We Like Our HDTV. But Is HD-DVD Finally On The Ropes?

About a year ago we finally moved into HD with the purchase of a 42″ Sharp Aquos LCD-TV and a Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD player. The HD-DVD player was actually acquired using Continental Airlines frequent flier miles in a program that they offer to very frequent fliers late each year. Of course, we got the HD PVR from Time-Warner as well. Given the fact that my employer manufactures HD graphics equipment it was truly a matter of putting my-money-where-my-mouth-has-been.

Sharp Aquos 42 Inch LCDTV

Sharp Aquos 42″ HD LCD. The first real 1080 set in its size class.

Continue reading “We Like Our HDTV. But Is HD-DVD Finally On The Ropes?”

It’s Cold Here In Houston!

I was born and raised in Canada. In fact, I spent a number of years in deep Northern Ontario right about here. I have experienced -53 degrees C although -40 C was much more common.

However, I have lived in South Texas for just over ten years. It’s 28 degrees F here this morning…and that’s just TOO COLD!

Remembering OS/2

A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me a box that I had not seen in a long, long time. It’s a complete install set for IBM’s OS/2 v3, a.k.a “Warp” I could barely believe my eyes. Never have I seen a product delivered on so many floppies! There are 21 diskettes for the OS and some drivers, then another 14 diskettes for the “Bonus Pack’ which included some basic productivity software, internet access, etc.

Back in the early 90’s I was serious fan of this software, and for good reason. On a humble 486 PC running at 66 MHz it could do some major multi-tasking. It could run in 8MB of RAM, just barely, or do useful work in 16 MB. It could do some truly astounding things in 32 MB or more.

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8×8 Hosted PBX…Not For Me Thanks.

The folks over at Packet8 today issued a press release stating, “8×8, Inc. Hits New Milestone for Packet8 Virtual Office Service With Over 10,000 U.S. Companies Subscribing.”

That’s nice. Packet8 were on the short list of vendors considered for a hosted PBX project that I’m involved with, but at the end of the day the business went to Junction Networks. Why you ask? Two simple reasons. Continue reading “8×8 Hosted PBX…Not For Me Thanks.”

Streaming Audio + Video With Skype + Slingbox

Tom Keating over at TMC has an interesting How-To about combining Slingbox with Skype to stream audio and video to a remote location bypassing the Slingbox client software and remote access mechanism. Potentially interesting stuff. His approach combines that NAT traversal and high quality video conferencing capability of Skype with the Slingbox as a video source.

Pixel Power purchased a Slingbox Pro last month. The intent was to be able to stream the output of one of our Clarity systems to a remote viewer to be able to conduct ad hoc live remote demos. We’ve done some initial testing and the video quality looks ok as long as there is sufficient bandwidth available. With 768kbps available from a Comcast cable model it seems pretty good.

The NAT traversal mechanism built into the Slingbox system leaves me a bit cold. It requires a consumer grade UPnP router to works its magic automatically. It does provides some guidance about manually establishing port forwarding but remote viewing has thus far been a problem.

To overcome this I’ve just established a VPN login to the router handling the cable modem. Anyone needing to see the Slingbox output just logs into my LAN via the VPN, making them effectively a local IP address on the LAN. This works perfectly as long as the remote party is somewhere that allows VPN connectivity.