Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

Google TV – An Initial Revue Review

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
RevueI’ve been playing around with the whole ‘HTPC’ thing for a few years now. I’ve had my go at MythTV, XBMC, Windows Media Center, MediaTomb, Ubuntu, etc. There were always hurdles to jump and integration was too expensive or just wasn’t possible. When GTV was introduced, I had high hopes of an elegant solution to a TV connected media box/PC and wasn't let down after recently receiving my Logitech Revue.

The initial reviews of GTV, from reputable magazines and blog sites, have deemed the Revue/GTV as sub-par. I’ve read the following ‘cons’:

  • -- Setup takes too long
  • -- Only integrates with Dish Network
  • -- Too complicated
  • -- It won’t replace your existing television provider
  • -- You can’t enter in a URL to go directly to a web page (you can only search)

Issues that were resolved in one of the first updates:

  • -- immovable picture-in-picture box
  • -- outdated Netflix app

- The setup probably takes about 15-20min (you are warned in the beginning). You have to realize what is going on in this initial setup: an initial software/firmware update, screen/resolution adjustments, the IR setup of your AV equipment so that you can control it all from the keyboard/remote, etc. The AV integration setup is similar to that of other Logitech Harmony devices and it’s all done on the TV screen through menus (MFR and model # is all that’s needed).

- I actually believed that it only integrated with Dish Network. I have DirecTV and after entering the model number of my satellite box, GTV was able to change channels, run the guide, menu, etc. Here’s another example of its integration:
‘Judge Judy’ was on CBS and I was watching ABC. I pulled up the search box and typed in ‘judge judy’. Several result options were displayed and the first one was ‘judge judy - now playing - WBBM’. After choosing this result, the channel was instantly changed to CBS.

- GTV is far easier to operate than any previous solution that I’ve used. It was never meant to replace your television provider. I read in Maximum PC: ‘If you wish to navigate directly to a website, you must type the URL into a search box and then pick out the link from the results’. This is false. Maybe this was an issue resolved in the latest update... The only issue that I have so far is the inability of switching the content of the PIP window.

The best part about GTV is that it overlays the current display on your TV. This just isn’t possible with other solutions. Whenever you wanted to use your HTPC, you’d have to switch video inputs on your TV; ugh, what a hassle. Another notable feature is that it seems to 'pause' the Flash player when you switch between web content and TV!

I think the GTV is excellent as it is and it’ll only get better with updates. I believe the networks that are currently blocking GTV (ABC, CBS, NBC, Hulu, etc. - via Adobe Flash signature/version) will smarten up and unblock in the near future. Why would they not want more content viewers? More people to sell ads to?
Currently at $250, you aren’t going to put together an HTPC with the same features and level of integration!

Use Gmail To Filter Hotmail Spam

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Still haven't managed to get rid of that embarrassing Hotmail account? Me neither!

Gmail allows you to retrieve the email from other email accounts via POP3 (just as many desktop email clients do). The nice thing about it is that it will also filter email from that account and mark suspected SPAM as such.

This feature is found in:
Gmail -> Settings -> Accounts and Import (tab) -> Check mail using POP3

I set mine up to delete mail from Hotmail's server upon retrieval to prevent email clog up. Also be sure to tag your Hotmail, so it doesn't get mixed in with the important stuff. You may still need to log into Hotmail occasionally to prevent them from shutting down your account. I've thought about setting up another Gmail account to replace my beloved Microsoft email acct. but...

Test With IE On Your Mac OS X

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Requirements:
- Mac OS X (Snow Leopard was used for this article)
- XAMPP/Apache or Mac webserver of your choice
- VirtualBox
- Windows XP, Vista, or 7 install disk
- IETester
(allows for testing in multiple flavors of Internet Explorer using tabs)

We've all seen this show before. The tricky part is finding your way back to XAMPP (Apache) from IE Tester while maintaining a consistent base URL. This isn't important when running a few static websites, but many frameworks have this value stored in its database. When you view your site using a different URL, links to static files (CSS, images, etc.) and other pages become broken. In a few easy steps I'm going to show you one method to resolve this issue.

Go ahead and install the above applications and OSes if you haven't already. Use the default network mode of "NAT" for VirtualBox. I'm going to assume that you can access your local sites (from your Mac) using - http://localhost/sitename/

- Step 1: Boot up your Windows install and use ipconfig (Run -> cmd -> ipconfig) to get your gateway IP. It was 10.0.0.2 for me.

- Step 2: Add the following lines to both system's (Mac and virtual Windows install) hosts files (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_file). 'localhost.com' can be replaced with a URL of your choice.

# Mac:
localhost.com 127.0.0.1

# Windows:
localhost.com 10.0.0.2

- Step 3: Be sure that all of your web frameworks (WordPress, Magento, etc.) are aware of your new base URL 'localhost.com' (or whatever you chose in step 2).

- Step 4: Access one of your sites from each of your operating system's browser using - http://localhost.com/sitename/