Tag Archives: logitech

Why I’m excited for Google TV

One of the things that most excited me out the Google I/O event a couple weeks back was Google TV.  It’s a set top box that brings a lot of web content to the TV.  But what really excites me about it is that it’s an Android platform, that will have access to the market place.  Having this announce come out a couple days after I pushed my first Android app out got me even more excited about the platform.

In my house I’ve got the following devices: a thermostat that’s attached to my home network, with a web interface that lets me adjust the temperature and programs; a TED 5000 energy monitor which is on my home network; a set of weather station sensors that I’m collecting data from on my home server.  Each of these have some web interfaces, non consolidated, to get data, and small little screens on the respective devices to go and see what’s going on.  And in my living room I’ve got a 42″ TV, with brilliant color.

I want all these various home sensors and actuators to show up on my TV, and for me to be able to control them from there.  I keep looking at my logitech harmony remote and really thinking that I should be able to use channel up / down to adjust the temperature in my house when we’re hanging out on the couch watching TV.  Not that many months ago, intrigued by how the Netflix Instant Bluray disc worked, I started looking into the Bluray Java spec, and realized that if I had to I could probably build a disc for my PS3 that would do most of this, but it would be pretty custom, and the dev / test cycle would burn through a lot of bluray media.  I tried to download the Popbox SDK to see if they’d give me what I want, but they’ve made it impossible for me to actually do that.

Google TV is going to give me a set top box in my living room that will let me get access to a wide range of content, which will be great, but also let me publish my own code to it.  As a creator of software, having that application channel, even for only my own use, is just incredible.  The fact that it will share a lot of characteristics with my phone makes it all the better.

I really can’t wait until Logitech gets it’s box out there, and I’ve got something to experiment with.  Having my livingroom TV be the nerve center of my home is a concept that seems so natural, and I’m surprised has taken this long to bring us this kind of tech.

My new presentation remote – Logitech R400

If you give presentations with powerpoint or openoffice slides at any regularity, it is well worth investing in a presentation remote so you don’t need to keep coming back to your computer to flip slides.  It lets you walk around more normally, not having to worry about getting back to the podium/desk/table for the transition.  That level of free wandering on behalf of the speaker makes the entire presentation feel much smoother.

Previously I had a targus remote that I got online.  It, like all other presentation remotes I’ve seen, has a usb dongle which advertises itself as a usb keyboard.  The remote triggers page up/page down, and maybe some mouse functions.  This means it works on any computer, any modern operating system, with no additional software.  While the targus was sufficient, it had been slowly dying over the last couple of years.  It failed for me at Ohio Linux Fest, and when, even after new batteries, it failed before my Git talk, I figured enough was enough.  I scoured amazon reviews, and decided to give the Logitech R400 a shot.  It arrived last night.

Holy crap, this thing is amazing.  First, and most importantly, the thing fits perfectly in your hand.  It has that same kind of ergonomics of the Tivo remote, where your hand is perfectly relaxed holding it.  It’s weight is enough to know it’s there and solid, and whatever surface material they used for it just feels touchable.  The buttons are in the perfect places so that I realize pretty quickly that 5 minutes into my next presentation I won’t even know I’m using it any more.  Whoever did the ergonomic design on the R400… bravo!

The remote is pretty simple, which is good.  Page up / Page down, F5 (which is play presentation in open office and power point), and a screen blank function which works inside of a fullscreen open office presentation, though I have no idea what key it actually is.  There is also an integrated red laser pointer, of pretty reasonable power.  The other notable facts of the remote are the usb dongle fits inside the remote itself, so there are not 2 pieces to get seperated and lost, and there is an off switch.  As this thing is going to live bouncing around in my backpack, so I always have it with me, having an off switch to ensure that accidental bounces don’t hit keys and drain battery is good.  It also has a nice neoprene case, which makes that less of a worry.

I’m really happy about this presentation remote, and can’t wait for my next group presentation to give it a proper work out.

P.S. For another $40 you can “upgrade” to the R800 which has a green laser and a countdown time.  That’s more than I need, but people love the green laser pointers.