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Build a BoxeeBox and Wean Yourself From Cable

stickyc The downside of Boxee (335 comments)

I'm a huge Boxee fan, but it's biggest differentiator (from XBMC, Plex, and similar forks) is also it's biggest liability.

In order to be an effective "social" media player, where titles can be shared and recognized by others, it has restrictions on the media sources. If your content isn't in IMDB, Hulu, TV Guide, or one of the other supported providers, there's no way to get it into Boxee.

The biggest offenders are TV series on DVD. Boxee understands Battlestar Galactica Season 1, Episode 5, but can't parse the DVD rip of Battlestar Galactica Season 1, Disk 2. Or, likewise, the DVD rip of Pixar's Short Films Collection (but it can parse the individual short films).

To be fair, last time I checked, none of the XBMC forks could parse these media (someone really should write a Netflix scraper plugin), but at least you could manually enter them.

more than 5 years ago
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Build a BoxeeBox and Wean Yourself From Cable

stickyc An easier solution (335 comments)

For those who don't wish to spend as much time assembling and tweaking, but still want to enjoy Boxee goodness; You can buy a refurbished Mac Mini, DVIHDMI dongle, and 1tb external disk for roughly the same price as the author spent on his Ubuntu rig. Boxee is available (and started) as a native OS-X application. Plus, with OS-X, you can get streaming HD Netflix.

more than 5 years ago
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Build a BoxeeBox and Wean Yourself From Cable

stickyc Re:Since we can't RTFA, I don't get it (335 comments)

The wins with Boxee are:

  • It's got a fairly high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) in that the UI is pretty easy to use (certainly much easier than Finder/Explorer).
  • It's a "social" media player. In that it has a "friends" system like most other social sites. You can see what your friends are watching (opt-in, of course) and use that as a tool to find new content.

more than 5 years ago
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Google Terminates Six Services

stickyc Re:Highlights one of the problems.. (195 comments)

Google notebook seems redundant with Google Docs imo.

I disagree. As a Google Notebook user, I found it very fast and easy to access. The cost (in clicks) of getting into a Google doc and organizing said doc after is much higher than with Notebook, plus there was an integrated FF plugin that made it very useful for clipping pages.

While Google's statement is "no new development", I think odds are that it will be shuttered completely within 24 months as other notebook services' (Evernote, Zoho) feature sets become compelling enough for existing GNotebook users to migrate, thus lessening the outcry when Google does pull the plug.

I'm sad that they're closing it down, but if you've got to end a service, this is a good course of action.

more than 5 years ago
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The Gym Arcade

stickyc Re:Expresso S3 review (I've used one) (143 comments)

We have one of these at work, and we're expecting another. It's a blast. And I'm not a gamer.

First, the downsides:

1) The shifter is not very well designed. It's a single lever mounted on the stem, which is an inconvenient spot. With 30 "gears" and very sharp changes of gradient, it's not uncommon to have to shift by 10 gears or more in a matter of seconds to avoid stalling out. The shifting doesn't seem all that responsive either, so there's a tendency to overshift, which usually leaves you moving too slowly. I'd rather have two shifters mounted on the bars, with the left shifter giving you 3-5 gears in one shot (i. e. something like front and rear derailleurs on a "real" bike). This is by far the weakest part of the setup. If they would fix that, it would be a much stronger product.

The S3 model has shift buttons on the handlebars, are you sure you don't have an S2 model (the S3 has a widescreen 17" monitor where the S2 has a 4x3 14" monitor)? Also, on all the models, you can shift using the up and down arrows on the control panel, but the beeping can get annoying after a while.

3) The saddle simply isn't very good. It's adjustable in maybe 1/2" increments both vertically and front to back (which is OK for this purpose, but finer increments would be better). However, it's a wide, heavily cushioned saddle, which really isn't very comfortable for long rides. It would be nice if there were a couple of different saddles to pick from, and you could just plunk down the one you like at any given time. It's a much better saddle than the usual exercise bike saddle, but that's not saying much.

There are several models of saddle available and you can easily swap them out, maybe talk to your facilities person and see if they'll order a different seat?

Good points:

4) The bike can be connected to the internet, with some additional features (I don't know what they all are; ours isn't connected yet).

The back-end support is where the EF 'experience' really shines - If your bike is connected to the net and you choose to create an rider account (which is free), your ride data is uploaded to the web site expresso.net and you can have online access to your ride statistics and performance history, view leaderboards, participate in contests, choose saved rides (yours and other peoples') to ride against, and view achievements you've attained while riding. A basic bike account is free and gives you access to some of the features on the web site, upgrading to a paying member unlocks the extra tracks and expands the features available on the back end.

Neutral points:

1) While your avatar responds to the steering, it doesn't really affect the riding in any way, except on the game course. It won't let you go off the course (if you try to steer off, or don't try to steer on, it just keeps you at the side of the course). You can also ride right through other riders, and they can ride through you if you're slower. It doesn't really feel natural, but without actual movement, it would be very hard to make the steering feel natural. I don't care all that much.

The Chase courses (where you chase down dragons to earn points) are "free range". Since quite a bit of the Route experience is designed around the idea of a repeatable "lap", we need to be able to constrain the riders to a course.

more than 5 years ago

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