the U.S. this January 2008, according to the NPD MusicWatch Survey via ArsTechnica…
    • Want a super-easy way of archiving your DVDs to your hard driver or even to your Home Theater PC?  I'll share with you my method of ripping the movie from the DVD and putting it into a folder for viewing on your HTPC. I needed a one-click script that would rip a DVD to my HTPC with the click of a button.  Add to that, I wanted the rip to end up in a single mpg file with just the movie, but including any subtitles and audio tracks - all with no transcoding to maintain quality and still reduce the size…
      • I'm really not a big fan of the online April Fools Jokes.  I do find them funny, but it's sort of annoying to try to sort through the truths and fictions when running through my RSS feeds for the day.  Still, I thought I'd share with you a few Home Theater PC - related April Fools Gags that I noticed today....
      • Don't know if I have any HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother) fans as readers, but thought I'd point this one out... Former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright had another cameo in How I Met Your Mother last night - well it wasn't a real cameo per se, but her smiling photo did show up when Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris was having all the women he has supposedly slept with flashing through his mind (actually they used the same 7 or so women more than once in the "flashes", but the…
      • Its time for Baseball with the first signs of summer peeking through.  Monday marks the beginning of baseball for most Major League baseball teams.  Keep up with you favorite team by importing the baseball schedule into your calendar program.  With the help of , you can import your team's schedule into Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar, Lotus Notes and even a PDF or Excel Document among others…