Imagine a situation where you are sat on your sofa using a laptop to find interesting videos on the web. The laptop is great for this as it is close and you can get a lot of information onto the screen, you also have the keyboard and mouse so navigating options is very useful. Now you've found the video you might hit a snag, what happens if you prefer to play it on that nice big television that is only a few feed from you, instead of the smaller screen of the laptop? Sadly there is often no easy way to do this, but the team over at Ericsson Labs have been working on a solution: Web Device Connectivity (WDC), a solution designed to bring media devices in the home closer to the web by combining the power of the DLNA standard with a web API.
I've been using Rockbox, which is an open source replacement firmware for various MP3 players, for some time and really like it. My Apple iPod Video was a treat to myself, somewhere to put my large-ish music collection so I could enjoy it on the go. After a while though it seemed to get slow, it lost its shine a little. It was time to give it a fresh lease of life with some open source firmware that would bring new features (including the ability to play OGG format files), more customisation, and easier file transfer. Rockbox is available for many MP3 players and older iPods.
One of the joys of using an open source operating system like Ubuntu is that you can experiment with all sorts of ideas and not worry about constantly purchasing software or coming up against artificial limitations. By chaining some open source packages together we can do some quite interesting things, so it is fun sometimes to try a challenge. In this post I will show you how to take a text RSS feed and make it into an Internet radio broadcast that can be received on a dedicated device, so instead of being stuck in front of a screen you can catch up with your RSS feeds while sunbathing in the garden! The solution here is not intended to be production ready, and might be tough going for beginners, but the idea is it will give a basic overview which you can then go and experiment with. I'll be using Icecast2 to stream the broadcast, Ices to feed Icecast2 with files to broadcast, Espeak to generate text to speech audio files and a small custom PHP script to convert the text feed into a format suitable for ESpeak.
Often when we talk about Linux it is often in the context of a computer enthusiast, a person who enjoys finding out what open source technology can do for them, or maybe people looking to solve particular problems and get up and running with particular software or hardware.