Daily Archives: 27 December, 2010
Our kids must have been good this year because Santa brought them a Microsoft Kinect for Christmas.
The Kinect, of course, is Microsoft’s attempt to introduce that motion-based gaming that’s been enjoyed for years by people who own the Nintendo Wii. Apparently, the whole “jump around in front of the television to control the action” craze has gained in popularity. The Microsoft Xbox 360 has it now and the Sony Move controller makes it possible on the Playstation 3.
While I don’t have any comment on the Move because I don’t own one, I can speak a bit about the Kinect and the Wii as we’ve got both of those around the house. Well, I’ll not mention just a whole lot about the Wii because this article isn’t about that, but there will be a brief comparison of the two systems at the end of the post.
My initial reaction to the announcement of the Kinect was, I suspect, similar to what a lot of people thought when they heard about it — does it actually work? Microsoft has a long history of promising a lot more than it can deliver. The company has more than a bit of the “little boy that cried wolf” syndrome in its culture — if you’ve been burned by one Microsoft product, you’ll likely be wary the next time Microsoft hypes its next invention as the greatest technological advance, like, ever.
Delays are hitting Logitech’s Revue, a set-top box that some have called an active competitor to the Apple TV. But it’s not Logitech’s fault—rumors are circulating that Google itself has stepped in and asked the company to suspend production, in the hopes that the company can finish tweaking its Google TV software by the time the new expected shipping date of January 2011 rolls around.
Logitech itself hasn’t confirmed the allegations, however, noting that sales of the Revue are ongoing. If true, this would be the second set of products that Google has asked manufacturers to delay as a result of Google TV not being quite ready to ship out. According to the New York Times, Google has allegedly asked Sharp, LG Electronics, and Toshiba—amongst other television manufacturers—to delay launching any Google TV-based sets for the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Google, as well, isn’t confirming that said request for a delay took place—”rumors and speculation,” said a spokeswoman to the Times.
“Our long-term goal is to collaborate with a broad community of consumer electronics manufacturers to help drive the next-generation TV-watching experience, and we look forward to working with other partners to bring more devices to market in the coming years,” added Google spokeswoman Gina Weakley.
Do you own an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? Have you downloaded apps from the App Store? Do you regularly check for updates from iTunes on your Mac? Chances are your answers are yes, yes, and yes.
If so, you may be experiencing a minor but irritating bug: When you click Download All Free Updates from the My App Updates screen, you could get a message stating that “The information on this page is outdated.” In fact, the information is not outdated.
This bug is more of an inconvenience than a serious problem. If you click the OK button and re-select Download All Free Updates, the listed updates will now correctly download.
Although minor, it’s still a bug worth fixing. I checked Apple’s Discussion Boards for further elucidation. I found two lengthy threads (one and two) with postings from dozens of users confirming this bug. A few potential solutions are suggested, such as deleting obsolete apps (ones no longer in the App Store) from your iTunes Library. However, the overwhelming consensus is that there is no guaranteed fix. You just have to put up with the error until Apple gets around to fixing it.
VoIP provider Skype published and then quickly removed support documents suggesting voice calling on Apple’s iPhone akin to FaceTime, the native iPad app, and even a mythical Verizon iPhone.
An updated Skype for iOS software will add video calling between i-devices and desktop Skype users, while it looks like an iPad version is in the pipeline, too, a help document published Friday on the company’s official site revealed.
Skype took down the help file a few hours later, leaving Apple fans puzzled. Don’t worry — someone in the company’s marketing probably messed up by hitting the “launch” button prematurely, as the new release isn’t ready for prime time yet.
The blogosphere, of course, cached the prematurely leaked resources revealing a few interesting tidbits. Before you check out the features, know that Skype can kill any number of advertised capabilities when the app launches. Also bear in mind this isn’t the first time for Skype to ditch features or pull an imminent software update at the last minute.
And now, the features:
Video calling works on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, and iPad.
I simply don’t understand all the fuss about Google TV delays. I set up the Logitech Revue on Christmas Eve and the family is absolutely loving it. Revue/Google TV delivers one of the best non-cable-provider set-top box experiences I’ve ever had testing these devices. In fact, setup and benefits make up for all the pain encountered with similar class products running other operating systems.
First the news that gets stranger: Following rumors that Google TV asked partners to pull their products from next month’s Consumer Electronics Show, there’s now buzz that Logitech has either suspended Revue production or shipments until Google releases a software update.
Oh yeah? I don’t see a problem, whether or not the rumors are true. I’m dumbfounded by how good Google TV is right now. I can compare to Apple TV, but not Xbox 360′s integration with AT&T U-verse (I don’t have one of Microsoft’s game consoles).
12 Steps to TV Bliss
Initially, I found Revue setup to be daunting. I received the Google TV device late afternoon on December 22d but waited another day before installation. Based on my past bad experience with this kind of product — and, yes, including Windows Media Center — I was flummoxed by instruction to connect my IPTV settop box to the Revue. I figured that could only lead to trouble. How wrong I was.
Logitech provides an HDMI cable in the box, which I used to connect my AT&T U-verse tuner to the Revue, which in turn got the other cable already connected to the TV — a three year-old 42-inch Vizio model VU42L. So HDMI goes out from the tuner into the Revue and out to the Vizio. I then turned on the Revue and TV, which launched a 12-step setup process and notification 20 minutes time would be required.
I balked at the 12-step process, which was more than Apple TV ever demanded. But Revue/Google TV would be doing more — gulp, controlling the AT&T settop box and television. For this first impressions review, I won’t go through step by step. At some point I entered my Google account ID, zip code, service provider, settop box brand and model and TV brand and model. The process seemed straightforward except for setting screen size, which required using buttons on the Revue keyboard to widen the black display area to cover over blue background.