Windows Home Server add-ons in the near future?

Window home server

So I'm still having problems getting my XP laptop to back up to the home server but while looking around I found a load of ideas for what could be added to Windows Home Server to improve its experience even further. I got a few of my own but heres a few I found while looking around.

  1. Memory Stick Backups – A service that will run on my desktop or laptop and automatically back up my USB memory stick whenever I plug it in.  Each memory stick should be backed up to the same location on the server no matter which computer I plug it in to.
  2. Download Manager – Automatically hand off regular downloads from Internet Explorer to be downloaded and stored on my home server.
  3. User Account Sync – Automatically create user accounts on client PCs for each Windows Home Server user account.  Automatically update passwords.
  4. Favorites Sync – Sync my favorites to a folder on WHS. (I know I can do this with foldershare.  Add-in would be much better.)  Also include Desktop Sync, My Documents Sync, etc.
  1. Activesync backups – How cool would it be if Activesync backups were also included in backups but as another machine.
  2. Bit Torrent client/server with TVRSS – Someones got add this one day soon, I mean imagine utorrent or azureus which both can be run headless or from the web, inside of home server. Also imagine being able to make any file or folder a torrent to share with friends and family.
  3. Podcast client – Same as the bit torrent one really but just RSS.
  4. Notifications – I would like to see notifications via email, im and other means.
  5. VPN – VPN tunnel between two or more home servers, so you can maybe sync up with off-site backup or a friends server.
  6. Rar support – Yes I could install Winrar but I don't want to and its about time windows generally supported rar like it supports zip.
  7. Webdav – Ideally it all shares would have the option of being a webdav share too. People are hacking this already using IIS.
  8. DAAP – Someones got to hack this into the home server at some point. I've already noticed people asking for itunes support on the windows home server forum.
  9. XBSP – No where near essential but support for the xbox media centre streaming protocal would be nice too.
  10. Zeroconf – Yes universal plug and play is ok but we need some zeroconf/bonjour/mdns to hook up to things like mac products and some of the devices you can now get.

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Finally got the Wiimote working with my laptop

Wiimote and Dell laptop

After weeks of messing around with many different configurations, tonight (1am) I got it working, thanks to this great forum.

I'm using a Wavelinker bluetooth USB dongle with the IVT Corporation BlueSoleil drivers on my Dell XPS M1210. I have to turn off my internal Bluetooth because it seem to not work with BlueSoleil drivers. The thing which seemed to make all the difference was this ordering.

  1. Open GlovePie
  2. Open BlueSoleil
  3. Press 1+2. Wait for “* Connected” to pop up in the lower righthand corner of your screen.
  4. Run your script.

I found that GlovePie with no Bluetooth Fix or Auto Bluetooth Connect worked for me. GlovePie when opened would launch BlueSoleil for me and within a few seconds I was up and running. I used the script Wiimote identifier to work out if the Wiimote was connected or not. Once it was connected I can then run a more exotic script like the Mouse Control Script.

I've uploading a video I shot, so others can learn how to do the same.

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Redbull Air Race from a distance

Yep I went along and watched from outside the Anchor and Hope Pub about 2 kilometers down river towards the east. I saved myself about 60 pounds and grabbed some decent shots using a 12x optical zoom camera and tripod. Christiano was correct, its certainly more thrilling in person that the TV programme could ever show, and even from 2km away, you couldn't help but get a little excited.

The only thing which was missing was commentary of what was going on, so maybe next year I think I'll be less cheap and go and buy tickets well in advanced. More pictures
. Adams pictures are much better but are from the day of qualifying on Saturday.

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Can the rest of us have our planet back?

Cutting edge comedy from the BBC's Now Show. Found via Richard Sambrook's blog.

If you missed Marcus Brigstocke's comic rant against the Abrahamic faiths on The Now Show, you can find it here. It's seven minutes in total – but the first three are inspired. Strangely not as many complaints as one might have anticipated – that's the benefit of being even handed I guess….

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The New Particls Sidebar


When I first saw the particls sidebar I though oh great another sidebar to go on top of my Yahoo widgets and Pigeon sidebars, I'll stick to the scrolling ticker which I actually like. But I have to admit I'm starting to use the sidebar more and more. So who knows maybe I might switch over one day. Anyway its another good reason why you should try out Particls.

meta-technorati-tags=particls, sidebar, rss, aggregation, relevence

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New developments in the field of TV sharing

So recently I've written off Tioti (Tape if off the in favour of the up and coming Well after a chat with the creator of Tioti Paul, it seems there was lots going on in the background which were just not public. But before that, shareTV hasn't been sitting still either.

ShareTV has ramped up its social networking as suggested in a previous blog entry. Now you can edit your profile (which has got to be the first step in social networking), you can edit your name, add some details about yourself and add a avatar using yahoo avatars. I was wondering if sharetv would also suck or link to your yahoo profile but it doesn't seem like anything clever, yet!. There's also a couple of option titled check boxes.

  • email me when someone adds me as a friend
  • allow others users to contact me through email

The ShareTV blog came clean the other day with the title TV Social Network. In which he talks about all the elements described before.

I've been working a lot recently on making the site more of a social network for tv fans as this is something many have been asking for. New Features:

  • you can now add friends to your profile
  • you can edit your profile (avatar, about me, etc.)
  • your avatar is used where ever you leave a comment including the forum
  • you can now leave comments on other members page
  • updated the points table
  • you can see the top members
  • almost finished with allowing users to vote on and add their favorite characters to their profile

Coming Soon:

  • live chatrooms
  • show reviews
  • fun tv facts
  • tv news

if anyone has any more ideas, let me know.

I've got some ideas but theres some good thoughts on the official ShareTV To-Do list. I would like to see a API, Microformats, Javascript badges which can be placed elsewhere. How about some facebook compatibility? APML export? So you can share your TV preferences. Anyway I'm full of ideas and its great the author has now made him self public.

Tape of the internet has certainly changed since I last looked at it. Paul invited me to a sneak preview of the newest version and I'm actually impressed. Everything is cleaner and more manageabe. I'm hoping to have a bigger play over the coming weeks. There is something major which Tioti has done which I can't say right now but I'm dying to try it out and see how well it works.

Both this web applications are coming at the TV pie from different directions but are starting to meet in the middle. The maturity of TV sharing is finally going somewhere.

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Like to share a house with me? Here’s your chance

backgarden in the summer

House share with 1 professional male Woolwich SE18

2 Bedroom terraced house. 10 min walk to Woolwich Arsenal Station (20 min to London Bridge/Waterloo/Charing Cross).

Sharing with professional male owner age 28, web designer/developer. Shared Lounge/Dining Room has large TV with Cinema system & Xbox. Bedroom has double bed and a Wardrobe. Property has a Garden, Patio and Parking space, Interior is modern decor. Wireless network through-out house and garden. Flat share would suit another internet/new media centric person.

Price includes all bills, council tax, fast broadband connection.

450 pounds every calendar month, room available from mid August

meta-technorati-tags=houseshare, house, flatmate, woolwich, london, home

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Backstage in Edinburgh for TV Un-festival, 25th August

Post it notes heaven

Following on from Hackday we've been planning something a little different at Backstage. This time we're getting involved in the Edinburgh TV festival and putting together a special event right out of the BarCamp book.

This year the MGEITF (Media Guardian International TV Festival) has spawned its own fringe event, the TV Un-Festival. This day-long event which takes place on Saturday 25 August will centre around the clash of the well established TV world and the constantly accelerating Internet world using the unusual un-conference format, where the cost of entry is participation.

The highlights from the TV Un-Festival will be presented at this special event, giving everyone a chance to speculate on the future of TV, online entertainment and cross platform narratives.

This year the TV Un-Festivial hosted by and guided along by the fabulous Suw Charman, aims to explorer the clash with in a series of free formed sessions similar to BarCamp known as unconference style. Everyone will be able to participate by using one of the free 30 minute slots which will be available.

So between the lines, this event will take the essence of barcamp and un-conferences and put it in area which is usually about formal sessions and structure, the Edinburgh TV Festival. We're not using the same venue because that would be far too frantic. But we're not far from the other venue and people who come to the un-festival will have access to the festival on Saturday night and Sunday all day for free. Hows that for a great deal? The ticket for this years festival is over 400 pounds but the TV festival recognise they need more diversity in their audience and have put their money where their mouth's have been. This also easily covers the price of going to Edinburgh and checking into a hotel, which I know if bloody hard at this very moment. I also wish I'd told people a lot earlier but we need to get the correct sign off from everyone involved

So who will be there? is what I keep being asked. Well we have a list of names on the site but generally we have a selection of established names like the BBC, BT, etc. Then we have some more internet based startups like Blip.TV, Joost, etc. I then invited a load of dark net people like Ian Clarke who wrote Freenet and is currently working on Thoof. On a slight tangent we have the Hon brothers who work for Mind Candy and built Perplexcity. My thinking is that Cross platform narrative runs right through this un-festival and that's why I'm interested in getting the ARG people and Video game people also in the same room with more traditional online video people. Last but not least I'm really keen to get Videobloggers and TV hackers together in the same space too but this looks to difficult due to the total lack of cross over between each area. So anyway you can see its going to be a very diverse event.

If your interested and I really think you should be, Signup now and we'll see you in Edinburgh.

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Xbox Media Centre is being ported to Linux

At long last a answer to my question, from the Linux port project,

 Currently, a few developers on Team-XBMC have begun the porting of XBMC to Linux (and OpenGL using the SDL toolkit). The goal is for this to become a full port of XBMC with all the features and functions that are available on the Xbox version of XBMC with the exception of Xbox exclusive functionality as Trainers, launching Xbox Games, and such). This is a huge task which is why we are now making this public request, seeking C/C++ programmers to volunteer in assisting us with this Linux porting development project. Whether you have contributed to The XBMC Project in the past or not, please consider doing so now.

Note to XBMC end-users! Please understand that this Linux port project is not yet mature enough for you as an end-user to play with. We can not yet give you an ETA as to when it will be useful for end-users. Respect that we can not accept any bug-reports or feature/function-requests for this Linux port yet. If you as end-users have any questions or need to get something off your chest about this then please direct that towards the existing XBMC Linux port end-user discussion topic-thread in our community-forum.

Yes as you can all see Xbox Media Centre is being ported to the GNU/Linux operating system. This is great news because it will be able to play on those nice little shuttle PCs you can buy, give MythTV a real kick up the ass in regards to user-friendly-ness and maybe be possible to run on exotic hardware like the Playstation 3? Every day I can't imagine watching media without XBMC. I helped a friend of mine get his xbox working with the latest version of xbmc this weekend. It was amazing to see the old Xbox media player of many years ago. Things really have progressed forward very quickly, I'm sure we'll be laughing at xbmc 2.1 when 4.0 version comes to town.

Its a real shame whats up with the xbox media centre isn't up to date because theres a load of changes in the later beta builds (its weird to think its even a beta really). I installed one of the July betas and have been impressed by the general speed of the interface. It also copes 720p Xvid with AC3 in my copy of Sin City.

meta-technorati-tags=XBMC, xbmc, linux, xbox

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Reasoning why I just installed Windows Home Server


Following on from the last post I decided to chill this weekend by sorting out my media server. I've been holding off on installing Microsoft Windows Home Server because I've been thinking I could install something like FreeNas or build a Ubuntu box with the same elements of Windows Home Server.

Well so first up, FreeNas is cool but its for NAS type setups not a Home Sever! Home server at the moment doesn't do much more than FreeNas but this will change soon. I then looked around for someone who had put together a NAS type system and added a backup system like Bacula into a simple distro. As usual I was asking far too much and instead I found others looking for the same. It started with George Ou's review of Windows Home Server on ZD net,

Last year whenever people asked me what to use when building a home server, I’d tell them to use Linux or FreeBSD because there was absolutely nothing from Microsoft under a few hundred dollars.  There was no way anyone would spend a few hundred dollars on Windows Small Business Server so Linux or FreeBSD was their only choice.  With Windows Home Server on the horizon, Microsoft might just steal a piece of the home server appliance market from Linux.

The typical consumer isn’t ready to become a Windows or Linux server administrator but many consumers find themselves in the position of being the de facto home IT administrator.  Windows Home Server is Microsoft’s server entry in to the home network and it tries to solve two key problems in the modern multi-PC home – storage sprawl and PC backup.  It has the potential to radically change the mid- to high-end home NAS market because it offers some key features such as:

  • Fast cluster-level incremental backups equivalent to full backups
  • Bare-metal client recovery (restore a PC with a bare hard drive)
  • Single instance storage (duplicate files don’t waste space)
  • Previous versions (file journaling with Volume Shadow Copy Services)
  • Remote Desktop gateway (multiple PC support)
  • Media streaming with Windows Media Connect
  • Print server with auto-driver loading

So for myself effortless backup, media storage and print server are the most important right now. And today I pulled down my old dell box (a dual Xeon Pentium 3 box. I was shocked when it started to actually install because the requirements are a 1ghz chip.

But Back to Linux again, a guy (Xwindowjunkie) after reading George Ou's review spits blood and challenges the Linux world to create a distro to rival home sever.

A recent posting by George Ou about Windows Home Server brought out a lot of responses from the Linux community. I think that Microsoft deserves to get some competition.

Here's the challenge:

There are a lot of Linux experts on this site. I challenge them to come up with a list of applications that work the best for each of the given functions found in Windows Home Server. Show me a list of something that you guys think will beat or meet Windows Home Server, that will work for a lot of people and that you think can be easily reproduced. I will build it and give you an honest appraisal of my experiences while doing it. I will document it well enough that others less skilled will be able to do it. I'd like to be

able to release it as a DIY compilation distro if possible.

Now the kicker, on the EXACT same hardware I will install the WHS Beta or release RC1, assuming I can get it, and test it in comparison on the basis of a USER, not a technician or a systems engineer.

There are a few restrictions I place on this challenge:
1) Do not expect me to compile Gentoo or Debian. I want to get this all done within a few weeks, OK?
2) The install packages must be applications that can be downloaded from the distro's website or mirror. I will not start with somebody's forked code.
3) The applications need to be compatible with the Linux distro and the desktop. I am partial to Gnome but I'm willing to use KDE.
4) If you expect me to script something or run a script, show me an example or give me the script. (This runs counter to item 2 above but I realize Linux runs on scripts). It would be nice if the script has enough commentary to let me know what was going on in it. I reserve the right to dump something I'm suspicious of.
5) If the application mix doesn't work, be prepared to get bad Linux PR from the blog. I will not attack or flame anybody personally as a part of this challenge but the distributions and/or applications are fair game. If they're bad they need to be flamed.

I will take a complete list of Linux applications from an individual or a committee of no more than 3 people and a suggested Linux distro to put it on. I will build it on a 2.6 Ghz Celeron system with 512 MB Ram on a stock DELL with a CDRW or a DVD +/- RW drive. Since this system will NOT be playing the DVD or video, we'll live with the on-board SVGA chip and the optical drive is there for software install only. (Its a server remember?) I have my choice of hard drives.

Then I will report back blog style what it took me to do it. I'll keep track of the hours and what and where I had to find my manuals/documentation to make it work. The idea is to develop a “distro” that can duplicate the published capabilities of the WHS minus the bare metal recovery. I can use Ghost as well as anybody.

Wow now thats a challenge and a half. But he right there should already be a distro which does this but there certainly isn't. Even I can name a couple of single application servers which you could pull together to make up a lot of the features for home server. Isn't a home server almost the perfect territory for ubuntu, redhat and suse linux? Hey maybe Microsoft actually out innovated everyone and created a product which is actually ground breaking?

Going back to my install, currently its up and running took ages to install but it did do a internet update to the latest rc from my beta 2 disc. But now half a day later, its working perfectly.

I have 2 IDE hard drives and 1 SCSI hard drive in it currently, and as you'd expect it made them all into one large hard drive of roughly 280gig. I still have room for one more 3.5 hard drive on the IDE bus or a few on the SCSI bus. I also spent about 6 hours copying all the stuff from multiple machines to the home server. The shares are all working and even XBMC find the home server as a Universial Plug and Play device which I can streaming media from. I've not tried this with the Nokia N80 yet, but it should work the same way once its on the local network.

The only thing which I need to do now is get backups working, but there some kind of software I need to install on each machine which is backed up. This is isn't like Bacula but I'm sure Microsoft made it

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Plaxo 3.0 beta. I actually quite like it

Ok so I'm not going to do some complete review of Plaxo 3.0 beta, but I'm seeing some interesting new features being added to the next version of Plaxo.

The first major change is Open ID support. Now to be fair this adds to the already AOL login support on top of standard Plaxo login. So now there's 3 different ways to log into plaxo. Unfortually its not that simple because the Plaxo clients seem to only support the previous types of logins. But then again, how would you do Open ID in a desktop application? On the plus side you can attach your Open ID(s) (yes multiple open ids) to an existing plaxo account or start a new one in the same way.

There's this new feature called Pulse which is like a life stream from all your contacts. How it seems to work is Plaxo looks through all your contacts and finds all the blogs, flickr feeds and amazon wish lists attached to that contact then display them in your pulse section. This is very much like the activities part of facebook and like that there is no rss feed of the aggregate results which is a real shame.

The last major change is Calendaring sharing. Which for me does away with the major advantage of upgrading to Outlook 2007. Instead of subscribing on the client you can use Plaxo's inbuild ical client to subscribe to ical feeds and other types of feeds. This actually makes mores sense that telling your laptop to update that feed every hour. My only problem is it won't subscribe to my friends ical from upcoming, which is a pain. You can also make your own calendar sharable as a ical feed (either full or just free/busy time can be used). So in actual fact this would have solved me and Sarah's calendaring problems. We could have both gone back to Outlook 2003, although I have to say I quite like 2007 and since I've stopped using the ical options, its a hell of a lot more stable. Could the endless calendar

Plaxo already had a developer API for years and a whole of host of goodies like the ability to export and import almost every type of file including Mozilla's LDIF format. But finally a minor addition is… sync to Google Calendars. Yes now you can sync them up and Plaxo also added Linked in support (premium only right now), Windows Live and Hotmail syncing. Now if they would just add sync to Thunderbird and Facebook, then I'd be really happy.

Generally Plaxo just needs to open up a little more by adding back the ability to export data (without switching back to the previous version), work more on their mobile options (please give us over the air syncML support) and keep adding more sync choices. I do for some reason trust Plaxo a lot more with my data that Facebook or even linkedin. Plaxo has always been good about not mining my contacts for data to be used in advertising or anything sketchy like that. However Plaxo isn't facebook and this pulse addition is worrying that they will try and follow suit. I mean it kind of makes sense because they have your contacts already but I don't want to be too social about my private data, thank you very much.

Will all this help more get into Plaxo? Yes I think so and to be honest I just signed up to their premium trial because of useful services like duplicate watching and linked in support. If I stay on beyond the free trial is questionale but worth exploring non-less.

meta-technorati-tags=plaxo3.0, plaxo, site, syncml, mobile, calendaring

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would they let fonejacker on national tv in america?

There is something about fonejacker which is pretty cool. I was thinking would they ever let such a show go out on national tv (non subscription cable or sat) in america? Are we teaching our children how to fonejack? Maybe but better that robbing top boxes off scooters.

If you have no idea what i'm talking about check out these youtube videos ripped from the show.

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To the scumbag(s) who stole my scooter top box

Had a wonderful day hooking up with friends and ex-students from Ravensbourne. Our lecturer John Durrant was retiring from his role at Ravensbourne and Lisa setup a get together through Facebook and email to celebrate his clean break from Ravensbourne. Anyway it was going so well till I went to get my coat and a baby play rug from my scooter.

I walked the short walk to my where my scooter was parked and noticed from a far something was wrong. Yep some fucking loser had stolen my top box from the back of my locked silverwing scooter. I couldn't believe it and started swearing out loud before checking my scooter for any damage. The rest of the scooter was fine, they had not even tried the ignition.

I don't know what it was but I've never had a top box stolen from my scooter before and I've parked it over night in places like Kings Cross and Euston. Maybe it was because I decided to put my helmet out on the top of the scooter (it was hot and sweaty, so I wanted it to cool down in the natural air. Anyway it was gone, so I checked the local bins and asked a couple of women from a close by bar. I figured anyone carrying a large black and red box would be easily seen. Unfortually they didn't see anything so I called the Police and they ran me though the criminal reference stuff.

Generally I'm pissed off because I had my scooter coat, gloves, bungy net and baby play matt in the back box. SO when the thief/thivies open the box, there going to be pretty pissed off.

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Events i’m going to this month in London

Here's a quick guide of some of the things I'm doing this month in London. Hope to see you at one or more of them.

  • Geekdinner with Brady Forrest at Ye Olde Cock Tavern
    This is going to be a great geekdinner, Brady is a big figure at all O'reilly conferences. He's usually the one asking the tricky questions and chairing the biggest names. Well this time around he's on the hot seat.
  • XSLUG July Meet at the Business Lounge, in Bush House
    In the 3rd XSL user group meeting, we've decided to discuss pipelines in front of a computer instead of at a pub. The BBC will be hosting this small event in Bush House. I'll be explaining why Pipelines are very cool and should be used for anything slighty complex. I'm going to recommend reading Jenni Tensions paper from Xtech 05 first.
  • MOO's Hot and Sticky Summer Party at The Ambassador in Exmouth Market
    Not quite sure whats going to happen on the night but are launching stickers which hopefully will be very cool. More details on their blog
  • MiniBar July in Corbet Place, off Brick Lane.
    Its Minibar again, usual Friday night get together, should be cool.

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