Six Colors: How TiVo Roamio reached its potential

I love my TiVo (as I've said once or twice on this very blog). And I would seem Mr. Jason Snell is also loving his:

My family and I watch many YouTube videos on the TiVo, and all of my Netflix viewing these days is via the TiVo.

I enjoy flinging YouTube videos from my iPhone/iPad onto my TiVo so I can show Marisa Maru's latest hijinks (oh, that silly Japanese cat). And the Netflix app is good too, though I tend to use my Fire TV for streaming video (via Amazon Prime).


Comm Badges

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8596/16629115342_b8057f0490_z.jpg

I couldn't resist them (get it?). And they were cast from the original molds used for the props on TNG, DS9, and Voyager.

Marisa was disappointed that they don't beep when you tap them. I had to break it to her gently: they add those sounds in post-production.


Wrong on the iPhone 8 years ago, twice!

For some reason this tweet of mine from 8 years ago is making the rounds of a few folks on Twitter:

I was totally wrong, and oddly enough I tweeted that out shortly before I left Philly for the Macworld during which Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone:

And I was wrong again about the iPhone:

Ok, technically I've bought way more than one iPhone since then so I suppose it is correct.

Also, anyone else remember when you would tweet in the form of the answer to the question, "What are you doing?"


Kindle Family Library: the downside

Kindle Family Library is great. It allows you to share books across Kindle devices (e-ink and Fire only) between two linked accounts (Kirk has a great tutorial on how to set it up, and here’s  list of devices on which it works).


Marisa and I set this up, which is great since we do have some overlapping tastes in books. Here’s what my library of books looks like on my Kindle Fire:



Can you tell which books are mine and which are Marisa’s? That’s the problem with the Family Libray, books just show up (which isn’t really a problem, but for the purposes of this blog post it is, OK!?). You can view only you books, but what if you buy a book and you don’t want it to show up in your Shared Libray?


The boffins at Amazon have thought of that, which I discovered after purchasing a Kindle book the other day. Check out this screen you are presented with after purchasing:




Click Do not share and it doesn’t show up in your Family Library.


You can also stop sharing books via Manage Your Kindle. Click “Show Family Library” and you’ll be able to manage which books you’re sharing:



Easy as a couple clicks.


Larp Trek


The Internet is an amazing thing. Today’s evidence of this: Larp Trek.


I found out about this amazing comic from Carrie Anne, who will be appearing on a future episode of Random Trek. When she told me about it she said, “You’re going to lose a lot of time to it.” She was right.


Here’s the idea behind it: the holodecks are all offline on the Enterprise and the TNG bridge crew needs something to entertain them. Geordi decides to game master a role playing game where each of the crew members plays a character on the fictional space station “Deep Space Nine."


That’s right, this comic imagines that DS9 was a campaign in an RPG played by TNG characters. I can’t even.


Just read it. Read it now. Start at the first page. If you like D&D and Star Trek you won’t be sorry.


Also, if you like D&D, Star Trek, AND podcasts, you should listen to:


Apple World Today rises from the ashes of TUAW


AppleWorld.Today launches, well, today. It is an effort from a few fine folks at the defunct TUAW (of which I was associated from a while there). I wish them all the best of luck!


Here’s a fun fast: one of the main reasons TUAW wasn’t invited to official Apple events (at least according to folklore) is that fact that “Apple” was in the name. It’ll be interesting to see if AppleWorld.Today will run into the same issues. Of course, I have no idea if they even want to go to official Apple events, as they tend to be pretty well covered.


on TUAW (or WTF, AOL?)

I never really thought I’d be a writer. In fact, for a long time, I thought I was going to end up being a physicist. Fast forward to freshman year in college when I realized that calculus wasn’t for me and I waved goodbye to my aspirations of a career in the hard sciences.

I didn’t immediately think, “Well then, I’ll just be a writer!” I had to pick a major, so I went with English. I graduated, started looking for careers and ended up in Higher Education (which is where I still work!). I never really thought of myself as a writer until I saw a post by Barb Dybwad on The Unofficial Apple Weblog. They were looking for bloggers (not writers) and since I had been blogging for awhile and I liked Apple stuff I figured why not apply.


I sent off an email and waited. I didn’t hear anything, so I figured that was that.


This was all 10 years ago, mind you, but I still remember seeing that email from Barb asking me to join up with TUAW. I did, and wrote this first post, and after a few years I ended up becoming the Lead Blogger at TUAW. I covered a couple of Macworlds for the site (that first Macworld I wrote something like 25 posts A DAY, which meant that I didn’t talk to anyone at the actual event), “starred” in a couple of videos, and wrote and wrote and wrote (my back of the envelope math shows that for the 3 years I was there I wrote 2.7 posts a day on average, or a little over 3000 posts).

More importantly TUAW gave me the opportunity to meet lots of people: fellow bloggers, writers,  developers, and fans. So many people, in fact, that as I started listing them it grew so long that I decided not to include it with this post.


I left TUAW 7 years ago mostly because of AOL’s incompetence, so it came as only a mild shock to hear that AOL is shuttering the site and waving goodbye to all the talented folks who worked there. There’s some corporate speak saying that TUAW would be “rolled into” Engadget which means, I assume, the content will be absorbed into Engadget’s archives so they can still put advertising around it (and sip on that sweet, sweet SEO juice). A sad end to a fine site. A site that is directly responsible for the fact that I now honestly think of myself as a writer (though I still find it hard to believe that I’ve written books that you can buy in a bookstore! Sure, no one actually buys them, but they could and that’s what counts!).


Since today is the last day of publication for TUAW I wanted to thank everyone who read the site, anyone who was involved with it, and everyone I’ve met because of it. Writing for TUAW gave me my first taste of limited highly specific notierity (there was a time when I was recognized whenever I walked into an Apple Store), and my first realization that somewhere on the Internet there is someone who has nothing better to do than to tell you how whatever you’ve shared sucks (now I just go to Twitter for that).


You can read some more about my thoughts about TUAW in my farewell post (which used to have lot of lovely comments from readers wishing me well, but they seem to have been axed whenever TUAW changed commenting sytems. You can see why I have my doubts about the TUAW posts being around for the longhaul).




Books you should read (or give as a gift!)

Since it is the holidays here in the good US of A (and elsewhere I presume, but I don't concern myself with the goings on outside of our fine borders) I thought it only appropriate to share some of the best books I've read this year. Along with affiliate links and a plea for you to buy them for friends, loved ones, or enemies.

The Golem and the Jinni


Golemjinni
Hard to believe I read this book in 2014, but I did (finished it on Jan. 25th, 2014). This is a great book, as discussed on this episode of The Incomparable. And at the moment it is only $2.99 in ebook format. Why haven't you purchased it already?

Ok, so you want to hear a little bit of what this book is about. A golem is shipped to NYC, as you do, and he master dies. She's left to fend for herself and ends up meeting a Jinni. It is great.

Amazon | Kindle | B&N

My Real Children

MyrealchildrenI love Jo Walton. Well, I love her writing (I'm sure she's a lovely person though). After reading her Small Change series I decided that I would just buy whatever her next novel is without question. That's why I preordered My Real Children and read it as soon as it appeared on my Kindle.

This book is science fiction, but with a light touch. The main character is an old lady who is in a old folks home and remembers living two lifetimes. Is she crazy? Nope, she is just remembering two different timelines of her own life.

Fantastic. And there are moon-bases, so: science fiction.

Amazon | Kindle | B&N


The Bone Clocks

BoneclockDavid Mitchell knows how to write a book I tells ya. The Bone Clocks is definitely science fiction, but since Mitchell wrote it people you'll find it shelved in the "Fiction" section of the bookstore (serious writers don't do science fiction, you see. Even though the Cloud Atlas was also SciFi).

This book pings around the world and history following the story of Holly Sykes who ends up involved in a war that she knows nothing about. I devoured this book (after I got through the first 30 pages or so).

Amazon | Kindle | B&N

Station Eleven

StationelevenI'd never heard of Emily St. John Mandel before (but what a name), however, this book is crazy good. It is a post-apocalypse book, but it isn't apocalypse porn. Most of the action happens a good while after the fall of society, when new rules and societies have been formed and life is somewhat stable (though nothing like we know it).

A traveling band of Shakespearean actors are the main vehicle of the plot with characters connecting threads across time before, during and after the pandemic.

Amazon | Kindle | B&N

And the sequels

There are two other books that I quite enjoyed this year, but it is difficult to recommend them since they are both a part of a larger series.

The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi blew my mind with the bizarre stuff that it contains. This is a science fiction lovers science fiction book (though if you don't like rather baroque writing, this might not be your cup of tea).

Last year Ancillary Justice was my favorite book, and this year the sequel (Ancillary Sword) is on my best of list. You should read the first one though, and then pick up the second.



Random Trek T-shirt

Randomtrektshirts

I have a podcast called Random Trek in which I discuss a random episode of Star Trek with a non-random guest. It is a hoot. You should listen to it.

You should also buy one of these nifty Random Trek t-shirts (available for a very limited time). Why? Because my little podcast could use the support, and I could use the ego boost of having more than 12 people want to wear a t-shirt promoting a project of mine (really, it is all about me).

Buy a shirt, damn it!

Also, if you haven't been listening to the podcast why not check out a few episodes. The most helpful review on iTunes raves:


ITunes

Why wouldn't you listen?


Cube

Cube

Going through my closet I found the box for my beloved G4 Cube. Man, I remember ordering that computer like it was yesterday.

I really shouldn't have ordered it, since it was super expensive and I really couldn't afford it (thank goodness for credit cards). I did order it, though, and I was even so excited to get it that I had them hold it at the FedEx office so I could pick it up myself.

Here's the Steve Jobs announcement that got me to order it immediately:

All told it was a great computer, though probably more successful as an exercise in industrial design.

It sits on a shelf in our living room now, after a few years of faithful service and the box is now in our storage unit.


Amazon Voyage Cover

The Kindle Voyage is a sturdy little device, and it doesn't need a case. That being said, I'm very happy that I bought the unimaginatively named Amazon Protective Cover for Kindle Voyage (I have the "royal" cover, though I think I'll be giving that to Marisa and replacing it with a black cover).

I fell in love with this type of cover when I got one for my Kindle HDX (Amazon called those covers Origami covers, which is a far better name). It converts from a cover to a little stand, like so:

Image

This solves one of the big problems I had with my Kindle: reading as I'm eating lunch. I used to prop the Kindle up against whatever was laying on my desk. Now I can just use the cover!

It is a little odd, I suppose, that the cover flips up and over inside of opening like a book. I actually like it because it makes me feel like an old time reporter opening my notebook to take some notes for some important story. That might just be me though.

There is one minor disappointment, though it is more of a failing with the Kindle's software. The Kindle DX (yes, I owned both) had an auto rotating screen. Turn the device on its side, and the screen would rotate. You could even turn it upside down and the text would rotate.

The Voyage doesn't auto rotate, but you can set it to Landscape Mode which is handy. Sadly, you can't rotate the screen 360 degrees. Why does this matter? While the cover is nice standing upright, you can lay it on another angle like so:

IMG 3209

Which would be great if the screen wasn't upside down. Sad Panda.

That being said, I like the cover and I'd buy another one!


Kindle Voyage Screenshots of possible interest

It seems the old tap on opposite corners of the Kindle screen to take a screenshot does work on the Voyage (though I found it for me a little finicky as compared to doing the same on the Paperwhite) so I thought I'd share some screenshots.

The home screen is pretty much the same:

Home

There's a new Auto Brightness option that auto-adjusts the screen's brightness depending on the room's illumination. I have disabled it because I know better than my Kindle:

Brightness

PagePress can be toggled on and off:

Pagepress

And you can set how much Feedback you want. Also, this is the first set of Kindle setting screens that uses a graphic (as far as I recall):

Vibration

And you can also set the amount of press it takes to turn the page:

Pressure Settings

If you want to see any more screenshots just let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Update 1:

Here's a look at the font options (which are unchanged):

Fonts


Kindle Voyage thoughts


Kindle1andvoyage

A year ago I reviewed the Kindle Paperwhite for TechHive and I said:

I’d like to see Amazon bring back physical page forward and back buttons. Having dedicated buttons allow you to rest your finger on the button and press down when you need to turn the page, instead of moving a finger to tap on the screen. A minor detail, but one that would make for a more pleasant reading experience.

Amazon listened, kind of, with the Kindle Voyage. The Voyage doesn't have dedicated page buttons in the traditional sense, it has page turn areas either side of the screen. One is marked with a dot (page back) and the other is a line (page forward). Squeeze either and the Kindle buzzes to let you know and the page turns.

I love PagePress, though I will say that the first few times I used it I accidentally paged back by touching the screen when trying to squeeze the PagePress button. It isn't happening now that I've got the hang of it, but something to be aware of.

Now, this isn't a full review because other people have done that, but I will say that screen is great. Not being recessed makes a big difference (even though I didn't think it would), and the light seems a little more even than the Paperwhite 2.

The Voyage is without a doubt the best Kindle ever. You should buy one and use my link to do it.

Since this isn't a full review I asked folks on Twitter if they had any questions, and some did. Here they are:

I think this is a reference to Kindle Unlimited (Amazon's subscription library of ebooks). I haven't tried it, and Oyster doesn't work with the Voyage.

Not fragile at all! In fact, since the front is one solid surface it feels a little sturdier to me than the Paperwhite 2 (which wasn't a flimsy device itself!). I don't think a case is needed, but I do like the Amazon case that I bought.

Nope.

I think so. The screen is much better, and I didn't like the unevenness of the lighting on the Paperwhite 1. The Voyage (and the Paperwhite 2) doesn't have the same issue (and the screen is much better).

Sometimes you should believe the hype, and that is the case with the Voyage's screen. It is great.

The Voyage's software is nearly identical to that on the Paperwhite, which means the typography is the same as well. No cool auto-hyphenation or widow/orphan prevention.

Yes and yes.

I didn't have a cover on my Paperwhite, but I'm a fan of the origami cover for the Voyage.

I like the little buzz when you use PagePress, but you can turn it off (or make it even more buzzy).

It is just as responsive as the Paperwhite 2, which suited my needs. There is a slight lag when you press to select something, but page turns are quick (and that's what I'm doing most of the time on the Kindle.