Computers, Entertainment, Technology

Introducing Elisa

I’ve keeping my eye on a project called Elisa a lot recently. It’s basically another attempt to produce a cross platform* media centre solution. At the moment its features are fairly limited, it’s essentially just some nice media playing software. It does have plugins to handle Youtube and Flickr though with lots of other stuff planned.

The main reason I’m interested in it though is that it feels likes it’s constantly making progress (and they make the progress very visible). They have weekly releases and every one actually has some cool new feature. It’s also written in Python which I think lowers the bar a little for community contributions (as opposed to C++/Qt required for MythTV).

For it to replace MythTV for me the obvious missing feature is, well, TV. Reading the forum suggests it’s quite low on the priority list for the moment (since it obviously requires a lot of work and other features are less likely to be released in the meantime just because the developers are busy). But, as I said at the beginning, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

* Not so long ago it only worked on Linux, now it supports Windows. It technically supports MacOS with some messing around but they’re aiming for proper support soon.

Computers, Entertainment, Personal, Technology, Windows

Windows Vista

Well for various reasons I now have Windows Vista. I installed it myself and to be honest everything went smoothly. That’s not to say everything went perfectly, but nothing unsurmountable happened.

The first problem was the fact that I bought the upgrade version. I’d previously bought Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 but I was doing a clean install. Previous version of Windows just asked for you to pop the disk of the previous version in this situation – Vista didn’t. It would only let me install from Windows. So I had to install Media Centre first.

Then once I had installed Vista it didn’t have drivers for my network card or my sound card (and no network card meant no internet and therefore no video drivers and therefore horrible resolution (at the wrong aspect ratio no less). Well luckily I have another computer with internect access so I got the network drivers (and then the video and sound drivers).

Beyond that, I haven’t done much with it yet. The Aero glass lucks cool and stuff and the new games it comes with are at least as entertaining as the old ones were when I first saw them.

PS. User Account Control really is as annoying as they say it is for at least two reasons: Firstly it seems to ask you everything twice. Second since I have administrator access anyway it doesn’t really provide any security (it happens so often that you just click accept straight away without reading it).

Computers, Entertainment, Technology

The future of television

I just found an interesting document released by the European Broadcasting Union (their most prominent activity is the Eurovision Song Contest) regarding the future of television, specifically relating to PVR systems.

Free-to-air Television and other PVR Challenges in Europe.

It’s quite long but definitely good. Suggests revolutionary ideas like broadcasters making EPG and programme meta-data publicly available and that they should embrace “new business models” relating to content viewed through a PVR since traditional advertising is far less effective.

At no point by the way does it endorse DRM or content protection and even speaks of “the offensive use of patents” in rather negative terms…

Computers, Entertainment, Technology

MythTV better than Media Center?

I’ve been reading about MythTV and considering it as a replacement for Windows Media Center. Overall it has more features, has better support for multiple computers and is completely free. Unfortunately it’s only available for Linux. Which also means you have to be picky with hardware because of the lack of drivers.

I’ll write more about it shortly…

MythTV