Cool gadgets, we must all buy one…

Do you understand what I am saying?

glaxitianWell, if you ever watched scifi movies then you know of one of the first issues in communication with an alien species is language, infact we do not even need to go into space to have this issue – event though English has become sort of a universal language here on earth it can still be a problem to communicate with people from different countries, they may not know English or be very bad at it – so you are back to hand gestures and drawings.  Now hand gestures and drawing may be great fun if you have ample time and the spirit is high, but in a pinch it’s not the best way to go.

If you have ever watched Star Trek you know they have this wonderful gadget – the Universal Translater – a contraption that translates alien languages in real time…  Well, it’s no longer as far fetched as it sounds 😀  Skype to the rescue, Skype has been working on a near real time vocal translation addon to their popular communications software, and now they have something to show for it – it may still be in the very early stage but it’s a first step in the right direction.  Links below to a narrative on this as well as a youtube clip.

http://sl.klogmand.dk/Ssb5tT

YouTube video;
http://sl.klogmand.dk/1x5as9Z

Some other fun site on the same subject.
http://sl.klogmand.dk/1tGR4eR

Building a PC

I have done this myself numerous times in the past, build a PC from scratch or upgraded a PC with new hardware, however for some a PC is still a mystery box that just works.

Anyhow, I stumbled across this neat video that take you through the process of building a PC – so if you ever had the urge to get on-board with a project like this you really should watch this video, it gives you some great pointers and also give you some idea on whats involved.  A word of caution though, this guy know what he is doing and is 100% sure all the parts will fit, that in my recollection is sometime where things gets tricky (when things wont fit or work together).

Enjoy..

http://youtu.be/cUzdNcZeM-s

MINIX NEO X7 – On the subject of mini pc’s

intel-nucSo I was reading about the Intel NUC which is a mini pc that will fit in your palm, I heard it was just released in an i5 version (previously i3) so it is a fairly crafty machine that will easily run Windows and even throw in a virtual machine or two.  One drawback though is the price, with a full fledged Intel cpu the price shoots up :-/ not unreasonable but enough that it’s not for me.

Anyway, a comment in a review led me to this link;

http://www.minix.com.hk/Products/MINIX-NEOX7.html

so at 1/3 the price (more or less) you get a cool gadget, that although it will not run Windows will run Android and although not being super fast and powerful as the i5 processor it is fast enough for realtime HD video, netflix and the lot..

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Bottom line, if you are looking for an extention to your big screen tv, to play a bit of netflix, surf and other stuff this Minix Neox7 looks real cute and fair priced.

http://youtu.be/cBR3ZrurMKI

Google Glasses…

OMG I am just looking forward to these Google Glasses, I really think this will have a huge impact on our daily life over time..  like Augmented reality etc.

Sadly I do fear that V1.0 likely may be a bit buggy and expensive..

http://youtu.be/V6Tsrg_EQMw

Blink 1 – cool new gadget for your pc or the serverroom

So last night I stumbled across this cool little gadget, its a usb device that can illuminate or flash in different colors all programmed by you either in code or via script’s etc.

So you could use it to flash when you got new mails or something similar or imagine if you put this device on the servers in your severroom and connected it up with your hardware monitoring – now the server would flash red if it had hardware problems – the options are endless.

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Read more here;
http://thingm.com/products.html

Buy it here (note postage to Europe is a bit steap);
http://buy.thingm.com/blink1

See the YouTube video here;
http://youtu.be/ZLvloI4RleI

Holographics monitor!? 3D to the extreme…

Some of my friends keep telling me that 3D is only a buzz thing that will go away again, I must say I don’t think so, 3D although not as major a breakthrough as surround sound is fairly neat and once we get to the version without glasses people will be caught on the idea..  Myself, I don’t mind the glasses much, ok I do wear glasses daily and thus it’s same-same to me but the once they use at my local cinema tend to make things slightly darkish (it’s the Dolby once, those reusable once) – now I last year visited an IMAX cinema in China and those glasses were a LOT better though they tended to slip off the nose a bit..  so clearly 3D without glasses would be neat..

But how about this, a holographic display!?  Now THAT sound NEAT like hell…
http://youtu.be/Ux6aD6vE9sk

“Star Wars” projection keyboard – well what else do you call it!?

Do you recall years ago we saw this projection keyboard being showed off, often they were connected to handheld devices without a real keyboard.  They would project a keyboard to a surface (eg. table) and you could they type on it by placing your finger where the corresponding letters were projected!?

Well the idea never really hit the shelf’s from what I could tell, at least I never saw a retail version – that is till now…  ok ok, I admit I did not really look for one so they may have existed for some time, but now I came across one it seemed worth mentioning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0qARDGJj1w

Comodore Amiga is back

It almost makes my eyes wet just a little, it is now again possible to own a Commodore Amiga and a cool one even 😀 it’s specs are quite promising (Core i7 etc.), and if you are mostly nostalgic you can just buy the casing and fit it yourself 🙂

Well ok, trees don’t grow into heaven as we say here in Denmark as it is neither compatible nor driven by the original Kickstart / workbench “os” but still it has it’s own linux distro, and as I understand it you can download and install this free of charge on your own hardware (gotta try that, maybe they put in just a bit of nostalgia).

So for those of you who grew up with a Commodore Amiga here is your chance of revisiting this wonderful machine.

Long live Amiga.. 😉

Links;
http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_AMIGAmini.aspx

Comodore OS;
http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_OS_Vision.aspx

The Commodore AMIGA mini comes with:     

  • A massive 16 Gigs of fast DD3 memory.
  • Integrated nVidia Geforce GT 430 Graphics with 1 Gig of DD3 memory.
  • The ability to drive 3 monitors displays.
  • HDMI, 2-Dual DVI and DisplayPort output. (includes VGA adaptor)
  • 7.1 channel high definition sound.
  • 6 Gb/s SATA for incredibly fast HD reads.
  • 4 USB 3.0 and 4 USB 2.0 ports for exceptional external data access.
  • A slot loading Blu-ray drive that can also write DVDs.
  • 2 WiFi antennae for outstanding signal reception.
  • A 1 Tb Hard Disk to store video and personal data.
  • Optional 300 or 600 Gb SSD drive for lightning quick load times.

Sony 400-Disc DVD/SA-CD/CD Changer

On the subject of mediaplayback, now dig this a 400 disk CD/DVD changer!?   Had it not been because I am fully into streaming (Netflix) these days this would have been a god send gift – no more shuffling around with cd’s/dvd’s strangely however no mention of Blueray disks?

Anyhow, read more here if this is up your alley 🙂
http://uncrate.com/stuff/sony-400-disc-dvdsa-cdcd-changer/

Update;
After just a few clicks in google I found the Blueray ‘version’ 🙂
http://www.electronichouse.com/article/review_sonys_400_disc_bdp_cx7000es_blu_ray_megachanger/

I’m surprised I never heard about these models before, could be because of their initial pricing which was somewhat steap.

 

Roku 2 HD getting it to work in Europe (Partly anyway)

Today my Roku2 set top box arrived from the USA (my first order via www.shopusa.com which seem to have workd fine), I had ordered this to be able to watch Netflix in my bedroom and the Roku2 box seemed the easiest and cheapest way.

The device which comes with remote and build-in wifi seemed nice, small and elegant and I did not expect many issues connecting it, I had read in advance that the service www.unblock-us.com was supporting this unit so everything should be a brease.

Well things did not go acording to plan 🙁

First things first, www.unblock-us.com works by you replacing your DNS servers with servernames (or rather IP’s) they provide, well the darn box has no network settings it gets it’s configuration from DHCP and that is it.  Well no problem, I run a Windows 2008R2 server with DHCP so I just created a new reservation for the MAC address of the Roku 2 box and setup the Unblock-us DNS server ip’s for this reservation – and sure enough this part worked like a charm (note you have to follow the instructions on the www.unblock-us.com site and activate the service before starting to use it, I’m not 100% sure how they register you, likely by your external IP – but how do they deal with dynamic IP’s then??).

So now I had the device connected to my WLAN and tv.  The first thing is then to link the Roku box to an account, you need you computer for this – so I created an account and entered the ID-code from the Roku 2 box (it displays a code you need to enter into your new Roku account to link the device to your account), and everything worked like a charm (I used a P.O.Box address in the USA as my postal address and my American Express as credit card, everything was fine).  But now began my trouble, see the device somehow knew that it was not in the USA and only showed a few totally uninteresting streaming channels (no Netflix, no Hulu etc. etc.), and now began a lot of googling – I found these two threads that seemed to give some insight to the matter;

http://support.unblock-us.com/customer/portal/questions/141869-roku-2-not-showing-us-content

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1695235

And the issue appears to be that the account somehow is not accepted as a fully valid USA account, now I tried deleting the account and recreating it via a USA vpn as some suggested, I tried different credit cards, I tried creating a USA Paypal account but nothing solved the issue.  It was suggested that by using a verified USA creditcard you might overcome the problem, however USA credit cards are hard to come by in Europe :-/  I only know of a few places where you can obtain these and these are not free so a streaming service would end up being fairly expensive 😐

Link to obtaining a USA credit card;
http://www.unblock-us.com/how-to-set-up/us-unlocked
http://www.kanmandet.dk/?p=1860 (might also work)

I did however in the end find a liveable solution to my torment, once the device is fully configured and setup you unlink it from your Roku account – then you wait a few minutes and either restart the Roku or refresh your channels – this strangely enough caused the device to remove all channels BUT at the same time restore the Netflix launch button to the frontpage – and now Netflix works (and possibly also Hulu) – you still need Unblock-us not to forget, however all other channels are gone…  Ok, my objective was to get Netflix so I’m happy with this, but at the same time it’s a shame to not be able to try out all the other stuff – but I guess there is no winning every time 🙁

Btw; the powersupply supports both 110v and 220v so no problems there other than the wall jack which a universal adapter took care off

So status at the moment is; Got Netflix working (by unlinking the Roku from my Roku account) but now that is all the device can do…..  Hrmpf I am not totally satisfied, but guess this will have to do…

Streaming and Netflix navigation seem to work fine, quality is not fully as good as when I stream from a PC but quite acceptable.  Do let me know if anyone figures out a way around this messy situation.

Another odd thing about the Roku 2 box, there is no standby?  you need to unplug the darn thing to shut it down, acording to Roku it is because it uses so little power, now I don’t know in these days where we all are suposed to be thinking about the environment :-/

UPDATE March 8th 2012;
Found this site that appear to offer a workaround for any non USA credit card problems, I have not had the need to test it myself but it looks like a workable solution:
http://www.buyfrompowerseller.com