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.
The start of the twenty first century has been a time when we are surrounded by vast amounts of computing power that we take for granted. There are obvious computers in our lives, the laptops we use or the desktops we'll find at work, but also the unobvious ones that we use every day like mobile phones, car navigation systems and set top boxes. In the 1960s things were very different, computers usually filled entire rooms, even the calculator was a bit of a cutting edge invention. Despite this the challenge had been set by President John F.
Twitter is a never ending stream of information, some of it useful, some maybe not so, but one bit of useful information that did come to my attention today was a tweet from @IanEHarris mentioning that a Live CD image of Google Android has been developed that will enable you to try this new operating system in a virtual machine environment such as VirtualBox, or any other computer that could be booted of a CD or a USB stick. It's been known for some time that it is possible to run Android on x86 hardware with a port for the Asus EEE PC appearing earlier this year, but it was very difficult until now to get Android running on other hardware or virtual machines.
Thanks to a rather clever feature of justin.tv, I've been able to pick out a couple of clips from the recent Boxee App Challenge event in San Francisco. In the first clip judge Cali Lewis has some very kind words for our entry and in the second clip Boxee CEO Avner Ronen talks about the OpenCourseWare and Open University apps making some quite interesting points about what sort of content Boxee users are after. OpenCourseWare went on to win the Judges' award signaling a potentially very bright future for education services on interactive TV.
E169G Switch is a package for Ubuntu and other Debian based distributions, such as Xandros on the Asus EEE that aims to autoconfigure the device when it is plugged into the machine. These modems act as a USB drive until a command is sent to them to be a modem. This package makes sure that gets sent.