Dr. Bill.TV #322 – Audio – “The TPN Does CES 2014 Edition!”

TPN covers CES 2014, Vimeo – a new video player, CentOS and Red Hat join forces, RokuTV introduced at CES, ASUS Transformer Duet, Toyoto’s FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) runs on hydrogen! GSotW: MBRTool! WaRP – wearable tech, the open Linksys WRT1900AC router!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

International Association of Internet Broadcasters

Blubrry Network

Dr. Bill Bailey.NET

MBRTool – Web Site


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Available on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/Kvhy3QZM8z4

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Thanks to TPN for the CES Coverage!

Once again this year we had full coverage of CES from the Techpodcast Network team! I really appreciate all their hard work and efforts to bring us coverage of this huge event! It’s no walk in the park going to an event like this and trying to cover the whole floor. I’ve been to many events like this and it can be tiring, in fact, exhausting! But, for us, it was quite rewarding to be part of their network of coverage that was available all week here on the Dr. Bill.TV web site. It’s times like this when being part of a network is a tremendous blessing. There’s no way I could’ve taken the time or spent the money required to go to Las Vegas this past week and try to cover this event myself. But being part of this network allows us to take part in their coverage of the event. Thanks to all the guys and gals at Tech podcast network for their real good coverage all week long!

Daniel J. Lewis Interviewing a Nady Rep.Pictured at right is Daniel J. Lewis of “The Audacity to Podcast” reporting for Techpodcast Network and speaking with a representative of Nady about their microphone technology. Nady is a manufacturer of wireless microphones and instrument systems and an extensive line of audio gear including amplifiers, mixers, speakers, headphones, hardwired mics and portable PAs. Their product line also includes motorcycle intercoms and communicators.

So, stay tuned, to our show Dr. Bill.TV, and all the rest of the Techpodcast Network shows for the latest, and greatest, in tech news and information!

New, Linksys Open Source Based Router!

Linksys Open Source Based RouterI love this! Open Source based right out of the box!

Linksys announces the audacious-looking WRT1900AC Dual Band Wi-Fi router

PCWorld – Michael Brown – LAS VEGAS – “The engineers at Linksys jumped into the way-back machine to design the new WRT1900AC Dual Band Wi-Fi Router. While the stackable enclosure sports the classic blue/black color scheme of the classic WRT54G 802.11g router, you’ll find all-new hardware inside, including a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM processor, 128MB of flash memory, and 256MB of DDR3 RAM.

The new router looks like a beast—it weighs in at a staggering 5 pounds—and it sports a feature set that owners of the the WRT54G could never have imagined, including one USB 3.0 port; one eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port; support for just about any hard drive format, including FAT, NTFS, and HFS+; and four external, removable antennas. It will have a four-port gigabit switch and a gigabit WAN port. The router will be capable of sharing both USB storage and a USB printer over the network.

Four antennas; three spatial streams
There will be immediate comparisons to Asus’s unannounced (officially, at least) RT-AC87U, the existence of which was revealed in a press release from 802.11ac chipset manufacturer Quantenna. One of the key differences is that the Quantenna chipset delivers four spatial streams and can provide a physical link rate of 1.7 Gbps. To take advantage of that speed, of course, you’ll need a client adapter that can also support four spatial streams, and I haven’t heard of any such animal.

Either way, the Marvell chipset Linksys chose for the WRT1900AC is limited to three spatial streams and a physical link rate of 1.3Gbps on the 5GHz frequency band using the 802.11ac protocol. The router will support throughput of 600 mbps on the 2.4GHz frequency band using the 802.11n protocol.

In a pre-CES briefing, Linksys VP of product management Mike Chen told me that the WRT1900AC will use all four antennas to determine the best combination, and it will then turn off whichever single antenna delivers the least throughput. Chen said they’ve seen TCP throughput of 900 mbps in their lab tests, when the router and a client connected to a second router configured as a wireless bridge are in relatively close proximity. Chen also said the WRT1900AC delivered 30 percent better range than their current best 802.11ac router, the EA6900.

It was the WRT54G that got the open-source community producing open firmware in earnest—with projects such as DD-WRT—and Chen said Linksys will have an Open WRT SDK (software-development kit) ready when the new router ships later this spring. Linksys is also working on various peripheral devices that can be stacked beneath the WRT1900AC (not on top, lest the router overheat). The company might also offer optional antennas.”

WaRP: the Raspberry Pi of Tiny, Wearable Tech!

Darren Kitchen of Hak5 introduces us to the “wearable reference platform!” This is another CES 2014 announcement. Is this your next cool, tech toy?

Info from the warpboard.org web site:

“WaRPboard.org is a nonprofit community based organization providing service and support for the wearables reference platform. The solution’s hardware and software will be open sourced and community driven. No closed development tools or licensing fees are required when used in conjunction with open source resources.

The WaRPboard implements a hybrid architecture to address the evolving needs of the wearable market. The platform consists of a main board and an example daughtercard with the ability to add additional daughtercards for different usage models. In this hybrid architecture, the guts of the design is done on the main board with Freescale’s i.MX 6SoloLite applications processor, and a secondary microcontroller, Freescale’s Kinetis KL16 MCU, is implemented on the daughtercard which is used as a sensor hub as well as a wireless charging MCU.”

Geek Software of the Week: MBRTool!

This week’s GSotW will help you fix your disk drive’s Master Boot Record (MBR!)

MBRTool – Web Site

Partition trouble?
If you have problems with partitions and/or the MBR and you don’t have a backup to restore, take a look at DiskPatch. Rebuild your partition tables and the MBR from scratch, safe and simple.

MBRtool version 2.3
MBRtool is a utility designed to backup, restore and manipulate your hard disk MBR.

The MBR could easily be seen as one of the most important sectors on the disk. If anything happens to the contents of this sector, the data on your disk could be unreachable. Or the computer might simply not start anymore.

MBRtool is not an automatic recovery program but will allow users to prevent data loss (caused by MBR corruption) by backing up the MBR, and offers power users all the power they’ll ever need to work with their MBR.

MBRtool is freeware.

Features:

  • Backup, verify and restore the MBR
  • Backup, restore, wipe and clean track 0
  • Edit or blank the MBR partition table
  • Refresh, remove MBR boot code
  • Write MBR signature bytes
  • Display MBR to screen or dump to file – Do all this for either the original MBR or backups
  • Create and work with ‘blank’ backup files
  • Change partition attributes (active, hidden)
  • Manipulate NT/200x/XP/Vista disk admin signature
  • MBRtool can be operated through a menu as well as through command line arguments
  • If operated through command line options, return codes can be used in your batch files
  • Supports the first 4 hard disks in the system

Toyota Unveils Hydrogen/Electric Car at CES 2014!

Toyota FCVOkay, we all want really cool electric cars! Well, we do! At least I do! And, at this year’s CES Toyota announced a new hydrogen powered electric car that looks really cool. Plus, it was announced that this car will be available in 2015. Yes, that is future, but not distant future! So, that means before too long we will actually be able to drive a 300 mile range electric car powered by hydrogen fuel cells that is actually practical. Of course, what will make it more practical, is having fuel stations to buy the hydrogen that powers the fuel cell that makes the car work. Hopefully this will happen over time. California has an initiative to spend $200 million installing hydrogen stations throughout the state, starting in Southern California and expanding from there. Whether other states will get on board with this initiative remains to be seen.

I must say, ever since my elementary school chemistry class, or was in junior high? I’m not sure. However, whenever it was, I remember dreaming of a hydrogen engine in a car based on our studies of hydrogen being the most freely available elements in the universe and the fact that when it burns it produces only water as an “exhaust.” My young brain quickly seized on the idea that this could give us cars that were efficient, and clean, even way back then! What can I say? I was ahead of my time. Anyway, my dream could soon become a reality! At any rate, you have to give it to Toyota for coming out with this technology! They also announced at CES, that the same technology would be used soon in buses for mass transportation.

From Toyota’s web site:

“The fuel cell vehicle (FCV) is the nearest thing yet to an ‘ultimate eco-car’ that offers solutions to energy and emissions issues.
FCVs are powered by fuel cells, which generate electricity from hydrogen, which is not only environmentally friendly and highly energy-efficient, but can also be produced using a variety of readily available raw materials. Thanks to these characteristics, fuel cell vehicles are ideal for achieving sustainable mobility. Therefore, Toyota is striving to make this vehicle technology widely available as soon as possible.

The Toyota FCV Concept is a practical concept of the fuel cell vehicle Toyota plans to launch around 2015 as a pioneer in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The vehicle has a driving range of at least 500 km and refueling times as low as three minutes, roughly the same time as for a gasoline vehicle.

The vehicle’s exterior design evokes two key characteristics of a fuel cell vehicle: the transformation of air into water as the system produces electricity, and the powerful acceleration enabled by the electric drive motor. The bold front view features pronounced air intakes, while the sleek side view conveys the air-to-water transformation with its flowing-liquid door profile and wave-motif fuel cap. The theme carries to the rear view, which conveys a catamaran’s stern and the flow of water behind.

With Toyota’s proprietary small, light-weight FC Stack and two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks placed beneath the specially designed body, the Toyota FCV Concept can accommodate up to four occupants.

The Toyota FC Stack has a power output density of 3 kW/L, more than twice that of the current “Toyota FCHV-adv” FC Stack, and an output of at least 100 kW. In addition, the FC system is equipped with Toyota’s high-efficiency boost converter. Increasing the voltage has made it possible to reduce the size of the motor and the number of fuel cells, leading to a smaller system offering enhanced performance at reduced cost.
Fully fueled, the vehicle can provide enough electricity to meet the daily needs of an average Japanese home (10 kWh) for more than one week.”

ASUS Transformer Duet!

ASUS DuetOkay, this past week Techpodcast Network covered CES 2014. There were a lot of cool, geeky devices that they uncovered in their awesome coverage which we carried right here on the website. This device was one of the things that was unveiled at CES, it is the Asus “Transformer Duet.” Why “Duet?” Because this laptop which is also a tablet runs both Android and Windows 8.x; how cool is that! So, you can plug the tablet into the keyboard unit, use it as a laptop, un-dock the screen from the keyboard unit, and use it as a tablet. While it is docked in the keyboard unit you can touch a button that will toggle you between Android and Windows in less than 4 seconds!

This gives you multiple functionality both from the software side, the operating systems, and from the physical side, a tablet, or a laptop. This is very cool! Because this put you a point that perhaps, this one device can do it all! That is, be your desktop/laptop, and your tablet both in the Android world and in the Windows world. Can it be this powerful and flexible? I suppose time will tell will have to get one in our hand to see if it really works as they designed it!

From the ASUS web site:

Quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet with Instant Switch
ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) is an extremely capable device that is able to function as an Android or Windows 8.1 tablet or notebook. Users can simply switch operating systems with a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet.

By offering both operating systems, ASUS provides users the ability to run supported Android applications and a vast array of native Windows applications. Transformer Book Duet features a powerful Intel Core i7 processor with Intel HD graphics and 4G DDR3L 1600 RAM, giving it performance that’s up to twice as fast as existing tablets powered by ARM® processors.

The patented ASUS technology that powers Instant Switch offers many performance and productivity benefits over other dual-OS solutions, such as fast, smooth and seamless switching and the ability to resume each OS from where the user left off. As it does not use OS virtualization, Instant Switch also allows each OS to harness the full power of Intel’s latest processor technology.”

RokuTV Introduced!

Roku demostrated their new RokuTV at CES! This is exciting news! Fortune magazine says it will “save the company.” Well… I don’t think Roku was in trouble anyway, but it will certainly “cement” their success!

Roku to make line of connected TVs

(CNN) — An awful lot of companies have tried to figure out how to make consumers want to stream Internet video in the living room.

One of the few to have succeeded is Roku, whose cheap little boxes offer easy access to 1,200 channels of content, from biggies such as Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go to stuff you never knew existed. The company has sold 8 million boxes, which have been used to watch 1.7 billion hours of video to date.

At this year’s CES show in Las Vegas, Roku’s big news is that it’s going to be possible to watch those 1,200 channels without even paying for and hooking up that cheap little box. It’s going to work with TV companies to build Roku TVs.

Roku will design the entire interface, as well as the super-simple remote control; essentially, it’ll be as if a Roku box sprouted a gigantic screen.

(This is, by the way, Roku’s second pass at partnering up with TV builders: The first is the Roku Streaming Stick, a tiny doohickey designed to be bundled with TVs.)

The first two TV makers Roku is working with are two Chinese companies: TCL and Hisens. Considering their low profiles in the U.S, that doesn’t sound like a big whoop, but the two Chinese manufacturers are the third and fifth largest TV producers globally, according to Roku. And both see built-in Roku as a way to raise their profile in the U.S. market.

Anthony Wood, Roku’s founder and CEO, told me that TCL and Hisense are just the start. Designing Internet TV software and services and signing up content partners is such a major undertaking that he sees Roku TV as an appealing proposition for every TV producer except Samsung.

‘Our goal is to be the platform for TV,’ he says.

These first two companies plan to ship Roku TVs in a variety of sizes from 32 inches to 55 inches this fall. Pricing will be announced later, but ‘we think that smart TV features should be in every TV for essentially the same price,’ Wood told me. ‘I’m sure there will be some small premium at the beginning.’

CentOS Goes Under the Red Hat Banner!

Wow! Wow. CentOS is my favorite free Open Source business grade distro. It has ALWAYS been Red Hat with all the Red Hat logos removed. And now… it is official!

Red Hat incorporates ‘free’ Red Hat clone CentOS

ZDNet By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – “If you use Linux to host your Web servers and run your Internet edge services, chances are you’re using CentOS. This Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone has long been popular with hosting companies, data centers, and businesses that had in-house Linux expertise and so didn’t need to pay for Red Hat’s RHEL support. For practical purposes this let them use RHEL without paying for it. On January 7th, things changed.

Red Hat, and the CentOS Project announced they were joining forces to build a new CentOS, capable of driving forward development and adoption of next-generation open source technologies. No, it’s not April 1st. This is really happening.

First things first. If your company is already using CentOS… Do Not Freak Out. Red Hat is not going to start charging you for using CentOS. CentOS will continue to be an independent distribution with community, not paid, support. Of course, if you want paid support after using CentOS, Red Hat will be more than happy to make you a paying RHEL customer.

As Red Hat explained in a FAQ, ‘CentOS is a community project that is developed, maintained, and supported by and for its users and contributors. RHEL is a subscription product that is developed, maintained, and supported by Red Hat for its subscribers.’

The company continued, ‘The two also have very different focuses. While CentOS delivers a distribution with strong community support, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides a stable enterprise platform with a focus on security, reliability, and performance as well as hardware, software, and government certifications for production deployments. Red Hat also delivers training, and an entire support organization ready to fix problems and deliver future flexibility by getting features worked into new versions.’

What is different now is that Red Hat won’t be keeping CentOS at arm’s length anymore. Instead, the company is ‘extending the Red Hat open-source development ecosystem. Red Hat anticipates that taking a role as a catalyst within the CentOS community will enable it to accelerate development of enterprise-grade subscription solutions for customers and partners, such as RHEL, RHEL OpenStack Platform, Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat JBoss Middleware, OpenShift by Red Hat, and Red Hat Storage.’

Red Hat will be contributing its resources and expertise in building open-source communities to the new CentOS Project to give it a roadmap, broaden opportunities for participation, open pathways for contribution, and provide new ways for CentOS users and contributors to bring the power of open-source innovation to all areas of the software stack.

Indeed, ‘With Red Hat’s contributions and investment, the CentOS Project will be able to expand and accelerate, serving the needs of community members who require different or faster-moving components layered on top of CentOS, expanding on existing efforts to collaborate with open source projects such as OpenStack, RDO, Gluster, OpenShift Origin, and oVirt.’

Brian Stevens, Red Hat’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, said:

‘It is core to our beliefs that when people who share goals or problems are free to connect and work together, their pooled innovations can change the world. We believe the open source development process produces better code, and a community of users creates an audience that makes code impactful. Cloud technologies are moving quickly, and increasingly, that code is first landing in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Today is an exciting day for the open source community; by joining forces with the CentOS Project, we aim to build a vehicle to get emerging technologies like OpenStack and big data into the hands of millions of developers.’

Stephen O’Grady, RedMonk’s principal analyst added in a statement that ‘Though it will doubtless come as a surprise, this move by Red Hat represents the logical embrace of an adjacent ecosystem. Bringing the CentOS and Red Hat communities closer together should be a win for both parties.’

So here’s what the Red Hat operating system family is going to look like going forward:

  • Commercial development and deployment: Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, offering an extensive ecosystem of partners, a comprehensive portfolio of certified hardware and software offerings, and Red Hat’s award winning support, consulting, and training services. Red Hat subscriptions deliver this value combined with access to the industry’s most extensive ecosystem of partners, customers, and Linux experts to support and accelerate success.
  • Community integration beyond the operating system: CentOS, a community-supported and produced Linux distribution that draws on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other open source technologies to provide a platform that’s open to variation. CentOS provides a base for community adoption and integration of open source cloud, storage, network, and infrastructure technologies on a Red Hat-based platform.
  • Operating system innovation across the stack: Fedora, a community-supported and produced Linux distribution that makes it easy for users to consume and contribute to leading-edge open source technologies from the kernel to the cloud. As a cutting edge development platform where every level of the stack is open to revision and improvement, Fedora will continue to serve as the upstream project on which future Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases are based.

Robyn Bergeron, the Fedora project leader, underlined in her blog post that Fedora’s role at Red Hat will not be changing. ‘The new relationship between Red Hat and the CentOS Project changes absolutely nothing about how the Fedora Project will work, or affect the role that Fedora fulfills in Red Hat’s production of RHEL. Fedora will continue to set the standard for developing and incorporating the newest technological innovations in the operating system; those innovations will continue to make their way downstream, both into RHEL, CentOS, and many other -EL derivatives.’

While this is a big change for Red Hat, CentOS, and Fedora, it’s not one to be frightened of. It really is a move that, I think, will benefit everyone in the Red Hat Linux family — from developers to users to system administrators to business customers.”

Vimeo Introduces a New, Faster Video Player!

Watch the video above for details! This is a cool, fast, new player!

“It may look (mostly) the same on the surface, but under the hood we totally rebuilt our player. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the coolest new features:

  • Lightning fast playback
  • Redesigned Share screen
  • Closed caption and subtitle compatible
  • HTML5 by default
  • Purchase-from-player functionality for embedded Vimeo On Demand trailers
  • More responsive than ever (go ahead, re-size it, we dare you!!!)

We’re really proud of these updates. So proud that we made a spiffy new page to showcase all the reasons why we have the best video player in the galaxy. Check it out here: vimeo.com/player
In short, this is a player that even haters can love.”

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