Sunday, June 22, 2008

Trust, Privacy and Applications


There are some pretty cool new applications out there that I would like to try.  The only problem is that I have some problems trusting them.  Xoopit and Skyfire are two examples of this.



Xoopit is an extension to Gmail that lets you easily access and share your photos, videos and files that are in your Gmail account.  The problem with this is that you have to give them your gmail username and password, in order for them to index the data. 



Skyfire is a Windows Mobile web browser.  This browser is supposed to deliver a PC based browsing experience that is supposed to be really fase.  The problem that I have with this is in their implementation.  Essentially the Skyfire browser is a VNC or RDP client.  When you enter a web address in the "browser", it gets sent to their servers which fetch the html and renders web page, and then sends the rendered page to the "browser".  When people enter a secure https url, they have the expectation that their data will be encrypted between their browser and the server on the other end.  With Skyfire, the connection is encrypted between Skyfire's severs and the destination server.  I don't know how the connection is encrypted between the "browser" and Skyfire's severs.



I am sure that both Xoopit and Skyfire are not going to do anything malicious with my data, but what if their servers are broken in too.  For mail, I already am trusting Google with my data, adding another third party, adds another potential point of failure.

feedly


I saw this post that mentioned feedly.  This looks like a interesting Firefox chrome application.  feedly presents you a start page that summarizes your content from Google Reader.  feedly also integrates with various social network sites to allow you to share content that you read.



I don't know if I will use feedly regularly for reading content, as Google Reader already has a good summary view.  I do like, and will continue to use, the interface that feedly offers for subscribing to feeds.  On one page, you can subscribe to and tag new feeds.  Since feedly relys on Google Reader as the backend, all feeds subscribed to in feedly are actually subscribed to in Google Reader.



I am interested in what they do with the social aspect of feedly.  It seems that feedly could enable other ways of sharing content, or discovering new content.

TVersity


As I metioned before, I was looking for something to transcode my videos for playback on our XBox.  It looks like TVersity is the best solution.



TVersity is an application that is an UPnP/DNLA server that will share your content with any compatible devices.  In addtion to just sharing, it can transcode the content so it is playable on most devices.




WebGuide


I have been looking for a solution for streaming and transcoding videos to our Xbox from the Windows Home Server.  I found WebGuide, and decided to try it out.



WebGuide is a plugin for Windows Home Server that lets you acess the content from your home server from the web.  This is different than the file based access that comes with Windows Home Server. You can view thumbnails of photos.  Also, you can stream music and video files from the server.  WebGuide relies on external transcoders to make your content playable.




Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Phone


My wife is getting frustrated with her Windows Mobile base Palm 700w, so we were thinking about getting her one of the new 3G iPhones when they come out.  Since she would be need to switch to AT&T, I would switch at the same time. 



Though, I do like the iPhone, I don't think that it would work for me.  There are still several features that I would still to have:



  • Qwerty keyboard (hard buttons)

  • Ability to tether to a computer to allow the computer to use that network connection

  • MMS support.



I am thinking that I would go with the AT&T Tilt, Blackberry Curve 8310 or potentially an unlocked phone that I would get somewhere else.



This Google Andriod video has me interested in this as an option, even though there isn't a query keyboard.

GreenDimes


About a year ago, I saw this post the mentioned GreenDimes.  GreenDimes is a services that stops junk mail. We donated the $15 (which is supposed to plant 15 trees), and then filled out the postcards that were in the packet they sent.  Then when ever we received a catalog, I would enter that information on the GreenDimes web site.



Within a few months, we have seen a significant reduction in the junk mail and catalogs that we receive.  I would recommend GreenDimes, as it has been working for us.

Photos with Windows Home Server


I have pretty much transitioned everything from our old NAS and Mac mini to our HP MediaSmart home server.  Copying the content to the server was very easy.  All of this content is easily accessible on all of our computers and can be played/viewed on our Xbox.



Windows Home server also has the ability to host "public" web gallerys. The intention is that you can select some photos to share with family members.  Theoretically, I could use Windows Home Server, and get rid of my gallery2 installation.



I made the assumption that once I copied all of our photos into the "Photos" directory, that these photos would automatically be available to be added to these Web Share galleries.  I found out that things don't work exactly this way.  It looks like, even if you have all of your photos in the "Photos" directory on the server, you still have to upload the photos through the web interface.  I wouldn't think that it would be hard to present an html representation of the photos in that share, to allow one of those photos to be selected