I can’t help but laugh and partly shake my head at the crazy things which are being networked. You only have to follow internet of shit to get this.
I said heck no when a friend who I’d expect more thought from, suggested I should get one of the internet connected door locks; following my thoughts about Airbnb hosting. Not sure if they were being ironic or serious.
It comes as almost no shock, when reading the time that Tony Fadell sold me a container of hummus.
On May 15th a critical Nest product will go dark. I’m shocked this isn’t bigger news.
I don’t mean that the Nest product will reach end-of-life for support and updates. No, I mean that on May 15th they will actually turn off the device and disable your ability to use the hardware that you paid for.
Google/Nest’s decision raises an interesting question. When software and hardware are intertwined, does a warranty mean you stop supporting the hardware or does it mean that the manufacturer can intentionally disable it without consequence? Tony Fadell seems to believe the latter. Tony believes he has the right to reach into your home and pull the plug on your Nest products.
This littarly tingle’s of ethics of data; as I lumped data portability in the class of ethics a while ago. Theres been a few scary stories such as Berg cloud, the end of aibos and the famous nazbaztag saga. This is just the start, imagine when its your whole home system like in the example of Nest
Is the era of IoT bringing an end to the concept of ownership? Are we just buying intentionally temporary hardware? It feels like it. I own a Commodore 64 that still works.
The point is perfectly made. We have moved into a world of renting and/or licencing. I have many things which past their support date ages ago. For example my old Nexus 7 2012 edition, still runs and even has the latest Android 6.0 operating system on it. My pacemaker is coming up on 9 years old and there was a beta update 6 months ago! Even my Pebble smartwatch just recently got a update. And I can go back far further with other devices and machines. Heck my original Xbox and Playstation 1 still run and work..
Interesting to see Tony Fadell has stepped down too…
Adrian retweeted a post from the Guardian about Microsoft commissioning original content and popular stuff like Game of Thrones.
Microsoft’s move into original programming pitches it deep into Netflix and Amazon territory in the battle to control the living room. The company has so far publicly revealed a slate of just six shows that will air on its Xbox games console – including a Steven Spielberg-produced TV series based on its hit game franchise Halo, a documentary on former console giant Atari, and a remake of Swedish scifi drama Humans in conjunction with Channel 4. However, the intention is to build a TV powerhouse.
My instant thought was… what a waste of all that power. Not only processing power but sensors and data. In my opinion, if Microsoft were smart they would commission content which is perceptive. Make it exclusively for xbox users and narrow the gap between TV and Games. For goodness sake they already have the ability to layer graphics over the top of programming using the HDMI pass through!
Its almost a crying shame that they have all this in place but seem doomed to follow the rest of the industry. Specially with all those patents they have in this area!
Disruptive this is not… yes another step towards another stack growing but not a leap forward
For the last few Wednesdays I have been watching the Future of StoryTelling hangouts online. I first heard about them from Matt Locke and Frank Rose last year when I gatecrashed a planned hangout with Perceptive Radio.
The Future of StoryTelling speaker Hangout series continues on Wednesday, January 15th, with a discussion about interactive gaming, and how great entertainment can transport you from your daily life and immerse you in another world.
You can watch the whole thing here on youtube. and last weeks with Google creative labs Robert Wong. This weeks Including my question which is based off my noticing, interaction and narrative keeps getting thrown around together when they are quite different things.
The guest this week was Microsoft’s Shannon Loftis, General Manager at Xbox Entertainment Studios. She said a lot of things I agreed with but switching narrative for interactive, paused me to think about the origins of Perceptive Media.
I’m not going to say Games and interactive experiences are not storytelling. I would be very wrong, but what I’m surprised at is Microsoft have this amazing device with cutting edge sensors and they sound like they are doing some perception. But they are only using it for Games? Shannon even talks about the golden age of Television then slides off into Games again.
Anyway there was a question asking about what this all can mean for children. Most of the guests give some answers which I couldn’t disagree with but Charles Melcher (founder of future of storytelling) jumps in with something quite profound.
I clipped it and put it on Archive.org but its something I’ve been thinking about since the early days of perceptive media.
The beauty of media which adapts, responds or as I prefer preconceives the audience and the context. Is it can unfold one way and unfold another way for someone else. Like Charles, I’m dyslexic and sometimes just can’t get my head around learning resources which are written for a majority of people.
I understand why its been that way. The cost of creating multiple versions of a learning resource is going to be a bad idea from a resourcing idea. But that only applies if you build your resources in a solid non-flexible way (like a blob) your going to run into the same problem described. However if you have something more fluid (generative) or object based you can change aspects on the fly.
Simple example, a Book (any book) vs a Ereader (like a Kindle). I’m sure I’ve talked about this before but line lengths is a common issue with people who are dyslexic. We tend to loose what line we’re on for a split second.
I can reshape the lines lengths to make it more readable for myself (thats interactive). An Ereader with sensors could follow my eyes patterns and reshape the line lengths and fonts to give me the best reading experience (now thats perceptive). This all works because the text is digital and therefore an object which can be manipulated.
Back to Charles, a resource which can be manipulated by a person is good but one which can be manipulated by a process of data and sensors is even better (if they are working to aid you). Combining/aggregating resources together gets you to a position where you can weave a story together. I won’t bore you with my campfire == perceptive media equals and this is what humans do thoughts. But I do feel this is the future of storytelling. Charles vision is achievable and its something I’d love to talk to BBC Learning about in more depth.
I’ll be honest and say not only has this one got me writing but I also started writing after hearing Robert Wong talking last week about leadership and inspiring people.
LifeHacker asks the question, Have You Ever Hacked a Game Console?
There are all kinds of good reasons to hack a game console that don’t involve cheating at games, such as adding functionality, creating a media center, or just breathing new life into a beloved old gadget.
For me yes, I certainly have.
- Playstation 1 (I still have that console under my TV)
- Xbox 1 (hacked this multiple times and I think its still in my wardrobe, and the reason I found Xbox Media Player (XBMC as came to be known)
- Nintendo Wii (added the homebrew channel but no longer owned)
The Playstation was a nightmare to hack and in the end I made a few mistakes and had to pay someone to do a proper job. The Xbox was done all by myself once I ordered the Modchip, xecuter v3. Bunny’s book I own and enjoy. I didn’t know that it was made freely available in ebook form after the death of Aaron Schwartz.
No Starch Press and I have decided to release this free ebook version of Hacking the Xbox in honor of Aaron Swartz. As you read this book, I hope that you’ll be reminded of how important freedom is to the hacking community and that you’ll be inclined to support the causes that Aaron believed in.
I agreed to release this book for free in part because Aaron’s treatment by MIT is not unfamiliar to me. In this book, you will find the story of when I was an MIT graduate student, extracting security keys from the original Microsoft Xbox. You’ll also read about the crushing disappointment of receiving a letter from MIT legal repudiating any association with my work, effectively leaving me on my own to face Microsoft.
The difference was that the faculty of my lab, the AI laboratory, were outraged by this treatment. They openly defied MIT legal and vowed to publish my work as an official “AI Lab Memo,” thereby granting me greater negotiating leverage with Microsoft. Microsoft, mindful of the potential backlash from the court of public opinion over suing a legitimate academic researcher, came to a civil understanding with me over the issue.
If you haven’t hacked or modified a games console, you owe it to yourself and others to give it a try.
Ever since the microsoft kinect was hacked to work with non xbox machines, xbmc hackers have been messing or modifying there setups to support gesture control. So popular was the idea of controlling media with gestures, even the BBC adopted this in the Xbox version of iplayer. However the limits of the kinect was being discovered by the XBMC hackers.
After the first rush for controlling media using your whole body, came the idea of using just your arm then finally just the hand. But the Microsoft kinect didn’t have the density to support this. Now leap motion have brought out their own kinect style solution.
XBMC users should love Leapmotion specially with driver support for windows, mac and Linux.
Supporting not only fingers but even pencils and pens too. all the things needed to really make the xbmc interface amazing.
I instantly started wondering if finally BBC R&D Surround video could work in real time on consoles? Something I was wondering if the Playstation3 could do a while ago.
I know they maybe thinking about multiscreen type applications but actually surround video is a perfect fit… imho
Sony is kicking Playstation3 Users off the PlayStation network if they have any kind of hacked firmware is what I heard on Technews today yesterday.
It looks like Sony’s making good on a promise to ban PS3 users who’ve hacked or elected to run unauthorized software on their consoles. Members of hacking site PS3Hax claim Sony’s already wielding its banhammer against "jailbroken" PS3s, knocking the consoles off the company’s PlayStation Network permanently.
I instantly thought… Well if I was in that position I would simply use the Xlink Kai network
XLink Kai: Evolution VII lets you connect with other console users around the world, and play online games for free. XLink Kai: Evo VII tricks your console into thinking that the other users it is connecting to over the Internet, are actually part of a Local Area Network. This is the basis of system-link gaming, where friends would gather around in the same house and play over 2 or more consoles. With XLink Kai: Evo VII, you now have the option to test your skills out with anybody in the world. As for the technical aspects of tunnelling network packets, we won’t bore you with that…
Fascinating project with some real interesting technology, ok its more hassle that simply logging on to xbox live or what ever but its free and you can people on different consoles.
I never thought I’d see the day but it seems Microsoft have really got into the hacker spirit recently. I mean what would Bill Gates say about this new leaf of openness, who knows… but I can imagine a shudder of fear slowly tingling up his spine.
Remember Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering by Andrew bunnie Huang
"Hacking the Xbox" confronts the social and political issues facing today’s hacker. The book introduces readers to the humans behind the hacks through several interviews with master hackers.
"Hacking the Xbox" looks forward and discusses the impact of today’s legal challenges on legitimate reverse engineering activities. The book includes a chapter written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about the rights and responsibilities of hackers, and concludes by discussing the latest trends and vulnerabilities in secure PC platforms.
Its not just phone 7, Kinect kicked off a new attitude for Microsoft. Good on them, but I do wonder how long it will last?
A side point
I was a little excited when I discovered Rafael Rivera was one of the people behind the phone 7 unlocking. But of course he’s not to be confused with the new BBC director of Future media Ralph Rivera. That would be so weird if it was…
Please checkout the people at amahi.org as they are working on a similar initiative I think. Currently they are based on Fedora Core 6 but they are also looking to build a similar distro around ubuntu.
Would this perhaps be interesting enough to cooperate with?
ok i finished setting up amahi.
Amhi has a good aproach ,namly
create a dhcp , and samba domain controler for the user.
The Information about the ips and the domain name is read viva the web.
Each must have an account at amahi.org. With this account he gets a dynamic dns account like
amahi is in early beta stage (but far further than uhs). The useradministration is not quite finished ( personal oppinion)
Now I need your Comments on Amahi. If i should provide some screenshots .. let me know ..
I think we have the following opportunities:
- amahi is as far to base OUR development on it
- merge with amahi ( unlike )
- keep our own way and reinvent the wheel.
So I had a look around Amahi.org and actually I'm very impressed except a couple of things. Its very tied to the website and is made for people who have no knowledge of unix/linux at all. This is great but a little too black box for my liking. I also don't like the idea of opening ports for the software and switching off DHCP in smoothwall. Amahi will do everything and granted seems to be aiming its self right at the Windows home server market. Its no Network magic, thankfully because you do still feel more in control of whats going on. So although I hate duplication, I think Ubuntuhomeserver and Amahi should be different projects doing simlar things.
I've been thinking about what changes I want to make to my home network and home entertainment system when I move to Manchester. Theres things which I should be doing like getting rid of my large workstation/servers in favour of maybe one huge server and a couple of laptops. Why? well the power usage of a laptop compared to a workstation is just something else. The form factor means no more problems with getting monitors into weird places is no longer a problem and lets be honest, laptops go really cheap now, specially if you don't care about battery power or scratches, etc. It doesn't matter if it has the orginal cds or not, hell it almost doesn't matter what videocard or memory is in it. As long as Ubuntu will install on it.
While talking about Ubuntu and laptops, I've decided I'm going to pick up a cheap laptop for my replacement to the Xbox and Xbox media centre. I'm getting more and more HD content via podcasts like pop!tech and its a real pain to convert them each time. I figure this is a better option that a Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Although I got to say I was able to watch live Flash streaming via Twit.tv/live yesterday using the Wii's Opera browser and it worked really well. BBC iPlayer doesn't work because it needs the upgraded Flash 9 plugin.
I've made up my mind. Forget the XboX 360 and PS3, they suck for a home entertainment centre. MythTV and Windows Media Centre are too heavy and too focused on replacing the DVR/PVR era of devices. To hell with the seriously underpowered AppleTV and Wii, I might as well stick to the Xbox if I was consider one of those. Nope its all about Xbox media centre on Linux, Mac and even Windows. Jon's experience of the next XBMC is certainly of interest to myself, however Jon doesn't go into details about how to install it.
It's been a long time. I haven't even been an XBMC user since May. In May I got a new HDTV so I needed to move to something that could render my HD content. That path brought me to MediaPortal. The old xbmp fork. And well… its garbage.
I don't mean to sound like an ass, but compared to the codebase of XBMC, MediaPortal is junk. Its full of bugs and just feels terrible. The devs at least know this, and are working on MediaPortal 2. So that should be interesting to watch. But all in all, running my mediacenter on Windows just blew.
So last Saturday I decided to check on XBMC for Linux's progress. And to my surprise it is practically feature complete! It all works! Now, for how long is another question. Lets just say that I wrote a trusty Ruby script to watch for XboxMediaCenter, and if it crashes, it gets relaunched. So yeah, its not really primetime, but it works great and is fast.
So I decided to go check it out myself. First port of call was the xbox media centre linux wiki. For Windows users the easist way to get XBMC is to run VMware's Player and grab the virtual environment images. Theres a few staticly hosted files or a torrent file. There's a whole thread here on setting it all up in VMware. I opted for the compile your own which is detailed in a readme file in the VM image.
The steps are pretty simple for Ubuntu 7.x
- # sudo apt-get install subversion
- # cd $HOME
- # svn checkout https://xbmc.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/xbmc/branches/linuxport/XBMC
- For Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn):
# sudo apt-get install make g++-4.1 gcc-4.1 libsdl1.2-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev libsdl-gfx1.2-dev libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libsdl-sound1.2-dev libsdl-stretch-dev libcdio6 libcdio-dev libfribidi0 libfribidi-dev liblzo1 liblzo-dev libfreetype6 libfreetype6-dev libsqlite3-0 libsqlite3-dev libogg-dev libsmbclient-dev libsmbclient libasound2-dev python2.4-dev python2.4 python-sqlite libglew1 libglew-dev libcurl3-dev g++ gawk x11proto-xinerama-dev libxinerama-dev libxrandr-dev libxrender-dev libmms-dev pmount
- For Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon):
# sudo apt-get install make g++-4.1 gcc-4.1 libsdl1.2-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev libsdl-gfx1.2-dev libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libsdl-sound1.2-dev libsdl-stretch-dev libcdio6 libcdio-dev libfribidi0 libfribidi-dev liblzo1 liblzo-dev libfreetype6 libfreetype6-dev libsqlite3-0 libsqlite3-dev libogg-dev libsmbclient-dev libsmbclient libasound2-dev python2.4-dev python2.4 python-sqlite libglew1.4 libglew1.4-dev libcurl3-dev g++ gawk x11proto-xinerama-dev libxinerama-dev libxrandr-dev libxrender-dev libmms-dev pmount
- For Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn):
- # ./build.sh
- # ../BUILD/Xboxmediacenter
Its not working for me right now, because (I think) Compizfusion is screwing up the display. But I'll know for sure once I try it on another machine. Stay tuned…
Ok its 4am and I've just got Xbox media centre working on my workstation which doesn't have compizfusion enabled or installed. Like Jon said its all there except 3d and special effects. I found it very slow at larger resolutions and unstable at anything over 800×600 but it could be my cheap onboard graphics or slow single 2.8ghz AMD processor. I've uploaded a load of screenshots on to Flickr before going to bed. More about this when I get home tomorrow.
So I heard rumours that the next Xbox 360 dsashboard upgrade would support Xvid and Divx but I didn't think it would be this soon? Everyone seems to say it works fine even with ac3 (dolby digital or dts audio), shame this is still not enough to make me switch. See xbox media centre is just too damm perfect and using the Xbox 360s blade system sucks in comparison. I mean I would need to unrar files before I could play them on the xbox 360, that just sucks. However the other interesting news is the break through on the PS3's graphics sub system (link is extremely hacking geeky, skip to bottom) (cheers JohnT) is something very special. Think about all the progress thats been done on xbmc already, add the fact the PS3 can already run linux without a problem, then throwing some real access to that cell processor and its heavy weight HD graphics subsystem and boy oh boy you have an amazing machine. Knowing Sony, I'm sure the next update of the virtualiser will lay another wall between Virtual machine and hardware.
If Sony knew what was good for them, they would let the hardware hackers do what there doing, even help them out! These guys are adding value you to your market failing console! Microsoft just released xvid/divx support and the wii is about to outstrip both ps3 and xbox 360 in the next 5 months in europe and japan. Sony needs something and let me tell you Home isn't it. Bear also in mind these hardware hackers are not bypassing the copy protection of the games or even hacking the sony master virtual image. So no intellectual property is being broken here. If running xbmc on it means another 10000+ people run out and buy a PS3. Thats a good thing…! Put another way, the xbox 1 still commands a reasonable price online because people are picking them up and running xbmc on them today. Go figure Sony., then send some hardware developers to help them.
So while I was looking around the 23C3 conference notes I found some links to videos about a possible Xbox 360 hacking. The video which can only be viewed on Youtube now seems odd and underwelming. But if its true means you can now using some exploit in the game King Kong run unsigned code on a Xbox
360. Engadget also had a piece about the whole thing.
One of the best things about the original Microsoft Xbox console wasn't the fact that it ran games. Oh no, for many, the best part was the ease at which that low-cost / high-powered device could be hacked to run all kinds of Homebrew applications including a damn fine media center. Now, in a tantalizing bit of showmanship put on by a cloaked hacker at the 23C3 Hacker Congress in Germany, a modified Xbox 360 (note attached circuit board) is shown loading Ubisoft's King Kong game just before displaying a trio of
dancing 360, Tux, and (old) MacOS logos with the words “coming soon.” Could this be a true exploit of King Kong's unchecked and unsigned vector shaders? We don't know, but the ability to execute any kind of code is certainly progress.
This is all fitting because Sony have just released a Yellow Dog linux build for PS3. Engadget once again has the right idea.
We're still holding out until Ubuntu gives us the love we crave. Well, that or until the OSS community get started on making an XBMC-like PS3 interface, since Sony believes all of your home's media should live on the PS3, and not on a media server.
And in related news I read Microsoft are releasing another version of the Xbox 360 code named Zephyr (1st one was called Xenon), this time with cooler processor, 120gig HD, HDMI and 1080p support out of the box. Sounds interesting but not as important as the previous news.
If the hack is true, it looks like I'll have to decide between the PS3 and Xbox 360 sometime this year. Maybe it will be a race to see who gets XBMC on it first.
I just upgraded my xboxes to the latest version. Xbmc keeps growing from strength to strength.
Team-XBMC and The XBMC Project is proud to announce the release of XboxMediaCenter 2.0.0. XBox Media Center (XBMC) is an award winning, free and open source media player for the Xbox™ game-console. The XboxMediaCenter 2.0.0 point-release source code has now been set in our CVS. We consider that the current code in the XBMC CVS is as stable as a point-release should be. All XBMC users are highly encouraged to upgrade to this stable Xbox Media Center 2.0.0 point-release. Remember, the XBMC source code needs to be compiled with the XDK, and requires a modded Xbox to run. Our thanks goes out to everyone who has tested, reported bugs, and helped fix them in order to make this release possible.
There are many new features and functions that have been introduced since the 1.1.0 point-release, that we cannot list them all here. A few that are especially worth mentioning are; the enhanced GUI/skin-engine, the Project Mayhem III skin, DVD-Video menu/navigation support (with ISO/IMG image parsing), RAR/ZIP archive parsing, a new audio/music-player (PAPlayer) with crossfade, gapless playback and ReplayGain support, Karaoke CDG-file display, Xored Trainer Engine (gaming-cheats), XLink Kai (online-gaming) front-end, iTunes 6.x DAAP and UPnP-clients, and two surprise features; read-only support for FAT12/16/32 formatted USB Mass Storage Devices up to 4GB in size, and a brand new “skinnable” 3D visualizer.
Not the DVD firmware hack or even the HD/Memory card reading, I'm talling about the (proper) run unsigned code type of hack. I said it would be done within a year. Well theres about 2 months left now. The amount of HD content on my network is growing and I got nothing except my workstation to play it all back on. Plus the Xbox Media Centre has pushed the Pentium 3 733mhz chip to its absolute limit now and the Xbox 360 simply isn't up to scratch for media playback sorry.