Chromecast

Ordered the Google Chromecast the other day. It’s a little HDMI dongle you put into your TV to make it smarter. Amazing gadget, I must say, it’s been a while since I was this excited about a piece of electronics. It’s not that it’s that full-featured — right now it’s only actually useful if all you need is YouTube and Netflix (which happens to be the case for me) — rather, it’s the implications of the device that excites me.

It doesn’t have a remote control, and the device does nothing on its own. The remote is your phone or your tablet or your desktop. All the device does is receive streams from the internet, and you “suggest” those streams from your handheld. In essence it downgrades your “smart-TV” (or in my case, upgrades my dumb-TV) into being simply a display capable of receiving input. It removes every single bit of UI and interaction from the television itself, and propels it onto that thing you have in your pocket regardless.

The concept alone blew my mind when the implications sank in. I doubt it’s controversial to say that television UIs have sucked for decades. Just pick up your remote control and look at it, chances are you’ll find more than twenty buttons, 90% of which you’ve used only once. Alright maybe you picked up an Apple TV remote — vast improvement over most other remotes, but why is that? Right: fewer buttons. Which is why requiring all interaction happen on your smartphone is such a novel idea: by virtue of being a sheet of capacitative glass, your television remote now has only the buttons necessary, and only when you need them. 

It’s just great.

What’s even better is not having to switch on your television and change to the “HDMI” channel. The Chromecast is always listening for input, so if you tell it to play Netflix, it’ll turn on your TV for you, on the right channel no less. When you turn off the television again (alright, I suppose you do need your remote for that — and for volume), your Netflix app will pause the show you were watching. 

This is how television is supposed to work. They’ve cracked it.

Yeah sure, it’s early. Most people will need set-top boxes for a while still. For a 1.0, however, the Chromecast is remarkable. If only Netflix would auto-play the next episode in a TV show, if only Pocket Casts was Chromecast enabled… But hey, this dongle auto-updates transparently in the background. Who knows, maybe next time I turn on the televison, there it is. It is Chrome-based, after all.

Damon Lindelof gives a couple of actual answers as to what happened at the ending of Lost

Readers of this blog will know that I’m a fan of Lost. Or was. Spoiler warning, of course. The ending has bummed me out the more I thought about it. Still, it was 6 years of good television, so much that prior to the ending, I speculated what the end would be, and after the ending I noodled on what the ending was. Now Damon Lindelof, co-writer of Lost, has given a couple of answers in his recent interview on The Verge:

There’s also a very much extended interview with more tidbits.

Chronicle Of Awesome: Speculation The Grand Theory Of Lost

LOST

It seems like just a few weeks ago; I watched the season 5 finale of Lost. It was only after the final LOST logo came on to the screen that the reality of a 9 month wait started to sink in. So, impatient as I was, I decided to speculate my way to a series conclusion. Because Lost is the best thing to happen to television since color. Lost is why cave-men painted shows on walls.

Now I’ve had 9 months to speculate on these mysteries, and for the very same reason, this post will be massively spoilerful (unless I’m completely off the mark and even then). Do not read this post unless you have seen every available episode of Lost first. Otherwise, you’ll be ruining a great experience for yourself.

Warning!  Don’t ruin this for yourself.

Still here? Okay, I trust you have, in fact, seen Lost. So read on.

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Things To Look Forward To In 2009

While every government is busy buying up bad dept and obsolete car companies and every company is busy firing people (out of a cannon, into the sun), it may be hard to see what there is to look forward to in 2009. But there is stuff. Good stuff. Here’s my top 7.

  1. January 20th, in just a few weeks, George W. Bush leaves office and Barack Obama takes the helm. It will be a pleasure to follow him try and undo the damage done.
  2. Lost will be returning. So will Fringe.
  3. There’s a new Star Trek movie coming, which for once has me excited. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that it features the Lost/Fringe team, not to mention Leonard Nimoy as Spock.
  4. Housing prices may enter an area where people other than those who think Cristal is a good champagne can afford one.
  5. Having hopefully learned from the last three decades of eco-disaster, I’m getting distinct vibes of a budding green revolution. While gasoline prices have dropped, only the dimwitted believe those prices will persist. Instead, in attempts to create jobs, reduce dependance on oil and lower prices on heating, there’s a chance we may see governments that focus on clean energy technologies. Bring on the super-batteries and hydrogen cars.
  6. There’s a chance the war in Iraq will wind down as troops are moved towards home or Afghanistan.
  7. Atheism will be a growing topic of discussion due to the continued efforts of Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Pat Condell and now also Bill Maher. On that topic, it’ll be Charles Darwins 200th birthday. Perhaps people will finally learn what the word theory entails. I’m not holding my breath, though.

What are you looking forward to?