Posts filed under ‘iPad’

Connecting an IP Camera to WMC, iPhones and iPads

Motivated by the upcoming yearly Halloween onslaught of youngsters and the not so young about to come through my condo complex, I started thinking about how to integrate an Internet capable surveillance camera with my connected home and devices. I’m not a “real” developer, but I’m a pretty smart geek (IMO) and I started looking around for ideas that  I could borrow and customize.

My goals were to be able to check activity in my parking lot/walkway on demand from Windows Media Center, my iPhone, and my iPad. The web is a wonderful wealth of information, and putting this together was not really difficult. And definitely worth sharing with others.

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October 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Sonos S5 Music Players, Connected, Converged, Fantastic

I’m not easily impressed, but my jaw is hanging open today after installing two Sonos S5 Music Players to cover my home with end to end music. I’ve used computers, Media Center Extenders and all kinds of hardware and software in the past to move music around my home, but I always had to cobble together pieces and use separate devices and controllers to get what I wanted.  What did I want? Well, everything imaginable. The list below is not in any particular order:

1. The ability to stream from ANY of my computers (using Play To or anything else) to more than one music player/renderer simultaneously.

2. To be able to control the volume above individually or together.

3. Play Pandora Radio and other Internet sourced digital music

4. Use existing/create new playlists

5. Use iPhones, iPads and  iPxxx whatever to control and manage the device as a remote control (including graphical menus).

6. Use the system as an alarm clock with choices to wake from alarm, music, Internet music, whatever

7. Wireless connectivity in my Living Room

8. A system that was upgradeable.

9. Quality sound

10. Expandability

I’m still stunned that I found a system that does ALL of the above. (And I’m betting I discover more features – I’ve only had a few hours experience with this all, so my exploration and discovery has only just begun).

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October 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Eye-Fi & iPad

If someone knows where I can buy the Apple iPad Camera Connector, PLEASE let me know. I just grabbed another brass ring off the iPad carousel.

Eye-Fi on its own is cool enough. Send digital photos from your camera to your desktop via 802.11n (2.4 GHz only)  for editing, to various online photo sharing sites, Facebook, and so on. It sure beats connecting cables or removing cards from a camera.

I thought that the advertised free iPhone app for Eye-Fi (available in the App Store of course) might be useful on my iPad since its function is to send photos from the iPhone via 3G to your desktop or a supported online photo sharing site (Facebook, Flickr, MobileMe, Picasa, Smugmug). And I was right.

eyefiupload2

Surprisingly, there was virtually no setup to speak up. You authenticate by entering the credentials for your Eye Fi account and the little app “just works”. Once I logged in, the computer showed an additional tab on the left labelled iPhone (which I promptly changed to iPad). A settings window popped right up (and it can be accessed at any time) that let me specify a folder hierarchy and type and some other options.

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Back on the iPad, since there is no camera and because I don’t yet have my hands on the camera connector for iPad, I was able to upload photos stored on the device. I used this feature to take the screen captures I made of the Eye Fi functionality on the iPad and send them to my desktop for editing and inclusion in this post.

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Well, I can’t take a photo with the iPad as I said, but I sure can choose an existing photo and upload it. I just selected my Saved Pictures folder on the iPad and selected three images. The two above and one showing all the saved screen shots (appears below as iPhone005.JPG inside the Windows Explorer image).

I could tell the image uploads were completed via both a tool tip in the system and the Eye-Fi center window below.

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Here’s the Windows Explorer view.

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Yup, this is way cool. I really want to get my hands on that iPad Camera Connector. I’m relishing the thought of all my pictures being uploaded and ready for editing on the home computer when I walk in the front door at the end of a day of photo shooting.

June 10, 2010 at 7:05 pm Leave a comment

iPad + WHS (Vail) + Air Video + Recorded TV = Internet Streaming

Air Video (Free) for the iPad just made my non DRM’d MCE Recorded TV mobile.  A few simple hoops to jump through and a couple of gotcha’s, but for me, well worth the effort. I’m streaming recorded TV over 3G.

Ingredients:

Vail (WHS2) Beta

Apple iTunes x64

Air Video (Free from the App Store)

iPad

DVR-MS Recorded TV files

Well, Vail is in public beta. I’m disappointed that there isn’t any Media Center functionality (i.e., whole home networked Media Center), but at least I’ve got a slick way to stream my unprotected recorded TV (and other video formats) while away from home.

I’m going to be purchasing the full version of Air Video. This one’s a keeper and then some. I set up the free version today and I’m, well, wowed.

Air Video streams quite a number of file formats natively, and can convert some (but not all) in real time and stream. That includes dvr-ms (but not, unfortunately, wtv). I’m looking for a slicker way to automatically convert my wtv files to dvr-ms, but for now, I right click a wtv on a W7 machine and then select convert to dvr-ms. Enough for a demo and to know that this is one app I’m going to be using alot. The Free version of Air Video only allows 3 files in a folder, so for now, I’ve divided a few files up accordingly and stored them on my Vail machine. That was the hard part. Or at least manually distracting.

In order, I

1. Installed iTunes x64 (this includes Bonjour – if you already have iTunes without Bonjour, you will need to install it)

2.  Downloaded the server side software. Configured it by specifying the folders

3. . Downloaded and installed the Air Video Free server software from iTunes on my iPad

4.  Specified the server on the iPad in Air Server Server settings.

5.  Started watching streaming recorded TV over 3G (also works at home on WiFi)

Note: If your router isn’t UPnP, you will need to forward TCP Port 45631

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You can see you can play in real time with Live Conversion. This worked perfectly for me. You can also convert and queue up various titles.

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Full screen in landscape view on my iPad is totally watchable.

June 5, 2010 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

iPad + Comcast + myDVR

This has been one of those strange weeks where nothing has gone as planned but has ended up in the right place. Through some strange alignment of the planets, I’ve ended up with the beta of Comcast’s myDVR, which lets you schedule recordings on the web (and a whole lot more) through Fancast on your Comcast DVR. Comcast has had an iPod app for a while, and updated the version yesterday to be more iPad friendly (yes, push now works for notifications). Most markets don’t have this rolled out yet. And no, this is not the app Brian Roberts showed off at the Cable Show this week for the iPad.

The current iPad/iPod app really made me sit up and take notice. It’s really  slick. And it works as advertised. I had created a favorites list of channels that I record from all the time (movies mostly) and can easily access my favorites lineup and schedule recordings on either of my two Comcast DVRs, make changes, and everything syncs up quickly with the schedule on the physical boxes. Way to go, Comcast. (Microsoft, if only you could think a little more outside the box and offer this kind of functionality for Windows Media Center. You once had MSN Remote Record and blew your chance at evolving from that very early start. Yes, there are third party apps, like Remote Potato, but it doesn’t come close to the elegance of the Comcast app. And with what Brian Roberts demo’d, I’d say that Comcast has won the slingfest…)

The Comcast App does more than Video, it does email, voicemail, and on the iPad, this is quite usable for me.  First, I went to http://www.fancast.com to activate the myDVR application. Since I’ve used the Fancast site before, I’d already specified my channel lineup.

To get to the schedule, just tap The Guide.

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  The Guide is very readable on the iPad, and of course you can rotate the iPad for a landscape view. You can select several predefined views within the app, but I find it best for me to use the Favorites list that I created on the iPad.

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Anything previously scheduled will show as a red dot. And you can select a scheduled show to make changes from this screen.

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I’ve scrolled on to the next day and decided to record Mamma Mia.  I can schedule, set reminders and view other show times.

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If I want to change to my other DVR, I just tap Record On DVR and can make the change. And I can record on both if I so desire.

 

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Once I’ve decided to record, I get a message indicating that the request has been sent to the DVR.

 

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As promised, when I view the guide on the iPad, within a few minutes, I can see that it is a confirmed recording.

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If I select the show, I can make changes.

 

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And if it is a show/movie/series (yes I can setup series recordings too) that I want to tell someone else about, Comcast provides a link that opens an email message, pre-populated, with the summary above for you to address, maybe add a few comments, and send.

All in all, this is really slick. Far better than scheduling on the actual DVR (in my opinion).

I don’t know when it will be available in various Comcast markets, but it is slowly getting rolled out.

May 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

iPad +WHS + RDP

This isn’t a half bad experience. In fact,  it mostly works. I can read word docs, excel files and pdfs on the server. And I get gorgeous displays of Power Point pptx files..

I can’t edit or create new files, and I’m hoping that, down the road, someone will figure out a way to create and edit MS Office apps on the iPad. I don’t think it likely that MS would create Microsoft Office for the iPad, but then you never know.

Here’s how remote access to WHS looks on my iPad:

whs-rdp-ipad

April 10, 2010 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

iPad

While I’m an admitted Windows Enthusiast/Junkie/Evangelist/Microsoft MVP/Fanatic, I decided that the iPad is a must have gadget. I can’t effectively do much except  “light” mail replying and minimalist web browsing and social networking and anything else that requires reading on my Blackberry 8330 because the screen is tiny and the thumbs based typing is tough with fingernails and my trifocals object after a few minutes to the size and form factor.  I have to mention that my Verizon cell phone new every two won’t let me replace my phone until October and AT&T has zero coverage at my condo.

I’ve been taking a 10 inch beefed up netbook around with me, but I think the iPad is better suited for casual “always connected” activities where I’m not looking/working on spreadsheets/Word docs/PowerPoint presentations et al. And the iPad is a great entertainment device.  I have to say that iTunes is a whole less finicky about editing meta data and album art than Windows Media Player on Windows 7.

Zune won’t let me copy or sync my DRM’d recorded TV shows and the Digital Copies supplied with some of my Blu Ray disks aren’t particularly Windows friendly. 

Given the number of other “Window’s people” giving this device the thumbs up, it’s pretty clear I’m not alone. I’ll look at the Windows “slate” supposedly coming this year, but for now, the iPad is my device of choice for running around town and casual night table usage.

I’m definitely on the lookout for an RDP application to load on my new toy. If I can manage my server and a few other things from this “thin client”, it will be the frosting on the cake.

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I also can’t wait to try out some of the games on my iPad.  And read some e-books and news.

April 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

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