Archives For Apple

Mac SlingPlayer Is Here!

Dave Zatz —  October 30, 2006
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I scheduled this post to run at 11:23PM EST… By the time it’s published, you should be able to download the public beta of the Mac SlingPlayer (and I should be sleeping). I haven’t seen a press release, in fact I don’t know if there will be one. But I can tell you I’ve seen the SlingPlayer in various forms over the last few months, including a hands-on demo of alpha software in California, participation in the beta group, and more hands-on time with a late beta at DigitalLife. It’s been amazing to watch as the Sling team constructed a Mac Windows Media Video (WMV) decoder and put this thing together. The software is free and supports all versions of the Slingbox, both the original model and the new higher resolution trio.

Being a beta, there are still some kinks to be worked out but overall the software is in great shape: Specifically, core audio and video streaming is beautiful. Sadly there appear to be some technical challenges and/or perhaps prioritization that limits support to Tiger for now… Hence the install screengrab above on Panther — that’s the best I can do with my eMac. Maybe it’s about time I pick up that MacBook!

UPDATE:

Never enough time…

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Over on the TCF a disgruntled Apple owner posted a note he received from TiVo when questioning the status of Mac TiVoToGo. I’m not sure TiVo initially gave this initiative the appropriate amount of attention, but I do appreciate what appears to be a frank response — despite calling Apple out (what’s a closed platform?) and despite not offering a target date for release.

My name is Jim Denney, I am in Vice President of Product Marketing for TiVo’s retail products. Tom Rogers forwarded your message to me. I wanted to thank you for your email and apologize for the delay in TiVoToGo for the Mac. I am sorry that you feel we have not paid attention to the Mac community. That is certainly not our intention. We are aware of our subscriber’s desire to get TiVoToGo on the Mac. Believe it or not, we are actively working on the project and have been for the past year in various forms. Unfortunately, developing on the Mac platform has been a little more difficult because of its closed nature. We are working through the issues we have encountered. They are not simple to solve given the needs that we balance in TiVoToGo. We don’t have a release date for the feature yet.

We have gotten ourselves in trouble in the past when we estimated it would be out by mid year this year, we obviously missed that date. In the interest of setting the right expectations this time we want to wait until the feature is actually ready. We are not ready to make that announcement yet. That is why our customer care representatives have been instructed to give the answer they gave you.

We can let you know when the feature is ready for launch. We are listening to you. Until it is ready, we appreciate your patience.

In other Mac development news, the Sling folks plan to release a public beta of OS X software on 10/31.

DVD Jon Is A Masochist

Dave Zatz —  October 25, 2006

DVD Jon, the guy who cracked DVD encryption, has set up shop in California as DoubleTwist Ventures. His goal is to pirate license technology enabling iTunes to play on non-iPods and non-iTunes DRM-ed tracks to play on iPods (how’s that working out, Real?). It would be nice if Apple’s copy protection scheme (aka FairPlay) was made available to other devices, however they’ve been reluctant to share… and probably won’t until a court orders them to do so. Until then, I expect they’ll go after Jon and anyone brash enough to integrate his work into players — it’s no accident his blog is titled So Sue Me. I don’t know how the Norwegian legal system compares to America, but I hope he’s got backers with deep pockets…

Fortune writes: Johansen has reverse-engineered FairPlay, the encryption technology Apple uses to make the iPod a closed system. Right now, thanks to FairPlay, the songs Apple sells at its iTunes store cannot easily be played on other devices, and copy-protected songs purchased from other sites will not play on the iPod. Johansen has written programs that get around those restrictions: one that would let other companies sell copy-protected songs that play on the iPod, and another that would let other devices play iTunes songs.

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Today the iPod is officially 5 years old. What really broke the seal on the portable MP3 (or is that AAC?) player market was Apple’s intuitive UI and minimalist controls. Despite the initial price premium, they sold a ton and created an industry (iTunes probably also saved the recording industry from itself).

I’ve owned a variety of iPods over the years, including a refurb 3G long since ebayed and a Shuffle collecting dust on den floor. I even had a video-capable iPod for a short while. For the most part, I prefer carrying fewer devices and have made concessions in order to watch video and listen to music through my Sprint 6700.

While my marathoning days are loooong gone (that’s Chicago above, 1998), I’d like to be more active. My 35th birthday is coming up in a few months, and my blood pressure and cholesterol are way too high (blogging doesn’t burn many calories)… It’d be nice if I can substantially reduce those numbers on my own without being medicated. After upgrading my Garmin Forerunner 201 to the 205 model a few months ago, I still had problems in (efficiently and consistently) locking onto the satellites near neighborhood highrises and in densely wooded areas along the Potomac. I also didn’t care for the way the redesigned model sat on my wrist. Off to ebay they went!

The Nike+ iPod digital pedometer has been on my radar for awhile now. I know there have been various complaints (it isn’t super accurate, the battery can’t be replaced), but it just looks like a fun gadget to have while working out. The web syncing also seems pretty cool. Not having to stand around for 10 minutes waiting for a satellite signal is priceless. So I picked up a Nano and the Nike+ kit.

Nike’s haven’t historically fit me that well (more of an Asics or New Balance guy) — I’m undecided if I’ll buy a pair or Velcro the pod onto sneaks I already own. Stay tuned…

Never enough time…

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  • Apple planning satellite radio integration? (Orbitcast)
  • $4k gets you a Blu-ray + HD DVD media center PC. (EngadgetHD)
  • Slingbox Pro receives 4/5 star review. (PC Mag)
  • YouTube faces copyright penalty of $150,000 per clip? (LA Times)
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Kevin Smith, Dave, and Jason Mewes
San Diego Comic-Con, 1997

So Macworld events and speakers have been announced… and I’m wondering why the heck is Kevin Smith presenting? Disney did retain control of the Miramax name and film library (including Smith’s Clerks & Chasing Amy) when they split with the Weinstein brothers last year, though his films have yet to show up on iTunes. Is this part of an Apple movie push in support of iTunes, iTV, and perhaps a larger movie-centric iPod? Or am I reading to much into this and event sponsor IDG is just looking for some entertaining speakers?