I have made various attempts to get media streaming in our house from a server in cellar to clients set up in various other rooms. So far the only system that has really worked well has been the Squeezebox (Logitech, previously Slimdevices). They have dedicated server software that runs very well in a Linux server and integrates perfectly with the well designed player, both over Wi-Fi as well as Ethernet. Otherwise, no luck. Now, after investing to a Sony PlayStation 3, I got dedicated enough to try and solve the media streaming issues to really use this high-powered gaming console as a network-enabled home media center. It turned out that it was finally impossible to get PS3 to connect to anything without investing to more hardware: our home network has been build gradually, connecting piece to piece, and universal plug-and-play and other necessary media discovery protocols did not work if PS3 was connected wirelessly into a separate Wi-Fi router, and that was connected to another ADSL-modem-router (plus external switch) combo that I had piled up in our network cabinet. After getting rid of the old ADSL-modem and Wi-Fi box, and instead getting a combined Wi-Fi-modem-router device (Telewell TW-EA514, pictured), the problems appear to be solved. Now PS3 can at least see the Vista machine downstairs having a Windows Media Player 11, and connect to media shared through it. Several steps were, nevertheless, yet required before anything else beside music files could be seen through the media player. I am still unsure whether the settings in Control Panel/Network and Sharing Center/Media Sharing, or the paths added into the Media Player Library, or paths in the Windows Media Center finally did it, but now I seem to be able to access all my media also through the PS3. (Oops, while writing this, Vista crashed, lets see whether anything at all works after this…) Only thing I can say is that the era of effortless, transparent home networking and media device interoperability is not yet here.
Our full hd television finally got a partner that can play Blu-ray movies as we got our PS3. It was a bundle deal, with Little Big Planet thrown in. Tweaking the video inputs took some time, and finally changing the HDMI cable to a better quality one changed the situation: there was a twitter and flashing in the 1080p screen mode before the cable was changed. Curious, but it looks that the gold plating is not recommended for nothing in PS3 HDMI cable connectors. After this, the quality of full hd movies was real eye-opener (the quality of digital tv signal in Finland is particularly bad, so the point of comparison was good for Blu-ray, to start with). It will take some time to experiment with the gaming capabilities of the new system more, but one thing is obvious already: the system is technically superior to anything out there, but the Sony “XrossMediaBar” user interface is a missed opportunity. I do not know the exact background of this particular choice, but it feels like a system designed by a group of nerdie engineers and cool graphic designers. No usability experts required. Pity. Great engineering, though.
I will be continuing public lectures/presentations also after this week’s marathon (albeit after a break). Here is one tip: I will be talking about money gaming/gambling as a part of games cultures in Tieteen Päivät event in Helsinki in Sunday, January 11, 2009. More here: http://www.tieteenpaivat.fi/su09.html.
Today, the final Helsinki trip and seminar of the week: Pervasive Games seminar, run by our IPerG collaborator Nokia Research Center (and some of our own previous and ex-researchers, like Markus Montola, pictured). Time to lean back and enjoy listening other people doing the speaking, for a change. Pity that we have now flu in our family, and I am a bit worried how Laura and Luka will manage back home today…
Today I will be speaking in an interesting seminar organised by Eduskunta (the Finnish Parliament) in Helsinki. You can follow the direct video stream live right now here: http://www.goodmoodtv.com/internettv/application/eduskunta/system/metadata/Eduskunta.html
And there is also a Jaiku channel here: http://jaiku.com/channel/seminaarikannu
More on Tulevaisuusvaliokunta (the Committee for the Future): http://web.eduskunta.fi/Resource.phx/valiokunnat/valiokunta-tuv01/index.htx
And more on the seminar: http://web.eduskunta.fi/Resource.phx/valiokunnat/valiokunta-tuv01/tietoyhteiskuntaakatemia.htx
The greenhouse effect takes its toll, and winters are no longer what they used to be (in Finland: white). Walking the rainy streets, I have been looking for shoes that could handle the constant “interim” climate that we are now living in. Got mysef a pair of Merrel Outland Mid Waterproof models yesterday — they feel great and the quality of design is convincing, but lets see how they handle out there. More:
This is also in Finnish only, but for your information: a short piece on games and learning that I wrote for WSOY who recently released their “Learning and Joy” (Oppi ja Ilo) pages: http://www.oppijailo.fi/index/aikuisille__tieto?id=35
Just noticed that the University of Tampere information services has published a personal profile of me and my work on game studies, nice (only in Finnish, though): http://www.uta.fi/ajankohtaista/tutkijaprofiilit/2008/1011.html.
My present list of speaking engagements in November includes at least these:
- Power of computer games and empowerment in digital play (Tietokonepelien voima ja peleissä voimaantuminen), Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, yhteisistunto, Nov. 10th, Säätytalo, Helsinki;
- The many faces of casual gaming: knowledge about today’s players (Casual-pelaamisen monet kasvot: tietoa nykypäivän pelaajista), Sanoma Entertainment, tiedotustilaisuus Nov. 18th, Helsinki;
- Playfullness in social media – sociability in games (Pelillisyys sosiaalisessa mediassa – sosiaalisuus peleissä), IADE-luento, Nov. 19th, Taik, Finland;
- Case digital games – Is the knowledge society on the way towards the ludic society? (Case digitaaliset pelit – onko tietoyhteiskunta matkalla kohti peliyhteiskuntaa?), The Finnish Parliament, Committee for the Future / Eduskunta, Tulevaisuusvaliokunta, Nov. 20th, The Information Society Academy/Tietoyhteiskunta-akatemia.
See you around, in some of those!