Sonos S5 Music Players, Connected, Converged, Fantastic

Posted Posted in Apple, DLNA, iPad, iPhone, Media Center, Networking, Software, Sonos, Technology, WHS, Windows 7, Wireless Streaming

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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Stream Movies, Audio from iDisk to Your iPxxx

Posted Posted in iPad, iPhone, Media Center, Networking, Wireless Streaming

I’d forgotten that I’d converted many Battlestar Galactica Recorded TV files recorded using  Windows Media Center to mp4 files and stashed them away on a NAS drive.

I just had one of those A HA moments and uploaded one of them to my iDisk in the cloud  (which comes with my MobileMe subscription).  I had been thinking of iDisk as a place in the cloud to stash files, but not as a streaming server.  I downloaded the iDisk app to my iPad (and to my iPhone) and yup, I’ve got another place to store media files that can be served to my computers and iPxxx devices over the Internet.  Apple supplies 10GB of cloud storage space (compared to the 25GB Microsoft supplies with SkyDrive, but MS doesn’t seem to have an App in the App store <G>).

Here are a couple of captures from my iPad:

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iPad, ICS Meeting Invites, Outlook, Blackberry Sync Solution

Posted Posted in Device Sync, iPad, Software

I have been struggling trying to keep 3 copies of Outlook (non Exchange) Calendars and Contacts in sync for a long time. There are lots of manual kludgy ways to do this. But when I add my iPad and a need to be able to accept meeting invites (not to mention a Blackberry), I’ve been pretty frustrated.

My second problem: Apple for whatever (probably business) reason, can’t read Outlook ICS meeting requests files (and apparently won’t let any third party app to update the iPad Calendar).  And third, there is RIM, whose Blackberry Desktop Manager doesn’t even support Outlook 2010 yet.

I’m happy to report that I’ve solved problems one and two. And still using Outlook 2007.

Microsoft, I hope you are listening..

I’ve started a 60 day trial with MobileMe. After a couple of hours of doing some backups of my Contacts and Calendars and installing iTunes and the MobileMe Windows Control Panel, I’m happy to say that all three computers are marching to the same drummer and are in sync. I’ve added my iPad and yep, 4 devices all with the same data. I’m still using the Blackberry Desktop Manager via USB to sync that device to Outlook on one of my computers.

My  remaining issue was what to do with meeting invites while away from the computers. Enter a nifty app called RDP Lite from the iTunes store that I’d already been using for some time. This app will work with all versions of Windows that support being a RDP host. Since I’m using W7 Ultimate on everything, I’m covered. While it is a little kludgy, if I get a meeting invite via email on the iPad, I’ll just use RDP Lite to a computer at home (and BTW, RDP Lite supports port specification so if you have multiple computers on your network and change the RFDP port for other computers,you are covered).

I open Outlook (if not already running) and retrieve mail,click the ICS and add to the Calendar on that computer.MobileMe takes over from there and syncs with the other computers and the iPad. And if I schedule something on the iPad manually, MobileMe syncs with the three computers.

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Here is a screen shot of RDP Lite on my iPad. You can see the MobileMe icon in the system tray (clouds on a blue background). It’s really working!

I still have to jump through some hoops to sync Notes and Tasks, but I’ll figure something out for that.

Is MobileMe worth $99 a year? Well, 59 days left in my trial period before I get charged. I’ll post an update when I decide.

Flipboard for iPad:Your Social Networks in Magazine Format

Posted Posted in iPad, Social Networking

This FREE app in the iTunes store is a keeper. Most of the other iPad apps for Twitter and Facebook are light year’s behind in readability when compared to this iPad app that just hit today.

Your newsfeeds, tweets, et al are displayed in a magazine type layout that is easy to read and stunning to boot.

I can see why the Flipboard servers are busy busy busy. Every iPad user on the planet must be trying to set this little gem up simultaneously. Be patient. It’s worth it.

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Start page for Flipboard. You can add your own content!

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Twitter post displayed in landscape format. Really gorgeous!