Tag Archives: cable

Set-Top Debate: Boxee vs Roku vs Apple TV

Streaming content in your home is quickly becoming much more than just a fad. People are cutting the cord in favor of set-top boxes such as Roku, Apple TV and Boxee. Using a device such as this gives the consumer more control over the content they can watch as well as being more cost-effective than traditional cable or satellite television connections. The question is, though, which box is right for your home? The three major players – Roku, Boxee and Apple TV – have many things in common. However, you’ll be surprised at how the differences between them can sway your purchasing decision.

Both the Roku and the Apple TV boxes can be purchased for under one hundred dollars, while the new Boxee model will set you back two hundred smackers. However, the Boxee alternative has quite a bit more to offer. At this point in time, Apple and Roku have some catching up to do in the content delivery department. Boxee now offers both Netflix and Vudu for your viewing pleasure. With Vudu, you can purchase movies on-demand – the same day they are released on DVD even – at a cost of $2.00 for two nights. Stream your favorite Internet content and connect with your Twitter and Facebook account in order to get suggestions from your friends. Additionally, personal recommendations will be sent straight to your television, based on your previous viewing choices. The unit is Flash 10.1 compatible, another feature the others don’t offer. There are more than 400 apps at this time, offering you third-party content distribution choices you haven’t even begun to think of. The remote control is double-sided, offering both a browsing experience and a full QWERTY keyboard. There’s an SD card slot and two USB ports built in.

The Roku box offers Netflix and Hulu, movie rental and purchases and even popular sports packages. There are more than fifty channels at this time – including Amazon video service. Stream your iTunes collection without a computer connection or tune in to your favorite online radio stations such as Pandora. The unit is capable of viewing YouTube and Flickr content, much as the others are. There is also a USB port which allows you to view media on your favorite USB stick.

Apple TV has a partnership with both FOX and ABC, allowing you to access your favorite shows for .99 per episode. If you want to watch an entire season, though, it could end up costing you quite a lot. This unit also offers Netflix, YouTube and Flickr access. Movies will cost you $2.99 or $3.00 for HD versions. There is one Micro USB slot and the cool remote allows you to access your iPod touch, iPad or iPhone with the press of a button. That in itself is seriously cool. Have you tried playing Angry Birds on the big screen yet?

Even though the Boxee set-top box has more to offer at this point in time, don’t count the Roku and Apple TV out just yet. I’m sure we will be seeing revisions to both machines sometime this year. Competition in this market is fierce, and I have a feeling that we’ll see even better features coming in the new versions.

Are you using a set-top box in your home? Which model do you own, and what do you prefer about it?

Do You Love Broadband?


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Ars Technica reported that 23% of U.S. households don’t have Internet anywhere in the house? Why not? many people just don’t see the need for this “Internet” thing at all. Really? Lamarr thinks broadband should just be something in the house like electricity, water, and heat service so that it’s just normal to have.

The largest reason is listed as a lack of interest in the Internet, with cost being second. Stop spending so much money on dinners out and get yourself online instead. Broadband should be a required utility in the house like water or heat.

How can someone not want to be connected to the Internet? The world is out there. You can find everything online. Don’t you want to expand your mind and your opportunities?

Do you think these 23% are living in the dark ages, are ignorant, or are they on to something? Maybe the Internet causes more problems than it’s worth. I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate here; leave a comment below.

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Save on Holiday Shopping with Griffin

Yes, it’s nearly that time of year. Heck, I know people who are already finished with their holiday shopping! . I’ve long been a fan of (and supporter for) Griffin Technology. Not only do they have a wide array of products for most of your mobile devices, the products look great and work well. I use a Griffin case and screen protector much of the time on my devices. I have excellent news for those of you who tend to buy gifts late in December. Griffin has graciously extended an excellent coupon offer to everyone in our community!

Use coupon code PIRILLO1510 when ordering from Griffin, and you will save 15% off of your entire order – AND you will receive free standard shipping! This offer runs October 1st, 2010 through December 31st 2010.

Griffin offers a wide array of products, ranging from cases and stands to power solutions and cables. One of the coolest things I have ever seen may be of great interest to you this holiday season: the Woogie. A Woogie is an adorable (and durable) solution when letting your toddler or youngster handle your mobile device.

Woogie is 50% stuffed animal (for your kids) and 50% protective case (for your iPhone or iPod touch), and 100% fun! A protective pocket velcroes shut to hold your iPhone or iPod touch secure, while a touch-through screen protector lets you choose movies, apps, or music for your child. Woogie’s built-in speaker is powered by 2 (included) AAA batteries, or you can plug in headphones (we prefer MyPhones of course). And Woogie’s six arms (or are they legs?) tuck under to prop it up for viewing, or to sit comfortably in your child’s lap.

What an awesome way to let your kids enjoy the content they want to interact with while you have the peace of mind to know your device is safe!

Don’t forget to take advantage of the great Griffin offer before the end of the year.

How to Keep Your Cables Untangled


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I HATE CABLES! I hate the mess they make. I hate seeing them coiling all around the gadgets on my desk. I can’t stand it when they get all tangled together into one huge knot. I picked myself up a new organizer recently for only ten bucks. This little thing is awesome! It keeps everything neat and tidy. The Dotz Cable Wrap even prevents the tangling and knots that can often happen, and accommodates up to three cables at a time.

This little circle gives you a simple way to instantly protect, shorten and store your cords, cables and ear buds. Just wrap the excess lengths of cord inside and snap it shut. It comes with a suction cup to keep it in place and a belt clip to make sure you don’t drop it when walking or jogging. It comes in several different colors so you can be sure to match whatever your style is.

I found a way to get out from under the tangle of cords and cables. What methods do you use? Please – PLEASE – tell me you don’t just leave them lying all around the place.

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Google TV Thoughts


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Someone in the live chat room asked me last night what my thoughts are about Google TV… bringing the Google experience to your television instead of just the Internet. It makes sense to me, given that Google owns YouTube. They are working with manufacturers to bring the Google TV experience into your homes around the world. Some people compare Apple TV to Google TV, and I don’t feel that’s exactly fair.

Apple has their content locked up in their Universe, much like iTunes itself. Google is more like “HEY! It’s out there, so let’s throw it in here!” It’s a more open approach to deliver content to your doorstep. The more interesting idea to me is Clicker.TV.

If you head over there right now, you’ll see a web experience that runs right within your web browser. You can navigate shows using your keyboard, instead of a mouse. The idea is that you could use a device connected to your television and control your experience without having to use an actual keyboard. What Clicker is doing is aggregating all of these shows you can find across the Internet. It’s an application that doesn’t rely on Flash. It runs off of HTML5, which is more open. Some of the videos themselves may run off of Flash, but not the interface itself. If you’re wondering what a Google TV experience may be like, check this out first. I have a feeling they’re going to be pretty close.

If anything, I think Google TV would compare favorably to Boxee. I expect a lot of development over the coming months (and even years) from Google with this idea, and I have a feeling it’s something that could end up in many of our homes before all is said and done.

What are your thoughts on Google TV, or even Apple TV? Do you feel these types of services are what we will be using in the future, instead of traditional cable or satellite programs?

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iPad Cable Extension


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My iPad tends to run out of juice pretty quickly. My MacBook only passes along five watts of power, and the iPad needs ten watts to recharge itself. I could use the wall plug-in, but that would require stringing yet another cord all over my office. Thankfully, the people at RadTech sent along this DockExtender cable for me to review.

This cable will work on any Apple product that requires the 30-pin connector, including the iPhone and iPod. This cable is basically a male-female adapter that will allow me to extend any iPad cable.

It works. If you’re looking to extend your experience, you now know where to look.

I have to thank our friends at RadTech for passing this along, and for the other products they sent me to review with my iPad. Keep your eyes open in the coming days for those review videos.

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Will Google Fiber be Good for Your Broadband Diet?


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The other night, I decided it would be fun to take live questions from the chat room and email. One of the questions was sent in by Eddie, who happens to be a co-developer of the WicketPixie WordPress theme. He wondered whether Google Fiber will whip the cable companies into shape… or if said companies are too stubborn to fall into line.

If I were a part of competing companies, I would definitely be worried right about now. I would most certainly be using Google Fiber here in my house if I had the opportunity. I like Google. I may not like everything they do. I think they need to hire a designer, for instance.

As far as Google Fiber is concerned, I think phone companies have more to worry about than what cable companies do. Google is a name that people trust. People feel that they already are using their other services so why not switch to their broadband?

I do believe that this will drive down prices from competitors such as Comcast. I’ve been very happy with my Comcast connection for the most part. I had big issues when upgrading my business class line. I received a bad Netgear router which turned out to be from an entire bad line. Once we got past those hiccups, things were smooth sailing with Comcast. However, I do pay a lot of money for the connection. I’m online 24/7, and I need my connection to work.

If I had a fiber connection, I would switch the live video feed from DSL to that. I can only push so much down that DSL pipe before it bursts!

Any competition is good. But I would be concerned – and making changes – if I was in the industry where Google is dipping their proverbial toes into the mix.

Google Fiber – information at the speed of light. Would YOU use Google Fiber if it was available in your area?

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Fact or Context: The Ocean That is the Internet

I read an excellent article a few moments ago. Julien Genestoux talks about how the Internet is a vast, never-evaporating ocean. All of the content that is constantly pouring into that ocean are raindrops. In the article, he states that “When you’re a search engine, you obviously have an exhaustivity requirement. You can’t really skip on indexing the Indian Ocean. Google sends its bo(a)ts all over the ocean where it’s raining to update its index. However, the ocean is growing so fast that it will eventually become harder and harder to stay exhaustive.”

This has become a real problem for search engines, especially Google. They are trying to solve the problem by changing the way that they crawl and index websites in order to try and keep up with the constantly-changing websites. However, there’s going to come a point when that becomes impossible to do. Genestoux goes on to talk about how Twitter is better than Google when it comes to contextualization. When you search Google, you’re looking for facts. When you search Twitter, you want the context… you need to know what is happening (and being said about that subject) right now!

What are your thoughts? Is there any possible easy answer for search engine companies to attempt to keep on top of all of the data in the ocean?

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Twitter Bans More Than 370 Passwords

Having a secure password for anything and everything is a no-brainer. Sadly, though, many people still aren’t very careful with what they use. When you choose a password, you really do have to be careful. If someone hacks your Twitter account, it’s true they won’t have access to your sensitive data (such as your social security number). However, they can wreak havoc on your reputation by posting some really awful things if they wanted to.

To help protect against this, Twitter has hard-coded 370 password no-noes into their registration page. This is a set of words that are definitely not secure, and Twitter won’t allow you to use them during sign up. If you want to see the list, simply view the source code of the registration page. Do a search for the words: twttr.BANNED_PASSWORDS, and you’ll see them all listed.

You really should make use of a secure password generator, such as the one that you can add to Firefox. Don’t take the chance that someone will inadvertently guess what you’ve used. Protect your reputation as much as you do your personal information.

Check out the newest apps and software in our downloads center today!

World’s Shortest USB Cable


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I hate having super-long USB cables when all I really need is one that’s an inch or two long. It’s such a waste of space, especially when I’m traveling. Thank goodness the folks at ThinkGeek have the iStubz to charge my iPhone with!

The iStubz is only 3 inches long, and I promise that those three inches will satisfy you! It works with any USB-compatible iPod or iPhone, and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. You don’t need cables strung all over Hell and half of Georgia. Using a nice short cable keeps things de-cluttered and organized.

If you’re interested in grabbing the iStubz for yourself – or anything from ThinkGeek for that matter – make sure you take advantage of the ThinkGeek coupons that I have for you. Why pay full price for anything?!

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