# Saturday, 03 January 2009

I just found out that there's going to be a little shindig about Windows Mobile devices next week (9th Jan-11 Jan) over at Lowyat plaza. HTC, Samsung and Sony will be there, so I guess the headlining devices should be the HTC Touch Pro and HTC Touch HD, the Samsung Omnia (I still can't believe why they did with the stylus!) and the Sony X1 (It has FISH!!!)

So mark the date on your calendar if you're looking to molest some devices.

Saturday, 03 January 2009 22:32:54 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 31 December 2008

What a way to start a year...

First of... fancy making your Nokia Series 60 phone unable to receive any SMS until a full factory reset? Check out this dangerous exploit.

Next... Microsoft Zunes are dying with no explanation on 12AM 31st December 2008.

Lastly... is Steve Jobs really critically ill? That would be bad...

Wednesday, 31 December 2008 23:34:19 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

Wow.. it feels like only yesterday that I wrote my 2007 gear roundup... then the server died and I nearly lost my whole site! This time I have backed up my site already!

Cool thing about having a blog is how you can go back and reflect on what you were doing a year ago. So let's see what was I up to for 2008.

Most important purchase of the year would have to be my first DSLR camera. The Sony Alpha 350.

Thumbdrives got so ridiculously cheap I lost count of how many I bought.

An interesting piece of gear, which I find indispensable in recording gameplay videos and other things is the Pinnacle Video Transfer unit.

I bought quite a few figures.. like Haruhi here. Here's to hoping I don't get anymore.

There was a sudden increase in desktops in the household as I got some MiniITX based units like this for running Windows Home Server and other misc chores.

And of course... I haven't broken the curse of getting one new phone a year.

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to hoping 2009 is not as bad as it's looking right now!

Wednesday, 31 December 2008 22:29:36 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 29 December 2008

One of the things that people tell you is that, if you're gonna make an online video, try to keep it under 10 mins or it's most likely the viewer is gonna get bored. I'll keep that in mind the next time I record a show with Yoroi, but how was I to know that just pointing a camera at ourselves and talking about the Sony Playstation Network was gonna take 17 minutes! (here's a tip, once the gameplay video shows up,hit the play button to pause live viewing of the stream to allow both streams to download completely so you can watch it without fear of breaking sync between the streams)

The other problem was that because we rely on 2 video streams, if we wanted to chop up the video, we'd need to make a few more sync points on the video itself. Which we didn't have... when we recorded this almost 30 MINUTE Xbox Live video.

We sound like 2 tired drunks because we were worn out trying to get the PS3 working for our recording, I'd detail the problems we had but then the fanboys would start crying foul!

Monday, 29 December 2008 22:40:11 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 

I've made a few references to the Silverlight Streaming Service a few times before on my website but I never quite explained what it is before. A lot of people thinks that the Silverlight Streaming service (SLS) is meant for hosting and streaming videos that are delivered via a Silverlight based video player. And thus when people go to the website they're expecting to see something like YouTube or some other video service.

But SLS is NOT JUST for hosting videos, it's meant for hosting Silverlight Applications. With Silverlight, a content creator is able to create rich interactive applications and media experiences which of course can be hosted on their own server of choice. But then, bandwidth issues come into play. Take for examples the various video podcasts/reviews/shows  and deepzoom albums I have on my site. Like any other web content I could have just hosted the files on the server itself. And that would mean that people from around the region would be able to retrieve and view the files very quickly because the server is close to them.

But... what if the viewer was from another geographical region? What if my webhost's network pipe is being throttled or consumed by someone else who is being hosted on the same server network? As an independent developer while I am able to make rich media content, I do not have the ability to host the content on some super fast, globally distributed server network.

And that's where SLS comes into the picture. As I mentioned it's not just meant for videos but entire Silverlight Applications (this includes everything on the client side ie. Your XAP file, any additional resource files, images, sounds, etc. etc. The service is not for hosting backend applications such as ASP.Net)

How SLS works is that first you upload your application files to the service and then you use the HTML tags (typically an iframe) to refer to your application. Then when a browser requests for the application, that's when the magic happens, SLS has a bunch of distribution nodes around the globe, when a request for content comes in the content is blasted via a high speed network into the distribution node closest to where the request is coming from and the content is served from that node.

This technique in theory allows most users to be able to grab the content at an efficient rate since the content will be coming from a server that's closer to the user.

There are 2 problems with this approach though, the first is a minor issue. Because the content is cached in the distribution node, any changes that you might upload (ie, replacing the XAP or an image file) might not be immediately visible to you.

The 2nd problem is much more of a headache that someone realized over at the Silverlight forums. Because the distribution nodes are given unique URLs and identifiers, if you use Isolated Storage in your Silverlight application, it's very likely that everytime a user hits the page, they'll never be able to read back their previous settings.

But other than those 2 problems, I'm happy with SLS. I'm glad that it is able to deliver my video shows on a steady bitrate. Though I do wonder what's the experience like for people outside of our region?

Monday, 29 December 2008 22:32:50 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |