Posts Tagged gadget

Another IPv6 instalment (subtitled: Watch Your Tech Library Currency!)

I made a somewhat cryptic tweet a little while ago about how I spent a crazy-long period of time researching what was, I believed, the next-big-thing in DNS resolution for IPv6 (or so my 2002 edition of “IPv6 Essentials” told me).  I could not work out why I saw nothing about A6 records in any of the excellent Hurricane Electric IPv6 material or in any other documentation I came across.

The answer should have been obvious: DNS A6 records (and the corresponding DNAME records) never caught on.  RFC 3363 recommended that the RFC that defined A6 and DNAME (RFC 2874) be moved back into Experimental status.  If I hadn’t been using an old edition of the IPv6 book, I might never have even known the existence of A6 and not have wasted any time.

In my previous post on IPv6 I theorised that we are in the early-adoption phase of IPv6 where things aren’t quite baked, and yet now I’ve picked up a 9 year old text on the topic and acted all surprised when it got something wrong.  It was a bit stupid of me; had I bought a book about IPv4 in 1976, might it have been similarly out of date in 1985?

As always though I’m richer for the experience!  Or so I thought…  Like many, I’m becoming increasingly time-poor.  When I bought a book on IPv6 some years ago I thought I was making an investment, but it turned out that my investment actually lost for me in several ways:

  1. The book took up physical space in my bookshelf for all that time I wasn’t using it
  2. I didn’t actually use the information at the time I acquired it
  3. The time I could have got value from it was wasted by it idly sitting on the shelf
  4. Once I did try to use it, it actually cost me time rather than saved time

I came to think about the other books on my shelf.  It’s pretty easy to recognise that a book that proclaims to be up-to-date because it “Now covers Red Hat 5.2!” will be anything but.  Also, from the preface of a Perl programming book that says “this was written about Perl 5.8, but it should apply to 5.10 as well” I’ll be forewarned that things will be fairly applicable to 5.12 but maybe not to Perl 6 when it’s out.

Technology usually has a somewhat abbreviated lifespan, so therefore the corresponding documentation will have a lifespan correspondingly short…  Here, however, is an example of a technology that will have a far greater lifespan (we hope) than much of the documentation that currently exists around it.  I emphasise “currently exists”, because it won’t always be that way: IPv4 was pretty well-baked by the time I had anything to do with it, so I could have bought a book on IPv4 with next to no concern that it was going to lead me astray (indeed, I bought W. Rich Stevens’ TCP/IP programming texts during the 1990s, and still use them to this day).  I keep forgetting that I’m on a completely different point of the IPv6 adoption curve, and the “experts” are learning along with me.

So, a new tech library plan then:

  • Reduce dependence on physical books (okay, this one is already a work-in-progress for me) — they don’t come with you on your travels as easily, and (more important in this context) they’re harder to keep up to date.
  • Before regarding the book on the shelf as authoritative, check its publication date.  If it’s more than three years old, depending on the subject matter it might be out of date.  Check if there’s a new edition available, and consider updating.  If there’s no new edition, check for recent reviews (Amazon, etc).  Someone who just bought it last month might have posted an opinion on its currency.
  • If you have to buy a paper book, don’t buy a book on any technology that is a moving target.  On the same shelf as my copy of “IPv6 Essentials” there is a book entitled “Practical VoIP Using VOCAL”.  I never even installed VOCAL, and I’m sure many current VoIP practitioners never heard of it.  (Side note: I think it’s strange that I bought that book, and a Cisco one, but still to this day have never owned a book on Asterisk.  Maybe I have some kind of inability to pick the right nascent-technology book to buy.)
  • Use bookmarking technology more! I have a Delicious account, and I went through a phase of bookmarking everything there.  I realise now that, if I was a bit more disciplined, I could actually use it (or a system like it, depending on what Yahoo! does to it) as my own personal index to the biggest tech library in existence: the Internet.

That first point is harder than it sounds (especially for someone like me who has a couple of books on his shelf with his name on the cover).  My Rich Stevens books are littered with sticky-note bookmarks for when I flick to-and-fro between different programming examples.  Electronic readers are still not there when it comes to the “handy-hints-I-keep-on-my-lap-while-coding” aspect of book ownership.

I have a Sony Reader which I purchased with the intent of making it my mobile tech library.  It’s just not that great for tech documents though, since it doesn’t render diagrams and illustrations well (it also isn’t ideal for PDFs, especially in A4 ratio).  This may change as publishers of tech docs start releasing more titles on e-reader formats like ePub.  The iPad is working much better for tech library tasks; I’m using an app called GoodReader which renders PDFs (especially RedBooks!) quite well and has good browsing and syncing capability as well.

More on these topics later, I’m sure!

Update: I omitted another option in my “tech library plan” — since IPv6 Essentials is an O’Reilly book, I could have registered with their site to get offers on updating to new editions.  Had I done so, the events of this post might not have happened!  Now that I’ve registered my books with O’Reilly, I’m getting offers of 40% off new paper editions and 50% off e-book editions.  Also, in line with my reduce-paper-book-dependence policy, I can “upgrade” any of the titles I own in paper to e-book for US$4.99.  If you haven’t already, I encourage anyone who has O’Reilly books that they rely on as part of their tech library to register them at members.oreilly.com.  (This is an unsolicited endorsement from a happy customer, nothing more!)

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Living with an iPod touch

I held out for a long, long time. I'd even talked myself entirely out of getting one. Like they say in the classics though, "you think you've escaped, but they pull you back in". I now have a 32GB iPod touch and it's doin' alright, even though it took me nearly a week before I bothered putting any media on it!

I think what finally did it for me was the App Store. I love being able to simply go to an app on the device and easily look for software, installing what I like with no fuss. I especially like the fact that my downloads are synced with my computer, so that I don't have to keep track of all the individual items I've installed (unlike my phone; I can't think where all the sis and sisx files for different stuff I've installed might be).

My Facebook friends will know that I'm much more active there suddenly. Why? The Facebook app on the Touch — I no longer have to start up a computer or open a browser to update my status or reply to comments. I had a bit of this function with Fring's Facebook interface on my phone, but the large screen of the Touch makes things like this much more friendly.

I came very close to getting an iPhone actually — but not to use as a phone. This was after I'd realised that it's just as valuable as an Internet-connected device as an actual phone. The cost of iPhone service is still a bit prohibitive to me though, especially for an occasional-use device.

One of the things that had turned me off was the closed nature of the iTunes ecosystem (iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, iTunes). People sometimes ask me about Skype, and I say that the worst thing about it is that it Just Works. I mean, it's a closed system with no interconnections other than those provided by Skype themselves — by this nature it should fail, and yet because it works (arguably) better than any other desktop VoIP product it enjoys immense success. Same goes for Apple's stuff: the iTunes ecosystem Works And Works Bloody Well.

I've been thinking for ages about sync for calendar and contacts and stuff; I've been hunting for services and software and tools for ages. I could build something myself, and indeed started to (I've looked at Google Apps, used Chandler, checked out Ovi, and played with Sync4J before it was called Funambol). I could spend time and effort coming up with something myself…

Or I could just buy an iPod.

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Heading home from Singapore

So here I am in the Qantas lounge at Changi Airport after my the last day of my trip to Singapore. The education went well (lots of smiling farewells) and I’ve forged some links with the locals that I hope will be fruitful for all.

I’m trying to get over the silly habit I’ve developed of bringing home stacks of coins from overseas, and it looks like I’ve had a bit of success this time. Somehow I’ve managed to come home with almost no coins! I brought a stack of coins I had collected on previous trips, and not only have I got rid of all them I’ve collected hardly any more.

I indulged my gadget addiction to the tune of an Archos 605 Wi-Fi media player. Yes, I know that there is a new series of devices released by Archos, but they are not generally available and may not be for a while (in this geography at least). Besides, the 605 has what I need (especially since the supplier over here includes the key plugins that I need) and is available now. The store recently reduced the price too — admittedly, probably to clear stock in advance of the new models coming in a few months.

Here’s hoping I get some sleep on the plane, as I want to have a good day with N and S before I have to do the Canberra thing all over again.

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New gadget: Nokia E71

I have been in the mobile phone market on-and-off for nearly 12 months. There wasn’t really anything wrong with the N70, I guess I was just getting a little fidgety with lots of new “shiny” going around. The trip to the US in May, and seeing an iPhone in person for the first time, probably didn’t help, nor (obviously) did the local release of iPhone 3G. Once I’d talked myself out of getting an iPhone though, the itch was still there… and I must say it’s being well-and-truly scratched by the E71.

I’ve had this phone for just on a week now, and it’s certainly one of the best phone purchases I’ve ever made. In a nutshell, the key things about it are:

* QWERTY keyboard, in a form factor not much larger than the N70. Importantly, it’s much smaller than the E61 that preceded it (now there’s a phone that was just MADE of ugly). Despite it’s size the keyboard is amazingly easy to type on, although I may have to update this after I give my thumbnails a trim.

* Symbian OS. Maybe I’m biased, as the owner of a Psion 5, but to me Symbian has an edge over other phone OSes. Not only with the functions in the handset and Nokia’s Series 60 interface, but the range of third-party apps for Symbian (or Series 60 specifically) is great. Almost straight after charging the battery I downloaded PuTTY (SSH client) and “vejotp” (S/Key one-time-password utility). Plus, the recent news that Nokia intends to open-source Symbian is a great thing.

* Nokia Maps and A-GPS. While the iPhone glitterati download the entire UBD or Melways every time they walk down the street thanks to Google Maps, I get quick GPS mapping for zero download (the last few times I’ve used it, the download counter has stayed stuck on “0.0kb” even though A-GPS is supposed to cost a bit of data every startup). It’s not the most accurate GPS ever made, for sure, but it’ll do me for now at least.

* Built-in podcast support. I was getting more and more frustrated with the way that Amarok and iPod fought with each other over my podcasts. It never seemed to work as well as it did on iTunes! Now, I can use the device I download the podcasts with to listen to them as well. It’s self-contained, tidy (no more podcasts mixed in with the music library and causing havoc), elegant.

* Wi-fi capability and SIP client. Being able to connect to the home network obviously means that I can do things like update my podcasts without having to second-mortgage the house to pay for HSDPA data. The SIP client is very cool too: I’ve connected it to my Asterisk box, and now have a cordless home phone and mobile in one device.

* Solid construction. It’s got to be the most sturdy-feeling phone I’ve ever owned. The case is metal, and it has a nice weight to it. The buttons feel solid, almost like real keyboard keys.

* Drop-dead gorgeous. I got the grey version, the metal casing looks like titanium and has a glossy finish (which is a little prone to fingerprints, but cleans easily). The screen is just amazing, usable in daylight, bright and colourful and incredibly high resolution.

I’ll mention more as time goes on, but for now I am very happy!

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Motion Computing Tablet PC

Thanks to work, I am now the possessor of a rather cool piece of kit: a tablet PC. It’s a Mobile Computing LE1700, and I’m quite impressed with how it works. The big question though is of course… Will it run Linux?

At the moment it’s still running Windows XP Tablet Edition, but that’s only because a Hardy Heron install DVD is quite some way away from me right now.

I just trained Microsoft speech recognition and this paragraph has been dictated using speech recognition.  The recognition rate is actually quite good for the amount of training I’ve done, although I am having to go back and correct quite a few minor errors.

Back to handwriting recognition, which is outstanding: it’s only just now, as I write on the screen of this device, that I realise how poor my handwriting has become! Almost certainly this is due to lack of practice and under-use! I can tell as I’m writing that its recognition is somewhat dictionary-based, as if I pause or lift the pen it will make a guess abort what I’ve written which it will change as I complete the word.

Credit where credit is due, I think tablet Windows looks pretty good. Having used it before just putting Ubuntu on, I’ll be expecting a bit more from Linux…

On the hardware side, the machine looks quite sturdy and solid — so much so it’s a bit or the weighty side. I did install the additional battery pack though, and I’m sure that if I was adopting a proper tablet-PC posture it wouldn’t feel as heavy as it does. It has a 3G modem built-in, which works fine with my Telstra USIM (that’s how I’m posting this now), and the usual complement of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, PC-Card, SD  and infra-red. It even has a place to stow the pen-stylus.

As I said, I don’t have a Linux disc handy to start setting up properly so the big Linux question will have to wait for a while. Some early Googling shows that there is support for most of the hardware components in it (the digitiser is Wacom, the Wi-Fi is Intel 3945, I’ve even seen support for the 3G adapter. It’s the interface and application level that I’m worried about — the state of handwriting recognition, whether XRandR lives up to the promise, and so on. I’ll post more as I get used to it and see what it can do…

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Which Nokia device to get?

I’ve developed a very strong desire to be connected to people recently. In the last fortnight I’ve reawakened my Google account and regularly sit on Google Talk, reawakened an old Free World Dialup account and plugged it into my home phone system, and signed up to Twitter. I also found a mobile IM and SIP client called fring that looks good and works really nicely. I’d love to use fring constantly, thanks to its integration to Twitter and Google Talk (heck, it might even make me find my old Skype ID) but…

My current phone is a Nokia N70, which has served me well for a couple of years, but I’m not keen to use it too much for fring because I don’t have a mobile data plan (and my phone company charges fairly steeply for casual data). Besides, it’s only UMTS 3G so the data rate is not great (better than GSM data, but only occasionally so). What I really need is one of the newer devices around that has Wi-Fi built in. Something like the N80, new N82 or E51, or N95. That way I could use fring at home (which is where I am most of the time nowadays) and not have to worry about data costs.

Thinking about spending that kind of money though (again, my phone company is happy to talk to me about upgrading my handset, but the kind of plan I’d have to go onto to get a phone like that would be insane) makes me wonder about other devices. Something like the N800, or even a new N810. I don’t think fring is available on Nokia’s tablet devices, but with the alternate OS platform on the N8x0 I could install just about any kind of IM client I want. Plus I’d have a nice device to web-surf, program MythTV, check mail, and various other tasks.

What about other devices? The Asus EeePC has tweaked my curiosity, but I think it would end up being just a bit too large to fit in with the kind of usage I’m imagining for this type of device. Blackberry is a bit scary to me, it doesn’t really seem to be a general-usage consumer-oriented device (more a corporate connect-back-to-the-proprietary-box-in-the-server-room kind-of thing). The iPod touch is out as well: it’s closed nature would frustrate the heck out of me (it’s got a browser, but you can’t load anything on it…). The only other manufacturer I’d think about for a mobile device right now is Sony-Ericsson: Ericsson manufactured a couple of the nicest phones I’ve ever owned, but Sony has ruined them for me. I’m just not interested in getting back onto the hardware-to-lock-users-to-the-Sony-tower treadmill.

It’s all just navel-gazing, unfortunately. Realistically, I can’t justify dropping a wad of money on some new shiny just to satisfy what is probably just a bit of a personal fad. I think I’ll wait a bit longer and see how quickly the newly-released N95-8GB drops in price, or how far it pushes the price of the old N95 down — ditto the N810 and N800.

Oh, and I’ll wait for fring to fix my biggest issue: no support for Jabber. Queries on their forum on this have gone unanswered for almost a year. Technically it can’t be a big leap for them, as they have support for Google Talk!

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WIP330 progress: it’s a… phone

A while back I posted about my grief with the Linksys WIP330 WiFi SIP phone (it doesn’t happen often, but it’s a surprise when the ONLY hit you get on Google about a problem is your own blog post discussing it).  The unit is still a bitter disappointment, but thanks to a firmware update it seems like it’s finally at least usable on my network.

My previous post talked about problems I was having with the network connection dropping out after an hour on a WPA-PSK network.  When last I checked, the most recent firmware was no improvement in that regard.  However, I checked again last week and a couple of new updates to firmware have been released.  You need to go to Linksys’ US site to download the recent firmware though (Australia only has the 1.02.12S version that is a problem for me, while 1.03.18S is on the US site).

I also had problems using the phone menus to do the upgrade.  The WIP330 has a menu selection that lets you enter a URL for the phone to download its own firmware update, but this didn’t work for me.  I suspect it’s because the Linksys site that the firmware is hosted on is using an expired SSL certificate…  Downloading the file to my desktop and uploading the firmware through the phone’s web page worked fine as an alternative method.

The phone has been on my WPA network all day continuously now, and it makes and receives calls without drama.  I’ve never had the problem that some folks report where the phone ignores incoming calls.  So, as a phone, it’s functional and I’ll be including it in my ring groups and queues now.  As a Wi-Fi device, though, it’s still short.  For something that’s supposedly built on Windows CE, there’s precious little PDA or network function in it.

The two things I thought I could do with the unit (other than just use it as a phone) have both come up busted.  First was to use the “web cam” function to grab rain radar images from the Bureau of Meteorology — but the function only seems to work with actual web cams that generate a Windows Media stream, and not just an image that refreshes at intervals.  Next, when I found that you can use the web interface to upload and download data such as the phonebook, I thought I could write something that dumped my LDAP contact database into the right format to upload to it.  I still could, if I could hack the crappy VB/.NET encrypted file format they use on it.  Bah, humbug.

There’s talk on the ‘Net about folks who load CE device drivers and play with it from Windows, so maybe if I was a Windows user there would be more I could do with it.

One thing I will do with it is try it on public Wi-Fi.  That’s the only differentiator I can see between it and a normal cordless phone attached to an ATA — you certainly shouldn’t buy one of these just to use at home.  If it’s fairly easy to strap up to public Wi-Fi then it becomes much more useful (but then I have to wonder how often I’m near public Wi-Fi and needing to make a call I couldn’t make on a normal mobile… it might have been useful when I was stuck in Melbourne airport for three hours the other week though).

Now that it stays on the network I can use it as a phone.  Fine.  I still regret not knowing in advance about the iPod touch, because I would rather have put that money toward the touch…

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iPod touch: device lust

They’ve done it to me once more, those folks at Apple.  In 2003, while I was in the US for a residency trip, I fell in device-lust with the third-generation iPod.  I brought one home, and I’m still using it (on its original battery, I might add, although there’s a bit of a telltale bulge developing on the rear casing).  Now, a new range of iPods has been released, and I’ve got that familiar tingling in the back pocket… and an unexpected reflection on technology’s progress (or lack thereof).

A little while back I decided that my next portable audio device would not be an iPod.  I really don’t want to be tied to the Mac for something as simple as music and podcasts, and figured that I must be able to do these things with Linux.  To this end, I experimented with using Amarok to talk to my iPod but it just didn’t work well — corrupted playlists, Amarok refusing to simply unmount the iPod without giving it a soft reset, which caused it to reboot and remount again.  Tools like Rhythmbox and gtkpod were no different, which is hardly surprising since they all use the same libraries for actually talking to the iPod.  So, I decided that as long as the iPod still lived it would be enslaved to the Mac, and my music would stay managed by iTunes until such time as I could justify replacing the iPod.

Creative nearly had me a few months ago: the Zen Vision:W (I think that’s what it’s called, their wide-screen video device) has a good feature set…  but it just didn’t look right.  The 60GB version was too chunky — too thick, mainly — and the interface just felt wrong (although I concede that a little bit of time cleansing myself of iPod interface conditioning would probably have got me right).

Now, Apple has released a new range of iPods… and has again made the competition look old.

Many of you out there will be unfamiliar with the hype around the iPhone — as it is a North-America-only (USA-only?) device at this time, that’s not surprising.  However if you have seen it (or even only pictures of it) and you are outside iPhone-owning territory you may well have wished that the iPod functionality of the iPhone was available as a standalone device unencumbered by the regulatory crap that a phone has to comply with.

Well, wish no longer — that’s pretty much what the new iPod touch is.  All I’ve seen about this thing is on web pages — firstly on Wired and then on Apple’s web site — but I am head-over-heels in device-lust with this thing. 🙁

There isn’t much I can say about the features that Apple can’t say better (besides, this wasn’t meant to be a ra-ra post for the thing).  Check it out at Apple’s site: locally to me, that’s here at Apple Australia.  Of note though are the fact that it has Wi-Fi built-in, and comes with the Safari web browser, integrated YouTube browser, and integrated connectivity to the iTunes Music Store (you can buy music from the Store on the iPod, and when you next sync to iTunes it will merge the purchased music into your iTunes library).

I have to say though, the biggest surprise I got was when I went to the Apple Store to check the price.  While waiting for the page to load, I did a swift estimation and figured that the 16GB version would be over AU$800.  I nearly fell on the floor when the figure came up: AU$549.  My current iPod cost me around US$420 at a time when the Aussie dollar was lucky to fetch 60 US cents.

The one feature which took my breath away is probably one that I will never see though.  Apple has penned a deal with Starbucks to hook the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store component of the iPod touch into Starbucks free Wi-Fi.  Whenever you walk into an enabled Starbucks, the iPod touch automatically recognises Starbucks’ Wi-Fi network and hooks up.  Wait, it gets better.  When this happens, your iPod touch will show the details of the song playing in the store at the time, and give you a link to the iTunes WiFi Music Store to buy the music.

Why did that take my breath away?  Because right back to when I was at Uni, this kind of integration has been foretold but has always been “somewhere in the near future”.  The petrol pump that would automatically register the car’s chip and charge the fuel to the owner’s account.  The food packaging, fridges and pantries that would update the shopping list on your wristwatch, and the supermarket trolley that read the shopping list and displayed the layout of the supermarket with the locations of your needed items shown.  This is the “vision of the near future” that I was given by technologists (and instead we got RFID).

I was once standing in the Borders bookstore in South Yarra and heard a lovely song that moved me deeply (and no, I’m not prone to being overcome by store music).  A fortnight later I was in Singapore and heard the same song while having breakfast with Susan in the hotel restaurant.  On both occasions there was no-one around who would have been able to assist me locating the song — such is the way of telco-piped ambiance — and I was left to Googling remembered fragments of lyrics (successfully, I must say, for that’s how I was introduced to The Sundays).  I’ve never bought music online, but if I could have looked at the device in my pocket and instantly known what that song was, they’d have gotten a sale for sure.

Thinking about the technology behind it, it really is madenningly simple (says he with perfect hindsight).  Something like a DAAP server (wouldn’t even have to be one in each store) streaming to the store’s Wi-Fi, and an AirPort with an amp and speakers attached (instead of the usual piped music affair) picking up the same DAAP stream.  Regardless, to think that at least a little bit of that “vision of the future” is at last a reality is, well… nice.  I feel a little older, but in a good way. 🙂

Alas, the iPod touch guided tour video shows the start of the rollout of the “Starbucks” feature: a map of the continental USA, with New York City marked for September, Seattle in October, then LA February 2008 and Chicago in March.  Apple’s iTunes Starbucks site says “major metropolitan areas in the US by the end of 2008”.  No mention of internationals.  Sigh.  Oh, but the feature works with iTunes on a PC and with the iPhone too (so now we have three ways to miss out, right?).

The new iPod range is available now, with the exception of my new objet d’adore which is on the Apple Store for advance ordering with availability at the end of September.  Other newcomers are massive capacity iPod Video: now called “iPod classic” and starting with 80GB capacity or go to a whopping 160GB version, new iPod nano that’s shorter and wider than the old one but now does video, and new colours for the iPod shuffle.

So much for my tech spending freeze…  I figure I’ll spend the next few weeks researching what life would be like with one of these — whether going down to 16GB storage would actually hurt or not; how movies really look in H.264; whether I’d have to re-encode all my movies, or worse, encode them in H.264 as well as MP4 (since the few times I tried to play back H.264 encodes using XBMC were less than joyous); whether the video functions would even be relevant since all I ever do is listen to podcasts.  Then, when the thing is actually in stores… just go and get one anyway.

Tech addiction sucks like that.

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My media and Apple TV

No I did not buy an Apple TV — but seeing them on the shelves at the local Hardly Normal has got me thinking about the dilemma-in-the-making that is my media centre dream.  It all comes down to bandwidth, or lack of it to be specific.  Of the two locations at the Crossed Wires campus that ideally need access to the MythTV backend (or would be good spots to put a backend instead of where it currently is, in our bedroom) neither have wired network access.  My days of streaming low-bitrate MPEG4 and MP3 to XBox Media Centre over 802.11g spoilt me into thinking that all video will stream over 54Mbps…  Not so television!

So, points in favour of Apple TV:
* It has convenient TV-out capability
* It should stream content from the Slug, since I installed mt-daapd/Firefly on there
* Inbuilt 802.11n, so I would just have to upgrade to N-capable Wi-Fi to solve a little of my no-wired-network woe
* It seems to be hackable, so a MythTV frontend might not be out of the question
* It’s not an XBox 360, nor is it a Playstation 3

Points against however:
* The hackability is a bit of a question mark, and not really something to rely upon (as Apple may shut the gate on any of it with a software update)
* Like I need another timewasting hardware device in the house
* Without a MythTV frontend, it doesn’t really solve any problems w.r.t the TV-watching problem (even if video can be automatically exported from MythTV in a iTunes/DAAP-friendly format, I’d need to use another interface like MythWeb or a different MythTV frontend to program the MythTV backend)
* Where’s the “TV” in “Apple TV” anyway?  🙂  (oh yeah, you plug it into one, of course… 🙁 )

In a like vein, I’m trying to get LinuxMCE running (so far in a VMware guest) to see if it solves any of my backend troubles.  It looks very promising, but the installer seems to be a bit crumbly — my first install attempt was without sufficient disk space; even after increasing the space the installer just couldn’t get going again.  Lesson learnt, I’m doing the install again with more disk behind it to see what happens.

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