Internet to hit 3 billion users in 2015

The financial times has an interesting article about the internet having 3 billion users by 2015. Even though we constantly talking about living in a connected and global world, I find it interesting that we still have less than 50% of of the world population connected to the Internet. Some say that the Internet was the biggest and most influential invention of the 20th century. If that’s the case, imagine what it would be like when the other 4 billion people start using it too. It’s all too easy when you belong to a society where the Internet is so seemingly ubiquitous, to forget that the majority of the planet are not users of the Internet.

Migrating from Apple IOS to Google Android

I’ve recently made the switch from Apples iPhone to the Google Nexus 5 made by LG. This obviously means that I had to move from the Apple iOS eco-system to the Google Android eco-system. There were a number of reasons why I choose to do this, but the number reason was because apple iOS and many of its features, are not OS or hardware agnostic (i.e. they only work on apple). This has always made me felt that I was getting more and more entrenched in the apple ecosystem – basically ripped off and forced to go Apple ever time I wanted to upgrade my handset.

Originally when I first purchased an iPhone the technology was leading edge and Android was still new, so there basically wasn’t any choice if you wanted a smartphone. Now apple (in my opinion) hasn’t really made many advances in their iPhone product line in quite a few years and my iPhone 4s was looking and feeling very dated. The android on the other hand has made great strides over the years and the hardware available from many different manufacturers provides so much more choice over apple. So the timing was ripe for me to make the switch and that’s exactly what I have done and I’m not regretting it.

If you want to make the switch yourself but you are worried about losing features, functionality, and apps – I have listed some android alternatives below and will continue to update my list as I discover more.

ITunes Match – Google has an equivalent called Google play music and unlike iTunes match which cost $34.99 AUD per year, it’s free for up to 20,000 songs.

Find My iPhone – IOS has a utility to find your phone if it is lost or stolen. This can be used to play a sound or remotely lock/wipe the phone. There is an equivalent for Android called Device Manager which does the same thing.

Find my Friends – this allows you to share your location with other iOS users and see where they are too. It only works on iOS , but Google allows you to share your location through Google+ and it works on both iOS and android.

iMessages – whilst you can’t send imessages without an apple device, there are quite a few alternatives that even work between android and iOS. these include Google hangouts, Facebook messenger, whatsapp, or just use SMS. Many of the mobiles plans include unlimited SMS anyway. I personally like Google hangouts through Google+ and you can link your mobile number to it to help other Android users find you – just like iMessages.

Apple Maps – apple only recently added this to iOS and I never really liked it. Google Maps obviously works on android and is better than apple maps anyway..

App Store – apple has an app store and Google has an app store. Most of the major apps now come available for both so you just install the Android version and you are done. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, eBay, pinterest, dropbox etc etc – I have not found any apps that I could not get either a version for Android or an alternative app that does the same thing.

….. And I will keep posting more as time goes by…

Import outlook contacts into gmail

Somebody asked me yesterday whether it was possible to import their outlook contacts into Gmail. Well, the answer is, yes and here’s how.

1) Open your email in outlook.

2) Save your contacts list as a CVS file

3) Open your Gmail account

4) Import your CVS file.

Now you should have all of your contacts available on Gmail to use. I suggest that once you import your contacts into Gmail that you then use the contacts list in Gmail instead of outlook. In fact, I recommend that you just use Gmail and stop using outlook altogether. Outlook doesn’t give you the ability to sync your calendar, contacts and mail to Gmail, so unless you are happy being out of sync all the time, why not just use Gmail full-time. I found I didn’t like this idea at first, but after a while I got use to it. Also Android and iPhone handsets sync fantastically well with Gmail.

Turn mythtv recordings into mp4 files

This piece is a work in progress, but I figured I should publish it slowly as I continue to add to it, as it might help people, even though it is not quite working yet. I’ve had it working in the past, but it’s not quite working on my setup yet.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing around with mythtv recordings to try and keep them for later viewing in a format that is transferable to other devices, players etc. I have found x264 encoding in an mp4 container to work quite well – especially for transferring to my ipad or iphone for viewing.

In this guide I re-encode my mythtv nuv files into mp4 x264 files and save them into my videos for viewing through mythvideo. I use the mythnuv2mkv.sh script which I have found to be the best script available for doing the re-encoding – though if you know of a better script, feel free to point it out.

1. Configure mythnuv2mkv script on your system 

Setup a custom job utilising the mythnuv2mkv.sh bash script. You will first need to get it here –> http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Mythnuv2mkv

I suggest you place it somewhere on your system where all users can access. I’ve put mine in /usr/local/bin/
Make sure you chmod 755 to ensure it is executable.

2. Install dependencies for the mythnuv2mkv script to work

Install the dependencies required for it to work. I suggest installing all of the mp4 and mkv dependencies.

$ sudo apt-get install mplayer mencoder wget imagemagick x264 faac faad gpac vorbis-tools mkvtoolnix

3. Customise the script to your liking

There a quite a few options to consider for the mythnuv2mkv script. The options are stored in a seperate file named mythnuv2mkv.cfg which resides in the same directory/folder as the mythnuv2mkv.sh script. Here is a copy of what I have to help you.

4. Setup a user job on mythtv.

You will need to setup a user job in order to call the mythnuv2mkv.sh script from mythtv. The easiest way is to use mythweb to do this. I have a previous post on this here — Adding a mythtv job using mythweb

Using this guide, make the following changes to these variables and save them .

 JobAllowUserJob1 = 1
 UserJob1 = /usr/local/bin/mythnuv2mp4.sh --jobid=%JOBID% --quality=med --copydir=/media/videos/newly.exported --chanid=%CHANID% --starttime=%STARTTIME%
 UserJobDesc1 = Convert to mp4

Restart mythtv-backend in order to enact the changes. Remember that if you do this, you can cause programs that are being recorded to be interrupted. I suggest that if you have anything recording that you wait until nothing important is recording before restarting mythtv-backend.

5. Test the user job.

Now that you have the script and user job added to mythtv, you just need to find a recording and test it.

Install Digital Now Quad Card on mythbuntu 10.10 64-bit

I found the Digital Now Quad Tuner card worked great in my mythtv server and was well worth the $199 AUD price tag. In fact, it’s probably the best tuner I have ever used with mythtv. However I did have to do a few things to get it to work, as it doesn’t work straight out of the box – at least on mythbuntu 10.10 64-bit with kernel 2.6.35-28. It doesn’t work on 11.04 on kernel 2.6.38-8. I googled around and put together the following to get it to work.

First of all you need to install all sorts of packages that are needed to compile the drivers. I’m not sure whether you need all of these, but if you install these you should be okay.

I did everything below as root.

apt-get install fakeroot build-essential
apt-get install crash kexec-tools makedumpfile kernel-wedge
apt-get install git-core libncurses5 libncurses5-dev
apt-get install libelf-dev libdw-dev asciidoc binutils-dev

do uname -a to get the current kernel version you are using.

root@clumix:~# uname -a
Linux clumix 2.6.35-28-generic #49-Ubuntu SMP Tue Mar 1 14:39:03 UTC 2011 x86_64 GNU/Linux

now install the headers for that version. Example:

apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.35-28-generic

wget http://www.medianow.com.au/data/Linux4Quad2.zip

unzip the package by running this

unzip Linux4Quad2.zip

You should then have a directory called “Linux4Quad” – change to this directory

cd Linux4Quad

Untar the tar-bzip file in this directory.

tar jxvf digitalnow-quad.tar.bz2

You should now have a directory called “digitalnow-quad” – change to this directory.

cd digitalnow-quad

And now there is yet another tar-bzip file to uncompress. Don’t run the install.sh script as it won’t work.

tar jxvf v4l_dvb_digitalnow.tar.bz2

Now you need to modify the “.version” file under the “v4l” directory to match your kernel version.

VERSION=2
PATCHLEVEL:=6
SUBLEVEL:=35-28
KERNELRELEASE:=2.6.35-28-generic

Now you need to compile the software and this will take time to complete depending on your PC specs. I found on a quad core machine it took about 10 minutes. Run this from the “digitalnow-quad” directory.

make

Once this completes successfully you need to run this to install:

make install

then reboot the machine.

I found that for some reason my MCE remote stopped working. I suspect the mceusb module was being loaded incorrectly due to the installation of a custom v4linux drivers (or something silly). So I edited /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

and add

blacklist mceusb

rebooted again and all worked fine.

Note: you may find that if you update you kernel that you will need to recompile and reinstall these drivers in order for the card to work again.