Interaction designer wanted

Do you want to work with your favorite blogger? :-)

Okay, so this is only of interest for the 25% of my readers that are Norwegian. My current employer, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation needs a clever interaction designer. You’ll work in Oslo together with some very nice people. Including me.

If you master the strange language of Norwegian you can read the details and apply here.

Interaction designer wanted

The Mac is in da house

Regular readers know that I have considered switching to Mac on some of my computers. Done. Checked. Completed. I pointed my browser to the Norwegian Apple online store and maxed out a 17 inch iMac. 2 GB ram, 2,16 Ghz CPU and 500 GIG disk. With wireless keyboard and wireless mighty mouse.

Img 8100

It fits well into our living room. The 20 inch was out of the question. It was too high. But I need more screen real estate than the 17 inch screen on the iMac. So I have to add an extra screen. I know that it completely destroy the nice design of the iMac, but right now the solution is to place my old Eizo screen besides it.

Img 8116

I’ll see if I can find a screen that looks better. Unfortunately, the 20 inch Apple Cinema Display is too large. Actually, I miss a desktop computer from Apple that is something between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. Yes, I know. The iMac is supposed to be that missing link. But if I want a reasonably powerful Mac that I can run on a 20 inch Cinema Display… Not much to choose from.

Anyway, I am more than happy with my new computer. It is very silent. Boots from scratch in about 25 seconds (something that I never do because I simply put it to sleep. You know, that strange mode that always simply crashed my windows boxes…) It talks to the Windows box that acts as our home media server. It’s fast. And most important: everything just works! Yes, I know that this Mac can’t do anything completely new that my Windows box was unable to do. Point is that the Mac does everything that I need, and that everything is done slightly faster, easier and more stable than any of the windows boxes I have owned.

After two weeks with this Mac at home I had to order a Mac at work as well. Can’t keep on using that old IBM Laptop when I am getting used to this!

So far the most difficult task I have asked my Mac to solve is to browse and navigate my 32 000 images on the Windows server. I am using Aperture to do that. The two computers is connected through gigabit wired LAN. It works really well. Of all the image archive programs I have tried this is by far the best one.

And for the people that are extremely interested in Aperture and how it will handle large libraries. Here’s this year’s most boring video. Showing a quick browse of my more than 32 000 images large library. As you can see. It works very well. Remember, the images are stored on another computer on the network.

The last two weeks have been very busy, so I still have a lot to learn. All advice on great software, widgets and solutions are welcome. One question: I have two drives that I mount through the network from the windows box to access content from that machine. How do I set up the Mac so that these volumes will mount automatically when I start the Mac? Comments or email from you mac experts are welcome…

The Mac is in da house

Peer to peer set top box

AHT international are working on a series of set top boxes that includes both peer to peer streaming and downloading. It’s an interesting concept. Taking the price and hassle of a computer away from what you need to access content on the internet.

They’re building boxes that run Tribler P2P software. In addition to this they are releasing the software for regular computers as well. You can download a beta of the software to have a look. The NuvioOne set top box will let you browse huge amounts of internet streaming channels.

Some quick tech specs for the NuvioOne:

Embedded CPU with RISC core and integrated I/O and video decoder functions
Memory 32bits DDR2-333 64MB
Flash 32MB
Video Memory 64MB
Video Hardware Decoders for MPEG2, MPEG4 H.264, Microsoft VC1
Video Resolution up to 1920×1080 Video
Scaling and Picture in Picture
SCART with R/G/B, CVBS, Audio L/R
HDMI for high definition output (HDTV)
S/PDIF output in optical
Ethernet RJ45
USB 2.0
Infra Red Remote Control (keyboard optional)
Windows Media DRM
External power supply
Cables Scart, AC Power Cord

Without local storage you can only view streaming channels. But you can add external USB drives or an internal SATA drive to the box. Letting you have the box running and pulling content of the internet.

In addition to existing content they aim to include both premium content from production companies and will also let you start your own channel:

Your very own TV station

So you have your own blog? Nice, but why stop there? The NUVIO ONE allows you to broadcast in up to HDTV quality to all other NUVIO ONE worldwide. But that is not a limitation, the NUVIO ONE software client will also become available for a wide range of settop-boxes, Windows, Macintosh and Linux PCs.

Lots of big words, it will be interesting to see if they can deliver. I have given the Nuvio.TV software a quick run on my laptop. At this point I was able to watch huge amounts of mostly low quality internet streaming channels. And access local content on my computer. The P2P streaming open Tribler’s P2P streaming module, so that part seems like it is not really incorporated yet. Still, the Nuvio.TV software is already a very remote control- and TV-friendly frontend for internet streaming channels and local content.

NuvioTV Local

There’s something here that reminds me of the LamaBox. I really don’t know what happened to that one…

Ron Van Herk
Ron Van Herk, the CEO of AHT International showing one of the prototypes they are working on. This one is a complete set top box that is going to give you peer-to-peer streaming on your TV for 99 euro.

These are interesting technologies and might some day give you all that internet content without the price and time needed to keep a PC running…

Peer to peer set top box

Vista, DRM and the slow suicide

As you already know, I don’t like DRM. It seems like the next version of Windows will be full of it. Full of DRM and huge amounts of technology that is supposed to make it more “secure”. Or, to put it straight: limit you and what you can do with your computer. Cory Doctorow is a clever writer and again he has put some words on the situation:

Vista is a disaster. Microsoft is so desperate to get the entertainment industry locked into its platform that they’ll destroy themselves to get there. This is an operating system that, when idle, will have to check itself every 30 microseconds to make sure nothing is still happening, and no hackers are attacking it.

It acts like an unmedicated paranoid.

Well, time will show if this unmedicated paranoid will kill Microsoft like Sony’s content strategy nearly has killed them.

Vista, DRM and the slow suicide

The iPhone and the multi touch screen

Oyvind over at Brilliantdays has a very interesting theory about the multi touch screen on the new iPhone and the fantastic multi touch screen that Jeff Han has been demonstrating around the world.

Oyvind thinks that this technology will be incorporated in the next generation of Apple screens and laptops.

Only a theory, but read his article in detail. Why did so many people from Apple visit this particular post after he wrote it? And what about the comment over at Jefferson Han’s web site?

When I saw this video on YouTube and had a glimpse of how Phil Schiller zooms in on an image on the Phone I can’t believe that this has nothing to do with Jeff Han’s technology.

I tried Jeff’s screen at Siggraph in Boston last year. The image zoom works exactly as it is done by Mr. Schiller in the CBS video. I must admit that the technology is some of the most amazing I have ever tested. It worked extremely well and gave an immediate feel of the navigation.

This is a short video I shot in Boston while testing the screen and talking to Jefferson Han.

The iPhone and the multi touch screen

Look – no fans!

Fanless PC

So I finally changed the last parts in my media center to make it completely silent. I have already installed two 300w Silverstone fanless power supplies. Why two? Because one power the mainboard, graphic card and boot disk. The other one power the extra disks and the DVD drive. Now I installed a Thermaltake Sonic Tower on the CPU and a Thermaltake Schooner fanless cooler on the graphic card.

The graphic card cooler needed some horrible and very manual hacks to fit on my old Geforce 6600GT AGP. Anyway, now my system has only one fan. A 120 mm that is running very slow to push some air over the CPU cooler. I tried without any fans as well. It gave 70 degrees celcius on the CPU during 100% load over several hours. That’s a bit high. Even for my old AMD Athlon XP 3200+

With the fan (that is practically noiseless) the CPU temperature is about 50 degrees during 100% load and 35 degrees during normal use. The graphic card stays at about 60 degrees. It can manage very high temperatures, so 60 is no problem.

The result is that the media center now is completely silent and 100% stable. It can run 24/7 in our living room without anyone noticing it.

If you want to know how to mount a Thermaltake Schooner CL-G0009 on an XFX GeForce 6600 GT AGP please drop me a line in a comment. It’s ugly, but it works. Have a look at the images and you understand.

Modified GPU cooler Modified GPU cooler

And, to fit the Thermaltake Sonic Tower CL-P0071 on the CPU I had to modify the north bridge cooler on my ABIT-AN7 mainboard as well…

CPU Cooler Thermaltake Sonic CPU Cooler Thermaltake Sonic

Now I think I’ll let that box alone for a while. The next upgrade will be some kind of digital decoder to replace the Hauppauge PVR-500 card and maybe some testing of SageTV

Look – no fans!