SnapStream Rocks!

Some time back, I purchased a copy of BeyondTV (made by Snapstream), software that turns any capable computer with a TV tuner card into a Personal Video Record (PVR).

Recently, I downloaded a demo copy of one of their other products, Beyond Media and am impressed with what it can do. This product turns a normal computer running XP into a very capable media center. When combined with a remote control (such as Snapstream’s Firefly remote) and a video-to-TV converter that allows the monitor output to be displayed on a television screen, Beyond Media lets you do the following on your television set:

– view photos and videos, and listen to music and podcasts, stored on the local PC
– listen to Internet radio stations through Live365 or which can otherwise play through Windows Media Player
– read blogs configured in Newsgator
– watch live or recorded TV through BeyondTV
– display local weather forecasts

I particularly like the ability to read blogs on my television set. However, the content is limited to what is included in the RSS feeds which typically only includes a portion of the total blog entry. – web-based IM client

If you need to log into AIM, Yahoo IM or MSN but don’t want to download and install a client application for each, and don’t want to download and install a crosss-platform program like Trillian, then you can either log into a web-based version of each service (AIM Express, MSN Web Messenger or Yahoo Web Messenger) or can use a single web-based service like meebo that supports multiple services at the same time. meebo is also useful if you plan on using IM from inside a corporate network that blocks certain ports used by IM programs or if you want to by-pass corporate systems that monitor IM conversations (an SSL version of meebo is available for “alpha” testing).

A mention on the PhoneBoy blog gave me the heads up on this service.

Laptop Protection – Seagate’s Hardware-Based Full Disc Encryption (FDE)

According to PCWorld, next year Seagate plans to ship its Hardware-Based Full Disc Encryption (FDE) technology on its on its upcoming range of 2.5-inch Momentus 5400 series drives (40G-byte, 80G-byte and 120G-byte versions). The FDE technology encrypts the stored data using Triple DES (Data Encryption Standard) but without a performance hit. While there are currently a number of software products that do full disk encryption, they typically need to be installed in the master boot record portion of the hard drive, thereby introducing compatibility problems with certain other software (such as disk imaging/backup software) and extract a performance hit.

Belkin Skype-Compatible VOIP Wi-Fi Phone

According to Untangled Life it looks like Belkin may also be developing a Skype-Compatible VOIP Wi-Fi Handset. Let’s hope they have enough sense to also build in a mini web browser so that the phone can be used at public hotspots that require authentication (a deficiency of the soon-to-be-shipped Netgear Skype Wifi handset). The ideal handset would have the web browser of the Linksys WIP 330 phone combined with Skype-software from the Netgear or Belkin phone.