On the Surface its a Table But Underneath its a Whole Lot More

Most people today have heard of touchscreens. They’re everywhere, from pda’s, to phones like the treo, to pen computers, and even kiosks. But the traditional touchscreen doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to the new generation of multitouch touchscreens. (I couldn’t resist the pun) If you follow the latest in technologies then you probably have already heard of multitouch input devices. If not, it basically allows you to manipulate a screen with multiple inputs such as two, three or even all ten of your fingers at the same time. Traditional touchscreens can only handle one input from a single pen or mouse pointer. It’s similar to the technology used by Tom Cruise in the film ‘Minority Report’. Check out the video:

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Read on to see more videos  and how this amazing new technology will start to change our lives today… Continue reading

Caution – Don’t Sling and Drive

Recently I wrote a post on how I can watch live TV shows on my Treo 650 Smartphone now by controlling my family room TV and streaming the video and audio using SlingMedia’s Slingbox. After writing the post I remembered writing another post on how dangerous it could become to watch TV on a phone while driving in a car. I called it DUII – Driving Under the Internet Influence. I know it sounds crazy and obvious that you should not do this but I have a feeling that this will become a bigger problem. People have become very accustomed to talking on the phone while driving and now people are beginning to text or sms on there phones more and more (even while driving). New phones have a feature that let you text a response to an incoming caller instead of answering the call. One solution to this problem could be a voice recognition user interface that will allow true hands free operations of any communications device. Using normal language you would just tell your phone what to do and it would do it. You would just say out loud “answer the phone” or “reply with a text message that I am in a meeting”. But this still does not solve the possibility of watching video on your phone while driving. For right now the only solution may be to create laws banning the use of portable devices such as cell phones or PDA’s by a driver unless it is handsfree. Unfortunately this probably will not happen until their are enough car accidents as a result of Driving Under the Internet Influence. Lets pray that does not happen.

Save on the cost of pay-per-view by using the Slingbox?

I purchased the SlingMedia Slingbox just over a year ago and it has already saved me enough money to pay for itself. At first I planned to watch my local sports teams while I was on the road or on vacation from my laptop. Then it happened. My brother called me to let me know he would not be able to come over to watch the pay-per-view fight at my house and would have to pay to watch the fight at his house. Slingbox to the rescue!

Why and How I use my Slingbox?

I use my SlingBox to watch TV (mostly sports and sci-fi) on my laptop in my home office because I have no TV in my office.
I also enjoy watching the local news, or local sports like the Miami Dolphins when I am out of town.
Read my previous post on how I even use my slingbox to watch TV by my Pool and Spa.
How about watching pay-per-view movies on the road or at a friends house. My brother was able to save on the cost of ordering a pay-per-view boxing match by watching the fight via my slingbox on his computer, which is connected to his 50″ TV at his house. How cool is that? (Keep in mind Slingbox only allows one connection at a time) But this idea caught on quickly and I figured that I could pay back the cost of my slingbox after just a few pay-per-view shows by sharing or slinging it with friends and family.
Whenever I want or need to have access to a TV channel around the house or even outside with wireless wifi I can have it setup in seconds with my laptop.
And now that I can sling to my Treo phone I can watch TV anywhere and anytime I want! And it’s pretty great!

I’m not alone!

Kenric saved $54.95 with a slingbox a few weeks ago. Read his other great ideas on saving money with a slingbox.
Read how others are Slinging Around the World.
And don’t miss the Sling Community Forum to learn more about the slingbox.

Join the sling community and buy your very own Slingbox.

Sling Media’s Slingbox can be purchased at most major electronics stores such as: Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, Amazon.com, SlingMedia.com, Walmart, Target, Office Depot, etc…

Slingbox Reviews:

Take the Poll and leave a Comment.
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What do you think about controlling your TV from anywhere in the world?

I can watch live TV shows on my Treo 650 Smartphone now!

It was just over one year ago when I bought my Slingmedia Slingbox and started streaming my TV shows in my house and over the Internet. However, it wasn’t until just last week that I was able to stream that same video to my phone. Yep, I can watch live TV shows on my phone. And since I have a ReplayTV unit (just like TIVO but better in my opinion) I can watch my prerecorded shows on my Treo also. The best part is I don’t have to pay for a monthly service like MobiTV. Once you own the slingbox and the slingplayer watching TV is free on your phone (minus the data service charges – I recommend the unlimited data plan)

Here are the steps to get the SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS to work on your Treo650 Smartphone:

  1. Download the SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm on to your Treo650
  2. Purchase and install the Kinoma Player 4 EX – This version comes with the Treo 700+, but not the Treo 650
    (The Kinoma Player contains the kinomaVideoMPEG4Lib.prc and the kinomaAACLib.prc codecs that are required by slingplayer to work)
  3. Turn off Bluetooth on the Treo650 – This prevents the Treo 650 from locking up (VERY IMPORTANT – hopefully this will be corrected in future releases)
  4. Launch the SlingPlayerMobile and add your slingbox to your directory and connect to it

Thats it!
Thanks to the SlingCommunity for the tips to get this working on the Treo 650.

The reception and clarity is obviously not as good as the newer phones which take advantage of the higher speed networks but it still does work great. Just read the posts on the SlingCommunity forum and see what others are saying. It has been a year in the making but I am finally happy that I can sling my TV to my phone anywhere at anytime.

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What about you? Do you sling to your phone? Let me know by leaving a comment.


How to Remote Control your Home or Work PC over the Internet using UltraVNC and No-IP.com for FREE

A few weeks ago a co-worker of mine noticed that I was remote controlling my home PC from my work PC. I was accessing a spreadsheet on my home PC that I needed for work. When I told him that I setup the software for free and that it does not have any monthly or yearly fees, he was very interested. He tried several different programs but with different degrees of satisfaction. So I told him I would provide him instructions on how to do it on my blog and here it is. Click here to skip to the instructions.

There are many programs out there that provide remote control software for your PC such as GoToMyPC. It is advertised all over the place. I know many people who use GoToMyPC and it is a life saver for them. However, I am here to tell you that there are FREE ways to get remote control software to work on your PC. And I am not talking about FREE for the first 30 days only. The FREE software is just as powerful, easy, and safe to setup and use. It is just like sitting in front of the other PC.

Here are a few things you can do with Remote Control software:

  • Work on your office PC from home or vice versa.
  • Control your home PC from anywhere in the world.
  • Transfer Files from and to the Remote Controlled PC.
  • Remote Control your PC from a handheld computer such as a Palm Treo. (I do this all the time)
  • Provide remote PC support for family and friends (I do this all the time also – beats traveling to their house or walking them through problems over the phone)

What is UltraVNC? Remote Control Software for your PC

UltraVNC is free software that is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. For a history of where VNC came from and how it works click here. UltraVNC allows you to virtually connect to another PC and remote control that PC over a network including the Internet. It is just like sitting in front of the other PC. If you do find this software useful donate to the developers by clicking on the button above so that they can continue to enhance the program and provide even more useful features in the future.

What is No-IP.com? Dynamic DNS for your domain

No-IP.com started out in 1999 by providing Dynamic DNS and web redirecting services using free domains they provided. Today their services have expanded to include email solutions, DNS registration, dynamic and static DNS services and much more. If you look closely you will notice that this blog is being hosted at leonmink.com/blog. This is my No-IP.com address and it is pointing to my home PC. You too can setup a blog on your home PC. But I will leave that to a future post.

You can find the updated Setup PC Remote Control page in the left banner under Pages.

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Bargain Countdown – Deals So Hot there on Fire – Free Stuff

I just came across some amazing deals online at eCost.com. They have a Bargain Countdown section where they put limited items up for sale at huge discounts. You need to be quick because these deals go fast. (Limit 1 per customer) Here are a few deals that I saw today:

They also have a Clearance Countdown section that has some great deals as well.

These deals are HOTTER than this laptop catching on fire![youtube qmPm-YV9vdA]Avoid the the crowds at the store and don’t bother waiting in line on Black Friday (the day after thanksgiving). So if you are looking for some great gifts at great prices this holiday season get them RIGHT NOW! at this site

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Black Friday 2006 – Day After Thanksgiving Deals!

Looking for the HOTTEST DEALS of the year?

Check out Black Friday Ads Sites below Now!

Check out the Black Friday Videos at the bottom of this post

The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. It is also known as . Stores all over the country will be enticing shoppers with ridiculous deals and discounts. How would you like to know today, what great deals are going to be advertised on Black Friday? Keep reading and check out the links at the bottom of this post. Last year I purchased two 19″ flat screen LCD monitors with built in speakers for $119.00 each. I also purchased WiFi routers for as little as $9.00. Here is a short list of stores to check out: Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Kmart, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Sears, Target, Toys R Us, WalMart and the list goes on.

The following sites display the actual ads that will be active on Black Friday. You can do searches for items at any store. You can sort the deals by ranking, sort by price, or sort by category. They even provide you coupons and rebate information.

Keep checking back throughout the month. Ads are being leaked everyday!

Sample Deals as of November 5th 2006:

  • $12.00 – Sandisk 1GB SD Card
  • $25.00 – Sandisk 2GB SD Card
  • $49.99 – MP3 Player with 1GB Capacity & Belt Clip
  • $1,294.00 – Panasonic 42″ Widescreen Plasma HDTV w/ Built-in Digital Tuner

Create your shopping list today and make sure you get out to these stores early on Black Friday. I know I will. Leave a comment and share your thoughts or secrets about Black Friday.

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November 24th 2006
Mark Your Calendar Now
The Hottest Deals of the Year!

Winning Money with PokerStars on my Treo Smartphone

PokerStars on my TreoA few months ago PokerStars upgraded their software to allow resizing of their tables. I wanted to see what it would look like if I shrunk the table size to 320 x 320 pixels and then remote control my PC from the Treo. It worked great. Ok, I can’t really say great but it was usable. The table actually was not able to shrink all the way down to 320 x 320. So I was only able to capture part of the table on my Treo screen, but it was still good enough to play. You can see an actual screen shot of a PokerStars table on my Treo in this post.

I went on a road trip to Tennessee in July with the family and decided to test out playing PokerStars in the car from my Treo 650. (My wife was driving.) I ended up playing for just under 2 hours with no drop outs! Here are a few tips if you try this yourself: (You may want an unlimited Data Plan to avoid large data connection charges)

  1. Change the theme of the PokerStars table to a more suitable color for your Treo
  2. Resize the table on your PC to as small as possible
  3. Remote into your PC with your Treo using PalmVNC and UltraVNC.
  4. Enjoy playing PokerStars on your Treo

Warning: Even though this does work I did find that at times their were long delays or lag time between screen refreshes. A few times I had other players ask me what was taking me so long to play, even though I never did get disconnected or kicked off the table. If you absolutely must get your poker fix but you find yourself on the road without a PC, the Treo650 could save your day, but probably not your wallet :-)

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DUII – Driving Under the Internet Influence; The Crackberry Addiction

DUIIWhat is worse than talking on a cell phone while driving?

I was driving home from work a few weeks ago during rush hour traffic when I noticed the driver in the car next to me typing on his blackberry. This made me curious, so I paid more attention to this practice over the next few days. I was surprised to find several drivers each day texting using their phone or blackberry while in traffic. Now I know their are several studies on the dangers of talking on the cell phone while driving but you have to imagine that typing on a small device must be much worse. I remember around 15 years ago getting into a car accident just because I glanced down at my radio to change the station.

According to recent news reports their have been several fatal accidents where the cause of the accidents were due to typing or dialing on a phone or portable device. This is a new phenomenon that I fear will get worse before anything is done about it. In countries where text-messaging is very popular (especially in Europe) the accident rates are quickly climbing. With the advent of high speed data access on newer phones such as the Motorola Q and the TREO 700, the ability to watch videos on a smartphone will be a text message click away. Then you will have drivers in traffic not only texting but watching and reading webpages on their phones. The addiction will become too great to resist. I can imagine a day when driving under the influence of a crackberry may become more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. What about you? Participate in my poll and leave a comment on what you think should be done about the use of phones, blackberries, two-way-pagers, treos, or any other portable device while driving.
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Bill O’Reilly Live on my Treo Smartphone

I’ve been listening to streaming audio on my Treo 650 smartphone for a couple of years now. There are thousands of online radio stations streaming audio in every genre there is. Check out Live365.com, Internet Radio on TreoBits, or radioio2go. But it still wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to listen to my music library and wanted to listen to it on my phone. However, my Treo does not have the storage capacity of even the smallest ipod. But if I could stream the audio from my home PC then I would not need lots of storage on my phone. So, I setup streaming audio on my home PC using the free Nullsoft Shoutcast Server software. Once I got that working I realized that I could stream any audio from my PC. Well I happen to have a Hauppauge TV Video card in my PC and was wondering if I would be able to stream the audio from the TV card. It worked like a charm. Now I can stream sports broadcasts, TV News, Talk shows or anything else I want to listen to on the road such as Bill O’Reilly on The Fox News channel. Cool huh? The trick is how do I set the TV card to the station I want to listen to when I am out of the house? Aah thats easy, I use PalmVNC to remote into my PC and change stations on the fly right from my phone. (More about PalmVNC in a few days). Some radio stations do not have a compatible audio stream for the Treo 650. I am now able to circumvent that problem by streaming the incompatible audio to my home PC using any PC compatible stream and then retransmit the audio through Shoutcast to my phone. This allows me to enjoy local radio stations and get real time traffic and local news updates throughout the day. Is there anything that this phone can’t do? If you have listened to streaming audio on a phone or would like to learn more about it please leave me a comment.

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