Archive for December, 2009

Read It Later 2.0

December 16th, 2009 by Ian
ReadItLater for Firefox

ReadItLater for Firefox

ReadItLater transformed the way I waste time online. I’ll rephrase that: it let me be more productive with my unproductively. Let me explain: Unfortunately I live in the real world (with a real job/boss) and this means that if I spot a 1hr long video on BoingBoing (about creative commons banana mash-ups being beaten by the police, or whatever) during my lunch, then I can’t sit there watching it all afternoon. Nor do I want to be mucking about e-mailing home urls to myself. What I really needed was a icon in Firefox I can click, that will save a page for later when I get home… or when I have more time to spend on such frivolities. That little icon was provided by ReadItLater. All it does it synchronize a bunch of ‘I’ll get round to this later’ links which you can save choose to visit later, when you have time. This plug-in has expanded onto the iPhone and a dozen other platforms. You can even view your list online, which I find handy when I have a moment to waste alone with just my S60 Nokia for company.

It’s simple, but very handy and the author has just released version 2.0 which brings some visual refinements that mean it’s all very polished. I love the new icons. Find out more at ReadItLater.

Gorey Castle projection animation

December 15th, 2009 by Ian

There have been many art projects projecting stuff on the side of buildings. Often these can be quite impressive because of the unusually huge scale of the imagery, but once that novelty has faded they can be a bit naff. Not this though.

This really is like a great big living cartoon. I’d love to see this ‘in the flesh’.

Eyecandy from graphic artist Mark Weaver

December 11th, 2009 by Ian
1960 by Mark Weaver

1960 by Mark Weaver

Graphic artist Mark Weavers’ flickr stream is heavily dosed with win. Some of this work I think may be influenced by the Footfall series of science fiction books. Regardless, it’s great work.

Via the Kitsune Noir wallpaper project.

Boxee box: great news for indie media & consumers

December 10th, 2009 by Ian

…and for those wanting to cancel their cable/sky packages. Here’s why:
I’ve been a member of the Boxee Alpha test for a while now and it showed a huge amount of potential. Boxee is, at its most simple, a media player that draws content from the net (Division3, iPlayer, etc.) and from your local network (ripped DVDs, your music library, downloaded tv shows). This content is then presented in a wonderful ‘made for big screen’ (read: your tv, not your 15″ laptop monitor) easily navigable interface. A rather gorgeous interface too, I might add. Well, certainly in the Alpha, I’m a little unsettled by the new beta interface but it is well ahead of the rigidness of the AppleTV and the ugly mess of any recent Microsoft efforts. Boxee is based on XBMC, a brilliant Open-source media player with a similar, but not as ambitious, desire to take over your tv.  Boxee adds web-content to XBMC’s marvelous local network media management. I’ve been running XBMC on a hand-me-down 1st-gen XBox (thanks Ed!) for a couple of years now and it kicks the ass of Windows Media Centre and the like. It just works. No codec bullshit, no delay, no fiddling.

The Boxee box

The Boxee box

This alpha potential has been realized in the form of the newly announced beta and the Boxee Box. Although Boxee is quite intuitive to use, it can be a total bugger to setup, as was XBMC before it. Your options are hack your Apple TV or build a Linux machine and dive into a bundle of .debs and Pulse audio problems. Oh, and good luck on 64-bit Ubuntu, it’s a bloody nightmare! The Boxee Box removes all these headaches and essentially makes Boxee suitable for non-geeks. It’s built by DLink, who in my experience seem to churn out reasonable rooters/modems, and we’re promised it’ll cost a quite reasonable $200. This investment will open up a world of couch-accessible online content. There is a growing amount of independent media available online and bringing it from tiny laptop screens and onto that new 37″ monster you have in your living room could be the shot in the arm that many indie shows need.

I was going to blog about how stupid the case design was. “Don’t they understand that people are still going to have audio equipment/a DVD recorder/etc under their TV?”, I prepared myself to rant, “don’t they realize that such a bizarre shape will make it impossible to stack and fit under televisions?”. But as further details have emerged, it seems that the Box is so small that none of this should be a concern and as the remote control is RF then you could even hide it behind your flat-screen if you want.

This thing is seriously small

This thing is seriously small

The closest thing we’ve seen to this has been the Apple TV, which like Boxee could view web content. But being Apple, you were tied into the Apple iTunes marketplace, and thinking. No thanks, Jobs, no DRM crap for me. The Boxee Box’s design, cost and potential have lead to a very desirable little product and it is a testament to the Open-source projects that have gone before it. Put me down for one.

(More details on the Boxee blog)

Disney cosplay we can all get behind

December 7th, 2009 by Ian

I know I’ve overshot Halloween a little bit, but whatever:

Disney zombies

Via Look at this Frakking Geekster