Could the Mycroft 2, be the perfect replacement for a Google home

I saw the Mycroft v2 recently and had a look through the kickstarter page to learn a little more.

MyCroft v1

It looks promising but after some research and some tweets, I remembered the is something I looked at previously and was interested in installing on a RaspberryPi to see if I could create what I really need. Its one of my many projects I wanted to do with my holidays sometime. Its clear voice and hue lights could be very good, especially for guests but I don’t want google and philips to be involved in that process.

I also suggested mycroft and betty to Databox team, when we talked about voice in the living room of the future. It seems like a perfect match right?

Anyway, I think I might back the second one only because I don’t really want to do the hard work making it work on a Raspberry Pi.

NFC mixtapes

Thanks to Cefn for dropping myself the Cassette project.

I originally dismissed a bit thinking it only played one song per tape but from the video you can see it does actually play a playlist. I think its a neat idea but I prefer the shareability of our own physical playlist project. (interested in seeing more? it will be at mozfest this weekend) I’m also wondering how you create the playlists? But its worth saying the engine which reads the playlist and the actual player are separate on the physical playlist machine for this exact reason.

Love to work together on something which combines both things really…

Raspberry Pi’s for the godchildren?

With all wires - Top

Its a tricky one…

I like to buy presents of my godchildren which matter. Its tricky because you don’t want to buy something boring but educational. When I was young my godparents would get me Lego, Chemistry sets and ultimately Technical Lego. This certainly helped my creativity develop.

So whats the modern equivalent of Lego? Something you can buy more of and add to?

Well I thought Raspberry Pi. Yeah, no brainer right?!

But here’s my issue.

I have 2 male godchildren (4 and 6) and 1 female (7).

My natural thought was to get one for the 6yr old, specially because his dad is technical and the child has already shown an amazing comfort with computers. The other male is too young and frankly more interested in super-heroes. So why not the older female?

I don’t know… (and I feel like I’ve had this debate before, so excuse me if you’ve heard it before).

I also didn’t want to buy her pink stuff but she loves it so much. Along while ago I bought her some pink lego and she seemed quite happy with that. Although to be fair I’ve never actually seen play with them. Me being a melding godfather decided one year to buy her a mini telescope, hoping it will foster a little more science in her life. Of course this nothing against the parents, I love them to bits. But my understanding of what a godfather does is to do whats best for the child regardless of how much it drives the parents insane.

So back to the point, why have I not bought her a Raspberry Pi? Is this nasty sexism which I don’t know about? Absolutely not!

I guess I balanced it all in my mind and decided it would be a little unfair to force something like this on her at this stage. Instead I bought her some more Lego but the friends subsection.

What would you do? Am I doing down the godfather title by not giving her what might be good for her? She has godmothers, maybe its the godmothers who gives her what she wants and the godfather who makes the difficult decisions. And I don’t mean that in a sexist way, the godmothers should be making the difficult decisions for the boys, while the godfathers are buying stuff he wants?

Who knows but I am certainly thinking for her birthday, I should find something which crosses over and brings out her geeky side.

Any tips on what, are very welcomed.

I’m hoping the likes of Jasmine Cox, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Rosie Campbell, Rebecca Gregory-Clarke, etc. Can offer some advice on this? I can’t be the only one wondering about this….?

Ouya with XBMC sitting in a tree…

Ouya at home

Simon kindly lent me his brand new Ouya a while ago but I’ve only just gotten around to playing with it as I want to replace my ageing Lenovo Thinkcentre with a new XBMC box.

I wanted originally was interested in the Boxee box but frankly that gone down a path I certainly don’t want to be dragged. Now XBMC works nicely on Android, I’ve been looking at android boxes which seems to be made for XBMC. Most of the boxes are tiny and have all the right ports including HDMI, digital optical out, etc.

So how does it work on the Ouya? Well after a little setting manual up (I would install a SSH server but its not mine to mess with) its good, very fast specially compared to the Raspberry Pi. The User interface is nippy and playing back 1080p seems effortless.

The biggest problem I’m having is getting Dolby Digital or DTS out of the console. I did some research and its a problem quite a few people are having issues with. Audio passthrough can be enabled so the AC3 signal should be able to get to the Onkyo 7.1 surround amp but no matter what I do. And as with everything else, others are struggling too.

If I could solve the problem of Digital passthrough output, I would certainly consider getting a Ouya to replace my home cinema setup. I would love to attempt to get the Wii remote hooked up to the Ouya as the controller is a little too big for a home cinema controller. Although to be fair I’m using the Android Yatse controller app on 3 out of 4 of my Android devices including my mothers old HTC android phone, which is now my permanent desktop XBMC remote.

I’ll persist with the audio output and check it can play back all the old formats like Divx 3.2 and Mpeg1 and 2 stuff. Also need to check how the suspend works…

Replacing my xbmc box with RaspberryPi

Fresh RaspberryPi

I recently bought a Raspberry pi from RS and it actually came before Christmas, so during the holidays I hooked it up and installed OpenElec after reading about the different XBMC versions you could install.

I decided to replace my aging Compaq mini desktop in the bedroom with the Raspberry Pi, because I mainly use it for listening to podcasts and every once in a while I will watch a piece of media (usually podcasts) on the LCD TV screen. So I don’t really have to worry about the might of the Pi or it not beable to decode Mpeg2 smoothly. Its time has come

So from this aging beastie…

My old bedroom xbmc box

To this lovely compact package on my desktop.

My XBMC RaspberryPi with FM Transmitter

After hooking it up to my 15 inch LCD TV, I had to rearrange the audio to get output to the FM transmitter and to the local sound system (essentially to get audio in the shower, bedroom and kitchen). My hope is maybe to buy more Pi’s and hook them up around the flat to do local multicast streaming instead of FM.

I’m impressed with the Pi and I can certainly see many more uses for it personally. I think I might switch from OpenElec to XBian, as I want the ability to add stuff and maybe mess with the latest version of XBMC . Of course this is as simple as switching the SD card and reattaching the micro USB adapter.

Certainly thinking of attaching the whole pi to the bottom of my desk or behind the LCD TV, just because I can.

Some interesting trends…

Internet Fundamentals

The ever lasting effect of the Internet on Television, or as I call it the TV post Internet.

See Eric Schmidt’s Edinburgh Festival Keynote which can be read in full on PaidContent.

Kids need licence to tinker

The concept and idea of a BBC Micro for the 21st Century, which some are saying could be the Raspberry Pi.

Been thinking about this stuff deeply recently for work and what I’ll be doing in the near future… You might be interested in some of the Top10’s I’ve been creating on