Why I Don’t Cover Zune




Several people have asked me why I have not covered any of the Zune leaks and stuff.  The main reason that I don’t cover it is because their isn’t much to say and the last thing Microsoft needs is yet another device over-hyped (read: UMPC) and then it doesn’t sale well.

I’ve always been under the impression that Zune is more like Portable Media Center v2.5.  This has been showing more and more by the latest news.  It’s made by Toshiba who currently makes a Portable Media Center (Gigabeat), it’s UI mockups look like Portable Media Center that I have in my hands right now (Creative PMC), and so on.  It’s just a PMC with what Microsoft considers a “catchy name” and a few new cool features (social networking, WiFi, etc).

I’m not saying it’s not going to be a cool player, but don’t over-hype another product just to see it fail or not live up to what it once was considered to be.



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Home Automation and mControl Post Coming Soon

For those of you who had interest in mControl and Home Automation I’ll have a good post about setting up INSTEON switches/dimmers with mControl later this week.  I got a dimmer and controller in yesterday, and setup it up with mControl.  It’s working great and I’ll have a full review and helpful getting started information to follow.  If anyone has questions about mControl, feel free to post and I’ll try and field them in the post or comments.  Now, back to learning Pre-cal (I hate calculus/algebra, give me some geometry or something to do already).  =)


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Schedule Recordings And Get Recommendations From Your Cell with UGuide














UGuide has launched in beta for Media Center users to try out.  UGuide can be used to view your program guides directly from Media Center on your cell phone (Java-enabled only).  Not only can you view it, but UGuide also can send daily personalized recommendations to you and allow you to remotely schedule recordings!

Search: Find exactly what you want to watch or record
Recommendations: Receive daily recommendations for programs that closely match your TV viewing preferences
Remote PVR Recording: Schedule recordings on your Windows Media Center PVR… from another room or another city
TV List: Quick and easy navigation that helps you find out what’s on at a specific time, on a specific channel
TV Grid: A standard program guide, tailored to your mobile phone
Favorite Channels: Store your favorite channels and personalize your program guide

Check out the forum thread on The Green Button for more.



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Yougle: YouTube Meets Google Video



Yougle | Google Video and YouTube Via Media Center | You should already know that you can search and browse YouTube via Media Center, but the developer is not stopping there.  Currently in beta, Yougle from Push-A-Button Software combines YouTube and Google Video into a single Media Center interface.  Free software, but please donate if you like it.



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Slickest Media Center Plug-In Yet; HeatWave!


Nearly a year ago I blogged about a James @ MCExtended tapping into a whole new style of Media Center development.  No Hosted HTML here, James was using undocumented features in a few of Media Center’s dynamic link libraries that allowed him to integrate the plug-in directly using the true Media Center interface/rendered.  The project died out only a few weeks later after James had talks with Charlie Owen about the downsides of using his new development methods.

Anyway, HeatWave is now back and just as cool as ever.  This weather plug-in uses Managed DirectX to present it’s UI and looks and performs nicer then HTML.  Looks great, although doesn’t work on Extenders just yet.  Check out the forum thread at The Green Button for more.



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S1Digital and Autonomic Controls Partner to Provide A/V Integration Support for Media Center




S1Digital LLC, a leading manufacturer of Media Servers based on Windows Media Center Edition, and Autonomic Controls, Inc., the exclusive provider of AV integration software for Windows Media Center Edition, have entered into an OEM agreement to provide custom installers with a two way control protocol for S1Digital Media Centers.

New York, NY. June 30, 2006. S1Digital LLC and Autonomic Controls’ have partnered to provide custom integrators with two-way, IP based control of S1Digital Media Centers. The control protocol is now available as a pre-installed option across the range of S1Digital’s Media Centers and is designed to ease the integration efforts for custom A/V installers.

Residential and commercial A/V installers can utilize S1Digital Media Centers with Autonomic Controls’ technology to provide a cost effective yet hyper-functional whole house Media Server for use in multi-zone audio and video applications while providing a robust touch panel interface for browsing and managing the Media Center’s content library.

Pre-built modules and touch panel interfaces for Crestron control systems is available for download on S1Digital’s website, and an AMX module will be available by September.  The companies will also be demonstrating a UMPC interface to S1Digital’s Media Centers in the Intel booth at CEDIA this September.  After the show, installers and customers can see a demonstration of the touch panel interface at S1Digital’s new showroom in New York City.

S1Digital’s Media Centers provide users with the ability to maintain and enjoy a large media collection of music, movies, pictures, and recorded TV, in a single box. The diverse functionality far exceeds any other media hardware and software currently available, and now S1Digital and Autonomic Controls’ announcement eliminates a major barrier when installing S1Digital’s Media Centers with 3rd party home control solutions.

“Media Center PCs optimized to run as a hub of a home entertainment center–for storing, managing and distributing digital files–can cost $2,000 to more than $7,000, depending on the configuration, whereas [dedicated] music servers typically range from about $5,000 to more than $25,000.”, said Jeff O’Heir, a columnist for Computer Reseller News. “And while those systems are strictly designed for audio, media-oriented PCs can handle music, photos, video games and other files. “

Autonomic Controls’ OEM product, Media Center Edition Control Server (MCECS) acts as a bi-directional communications gateway between the Media Center software and touch panel remote control devices such as those made by Crestron, AMX, and Control 4, or other systems capable of IP communication. The technology will also be used with web tablets, ultra mobile touch screen PCs, and Windows SideShow devices.



Company Information

S1Digital
is a premier builder of high-end, digital entertainment solutions. S1Digita’s Media Centers, based on Microsoft Media Center Edition, capture, store and distribute content including HDTV, movies, music and photos. Optional home automation add-ons enable seamless integration with A/V equipment, lights, HVAC and security systems. The company offers complete digital media solutions and works closely with custom installers to make available the most complete digital entertainment technology to customers. The S1Digital Experience showroom located in New York City showcases the latest digital media technology platforms and their applications in the home. For additional information, visit www.s1digital.com , email sales@s1digital.com or call (888) 632-6897.

Autonomic Controls, Inc. creates software to help computer and device OEMs, software developers and custom installers integrate Media Center PC’s into today’s automated home and business. The company is focused on extending the functionality of Microsoft Media Center hardware and software to provide real time interaction with control systems and remote controls that integrate with audio/video, security, environmental, and lighting devices.  In addition to MCE control technology, the company provides consulting and software development services to its partners in the A/V and computer industries. Autonomic, Inc. is based in North Salem, NY. For more information on MCE Server, the Autonomic Control System or other inquiries visit www.autonomichome.com or send e mail to information@autonomic.com.



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