Lazy web: Podcast Scraper for XBMC?

I spent a good amount of time today sorting out my movie library in XBMC using the IMDB scraper. I need to do my TV programmes soon too but I've been thinking why isn't there already a scraper for Podcasts? There's already scrapers for all types of mainstream movies, adult movies, pop videos, tv programmes and regional films, but not podcasts. Whats weird is that podcasts have most of the information in one place anyway, so it should be trivial to get the info.

So although this is lazy web request, looking at the XBMC scraper page it seems it wouldn't take a lot to create the basic scraper. I just need to get better at writing regular expressions, I guess.

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Getting behind those numbers, is there really app for that?

Apple Apps Store

The Apple App Store has blah blah number of apps I keep hearing. Frankly its getting a little tiresome to hear.

As most of us know its not all about the numbers. I personally will never use the Apple iTunes store because although they might be the biggest on the planet, they don't do dance music like Juno or AudioJelly. Like wise I wonder how useful those thousands of apps are on the Apple Apps store. But thats not the only thing I wonder.

I wonder… how many windows mobile applications there are in the world? Just Freeware PocketPC alone has 6,700+ apps which are just for windows mobile.

On that same point, I wonder… how many Apple Apps are freeware or not lite versions of a paided version? Percertages or actually numbers would be useful.

Android has a open app store, a bit like Windows Mobile I guess. So I wonder… if the percentages of free/paid apps are similar?

I wonder… how many apps on non apple hardware are shared p2p instead of through some centralised server. How many windows mobile users share cab files over bluetooth? How many Sony/Ericsson users share JAR/JAD files over Bluetooth?

The Blackberry Apps store isn't doing so well, I wonder…. if its down to the price of the apps?

I wonder… how many Symbian Apps there are? Like Windows mobile, theres a huge cottage industry which I bet once looked at in detailed will surprise.

I wonder… what percentage of the Apple app store is games? Also what percentage of Apple apps work with some other device/service compared to other app platforms? Are they mainly self contained or connect to others.

Finally I also have the obvious questions like what percentage of apps are most people using? Is there a few which most people use and the rest is all over the map or generally everyone using the same apps?

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Boxee beta shows some serious promise

Boxee Beta, not only a new look but interesting app library with even more niche partners. Does seem to be as beautiful as Plex or XBMC but there's no doubt its getting better and looking like something worth using now.

But the really exciting news is that Dlink will be one of the first hardware vendors to feature Boxee software on there sunken cube shape boxes, which will be available from the start of next year. Costs are close to $200 but lacks a internal hard drive. It does come with USB, HDMI, optical, ethernet and composite video connections. Users can surf the Web via an included browser, but doing so won't be a great experience for users, Boxee executives admitted. An RF remote is also included, so that users can access the box from anywhere in the house.

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I’m loving my Blender

I bought a blender after years of wanting one. Amazing purchase, nice modern design and reasonable cheap at only 25 pounds. So far I've made some amazing smoothies since.

Last night I threw in 3 granny smith apples, about 6 ice cubes, juice of one orange, a squeeze of lemon juice and a small spoon of brown sugar. Let the blender go to work on the lot and out popped this green stuff which looked like crushed lemongrass. But it tasted so good, like a ice junkie you get from cinemas but without the stupid amounts of sugar. In actual fact I was getting 2 of my 5 fruits for the day.

Today, Green Grapes, Cranberries, Blueberries mixed together till it goes all pink, served in a large tall glass, yum yum.

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Etherpad + Google Wave = Wave

Google buys Appjet the makers of EtherPad and they joined the Google Wave team. And even better they decided to open source Etherpad but keep the current version running while it get opened. Fantastic move on Appjet an Google's parts and the community has nothing but praise for this brave move. Hey and what a way to solve the biggest issue people have with Google Wave, buy the competition and adopt there UI team into yours. Google are on fine form.

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Nows a good time to signup to a la.conica?

Fail Whale

Twitter is down and people are somewhat freaking out. This is a really good time to install a microblogging application which supports not only twitter an maybe facebook like the popular tweetdeck. But instead go for one which supports one of the la.conica servers. is the most popular of the lot but support for the open microblogging service is a good idea. If Twitter does go down for long periods, its maybe time to consider switching over.

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Software ahead of the curve: Verse Protocol

So I've been checking out the project Verse for a while now but kept it kind of quiet for the longest time. Today I broke my silence and gave a presentation at Social Media Cafe Manchester (#smc_mcr) along side other open source software. The problem with verse is its so big (jokes about the universe stand). There's a lot going on in the uni-verse, but lets get back to basics. So what is it?

Our goal is to create an open source Internet platform for multi-user, interactive, distributed, high-quality 3D graphics and audio for home, public and personal use. The platform will support high-quality 3D-graphics as well as high-quality 3D-audio and acoustic simulation.

The foundation of the platform is “Verse”, a lightweight, low latency, general-purpose network protocol for 3D data, which lets multiple applications act together as one large system by sharing data over the network.

Someone called it Google wave for 3D objects and scenes at SMC_MCR and in actually fact their not far wrong. Its not like Second Life because its very open and the client/server setup is trivial. Ok so there's no Federation but I can't even really imagine how that would work if there was. Anyway diving straight in, we have many components to verse. You have the actual protocol which makes everything work then you. One of the founers Eskil Steenberg has created many things on top of that protocol.

Love – Love is alpha game where up to 200 players cooperatively attack a connected city. The game is freely downloadable and only cost 5-10 euros a year to cover the cost of the server load. It recently was on Coop show and theres screenshots on the pages. Another reason why its worth starting with Love, is that Love is the first full implementation of the Verse for public use. Its a stunning game going by the alpha and its videos. Instead of going for super sharp edges Eskil has gone for super soft shading using some custom filters which portray a foggy landscape and steaming summers. I think the game will do well in some circles but don't get me wrong its super impressive what one guy has some up with but what excites me about Verse isn't Love but instead all the other tools Eskil built to support building Love

Quelsolaar – Eskil, cleverly built this render to make Love, Quel Solaar which is a

real time 3D engine designed to take advantage of the Verse networking protocol. It is fully dynamic and requires no pre-processing of data. It has been designed to be used for any application demanding high quality real time visuals, such as games, simulation, visualization, education and social activities. The main difference from other engines is that Quel Solaar is designed to be fully networked. This means that all data visualized in the engine comes from a Verse server and that any part of the scene can be changed at any time. This makes it ideal for collaboration and an array of new applications. For instance, in a game designed with the Verse architecture the game designers can alter the world appearance in any way while players are in the game. You can also allow the players themselves to have the ability to change the game environment.

Loq Ariou is next up which is a 3D modeler that works like a sketch pad if you have a 3 button mouse. I've actually found it almost impossible to use till recently playing with it and following the Manual and videos which explain it better. The interface is puzzling but once you get it strangely natural to use.

The last one is Co On a schematic verse scene viewer and editor.

In Co On you can inspect your data and edit it. Co On includes a curve editor and a material editor with raytraced rendering previews. Co On is the perfect tool for creating and destroying layers, methods, tags and nodes. It lets you edit and keep track over how the data is represented in the verse server format. I've not personally played too much with this yet but its pretty powerful an I love the way everything is hooked together like a semantic diagram. Funny enough, once you get over the control system, the rest seems to get a lot clearer.

Another aspect of verse outside Eskil's influence theres a number of attempts to add verse support to well known and used applications like Blender 3D, 3D Studio Max, Gimp, and many others. One of the most interesting places Verse is showing up in python.

Software well ahead of its curve I think you have to agree? I'm sure there will be more blog posts about aspects of verse in the near future.

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