RSS

WebOS 2.0 Wishlist

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Jul 12 2010

I have been a webOS advocate since I first installed the emulator on my computer and saw just what the software could do. WebOS has seen some much needed updates over the past year but there are still some things that I feel are lacking or even completely missing as it is today. I just wanted to put together a wishlist of features I would love to see in webOS 2.0.

Gmail integration – This is obviously something that Android does great and even Blackberry’s have great support for. WebOS however is lacking some key features when it comes to Gmail. Even if webOS simply got Gmail tagging and archiving down that would probably be good enough for my mobile needs. Gmail as it currently stands just leaves something to be desired on webOS.

Google Navigation – One of my favorite features on any modern mobile platforms is Google Maps. When using an Android phone that experience is amplified 1000% by the simple fact that if I want to search for something I can get free turn-by-turn directions to my destination. Google has already said Google Navigation will be coming to more mobile platforms, let’s just hope webOS is one of them.

Unified preferences app – It is great that you can have a whole page of the menu for preferences, but it really should all be combined in one app for device preferences. This not only includes sounds, notifications, screen brightness, and bluetooth, but it should also have things like email accounts, chat accounts etc. This way you can go one place for everything and not have to open up individual programs to find the settings for your email/chat/calendar/etc.

Customize quick menu I was informed that this is possible just the same way you can reorganize the launcher menu. I had no idea but I feel like an idiot now that I never tried it. – This can be accomplished with an easy hack, but what if I don’t want my contacts on my quick menu? I have too many contacts to scroll through anyway. In order for me to find anyone I need to call I use the universal search feature. I just don’t understand why this feature hasn’t been there all along.

On screen keyboard – I got used to the Pre’s keyboard faster than I thought I would. The keys are a little cramped but the layout is one of the best I have ever used. That being said, sliding open the Pre for all typing gets to be a hassle. The lack of voice recognition and on screen keyboard actually makes me prefer the Pixi’s form factor more than the Pre’s. If webOS had either speech recognition or on-screen keyboard the Pre’s form factor would be the clear winner.

Speech to text – I typically am not one to like voice recognition software but sometimes it comes in really handy. If I want to place a call while driving, or do a quick search in Google or IMDB, typing isn’t always the easiest way to do it. If this feature doesn’t work well it could be a disaster. But if it works about as well as speech to text in Android I will be satisfied. Also voice activation for calls and voice announcements for who is calling would be a great added bonus.

Swipe down action for cards – Swiping left and right is great, swiping up makes sense, but how about swiping down? I don’t exactly know what it could do but the option seems like it could be beneficial in some apps. The only thing that comes to mind would be on webOS printers. Swiping up gets rid of the picture/document you want to print, while swiping down prints. Maybe on phones swiping down can send information to another program like sending a picture in an email.

More Gestures – There’s lot of potential for the gesture area and while forward, backward, and scrolling makes good use in apps, there is plenty more that can be done with the gesture area. Maybe a two finger pinch brings up voice command, or two finger swipe up to open the on screen keyboard.

Video chat – Video chat is over-hyped and I am sure under used. But if HP can bring a true open standard, cross platform, and 3G usable app to webOS I think it may see a bit more use than just a check box on a spec sheet.

Macro mode for camera – This could be a software or hardware issue, in either case, it is badly needed on all webOS hardware. Apps for scanning barcodes, OCR, and augmented reality suffer from no macro mode on the camera.

Information on wallpaper/widgets – Widgets would kill the aesthetics of webOS. But not having any information available for my upcoming calendar appointments, unread emails, or messages really makes webOS inefficient for business users. If I want to check my schedule for the day I need to turn on the phone, unlock the phone, open the calendar app, and then scroll through my day. That requires a minimum of 1 button push and 2 clicks. Calendar information should be available either on the wallpaper itself (embedded text or widget) or be able to be added to the lock screen. I should be able to see what I need to be doing or working on with 1 button.

More pages in menu – I know it is an easy hack, but the average user does not hack their phone. If webOS is going to be getting more great apps, 3 pages just won’t cut it. Consolidating preferences may help, but there needs to be more room besides scrolling down. If Palm has some good ideas about app organization (besides folders) I am all ears.

This is just some of the things I have thought of over the past couple of weeks and honestly I am super excited to hear what Palm has in store for webOS fans. How about you, what are your much desired webOS 2.0 features. Please let me know in the comments.

Take one down, pass it around…

3 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 14 2009

In my recent trip to Capri Deli I decided to be adventurous and try a couple more root beers. And of course, with my bad memory, I need to write them down or I would have no idea I ever knew they existed.
First up is Route 66 Beer. It had such a clever name I just had to try it. route_66_beer This Root Beer tasted very smooth with hardly any fizz to it. It tasted like some kind of syrup candy and was fairly thick while drinking. It reminded me a bit of Henry Weinhard’s but with more of a caramel after taste. It was very pleasant but a little bit heavy. I don’t think it was nearly as sweet as Boylan root beer but more of a subtle candy undertone to the root beer itself.
The second root beer was Frostie Root Beer. This was actually Beth’s choice for dinner but I drank my fair share. It was a little bit weird how similar these two root beers were. Frostie had a very similar after taste but there was so much fizz to this root beer it tasted more like drinking caramel Nerds or root beer Pop Rocks.frostie_root_beer I think out of these two I would pick frostie because it had the candy taste without the heaviness. One weird thing with Frostie was the after feel in your mouth. It wasn’t so much the taste this root beer left in your mouth as much as it was the feeling on your tongue. It kind of felt like after you eat a few Altoids mints. When your tongue feels a little bit raw but kind of good, like your mouth got a good cleaning or something. I know it is strange but that is what I thought of after taking a drink.
Sorry for the lack of updates in my root beer log but I really go through phases trying new root beers and this will probably end up being one of my “projects” that lasts a long time. And the big pictures make it easier for you to see them and gives me an excuse to write a little bit more and then you don’t feel like the log is all text. Let me know what new root beers you have tried in the comments, or root beers you recommend I try next time I am out.

Twitter updates

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 12 2009
  • I played through killzone 2 in one sitting yesterday. I dont think i have ever done that with any game before. It wasnt that good. #
  • What is your favorite pancake mix? I have never made pancakes before. #
  • Finally getting around to merging my old Hotmail and Yahoo mail accounts into my gmail. And it appears google apps is down! booo #
  • @krunk4ever no back story. I thought it would be interesting to pay and then just leave and see what happens. maybe make somebody’s day good #
  • Tip of the day: dont leave batteries in stored electronics. I just found a bunch of battery acid in my Sony Walkman. #
  • Installing ubuntu umpc on my tablet pc. So far I like most of it. Need to actually get the tablet function working though. #
  • Catching up on a month of missed Chuck. Hulu really is run by aliens. I can feel my brain turning to mush as I ty #
  • I dare you to sing Bohemian Rhapsody replacing every word (and instrument) with “meow”. You’ll feel btter, I promise. #
  • Boo for dealing with stolen laptops at work. 3 machines so far this week. Tip of the day: don’t leave your stuff unattended or lock it down! #
  • Spending the afternoon making a jog wheel http://tinyurl.com/6xyv2e #
  • Yay! Finally unlocked the endless set list in rock band 2. #
  • Taking another Japanese lesson with Rosey. #
  • Just bought my first $30 Blu-ray movie, the original matrix. I could have found it cheaper but I had a gift card I needed to use. #

Twitter updates

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 05 2009
  • What do you guys think of blogs that have twitter updates (weekly or daily)? I keep going back and forth on the idea for my own site #
  • Tis a good day for a overdue oil change. #
  • @linuxing I love the Ong Bak movies. I bought the first one after watching it. You may like district b13 too. not as good but fun too. in reply to linuxing #
  • @revash thanks for the tip. I have heard of AMSOIL before but never tried it. I recently switched from Royal Purple to Castrol for cost #
  • @revash at the price of AMSOIL I will defiantly try it on my next oil change though. 7,500+ miles sounds great! #
  • Looking at properties today. Hopfully there will be something good…and in our price range. #
  • heck ya! free quiznos torpedo with purchase of torpedo combo. get the coupon at toastytorpedo.com #
  • PS3 firmware 2.70 is now out. Not all the features i was hoping for but good that they keep it updated. #
  • tip of the day: be very careful when using scissors as pliers to reach fallen cables behind desks. #
  • @HPalpant – welcome to twitter. It didnt take you as long to give in as it did for me to give in to friendface, i mean facebook #
  • If you pulled up to a gas pump and someone else prepaid (on purpose or accident is unknown) would you still pump gas on their dime? #
  • Tonight’s “eat the world” is at inka trails in claremont. Lets see how Peruvian food is. No goat on the menu this week. :( #

Google Voice

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Mar 24 2009

Grand Central was purchase by Google and is Google Voice now. I am not going into what the service can do for you (that is what Google is for), but the cool thing is my account was eligible for a upgrade today so I click the “upgrade” button to see what was new.
Not a whole lot was new but I did get a chance to test out the transcriber on my voice mail. It was actually fun because just after I left myself a voice mail I got a text message with the transcribed voice mail as well as a email to a link to a mp3 to play the voice mail. Lets just say they need to work on it a little bit. Here is the message I left for myself.

Oh, I wonder if this works. Test, test, oompa loompa, supercalafragilisticexpealadocious, Shaun.

Here is the text I got:

all the i wonder if it’s a work test test hello michael super callus i just got a delicious john

On the plus side, it actually makes voice messages more fun! I mean who wouldn’t want to get a voice mail when it contains hilariously translated messages from your friends.
I tried this with one more voice mail but sadly I just got a error that said “Transcript not available”. I am not sure why, but I could not find a way to make it force a transcript which is disappointing.
Let me know if you have been able to use Google Voice in the comments. If I ever get invites I can send one your way if you ask for it.

Recycling hard drive parts for rocking!

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Mar 07 2009

I never saw the appeal of buying all new Rock Band instruments if you already owned the first generation instruments. There was one thing however that made me really like the new Rock Band guitars, and no it wasn’t the new wood finish. This weekend I finally added the one part that I really wanted. A start button guard!
Rock Band guitars aren’t really known for their durability, and one of my guitars refuses to kick into overdrive unless I do a Chuck Norris roundhouse into a back flip in the middle of Visions’ solo before my drummer’s shin bursts into flames and we have to start the 12 song set all over again.
My main problem with adding the guard was figuring out what to use. I thought about using putty, washers, and even cardboard, but then I remembered I had a bag of aluminum hard drive spacers that would work perfectly. All I had to do was get a little super glue and attach it right to the guitar leaving room for the screw that sits next to the start button in case I ever needed to get to the guts of the guitar.
I took a couple pictures just so you could see how the finish product looks. Hopefully this will alleviate those mid-game pauses that sometimes happen when my groin muscles aren’t feeling up to the task of saving my bandmate.


Let me know in the comments what you have used to modify your Rock Band instruments.

How-To Create a UBUD

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Mar 04 2009

I just made that up. UBCD is a great tool for tracking down hardware and software problems with non-Apple computers. To be honest I am not sure if it works on Apple computers but I assume most of the tools would not work even if it boots on the hardware. UBUD is my abbreviation for UBCD on a USB Disk (a.k.a. thumb/pen/flash drive).
I ran into a problem on my last road trip fixing someones computer and I was without any CD’s to burn UBCD to. So I ran across these instructions at pendrivelinux.com and they worked perfectly for turning my USB drive into a bootable UBUD.

USB Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) prerequisites:

* ubcdfix2 (does the USB conversion) <--I found that this file doesn't download so you can get it from the link above
* UBCD ISO
* USB flash drive (fat32 formatted) Sorry there is no download link for this.
* A windows host PC to perform the build

UBUD How-To:

1. Download and launch UBCDfix2.exe, a UBCD folder is created
2. Download the UBCD ISO and move to your UBCD folder
3. From the UBCD folder, click fixubcd2.bat and follow the onscreen instructions. I ran into one problem where it said I needed to run the program again because I was using Vista but really I didn’t have to. So if it gives an error in Vista go ahead and try rebooting anyway.
4. Reboot and set your computer to Boot from the USB device

I hope this helps with any problems you may run into when you find yourself without a blank CD.
Let me know in the comments if there are any other tools that you always keep with you on the road for fixing those random computer problems.
Also, has anyone tried UBCD4Win? It seems like it could be interesting for Windows specific (a.k.a. virus/spyware) problems.

Video Podcast 2

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Mar 04 2009

Here is just a update since my first video podcast. Not super interesting but I am trying to stick to my resolutions.

Too bad YouTube only allows 10 minute videos. Here is the second part.

BTW I am looking to sell my 1 TB external hard drive and my 500 GB Buffalo Linkstation. If you are interested send me a email.

MediaSmart server advanced Twonky settings

3 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 07 2009

With a new MediaSmart server I was excited to get the TwonkyMedia server up and running to be able to stream all my music and videos over to my PS3. I have some experience with Twonky from my Buffalo NAS and it was the best DLNA server I have ever used. I was a bit disappointed that the server configuration was dumbed down and limited to the MediaSmart console.
twonky restricted

Access is restricted to MediaServer configuration!

To enable to regular Twonky configuration pages you need to do the following steps.

1. RDP onto the server using mstsc.exe from a run command. If you have a version of Windows without remote desktop you will need to find a way to install it (I don’t know how) and open up C:\TwonkyMedia\twonkyvision-mediaserver.ini
2. Locate the line

# Web access
enableweb=1

3. Change it to

# Web access
enableweb=2

4. Save the file
5. Restart the TwonkyMedia service by opening services.msc from the run command, find the service on the list, and click restart on the left column.
twonky service restart

Now all you need to do is browse to your home server in a web page and go to port 9000.
http://hpserver:9000
You should be greeted with the normal Twonky configuration settings now.
twonkyconfig

I hope this helps someone, it certainly helped me.

What IPTV could do to make their service rock

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2009

As a follow-up to why IPTV potentially sucks I wanted to point out a few things that IPTV providers could do to make their service not only rock, but things that they could do that would be revolutionary to how we watch TV.
1. Place shifting with no additional hardware
I am still fairly amazed at how few people know about Slingbox and what it can do. The idea of placeshifting is not really new but it has never broken into the mainstream market. Maybe that is because Apple hasn’t had any placeshifting hardware of their own. In any case, what if you could watch live TV on your cell phone because all your IPTV provider had to do was give you web access or install a program that can decode their encrypted channels based on your subscription username. When your TV content isn’t tied to hardware like a coax cable or plastic dish there are so many possibilities. If all you needed was a internet connection and screen to be able to watch your TV, cable and satellite would never be able to compete.
2. Any computer recorders
Renting DVRs from your service provider usually sucks. That is all there is to it in my opinion. That is exactly why I have always spent more money and built my own DVRs. The main reason you have always needed a dedicated box in the past has been because of hardware limitations. Either your computer didn’t have a coax jack, or your processor/video card were too slow to display decent video. With IPTV all you need is wireless or ethernet. Once you have that why can’t you just use your own desktop or laptop as a portable TV anywhere in your wireless range? At most the provider would need to install a program to let you watch live TV and maybe a plugin to allow Windows Media Center or even a AppleTV to record all the TV you want. That way the shows are even stored where you want them to be. If you want to watch them on your TV, let the providers STB stream the show from your laptop or just use whatever you want plugged into your TV to display your recorded shows.
3. Internet content
I actually really liked this idea in Windows 7 media center. They had a channel for online content that shows up right in the TV guide. If I wanted to watch MSN videos all I had to do was go to the media guide with all the rest of my live TV shows. I will admit in Windows 7 media center the execution of this was done very poorly, but the idea was fantastic. But really why couldn’t a IPTV provider give you access to YouTube, vodcasts, and other online free video services. Well I know why, THEY DON’T MAKE ANY MONEY!! Boxee has been making leaps and bounds in this area and I hope they can partner with enough companies to actually force providers to have to pay attention to what they are doing and offer similar services or lose customers.
4. No recording needed
This really is the holy grail of what IPTV should be working toward. If only one of these ideas was to be done, this would be the one that would win. Imagine if all of your TV was on demand. Shows still “air” at certain times but that just means you can’t get the show before that time. The idea is you basically have a program guide of every show available (or every channel available) and you pick what you want to watch when you want to watch it. There would never be recording shows, unless you wanted to save the show to a different device like a laptop (although that would be more of a download than a recording and that isn’t a bad thing), and there would never be missing the beginning of a show because you got home late. I really hope that media distribution is heading this way because with lives as busy as they are and schedules as different as they are this is how entertainment should be delivered in my opinion.

Let me know if you have anything else to add to my list and what you think of the future of TV distribution.

Windows Home Server install error

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2009

It was driving me crazy all day yesterday to have an error on the HP MediaSmart server I was trying to set up. The error I was getting was:
whsconnector_error

“The operation cannot be completed at this time.
Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Product Support”

In case you are wondering the support link they give you is worthless.
I still haven’t figured out the exact place the error was coming from but I know 100% now that is was something from my works domain policies stupid network. As soon as I tried setting up the server from a machine not on my work domain the installation happened without a hitch.
Unfortunately, I figured that out after already being on hold with HP. Either way it is working now and doing updates as I type this.
If you run into the same problem you may want to try un-joining a domain. And if you find which policy is causing this error please leave a note in the comments.

*Edit* 2009-04-16 I actually found that this was probably something to do with DNS not working on my work network. I also had some problems at home and realized I couldn’t ping the hostname of the machine. I added a entry on my Windows Vista machine to the hosts file found at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Once I had that entry in place I had a lot less problems connecting the software. It is just annoying that my DNS seems so screwed up.

*Edit* 2009-05-28 This was confirmed again when I was reading a review of the new LX195. Turns out they had a problem too and it was because they were using OpenDNS. I am also using OpenDNS at home so I would say this problem is confirmed and solved. To get this to work simply edit your etc file as I did above, or switch to your ISP’s DNS servers.