Last Build Date: Sat, 01 Oct 2016 19:39:56 +0000
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 02:03:00 +0000SiliconDust makes a series of network over-the-air and digital cable/CableCard tuners. I wrote an overview of the streaming support of these tuners on Zatz Not Funny: Streaming Cable TV via HDHomeRun DLNAHere are a few ways to consume this content using the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) features of Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, desktop and mobile operating systems.I will expand on each over time and add more options as I come across them. Please add your suggestions in the comments!Smart TV – Samsung Hub (certain models)This works very well via the included DLNA network browser.Android - DLNA Browser – MediaHouseRequires a video player like...Android Video – WondershareRequires a media browser like MediaHouse.Android Video – MX PlayerRequires a media browser like MediaHouse.Android App – HDHomeRun View (by SiliconDust)Android App – HDHomeRun TV (not by SiliconDust)Android only right now. Coming to iOS.Windows Media PlayerCan browse UPnP/DLNA folders via Windows Explorer and open streams using WMP. Maybe. If it works.Windows Media Center (Windows 7 Home Premium+ and 8 Pro)Multi-platform - VLCCan use a DLNA browser or use this method to open a channel stream using VLC.iPad 2 - Elgato App Was the first app for mobile that could stream HDHomeRun Prime video. Only worked with the iPad 2, and may have disappeared/gets no support.Problems: http://www.silicondust.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=16829 (discussion gone as of 9/9/2014 - fixed?)Allowed recording too.Down the Road· Android TV has been mentioned, as well as some sort of guide/UI for browsing channels. That would be very cool!What else do you use to stream HDHomeRun content on your home network?[...]
Fri, 25 Oct 2013 01:38:00 +0000If you have an HDHomeRun Prime network TV tuner with updated firmware (and don't forget your CableCard), you can access your (non-encrypted) digital cable channels using DLNA. Many DLNA browsers, including some TVs and tablet/phone apps, can automatically find the channel listing so you can skip using a cable box--or watch something live while your DVR records a few other shows.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 20:56:00 +0000Over the past few months I've started blogging as a feature contributor to the tech blog Zatz Not Funny. This has given me an outlet for reviewing some of the lesser known but still very interesting technology out there. So far I've racked up three reviews:
Wed, 29 May 2013 23:52:00 +0000
Your client wants SharePoint, but not plain old SharePoint. They won’t let you hire a developer. You cannot deploy solutions to the server. We see this often while working for various government and commercial clients, and on the surface it looks like it will limit our ability to provide the solutions they need. However, there are many features of SharePoint right under the surface that are often overlooked. SharePoint can do a lot if you just know what's possible.
This session will discuss ways to create business solutions using SharePoint without complex programming or needing to deploy complied code solutions to the server. We will cover Functionality (Libraries & Lists, Metadata, Workflows, and Forms) and Visualization (List Views, Pages & Web Parts, Branding, and Reporting/Dynamic Content).
The audience for this session is anyone using SharePoint, in particular new users, content managers, and budding Power Users and Front End Developers in scenarios where they do not have access or control to fully customize the instance of SharePoint they are using. You will come out of this session with some out-of-the-box features and front end configurations that can be used to enhance your SharePoint sites.We hope to see you there!
Mon, 11 Mar 2013 02:19:00 +0000It's time to get blogging again. Sure I'm active on Twitter, post those requisite photos of my kids to Facebook, and write more than my fair share of posts on my company's Yammer feed. However, this is where the longer form explaining it all really happens. Recently, happenings in the gadget world got me thinking I need to put on my blogger hat once again.
|The Chumby One, running Zurk's Offline Firmware.|
In January 2013, one of the volunteers initiated an effort to create a company to acquire all of the remaining assets of Chumby Industries for the purpose of maintaining the service. That company, "Blue Octy, LLC", completed the transaction in mid-February.They created a temporary stub service that will allow the following devices and apps to boot to a clock:
Fri, 31 Aug 2012 13:42:00 +0000It has been four months since I posted anything to this blog. Admittedly, that is pretty pitiful. I need to do better.
Sat, 21 Apr 2012 16:21:00 +0000Today I am taking a short break from the Scrum for SharePoint series to cover another topic near and dear to my heart.The Insignia Infocast 3.5 by Best Buy (similar to the Chumby One).Way back in the mid-2000s, before we had the iPhone or Android or even webOS, a little company named Chumby appeared on the scene with a neat gadget that was going to replace your clock radio with something much cooler. Prototypes of the Chumby came out in 2006 and 2007, and the first widely-available consumer version was released in 2008. I was very excited to see the Chumby appear on the scene, in part because I was sad that the 3Com (Palm) Audrey had failed so miserably back in 2000. It's hard to remember, but back in 2008, there was not much out there like the Chumby. The iPhone and Android operating systems were relatively new and still gaining traction. There were zero consumer grade tablets available on the market. Even with the iPhone and Android out there, they were geared towards phone devices. There were definitely no clock radio gadgets to compete with Chumby. So theoretically, the Chumby had a good chance to succeed.The Chumby is not a tablet and it is not a phone or iPod-like device. It really has no equivalent out there in the world. It is first and foremost an internet clock radio. Think of your old Sony Dream Machine, add in the likes of Pandora and Shoutcast internet music and podcast services, and add the ability to change the clock face to one of hundreds of different options. That is a Chumby.There are other things a Chumby can do, like display news feeds, Facebook, Twitter, internet web cams, and more. Yet at its core, the Chumby is a clock radio that can get live content from the internet.My boys really enjoy the Sony Dash. We have itin our dining room.I bought a Chumby One for my dad in 2009. At first, he didn't know what to do with it, but over time he came to appreciate the different clocks faces to choose from and its ability to play Pandora and other internet music services.I got my first "Chumby" in 2010 when I picked up a Sony Dash for a relatively good price. However, even though I got a "deal" at the time, price was one of Chumby's downfalls: the Dash list price was $200 at the time--I think I got my for a "steep discount" at $150--and the Chumby-branded units were not much cheaper.The Dash was a step up from the Chumby, as it had internet video as well. You could (and can still) get Netflix, YouTube and Hulu Plus video, among other choices. So it was worth a slight premium over the much smaller Chumby One (3.5" screen vs. 7" screen), but still a bit expensive for what you got.We have installed the Insignia Infocast 3.5 in our master bathroom media station.Later in 2010 I picked up Best Buy's Insignia branded version of the Chumby One, the Infocast 3.5. This time I got it for under $45 and had a $25 gift card to boot. Now that was a deal. Under $50 would have been the perfect price point to allow the Chumby to be more successful.Alas, regular prices didn't get much lower than $100, most people didn't understand why they needed one in addition to their iPhones and iPads, and therefore not many units were sold. In 2011 Sony stopped making the Dash. Around that time Best Buy also stopped making the Infocast line. Later in the year, Chumby itself stopped making hardware as well, leaving the Chumby platform flailing around a little bit without much support. The company said they were going to focus on a connected TV platform, but nothing much came of it.Just the other day, Chumby announced that the whole team had moved on to new things at Technicolor and that there was no one left at Chumby to turn the lights off.The Chumby network is still up and running--for now--but much like what happened to services like ReplayTV, it could be shut off at any time. This leads to one of my ongoing concerns with this particular platform: it is[...]
Sun, 08 Apr 2012 18:31:00 +0000Before I get into the rest of the Scrum for SharePoint Article Backlog, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what happens at the beginning. It is always important to start things out right, and a Scrum-based SharePoint project is no different. This is an example of being Agile, right? I am reordering the Article Backlog based on new priority from the Blog Owner (me) and working on the top priority item first, just like we would do in Scrum. As with everything, how a projects starts will vary based on the project and your particular environment. "It depends." I want to document some ways of handling Scrum for SharePoint and see what sticks. In fact, I am looking for your experiences, good and bad, for different ways for starting up a Scrum project that is building out a SharePoint site, application, or an entire farm. Many questions come up at the beginning of an Agile Scrum project. In particular: When are we going to have time to set everything up? Good question. If you start your first Sprint developing against the Product Backlog but don't have a development/test and/or production infrastructure in place yet, what do you do? Scrum is designed to be iterative, which means you have a Product Backlog of functionality that needs to be built, which may change over time, but there is no set project plan. Each Sprint takes a piece of that Product Backlog and builds it out within a certain time box. I'll explain more in future posts. For now, just know that a Sprint is between 2-4 weeks and is focused on developing a certain set of features. The list of items in the backlog changes as priorities change, but once a Sprint starts the priorities for that Sprint are set. It is possible to build time in to each Sprint to handle infrastructure changes and additions. Even for environments that already exist, you are going to need time to adjust them to fit the needs of the project and Product Backlog. In fact, much of the infrastructure work may be totally outside the Scrum process. Infrastructure, in my opinion, makes a lot more sense as a waterfall project. That said, the development team may still need to be part of the process and it might be too much to ask them to do a lot of infrastructure and development environment work alongside actual development. Which is why I think it's good to start out with something in place before any development begins at all. If no infrastructure exists—say you are building a brand new SharePoint farm or planning to migrate content from an older version of SharePoint—then more work needs to be done so the development team can hit the ground running at Sprint 1. Do not assume that the team will have time to set things up once they are working on user stories and committing to a certain amount of velocity for each sprint. While velocity can be adjusted to fit in time for administrative or overhead tasks, or user stories can be created to work on infrastructure things (is this even a good idea?), the team's focus will be on building out functionality and it will required a concerted effort to work on anything outside of development. For environments that already have a full or partial SharePoint infrastructure, the job is much easier but there is still work to do. You need developer environments, a development/build server, a test infrastructure, and stuff like source control and something to manage the Agile process (SharePoint, maybe?). Things will go much smoother if they already exist or there is time to set these up before tackling the product backlog. I guess my point is that while Scrum for SharePoint can be Agile, you still need to consider the foundation of the project team's resources before any development work begins. In addition to infrastructure and development resources, the beginning of a Scrum project may also include an assessment of the initial Product Backlog,[...]
Sat, 10 Mar 2012 20:04:00 +0000
A few weeks ago I documented my initial thoughts about Scrum for SharePoint. Much like the scrum process, I am going to create a backlog of article topics ("user stories") and then work through them in priority order. Here is the initial set of article topics. This backlog will be updated with links and changes as the article series progresses.
Comments and suggestions are welcome! I am interested in your questions and feedback from your own experiences with Scrum for SharePoint, as well as comparisons to doing waterfall project management.
Topics in priority order (subject to change): [updated 8-April 2012]
Sun, 26 Feb 2012 15:42:00 +0000I have worked with SharePoint for seven years now, all the way back to 2005 when I started with SharePoint 2003 after moving off of Microsoft Content Management Server. For much of this time the projects I worked on were run either as waterfall or in an operations & maintenance (O&M)/time & materials (T&M) fashion. Fast forward to 2011. I moved to a new job at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services over the summer and in the fall began my first SharePoint project that fully used the Agile Scrum methodology. Most of our project team was new to Scrum as well, so we all dove into it together for the first time. Agile is a framework that has a few different official methodologies you can choose from. The basic tenant is to focus on making working products in an iterative fashion and adjusting to change without being stifled by rigid process. This is emphasized by the Agile Manifesto. That does not mean we forget about process, planning, and documentation. We still do those things. It is about balance. Scrum is one of the most popular agile methodologies, if not the most popular, especially for software development. We use the concept of a “time box” to focus on shorter periods of work while keeping an eye on the overall goal. The Scrum Alliance has a nice, quick intro to Scrum that summarizes it quite well: The Scrum Framework in 30 Seconds. We are now on sprint 5 of our SharePoint custom development project using Scrum and I am totally into it. The methods are working to give us focus, keep us on track with the most important priorities, and provide transparency to everyone involved in the process including the stakeholders and product owner (customer). This makes a lot of sense, and is how I always tried to work on a smaller scale on previous projects. This just formalizes the flexible yet defined process for everyone involved. That statement probably makes more sense if you have already done an Agile project. If not, read the links below and you too may get indoctrinated. So what does this have to do with SharePoint, besides the fact that I’m working on a SharePoint project? I plan to break down different areas of Scrum for SharePoint over a few blog posts, which will likely include: How the product backlog handles SharePoint configuration and customization Integration between the development, requirements & testing teams and the stakeholders & product owner When does overall SharePoint architecture fit into the picture? What about infrastructure? How to address technical and graphic design Technical Debt: Focus on what must be done now but also track what should be done later Development process, deployments, and continuous integration (aka Application Lifecycle Management) More, more, more! I need to emphasize that there is not just one way to do Agile Scrum for SharePoint, or any project for that matter. I will talk about how we’ve done it and how I have seen other projects do it. The point is, your process depends on your team and your timeline and your goals. It is just a framework and methodology, not a prescriptive guidebook. Consistency is the key. So no matter what you choose to do, you should follow your process consistently. Agile is not a prescription for anarchy. It is a set of suggestions that can be formed together to create your successful process. Also, I can’t start a discussion about Scrum for SharePoint without a shout out to Andrew Woodward, 21Apps, and their 21Scrum project. To find out more about Agile and Scrum check out: Agile Scrum Agile Manifesto The Scrum Framework in 30 Seconds Glossary of Scrum Terms 21Scrum – Scrum for SharePoint The next article in the series Scrum for SharePoint: Article Backlog is up! [...]
Sun, 22 Jan 2012 13:33:00 +0000
Sat, 13 Aug 2011 02:10:00 +0000Thank you to everyone who came out to SharePoint Saturday The Conference today to watch Dave Shimko and me present "Cloudy with a Chance of SharePoint." We had a great interactive audience and I hope everyone got to learn a little bit about the options for hosting SharePoint "cloud"-side.
Sun, 24 Jul 2011 19:45:00 +0000Update 8/3/2011: The SPSTCDC schedule has been posted! See: http://www.spstc.org/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=38Dave and I will be speaking at 3pm on Friday, August 12th.In just a couple of weeks will be the next iteration of the SharePoint Saturday franchise, this time with a little twist. SharePoint Saturday The Conference DC will be held from August 11th to 13th this year in the Washington, DC area (Annandale, Virginia to be exact). No, it's not just on Saturday anymore. This is not your father's SharePoint Saturday. They have expanded the conference to three days. It's still [almost] free--just a nominal $39 registration fee this time around. You can't get a better value anywhere else.I will be presenting at SPSTCDC with my former colleague Dave Shimko on a topic very near and dear to my heart: "The Cloud." Yep, "The Cloud." Notice the quotes. The Cloud is not always what it seems. Our talk is entitled Cloudy with a Chance of SharePoint.More specifically we'll be talking about moving SharePoint from your local area network to a remotely hosted environment and the considerations you'll need to address before you make any decisions. This could be in an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment, a Software as a Service (SaaS) environment, just moving your servers from on site to co-located data center, or something in between. Here's the session description:"Moving to “The Cloud” is a popular topic these days. Many companies and even the government are looking to consolidate IT resources, work within more limited budgets, and the desire to simplify the management of their infrastructure. Naturally, “The Cloud” seems like a great idea.But is it? And what does this mean for SharePoint?First off, we will describe the different aspects of “The Cloud,” mainly that The Cloud is really not just one type of technology and often isn’t The Cloud at all. In fact, cloud computing is just a fraction of the services available for hosting servers and websites and SharePoint. You can have a locally “private cloud” or a remotely hosted dedicated Saas (Software as a Service). You might consider a public cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) or a dedicated virtual infrastructure. Or just a plain old rack server in a co-located facility. Which do you choose?Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question. However, we will dive into the questions that you should ask in order to ensure you make an educated decision about where to go. Some examples:What does it mean for SharePoint? Do you really need the elasticity of something like Amazon EC2, or are your computing needs more stable and predictable? Do you want IaaS, where you are in charge of the SharePoint application? Or do you want SaaS, where the hosting provider manages the SharePoint application level for you? What about security? How do you budget for unforeseen costs?So when your boss, CIO, or the President of the United States says, “We’re going to The Cloud,” you will have a better idea which “cloud” you should hop on to." Find #SPSTCDC on Twitter and visit the SPSTCDC website for more information about the speakers, sessions, and lodging information.[...]
Thu, 07 Jul 2011 13:18:00 +0000Sometimes you pause, take a step back, and realize that it's time to try something new. For me, that time has come yet again.
Sun, 20 Feb 2011 16:13:00 +0000A few weeks ago I tweeted this Old School Tech question: What is this?What am I?I got some interesting guesses on Facebook and Twitter, but @jwmiller5 was the first one with the correct answer: the CueCat.At its core, the CueCat is a barcode scanner, similar to the light-based scanners found in grocery stores and most other retail outlet cash registers, as well as many other applications like inventory control and libraries. This specific barcode scanner, the CueCat, was a free handout that came with my Wired magazine subscription around 2000. They were delivered with other magazines and were also mailed out to certain people and handed out in some stores. This was right before the dot com bubble burst, so companies were still spending money like crazy without necessarily having a viable business plan. Why would you want such a thing? What was the business plan for the CueCat?I can't speak to the business plan, but the intended use was the following: You connected your CueCat to your computer via PS/2 port--USB versions came later--then you would scan barcodes in magazines and newspapers which would bring you to product websites or articles. You could also use the CueCat to scan your groceries and other standard product barcodes (Universal Product Codes, or UPC symbols) in order to find out more about the product's manufacturer. There was also a way to hook it to the audio out jack of your TV and when broadcasters sent out a particular tone, the CueCat software would load a webpage. I don't ever remember using the audio part, but I still have the audio cable.So it wasn't a bad idea, per se. It was an attempt at linking the physical world to the digital world. See something interesting in a magazine that you want to find more about? Scan the page and *voilà* instant access on the web! In fact, today's QR codes and barcode scanners that use the camera on mobile phones are direct descendants of the CueCat. Scan a QR code on the window at your favorite restaurant with your iPhone and immediately get access to the menu online (assuming it doesn't use Flash).The CueCat, however, was both ahead of its time and just not useful enough because of its awkwardness. I will admit that the CueCat did work as intended, albeit with some controversy. The barcode scanner was fairly standard, except that it encodes the barcode in a proprietary way and adds on one little bit of information: The CueCat's serial number. This raised a few eyebrows as it was considered by many to be a privacy breach. Sure you can scan those magazines and products, but each time you do your serial number is sent to the CueCat company (Digital Convergence Corporation) so they can track your every move. There was no easy way to remove the serial number from the scan and officially you were not allowed to because of the End User License Agreement (EULA).Obviously, Digital Convergence Corporation has disappeared and CueCats and the CueCat service is no longer in existence. Nowadays there are hacks to decode the string to enable reuse of the CueCats as standard barcode scanners. You can even buy PS/2 CueCats on Amazon and find USB versions online.Interestingly, around the same time in 2000 when the CueCat came out there was another similar service that gave away free Intel webcams, also in magazines like Wired. My wife and I got free Intel webcams similar to this one out of the deal. The idea behind this other service, which name escapes me, was to hold up a magazine page to your webcam so that the camera could scan the proprietary barcode. Then, like the CueCat, the computer software would whisk you to a website. In fact, this was closer to [...]
Sat, 29 Jan 2011 18:28:00 +0000The other day I was listening to my favorite podcast, Buzz Out Loud, and Molly Wood mentioned that she finally bought herself a Sony Dash when it was a Gold Box special on Amazon for $99. I was excited that she finally came around to check it out! Then, sadly, a few days later she mentioned she is already having second thoughts about the Dash and may send it back.I obviously respect Molly's opinion--I will admit the Dash is not for everyone--but I wanted to make a case for why the Dash, and its cousins the Chumby and (Best Buy) Insignia Infocast series, are worthwhile Internet-connected devices. Here is why I love the Sony Dash.I think the Dash, Chumby, Insignia Infocast are misunderstood. They are not tablet alternatives or smartphone replacements. They are gadgets that act as clock radio replacements that include widgets, local and Internet music and video, and photos. They are meant to be passive internet viewers with only basic input ability. Yes, they have so-so capacitive touchscreens. Yes, they have virtual keyboards. Yes, you can check your email and post to Twitter. These use cases are not the strengths of these devices.The strengths of these devices is in their relative (I must emphasize relative) simplicity. They have alarm clocks, access to Internet radio like Pandora and/or Slacker, ability to play local or streaming audio and video (including Netflix and Hulu Plus on the Dash), and can act as digital photo frames with content from Flickr and Facebook. They can all use the Chumby application store to add additional widgets like stylish clocks, world photo viewers, news feeds, Twitter, Facebook, Google Calendar, and weather apps. They do these tasks well, with (mostly) simple controls, and usually just work as advertised. Nothing more, nothing less.You could use a smartphone or iPad in a similar way, but then you lose use of the other functions on the device while it is docked. Those devices are also much more expensive. The Dash is a dedicated device, hands off for the most part, just sitting there and doing its job. It's like having a Roku to watch Netflix vs. hooking your laptop to your TV every time you want to watch a movie. The latter will work, but it's a pain and you lose access to your other programs when it's being tethered.I got my Dash a little after it came out last year and have loved it ever since. Now my 4-year old son loves it too. He's figured out the basic touchscreen controls and knows how to set it to show his favorite clock, the RoboClock, full screen. I got my brother--someone who's not a gadget freak like me--one for Christmas and he loves it. I recently picked up the Insignia Infocast 3.5" for $40 over Christmas and I love that too. I even got myself the Chumby app for Android, and happily play my Chumby Clocks channel on my HTC Evo when it's not in use.Now to the reality of the business world. The Chumby and Dash are probably not being marketed very well, and their pricing is also not ideal. I've always said these devices should be in the sub-$100 range for them to take off and really be worth the money. The Dash is finally hovering around that price point right now, and the Infocast 3.5" is well under that (I picked one up on sale for $40 during Christmas and now they're back to around $70).They are devices that no one needs and do not compare to much of anything else available at the moment, but once you get one and learn it's sweet spot of usage (clock, picture viewer, radio, passive widgets), they are quite fun devices.Finally, others have written about the Dash with similar thoughts, particularly Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny. Dave has even covered the u[...]
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Tue, 11 Jan 2011 23:58:00 +0000We have Verizon FiOS internet and TV service. We've had it for years now and love the speed of the internet and the relative slickness of the TV and DVR guide service.
Tue, 11 Jan 2011 03:35:00 +0000I love technology and I especially love gadgets.
Wed, 06 Oct 2010 20:43:00 +0000SharePoint 2010 (Foundation and Server) requires at least 4GB of RAM per server (front end, application server, index server, etc. etc). This is for test/demo/evaluation purposes. 8GB of RAM is required for a minimum production scenario.That is what Microsoft says here and here and has been validated by experts in the SharePoint community like Spencer Harbar:@joelsefJoel WardInternal host being conservative w/RAM for our SP2010 test virtual machines. Changed app svr specs from 4GB to 2GB. How can I convince them?@harbarsSpencer Harbar@joelsef it just won't hack it - that's not conservative, it's suicidal!!!!A server can be installed and run on less, but unintended consequences will follow. E.g. services not provisioned properly (I'm looking at you, UPS), poor performance, general mayhem. 4GB is the bare minimum. From what I have read and have been told, anything less will be taking your life into your own hands.Does anyone have any validation or invalidation of this particular requirement? Has anyone be able to get certain server roles running on less than 4GB of RAM (WFE, APP, Office, Index)?[...]
Thu, 23 Sep 2010 02:45:00 +0000Over the years, I've wondered why I get involved in projects with technologies like SharePoint. Is it just because of the technology? Do I like a challenge? Do I actually feel that collaboration is worthwhile?
There are two kinds of collaboration: the kind that stimulates new ideas, solves problems, enhances teamwork, and distributes expertise; and the kind people use to cover their butts and show off in front of their peers and bosses. The first kind tends to propagate naturally, feeding off the culture of an organization; the second kind happens when the methods and tools are force fit, rendering collaboration an exercise unto itself.
Sun, 16 May 2010 14:40:00 +0000Just yesterday was the stupendous SharePoint Saturday DC 2010, held at the Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia. This time there were almost 1000 attendees (929 officially) and over 80 presentations. Kudos to the team of coordinators: Dux Raymond Sy, Dan Usher, Gino Degregori, Jenn Davis, and all of the helpers throughout the day.