Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

J River Media Center 18: Streaming Web Radio via DLNA

01 Mar

Today I turned on a talk radio station and momentarily heard a friend of my calling into the Dennis Prager show.

I recently started using J River Media Center 18. The capabilities are great, but the documentation is sometimes unhelpful.

On my Android phone I can listen to streaming radio via apps like TuneIn, but it would have been great if in a few taps on my phone I could have pushed the streaming radio to our DLNA-enabled TV or Blu-Ray player to go through the sound system connected to them.  I searched the web and didn’t find any answers, but I did get a very fast response on their web forum that sent me in the right direction.

Here’s a tutorial on how to get streaming web resources like Internet Radio available to play on Gizmo or to send to different Zones or DLNA devices.


1. Go to and find the Web Radio streaming URL. Right click on the link and select Copy Link Location.

2. JRiver In Media Center 18, click File, Open URL…

3. Paste the station URL and check the box to “Show web media options…”

4. Check the “Add stream to web media” checkbox, and you may want to check “Keep using this answer.”

5.After a moment the station will begin to play and you’ll see the station listed in the library under Audio > Connected Media > My Connected Media. Right click and click Tag or just Alt+Enter to rename the stream.

6. Right click and send to a playlist. The first time I clicked “Create Playlist” and created one called “Streaming Radio.” You can also click and drag the item to your playlist.

7.On Gizmo, connect to the server and select the playback zone. My playback zone was my Panasonic Viera UT50 tv as you can see from my screenshot. Tap Playlists.

8. Tap your new playlist (mine is Streaming Radio)

9.Select your station

10. After a moment the Gizmo app will show the Playing Now Screen

11. Enjoy the streaming radio on your DLNA device.


I dare you to complete this form

03 Feb

I was confronted with this today when I tried to leave a comment on a magazine article online.

Even if you can read the Hebrew and use a Hebrew font, you can’t put both Hebrew and English in the same form text box.

Thanks reCAPTCHA!


Information Addiction

26 Aug

I am addicted to my Blackberry.

Or so my extended family told me when they were listing what they thought everyone present was addicted to. I’m not addicted to my phone per se, nor technology (some technology like microwave ovens I reject outrightly). I’m addicted to the technology-provided connectivity to unnecessary information.

For example, the first thing I did this morning was check The Drudge Report on my phone. I read some articles about the upcoming Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin non-political rally in Washington DC, an article about Democrats increasingly thing they’ll lose the House of Representatives in November, and the story of a comedian trying to kick his technology habit by living in his bathroom for 5 days. ( Seriously? 5 days is all it’s going to take? And you’re living in your bathroom? Since you evidently don’t rely on technology, why not just box it up and put it in your garage?)

None of that information was necessary at the beginning of my day. So this is how tech-connectedness has infiltrated my life. This is my poison. What’s yours?

During what hours of the day do you check Facebook? the news? blogs? your favorite website? During what hours do you text message?

Photo of woman using laptop in bed

Increasingly the answer is: all hours. This is a problem.

Instead of technology being a tool to better our lives and relationships with each other, it’s taking over our lives and making our relationships shallower.

Unfortunately, I do depend on technology. I’m a software engineer – work that can’t be done with a pen and paper. I need to receive email and instant messages on my phone for work. I can’t go cold-turkey without losing my job.  However, I’m increasingly becoming convinced that I should compartmentalize my day so that I’m a Luddite most hours of every day and a tech-savvy software engineer during business hours. I like the idea of the gadget basket, though I think I’ll just start putting my phone away, setting only business emails to notify me and closing our TV cabinet. The technology basket article linked to above suggests a few hours every day when you don’t use your phones or other technology. I’m not sure that’s right.

Instead of being self-defined as gadget-addicts that disconnect for 2 hours  every day, perhaps we should become unplugged people who use technology as a tool, but only during limited windows of time during the day. When we do connect to technology, we should be purposeful about why we’re doing so – not to waste time, but to connect with other human beings in meaningful ways.

If we don’t, we’ll eventually have perception limited to a screen – on your phone, tv, or computer monitor. Like horses with blinders, we’ll miss the world and the people around us, having them substituted for a virtual world and hollowed out shells of people that can only be communicated in 140 character status updates.


Best Free Core Blackberry Apps

13 Aug

I’ve shared my favorite Blackberry apps with friends before, but lately I’ve found a few that enhance some core functionality of the Blackberry. Here’s a few apps that will give you better experiences for voicemail and sms messaging.

Better Voice Mail: YouMail

YouMail visual voicemail for blackberryI hate checking my voicemail. I delay, then I never know who left a message or when. Even when I listen I don’t know what number they called from, who they are (unless they say),

or what time the message was left. Enter YouMail.

YouMail for Blackberry screenshot

While their website boasts more, I only care for the visual voicemail offered by this app. You’ll see voicemails in a list showing the date, time, name (or caller id information if you don’t have them as a contact), and length of message. Then listen to your messages from this screen. You can save or delete old messages.

YouMail works by forwarding your unanswered calls to a different phone number where they’ve set up a voicemail service. This means you’ll need to record a new greeting or you’ll be using their default.

Get YouMail here.

Better SMS: crunchSMS

crunchSMS, better SMS for my BlackberryBlackberry treats SMS the same way it treats email. Messages show up in the list, you can open, reply, delete, etc. crunchSMS instead treats SMS messages like chat messages, so they show up in a chat-style  format so you can always see the string of messages between you and the other person.

Screenshot of crunchsms, a better sms app for my blackberry.Like YouMail, this is a 3rd party application taking over some core phone functionality, so there’s a few simple steps to set the blackberry firewall to block sms messages so you don’t receive them both in crunchSMS and in the native blackberry email format.

Get crunchSMS here.


Goal 4: Handwritten Letters

11 Jul

Mail BoxesI love racing to the mailbox every day. Like the cheesy host of Blues Clues, I want to shout “Mail Time!” I love the idea of getting something in the mail. Unexpected, handwritten content from a friend.

But it’s been years.

We all gave up on handwritten letters and turned to less-personal email.  Now I eagerly await email but am met with impersonal newsletters and advertisements just like my physical mailbox. Then we gave up on email and switched to depend on 140 characters of SMS text messages, twitter, and the slighly-longer Facebook status updates.

Do I know more of you now with status updates than I would have through written correspondence? Doubtful. Now I may know more about where you are and what you ate for dinner – but that’s not who you are.

Our Rotary PhoneIn some respects, I’m among the most tech-savvy of my friends. I’m a software engineer. We own a robot vacuum (or two). We have more computers than people in our house. In other ways I’m a luddite.  I’ve got a reel lawn-mower with rotating blades and no motor. A rotary phone that I’ve re-wired is our main house phone. We have no microwave.

Technology has transformed the world, saved lives, enhanced business, and extended relationships. Damage in all of these areas has been done as well. Lives have been ended, businesses have been shut down, and relationships shallowed.

Technology is best viewed with a healthy skepticism.

And that’s the reason behind my 4th goal for this year. I am going to write handwritten letters to friends and family – specifically those I’ve lost touch with.

Current Progress: 0%

  1. Attainable: This is 2 or 3 letters each month. That should be attainable.
  2. Meaningful: Improves writing skills and relationships.
  3. Difficult: The time commitment, writing skills, and learning this ancient art of letter-writing will all add difficulty.
  4. Quantifiable: I’m shooting for 30, but it depends on how many names and addresses I can come up with.

New Blog: Goodbye Blogger

30 Jun

Goodbye Google.

Goodbye Google

Now I’ll only be using you for an email account.

And contacts.

And calendar.

And chat, maps, YouTube, and searching the web.

Due to the limitations of blogger and some problems with lurkers and commenters, I’ve left my old blog behind (at least for most things), and there will be no linking between the two. I will likely bring over some of my better posts for preservation and discussion.

I’ve chosen this layout because it’s different and I like the look of a journal.

I’ve chosen the name “Second Jon,” at least temporarily but I’m open to other name suggestions.


Tablet wish list

10 May
tablet reader combo

Not good enough.

As testified by slight variants by many professional reviewers, the first tune to run through someone’s mind when the iPad was introduced was:

iPad—what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again.

Why? Because the iPad is an over-sized cell phone without the features of the cell phone.

Nonetheless, I’ve priced out tablet computers and more recently ebook readers on a regular basis for years. Hopefully the iPad will re-launch the tablet technology and get other brands to creatively re-invent their tablets to be lower cost.

I don’t really want an over-sized iPhone, and I don’t want a limited ebook reader. Here’s my wish list :

  1. Screen: Touch screen that can switch between color (what the iPad has) and eInk (that’s what Barnes & Noble’s Nook has).eInk is easy on the eyes, a typical computer screen isn’t. If I’m going to be reading a book, I don’t want the medium to give me a headache.
  2. eBook Reader functions:
    1. eInk screen technology
    2. Ability to add notes to a specific word, sentence, or paragraph in the book.
    3. Ability to underline or mark a section.
    4. Ability to export my notes and quotes marked.
    5. Ability to share my notes (and quotes) with friends who also have the same book.
    6. Ability to lend out books to others like I would with a real book.
    7. Maybe even be able to buy and sell used books if they could get the file protection good enough.
  3. Front-facing camera, rear-facing camera.
  4. Free Apps – windows would be the best for compatibility, but I’d at least need email, skype, browsers, etc.
  5. Wifi
  6. USB ports for thumb drives, printers, etc.
  7. Expandable memory would be nice.
1 Comment

Posted in Technology