Archives for category: Media

This week has seen quite a chunk of technology news updates (which I’ll skim over in a mo) but the one that stands out for me is Tuesday’s Google TV announcement at the IFA. First the other bits….

Other Google news on Wednesday, when they decided they’d finally release “Google Instant”. If you have a Google account and are logged into it, visit and try a search. What you’ll get is instant results as you type. So the example they’ve been banding about is, press “W” and the weather forecast for your area will appear. It seems like it might be quite cool, except that Google don’t always know what I’m looking for, even if they like to think that they do. One interesting thought, is that it does take predictive text to a whole new level and they are planning on a version of it for mobile devices later in the year. No longer will you be texting your mum with the words “Happy Chpuv day” once a year.

Talking about mobile devices. Apple’s hotly anticipated iOS 4.1 showed up at around 6pm GMT yesterday as well. Installation was the standard iPhone upgrade procedure. From start to finish was about 40 minutes for me. Has it fixed my proximity sensor issues? That’s when you hold the phone to your ear, the display is supposed to go off so that you don’t inadvertently start a conference call with your Gran who’s on holiday in bermuda while you’re talking to your boss (What?? It could happen… You don’t know!) Anyway – so far, I haven’t been able to replicate the problem, so it could well be fixed. Time will tell. You also get Game Center (Social networking for games) and HDR (Hight Dynamic Range) photography.

Those were both interesting, but the main event: Google TV. Google CEO, Dr. Eric Schmidt, delivered his keynote speech at the 50th edition of “IFA” in Berlin. For those of you wondering what that is, it’s the largest consumer electronics show in the world. That’s where you’ll find the old school boys (Sony, Toshiba et al) trying to flog you the idea that a 3D TV in your house is just what you need. Personally, I disagree, but I’ll come to that another time (along with Dr Kermode’s views on the subject).

Mr Schmidt chose this moment to reveal that Google TV will finally be launched in the United States this Autumn and the rest of us poor consumers will have to wait until next year sometime. He also said that they’d be working with content providers, but it is very unlikely that they will get into actual content production. Full Internet browsing will be available as part of the service, which will be free of charge and will appear embedded into devices such as TV’s and set-top boxes.

Of course, if you don’t want to wait, then the Apple TV is available this year (pre-orders are being taken now) for $99 or as I correctly surmised £99 in rip-off britain. They aren’t the same thing at all, even though most tech journals seem to be writing them up that way.

Here’s the video descriptions of both of them. First up Google TV:

Then Apple TV:

Neither of them provide your “Live” TV, that comes from you Antenna, Cable or Sat’ dish, but they both provide slightly different levels of Internet connectivity to your TV screen.

This really doesn’t matter that much to me though. We digitise everything in our house now. CD’s, DVD’s and Memory Sticks have become our Shiny Shopping bags that carry our Music, Movies and Photographs from the high street (or camera in the case of photos) to our home server.

Once they’re loaded onto there, they can be Syncronised or Streamed to iPods, iPhones or Apple TV to be consumed at our leisure.This is particularly useful for the kids. For example that Son can be listening to streamed music on his iPod Touch in his bedroom, while Daughter can be watching a streamed Movie or TV Show via her iPhone in her room and Mrs G & I could be perusing photo’s in the living room all simultaneously, or of course, any other combination of these tasks.

Better yet, thanks to the WiFi, you can move around the house and still achieve the same reults, although to be honest movies are best viewed on a TV sized screen – iPod’s & iPhones are a bit small for it. But even that’s simple enough with an iPod/iPhone TV cable that enables the video out to be shown on most modern TV’s.

Having this level of control over the media we purchase makes it infinitely more useable and as a result we probably consume more of it and if we want to search the Internet, Browse a website or even Twitter while we’re watching TV, we can do that with an iPhone, or a Laptop, or an iPad (If we had one) :-). I’m really not seeing the need for Google TV.

But then that’s because it doesn’t fit with my personal circumstances at the moment. Maybe when the kids get their own places and I no longer need to be able to stream everthing. Perhaps I’ll find myself sat with pipe in my slippers waiting for the next cricket match and searching for the best place to buy “Old Holburn” online, so Google TV will be my saviour.  For now though, I’m happy as a reformed smoker.

Google TV or Apple TV? But which is better? There’s only one way to find out……. Fiiight!!!!



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Finally the news is out there and good old Mr Jobs has announced the successor to Apple TV in the form of iTV.  Apple held one of their now legendary press conferences in the YBCA Theatre, San Francisco, California at 6pm UK (10am local) time with a whole bunch of new product announcements and for the first time the video of it was streamed live across the internet to apple devices. I experienced crystal clear video and no lag, most definitely NOT like watching YouTube. All very apt given the content of the presentation. In particular and of great interest to me is the future of Apple TV.

I’ve been an Apple TV user for around 3 and half years now and I love it. It streams media from my iTunes library wirelessly into my living room onto my HD TV. I get full 5.1 surround audio and an HD picture (assuming that the source contains both or either of these). It’s a great way to share photos with the family, watch Movies, listen to music and even stream the odd YouTube video. It’s like an iPod for your TV. Awesome.

So here’s a quick list of the new stuff:

  • Some new retail stores in Paris, China (Shang-Hai) and London (Covent Garden) all looking beautiful as usual. They now have 300 stores across 10 countries with around 1million visitors per day.
  • iOS 
    • Now exists on 120 million devices
    • 230,000 new activations per day
    • 6.5 Billion apps downloaded from the app store
    • 200 apps downloaded per second
    • 25,000 iPad apps
    • New release: iOS 4.1 free upgrade next week
      • Bug Fixes
      • High Dynamic Range Photos (Improved Photos)
      • HD Video over wiFi
      • TV Show rentals
      • Game Centre (Multiplayer Games) 
        • Epic Games release: “Project Sword” (which looks amazing on a phone!!!)
    • iOS 4.2 in November for iPad will a be free upgrade
      • All the Multitasking/Folders & current 4.01 features
      • Wireless printing (via Print Center)
      • AirPlay is the new name for AirTunes
  • iPods
    • 275 million iPods have now been sold
    • Every model redesigned
      • Shuffle: has buttons again, Playlists ($49)
      • Nano: has multi-touch display, FM radio, 24hour battery life, no click wheel (8Gb $149, 16Gb $179)
      • Touch: Even thinner! Retina Display, A4 Chip, Gyro, FaceTime & HD Video (front & rear cameras), 40hours playback time (8Gb $229, 32Gb $299, 64Gb $399)
    • All shipping next week
  • iTunes
    • 11.7 Billion Songs downloaded, 450 million TV episode, 100 million Movies, 35 million books, 160 million users with valid accounts
    • iTunes 10
      • New Logo (Ditched the CD)
      • Clearer views
      • New music discovery system “PING”
        • Social network for music built into iTunes
        • Follow Artists/friends 
        • See what they’re listening to
        • See which concerts they’re performing at/going to
        • Top 10 Chart based on the people you follow
        • Post your thoughts & opinions
        • Emphasis on privacy
        • It’s open and available today: Get it here iTunes 10
  • One more thing….Apple TV
    • Users love apple TV (I do, that’s a fact!). They want professional movies & TV shows, everything in HD, low prices, not a computer, not having to manage storage, not syncing (too complex), silent, cool and small.  That’s the requirement.
      • Apple TV 2.0 is a quarter of the size. Palm sized black box. Power, HDMI, Optical Audio, Ethernet and 802.11n WiFi.
      • New Aluminium remote
      • Movies, TV & Music
      • No Purchases – all rental
      • No Storage any longer – all streamed
      • New Movie rentals $4.99 the day they’re released on DVD
      • HD TV Show rental: 99 cents (ABC & FOX to start with)
      • Netflix streaming if you’re a subscriber ($8.99/Month)
      • YouTube, Flickr Photos, Video & Photos from MobileMe
      • Airplay – allows you to send video or music from your iOS device straight to apple TV with a single click.
      • $99 available in 4 weeks time.

So now we have something new to look forward to and at a fab price. A mere $99 (£65). Of course we all know of old that what this actually means is when it’s available in the UK (3 months after the US) it will actually cost us £99 or $152 (almost double) thanks to the ridiculous import duty and taxes that we pay in the UK. The problem for me though, is that as an avid user of Apple TV already, I won’t be able to resist and I’m likely to be quite near the front of the queue come release day.

It also includes Netflix.  You may not be aware of it if you’re a european reader, but Netflix is an online streaming service for movie rental. Today, it’s only available in the US and Canada, but I have made noises at them in the past about a UK/EU service with fairly positive results.  I’m not on the alpha program yet, but I am on the list. Watch this space.

And where apple go, everyone else is sure to follow. So you can expect to see online streaming services appearing from every nook and cranny available, including: beefed up services from Amazon, Sony and a more defined service from Hulu (if it makes it across the pond)

Me stuff…
I haven’t got a lot to say to today. I’m over-tired. Work isn’t excessively busy, but it is demanding in a dripping tap kind of way. A bit here, a bit there, none of which are related means that I keep swapping between all these little bits and after a while they start to blur into one. This makes them taxing on the brain cell as I struggle to keep them all segmented. Clearly I’m in need of more coffee. It’s just not any fun really.

A disturbed night of sleep (not that I’ve had many undisturbed nights with the temperatures being they way they have of late) caused by daughter an friends having a “big night out” in the middle of the week. At least I don’t have insomnia. Also not much fun.

The Motor is going to be with Doctor M for a few more days while it has the rear brake calliper’s reconditioned. Turns out that this was the most economical method of replacement, and as it’s sadly nearing the end of it’s life, then it makes sense to go that way. Have decided that a replacement vehicle will most certainly be acquired in about 12 months time when I will have to face an entire re-financing package as part of the end of the fixed rate mortgage. Fingers crossed for the interest rate staying low and stable – although my record on this subject means that it’s likely to go through the roof days before I’m scheduled change it. Sometimes it feels like I’m financing the countries debt all on my own!!… and that’s no fun.

Newsy items…
Not that I care about Tennis a great deal, but Rodger Federa has been knocked out of Wimbledon – I’m sure that’ll make for a more interesting competition for those that are interested.

Apple are looking for Antenna Engineers – if you happen to be one and always fancied a job at apple, now is your chance. Strange that it coincides with the alleged issues with conductivity – something I’ve found hard to reproduce, but have. That said, it still hasn’t effected any calls or usage of the handset for me personally. If you want all the techie geeky background, you’ll be wanting to read this: Apple’s iPhone 4: Thoroughly Reviewed. Fun-ny, but not fun.

The US Popular Science website is reporting a future hormone fix for healing teeth. Interesting science but not fun.

A serious piece of weather is approaching Texas in the form of Hurricane Alex. I’m sure you already know that hurricanes are named alphabetically. Here’s the lowdown:

In 1953, the National Weather Service picked up on the habit of Naval meteorologists of naming the storms after women. Ships were always referred to as female, and were often given women’s names. The storms’ temperament certainly seemed female enough, shifting directions at a whim on a moment’s notice. In 1979, male names were inserted to alternate with the female names,to the delight of women’s-libbers everywhere.

There are actually six lists of names in use for storms in the Atlantic. These lists rotate, one each year; the list of this year’s names will not be reused for six years. The names get recycled each time the list comes up, with one exception: storms so devastating that reusing the name is inappropriate. In this case, the name is taken off the list and another name is used to replace it; there will not be another Hurricane Andrew, because Andrew has been replaced by Alex on the list.

Not much chance of a “Hurricane Fun” though.

Techy items…
If you don’t think your selected password is up to the job, you might want to check it out here: Useful, but not fun.

Buffoonery items…
Old Spice Ad’s for the ladies….. What the Feck is going on in these ad guys heads when they come up with this stuff?? Apparently this first one was shown during the Superbowl to great acclaim.

Now they’ve followed it up with this… I mean, that’s not at all sexist in any way is it?

I suppose they are a bit fun, but only a bit.

While the weather’s looking good at the moment, forecast is for rain this evening. This is just “bloody typical” as I haven’t had a night out for ages and have a WTC meet scheduled for this evening in a summer pub with a garden. Sitting in a pub garden in the rain is just not fun.

Well that’s today’s entertainment. I hope yours is more fun than mine….

I’ve seen it all now… and it’s a bleeding’ mess and no mistake!…

Sky News. Now there’s a different kettle of worms altogether. As you are hopefully aware Sky News is part of News Corporation which is owned my Robert Murdoch. He’s pumped huge sums of money into the Conservative party to try and help them win the election, and to be honest, it shows….

Firstly, here’s Kay Burley completely misunderstanding democracy…

“The public have voted for a Hung Parliament”… Really Kay, Did they?? I Don’t think they did did they? But let’s not worry about the facts, let’s just interrupt our interviewee instead of listening to what he may have to say. Oh and if you can get a Sky News advert in while you’re about it, that would be great. “Why don’t you just go home!”

What’s beautiful about this though is the way that the public won’t put up with this sort of patronisation….

….”Sack Kay Burley, Watch the BBC, Sky News is Sh!t”, Harsh. But then if you will pick on the little guy what can you expect.

But more and better (and significantly bigger) was yet to come. (Check out 3 minutes and 27 seconds) Campbell pushes the button and Boulton looses the plot. Very professional.

Adam Boulton can’t contain himself over the fact that the Conservatives may have lost the election. “Don’t Tell Me What I Think!” OK…. but I think Adam may be having some sort of breakdown. A few hours later…. (1m15s)

He really doesn’t like anyone reminding him that the conservatives haven’t actually won the election and seems to be struggling to believe it.

And the feeding frenzy goes on… We’ve just been told by the BBC that Luggage has been seen at the back of No.10. Luggage!!?? Can you believe it!!?? I trust there will be film at 6…