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Archive | April 8, 2010

Yahoo TV Widgets – Dead before they even started?

One of my earlier posts was a review for LG 60PS80 connected TV. Purchased specifically for its connected capabilities, I complained that, while the TV supports Yahoo TV Widgets, it didn’t receive any software update in more than a year. I will try to analyze why this happened and if there is a signal that the TV manufacturers just are not interested enough in the Yahoo TV Widget platform.

Designed specifically for TV, Yahoo TV Widget platform evolved from Konfabulator® (KON) widget platform for the PC, with specific customizations to make it work properly on the TV screens and other consumer electronic devices. Yahoo makes and distributes a Widget Development Kit (WDK) and recently opened their developer forums to a larger audience.

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iPhone OS 4.0 to have multitasking, 3G and older are out of luck

Wow, this is certainly interesting news. Apple just announced that iPhone OS 4.0 will include multitasking, as they finally figured it out how to do it without killing the battery. Double clicking the Home button will show a list of running applications on the bottom of the screen. You can just flick through the running apps. “It’s very efficient to use and we think people will love it,” Jobs said.

Now, of course I had multitasking for a long time after jail-breaking my iPhone, but it is nice to know that everybody finally has a change for a piece of the multitasking pie.

According to Apple, there is a total of seven services supporting multitasking including the background audio. So we can finally listen to background radio, a feature that should have been here since day one. I wonder what will Microsoft’s reaction will be since they announced that Windows Phone 7 won’t include multitasking at launch?

Edit: It looks like the multitasking will only be available on 3GS and touch 3rd gen, 3G owners are out of luck.

Ordered my VIP922 Slingbox enabled DVR, will review it on Saturday

After hearing the news about VIP922 availability, I hurried up and placed a call with Dish Network to get mine. After being on hold for about 10 minutes, one of their CSRs replied, but he didn’t seem to know anything about a new DVR, so I was put on hold again while he probably consulted with his colleagues/manager. This time it lasted (I wrote lusted and the spell checker of course didn’t get it 😉 ) just a couple of minutes, he found about the new equipment and after the standard identity check he proceeded to take my order.

Now, I have two VIP722 on my account for the living room and bedroom, so he wanted to know the serial number for the one I want to replace. Apparently they don’t have that info readily available, so I had to log-in into my account to get it (Don’t call them if you don’t have this info). I wanted to replace my main receiver, because the monthly DVR fee will be higher if you have the VIP922 as a secondary receiver.

OK, the next step was the costs. It was announced that, for the existing customers the fee per VIP922 will vary between $200-$400. I guess I was lucky, I got the minimum payment, because I’ve seen people online complaining about being asked for $400. I have been a Dish Network client for about 6 years, grandfathered a dishHD Absolute with locals and together with two VIP722 DVRs I am paying around $60/months. Good thing they didn’t ask me to change my cheap plan (which is not available anymore). I resisted heroically until now.

So, anyway, I had to pay the $200 upgrade fee. On top of that, they wanted to charge me an extra $90 for the technician visit which apparently is required to install this receiver. I tried to convince the CSR to just send it to me to no avail, apparently the software system just didn’t let him do that. Good thing the CSR was a nice guy and advised me how to “trick the system” – add service fee of $6 on my monthly bill and cancel it after the service is performed. The cancellation fee will be $25, but it will still be much cheaper than the $90 quoted.

All in all, everything went smooth and I should expect the new DVR sometime Saturday afternoon. Stay tuned for an in-depth review to follow.