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.

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.

Continue reading “Chronicle Of Awesome: Speculation The Grand Theory Of Lost”

The Lost Pixels

lostpixels

Since Lost – one of the most worthwhile TV shows since Twin Peaks – is taking a break until February next year, I’d like to spend the time inbetween discussing one of the issues that really annoy me about that show.

No, it’s not the fact that they’re milking every episode, postponing the ultimate revelation one season at a time. It’s not the nagging feeling that once that revelation is upon us, they won’t be able to explain all the myriad of threads they’ve torn the story into. No, it’s much simpler. It’s a visual glitch.

See every time the show starts, right after the opening sequence, the Lost logo comes into focus and zooms past the camera. Freezeframe! There, a glitch in the 3D shape. The face of the logo doesn’t connect properly to the sides.

If you, like me, know just a tiny smudgeon about 3D modelling, this glitch is a symptom of an utterly crap 3D modeller. It bugs the hell out of me. What about you? Are you just sitting there, taking it?