Archive for November, 2009

Control your HTPC with USB Wireless Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad

USB Wireless Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad

The USB Wireless Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad looks like a substitute for ordinary remote control. It has a 48 keys QWERTY compact keyboard with backlight and 2.8″ touchpad with left and right mouse buttons. Using those it’d be easy to search movies in the media library or control playback. I just would like to have dedicated arrow and Ok buttons.

The device uses 2.4GHz radio frequency. So it allows to use it up to 30 feet effective working range. It has built-in rechargeable battery (I don’t like that) and possibility to switch device off to save energy. It’s supported by Windows as well as by Linux. The price of the USB Wireless Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad is $62.

UDPATE: That Handheld Keyboard and Touchpad can be also purchased from EFO web site just for $40, plus $5 shipping to any country. Also they promise that device is compatible with Mac OS, Linux, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista and Window 7 as well as with Playstation 3, XBox 360 and Wii. Probably I’ll order it.

See the device in action in demo video below.
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The VDR 1.7.10 is ready for testing


Next developer version of popular Linux-based software to organize PVR was released recently for testing. There is mostly bug fixing in the changelog. Just a few new languages were added to the user interface.

I’d like to remind you that main purpose of the 1.7.x branch is adding support of HDTV and DVB-S2. So, if you’re planing to watch satellite or terrestrial HD channels the VDR 1.7.x should suit you. Regardless of instable a lot of people use that version on their HTPC. Sure you should be ready to solve some problems by yourself or with VDR community.

Mplayer added support of HD-DVD/Blu-Ray codecs


This is a really good news for Linux-based HTPC owners. Mplayer recently added supports of HD-DVD/Blu-Ray codecs. The latest code in Subversion repository can do it with that DRM decryption patch. The full guide how to play and rip HD-DVD and Blu-ray disks under Linux can be found here.

I was asked a few times about possibility to play Blu-ray disk under LinuxMCE. So, with solution below it could be possible to do that.

[via phoronix]

Z-Wave Smoke Detector and Siren

Z-Wave Smoke Detector and Siren

Good news for all professional installers and smarthome enthusiasts in Europe. Everspring is the first Asian manufacturer of Z-Wave products which launched its appliances in the European market. Those products include dimmers, switches, ON/OFF modules, flood and temperature sensors, smoke detectors and indoor/outdoor sirens. Unfortunately there is no information about availability and price. But I hope it’ll be reasonable.

[via AutomatedHome]

XBMC 9.11: Alpha2 ready for testing


While Boxee’s talking about its own device XBMC developers announced Alpha2 of version 9.11 Camelot. 103 issues were fixed since Alpha1. So, if you’re testing XBMC 9.10, please, upgrade your system.

The new users can get XBMC 9.10 Alpha2 for desire operation system on the download page, right below a stable version Babylon. All found bugs can be reported via XBMC Issue Tracking System. Happy testing!

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