Our eldest was thrilled to be able to buy an old Xbox 360 from his cousin for €40. It's a pretty impressive piece of kit and a big upgrade over the old-skule Xboxen we use as XBMC media players. I still prefer the Wii tho
Traditional TV is playing a very small part in my watching of the Irish General Election 2011 outcome. But the TV is. This is a rough version of the sort of setup that will be the default in General Election 2015:
So a lot less of the “experts” repeating themsleves ad-nauseam for the next 72 hours:
And a lot more crowd-sourced reporting, analysis and opinion:
And self-curation of information based on the groups that you or your trusted contacts create which are then filtered down to the subjects of interest:
To be fair to RTE they have embraced Twitter wholeheartedly for the election. They have obviously learned quickly from the catastrophe of their recent IMF “bailout” coverage when they decided that the RTE Evening News reporting on an historic event was more important than just showing the event itself.
Now if only they’d consider Qik/Ustream to get video from every location, not just tweets. @lexia and others have shown in the past how powerful this can be, no matter how crappy the 3G or wifi.
I think the next steps for this type of coverage are split in two. On the one side you have news media who still have an important part to play in distilling down the firehose to manageable chunks for a large part of the population. There must be an opportunity there to build powerful curation tools for those guys. I could see Storyful being a key player here with providing not just the curated stories and curation service but the curation platform too.
On the other side you have us punters and I have to say I’m worried. New Twitter is an awful unusable mess. Seesmic is now off doing the Yammer thing inside big biz and Tweetdeck has just been bought and no-one knows what will happen next there. Does this mean innovation on the desktop is dead? My hopes for powerful filtering, mixing, re-mixing and curation tools for the end user are dead? Whilst mobile is perfect for day to day use and for tweeting, it is completely unusable for managing an information torrent like today.
Perhaps the next phase for end-users is the TV or what the TV will become. I still remember working in Philips Eindhoven as a student in the 80s when they were building the first PIP (Picture in Picture) TV sets. Two tuners, huge cost, major complexity. And it turns out no-one wanted it. Well that was then and this is now. We need PIP for 2011. The geek in me wants that to be Boxee. I’d love to be able to create my sets of home pages in Boxee. This is a rough approximation:
I think that’s what Google were thinking of with Google TV except they forgot to hire a UI person before releasing it. Also, a remote control with 4000 buttons belongs in 1994. On Boxee I use up/down/left/right/enter/back.
Some believe that we’ll all go multi-device whilst watching TV. Phone or laptop or Android tablet doing the web thing whilst the TV remains single-tasking single-programme. Where that does work is when you have multiple people watching the same show. As Twitter themselves have pointed out, they are helping to bring back the days of watching TV live instead of DVR’ed so that we can all bitch comment at the same time.
But for events like today, gimme Minority Report. Imagine General Election 2015 powered by Microsoft Kinect!
The standing desk experiment is ongoing and the news has not all been good. I’ve had on-weeks and off-weeks and I’m still not 100% comfortable. But at the moment I’m on an on-week and things are much improved. It’s down to the fact that I decided to fashion a thick mat out of materials around the house. This is it:
It’s made from a never-used Lidl camping foam mat folded in three, sitting on top of an exercise mat (Duct Tape implied). I also decided to try it without footwear. And it works! Ignore the naff socks, they are double-layered running socks so I don’t freeze. I’m shocked at how much better “bare” feet on the mats are over shoes/runners. It’s like night and day. The problem I had previously was not my legs, it was my heels which hurt like hell. And slowly that pain is going away. Removing the footwear also enables me to wiggle and wriggle my feet and body more so I don’t get stiff. It’s like the Macarena in here I tell you.
So the plan to get a pair of Vibram FiveFingers may be on hold:
The standing desk does challenge your back initially but now mine is far better than before I started. RSI in right hand/forearm still there but improving. Posture is way better and my totally cramped neck and shoulders are slowly releasing their vice-grip.
This is the overall setup:
Cost = Approx €8. Benefit = 2000x.
That's an absolutely killer feature of Android. Blocking it shows just how scared they are of FB.
I was reminded of our phone setup yesterday when asked how we have implemented our US number. The easiest way is obviously to pay Blueface VOIP or Skype for a US number. But you can actually do it for zero cost which is how we have done it.
The basic setup is as follows:
- Google Voice US number (We chose a Palo Alto area code, cos, wellllll, cos)
- That GV number is forwarded to a free IPKall Washington State VOIP number (GV will only forward to US number and the old Gizmo tricks don’t seem to work since Google bought them)
- That IPKall number forwarded for free via SIP to our Irish Blueface number
If you get a PAYG account with Blueface then none of the above costs you anything for inbound calls.
We have had that configured for months now and it works perfectly. If you don’t get many US calls (we do), then you just need to ring either the GV number or IPKall number once a month to keep the IPKall account active. GV means that you get all your voicemails transcribed to text and emailed to you. Much hilarity can be had with these.
Internally we have a Linksys PAP2 connected to the LAN and an el-cheapo Motorola DECT phone connected to that. The Linksys is configured to connect to Blueface.
One really cool feature is that Caller ID kinda works on a Geo basis. When one of our partners calls the GV number from Wisconsin, it doens’t show his number but it does show “Wasau, WI” on the phone, so I know who it is.
There is one small glitch you have to deal with in the setup tho. You cannot create a Google Voice account from Ireland. For that you need to use a VPN to spoof you are in the US. We use BlackVPN which always works well. Gimme a shout if you want our discount code. You’ll get BlackVPN free for 2 months and we’ll get an extra month free. Once the GV account is setup, you can access it from any country.
Or as I said just pay Blueface or Skype and save yourself the hassle. That’s what we do for our UK number
Yes it's that regular arrival in the post of a Google AdWords voucher that I can't use because we already have an AdWords account. Now they are offering €75 and it's a nice plastic card. I'd love to know how much money is spent on this vs the resulting new revenue. Possible alternatives I can think of are:
- Send them to every startup incubation centre in Ireland to hand out to start-ups
- Send them to Enterprise Ireland to hand out to start-ups
- Send them to the County Enterprise Boards to hand out to start-ups
- Send them to every tech course in colleges around the country to give to students
- Send them to every OpenCoffee in Ireland
- Send them to every Chamber of Commerce
- Sponsor a BarCamp and send a few hundred of them down
- Sponsor a BizCamp and send a few hundred of them down
Good idea for Google to offer this service. I use Google Bookmarks as a dumping ground for stuff I might need to check later.
It’s rubbish. In fact, it’s so bad, when the Chrome team went to build a Bookmark Sync tool for the browser, they built their own using Google Docs!
It needs an API and it needs some features. Then maybe it’d be usable.
We disconnected the phone lines from our Sky boxes over a year ago. That plus removing all extension wiring got us another 1Mbs on our shitty Eircom “7 Mbs” ADSL line. We have both a Sky HD and the old Sky+ for the kids in “multi-room” setup. Sky just mailed us to bitch that they can’t confirm where those boxes are and that we might be doing something naughty like using them in Ulan Bator to watch I’m A Celebrity. They are threatening to charge us full whack for the two boxes if we don’t re-connect.
- The assumption of illegal behaviour by your customers is just one of the reasons your brand is hated
- Try charging us more and we’ll cancel immediately and switch to an FTA box from Lidl.
- There is a LAN connection on the back of the Sky HD. This is 2011. Why can’t I use that and you can GeoIP your heart out?
- I don’t want any of your 2 year-old movies, or “gag”, sport.