Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Notes From the Technoground: Are Home Theater PCs Still Relevant?
In a world swimming in Apple TV, Roku, and Google TV, I wonder if HTPCs still serve a unique purpose.
One of the items on my endless tech to-do list has to been to set up a home-theater PC (HTPC). Unfortunately, that task has been relegated, of late, somewhere between “vacuum behind the couch” and “start that diet.” But I need to try it—after all, nearly all my music and photos are digital, and I’ve also taken to ripping some of the DVDs I own. While I keep hoping I’ll get around to ripping copies of some of my favorite films, such as The Third Man and Our Man in Havana (I'm a Carol Reed and Graham Greene fan), my almost-3-year-old daughter’s movies keep making it to the top of pile. As such, my current library of rips reads like a best-of list of "Disney movies with princesses in them." But I digress...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Notes From the Technoground: Cherry-Picking the CherryPad Android Tablet
While trying to use a CherryPad Android tablet as a portable media player, I’m stymied by problems with the Android Market.
We hadn’t even pulled out of the garage, and my nearly-three-year-old daughter asked, “Are we there yet?” It's not that we didn't expect it—my daughter expects most every car trip to be short, and my wife and I heard the same question several times within the first few minutes of what would be an hour-and-half-long drive. On drives like this, my wife or I—depending on who’s driving—try to keep our daughter occupied with reading, drawing, or singing along to one of the many children’s-songs CDs that lives in our car’s player. Sometimes sleep wins the day, but often we eventually give in to her desire to watch a movie...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Notes From the Technoground: See Live TV on your PC With ivi TV
Upstart ivi TV aims to bring live TV streaming to your computer, and in the process becomes a legal piƱata.
I like to joke that everything I know, I learned from television. Yes, I watched a lot of it growing up—and I have two very distinct TV-related memories from childhood: One is when we got our first color TV; the other is when we got cable. Both events opened up my world to new vistas. For instance, until then, I don’t think I knew that Cookie Monster was blue. And my favorite thing about HBO wasn’t the Hollywood movies, but the short films that played between the movies—if you’ve never seen Ernie Fosselius’s short films, Hardware Wars (a parody of Star Wars) or Porklips Now (a send-up of Apocalypse Now), you’re missing out on some classic spoofs...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apple TV Wireless HD Media Streamer Review
In early September, Steve Jobs took to the stage and unveiled the new-and-improved Apple TV. What was once considered a “hobby” device was reworked, streamlined, made more affordable, and aimed squarely at the masses. It enters an increasingly crowded market of devices that offer near-instant access to libraries of recent movies and TV shows, as well other online streaming media content from the likes of Netflix, YouTube, and Flickr. Not to mention the ability to also stream media you already own—videos, music, and photos—from your computer to your TV and audio system...