All Technologizer posts by Dave Z

Geek blogger, powered by nerd rage.

Sony Disables PlayStation Network After Security Breach

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 10:46 am on Saturday, April 23, 2011

24 Comments

Sites and services go down all the time. Just ask Amazon. And all their customers. But they weren’t the only ones to suffer a massive outage this week, as Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) has been offline for several days now. After a long period of silence, Sony has finally provided some situational insight:

An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network & Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th.

Of course what they’re saying is that they’ve been hacked. And until Sony figures out what’s going on and how to stop it, they’ve pulled the network plug. So the forensics team has probably been doing their thing, maybe law enforcement too, as the engineers bolster PlayStation Network defenses.

Unfortunately, Sony hasn’t provided an ETA for PSN service restoration. And I know several of my work buddies with PS3s are suffering from Call of Duty, Black Ops withdrawal. But I’m not sure they appreciated my repeated mocking suggestions to join me on the superior Xbox Live.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)



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Google Takes Issue With Roku’s YouTube Channel

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 8:59 am on Friday, April 22, 2011

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While Roku doesn’t offer an officially sanctioned YouTube channel, many of us have been enjoying that content through a “private” offering created by The Nowhereman. In fact, he’s such an exceptional developer, Roku brought him on as an employee (where he’s known as Chris). Yet that puts them in an even more awkward position now that Google has taken issue with the unlicensed YouTube channel.

blog comment tipped me off to the situation, that I confirmed on the forum… The YouTube channel remains functional for the folks who’ve previously activated it, yet no new subscribers are permitted. I reached out to Roku who also corroborated the situation, saying “we received a takedown notice from YouTube’s legal team and are in the midst of negotiations with them.” They’re hopeful of having more information to share with the community next week.

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TiVo Prepping Four-Tuner HD DVR?

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 4:07 am on Friday, April 15, 2011

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The new TiVo Advisors survey is far more interesting than most, spelling out a number of “potential products and features.” On the hardware front, two very specific devices are described:

  • A companion device for your DVR. It allows a second TV (in another room) to watch live TV (in HD) and also watch the recordings from your DVR.
  • A 4-tuner high-definition DVR that allows you to record up to 4 shows at one time (and watch a 5th show that is previously recorded).

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WatchESPN on Your iPhone (but ReadFINEPRINT)

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 2:32 pm on Saturday, April 9, 2011

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The future is upon us. As the content owners and cable/satellite providers maintain relevance by extending their offerings beyond the traditional television. And the most promising new service is WatchESPN. Not only does it enable streaming around the home, as seen with Time Warner and Cablevision apps, but it allows you to get live ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN3 broadcasts on the go. Assuming you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad and subscribe to television services from providers ESPN has deals with (currently: Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS TV, Brighthouse).

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Cablevision Opens the (iPad) Firehose

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 8:59 am on Monday, April 4, 2011

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Leave it to Cablevision… True to form, they’ve thrown caution to the wind and have launched the full fledged STB replacement iPad app we’ve been waiting for:

  • ƒApproximately 300 channels of live television
  • ƒMore than 2,000 titles of Video on demand (VOD) available today, with Cablevision’s full VOD library expected to be encoded and available by early summer
  • ƒEnhanced guide information that is fully searchable and able to be filtered based on genre, cast, time of day and favorite channels
  • ƒ The ability to schedule future DVR recordings and manage (erase) previously-recorded content
  • ƒ Full parental controls (specific to each iPad)
  • ƒ Closed Captioning

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What’s Next for TiVo: Hulu, Streaming, Extenders

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 8:31 pm on Monday, March 21, 2011

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While we generally shy away from rumor and speculation, TiVo’s been pretty quiet as they approach the one year anniversary of Premiere retail availability. Given our site heritage and interests, the lack of news out of Alviso can be frustrating. So we’ve whipped up a post based purely on hearsay, but one that hopefully gives some indication what TiVo is quietly working on.

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More Video Goodness Headed to iPad (NCAA, BBC)

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 10:49 am on Saturday, March 5, 2011

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March Madness App

As I’ve proclaimed several times these last few months, smaller media consumption devices are poised to become our kitchen or den “televisions.” Of course, the tablet with the richest third party ecosystem is Apple’s iPad. And I don’t see that changing any time soon, despite possibly stifling some development via their recent subscription commission policy change. Comcast recently launched 3,000 hours of on demand iPad video content and announced their intentions to broadcast live video to tablets. I’m hopeful my provider Verizon follows suit. But beyond the broad aggregation by the larger players, there’s a huge amount of specialized or niche content – currently active… and those coming down the pike.

For 2011, CBS is offering a March Madness On Demand iPad app for free. In fact, I’m willing to bet their online streaming NCAA baskbetball properties are amongst the most lucrative when it comes to advertising. So why not give the app away? It’s expected to launch March 10th with games getting underway on the 15th. Unfortunately, my poor Maryland Terrapins aren’t even on the bubbleat this point.

Next up, 2011 looks to be the year that the BBC brings their online content to an international audience. It’s expected to launch later this year and will run “a small number of dollars per month, definitely fewer than 10.” Unlike a Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, in its current form. is referred to as a “catch up” service and only streams recent episodes versus entire seasons. But I’m hopeful the UK powers that be realize we have a lot of catching up to do here in the US… and will consider providing a more comprehensive library.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)



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TeleNav Coming to Verizon iPhone

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 2:47 pm on Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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TeleNav, my favorite iPhone navigation app, is headed to Verizon. And, unlike its AT&T brethren, it’s coming in at a reasonable price point. Assuming I make the jump in the next week or so, this will be one of my first purchases. The AT&T Navigator branded TeleNav app currently runs $10/month or $70/year, whereas an annual subscription to the new app on Verizon will run only $22. Guess that’s what happens when you take out the carrier middle man. As you might expect, this dual platform approach has raised some questions regarding carrier control and the possibility of platform “fragmentation” – which TechCrunch counters as BS. But, any way you slice it, Verizon iPhone owners will have a compelling navigation experience available to them shortly. Yet for those looking for an inexpensive or free turn-by-turn GPS app, I continue to recommend MapQuest.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)



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A Few FiOS TV DVR Notes (vs. TiVo)

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 10:20 pm on Monday, January 24, 2011

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As regulars know, we recently left the cable hegemony behind in favor of Verizon’s FiOS TV…. to overcome switched digital video (SDV) tuning adapter flakiness and a CCI Byte content lockdown that essentially neutered our TiVo ecosystem. And, on the technological front, we couldn’t be happier. (But I may follow up with a less glowing billing and support post, as many of you cautioned.)

We’re a three TV/DVR household, although currently only possess two televisions — one powered by a TiVo Premiere and the other powered by the Verizon FiOS DVR shown above. So the question is, what DVR will power TV #3 when the time comes?

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TiVo’s iPad App Now Available

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 8:17 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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TiVo’s iPad app, announced in November, is now available via the the App Store.

I’ve had app on hand for several weeks now, and I quite like it. Whereas TiVo has been lagging the competition in providing this sort of functionality, they may have just leap frogged nearly all contenders in producing both a beautiful and functional television companion. Of course, it’s only a companion for TiVo Premiere owners. But perhaps there are a few more this week given that amazing $65 Woot deal.

The app itself is quite comprehensive. Who needs picture-in-guide when you can manage just about every meaningful element of your TiVo from an iPad without interrupting the television viewing experience. Remote control? Check. Guide? Check. Season Passes, To Do List, Now Playing? Check, check, check. Plus, you know no app is complete these days without the ability to share on Twitter and Facebook. So they’ve checked that off, too. Bonus — portrait and landscape views for any/every screen.

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Twitter and Southwest Need to Check Their Security

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 11:28 am on Saturday, January 15, 2011

2 Comments

At every available opportunity, I partake in airborne WiFi services. Yeah, I know public wireless isn’t the most secure form of connectivity. But, at the same time, I haven’t been bothered to set up a personal tunnel. And I’ll do just about anything to pass the time on a cross country flight… as I did when returning from CES last week. Southwest’s wireless service runs a mere $5 during testing and linking up on my LAS>BWI flight (3140, 1/8) was a no brainer – especially as I hadn’t loaded up my iPhone with content and my Kindle was left at home.

Unfortunately, there’s something not quite right with their Internet connection in relation to Twitter. As you can see, I wasn’t the only one in my account:

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This Old House: Fiber Arrives

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 3:06 pm on Wednesday, December 29, 2010

1 Comment

If you recall, we recently picked up a new (old) house and our plate is full of projects – including some relevant to a digital media blog. So, on with the story…

I’ve continued to make progress removing and recycling speaker and aerial antenna wire as I encounter it. There’s no way I’ll extricate it all, and fortunately I’m not quite OCD enough to have to. But it’s no longer an eyesore in various built-ins and closets.

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The Case for (Not) Jailbreaking Your iPhone

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 2:39 pm on Monday, August 2, 2010

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The simplest and most expansive iDevice jailbreak was released last night. In the past, and prior to Spirit, most jailbreak solutions required a computer intermediary running software locally to get the job done. It wasn’t difficult, but it did require research and could be somewhat intimidating to the uninitiated. Whereas the new jailbreakme.com website offers jailbreaking to anyone who can simply navigate to a URL. But I wonder how big the need or interest in jailbreaking is these days.

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Hands on With the Samsung Galaxy S

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 1:31 am on Friday, July 16, 2010

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Samsung’s making a splash with their new, high-end line of Android ”Galaxy S” handsets. And while they’ve already launched overseas, the US variants with custom enclosures and functionality, started rolling out yesterday:

As part of the launch festivities, I was provided a stock Galaxy S to evaluate. Media outreach and spec sheet highlights have led with Samsung’s 4″ 800 x 480 Super AMOLED screen. And while I initially found it oversaturated, even garish (combined with Samsung’s Touchwiz skinning), I’ve landed somewhere else entirely. In fact, I’ve concluded that the Galaxy S utilizes the most pleasing mobile display I’ve encountered — striking an excellent balance of resolution, size, and vibrancy. The Galaxy S obviously isn’t as high res as Apple’s iPhone 4 pixel-dense “retina display” … but with uncorrected sub-20/20 vision, it’s not like I’ve been bothered by aliasing at 18″. So, ultimately, I find myself in the same camp as Harry:

if all other phone features were equal, I’d take more square inches over more pixels

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Wanna Watch YouTube on Roku Today?

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 5:09 pm on Sunday, June 27, 2010

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Are the more obscure content offerings not doing it for you on your Roku? If so, perhaps the limitless video (of varying quality) found on YouTube makes for a better channel. I first caught wind of YouTube on Roku over a year ago. But it then seemed that Google changed their YouTube API and/or licensing terms. Followed by nothing. Until today…

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Goal! Goal! Goal! (World Cup Mobile and Online)

By Dave Z  |  Posted at 9:47 am on Saturday, June 12, 2010

3 Comments

It’s that time of decade… FIFA’s World Cup competition is in full effect. And it’ll be one of the most watched events in human history – given the seemingly universal love of soccer (er, futbol), national pride, and widespread viewing technologies.

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