Set up in Cambridge

So I arrived in Cambridge on Saturday, meeting up with Alp and our new landlord Bernard at the house. The house is a pleasant little two story building with a small garden at the back. Seems Cambridge decided to give me a warm welcome as its been blue skies and sunny since I arrived. Will posts some photos of the place as soon as my camera arrive with the rest of my furniture and apparel in a few days.

Its a bank holiday today, but I took care of the most important thing today anyway; ordering internet access for the house. Or rather I picked the package and then had Alp put in his details as I still don’t have a UK bank account.

A new contender in the Media Center space?

Up to this point the two main contenders for controlling your living room of tomorrow has been Microsoft with their Windows Media Center solution and Apple with their AppleTV/Frontrow system. At least in terms of media coverage. In reality it is still a very open and fragemented space with a host of systems being offered from a long list of vendors and groups. In the open source space we have of course projects such as Freevo, Elisa and MythTV.

But with Sony’s announcement yesterday of their Play TV add-on for the PS3, turning your PS3 into a HD content PVR I am wondering if Sony is actually going to take the throne soon. The media handling features of the PS3 has been steadily improved since its release and even with Paramounts HD-DVD agreement from a few days ago I think its clear that the PS3 is causing Blu-ray to win the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray war. I have blogged before about their support for the PS3 being a DLNA client and its already a nice cd-ripper and handler of music. Its main weakness at this point its support for some common video formats out there, especially DivX clips which are very common.

Sony also did the clever move of allowing people to upgrade the internal harddisk of the PS3 themselves so that even disk hungry media center needs can be taken care off. I am sure a lot of shops selling PS3′s will soon start offering harddisk upgrades as a service for those customers not feeling comfortable doing it themselves.

And with the TV/PVR functionality announced yesterday the PS3 suddenly is starting to look really serious as a contender in the space. Of course it will hinge on what kind of TV streams etc., it is able to connect to. I think a minimum for it to be a success it will need to work with DVB-T, but maybe Sony can manage to convince DVB-S providers to also let the PS3 interface with them.

Another cool feature announced is the PSP integration with this system. Being able to program your PS3 to record your favourite show at home and then stream it to your PSP which you have brought with you on your trip might be a killer feature for both systems.

Anyway, interesting times for those of us working in the multimedia space. Hopefully also Sony’s efforts to improve the hardware access when running Linux on the system will pay off so that you have the choice of using linux based media center solutions on this hardware too.

Packing up and moving

Been working hard over the last few days packing all my stuff here in Barcelona. Its strange to think that in just a few days my time here in Barcelona is over. Its been an interesting 3 years and I think I learned a lot, including learned many new things about myself. As I am writing this I am pondering if I have changed over these last years, looking back at the Christian who lived in Oslo he seems far away, yet on the other hand I would have a hard time pointing out a list of concrete changes to my person or personality. I guess I ask questions today I wouldn’t have asked 3 years ago, but then again that is maybe not so much a change as it new lessons learned being filtered through the lens that is me.

As for Barcelona as a city there are for sure things I will miss. The long summers, the beach close by, the vibrant feel of the city, the 3 course lunches and of course my friends here.

There are also some things I know I will not miss like the dusty air downtown, the crowded feel of the city during height of tourist season, the smell of urin on every fourth street corner and things like that. Leaving all language issues behind is also nice, although I guess it would have felt better if the language issues had been resolved by being fluent in Castilliano.

Anyway, moving to Cambridge in England will be a definite change of pace and style. In many ways I feel my move to Cambridge is a partway return to Oslo in the type of city it is. Green and verdant, big enough to have a interesting nightlife and cultural offerings, yet not the chaotic nature of a huge city like Barcelona or London.

In terms of the new company we have set up things are moving forward, hired a graphics designer to work on a logo for us the other day and I spent last week in London having meetings with accountants and lawyers making sure all the paperwork is in order.

Still looks to be about a months time before we announce ourselves properly, but things are going well and we are already looking at areas of expansion. Only worry now is if the palm tree Wim is inheriting from me will survive his work trip to Canada :)

Will we have been ramping our new business venture the guys haven’t been on the lazy side coding wise either. Wim and Tim has been fixing a lot of bugs and we are also close to having working Real streaming inside GStreamer now. It is still not perfect, but some Real format streams should work now if you are using current CVS of GStreamer.

Edward has been hacking on Pitivi, with moving to a new more visually enticing timeline widget. The original plan was to use the Jokosher one, and Edward even had that working on his laptop, but it didn’t really fit due to Pitivi’s different nature so Edward instead let it be more of an inspiration than a source of code. The final timeline looks nice, although you probably wouldn’t look at it and find it very similar to the Jokosher one.

Together with Brendan he has also been working on getting project save/load working so that you can save and load projects in pitivi. This means that when you work on an edit you can save milestones in case you want to go back later and of course save the work if you can’t finish it in one sitting.

The fall of SCO

Was very happy to read today that the air has gone out of the SCO balloon. Since 2003 SCO has been a thorn in the side for free software developers with the ongoing lawsuits and claims about Unix and Linux. With Judge Kimball not essentially gutting their case I think we have mostly seen the last of McBride and company. I think the outcome of this lawsuit will play a major role also in defining the rules of the game in terms of open source, in some sense showing that if a sleazy corporation want to try to get ahead of the game by bogus lawsuits the community now has enough resources and friends to shut them down.

In combination with the recent US supreme court ruling on software patents I think we will see a lot of changes in the coming years as the lock in model of software fail. I think the next big battleground might very well be media codecs where the US supreme courts ruling can level the playingfield and cause a lot of media codecs to become open source compatible as their patent protections fall away.

Asus Pro31s and Linux

As a followup to my blog post about the problems I had running Linux on my Asus laptop I thought I should mention that with the latest kernels for Fedora it works pretty well. The Wireless and DVD player for instance both run fine, and I am able to switch to console mode easily now without the screen going black. Suspend do not work 100% yet, but that is a common problem with a lot of laptops.