Friday, August 27, 2010

Sonos Setup – Brilliantly Simple

As I mentioned in my review of the Sonos Music System last month I liked it.  I liked it a LOT and this past week I finally pulled the trigger and purchased two Sonos S5’s for the Geektonic home.  The two Sonos S5’s and one Zonebridge arrived this week and since I’m out of town on a business trip it was the perfect opportunity to enlist MrsGeekTonic to see how difficult or easy it is to set up Sonos from unboxing to playing music on your new Sonos S5.

Waiting to Open Sonos Boxes

Our dog waiting for the Sonos Boxes to be opened.  Some assistance with the setup was provided by him :)  As others have said, dogs like music too!


I’ve been through that setup process myself and it was very quick, but I play with complex HTPCs, media players and other overly-complicated setups so I’m a little “immune” to this and the word “complex” has a little different meaning to me compared to MrsGeekTonic.  So I posed the challenge and asked her to time herself on opening up the box to the time all was set up.

For review, here’s the basic setup process:

The detailed instructions of the setup process include photos & diagrams for each step:

  1. Install Sonos software on the main PC.  We already had this installed so it caused MrsGeekTonic to get some error messages telling her as much, but this was a minor stumbler.
  2. Plug in ZoneBridge 100 to AC and to wireless router
  3. Hit the sync button on the ZoneBridge
  4. Plug in the S5 somewhere within WiFi range of the wireless router
  5. Hit the sync buttons on the S5 (volume up and mute at the same time) until it begins blinking & auto-finds the network settings
  6. Start browsing the music collection from a Sonos Controller, the Desktop Sonos Software or your mobile device

Sonos Setup on iPhone

From start to finish it took her 20 minutes including getting slightly stuck since the software had already been installed on the PC (step 1).  Here’s the twitter report straight from MrsGeekTonic:

20 min. unbox to music for a total novice setting up @Sonos would have been faster but had to deal w/existing software issue on comp&phone

So there you have it.  MrsGeekTonic is no slouch when it comes to technology, but she typically leaves setting up gadgets to me.  Without question Sonos is one of the easiest gadgets to set up that we’ve had – I wish all Media Gadget devices were this easy!

Black Sonos S5

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TiVo Introduces QWERTY DVR Remote


This week TiVo launched their full QWERTY TiVo Slide Remote Control they demonstrated earlier this year.  I’m intrigued by DVR remote controls that keep that same familiar remote look & feel but add the QWERTY keyboard for typing in searches and other alpha character fields in the User Interface.  Dave Zatz '>demonstrated the bluetooth remote at ZatzNotFunny!

Note correction from Dave Zatz from the comments:  It's both Bluetooth and IR. So you can control your television (power, volume) in addition to controlling the TiVo


The TiVo Slide Remote doesn’t use Infrared like most remote controls.  Instead it connects via Bluetooth with a USB dongle that attaches to TiVo Premiere and Premiere XL units, TiVo Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL DVRs.  You can get it at Tivo’s website, Best Buy stores and Amazon for $89.99

I like the looks of this remote and covet it about as much as the not-yet-released, Boxee Remote Control.

How not to use your iPad on a flight

For years I’ve always brought at least one book and/or magazine with me every time I travel – especially when flying.  You nearly always have some downtime when you need something to do and its always better to choose what you want to read instead of the typical options airlines give you like SkyMall, the safety info card or mediocre airline magazine.  So on my trip to New York this week I decided to take along my iPad to read a Kindle book.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well…

All would have been fine – I charged the iPad up to 100%, had it in my carry-on and thought I had everything all planned out.  All was good except for one thing:  Operator error.  The weekend before leaving town I had just exchanged out my iPad for a new one at an Apple store because the old one had developed a line across the screen – an obvious defect.  I had restored my new iPad to my old iPad’s settings & apps, but I didn’t register the Kindle iPad app which was required since it was a new device.  And to top it off I didn’t notice until after we were in the air and I had no internet.  Oops!

kindle registration screen

So instead of catching up on my Phillip Margolin book during the flight, I pulled out my trusty pen & paper and worked on some blog & work projects the entire flight.  Not all was lost, but not what I had planned.  Let it be known that no paper book has ever stopped me from reading because it hadn’t been “registered.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

GlideTV Remote Gets Software Update

To the Point: Kindle 3 Hands On Reviews Trickle In

The Kindle 3 has made its way into the hands of reviewers over the weekend and we are beginning to see our first few reviews of the new device.

PC World has a pretty detailed review with comparisons to the previous Kindle models as well as the Barnes & Noble Nook.  Dan Costa has this to say in the review:

“The latest edition's improvements aren't revolutionary, but the Amazon Kindle remains the best dedicated ebook reader on the market.”

Kindle 3G + WiFi Review


Len Edgerly, host of the Kindle Chronicles Podcast has posted a 12+ minute video review of the new 3G + WiFi Kindle.  Len knows his e-Readers and has a couple of different e-Reader podcasts he produces.  You can see from the video Len really likes the new Kindle.  Lots of information and video albeit a little camera shake involved:

Note that Len will be donating his Amazon review Kindle to as part of a new project to donate used Kindle 2's to U.S. soldiers on active duty in Afghanistan. The IRS recently approved the E-Books for Troops 501(c)(3) application, so donations to the nonprofit are now officially tax-deductible.  A great program that I hope sees more donations.


And we have opinions from the other side of the Pond - the Telegraph has this to say about the new Kindle:

For now, however, where the iPad has its place, so too does the Kindle. Speaking as a consumer, I’ll be buying a Kindle; but I’ll be waiting for tablet computers to evolve before I spend any money on them.

Telegraph Kindle Review

Finally, Michael Gartenberg gives the argument for “dedicated devices” as opposed to multiple-function devices in his thoughtful Engadget article Entelligence: One device to rule them all -- or not

I’ll have the GeekTonic review of the new Kindle as my WiFi-only version should be arriving here around Friday.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deal of the Day – SiliconDust HDHR Dual QAM Tuner $97

SiliconDust Networked Dual Digital HDTV Tuner HDHomeRun (HDHR-US) 

If you missed the Woot deal on this tuner (it sold for $90 delivered), there is still a chance to get a good price.  RadioShack has the SiliconDust HDHR Dual QAM Tuner for $99.99 shipped.

If you want to go a bit cheaper than that you can get a “recertified version the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual QAM Tuner for $89.99 plus 6.98 shipping

Thanks to Dave for the tip!

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 08/22/2010

Each week GeekTonic covers the TV scene with a complete listing of premieres, finales and specials for the week.  This week we see some of the last few decent series end for the summer season.  It’s officially the “dead zone” of TV as we wait for the Fall TV season to begin.  But there are still a few finales and some premieres to so check out the complete list below.

 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Keeping Up With The Kardashians is typical fare for this week – premiering Sunday on E!

NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST – TV schedules subject to change

Sunday, August 22

Aarti Party (12 Noon on Food) – New cooking series where Aarti Sequeira stars after winning the Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” contest.

Family Style (10pm on Food) – A new cooking/reality series.  It follows an Italian family of restaurateurs (the Maggiores), with the brother and sister competing to open the most successful new restaurant in San Diego.

Swamp People (10pm on History – Available in HD) – New history series.  History Channel follows the people by America’s largest swamp in Louisiana through a time of year that is crucial to their survival: the 30-day alligator hunting season.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians (10pm on E!) – Season 5 premiere

Army Wives (10pm on Life) – Season 4 finale

The Spin Crowd (10:30pm on E!) – New reality series following an entertainment PR agency.  In case you were wondering how the Hollywood Hype machine worked.


Monday, August 23

Head Rush (4pm on Science – Available in HD) – New science series

WordGirl (4:30pm on PBS – Available in HD) – Season 3 premiere childrens/educational series

The 2010 Miss Universe Pageant (9pm on NBC – Available in HD) – Bret Michaels & Natalie Morales host.  John Legend & the Roots perform.

Dance Your A… Off (10pm on Oxygen) End of the series.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey (10pm on Bravo) – Season 2 finale

The Hard Times of RJ Berger (10pm on MTV) – Season 1 finale


Tuesday, August 24

Jefferson (8pm on History – Available in HD) – A special on History Channel focuses on one of America’s more interesting founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson.

HawthoRNe (9pm on TNT – Available in HD) – Season 2 finale

Growing up Twisted (10pm on A&E – Available in HD) – Season 1 finale

Memphis Beat (10pm on TNT – Available in HD) – Season 1 finale


Thursday, August 26

Burn Notice (9pm on USA – Available in HD) – Season 4 finale

Biography: Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child (9pm on Biography – Available in HD) – An autobiographical journey into Jimi Hendrix – in his own words.

The Nightlife (9:30pm on Teen Nickelodeon) – Series finale

Royal Pains (10pm on USA – Available in HD) – Season 2 finale

Who the Bleep Did I Marry (10pm on Investigation Discovery) – A new crime/documentary series.  First episode is with Mary Jo Battafucco…

Best Places I’ve Ever Been (10pm on Travel – Available in HD) – A new travel series with various hosts of travel channel shows taking about the places they’ve been.

She’s Got the Look (10pm on TVLand) – Season 3 premiere of another shameless reality series


Friday, August 27

Whale Wars (10pm on Animal Planet – Available in HD) – Season 3 finale

Beyond Survival With Les Stroud (10pm on Discovery – Available in HD) – New  series

Blood Dolphins (11pm on Animal Planet – Available in HD) – New nature/documentary series that picks up where the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove” left off.


Saturday, August 28

Persons Unknown (9pm on NBC – Available in HD – Season 1 finale

My Ghost Story (10pm on Biography – Available in HD) – Season 1 finale

Pet-o-Rama (7pm on Animal Planet – Available in HD) – New series

Bad Dog! (8pm on Animal Planet – Available in HD) – New series where they search the world for the naughties pets on the planet.


Sunday, August 29

Drop Dead Diva (9pm on Lifetime) – Season 2 finale

Bad Universe (10pm on Discovery) – New documentary series

Amazing Wedding Cakes (10pm on WE) – Season 3 premiere


Monday, August 30

Huge (9pm on ABC Family – Available in HD) – Season 1 finale

Warren the Ape (10:30pm on MTV) – Season finale


If you follow GeekTonic for the TV Premieres and news, you’ll want to click here if you would like to get a regular e-mail for GeekTonic TV Premieres & News.

I have the core of the Fall TV season ready for the periodic Fall TV Season Premiere Guide.  Once I do a last-minute review for any network changes I should have it ready to publish.  Watch for the full guide on GeekTonic next next week.