Monthly Archives: August 2012

Vizio Co-Star has shipped!

I pre-ordered my Vizio Co-Star 3 weeks ago, after reading about it on some of the Android blogs.  Checking on their site a few minutes ago, and it looks like my unit has finally shipped!  I’m not usually one to pre-order a product, especially from a company new to the product space, but I thought I would take a chance on one of these.  I’ve been very happy with my Vizio TV, and their latest line of desktop and laptop PC’s looks very compelling.

I’ve had a Logitech Revue for the past year or so.  It has been a major disappointment.  The update to the latest Google TV took them much longer than other models.  The Revue is slow, laggy, and all but unusable.  Trying to play 1080p video through Plex basically causes the unit to grind to a halt.  Web browsing is slow and miserable.

I only have a few requirements for a Google TV Device:

  • Play 480p/1080p video from my NAS 
  • Browse the web
  • Neflix and Amazon Prime Video Streaming 
  • Play music streaming from the NAS, as well as Pandora
  • Display photos streaming from the NAS

Do all of those, without the lag, stuttering, freezing, and crashing that my Logitech Revue currently does, and I will be very happy.

Vizio could have a great product here.  The faster hardware, low price ($99), and their custom user interface should make this a very nice HTPC replacement.  The biggest question in my mind is how hacker-friendly the unit will be.  Will Vizio take the route of other manufacturers, such as Motorola and Logitech who love to lock down their Android devices with encrypted bootloaders?  Or, will they take more of a Nexus Q approach and embrace the hacker/ROM community instead of fighting them?  My hope is the latter.  I guess we’ll find out in a few days.

Android-er: Preview build of ADT 21 and of the SDK Tools, r21 released

Looks like the preview build of ADT21 is out there.

Android-er: Preview build of ADT 21 and of the SDK Tools, r21 …: Preview 1 is mostly a bugfix release. It contains a number of bug fixes in various areas that were new in ADT 20, such as the new templa…

ADT20 was a nice jump in terms of functionality.  Since I work on both Android and iOS, while I enjoy the Eclipse environment more, there are some things that XCode does a better job at.  UI development and templates come to mind the most.  I’d love to see a Storyboard-esque feature in ADT, which would greatly improve the creation of UI’s.

The project templates are great to help get going faster, especially as the project structures get more complicated with things like Fragments.  Having previously built a fragment UI by hand, having the IDE create the initial template would have made it much easier.  I’m also hopeful that project templates will help encourage developers to follow more of the Android standards.

Cedar Potting Bench

Potting Bench after staining.

 In the past few years, I haven’t been able to do much woodworking.  My tool time was limited to several DIY projects that had higher priority.  This spring, I took a day off from work to build this Cedar Potting Bench.

I started with plans from The Family Handyman magazine.  The plans were for a 47″ wide bench, but the area on our patio was more like 65″ inches.  I decided to widen the bench to give more table top and shelf space.

With the added width, I was concerned about the structural integrity.  I was able to modify the plans by adding a middle vertical support for the back of the bench to add some additional strength.  Without this vertical support, I believe there could have been some sagging with the shelves.

Layout out the back of the potting bench.

The plans called for using a plastic wastebasket to hold the dirt.  Another change was to use cement board instead of exterior-grade plywood to hold the dirt container.  By cutting a hole in the plywood, the container hangs from the bench by the lip of the wastebasket.  I could not find exterior plywood, but I found that cement board (used in tile applications) worked just as well.

Attaching the front assembly to the back.

Construction was primarily Gorilla glue with exterior screws.  Some pocket screws were used as well.  I used Behr transparent stain/finish to protect the cedar from the elements.  Shelf brackets from the local big box store were used to support the shelves.

This was a really fun project, and was a great way for me to get back into woodworking.  Next project will be an Entertainment Center for our living room.

Starting to cut and fit the boards for the bench itself.

A litter pan provides a way to catch excess dirt when potting.

Potting bench nearly complete.

Closeup of the bottom shelf.

Closeup of the bench.

Full of plants.