Tag Archive: browser

Sep 09

New in Labs: Play Google Voice messages in Gmail

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Vincent Paquet, Google Voice Product Manager

Google Voice helps you manage your communications with a unique phone number that rings all your existing phones, a single voicemail inbox with online access and automated transcription, and lots of handy features like the ability to block spammy calls and easily record personalized greetings for your callers. Think of it as Gmail for your phone calls and text messages (watch this video to learn more). Google Voice is currently available via invitation, which you can request here.

For those of you who already use Google Voice, you’re probably used to receiving voicemail notifications via email. A couple of minutes after someone leaves a voicemail on your Google Voice number, you’ll receive an email showing who called, an automated transcript of the voicemail, and a link to play the message. You can click the link to listen to the message right from your computer.

Previously, clicking “Play message” opened a new page in your browser, but starting today, you can play voicemails right in Gmail. Just turn on the Google Voice player from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings and whenever you get a voicemail notification, the player will appear right below the message itself.


Best of all, your message status will stay synced: messages played from Gmail will appear as read in your Google Voice inbox and won’t be played again when you check new messages via your phone. If you already use Google Voice, try it out and let us know what you think. If you don’t have a Google Voice account yet, sign up for an invitation and we’ll get you one ASAP.

Go here to see the original:
New in Labs: Play Google Voice messages in Gmail

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/new-in-labs-play-google-voice-messages-in-gmail

Sep 14

Google Chrome Tip #6: Where’s the Status bar?

Google has really gone to great lengths to try to increase the viewing space in its Google Chrome browser such as moving the tabs into the window’s Title bar, etc. One thing that appears to be missing, though, is the Status bar at the bottom. So how do you see what URL you are hovering over? How do you know what URL is loading? The status bar is there on the lower right of the page, however it’s just not always there. Hover over any link, or load a page, and you will see the Status bar slid in.

Status bar

When you move off of a link or when the page finished loading, the Status bar slides away when not needed. Slick!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-6-wheres-the-status-bar

Sep 12

Google Chrome Tip #5: How to see Browsing History

Browser HistoryUnlike in Firefox and Internet Explorer, Google Chrome has no dropdown integrated in the back and forward buttons, so how do you view your recent browsing history? Simple! Just click and hold either button, and if there is history, a dropdown menu will appear. You can alternately right-click on either arrow with the same effect.

To view your full browsing history, select the “Show full history” selection from the same menu, select “History” from the “Customize and control Google Chrome” button (the “wrench” icon), or simply press and a full browsing history page will open in a new tab.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-5-how-to-see-browsing-history

Sep 10

Google Chrome Tip #4: about:stuff

aboutEnter about:memory into the Omni bar (the address bar) and Google Chrome will display a nice summary of your memory useage and all Google Chrome-related processes. As a bonus, the summary section also displays the memory usage information for all other open browsers giving you a nice comparison!

Here is a list of other “about:” commands that provide interesting information and do some interesting things:

about:cache
about:crash
about:dns
about:hang
about:histograms
about:internets
about:memory
about:network
about:plugins
about:stats
about:version

Most of these can also be easily bookmarked by clicking the Star in the Omni bar.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-4-aboutstuff

Sep 04

Google Chrome Tip #1: Enhanced Find Feature

Google Chrome Enhanced FindThis is a really subtle one, but Google Chrome improves nicely on the “find” function for finding text within an open page. As in other browsers, pressing <ctrl><f> brings up a find box, however its overall functionality is just a bit different. Read on to see the differences….

First, the find box is integrated unobtrusively in the upper right corner of the page into which you type your search text. It’s clean and looks good. I never liked how Internet Explorer pops up a dialog box. It just gets in the way. Firefox, Safari, and now Google Chrome implement this well with Google Chrome behaving similarly to how Safari does it.

Google Chrome

As you type your search text, hits are highlighted in real time and the number of occurrences is displayed in the box. Clicking the Up and Down arrows in the find box will step you through all occurrences highlighting the current one in a bolder highlight.

Google Chrome

So far, this is all pretty standard, but look at the scrollbar on the right of the page. The relative locations of the hits is visually indicated by little lines in scrollbar in the same color as the highlight color within the text. This makes it quick and easy to tell at a glance where within the page you will find all of the occurrences.

Google Chrome

Its subtle, but surprisingly useful!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-1-enhanced-find-feature

Sep 03

Welcome to Google Chrome Tips!

Google Chrome Tips is here to provide some tips and tricks for Google’s new Chrome browser. I will also post some articles related to Chromium, the Open Source version of Chrome. While my browser of choice is still Firefox, Google Chrome offers some exciting features and performence enhancements that really makes it worth a look.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/welcome-to-google-chrome-tips

Mar 03

iPod Touch Review: Wikpedia on your iPod Touch!

Wikipedia on the iPod TouchArguably, one of the greatest current contributions to the Internet is Wikipedia, a solid encyclopedic resource for general knowledge of topics spanning literally millions of articles. Though the accuracy of some of its articles is questionable, overall, Wikipedia does an excellent job of presenting generally reliable content. A point of note that any researcher, student, or general Internet user should know, is that because of its susceptibility to error and vandalism, Wikipedia, should not be used as a difinitive research resource, it should be considered a great starting point for researching a topic.)

Like searching on Google, Wikipedia is fast and intuitive to use. On the iPod Touch, the Safari Web browser renders Wikipedia pages very well. But accessing Wikipedia from the iPod Touch has one major drawback: you must be online. Recently, however, there have been several sfforts to provide Wikipedia content in an offline format. This article covers two such offerings:

Wikipedia.app

Wiki2Touch  (My Pick!)

I review what I like about them, what I dislike, and which I like best, so read on for a full review of these two applications….

Generally speaking, offline Wikipedia implementaions require several components to work including a huge data file containing the text content of Wikipedia’s articles, some supporting files, and an application that handles the searching and displaying of the article content. Fortunately, getting Wikipedia’s data isn’t that difficult because Wikipedia makes this English languave data readily available in the form of a downloadable XML file. (If you require foreign versions, a number of foreign languages are available as well.) Currently, the data weighs in at about 3GB, so it may take a while to download the data. But downloading this 3GB+ file is just the start. You then need to convert the file into a format that the offline applications can manage. Fortunately, this is not a difficult process–time-consuming, but not difficult.

Wikipedia.app

The first application in this review is Wikipedia.app . This was the first offline implementation I tried, and it was simply amazing! It provided quick access to almost all Wikipedia text content. Entering search after search revealed just how much data could be packed onto an iPod Touch.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia.app is not without its issues as it’s not too hard to crash the application, particularly when following links from redirects. There are some simple workarounds, but this is still a drawback. The display is very simple, providing a nice scrollable display, but that’s about it. There are no bells and whistles, so if you are looking for a small, lean application, this is it.

On the positive side, Wikipedia.app gave me my first taste of using Wiklipedia offline, and it provided adequate access to its articles. Searching was quick, and the display layout, while spartan, looked great. Many articles include internal links referencing other articles, so tapping any of the links displays that new article. Other than the occasional crash, it did work well.

Another positive is in setup. Setting up Wikipedia.app was very straight forward. The first thing you need is the Wikipedia text data. Wikipedia.app provides a large pre-built data file that weighs in at just over 2GB in size. It’s an English language snapshot of Wikipedia text content from October, 2007–a few other lanugage versions are also available. Instructions are provided to manually build a more recent version, but the currently available version is fairly recent, so using the pre-built file makes isntallation much easier. You also need to download some supporting files and the Wikipedia.app application. Installation was as simple as downloading everything (which took a while because of the size), uploading everything to the iPod Touch, setting some file permissions, and restarting Springboard. It was very easy.

Once set up, you end up with a new icon on your Home page that launches a simple Search application. Enter your search text, and Wikipedia.app displays results in real-time as you type. This is great, because you get immediate feedback. Tapping any of the results will do wone of two things: Display the article, or display a redrect page. In most cases, tapping the redirect will either display the article, or display a new redirect. Occasionally, this crashes.

Here is the Wikipedia.app start page:
Wikipedia.app Start page

Here is the results page that displays results as you type:
Wikipedia.app Results Page

Here is an example of a rendered article:
Wikipedia.app Article Page

The articles display in a nice scrollable page with embeded internal links, and there is a button at the top to take you back to the search page. And at the top of the search page is a button to take upi back to the last-viewed article. There is no history, so if you follow internal links, going back will take you to the search page. And when you exit and relaunch the application, no history is saved.

I’d love to see the Wikipedia.app program be stabilized and some features added, but for now, it works well enough. Features I’d like to see added include saving search result history, retention of articles between sessions, and the ability to save “favorite” articles for quick reference. Despite its quirks, it’s an excellent solution.

Wiki2Touch

Wiki2Touch takes a different approach in implementation. You still have a huge article data file, but instead of using a custom client application to search and display the articles, it includes a local Web server application that runs in the background, providing access to the local data directly from Safari. When you point Safari to the local Web server address, it displays a Wikipedia search page. Entering a search request searches the local Wikipedia data file and returns the article results in a nicely-formatted, iPod Touch-friendly page. It’s quick and reliable, and if a result is not found or a link is broken, you simply get an “Article not found” error page–no crashes, no hassels.

Setup is not quite as easy as with Wikipedia.app because you must build the indexed data file yourself. While this may sound daunting, it’s actually very easy–it just takes lots of time. And one advantage to manually building the file is that you can build it using the latest snapshot ensuring that your data will be as current as Wikipedia provides. To build the file, you first have to download the 3GB+ XML data file from Wikipedia. Depending on the speed of yout Internet connection, this could take a while. Next, download the Wiki2Touch program distribution. It’s a small package, so it will be a quick download. You then build the “articles.bin” data file (the actual data file that will be uploaded to your iPod Touch) from the downloaded Wikipedia XML data using a simple “indexer” application. (For Windows users, the process is done by issuing a single DOS command.) The indexer.exe program converts and repackages the XML data into a format usable by the Wiki2Touch se
rver application.

When indexer.exe completes, you upload the new data file and the application files to your iPod Touch (this can take a long time over WiFi) set some file permissions, restart Springboard, launch the Wiki2Touch app, start the server, launch Safari, then point Safari to http://127.0.0.1:8080/index.html. If everything went as expected, you should see a nice Wikipedia search page.

Using Safari to access the local Wikipedia data has several advantages over Wikipedia.app. Because articles are displayed through Safari, you use Safari’s User Interface features such as zooming and screen rotation to your advantage. This makes reading articles more consistent with reading other Web-based content. Second, if you enter s search request that does not find any results, or if a link or redirect happens to be bad, you simply get an “Article not found” error instead of a potential crash. And because articles are returned by Wiki2Touch as a “valid” URL within Safari, you can use Safari’s history, Bookmark, and Web Clip features to better manage and organize your searches and search results. (Oh, and get this: if you have the Wiki2Touch server running, and have WiFi turned on, PC’s on your local network can connect to your Wiki2Touch server via a Web Browser to your iPod Touch and submit queries! While this might potentially cause some security concerns, it’s still pretty cool.)

This is the “start” page:
Wiki2Touch Start page

This is an example of the real-time search page that displays search results as you type:
Wiki2Touch Search

This is the resullting article. Note that though there is no image displayed, it is formatted to accommodate images:

Wiki2Touch Article page

A potential drawback to Wiki2Touch is that overall, you will be using up to 50% more memory (3GB+ compared to 2GB+) than with Wikipedia.app. If you are using an 8GB iPod Touch and want to also carry lots of music and video with you, you may be out of luck. But for me, it’s not an issue, because I’m using my iPod Touch more as a PDA than a media player. You just may need to make some choioces to prioritize what content gets loaded.

Conclusion

So which do I recommend? They are both great implementations, but in the end, I have to recommend using Wiki2Touch. For a quick install and easy-to-use offline access, Wikipedia.app shines. Though it’s not without its quirks, and it occasionally crashes, it was simple to install, and it provided the content I was looking for. On the other hand, while Wiki2Touch required more up-front time to get things set up, once installed, it was so easy and stable to use. And the fact that it leverages Safari’s additional features makes it stand out as my offline Wikipedia search tool of choice.

In either case, once you get the taste of having Wikipedia articles accessible and available anywhere, any time, you begin to see just how exciting this really is. Being able to have pocketable, offline access to Wikipedia content alone, for me, justifies what I paid for my iPod Touch.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touch-review-wikpedia-on-your-ipod-touch

Feb 25

iPod TouchReview: iPod Touch 8GB

I've been a long-time proponent and user of PalmOS PDA's, but lately I have become very by Palm's lack of innovation in their offerings. And innovation is something Palm was regularly known for. For example, consider the Palm V, arguably one of Palm's most innovative designs with its sleek form and powerful (for 1999) capabilities. This was an example of a innovation driving the market.

The PDA trend eventually shifted to "convergence" devices like the Smartphone. But despite their popularity, many of us prefer to have separate devices. Over time, Palm's PDA offerings have really amount to permutations of the same old thing. Now don't get me wrong, I love Palm PDA's. It's just that nothing really new has come out to cause me to want to upgrade or consider a device from another company. So another company appears to be picking up the ball and running with it.

The Apple iPod Touch

Enter the Apple iPod Touch….

Read on for my review of Apple's iPod Touch…

After poking around on the Internet and reading articles and commentary on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices, I decided to give the iPod Touch a closer look. The iPod Touch is basically an iPhone without the phone, camera, or Bluetooth. What's left is a solid, elegant WiFi-enabled media player that also happens to run other applications. I've never actually owned a portable MP3/media player, so I was entering uncharted territory. The closest I came was the several PalmOS multimedia PDAs that could play MP3 files and videos, but they were primarily PDA's, and media playback often seemed like an afterthought.

Now, before I go too far with this, I need to clarify one thing. While I do understand that Apple markets the iPod Touch primarily as a multimedia player, it really is (or has the potential to be) so much more. The iPod Touch is a powerful, pocket-sized, OS X-based (derived from BSD UNIX), WiFi-enabled, touchscreen computer that is very well-suited to run and manage so much more than just music and video playback. Having significant experience with many PDA's over the years, I feel that the iPod Touch has the potential to become the PDA that could significantly refine the concept of what is a current PDA. It is this kind of innovation that very well could launch Apple far ahead of Palm. It could very well be the "Palm V for the 21's Century", if you will.

Hardware
The iPod Touch is very sleek and very small. It measures just 4.3" x 2.4"  x .31" (110mm x 61.8mm x 8mm) and weighs in at 4.2 ounces (120g). Yet, it has a very substantial, comfortable feel, though not too heavy. It is solid and does not bend or creak when flexed. The front of the case surrounding the screen appears to be plastic, and the back of the case is metal–mirrored chrome. The chrome back, like on other iPod models, is very prone to scratching, so you'll want to quickly grab some sort of case to protect it. Overall, it is very solid and very sturdy.

Compare this to the Palm V, and you'll see how advanced it is:

iPod Touch     Palm V

The touchscreen is really nice-looking and solid. Unlike most PDA designs where the touch sensors are on top of the screen, the iPod Touch's sensors are under a screen of solid glass. This means that the touchscreen is very sturdy and not as easily scratched as are plastic-based touchscreens. Obviously, glass can still scratch and wear, so simple a screen protector is all that is really needed for decent protection.

With the addition of a simple sleeve or cover and a screen protector, there is no reason why the iPod Touch can't be "front-pocketable". If the pocket you put it in has keys, coins, or other metal objects, you may want a more durable case. In any case, it's so small that you are more likely to have it with you. Also, a word of caution: I personally never "back-pocket" any PDA simply because I don't want to risk damage.

WiFi
Apple's inclusion of WiFi is very well done. The Settings screen that controls connectivity is very intuitive, and also serves as a basic "stumbler" application showing you all avaiilable WiFi Access Points within range, bith open and locked. The settings are quite customizable, and once set to your liking, connectivity is a snap. I have used a couple WiFi-enabled PDA's and the iPod Touch is by far the fastest and easiest to use, and so far, the most reliable. Its integration is seamless.

If I could change one thing about Apple's WiFi implementation, it's that they did not provide any simple way to toggle WiFi on or off. Leaving it on will drain your battery, so being able to toggle it on or off is essential. Yes, you can do it through the Settings screen, but why don't they include a Home page icon that will do it simply and wuickly, similar to excellent the WiFiSwitch application for Jailbroken devices?

And as long as I'm complaining, the my only real complaint with Apple's hardware choices is the lack of an external speaker. The included transducer simply doesn't cut it. Other than some very basic system sounds like some clicks and very soft-sounding alarms, you need earbuds or headphones to hear any real sound. I realize that other iPods don't have external speakers, but this is quite limiting, in my opinion, given the advanced capabilities and potential of this device. How many times have you wanted to play a quick audio or video clip for someone, but don't because you either don't have or don't want to hassle with earbuds? Having an external speaker would really make this so much easier.

User Interface
The iPod Touch's User Interface is very responsive and very well-suited to fingertip navigation. For example, scrolling is not done by the typical tapping or dragging of a scrollbar. Instead, you just use an up or down "flick" gesture on the screen, and the content scrolls–it's very intuitive. And then there's the "Multitouch" gestures that make interaction fun and easy. Doing a "pinch" motion with two fingers on the screen will zoom in where applicable, and doing a "spread" (or "reverse pinch") will zoom you out. In many cases, "double-tapping" will do a quick zoom in, and "double-tapping" again will quickly zoom you back out.

Another nice feature is an automatic "Landscape" mode that rotates when you tilt the device. There is an accelerometer built-in that detects when you tilt the iPod Touch, so when you turn it on its side, if the application supports it, the screen will rotate in that direction to a landscape format. This is excellent for functions as Cover-Flow and Web browsing.

iPod Touch Landscape

Text input is done with an on-screen keyboard–there is no handwriting recognition here. Surprisingly, the implementation works very well with the fingertip. You won't get the speed of thumb-typing on say, a Treo or a Blackberry, but it's quit usable. My fingers occasionally tap the wrong letter, but correcting is easy. The only real shortcoming of text input is the absence of any Cut and Paste functions, though
it is rumored tha
t a forthcoming firmware upgrade will add this.

Software
The
iPod Touch was originally marketed as an innovative media player, but it does include several other applications like a Calendar, Contacts, and Web browser that bring it closer to the PDA world. Here is a brief description of the included applications:

Music
The heart and soul of all iPods is its ability to play music. The iPod Touch really shines with a slick, intuitive interface. Just sync your music files through iTunes, and you can browse by artist, album, song, genra, and more.

There is also an alternate view called "Cover Flow" that takes advantage of the iPod Touch's landscape mode. While in the music app, tilt the device 90° in either direction, and you see a fanned-out cover-art display of all of your albums. Doing a "flick" gesture left or right scrolls through the animated display, so you can quickly navigate to any alnum. And tapping on a cover "flips" it over revealing the songs on that album. Tapping any of the songs begins playback.

My only complaint with Cover Flow is that it appears to sort the albums by the name of the first artist listed on the album, not album name. For single-artist albums, this is a non-issue, but it can be confusing when dealing with compilation albums. I wish there was a Settings option to define how Cover Flow sorts the albums.

On not-so-know feature allows you to control music playback and volume from within any application or even when the device is locked. Just press thr Home button twice in seccussion, and a small music control pad will pop up. Given that the iPod Touch does not have any external volume controls, this is an excellent and convenient solution.

Videos
Like several other iPod models, the iPod Touch will play videos. From short clips to full-length movies, they look and sound great. Videos can be purchased through iTunes or converted using either iTUns or several third-party applications. Browsing the videos is straight forward, and playback offers full control. In my opinion, compared to the Palm OS PDA's I have used to play back video, the iPod Touch leads the pack.

Photos
The Photos application launches displaying scrollable list of "categories" derived from the directories the photos are stored in. Tapping a category brings up a scrollable list of thumbnails. tapping a thumbnail will display the photo full-screen. Like several other applications, rotating the iPod Touch will put it into Landscape mode whci may make some photos easier to see. You can use the "flick" gesture to scroll, the "pinch" gesture to zoom in or out, and double-tapping will zoom in and out. When zoomed, you can pan around. You can also view the photos as a slideshow.

From within the Photos application, you can select one of the pictures to be used as your Lock-screen background. It's a great application store and show off your pictures. Images must be synced through iTunes.

Calendar
The Calendar app is a modest appointment calendar that will sync with iCal or Outlook. It does not include ToDo's or Notes, but as an appointment manager, it works well. I do wish, however, that it would sync wirelessly with Google Calendar.

Contacts
The Contacts application is fairly complete offering lots of fields for your needs. It syncs with iCan and Outlook. I don't use it that mutch, but the UI is very slick and friendly.

Safari
The Safari Web browser is simply amazing. I have used Web browsers on several Palm OS PDA's, and there is simply no comparison. Safari beats them all hands-down in all counts. Pages render quickly and accurately in Safari, and best of all, they aren't proxy-hobbled or stripped pages–they are the real pages. There is no Flash support, but it is rumored that a forthcoming firmware update will add this feature.

iPod Touch - Safari

Of course, on the small sreen of the iPod Touch, many pages are simply unreadable, but this is quickly and easily resolved by the using the iPod Touch's advanced User Interface. First, you can tilt the device into Landscape mode giving you a wider, more readable display. This is all you need to do in many cases. You can also double-tap on any part of a page, and it will zoom that section to fit the screen. Double-tapping again will zoom you back out. The "pinch" gestures will zoom you in and out as well. A "Flick" gesture up or down will scroll in the desired direction, and if you are zoomed in, tapping and holding then dragging will pan the screen. And to select a link, just tap on it. Internal links load in the same page, while external links take advantage of Safari's Multi-Page view. Safari can maintain several open pages, conceptually similar to Firefox and IE7's Tabs, except pages are chosen through a thumbnail-like viewer. It's a very fresh and intuitive way to navigate Web pages.

Obviously, getting the Web pages requires WiFi connectivity, but the pages are still viewable while offline–almost. Safari's page cache seems to be dependent upon available memory, so if you have more than a few pages open, or have one or two large pages open, if you navigate to another application and return to Safari, the pages may be lost. Unfortunately, what or how much is stored is not predictable, so you cannot rely on having pages always available offline. I would like to see Apple provide an enhancement to Safari that would provide for viewing of saved pages while offline.

Also, Safari displays Adobe .PDF file in an excellent rotatable, zoomable viewer, but you must get the file online, as Safari prevents viewing any local files (file:///…) Of course, there is currently no "official" way to store .PDF files locally, so this may not be an issue.

YouTube
I haven't used this app much, but it provides you with direct access to YouTube videos. The interface is solid, quick, and you have full control over playback. You can browse various video lists or search for specific videos. YouTube fans should enjoy this.

iTunes WiFi Music Store
This slick little application lets you connect directly to your iTunes account while connected via WiFi. You can browse and search for songs and albums, you can listen to previews, and you can purchase and download the song or album immediately with the purchase being charged to yout iTunes account. You cannot access PodCasts or Videos through the app, but for music lovers, this should give you what you want.

So, there you ahve the basics of what the iPod Touch is all about. If you would like an even more detailed hardware and software review, jump over to over at The Gageteer's site: http://the-gadgeteer.com/review/apple_ipod_touch for their excellent review.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touchreview-ipod-touch-8gb

Feb 15

Welcome to iPod Touch Tips!

iPod Touch iPod Touch Tips is a new section on JimsTips.com to provide Tips, reviews, and other information about Apple’s iPod Touch . The iPod Touch, originally marketed as media player, is capable of so much more. With WiFi, Web Browsing, and the addition of a few new applications, the iPod Touch is much improved with some new and extended capabilities.

The domain iPTTips.com redirects to this page, so you can always get to iPod Touch Tips by pointing your browser to http://iPTTips.com.

Apple’s AppStore has hundreds of applications for the iPhone & iPod Touch, so stay tuned as I give my thoughts and reviews of my favorite apps!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/welcome-to-ipod-touch-tips

Jan 03

SageTV Tip #7: Other SageTV Customizations

The third type of SageTV customization is simply “other” customizations. These customizations vary widely in scope and function, but provide great enhancements to your SageTV experience. From custom channel logos to remote Web access, these other customizations propel SageTV ahead of the competition in form and function. Read on to get a taste of the additional customizations available to SageTV….

For brevity, I won’t detail all of the available other SageTV customizations, but here is a list of the general categories of customizations that are currently available:

  • Automatic Commercial Detection and Advance
  • Channel logos
  • SageTV Web Interface
  • XML File Creation
  • External Status Monitor
  • Directory Monitor
  • Control Applications via Windows Messages
  • SageTV Backup
  • Plugins to Support Additional Media File Formats

All of the above customizations are excellent, but I find two to be most useful to me:

1. Web Interface
This fantastic customization lets you remotely control many aspects of SageTV from any Web-enabled PC in your house or on the Internet. With features like EPG searching, show scheduling, Favorites Management, and a huge list of other features, managing SageTV is now a fun and effortless remote process. Say you’re at a relative’s house and they suggests an interesting show. Simply fire up any Web browser, securely connect to your SageTV PC’s Web Interface, and schedule the show. It’s very slick and easy to use. I highly recommend this one because it really extends the reach of SageTV way beyond the living room.

2. Commercial Detection
This is a very interesting customization. The concept is to install a couple applications that automatically scans a recorded show for commercial content, and then creates a corresponding file containing their locations. Then, an STVi uses these files playback the show without commercials. Amazing! There are several methods of doing this with varying degrees of success, and I won’t detail them all here. But I will say that I installed the DirMon2 application, the ShowAnalyzer application, and the ComSkip Playback STVi, and when I now playback a recording, SageTV auto-skips those marked sections. Watching commercial-free show content relatively seamless. It’s not 100% accurate, but its close–VERY close. And add to the mix BobPhoenix’s excellent “Video Editing for Sage” STVi, and you can easily tweak or fix any of the cut points as needed.

These are just two of the many SageTV customizations made available to dedicated users. The best place to learn about other SageTV customizations is to visit “SageTV Customizations” forum, and notably, the “List of available customizations” page in that forum.

Take the time to explore them, and if you like what you see, please let the developers know. They are always encouraged by your feedback.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/sagetv-tips/sagetv-tip-7-other-sagetv-customizations

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