Saturday, December 12, 2009

Geektonic Talks about the Nook on Kindle Chronicles Podcast

Kindle Chronciles

This week I again joined Len Edgerly for a segment about the Barnes & Noble Nook on his popular, Kindle-centric podcast – The Kindle Chronicles.  In the interview Len and I discuss our first day with the Nook and compare it to the Kindle.

If you have any interest in eBook readers or the Amazon Kindle readers, the Kindle Chronicles is the Podcast to subscribe to.  It’s on my must-listen list of podcasts.  Len does a great job of mixing in e-Book Reader-related news, tips and tricks and an interesting interview in nearly each podcast.  Highly recommended.

Read more about the Kindle Chronicles Podcast at the website (you can also download or listen to the episode with my interview from this site)

Get the Kindle Chronicles Podcast on iTunes

I must say, I’ve really warmed to the Nook as an e-Reader – even though we are now a two-Kindle house at GeekTonic.  I’m very tempted to hang on to this Nook.  Look for the Nook reviews at GeekTonic early this week.  I assure you we’ll cover ground that has been thus far glossed over by most Nook reviews thus far.

Stay Tuned to GeekTonic for more e-Book and Media Gadget talk by subscribing to the GeekTonic RSS Feed

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Perfect HTPC Graphics Card

Are you still hunting for the best graphics card for your HTPC? Well, you are not alone! Many enthusiasts are still searching out there for the perfect graphics card. Why does this search never end? The answer to this has got to do with the varying factors which people take into consideration while choosing their HTPC card. Sooner, rather than later, they realize that one of the factors they initially didn't consider as really important comes back to bite them.

You've received a Picture Message


As a consumer who has tried out and experimented with offerings from all the 3 leading graphics card manufacturers, I can tell you that that every manufacturer has an advantage in some aspect or the other. This post will dwell in detail on the two major components of the HD HTPC experience, namely, video and audio. At the end of the post, I will also examine miscellaneous aspects which affect the consumer choice.

Read on for an in-depth look at choosing the right Video Card for your HTPC

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Amazon Plans 2010 Kindle Update For Vision Impaired and Blind Users

Amazon plans to roll out new Kindle features for blind and vision-impaired readers in 2010.  According to an announcement on their site, the updates include audible menus and a new super-size font for easier navigation.

To make Kindle more useful for the blind, the Kindle team is currently working on an audible menuing system so blind and vision-impaired readers can easily navigate to books unassisted, in addition to listening to books as they can already do today with Read To Me. In addition, a new super size font will be added to Kindle, increasing the number of font sizes from six to seven. This seventh font size will be twice the height and width of the current largest font. These new features are scheduled for release by the summer of 2010.

Great move on Amazon’s part.  I always thought the text-to-speech could really help the vision impaired and adding these features will finally make that possible.

Read the entire annoucement from Amazon at their site

via Gizmodo

Barnes & Noble Nook Unboxing and First Take

Nook on the BookshelfNook and Accessories

The Nook arrived this afternoon.  For GeekTonic readers, I'm sharing the unboxing and first photos of the brand new Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader for all to see.

Read on for lots of photos of the Nook and my first take

While the launch of the Nook definitely hasn’t been smooth, the arrival of the devices in stores Monday (for looking and pre-ordering only) and in some homes today if you were lucky enough to be one of the first to pre-order the Nook has been met with excitement.  My home is one with a lot of Kindle exposure so the comparisons are being drawn immediately – and that seems to be fair since this Nook is probably the best competition to the Kindle to date.

Read on for many photos and the unboxing of the Nook.  Finally some first impressions of the device as well

WDTV Live Media Player Firmware Update Problem Resolved


Western Digital announced today that they have resolved the issue some experienced with the firmware update to 1.01.12 (read about that debacle here) and say it is now safe to update.

They also are offering to replace any bricked media players affected by the bad firmware update free of charge.  Here’s the full announcement from WD:

We have tracked the problem to the Internet update process for WD TV Live firmware version 1.01.12. The firmware version is functioning normally, the problem intermittently occurred when using the Internet to update WD TV Live to version 1.01.12. If you've successfully installed update 1.01.12, there's nothing further you need to do.

If your product failed during the update process, we will replace it free of charge. Please contact our customer service department.

The product in stores and shipping today is functioning normally. Update version 1.01.11, and the Internet update process for 1.01.11 are also functioning normally. So if you own a product that you haven't updated, or buy a product today, you can safely update it with version 1.01.11, which is now the most current update.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Definitely a terrible problem to experience with a hardware device, but good to see Western Digital is standing behind their product and doing the right thing here – kudos to them.

via Western Digital Website

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Deal of the Day – SageTV HD Theater

Deal of the Day – SageTV HD Theater Bundle $25 Off!

SageTV Coupon

SageTV is running a Holiday Sale - You can get the SageTV HD Theater (HD200) bundled with the SageTV HTPC software for $199.95 (usually sells for $224.95).  This is the lowest price for the HD200/SageTV bundle ever!

To get the discount enter HAPHOL09 coupon code in the SageTV online store at checkout. (Coupon expires December 16, 2009)

For more on the SageTV HD Theater read the GeekTonic Review

via SageTV on Twitter

Ultimate Guide to the Winter 2010 TV Premieres

The TV networks are in the thick of December with college football, Christmas specials and long TV series hiatuses the norm.  We’ll take this time to see what's coming in the TV world for the new year.  I've gathered as much about the Winter 2010 TV Schedule as I can and there are several premieres included.

The chart below guides you through the entire Winter 2010 TV Season by date with a little December 2009 thrown in for good measure.  Season/series premieres will have their season number in the "season premiere" column.  All start times are U.S. Eastern time.  There are some shows that may have a special premiere date and then follow later that week in their normal time slot day - in these cases I only show the first premiere. 

Subscribe to GeekTonic and you'll get a weekly preview of new Winter 2009 airings each Sunday and noting those that will air in HD as well as more information about each series/season premiere in those posts as well.  These will be posted each Saturday and will include TV info for eight days: Sunday through Sunday.

New Premieres include:  Men of a Certain Age, Better off Ted, Human Target, Life Unexpected, Caprica, the Pacific, Parenthood and a few others.

New Reality/game-shows abound, but nothing really all that notable.  The reality TV genre is a pretty tired one in my opinion, but the price is cheap and some folks will watch anything I guess.  American Ninja Warrior, Bank of Hollywood, Platinum Weddings, Conviction Kitchen and the list goes on.
Returning Shows with new season premieres include:  Lost, 24, Scrubs, Damages, Chuck and many more.
Lost The Final Season

Free Printable PDF Guides for the Winter 2010 TV Season (these will be updated periodically with network changes):

NOTE:  The PDF Downloads (see above) are up-to-date and comprehensive including some changes and additions not reflected below.


For a cliff-notes version of the downloads read on:

Barnes & Noble Nook – First Reviews

The GeekTonic Nook First look will be posted by the end of today with lots of photos, a short video and my first take.  Soon after I’ll be taking a look at how it handles PDF’s as well as a few other popular questions I’ve received from readers.

Barnes & Noble Nook

In the meantime let me know in the comments what you want to know about the nook and I’ll be sure to answer your questions where possible.  The best reviews of the Nook eBook Reader are as follows in order of my preferred reviews:

  • Technologizer – Harry McCraken does the review the way I like it – lots of detail and true analysis.  Definitely the best review in terms of detail
  • Engadget – A fairly balance review with a nice, brief video of it in action.
  • SlashGear – A long video with good shots of the removable battery
  • Gizmodo – Another good review by the Gizmodo team

Now if you’re one waiting for your preorder to arrive this stuff is pretty interesting.  If you’re on the fence about what to buy, all of these reviews left a little “wait and see how the firmware update fixes things” taste in the mouth.  Stay tuned for a lot more later today.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Boxee Announces New Beta & Previews Hardware Box

Tonight Boxee used their “Boxee Event” to show off a new beta version of their HTPC software as well as their new Boxee Box, made with hardware partner D-Link.

New Boxee Box

The new Boxee-branded Box will be the D-Link DSM-380 and is expected to run about $200.  It will be on display at CES and plans are for it to be available for sale sometime in the first half of 2010.

The Boxee Box will serve up media from the home and internet and deliver it to the TV without needing a computer at the TV. 

Renderings of the hardware device are below – no it hasn’t melted, just a strange (but somehow attractive) design:

Boxee Box FrontBoxee Box Back

Initial Hardware Specs:

  • HDMI, SPDIF, RCA Audio
  • 2 USB Ports
  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n

New Boxee Beta with New UI

They announced the new Boxee beta which is slated to open to the public on January 7th and will gradually be released via invitations to early access users.

The new UI will get most of the talk at first, but the addition of DXVA seems like a significant improvement for Boxee – it lets your CPU take advantage of DXVA and play 1080p without taxing the CPU.

Other additions:
  • Bug fixes
  • Performance improvements
  • Official support for Snow Leopard and Ubuntu Karmic

UI Changes

Home Screen:

The Home screen has been redesigned to help with navigation (I’m personally very happy they decided to throw out the old home screen.)

Boxee Home Screen


Global Menu:

The global menu provides access to the Settings (TOP – Logout, Settings, Queue, Feed, History), the main menu (MIDDLE – Photos, Music, Movies, Home, TV Shows, Apps, Files) and shortcuts (BOTTOM) favorite Apps, TV Shows, Movies, or folders.

Boxee Global Menu 

TV Shows & Movie Library:

I see a TV Show library, but I’m still looking for the tuner functionality where you actually record TV.  That’s a major missing feature from Boxee in my book although it does have a library page to organize archived TV shows by season and episode.

Both TV Show Library and Movie Library will include both Internet and local content

Boxee TV Show Library

Boxee Movie Library

See additional screen-shots and read more at the Boxee Blog and the D-Link Boxee Box site

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Week in Review – December 6, 2009

Below is a quick summary of the past week's news and stories on GeekTonic.

  • WDTV Live Media Player Firmware Bricks the Players – Ouch.  Hope you WDTV Live owners didn’t update your firmware this weekend.
  • Compare eBook Prices & Selection with Inkmesh – A great way to compare eBook and audiobook prices and availablility
  • Deal Watcher – The latest deals for this weekend
  • Handbrake – My Favorite Video Transcoder Gets Updated
  • A Guide to Troubleshooting Standby – MissingRemote...
  • Deal of the Day – SiliconDust HDHR Dual Tuner $124
  • Want to Share? Guest Blog at GeekTonic To Enter Media Payer Giveaway
  • Barnes & Noble Fumbles with the Nook e-Reader Launch – Looks like the Nook will be in many stores tomorrow (Monday) but won’t be shipped to the first who pre-ordered till later this week
  • Smart Sports Recording with Sage Recording Extender – A genius HTPC addon made with sports fans in mind.
  • CyberMonday Shopping at GeekTonic
  • This week plans include a few guest posts I’m excited about, a how-to on firewire tuning with SageTV, a first-look at the Barnes & Noble Nook eBook reader, the Winter 2010 TV Premiere Guide and a few more gift-guides.

    More in-depth content for Media Gadget Fans at  If you’re in to the Twitter thing, be sure and follow me on twitter under the name GeekTonic.  Thanks for Reading GeekTonic!