Using NFC tags in the car

NFC tag stickers

I've found a very handy use for NFC tags. When I'm in my car I like to steam music from my phone to the car's stereo system using Bluetooth. Also it is handy to enable the Samsung "Driving mode" so I get a bit more information read out to me, e.g. if the phones beeps and it is a text message the phone will tell me who the message is from so I can decide whether I should park up and read it. Ideally I don't want WiFi on to cut power consumption. When I get out of the car I want to switch off Bluetooth (to save power), switch off Driving Mode and switch on Wifi. This all involves changing several settings on the phone everytime I get in and out of my car. Fortunately NFC tags can make this much easier.

Bye TouchWiz, hello Smart Launcher!

I've been very happy with my Samsung S3 since the day I bought it. It's a great phone with a lot of features that make it good fun. However, lately I've been finding the TouchWiz launcher a bit slow to work with. It seems a bit laggy at times which isn't a good thing on such a powerful phone. So I experimented with a stock Android launcher and that was fast and responsive, but I still found it a bit slow to use. It was time to look for a more radical alternative.

Boxee changed my life

The news that Samsung has acquired Boxee caught me a little by surprise. Boxee is software that I don't use much anymore, but it changed my life. Back in 2009 I first started using Boxee, which was then a fork of XBMC. Initially I was interested in the social aspects of the software, the ability to share and recommend content, but what became increasingly important to me was the presence of web content as a central feature of the user interface.

Android on a stick: Using the MK808

Since the app that played YouTube videos on my Roku Player became unavailable I had been searching around for a good solution to stream online video content to my TV. I had been looking at newly announced devices like the Asus Qube or the Samsung Homesync and they looked good but seemed to be taking forever getting to market her in the UK. Another alternative was to get a cheap mini-PC with Android on it. Initially I had been reluctant to do this as they are very cheap and had mixed reviews. Would it be a waste of money?

New blogs and old blogs

I've been getting increasingly fascinated with the world of web series for quite a while now. It feels that this area is the centre of such a huge amount of creative energy at the moment that it wouldn't make any sense to ignore it. On this blog I have written a few posts highlighting some of my favourite series, but recently I haven't felt that greenhughes.com was the right vehicle to explore this world in. There are many reasons for this.

Web TV Highlights no.3

It may not be trendy to say it, but I like watching television, but it has to be interesting television. Some of it I watch over the air in the traditional way, some of it on the web where many fine series are to be found. So here is the third in my series of posts about web series that I have been watching. It is amazing to see the variety of content on offer and all of the people who want to tell their stories, these are just a few of them.

Blip: Not just a video site but your next TV channel

Blip logo

Anything that can make it easier to discover great content on the Internet is always welcome. I've been having a look at Blip, a video service that helps do this for web series. It offers many facilities to help viewers and producers of web series alike. Blip is more than just a video web site or a collection of apps; it is the concept of a TV channel reinterpreted for the web. Crucially, it promotes web series content through its own web site and apps and on major social media websites and provides a business model where web series producers can make money too. In this blog post I'll be taking a look at the blip experience and examining what is in it for viewers and producers alike.

Web TV Highlights no.2

It is an exciting time in the world of web series! So following on from Web TV Highlights no.1 here is the second in my occasional posts about tv shows that I like on the web. Last week saw the second International Academy of Web Television Awards which took place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Paul Kontonis, Chairman of the IAWTV released some surprising statistics about the web TV industry. Nearly five hundred web series submitted themselves for consideration for an award to the IAWTV, five times the total number of web series that were produced in 2009. In 2013 it is predicted one thousand new web series will launch. He also commented that in 2011 about US$50million was spent on original online content, but this is predicted to rise to $250million in 2013.

Developing a Roku channel is fun!

I recently treated myself to a Roku LT which is an inexpensive little gadget (currently retailing for about £40) that streams content from the Internet to your TV. Roku has got a lot right with this device. It is simple to use, the user interface is consistent, and it is compact - the unit is about the size of a hockey puck. A software development kit is also available so you can develop your own apps, or channels in Roku-speak. So I set myself the challenge of writing a new channel to see what developing for a Roku box is like.

Web TV Highlights no.1

When you live and work in a world of technology it is easy to forget that it is not the technology that matters but what people do with it. Right now there is a huge amount of creativity being released into the web TV world. It is very exciting and I have been finding myself watching more and more online, so I thought I would start writing occasional posts about what has stood out for me. I'm going to embed previews where possible too, so I hope that the folk behind the shows don't mind.

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