YouTube – Voice Control on Car PC – One Voice & StreetDeck

 

I am very tempted to put my Samsung Q1 in my car with and use it as my car entertainment system and now having seen this Youtube video of Streetdeck and One Voice’s voice control software I am really close to doing it.

The video shows Streetdeck being control by voice (the same technology as Media Center Communicator for Windows Media Center). Watch the video then workout where you are going to put that UMPC!

Thanks to Erol for the heads up

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New DRM scheme will let consumers stream cable TV over home networks

Thanks to Fieldhouse over in the forums for pointing this out:

Cable subscribers should soon be able to stream cable TV programming over their home networks, as CableLabs has announced its approval of a new streaming protocol. Called DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Copy Protection), the new spec will use DRM to lock down content to ensure that it doesn’t escape the cozy confines of cable subscribers’ homes.

This sounds great, but as ever with things like this i will believe it when i see it and how long would it take Microsoft to implement something like this in Media Center? With the current pace of development it could be some time. Read the article for more details

New DRM scheme will let consumers stream cable TV over home networks

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Pictures of the Sony UX1 in the Photo Galleries

I have a video review of the Sony UX1 I was sent for review out soon, so I have posted some pictures of it in the Photo Galleries. I must admit to taking a liking to the device, at first I couldn’t get used to the small 4.5" screen but after a bit you do get used to it. What is also impressive is the speed of the device, it has a Intel Core Solo U1500 and I found it a lot quicker than the Samsung Q1, would I swap it for the Q1? find out in the video

I should have the video posted soon

Sony UX1 Pictures

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Bluray v HD-DVD my take

Last week I got a review unit of Sony’s XL301 Media Center PC complete with Blu-ray drive. I recorded a video review and in the review (out soon) in the video I said it was a shame that I had no Blu-ray film to try with it. So on Saturday I visited my local Blockbuster store to rent a Blu-ray film.

The first thing I noticed is that in terms of HD content Blockbuster only offer Blu-ray films and have no HD-DVD films. I have been thinking about getting a HD drive for a while and for me the best option would be a HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 but this now looks like it would be a waist of money as far as rental is concerned there is only Blu-ray, so to me this looks like the Blu-ray format has won (well in the UK)

HD-DVD can be better and cheaper but if the average consumer looks at their local Blockbuster and can only see Blu-ray then the that will be the format they go for. I can remember by parents having a Betamax video player and going to the video shops and watching the number of rental films drop from a parallel number with VHS down to non. So unless rental stores offer HD-DVD the war would be lost

As for my first thoughts on Blu-ray, I have to say I am impressed. The picture is fantastic, I had it connected up to my 50" Sony Bravia via HDMI and the audio via optical to my AV receiver for 5.1 sound

The film I rented was Pirates of the Caribbean- Dead Mans Chest which is a great fun film. It was a great picture with vivid colours, I found the colours via the PC and HDMI were richer than the Xbox via VGA. You can tell it’s a better picture than normal DVD but its not like going from VHS to DVD. I guess here is the problem, its great but only a little better than DVD and I guess that is why the uptake is going to be slow, it is not like the vast difference from VHS to DVD so consumers are in no rush to upgrade and when they do it will to a format that has good features and plenty of content which just going off my one visit to my local Blockbuster (Chorley UK) was Blu-ray

Look out for my video review of the Sony unit and Blu-ray soon

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Major Skype Problems

I noticed today that one of my machines would not sign in to Skype. Well it turns out that Skype have a major problem at the moment, I noticed only 241,725 users online which is a lot less than the millions normally logged in to Skype.

Skype 

I hate to think how much revenue they must be losing, and the disruption it is causing people that rely on Skype, which I have found normally very reliable

On Skype’s blog they have some details:

UPDATED 14:02 GMT: Some of you may be having problems logging into Skype. Our engineering team has determined that it’s a software issue. We expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours. Meanwhile, you can simply leave your Skype client running and as soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Additionally, downloads of Skype have been temporarily disabled. We will make downloads available again as quickly as possible

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HDMI 1080p on standard Xbox 360? – Digital Spy

Interesting development on the Xbox 360 front. Cable manufacturer XCM say they are bringing out a HDMI cable for the standard Xbox 360 complete with 1080p support. One of the main selling points of the Xbox 360 Elite is the built in HDMI connection, so it will be interesting to see Microsoft’s reaction to this if the story is true.

Gaming – News – HDMI 1080p on standard Xbox 360? – Digital Spy

 

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Microsoft Surface Computing

Just as I prepare to leave for the airport I saw the press release on Microsoft’s new Surface Computing product.

It looks a fantastic user interface and at first it expected to be used in public places like Casinos. I can see that when the product becomes more mainstream that it would be great in the home, control Home Automation, Windows Media Center etc all from surface control.

Checkout the video on Channel 10

Extract from Microsoft’s Press Release

Microsoft Launches New Product Category: Surface Computing Comes to Life in Restaurants, Hotels, Retail Locations and Casino Resorts

First commercially available surface computer from Microsoft breaks down barriers and provides effortless interaction with information using touch, natural gestures and physical objects.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — May 29, 2007 — Picture a surface that can recognize physical objects from a paintbrush to a cell phone and allows hands-on, direct control of content such as photos, music and maps. Today at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer will unveil Microsoft Surface™, the first in a new category of surface computing products from Microsoft that breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology. Surface turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, dynamic surface that provides effortless interaction with all forms of digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. Beginning at the end of this year, consumers will be able to interact with Surface in hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public entertainment venues.

The intuitive user interface works without a traditional mouse or keyboard, allowing people to interact with content and information on their own or collaboratively with their friends and families, just like in the real world. Surface is a 30-inch display in a table-like form factor that small groups can use at the same time. From digital finger painting to a virtual concierge, Surface brings natural interaction to the digital world in a new and exciting way.

“With Surface, we are creating more intuitive ways for people to interact with technology,” Ballmer said. “We see this as a multibillion dollar category, and we envision a time when surface computing technologies will be pervasive, from tabletops and counters to the hallway mirror. Surface is the first step in realizing that vision.”

 

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My new UMPC

Since the Ultra Mobile PCs were launched last year I have been dying to get my hands of one. At CES this year I got to play with some of the new ones so when I has the opportunity to get a Samsung Q1 I jumped at the chance. The Q1 is one of the first generation of UMPCs, its a great device with a Celeron 900MHz processor with 1gb of RAM its performance is very good with Vista. It came with XP Tablet Edition so I did a clean install with Windows Vista and a search around the web provided the necessary drivers.

I installed Windows Vista Home Premium on it which of course has Windows Media Center built in and the device works great playing recorded TV locally or over a network. The touch interface works very well with Media Center and I found that as good as the specially designed Origami Experience UI.

I have got Skype up and running on it so I will be recording the next podcast on it, it should make recording interviews on the go (like I was doing at CES) much easier. I have got Office 2007 running on it so I can do my blogging on there too.

Over all I think its a great device and I am sure the next generation of UMPCs ( like the Q1P) will be even better, but this will do for me for now 🙂

 

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