Sunday, December 02, 2007

Canola 2 Beta, only 10 Days from Launch!

I heard via Handful of INdt this evening that the Canola 2 Beta, will be with us within 10 short days!

I was pointed in the direction of a freshly prepared teaser web site, to promote the count down to what I consider will be a great event in the history of the Nokia Wi-Fi Internet Tablets progression into the consciousness of not just Geeks, but the general public.

For those who don't already know Canola is a media playing application. Apparently a
roadmap for Beta 2 will be published, where I understand that the initial release in 10 days time will contain
Music, Photo and Video Playback, via Local, Network (UPnP) and the Internet. (Photocast & Podcast) It will have an improved configuration capability built into the application (Not the web based configuration that came with Canola beta 1)
For months we have been listening, reading and digesting news about how good the iPod Touch and the iPhone are. Well listen up all Apple fans, there is a quiet revolution taking place with the help of Nokia and it's Internet Tablets and a Linux based mobile operating system called Maemo.

Canola is just one of many great applications that can be downloaded onto the Nokia Internet Tablet devices. We are not tied like Apple to only install applications that Apple wish us to use on their devices, but are positively encouraged by Nokia to Port and or Develop New applications from/on the Linux desktop environment.

Handful has a post about the new "Canola 2 Beta" web site in his personal Blog "Handful of Nothing"

Examples of Interesting sites to visit and read up on the Nokia Internet Tablet revolution and the applications that can run on these great devices can be found at:-

Maemo Downloads

Keep a watchful eye out for Canola Beta 2´s release, not so long to wait now :-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Improvment Ideas for TVersity Universal Media Server

TVersities Mission Statement
  • Our mission is to empower individuals to organize and personalize their home and Internet multimedia collection (audio, video and images) and have universal access to it anywhere (at the home or on the go) anytime and from any device.
1) TVersity received some great press coverage recently within the UK, courtesy of PC Pro and specifically the October 2007 edition with the feature on The web's best 50 free downloads Where Tversity was included in the entertainment category.

I was extremely honored to see that the combination of a thumbnail of a photo that I took in Moscow last year, being personally viewed on (my) "Mikes Nokia 770", whilst using the Media Streamer application; was included in the magazine to promote the use of the TVersity Server on a Nokia Internet Tablet. (Captured image that I originally provided to the TVersity team)

Fig 1) Image from the October 2007, PC Pro Magazine.

"Up to Date" information on what is being said in the press, about TVersity can be found here.

2) At the time of writing this particular blog post the TVersity Media server is now at Version (November 11, 2007) moving closer to the switch from beta to a full blown software release. For a clearer understanding of TVersities improving capabilities with the development path to date, a good place to start is the Release notes.

From it's core internet and local media serving and transcoding capabilities to all networked enabled media player (large or small) it is clear that TVersity is maturing very well.

Album Art and Lyrics visualisation are area's that have not been tackled in beta releases to date. Fig 1 & 2 are are my simple interpretation of how these capabilities could look within the Tversity Flash Player interface,

Fig 2) "Mock-up" of Album Art in the TVersity Flash Player Interface.

Fig 3) "Mock-up" of Lyrics in the TVersity Flash Player Interface.

With both Album Art and Lyrics I would like to see TVersity fully capable of sourcing this data either directly from the Internet or from within the users own media files and/or folder structure.

Good examples of software that interact with Internet enabling enhanced user visualisation on their personally purchased media are:-
Another area that I would dearly love to see both TVersity and the developers of Players that interface with the Media Server is the ability to control two independent players in such a manner that play order and playback can be manipulated between each player with crossfade in-out facilities.

Fadeamp (above) is a plugin which enables crossfade and control of two independent running versions of Winamp playing different selected media content through the same audio output device. If this idea could be applied with the flash Player interface of TVersity, just think how this could revolutionise media playback on all the devices Tversity supports.

It is my wish, that these ideas are added to TVersities arsenal of features in the future.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

N800 & TVersity

Although its definitely not my first choice to use the TVersity FLASH library viewer and player interface on the Nokia N800, I have to admit that with the Version (May 1, 2007) it now seems to work, all be it a little slow to navigate the Flash interface.

Its simply a matter of pointing the N800 Opera Browser at
(Entering the IP of your PC running TVersity in place of

I wrote a previous post in my blog about general use of the new TVersity FlashLib Interface, which needs updating but even so is still relevant.

Be aware that this method of view and playback, as with others (Canola, Media Streamer) will require that the correct codecs and filters are installed on the PC, in this instance to convert various AV formats when necessary into a flash playback equivalent.

At this early stage I have traversed the FLASH interface and played a few locally stored mp3's and it all seems to work, but was unable to fully test on my N800 as my Laptop PC is not set-up correctly with all my local AV directory structures and Internet URL's and Feeds to serve media etc.

When Ronen of TVersity implied that the Flash library Viewer & Player had been improved to support lower memory devices running Opera Browser and Flash 7 such as the Wii, I thought it was well worth trying again on my Nokia N800

Notes: Able to control the Volume, Mute and FF & REW of mp3´s via the flash interface etc as we would expect.

Issue Found: Every time the N800 goes into it's power saving mode and closes the display the mp3 file playbacks stops. (Restarts when awoke and continues playback from point stopped)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

TVersity 0.9.10 beta available, April 19, 2007

The latest release of the Universal Media Server "TVersity" just keeps going from strength to strength. Release (April 19, 2007) is the first to provide Video transcoding-streaming support for the PS3, Wii and Nokia N800 with video-transcoding-downloading for the Sony PSP.

These new features are in addition to already supporting Video Transcoding-streaming to the Xbox 360 and various UPnP Media player devices such as the DLink DSM 520.
In this blog post I will concentrate on providing an overview on the Improved Flash GUI Library Browser and Player which can "in theory" be accessed from any web based device that supports Flash 7 by pointing a web browser to (where is the IP address of the computer running TVersity)

First the Player GUI is very similar to any other Media Center Style interface where I was running it on an XP PC and found that I could use the mouse buttons and scroll wheel and/or Arrows & Return key to traverse the interface and select and play items.

1a) My Audio, with access to personalised Local & Internet Audio.

1b) My Photos, with access to personalised local & Internet Photos.

1c) My Video, with access to personalised Local & Internet Video.

2) Playing Audio, Note how the playback bar appears at the bottom of the flash window indicating both visually and with data the time of the track being played etc.

3) Playing Photos, My Flickr, Scanning photos held in Flickr on the internet.

4) Library & Player GUI, Navigation and Icons.

When we move the mouse into the top left of the Library & Player window, a navigation bar appears.
  • Up arrow takes us up one level at a time from where we are. (The left arrow achieves the same result)
  • Home Icon takes us back to the very top menu.
  • Play Icon plays selected item. (The return key achieves the same result)
  • Disk Icon allows us to download & save the media to the device, transcoded in a number of different formats. Please Note: That this option is very powerful as we we have the ability to quickly transcode any media being served by TVersity into a format and save on the local device (Not necessarily in the format for that device, perhaps we want to give a copy to a friend ;-)
  • Question Icon provides infomation on available Keyboard key interactions.

5) Playing Video

Note how the playback controls indicate the current playback position in video being played but give no idea on the final length in time of Video File. This is because TVersity is currently transcoding and is unable to confirm overall length in time information. (Subsequent playbacks of a fully transcoded file will provide the overall length (Time) of Video file.

This Blog Post is to be enhanced and improved with additional information and perhaps more screen grabs, so do pop back for another look. If you have any questions about a feature and I can clarify and/or provide more detail I will do it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Statcounter and Recent Visitor Maps.

Fig 1) StatCounter: Bar Graph of last weeks visits

I have been utilising StatCounter almost since the very start of my AV Media, Anytime, Anywhere! blog back in early February 2006. I find the visitor information it provides about my blog to be very interesting. (Even though I only make use of the free version)

It's great to add a post to your own blog, then over a few days watch how a particular post increases interest and visits too your blog. For example the peak Wednesday of last week in the fig 1 image above, was the day after my post about the Iphone

Fig 2) StatCounter: Recent visitor map, zoomed into a visitor of interest.

Over the last few weeks, using the Google visitor map facilities of StatCounter, I have been enjoying the visual mapping conformation of just where my visitors come from wherever they be around the world.

I have taken special notice of a regular visit to my blog from somewhere in the South Atlantic and I am inquisitive to who this is and wonder, is this an oil or gas rig in the ocean or what exactly?

Fig 3) StatCounter: Recent Visitor Activity sample.

There are many different ways to review visitors to your website with StatCounter, where I have very quickly skimmed the surface with this particular blog post.

---Edit 01/18/2007 21:00:00 PM---

Fig 4) My mysterious visitor? Reading my blog post about StatCounter today.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Using Nokia 770 to Surf & blog on the Internet

I have recently become a little disheartened by all the talk that the Nokia Internet Tablets are not a good for general Internet surfing using the provided Opera 8 Browser. So last Night whilst lying in bed I quickly fired up my Nokia 770, connected to my Wi-Fi network and the Internet and visited a few sites.

Below are some captured Nokia 770 screen grabs to illustrate the ability to open various sites and work within site almost completely normally and as you would expect to on a typical PC.

1a) Google Maps: Location 28027 Madrid, normal view. (Full 800x480 view on Nokia 770)
1b) Google Maps: Location 28027 Madrid, Satellite view. (Full 800x480 view on Nokia 770)
2a) Blogger2: Dashboard.

2b) Blogger2: New post where using Opera 8, I am unable to enter the Title & Link fields.

2c) We are able to clearly see and edit the HTML of the post, although the edit html, compose and preview options do not display correctly? (Like Title and Link options above)

2d) Adding multiple images from Nokia's Internal or external memory works great.

2e) Images uploaded to the draft Blog post.

2f) Saving the draft blog post with the uploaded images.

3) Gmail. (Full 800x480 view on Nokia 770)

4) BBC World. (Full 800x480 view on Nokia 770)

5a) Editing text using the virtual keyboard designed for the stylus. (Earlier screen capture from a few days ago when using old blogger)

5a) Editing text using the Finger & Thumb keyboard.

I am well aware and I do agree that there are real issues using the Opera 8 browser on the Nokia 770 and Nokia N800. With regard to sites with heavy Flash usage, there are definitely problems with the Nokia 770 which uses Flash 6; but even the new Nokia N800 with Flash 7 and more onboard memory, the problems have not been fully resolved.

However to say that the Nokia Internet tablets are not a good Internet Surfing device when on the move is just plain wrong !

Friday, January 12, 2007

How to Translate Canola GUI into your language

I recently heard the call made by the Canola Media player development team, to in their words...... " Guys, if you want to contribute with canola, here's an opportunity! Translate canola into your own language! "

So over that last couple of weeks in my spare time I have learnt from scratch how to go about creating French and Spanish translations of the Canola Media Player Interface.

This was my first attempt at any GUI translation, I was a complete beginner at the start of the task. Hopefully this overview "How to" will provide guidance on how to create the necessary translation files for the Canola GUI into your own mother language. (This method can be used by anyone to provide international translations of various Linux GUI applications)

Follow me, as I gradually understand (step by step?) how to edit, update and save the required translation files.

1) First I download the originating Canola i18n files (POT) of the Canola interface from then unzipped them where thanks to M$ Windows they were immediately associated with M$ Powerpoint as templates. Grrrrrrrr

2) Because I am normally a windows XP user in the home (and although my Nokia 770 OS is Linux) the first thing I did, was to take a quick look at the content of one of them with the trusty old windows notepad application.

Urrrghh, what's the congealed mess I said to myself.

3) I then fired up firstobject XML Editor to see if it presented the text in a more clear and formatted manner.

That's much better, it's now easy on the eye and I can look at the editing task ahead. Initially I thought that this XML editor was ideal with it's small footprint on the PC (Just an exe and no registry changes etc) I do like it's simplicity and ability to open and tile/work with multiple files at a time for easy cutting and pasting i.e.

4) I then opened the Babelfish webpage in Firefox my favourite web browser to begin translating the English (msgid) strings into French (msgstr) strings.

I appreciate that is not necessarily the best way to start, but I wanted a quick feel for the task ahead, believing it's better to prepare a quick general translation, then discuss accuracy with a few friends because translating from one mother tongue to another as we all know is fraught with problems.

I calmly and methodically edited all the provided *.pot files saving them with the same extension but adding French in titles accordingly. I had no idea what elements of the file header needed modifying and was not sure how to record and change date/time accurately every time I modified the file. (using the XML editor)

5) I then dived onto the web to find out more about *.pot files and found a useful section in Free/Open source software "A guide to Localisation" which would have been very helpful before the start of my activities. "Gettext: Architectural Overview" and "The POT and PO file format" sections of the guide give an effective overview of Word Internationalisation "i18n" and *.pot and *.po files

6) OK, Now I am beginning to get it, I downloaded poedit which as I found out is a program specifically designed for creating *.po from *.pot files which runs fine on M$ Windows. I now understand that the *.pot files can be constantly updated as the GUI further develops.

The *.po files understand (with Poedit) how to take the additions/modifications from the *.pot adding them to the *.po automatically (So the person translating only needs to add translation for the added/modified items which are easy to see in the Poedit interface)

Basically you highlight a line in the file and then you are able to edit the translation and make comments etc. (The catalog, settings: window allows for modification to file header records i.e. Team and email values)

7) My understanding of completed canola translations at time of this post are

Brazilian pt_BR
Catalan ca_ES
French fr_FR
German de_DE
Italian it_IT
Polish pl_PL
Spanish es_ES

Where currently the most up-to-date list and downloads of translated *.po and also the originating *.pot can be found in the zip files held here.

8) Please be aware that currently none of the translations will work with Canola 1.0 (beta1) version as its not ready to interface with them. However the more translations that are provided by the Canola user community, the more that will be available when a version of Canola is released that supports the GUI translation *.po files.

9) Of course this "how to" is only an overview for windows users, but I would like to think that everyone who wants a little understanding of GUI translation in Linux will find it useful.

I would like to thank Gustavo Sverzut Barbieri and Hanful for their support, whilst I gained an understanding of what was required to create the Canola GUI and Config translation files.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please add them by commenting against this blog post.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Apple iPhone videos in webjay RSS Feed

If the apple iPhone is as good as it appears in the promotional videos and images on the new iPhone web page! (Technical Specifications)

I thought I would add the mov URL's to an RSS Feed in my webjay account newappleiphone.xml

The RSS Feed and video playback works well on my TV and Philips SL300i via TVersity (Transcoded from mov to mpeg1 for my SL300i but TVersity transcodes to other formats such as wmv for the xbox360)

Alternatively you can view the videos normally on your PC via the new Apple iphone page

Let's hope the iPhone is not totally AV crippled by DRM like the MS Zune and is able to link with Media servers such as TVersity.

I thought I would prepare this post in my blog to illustrate how easily webjay can be used to create an RSS Feed playlist of Internet available AV URL's that can be shared with for example the TVersity Universal Media Player Community.

Here is a low quality video from the BBC of Steve Jobs talking about the iPhone at his 2007 Keynote speech

---Edit---Here is the full iPhone demonstration, Steve Jobs made during his 2007 Keynote speech in QT mov streaming only format!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Nokia N800 Internet Tablet on it's way

There has been increased Technical interest over the weekend at what appears to be a scoop, ahead of an official announcement of the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet at CES.

I am not going to review and re-edit information from posts made by others to give the impression I know all about the Nokia N800, just provide a few useful links to blog and forum items have found talking about it's comparison for example to the earlier Nokia 770 (with pictures)

Here we go then :-

This post will be edited and updated as I find more useful information over the next few days.

Thank you to all the guys in North America taking time to provide early Nokia N800 information to all and users of a currently available Internet Tablet such as the Nokia 770. Lets hope the Nokia N800 is available soon in Europe and the rest of the world.