Archive for July, 2009
Most remote control application choose to implement their own communications protocol but we opted to build on VNC instead. Why? It’s true that building on a standard gives you instant compatibility with a bunch of platforms and devices. But for us, it was a no-brainer because Macs and Linux PCs have great built-in support for VNC.
As we well know, nobody hates software more than software developers. It’s very true that the best choice of software is often no software at all. Why force our users to install yet more potentially buggy software when that functionality already exists in their computers? And relying on built-in functionality makes setup a breeze. It’s literally a handful of clicks and typing in a password.
Unfortunately, life’s not so simple on Windows. Without built-in VNC support, our users must install a third-party server. And while there are plenty of excellent options, none of them are all that easy to setup and configure.
So we created our own solution. Actually, we took our preferred VNC server (UltraVNC) and modified it, via the power of open-source software. We’re calling it HippoVNC to avoid confusion, but we’re just standing on the shoulders of the UltraVNC team.
HippoVNC is a standalone executable. We’ve already pre-configured the settings. All you have to do is download, run, and enter a password. See the setup page for the details.
We’ve also added the ability to auto-detect HippoVNC. You’ll never have to manually enter a connection again. But you will need to have iTunes installed, which I’m guessing all you iPhone and iPod Touch users do.
So to all our Windows users, switch to HippoVNC and give us your feedback! We think it simplifies things quite a bit. We hope you do too.
Not mentioned in the review, but my favorite new feature in Windows 7 Media Center: using the channel up/down buttons to skip forward (by 30 seconds) and back (by 8 seconds) when watching DVDs.
The thought of seeing this in a living room makes me die a little on the inside.
A nice basic overview of how to hook up a Mac Mini to a TV and what you can do with that setup.
When setting up a connection to my HTPC, it’s really annoying to have to find/input the IP address. And if you ever have to reboot your router, it’s likely all your IPs change and suddenly your saved connections no longer work.
Here’s a simple solution. Install iTunes. Actually, you want to install Bonjour for Windows, but it’s generally installed automatically with iTunes. So if you’ve already got the latest iTunes on your Windows machine, you’re done.
Now, to connect to your computer, append “.local” to the end of your computer’s name. For example, if you named your computer “HTPC”, when adding the connection in HippoRemote, use “HTPC.local” for the name. No more hunting for IPs!
Cost of Engadget’s keyboard/mouse pick: $60. Cost of seeing giant black bulbous plastic thingy on your coffee table everyday: priceless.
A review of HippoRemote by the kind folks at Boxee.
Even though we had to wait a long time for Apple to let HippoRemote into the App Store, we weren’t sitting around twiddling our thumbs. Today we submitted the 1.1 update to the App Store.
We made a couple of UI tweaks, like making the Login Manager a little prettier and requiring confirmation before clearing keyboard history, but the feature that warrants the point update is wake-on-LAN support.
I don’t want to say anymore right now. We haven’t had the best of luck with the App Store process, so I’ll wait until things are a little more certain before going into more detail.
After over a month in ASRL (App Store Review Limbo), HippoRemote has finally been cleared for launch! Please help spread the word, or better yet, demo HippoRemote to all your friends and convince them to replace their cable box (and their expensive cable subscription) with an old or inexpensive computer.
Also, keep an eye on this space for HippoRemote news, tips & tricks, and general info on expanding and evolving world of media and home theater PCs.