Linux on Refrigerators using Enlightenment

It is said that NetBSD is one of the most ported Operating Systems in the world. It runs on almost everything, from massive Servers to even a Toaster.

Well, Linux isn’t far behind !!!

Electrolux, a manufacturer or home and kitchen appliances, have decided to use Linux with Enlightenment, for their latest product, a smart refrigerator called Infinity I-Kitchen.

The Infinity I-Kitchen features a high-resolution touch-panel display and rich, intuitive user interface. Using this panel, it’s possible to visualize basic information like current and external temperature. Besides this, it has several applications like Notes, Calendar, Contacts, Recipes, etc. You can see how this is the modern version of magnets holding up notes on our refrigerators.

Besides these, the Photos application converts the touch-panel into a digital photo-frame. I think this is a really cool feature considering the hardware.

Electrolux Touch Panel Display 1Electrolux Touch Panel Display 2

The hardware used is a Freescale i.MX25 processor running at 400Mhz with 128 MB RAM. The display panel will have a resolution of 480×800.

The awesome thing about this is that the rich user interface is rendered completely in software as there is no hardware accelerator on the device. This feat is achieved using the Enlightenment library suite also known as Enlightenment Foundation Libraries(EFL). The  Enlightenment suit contains libraries like Evas, Edje and Elementary which gives the rich look and feel to the user interface.

This marks as a very important development for Linux since Electrolux is one of the first mainstream consumer electronics companies to have embrace Linux in a high-end product.

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MySpace trying to get back in the Game

Today morning when I started the usual purge of my over-crowded Inbox, I saw an invitation mail from MySpace.com

MySpace Email 1

My first reaction was : Wow !! GMail did not catch this as SPAM ? That itself should be a compliment enough for MySpace.

Admittedly, I have not visited MySpace.com for over , I don’t know, a Century now ! But who has ?

So excuse me for not being sure if the “New” MySpace look and feel is different from the older one.

As can be seen from the Email promos, MySpace has a host of new features like Discovery Tools, Sync tools, Earn badges, Personalised streams, etc.

It’s like the MySpace team decided to take one feature from all the top Social Networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, etc.

Now all I have to do is muster enough “I give a fuck” to actually check what these are all about.

MySpace Email 2

I remember there was this dialogue in the new movie “The Social Network” (psst!! It’s NOT about MySpace) , where Mark Zuckerberg asks Winklevoss’ what’s so different about their proposed project, The Hardvard Connection ? “How is it any different from MySpace or Friendster ?” .

It seems to me that MySpace might have taken than comment way too seriously and decided that they would try and get back in the “game”.

But anyways, all jokes apart, I have to atleast give credit to MySpace for trying to re-invent themselves even after so many years. Their supposed “New look” does look decent. But what I could make out from some screenshots, I hope the User pages are not clones of the “Wall”.

Also, I honestly don’t remember when they changed their logo, but I like the current one.

Here’s wishing luck to MySpace. And just out of curiosity, will you go and revive your MySpace account or sign-up for a new one ?

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iOS 4.2 Released with New Features and Updates

The much awaited iOS 4.2 has been released by Apple.
If you just plug-in your “iDevice” to your PC and run iTunes, you should get the pop-up for the new update. If not, just click on “Check for updates”.

Here are some new features in iOS 4.2 :
AirPrint : To wirelessly print photos, docs, etc. from your device to an AirPrint-compatible printer

I’m pretty sure I saw a similar App already on the App Store. Or was it on the Cydia store. Anyways, if there wasn’t one, I think this is pretty awesome … but only if you have a compatible printer.

AirPlay : Wirelessly stream your videos and music to AirPlay-enabled speakers, recievers and even AppleTV.

This is a pretty cool feature since usually you will carry most of your favourite media content on your phone. The only hitch, as with AirPrint is, that you have compatible devices.

Find my iPhone : This is a MobileMe feature that let’s you find your missing device.

Once you set it up, you can locate your lost device on the map, send a distress message on the screen, remotely set a password lock and even remotely delete all your data. And the best part is, once you retrive the data, you can restore everything back from your backup.

Find Text on WebPages : Search for terms on the current web page on your Safari Mobile browser using the search field next to the address bar.

I really wanted this feature. It’s surprising Apple didn’t have this form the start. Typical Apple , eh ?

New Dock Controls : Among other things, double-tapping the Home button will bring up a list of all open applications.

This was something Nokia devices already had and was much needed in iPhones/Touches since a long time. However, I think this feature is available only on the modern devices that support multi-tasking , like, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 4th Generation.

The above-mentioned are just some of the major features. iOS 4.2 also has the following features :
Notes with Fonts : Marker Felt, Helvetica and Chalkboard.
Thank God for small mercies !! I hated the native Notes’ fonts.

Keyboard and Dictionary enhancements : Support for over 50 languages and 30 new international keyboards and dictionaries.

Custom Message tones : 17 new alerts you can assign to people on your contact list.

For a complete list of features, check out the official iOS 4.2 page on Apple’s website.

Just be wary of two things :
1) Not all features are supported on all devices. So be sure to check if your device is supported before you get excited about a feature.

2) Don’t hold your breath for the update. History tells us that it’s difficult to update to the latest firmware in the first couple of days since everyone is busy downloading at the same time. And anyways, considering the iOS 4.0 fisaco, I would definitely wait a few days and read the reviews for my iPhone 3G device before going for the update.

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iOS 4.2.1 Gold Master jailbroken a few hours after Developer Release

Apple announced the developer release of iOS 4.2.1 Gold Master edition, for iPhone 4 , 3GS, 3G and iPod Touches, a few hours ago.

And already, Redmond Pie has announced that this version can be jailbroken using Redsn0w 0.9.6b2. However, there is a heads-up for those of you who plan to do this immediately.

Cydia, the un-official App Store in Jailbroken devices, won’t work on the jailbroken iOS 4.2.1 . This is mainly becase Apple has changed a few APIs that Cydia uses, because of which you will find that all the application does is , crash.

However, the new and improved Cydia is already ready and will be available to “jailbreakers” as soon as iOS 4.2.1 GM is available to mere mortals (a.k.a. general public)

Now, from personal experience, I can say that make sure you have Redsn0w 0.9.6b1 handy with you when you make the release alongwith 0.9.6b2.  This is because when I tried to jailbreak my iPhone 3G running iOS 4.1 with Redsn0w 0.9.6b2 as per the Redmond Pie site, it gave me an error … something about “unable to patch the Kernel”.

After reading a few forums, I dug out the fix : Jailbreak with Reds0w 0.9.6b1 rather than 0.9.6b2 !!!

Apple | 1 Comment

Kinect hack using libfreenect, openCV creates awesome shadow puppet

As most of you who aren’t living under a rock know, Microsoft’s Gesture Recognition based XBox extension called Kinect is a huge hit. And I’m not just talking for the Xbox owners or gamers.

This device has been in awe amongst a lot of geeks as well. This may well be because of open source hardware vendor Adafruit putting up a bounty of $2,000 for building open source drivers for Kinect. Or maybe the fact that it was actually hacked just as soon as this bounty was announced.

In any case, take a look at Kinect’s official promo video and you can’t deny the fact that this gadget has some serious potential.

For instance, as soon as libfreenect was released, Emily Gobeille and Theo Watson , went on the create a shadow-puppet like you’ve never seen before.

Using libfreenect, openFrameworks , openCV and Kinect, this duo has created a spectacular version of the age-old shadow puppet that will knock your socks off you.

Enough said. Take a look at the video.

Interactive Puppet Prototype with Xbox Kinect from Theo Watson on Vimeo.

Gadgets | 1 Comment

Oracle OpenSolaris 11 Express Released

On November 15th, Oracle, the new owner of Solaris, announced the availability of Oracle Solaris  Express 2010.11

This new release has a considerable number of features which were not present in either OpenSolaris (understandably) as well as Oracle Solaris 10.

Some of these key features are :

  • Networking virtualization and resource management capabilities that increase throughput, speed up applications, and reduce network loads and complexity.
  • ZFS enhancements for file and block de-duplication, encryption and provisioning.
  • Fast Reboot, which allows customers to recover systems and databases in tens of seconds verses tens of minutes.
  • Leading edge patching, upgrade and installation capabilities designed to reduce risk and greatly simplify the most common system administrator tasks.
  • A built in snapshot facility that always keeps a backup of the system boot image and allows customers to revert back to the old version with a simple reboot.

For more details on this release, check-out the official Oracle Solaris Express 11 page here

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Gstreamer Conference 2010 Videos and Slides uploaded

The Gstreamer Conference 2010 happened recently on 26th October 2010 at in Cambridge , UK.

It has an awesome line-up of speakers with very interesting topics ranging from Gstreamer on TI’s new OMAP4 processor by Rober Clark to the state of Google’s new WebM container format.

Check this link for the schedule of talks by all the speakers.

Interestingly enough, the CELF Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2010 was also held in Cambridge, U.K and the dates of this conference clashed with the Gstreamer Conferences. So, the remaining 2 days of the Gstreamer Conference were decided to be merged with the CELF conference giving it a bigger exposure.

You can check out the CELF schedule here.

Even as I was cursing the fact that no one captures these awesome events live so that people like us who are not able to attend it , can atleast watch the videos, a very interesting company called Ubicast, went ahead and did just that .

And How !!

Ubicast is a company specializing in webcasts and makes use of gstreamer’s prowess heavily in it’s framework. They were kind enough not only to give a Case Study demo of  Ubicast’s innovative products, but also sponsor the video capture of the conference and make it available for free.

Check-out the videos, started with a keynote, from none other than the venerable Wim Taymans himself (it was awesome to see the person live, instead of just his Email or IRC nick).

The videos are also accompanies by Presentation slides. The awesome thing is that the slides change as the talk continues. Although the slides are available separately also, watching the videos alongwith the slides is an awesome experience . I think the Ubicast folks are on to some real useful product here.

So just sit back, grab  a coffee and go through these videos (and thank your stars you didn’t plan that expensive trip to U.K., just to see wtay)

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