DKTHINKS – Siri in AppleTV

I don’t pay close attention to technology rumour mills. Apple rumours that get a lot of hype eventually reach my radar, but I don’t enjoy following something that has the potential to be completely fabricated just to get a few views on a blog/site. I do like to make predictions. Almost any prediction anyone makes it bound to come to fruition… some day. Although, some predictions are more logical than others.

There have been rumours and predictions in recent months regarding the future of Apple TV, and how it will contain Siri sooner rather than later. I don’t think any of these predictions have much thought or imagination put into them though. Hence, here’s mine.

A few things to note: When I refer to “record” I also mean access/download the episode/movie after it has gone live to air. This may be by auto-purchasing the media via iTunes, or adding it to your Hulu/YouTube queue (whichever is the cheaper/better/faster option). “Siri” is referred to when commanding the Apple TV to perform a function (record, play, save, download, brightness, etc.). “Apple TV” is the device/software that records, performs functions, and commands the television to perform its respective functions. That said, “Siri” and “Apple TV” could be used interchangeably.

Siri in Apple TV

This one is obvious: You’ll be able to speak commands to your Apple TV — even if you’re not near your Apple TV. Siri will be in all your devices (iPhone, iPad, MacBook, etc.), so you’ll just need to tell her what you’d like to do with your Apple TV:

  • Record a show/movie — Siri will have access to an EPG which is updated every 30 seconds. If a live show or sports event runs overtime (cutting into your program), then Siri will be able to adapt and record the show at the accurate time, and, more importantly, stop the recording when the show is over (not when it was originally scheduled to finish). Also integrating media fingerprint recognition technology (e.g., Soundprint, Gracenote) into the recorder/system would allow Apple TV to know when the show is actually over. The combination of this accurate EPG and media fingerprint recognition would result in 100% successful viewings and recordings. If you choose to watch a show ‘live to air’, and it’s not going to air at the scheduled time, then Siri would notify you via any communication method you choose (e.g., call, SMS, push notification, email, etc.).
  • Controlling volume — Not only will you be able to increase or decrease the volume of the television, but Siri will always be sensing (microphone, motion sensor, ambient light sensor, etc.) what you’re doing. First, advertisements (if any) will be the same volume as the content you’re watching. Second, if you walk out of the room, then Siri will pause the show and cue it back to where you left off by rewinding a few seconds. Third, if you receive a phone call or SMS, then Siri will pause the show and display it on the TV screen. Contacts you frequently communicate with will receive priority over others or unknown callers. In other words, some calls may be forced directly to voicemail if you choose to not be disturbed while watching a show/movie. Of course, all of these options can be configured ON/OFF in the settings menu of Apple TV.

Your iPhone/iPad is Apple TV

  • Eventually, Apple TV will no longer be a standalone device. It will be integrated in to all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.). Thus, you’ll be able to use Apple TV on any TV — no matter where you are (home, friend’s house, hotel, tech conference). This will be exceptionally great if you’re in a foreign hotel and you don’t know which channel has the show/movie you’d like to watch. Hotels are notorious for having such poor user interfaces (TV and remote control) because they choose to lock down what you are able to do with the television. Apple TV could fix all this.
  • You will be able to connect your various media check-in apps (e.g., GetGlue, IntoNow, SideReel, Tunerfish, etc.), and Siri will pull data from them in order to know your viewing habits, likes, episodes/shows you have/haven’t watched, and so on.

Siri and Apple TV know where you are

You will be able to program Apple TV to switch on your television when a show/movie is about to go live to air. If you’re home, and unable to watch the show/movie at that time, then you’ll be able to command Siri to “wait [n minutes/hours]”. Siri will turn off the display and/or mute the volume until that time comes around. Additionally, Siri will know where you are thanks to apps like Foursquare, Google Latitude, and Find My Friends. If you’re not home at the time a show is scheduled to air (and subsequently turn your TV on), then it will not turn on, and it will record the show instead. Your calendar will also be involved in this decision making process. If you’re scheduled to be away at an event (e.g., South by Southwest), then your Apple TV will never turn on your TV during that time, and it will record the shows instead.

I’ve been referring to Apple’s Apple TV throughout this prediction, but Google (and others; less likely) could just as easily create a similar product that is just as intuitive and forward-thinking. We will see.

Johnny Cupcakes TinyChat

A few nights ago Johnny tweeted that he was on Tinychat again. After being unable to join the first couple of times he and Pasquale had tweeted about it, I decided to pop in. I made a whole bunch of new JC friends and we all ended up brushing our teeth together. Lots of fun!

You should join us next time and become a JC fan!

Australian Adventures with Rachel

As many of you know, I flew back to Australia at the end of June in 2009. My return flight was only valid for a year, so it was my plan to spend some quality time with my family before uprooting my Australian life and moving to the USA.

Unbeknownst to me, Rachel flew down to Australia not much more than a month after I returned. Well, I had a hinkering something was going on because her best friend tweeted (proof of tweet no longer available) confusion when Rachel said/tweeted that they were going camping together. Nevertheless, Rachel surprised me at Pancakes on the Rocks (one of my favourite places to eat) after my mom and sister picked her up from the airport.

Since it was Rachel’s first time to Sydney (and Australia) I aimed to show her all the glorious places (some touristy, and some hidden gems) my home city has to offer. First, I took her on a walk down a bush trail called the Cascades Track. At the bottom a couple of rivers/streams converge in to one. It’s great for photography, and on a sunny day you’d be lucky to see more than ten people during the whole walk.

Shrubbery HDR by Rachel Mayo on FlickrCreek HDR by Rachel Mayo on Flickr

The Royal Botanic Gardens is situated right next to the Sydney Opera House (and the hustle and bustle of the city) and yet the gardens are very tranquil — another great place for photography. At sunset you’ll see thousands of bats flying around and hanging in the tall trees here.

Bats by Rachel Mayo on FlickrFurther Entrance by Rachel Mayo on Flickr

Watching the sunset while standing on the edge of a cliff is quite romantic. Please excuse the powerlines, hun. 😛

An Australian visit isn’t complete unless you do some acting on Home & Away. In winter. In a bikini. On the beach. At 6am. Trust me, these memories are great! (And you make some descent mulah to spend at POTR; full circle.)

That’s all the content I have online from Rachel’s adventure to Sydney. If I find some other sweet pieces of media, then I’ll update this post. 🙂

Katy Perry’s Firework inspired this

Katy Perry recently launched the music video for her single “Firework”. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of Katy Perry, but Rachel sure is. I don’t know Katy Perry; I don’t know much about her; I don’t know how much of her music is her work; or how much is the work of the music label(s) and other money-making producers. What I do know is that the message behind/in this video is powerful.

“Firework” is probably one of the most important songs compared to Katy’s other music/videos. I mean, “I Kissed A Girl” is a fairly pointless song. Albeit, popular because it was catchy in 2008. When it was popular, I remember hearing girls as young as 5 singing along to it. That appalled me. Not because it was about two girls kissing (children should learn about as much of the world and various cultures as soon as they can), but because they had listened to the song enough times to know the lyrics — at least the chorus, anyway. Exposing children to top 40 music is a story for another day though…

I’ve always been considered ‘different’. Throughout all levels of education I’ve had little quirks which made me different:

  • In primary school I tried to convince my classmates I was from a different planet. I also enjoyed exploring the school grounds rather than playing sports or other games kids play.
  • In high school I carried around a camera to parties rather than a case of beer. I have far too much footage of intoxicated teens.
  • In college I fit in pretty great because everyone in my course enjoyed what they were doing — Digital Media. However, most of them chose to hang out at bars or clubs (places I had lost interest in) on the weekends.

I’m not gay; I don’t have any physical or mental ailments; I’m not a nudist. But I am different. I don’t drink alcoholic beverages and I don’t take non-prescription drugs. (Heck, I don’t take prescription drugs unless it’s absolutely vital to my well-being.) Also, a lot of my beliefs and actions in life are fundamentally different to those of my peers.

I like to make a fool of myself. I like to go on adventures. I like to play in childrens’ playgrounds.

My differences are extremely minor compared to the differences that many other people (like those portrayed in “Firework”) in the world deal with on a daily basis, but I still feel I know how those people feel (to some extent). It’s hard. It’s a constant struggle to not conform with mainstream actions and beliefs. Even with such struggles, I wouldn’t want to live any other way.

It’s easy to live under mainstream principles. It’s easy to pick on those that are different. It’s easy to hurt someone’s feelings and make them feel all alone.

I know I picked on people in primary school and high school. I was nothing like the traditional “bully” you see portrayed on television, but I know I’ve directly bullied one or two people in my life. It wasn’t through violence, but it was bullying.

I’ve been bullied too. Far more than I realised — now that I think about it. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I guess I’ve purged most of it from my mind, but I’m sure such experiences helped me grow as a person. Though, I wouldn’t wish some of the experiences on anyone.

In addition to Katy’s “Firework”, another example of mainstream media displaying young people with immense courage is “Glee”. In Season 2 the character Shannon/Coach Beiste (a.k.a. “Beast”) was introduced. To explain this in the best way possible, I’m going to hand you over to Wikipedia for a moment:

In “Never Been Kissed“, the boys (and Tina) from the glee club use mental images of Beiste in a compromising position to “cool themselves off” when it gets too hot and heavy with their girlfriends. Beiste finds out and decides to quit. Will talks to her and learns that Beiste has never been kissed, which leads to him giving her a first kiss.

Bullying of a teacher has occurred in front of my eyes, yet I didn’t do anything to stop it. That’s not the kind of situation anyone (teacher or student) should be, but I hope a human being in 2010 would  have the willpower to put it to a stop. If we want to advance the world to a future of greatness, then we need to put our petty differences aside and work together.

I’ve embedded Katy Perry’s “Firework” music video below, as well as a 6-minute ‘making of’ video, followed by a 20-minute ‘making of’ video.

Katy Perry – Firework / 3:54

The making of Firework / 6:18

The making of Firework / 21:02
Mostly different footage than what’s in the shorter version.

Are you inspired now? Are you going to stand up for yourself and be proud to be different? Tell me your stories in the comments.

Friendship & Communication

It appears that sometimes being friends with people can be difficult for some. More people need to communicate with their friends and family frequently.

Excessive communication is better than little or no communication.

Here’s a video with more of my thoughts about this topic:

Do you fail at communication? Have tools like Skype increased your communication with friends and family? Share your thoughts below.

Tip: Parking a car safely

I’ve always said if I ever buy/own a car then I will take impeccable care of it because it’s an extremely expensive piece of machinery and I don’t want to be wasting my money making unnecessary fixes on it.

Parking your car might seem like a trivial thing to do, but choosing a good parking spot could be the difference between your pristine car and a dent in your car.

A few things to pay attention to when parking are:

  • Parking under a tree.
    They can be great for shade and keeping your car cool, but keep an eye out for sap and other oils that could be dripping from the tree along with any birds in the tree. Sap, oil, and bird droppings will damage the paint and could remove sections of it completely — exposing the metal frame to the elements and eventually rust.
  • Don’t park next to oversize vehicles.
    The drivers of large pickup trucks, semi trailers, and construction vehicles will most likely need lots of room to exit their parking space. You don’t want your car to be nearby when they attempt to do that. Also, these vehicles have large heavy doors and could easily open wide and dent your car.
  • Don’t center park on a hill.
    As visually described in my video, leave more of a gap between the car that’s higher on the hill than your car. This way, if they lose grip on their door when it opens, then it will be less likely the door will swing wide and dent your car.
  • Park farther away from your venue/destination if it means your car will be safer.
    Being lazy and parking as close to the place your going by taking a parking space on the street rather than in a secure parking lot can result in scratches from cars driving by. For example, they could drive over a rock and fling it along the side of your car.

In the end, you can’t prevent all scratches, dents, and other mishaps unless you just don’t drive your car — which is the point of owning it.

This is just some advice for looking after your car a little better when you need to park it.

If you have any of your own tips, then please leave them in a video comment or a text comment below.

Today (15th) was Awesome!

Today, September 15th, 2010, was so awesome! So, so awesome! I would like to tell you why.

In the extremely early hours of the day (i.e., just past midnight) I had some awesome discussions with Leah over IM. We don’t always get to talk as much as we would like, but when we do it’s great. These days it appears to be tough to find good, loyal, understanding, and loving friends. Leah is definitely one of mine!

I woke up early. For some people out there 0830 hours might not be early, but I went to sleep about six hours before that, so I would consider that an optimal period of sleep. Note: I hate oversleeping. It makes me feel crappy and generally ruins my day.

As soon as I woke up I hugged and kissed Rachel. She’s a good hugger and it makes me happy to wake up to her beauty in the morning.

Crushing a whole bunch of work always makes me feel fantastic! Getting up early aids this because I have more waking ours to crush more work. Even though I don’t work in the same physical location as my co-workers, I must say they can be darn hilarious over our various forms of contact (IM/e-mail/Present.ly). I love my job!

I came across the song “Electric Twist” by A Fine Frenzy (video embedded below). I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard this before, but it’s just my style (I rarely like music; let alone popular music). Plus… PLUS, the singer is a red head and the video was creatively made; both of things had me swooning as I listened to the song on repeat.

I managed to get outside in the sun to make some vitamin D in my body. Sometimes I don’t venture outside for a few days, but recently I’ve been making a conscious effort to get fresh air and sun daily. Okay, at least bi-daily.

Part of my job description is to watch videos. I know, I know, it’s pretty darn tough; clicking play and everything. Anywho, one of my co-workers, Billy, created an awesome video describing all of Viddler’s major features within a two-minute eye-catching video. It made me darn giddy!

Update (29th Sept., 2010): Billy’s video is now live at Viddler’s Learn More page.

I also happened to come across Chase Jarvis’ short film — Benevolent Mischief — created with the new Nikon D7000. The behind the scenes video is what interested me most. Another giddy watch of the day!

I have also been trying to take a siesta (20-minute nap) in the afternoon because I’m trying to follow Dustin Curtis’ brain hack idea on sleep. It’s sometimes quite difficult to fit a nap in when there’s so much awesomeness going on in the world, but today I managed to do it. While I was drifting into REM I was thinking about how awesome my day was going and how I would write this blog post. I pondered if it could get even more awesome. After my siesta I felt even more full of energy.

One of the things I pondered about during my siesta was cake. We didn’t have any cake mixes in the apartment and — unless Rachel was going to randomly come home with a cake — I wasn’t expecting to fulfill that daydream. Alas, when Rachel came home from work we all decided that it was time to go grocery shopping. Long-story-short, we got cake mix and I made a blueberry white cake for us to consume after dinner. I put mine with cookies and cream ice cream and it was awesome!

Cookies & Cream ice cream and Blueberry White CakeMacro: Bb WC WC

Today was awesome!

I love you, and good night!