Internet + TV = The Battle for the Living Room

This month we’ve been thinking about how 2011 is shaping up for that 42” screen sitting quietly in the corner of your living room. Because when the likes of YouTube, Vimeo, Apple, and Google start focusing on delivering services for the tv… know something’s going on.

It’s not just the digital big boys either. A consortium of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five and BT have developed YouView. A service that brings Freeview, and Internet catch-up and video on-demand services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand Five and SeeSaw, to your TV.

Don’t panic though. Here’s the blaggers guide.

YouTube ‘LeanBack’ and Vimeo ‘CouchMode’ lets anyone with a connected TV or modern web browser view and navigate web content using a simple interface with search functionality. They’re designed to start playing a personalised feed of videos in full screen mode and high definition as soon as you launch them.

Apple TV, Boxee, and YouView all offer services through an external box that you connect to the back of your TV. The services vary, but the general gist is the same. You rent and watch films and TV shows, stream content, watch YouTube videos, enjoy photos, music, and more.

Last up is Google TV which is available through an external box, but is also comes built-in as part of the new Sony Internet TV range. Google TV lets you find and record shows, run apps, and search and use the full web.

Obviously it opens up LOTS of questions and LOTS of opportunities for media owners and brands. It’ll be fascinating to watch this unfold over the next 6-12months. But one thing’s for sure. Your TV is about to get a monster kick up the arse. Exciting times.

YouTube Leanback – http://www.youtube.com/leanback
Vimeo Couchmode – http://vimeo.com/couchmode
YouView – http://www.youview.com/
Boxee – http://www.boxee.tv/
Apple TV – http://www.apple.com/appletv/
Google TV – http://www.google.com/tv

(A version of this comment first appeared in glue Isobar October Newsletter.)

Hello. I am back.

Sorry about the lack of regular updates here. I know it’s been a bit sporadic.

Work’s been mega busy. One major headline is that glue London is now called glue Isobar so we’ve been having fun with email addresses, business cards, logos, website updates, social media, servers. Sexy stuff eh.

I’ve also share a lot of more stuff on Twitter nowadays instead of blogging. I like the immediacy. If you want to get involved my personal stuff is here and work stuff is here.

At the end of last week I also landed a new MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard and it’s taken a bit of time to get it set-up properly.

I have this whole workflow thing for all the blog / posterous stuff which I don’t really like to do any other way. But when I get the chance to do a clean install it’s great to take the opportunity to start fresh. There’s something so nice about clean whizzy system, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and noodling here. Feel free to ignore it if it’s not your thing.

A BIT OF HISTORY.

I had my previous machine for nearly 3 years and it got so caned so hard that it was literally falling apart at the seams. Before that one I had a MacBook Pro, and before that a Powerbook. I’ve not always a Mac head though. I started out having 286, 386 and 486 processors PCs. I remember a few trips back to the computer shop because I’d been messing around in DOS and deleted something I shouldn’t have. How times change. Having a Mac and Cloud services has made my digital life much easier.

NEW SPEC. NEW LOOK.

MacBook Pro 2.53GHz Intel Core i5 processor w/ 4GB memory
15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 1440 by 900 pixels
500GB 5400-rpm hard drive
Intel HD Graphics w/ NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics processor with 256MB GDDR3 memory
Precision aluminum unibody
Two USB 2.0 ports / One FireWire 800 port
SD card slot
Multi-Touch trackpad

MOVING STUFF OVER.

One thing I that really stood out this time was how I moved the majority of stuff over using the cloud. I hadn’t realised how much I was using them until it come to shifting everything. Here’s the lowdown:

Exchange / MobileMe:

Work email is handled by Exchange Server. All pre-configured by glue IT. Personal email, contacts, calendar, and bookmarks are handled by MobileMe. Put your username and password in and hit sync.

Dropbox:

250Mb of assorted files, application databases, iTunes scripts, some custom settings and other odds and sods were handled by Dropbox. For me it’s a killer app. Grab it, put my username and password in, and Dropbox downloads and syncs all your files on the cloud. It’s brilliant.

Google:

Last up was Google which has my shared documents, rss feeds, email backups and other assorted stuff I use everyday for work.

Everything Else:

Once that was done the majority of the work was complete. The only 2 things I had to copy across using “cables” were the iTunes and iPhoto libraries. Weighing in at 300Gb it’s a bit heavy for any cloud service at the moment. But even that was painless. I booted my old laptop in “Target mode” and copied the 2 directories straight over. I’m also taking the opportunity to seriously trim iTunes. I’m deleting any stuff I don’t like or don’t listen to. A lean mean iTunes awaits when I’m done. Plus Spotify is finally starting to become a useful music app.

SOFTWARE.

I’ve got bad habit of installing stuff to see what it’s like then removing it, so my Application Support folder gets clogged up with all sort of crap. This time I’m starting with a “minimum” application install and lets see what I can live without. I have Appzapper at the ready too.

// Here’s the essential apps that made it back on:

1Password – keeps your logins, usernames, and passwords safe – syncs with iPhone app

Adobe Creative Suite – Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign – plus Dreamweaver and Fireworks

Apple iWork – Mac-friendly alternative to Office: includes Pages, Keynote and Numbers

Appzapper – remove unwanted app and preferences

BusySync – sync iCal to Google Calendars and vice-versa

Dropbox – store, sync, and, share files. Absolute genius – syncs with iPhone app

Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Powerpoint. Old school

MobileMe – keeps my email, contacts, calendars and bookmarks up to date – syncs with iPhone

Onmigraffle Professional – drawing and wireframing app

Quick Search Box – search for information and launch apps

Perian – free, open source QuickTime component that adds support for more video formats

Spotify – search and stream music

Things – task management. I swear by this – syncs with iPhone app

Transmit – ftp client, recently improved and updated

Tweetie – my Twitter client of choice

Xtorrent – torrent client with slick features and a nice ui

// And here’s the apps I’m trying to live without:

AddressBookSync – copies Facebook profile pictures into Address Book

Adium – sweet IM client for MSN, AIM, Jabber, Bonjour but I really don’t use IM anymore

Bookdog – sort and sync bookmarks across browsers

Bytecontroller – small iTunes menubar controller

Caffeine – stops your Mac from going to sleep great for presentations

Cooliris – snazzy media browser

CSSEdit – a CSS editor, because my code is poor

Delibar – a Delicious.com client that sits in the menubar

Ecto – desktop blog editor for WordPress but I’m writing this in the browser

Evernote – digital notebook to save ideas, things you see, and things you like

F.lux – changes the colour temperature of your display depending on the time

Handbrake – video transcoder

iScrobbler – sends the song you’re listening to in iTunes to Last.fm

Live – kickass music software from Ableton for writing, producing and performing

Merlin – project management for the Mac

Monolingual – removes unnecessary language resources

Name Mangler – rename files in bulk

Quicksilver – killer interface for working with apps, contacts, music, and other more

Skitch – screen capture, commenting and sharing

Switch – converts audio from one format to another – supports loads of formats

VLC – open source media player

Webkut – capture section or entire webpages as png and jpg

Phew!

So that’s it. A bit of a monster post about something very small.

Anyway.. I LOVE my new machine.

PS.

Because there’s a chance that @markcridge might read this and give me some hassle, here’s a list of stuff that was wrong with Bertha.

Screen broken / colour issues

Superdrive broken and chewing CDs

Finder hangs / crashes

Wouldn’t wake from sleep mode – needs rebooting

Battery lasts around 30minutes from full charge

Trackpad intermittently stopped working

Ethernet and external drives keep disconnecting

I also get these kind of emails from IT:

“Do you think we should set up an automated email to order a new machine for Andy every 6 months? – Useless *#!*”

And

“I can’t believe it hasn’t been ‘stolen’ from a pub in a while”

Proper comedians eh.

PPS.

If you like this kind of stuff. there’s a Flickr set of me messing around with an iPad and my Macbooks here.

That’s the end of the most tragic post I’ve ever written. Normal service will now be resumed.

5 Music Apps for the iPad

Guilty as charged, an iPad post on the launch weekend. Bear with me – I’ll keep it short. Videos only!

Korg iEelectribe

RDJDJ RJC1000

Mixr

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf

AirHarp

GrooveMaker

Early days yet but it could be a great device for learning / reading / playing.

How do Apple make such great things? An insight into Apples design process.

apple iphone measurements.jpg

Process is something that we talk a lot about at glue. People have wildly varying views about what’s right and what’s not. How to draw the line between the end result and the amount of ££ you spend getting there often depends which department you work in.

Apple are famous for their great hardware and software design, and in a presentation at SXSW from Michael Lopp, senior engineering manager at Apple, revealed a few details about their take on the idea.

Pixel Perfect Mockups

This, Lopp admitted, causes a huge amount of work and takes an enormous amount of time. But, he added, “it removes all ambiguity.” That might add time up front, but it removes the need to correct mistakes later on.

10 to 3 to 1

Apple designers come up with 10 entirely different mock ups of any new feature. Not, Lopp said, “seven in order to make three look good”, which seems to be a fairly standard practice elsewhere. They’ll take ten, and give themselves room to design without restriction. Later they whittle that number to three, spend more months on those three and then finally end up with one strong decision.

Paired Design Meetings

This was really interesting. Every week, the teams have two meetings. One in which to brainstorm, to forget about constraints and think freely. As Lopp put it: to “go crazy”. Then they also hold a production meeting, an entirely separate but equally regular meeting which is the other’s antithesis. Here, the designers and engineers are required to nail everything down, to work out how this crazy idea might actually work. This process and organization continues throughout the development of any app, though of course the balance shifts as the app progresses. But keeping an option for creative thought even at a late stage is really smart.

Pony Meeting

This refers to a story Lopp told earlier in the session, in which he described the process of a senior manager outlining what they wanted from any new application: “I want WYSIWYG… I want it to support major browsers… I want it to reflect the spirit of the company.” Or, as Lopp put it: “I want a pony!” He added: “Who doesn’t? A pony is gorgeous!” The problem, he said, is that these people are describing what they think they want. And even if they’re misguided, they, as the ones signing the checks, really cannot be ignored.

The solution, he described, is to take the best ideas from the paired design meetings and present those to leadership, who might just decide that some of those ideas are, in fact, their longed-for ponies. In this way, the ponies morph into deliverables. And the C-suite, who are quite reasonable in wanting to know what designers are up to, and absolutely entitled to want to have a say in what’s going on, are involved and included. And that helps to ensure that there are no nasty mistakes down the line.

via Businessweek

iStick – a fusion of iPhone and iPod shuffle

istick4.jpgistick2.jpg

What do you get when you cross an iPhone with an iPod shuffle? Designer Alexei Mikhailov has dreamed up this gadget to show what he thinks that hybrid should look like.

The iStick is modeled after a tube of lipstick. However, all four sides have a touchscreen providing for a slick interface.

Read more:
http://sparkingtech.com/gadgets/istick-a-fusion-of-iphone-and-ipod-shuffle/

Keep your Mac up to date with Appfresh and osx.iusethis.com

appfresh.jpeg

AppFresh helps you to keep all applications, widgets, preference panes and application plugins installed on your Mac up to date. All from one place, easy to use and fully integrated into Mac OS X. AppFresh works by checking the excellent osx.iusethis.com for new versions and lets you download and install available updates easily.

Appfresh isn’t in Beta yet so there are some glitches, and be careful about downloading Leopard only apps if you’re on Tiger, but it’s shaping up to be a really great bit of kit. If you’re a bit of a software nerd you can also show off your apps via Facebook.

Take a look:
http://metaquark.de/appfresh/
http://osx.iusethis.com/