Archive for January, 2009

Internet connected energy meter


I already wrote about energy meter Kill-a-watt which might help you reduce your electricity bill and improve our environment. Creative engineers from MAKE hacked it to add WiFi connectivity and possibility to post measurements directly to specified Twitter account. As result the information from the Kill-a-watt can be received quickly and can be shared with followers. The new device is called Tweet-a-watt

The Tweet-a-watt was designed for the Core77 Green Gadgets competition and its source, schematics and the idea was released as an open-source hardware project. I suspect that we will have such devices in the production soon.

[via SlashGear]

VDR developer version 1.7.4 is now available


Regular developer version of VDR was announced today. The main focus of the version 1.7.4 is still the switch to Transport Stream (TS) as the recording format. The changes since version 1.7.3:

  • Thanks to that patch full-featured DVB cards can get TS directly to replay.
  • Added clearing the TS buffers.
  • Fixed removing deleted recordings in case there is a problem. Once a recording caused a problem with removing, no others were removed any more and an ongoing recording could fill up the disk and cause other recordings to be deleted automatically.
  • Fixed handling the maximum video file size.
  • Fixed returning complete PES packets in cTsToPes::GetPes()

Full list of changes can be found here, new version is available here and patch – here.

I’d like to warn that the version 1.7.4 is still developer. So, use it under controlled conditions and for testing and debugging only. And sure you should know what you do. Good luck!

Boxee added ABC support for Mac users

ABC on Boxee

Boxee released a new version for Mac OSX. It will bring “Lost”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and other popular ABC TV shows directly to your TV. The updated version for AppleTV is gonna be released within the next few days.

Unfortunately Linux and Windows users won’t have possibility to watch ABC on their Boxee boxes (at least now). There is no information about that on the Boxee site.

[via Boxee Blog]

ALSA 1.0.19 is out

ALSA logo

Recently new version of Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) was released. There are more then 1000 new features, changes and bug fixes in the version 1.0.19. The most interesting are following:

  • Improving support of HDA sound for ASUS V1Sn, MCP67 HDMI, Intel DX58SO, NVidia MCP78 HDMI allowed to pass sound over HDMI (very important feature for Linux-based HTPC owners).
  • Improving identification of HDA devices Nvidia, Intel, HP, Gateway, Samsung etc.
  • Improving support of old kernels 2.2.x и 2.4.x.

I already spent a few days to configure my integrated nVidia sound card for playing sound over HDMI. But without luck. It seems that kernel 2.6.22-14 (stable version LinuxMCE 0710 is based on it) has some problems with recognizing HDMI part of the card. I can see just S/PDIF and analog. Will try to install LinuxMCE 0810 used new kernel (2.6.27-x) and upgrade ALSA up to 1.0.19 to get sound over HDMI.

Seagate anounced FreeAgent Theater

Seagate FreeAgent Theater

Seagate announced on CES 2009 its new product – FreeAgent Theater. It contains two parts – media player with dock for FreeAgent Go portable hard drive and dock to connect disk to PC.

Media player allows to playback media content from hard drive directly to TV using user friendly interface. It supports video – MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AVI/VOB/ISO), MPEG-4 (AVI/DivX /Xvid), subtles – SAMI(smi), SRT and SUB, audio – MP3, AC3 (5.1 audio – Dolby® Digital) WMA, WAV, OGG. Video resoluons can be NTSC 480i/480p; PAL 576i/576p and it supports video (HD and upscaling) up to 720p/1080i.

FreeAgent Theater can be connected to the TV using composite, component or S-Video outputs (HDMI is missed and it’s a biggest disadvantage of the device IMHO). Audio can be passed via stereo or co-axil S/PDIF.

Seagate FreeAgent Theater is very good solution for all how use FreeAgent Go HDDs to keep videos, music and photos. Nice design, user friendly software and remote control will make using that device easy for all family members.

It’ll be available on February with price ~ $220 including 500GB HDD.

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