Google Chromecast

aa

 

Last week, seemingly out of nowhere, Google announced Chromecast. It’s an HDMI dongle that allows you to stream content to your TV from the cloud using almost any device connected to the same WiFi network (yes, it works with the iPhone and iPad as well as Android devices).

You simply plug the device into an HDMI port on your TV and plug it into a power source (my TV has a USB port right beneath one set of HDMI ports which is quite convenient. It also comes with a power outlet adapter) and you’re (almost) ready to go. Once it’s set up you’ll see a Chromecast button in supported apps and you simply click the button and Chromecast will begin streaming the content on your TV. You can control the content with your device, but you can also exit whatever app you launched the video from and continue using the device while the Chromecast continues streaming.

The only annoying thing about the Chromecast for me was the setup. It wasn’t as simple as it should’ve been. For some reason you have to change the name of your WiFi network to the name of your Chromecast device (ie. Chromecast9999) in order to connect to the Chromecast and get it set up. Then you can change your WiFi network back to it’s original name before you save the connection settings for the Chromecast.

I have yet to discover if that’s a process you have to go through everytime you use the device on a new WiFi network or if it’s simply for the initial setup. I hope it’s the latter because otherwise it won’t be as convenient of a device as it could be. Sure you don’t have to carry around an HDMI cable, but fooling around with router settings every time you go somewhere new would be a chore.

Overall I’m impressed with the device and for $35 it’s a steal. It initially came with 3 months of Netflix, however due to overwhelming demand Google had to remove that offer (luckily I got in before it disappeared). I’m also impressed that it works so easily with iOS apps, though as of right now you cant use it with the Chrome iOS app (it does support the desktop version). At the moment you can use it with YouTube and Netflix on iOS (I’m not sure if there’s a Google Play app on iOS, but I assume if there is that would work as well) and there should be more content to come in the near future.

My July 4th Celebrations

After a day of painfully slow uploading my 4th of July videos are finally ready for viewing!

First up is Boise’s firework celebration at Ann Morrison Park. It was a lot of fun and a really good show. It was my first time viewing the fireworks in Boise so the only thing I have to compare it to are the celebrations from back East and I’d say it was right on par with those.

After the fireworks at Ann Morrison we walked back home (so glad we walked, traffic looked painful) and collected our fireworks before heading to another park where we set off a variety of rockets, mortars, fountains and roman candles. I have to say I definitely bought too many fireworks and we didn’t use them all (not sure what to do with the rest at this point).

Chris Pirillo unboxes a Kindle Fire HD 7″ and 8.9″

I love pretty much every video Chris Pirillo uploads to YouTube, but my all time favorites are his tech unboxing videos. Today he unboxed a Kindle Fire HD 7″ and 8.9″ live on YouTube and gave his first impressions. You can watch the recorded video below.

I’ve owned a 7″ Kindle Fire HD for about two months now and I absolutely love it. I use it to read books, magazines and newspapers, to watch movies and TV shows (especially Netflix and Hulu in bed), to browse the web, and lastly, to play games (such as Final Fantasy III or Angry Birds Star Wars). The screen looks amazing and the speakers are surprisingly loud compared to the original Kindle Fire (which I also owned, but sold to help purchase the Fire HD).

~

Chris Pirillo is a long time tech journalist / personality and I’ve been a fan of him since he appeared on Call 4 Help back on TechTV. Today he runs LockerGnome.com where you’ll find all sorts of technology news and views, and he’s very active on YouTube (YouTube.com/lockergnome) with over 5,000 videos uploaded to date (with an accumulated 152,765,572 views) and several new videos a day.

Chris Pirillo on Call 4 Help (Sept. 21, 2001)

 

 

The new YouTube

A lot of people have been upset about the new redesign of YouTube that rolled out last week. I wasn’t really bothered by it, however now I’ve found myself having some difficulties. I used to enjoy browsing ‘trending’ videos, however I can’t seem to find that feature / page anywhere on the new YouTube. Is it gone? Even clicking on a category under ‘browse channels’ only shows channels, not specific videos related to those categories. I find this a little bothersome because now it’s harder to find new content outside of channels you already subscribe to. Unless you’re searching for something specific I can’t see how you’ll be able to discover new content.

Capture

Am I just totally missing a trending / what’s new page, or is there really no such thing? How do you feel about the YouTube redesign?

 

This time it’s Thursday

So you thought there could never be a song worse than Rebecca Black’s “Friday” did you? Well you might be wrong. I didn’t research it, but I can almost guarantee this song is written by the same person, with such insightful lyrics such as “December was Christmas, January was New Year’s, April was Easter, 4th of July and now it’s Thanksgiving….. we we we gonna have a good time.”

-.-

Chris Pirillo unboxes a Microsoft Surface tablet

Chris Pirillo, who I consider to be THE source for technology news and insight, unboxed a Microsoft Surface tablet live on YouTube the other day and I thought I’d share the video below. Very thorough video. Personally I’m happy with my Kindle Fire HD and if I did want to step up to the next level (so to speak) my choice would be between the Fire HD 8.9″ or the iPad. The 7″ Fire HD does everything I want a tablet to do, and it does it well. Browsing the web is great, video looks amazing, and games work well on the Fire (love that Minecraft is now available. It plays great!). I’ll post more on the Fire later. For now, the Surface: