Moving Media Around the House

By definition, this is a “first world” problem. In the news gap between CES and the Apple event next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I might manage my media collections between all of my computers. The buzz around the Boxee box and anticipating the need to have most of my working data in the cloud so that I can access it regardless of what computer or platform I’m using has inspired me to find a better way to work with my media. Actually this is a “problem” that I didn’t have until I moved from my one-room studio to my one-bedroom apartment and then two-bedroom townhouse. I have four macs floating around the house (and anticipate a fifth Apple in the form of an iPad-netbook-media-thingy), each with their own full copies of my iTunes library, DVDs ripped to a couple macs, and daily podcasts downloaded to all four computers. In the past I manually erased podcasts I’d already listened to on one of the four computer and my iPhone, but given how many podcasts I listen to this method is just too much work. I’d also been hoping to store my DVDs on one computer and be able to view them on any of the other devices. The upcoming release of the Boxee box has me rethinking my media sharing scheme.

Boxee Beta from boxee on Vimeo.

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Interactive IKEA Catalog – Apple iPad?

Apple reserved presentation space for the end of January and the rumor mills is cranking up around the Apple netbook-thingy… At CES2010 everyone and their brother is announcing all sorts of tablet/slate/netbook/e-book readers devices, all trying to fight against the buzz of a device that hasn’t been announced yet. Amazing. Continue reading Interactive IKEA Catalog – Apple iPad?

Weak – Laptop Hunter Picks PC for Video Editing

Come on, Microsoft. Clearly you’ve forgotten one of the first tenets of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, To not attack the enemy where they’re strongest, but where they are weakest. You had a good foothold emphasizing that a Windows PC tends to be cheaper, has more applications, and more video games… but NOT video editing, at least not out of the box. No one who has used the product is going to suggest Microsoft’s MovieMaker. A recent PC Magazine article lists MovieMaker as among the free crapware loaded on PCs that no one wants. I know there are folks … Continue reading Weak – Laptop Hunter Picks PC for Video Editing

The Lie of the 4th Screen

The following video was brought to my attention by a coworker as we both love watching stuff being presented at the TED conference. Alas, this video continues what I believe is a false cultural perception about the increasing general dehumanizing nature of technology. Admittedly it needs to be a bit bias, it’s a Nokia ad. But there is something that the ad misses about why these technologies succeed.

From the big screen to the small, the ad would have us believe that what was once shared (the big screen), was lost in the next two steps (TV & computers) but wonderfully recaptured in this latest iteration, specifically the N-Series Nokia devices. Um… bullshit.

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My Year with the OLPC – NR4PT

Around this time last year I was very excited to receive my OLPC (One Laptop per Child), called the XO-1. Having drunk the Negroponte gatorade I was endlessly frustrated with Dvorak and other tech journalists who kept their criticism of the XO-1 focused on either Negroponte’s eccentricities or the fact that the creators made it specifically to not be a Windows PC. The concept, begun at MIT’s Media Lab, that technology in education is not about training students to be little MS Office drones but to use computers to teach programming in order to teach thinking and communication seemed to waft past the XO-1’s dissenters. Leo Laporte and David Pogue got that the little green XO-1 wasn’t about attacking an untapped technology market, but was an humanitarian cause to bring the gift of technology to Third World classrooms.

In the ISTE Keynote address that I heard Negroponte introduce the XO-1 he quipped that they must be doing something right to have raised the ire of Intel and Bill Gates. Alas, maybe the joke in the end was on Negroponte when Intel promised to play fair but couldn’t resist the temptation to undercut Negroponte’s “humanitarian cause” and sell their competing kid-size ultra-light laptop, the Classmate, to the same countries Negroponte was trying to reach. So the Gospel according to Negroponte fell on deaf ears because the Win/Tel hegemony couldn’t hear the words for the vastness, opportunities and profits presented in possibility of harvesting the Third World educational/government technology nickel.

This holiday season the OLPC foundation is repeating their give one/get one campaign that I participated in last year to get my own XO-1, only this time they’re working with Amazon.com to get the word out and do the distribution. The commercials are very cute. My own XO-1 sits on a top shelf in my bedroom, part of my shrine to sentimental technology I’ve previously invested in (I really wish I had kept one of my old Kaypros to put in the shrine). I hate to think that Dvorak and the others might have been right after all.

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