It was an unexpected announcement last week, but if you have an AppleTV – one of the most recent models – and you jailbreak it, you can now install XBMC, or XBox Media Center, on your device and turn it into a $99 streaming media powerhouse.
XBMC is incredibly popular these days, and for good reason. All of the sites going out of their way to block services like Boxee and Google TV don’t pay attention to XBMC since it looks like any other browser in most cases. It runs on just about anything, streams from any open file share on your home network, outputs in 1080p (which Apple’s own default AppleTV software won’t do,) and more.
Seriously, even if you’re not an Apple fan or have been thinking about buying a cheaper streaming media center for your home theater or building one yourself, the combination of XBMC and the Apple TV may be more attractive now than ever.
Lifehacker has a tutorial (literally it’s three steps) on how to get the job done with as little fuss and muss as possible. I know a number of people who have actually pondered buying an Apple TV now that this is available, and I doubt they’ll regret the purchase.
I really couldn’t resist. Lazy Teenage Superheroes is a short film that answers the question: “What do superheroes do when they’re not fighting crime or saving the world?” Although these kids don’t really look like teenagers, especially with the huge keg, the special effects in the video are fantastic and the premise is great.
I think that part of the reason it’s so great is the fact that it completely lampoons comic book culture, and is a pretty funny interpretation of geekiness in action. That and it looks really really good. Enjoy!
A lot of parents clearly don’t need this – especially some of the ones I know that are just as – if not clearly more so – tech savvy than their offspring, but for those folks who find themselves constantly addressing even the smallest technology issues on a regular basis because they’re “the computer person” in their family, this handy little Web site (actually a Google project!) may come in handy.
Simply fill in the form letter with the name of the person you want to send your note to, set up the little support care package you’re about to send, and then select the YouTube videos you want to send over to your recipient. Whether it’s simple, basic how-tos on how to copy/paste or how to take a screenshot on your computer, or how to set up an e-mail auto-responder or share a large file without overwhelming someone’s inbox, Tech Parents Tech can help get your recipient started with a video tutorial.
The videos are down to earth and very straight-forward, and they don’t assume a great deal of technical knowledge for the viewer to get some benefit from them, so they’re perfect if you’re looking for a way to give someone a visual tutorial without actually being there to do it.
Next time someone in your family calls you up asking how they can make a photo smaller, or how they can view traffic on the Web, now you have a way to help them!
Well, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Verizon Wireless finally has the iPhone 4. But I’m not getting one, and I’m a very happy Verizon Wireless customer and have been for years: since my first cellular phone, in fact.
My decision has nothing to do with Verizon Wireless, or some misguided love for AT&T (I actually rather dislike them, but not because of the company, just because for my professional gigs I can’t get their PR folks to reply to my e-mail to save my life) or any disaffection I have for Apple (in fact, I’ve been frequently accused of being too much of an Apple fan, even though I pride myself on liking their products but being willing to call them out when appropriate) but instead my decision based on a couple of things: timing, technology, and trends.
As I said in the title – this is just me. If you’re eager and chomping at the bit to get an iPhone 4 next month as soon as they’re out, by all means more power to you – drop AT&T like a hot rock, especially if you live in an area with horrible service (service that AT&T knows about and yet refuses to improve, but is perfectly comfortable charging you massive Early Termination Fees to leave) and want to switch to a carrier that, you know, actually works. Me though, I’ll hang on to my Motorola Droid just a little longer.
Hit the jump, let me explain what I’m on about here.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Verizon iPhone Announcement|
I don’t think you’ll get much commentary better than this segment from The Daily Show on Comedy Central last night. Sure enough, the rumors are over and the sighs of a thousand Apple fans everywhere could be heard yesterday morning at Apple execs and Verizon Wireless execs stood on stage together yesterday in New York and announced that a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 would be available to Verizon Wireless’ customers as soon as next month.
The tech world has been abuzz with the news, and there have been a number of hands-on analyses that have largely come to the same conclusion: it’s an iPhone 4. We know how it works already, and no one should be surprised by it. The trick, though, is that because it’s a CDMA device, you don’t have the option of using voice and data at the same time – something that AT&T is proud of (since GSM allows for this, but as does LTE, we’ll see as the next generation of 4G devices appear how much of a differentiating factor that’ll become) and will likely market to its advantage.
To counter, the Verizon Wireless iPhone will support mobile hotspot functionality, and allows itself to be tethered easily to up to five other devices that will see it as a wireless network and connect to it accordingly – a feature AT&T doesn’t offer.
AT&T will then likely counter with GSM’s ability to support global roaming, which Verizon Wireless’ CDMA network won’t allow, Verizon will say “well you can actually place calls on our iPhone,” and the battle will rage on.
Still, more choice is a good thing in the marketplace, and now iOS fans, Apple lovers, and just plain iPhone lovers have the option to pick a carrier that works for them. So much of the debate right now circles around whether AT&T sucks (it does) and whether Verizon’s network will be able to support all the switchers (it will) and whether AT&T will suffer some great harm or crippling loss of business because of this (it won’t, AT&T will be fine) because of this, but that’s all missing the point: now you have a choice, which is more than we had even a week ago.
Probably the most promising tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show last week in Vegas was the Motorola Xoom – the first and right now only tablet that will run Google’s Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” at launch, and will come to you courtesy of the Verizon Wireless network. Verizon Wireless really made a play at CES for some of the best and strongest devices this year (and after the fact, but we’ll get to that later) and their effort really shows.
The video above is from Mashable, where they got a chance to go hands-on with the device which, sadly, was only really showing a demo video of the Xoom’s features and of Honeycomb at CES – Motorola wasn’t about to let anyone see the workings of the device, likely because it’s ready for show, but probably not ready to completely show off just yet.
Still, the video above (along with the demo video we’ve posted already) will give you an idea of what to expect when the Xoom is available, and kind of tantalize you as to why everyone is looking forward to it so much.
For some more detail on the device and a rundown of the specs, this hands-on at PC Mag should help.
Some of the most promising mobile phones at CES were the Droid Bionic and the Cliq 2, both from Verizon Wireless. The Droid Bionic will be a 4G LTE phone, making use of Verizon Wireless’ new high-speed network, and frankly? It’ll likely be my next phone (I know, I know, I’ll get to the iPhone announcement shortly.)
PC Mag went hands-on with the Bionic and the Cliq 2, and they both look promising, with the Cliq remedying a number of issues with the handset that had caused people to shy away from it in the first place. I’m intrigued by the keyboard design, but if it works well, then it could be a good thing. The Bionic will not only be 4G LTE, but it’ll be a dual-core phone with Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chipset under the hood and feature a whopping 4.3-inch screen for all the glorious video your battery can stand.
See the slideshow and find out more about both new devices over at PCMag via the link below.
This video, snagged by Engadget and posted at Mashable gives us a sneak peek at what Android 3.0 “Honeycomb,” the version of Android that’ll be designed with tablet computing in mind, will look like when it comes out. It’s like looking at the future.
And the future is awesome.
Granted it’s just a promo video, but Google is expecting Honeycomb capable tablets to be able to do everything from video chat with front-facing cameras to feature always-on Internet connectivity for e-mail and the Web, and support GPS navigation and mapping thanks to Google Maps.
It’s clear that – even if you weren’t thinking this was the case – that Honeycomb won’t just be a pretty skin or mod to Android to make it blow up nicely to larger screens; it looks like a real overhaul that can make use of the extra horsepower, real-estate, and features we’ll see in all the tablets that are popping up on the show floor right now at CES.
I will say this though: Apple is going to have to step up its game with iOS to compete – having tons of apps and some built-in features won’t cut it for much longer. Also, if Honeycomb looks this good, what is Google doing with Chrome OS?
I wrote about this today at Gearlog, but it bears repeating because it’s so amazing – the video above pretty much tells all – the fine folks at ThinkGeek have invented something that does iPad gamers everywhere a favor – trades in the virtual joystick that’s generally essential to a lot of games but widely disliked for a real, physical joystick that you can bend and flex to control your game.
The JOYSTICK-IT is movable and doesn’t harm your iPad’s screen, so it can go anywhere the game you’re playing demands the joystick be. It’s not available just yet, but it’ll be on sale for $24.95 later this month.
If you’ve always wanted OnStar – you know, voice activated dialing and turn by turn directions (sure, you could just get an Android phone for that) as well as crash notifications to police and medical authorities, the ability to call someone to unlock your car remotely if you lock your keys in it, the ability to slow your car to a stop and alert authorities to its location if it’s been stolen – and everything else OnStar provides without having to buy a vehicle from General Motors to get it, now’s your chance.
PC Mag Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff surprised me and I’ll bet a number of other people on his Twitter feed this morning with this little video that brought the announcement that OnStar is planning to provide an after-market product to virtually anyone who wants it that will give them OnStar features regardless of the car they’re driving.
It remains to be seen whether or not all of the features – especially remote unlock and start and vehicle diagnostics – will be available with the special kit, but OnStar promises most of the other features like crash response and voice assisted driving directions will be available.