Zune Pass, Virtualization, Open Source, RSS Readers, Device Convergence and Lowering Power Consumption – HT028

Home-Tech-Album-125x125_thumb1_thumb1Jim, Andrew and Christian are joined by Gary Johnson (better known as Christians’ Dad” for this weeks installment of the Home Tech Podcast.

After a few audio hitches the guys get things rolling by talking about Jims’ experiences using the 14-day trial of Microsoft Zune Pass to prepare the DJ tracks for his sons’ wedding, and some of the challenges of being able to download the desired music after finding it.

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The guys move on to talking about virtualization using the Oracle virtualization product Virtual Box, and Microsoft Hyper-V in their environments, as well as their product preferences.  Jim and Christian use Virtual Box for testing, Gary uses Hyper-V to host the Johnson family Windows Home Server 2011 over their Windows 2008 R2 Server, and Andrew uses a combination of VMWare Workstation and Microsoft Virtual XP Mode.



The guys briefly discuss the Open Source products that Oracle have acquired in the past couple of years, with Virtual Box and Open Office being the most notable, and give Libre Office, the main Open Office competitor a brief mention.  Gary talks about the Open Source products they use, with Subsonic being one of the most used products in their home.

Andrew talks about his challenges in finding a new RSS reader, in an attempt to separate the day-to-day reading of RSS feeds from his Outlook Inbox.  An RSS feeds allows you to “subscribe” to a blog, and read blog posts without actually visiting the site the posts are published on.

Some of the challenges of moving away from an Outlook based solution include finding something that maintains a simple look and feel.  Cloud solutions such as Google Reader are not quite what he is looking for, and he is in the process of exploring options.  So far, RSS Bandit and Feed Demon are on the evaluation list.


Hot news during recording of the show is a news release from Engadget the Lulz Security group announcing yet again the Sony Group being hacked, with this time SonyPictures.com being the target.

From Christians’ Corner, we have two Speed Tips this week, firstly telling us how to ensure memory Prefetch is working at its fullest potential via GHacks.  Christian explains the benefits of this tweak, and how it can improve timing of application launch and system booting.

The second Speed Tip is the SG TCP Optimizer from the folks over at Speed Guide.  The TCP Optimizer tweaks the Windows TCP stack to ensure the network card in your PC will perform at its’ optimum performance level.  Gary and Christian explain the benefits of optimizing your network interface.

This weeks Deal-of-the-Week is the Seasonic X Series 400W Fanless Power Supply from Newegg.com – ideal for silent PC operation such as an HTPC or for a PC in one of the kids’ bedrooms.

Gary shares with us his Big Picture view on where he believes technology is going.  Gary tells about how device convergence has been accomplished, with devices such as the Ceton cable tuner cards becoming available, enabling full entertainment integration into the home network, other vendors such as Silicon Dust offer products such as HD Home Run (networked Free-to-Air tuner) and the HD Home Run Prime (networked Cable TV)


Gary talks about his belief that the new convergence will be the merge of the mobile phone, tablet and the laptop platforms, with the possible addition of the desktop computer following shortly after, as well as integration to the cloud services coming from Google, Amazon and Microsoft.  Gary notes the recent announcement from Asus being the Padfone, caught on camera by our friends over at Engadget.

In a similar vein, the guys discuss the future of the keyboard and the usefulness of voice interpretation, and the necessity for natural voice detection for this technology to move forward in large scale adoption.

To wrap it up, the guys talk about the move towards low power consumption devices, such as the Fit-PC 2i, and Ultrabook concept coming from Intel, with plenty of power still available to the user, with huge power savings to run the device itself.

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