Cheap Plex {Roku} client for €15

I recently saw an Ad on the TV advertising Sky’s NowTV for 10 pounds (sterling), delivered.  The box looked very familiar so a quick Google showed up that it is in fact a Roku LT re-branded.  Roku LTs retail any where from 30 – 50 pounds (Maplin) .

I thought to myself.. bargain! but wait there is a catch, while you can buy the box on the sky nowtv website they won’t ship to addresses outside the UK. This is where ParcelMotel comes in handy. It’s in the UK so I shipped it to there. 3.50 euro later and the box arrives. Total cost 15 euro. Bargain.

What’s in the box?

In the box you get the Roku LT, Roku remote control, batteries for remote control and a decent HDMI cable.

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The box
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unboxing
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Plug and batteries

It looks and feels like a Roku box. Not much on the box just power, A/V out and a HDMI port.

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Connections

The setup was straight forward – connected to the wireless network no problem.

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Setup

I signed up to Sky Now TV and from reading other blog posts I thought I could get away without having to put my credit card details. Unfortunately I had to in order to activate the account. I stuck a pin on purchases so I can’t accidentally buy sky movies/sports etc.

What apps are installed?

The box comes with Roku Store and Sky Store, BBC iPlayer. 4oD, 5 Demand, Now TV, Sky news and BBC news. All worked for me* (nod, nod, VPN wink, wink) and the quality over the wireless connection was very good. UPDATE. For connections without VPN I  can confirm 4oD, Sky News and BBC news works.  BBC iPlayer and 5 Demand don’t work due to geo-broadcasting restrictions.

As you expect from the price Sky are heavily subsidising this box.  Because of this Sky have restricted what apps you can download from their controlled app (and Roku) store.  The Sky store has a lot of it carries over satellite but everything will result in you paying Sky.

On the Roku store there is no sign of netflix, plex, youtube, plex etc.  as you would expect because it’s controlled by Sky.
Notable mentions on the store include: Spotify, Tune in, Facebook, TED talks etc.

How-and-ever…

Slide loading Plex

Having recently put my own Roku box in to developer mode I knew it is possible to ‘side load’ apps on to roku boxes. (“Side load” you ask, well it’s the technique to install apps on to the Roku with out using the usual stores.) With the Sky NowTV box is essentially a Roku LT box it’s possible to side load.

To enable developer mode use the following command on the home screen.

Home 3x, Up 2x, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right

Do this nice and slow. Press the buttons deliberately. You should then see this (your IP will be different).

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IP Address for sideloading

 

I enabled the installer and the box restarted. Once rebooted using a laptop/computer open a browser and enter the IP of the roku and then upload plex or rarflix. (UPDATE: The version of plex linked here says it needs a plex-pass subscription beyond a 30 day trial. I’ve never this before so perhaps you are better off to use the Rarflix version.

Tada!! Plex channel good to go.

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Plex on the box

AND100 Review ~ Media Android Box

I’ve been testing the AND100 Android Box from TV Trade. Dave and the guys sent me the box in December and I’m only getting around to blogging about it now (sorry guys!).

I have a Roku XS and it’s the benchmark when it comes to home media. I run a Plex client and Netflix off it. The Roku remote control is easy and simple – that’s what I like.
Any new media box challenging to sit full time under my TV must equal or surpass the Roku.

Let’s get the little niggly things out of the way first because the AND100 is a very good box in terms of flexibility and what it can do (way better than the Roku).

3 Dots

This is a version of Android that should be running on a tablet and it has 3 soft keys that are constantly displayed at the bottom of the screen. Since the TV isn’t touch screen these buttons have no purpose. They turn into 3 dots  while watching netflix etc. in full screen and there is no easy way to remove them either without rooting the box and using an APP. I decided I could live with the 3 dots.

Default Launcher

The front end launcher is terrible. It made no sense to me and I ended up going into the ‘Android’ option and browsing the apps from here. I felt the default launcher was really letting the box down so I installed the GO launcher HD (free). Once installed I added the stuff I wanted to quick access to (Plex, Netflix, RTE, BBC sport, News, etc). I increased the font size to make things a little easier to read from a distance. Once Go Launcher was installed the AND100 becomes a lot more user friendly and from here I felt the box was in its element. Compared to the Roku and how easy it is to launch apps  it’s not perfect but getting there.

Default Launcher - Android Box
Default Launcher – Android Box

The Good Stuff

You can install RTE player, Netflix, Plex, Hulu and pretty much whatever you want from the Google play store. This is where the AND100 is better than the Roku – you have full control. With Roku you are very much limited by what Roku offers (yes you can side load but that’s not for everyone!). The Roku has limited ability to play videos from a USB key whereas the AND100 had no problem at all.

The Box Itself

The box isn’t the prettiest box (black generic box)  but it’s small and well made. As you expect it is whisper quiet and the LEDs on the box are pleasant and not distracting. In terms of video-out ports it has HDMI and RCA  allowing it to be plugged into most TVs.

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The box itself
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USB Connections

I should point out I’m using the HDMI output from the box and it’s the only way to use it on big screens (+30inch). I tried the RCA cables and it was horrible to look at. It doesn’t come with a HDMI cable by default and if you forget to order one, don’t go to big name stores for HMDI cables – they will fleece you, try somewhere like Dealz and you’ll find a 1m cable for a bargain price of €1.49.

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RSA/HDMI and Ethernet

Network Options

For some reason I couldn’t get ethernet to work but the wifi was simple and very stable. (I think because most mobile device don’t have an ethernet port this version of Android OS doesn’t know how to handle the hardware correctly.)

Default programs

The box comes installed with your typically Google apps like maps, Gmail and with the wireless keyboard remote you can send/receive/read emails. You can install Twitter and Facebook and they all work great (unlike on the Roku). Since I view this is a media box, I turn off all notifications, I don’t want interruptions.  A lot of the apps that comes preinstalled with Android AND100 won’t be useful for the regular user and just adds to the clutter. This is why I think a better launcher is key.

Remote Control vs Mini Keyboard

I found myself ditching the wireless keyboard and just using the default little remote control that comes with the AND100 box. I used the wireless mini keyboard for surfing the web, entering search terms etc. but I didn’t really need a full keyboard. The little remote control is perfect for start/stopping media and up/down/left/right is all you really need to navigate Plex/Netflix.

Overall thoughts

Overall it is a good versatile box but if you have a Roku – it won’t replace it. It is very portable and I’ve brought the Andorid Box (AND100) on my travels and plugged it in to the hotel TVs. Plugging in a usb key with movies and the AND100 shows its value again over the Roku which doesn’t have a great standalone media player. Once up and running it had no problems with HD netflix or playing HD videos over plex so I was happy with it overall.

I think we’ll see more and more of these kind of boxes (not to mention chromecast).  I’m surprised not to see more dedicated free launchers on Google play for these kind of devices. There might be an opportunity for someone to come and along and put one together that covers everything. Maybe I’m missing something, I did find one that is close but it’s a paid app, (TV Launcher), which looks nice and simple.

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Alternative Launcher

Bridging EPC3925 and using Asus RT-N16 instead

I got very frustrated with UPC’s default router. The EPC 3925. It’s a piece of junk. I wanted to remove it completely but that’s not possible.
Luckily you don’t have to use it for networking features like firewall, wireless distribution, DHCP etc. After much research, I bought an Asus RT-N16 (the N66u is also a fine router) , put the EPC3925 into “bridged mode” and used the Asus for sharing the internet to rest of the devices in the house. I haven’t looked back. It’s rock solid.

Here’s a how-to to enable bridged mode on the EPC3925  connecting the Asus RT-N16.  The guide should work for other ‘good’ standalone routers.  e.g wrt 54GL, Asus N66u etc.

Preliminary Setup

Disconnect every Ethernet cable from the cisco box.
Leave the co-ax cable screwed into the box via the ‘Cable’ connector.
Power up the Cisco.

Disable the wireless card in your laptop for the moment. (I sometimes don’t trust wireless which is funny considering my background 🙂 )
Now connect a laptop to the Cisco box with an Ethernet cable via Port 1 (yellow ports in item 6 of the first diagram).

Step 1 Disabling Cisco wireless

Open a browser on the laptop, log into the cisco router via http://192.168.1.1
Login with your username / password combo.
Head over to the wireless setting and take note of the wireless name (SSID) and password. Also take note of the type of security used (WPA, WPA2 etc.)  You’ll need these later.
Disable the wireless part completely.
Check on the laptop (or phone/tablet) that the wireless network is now gone (enable the wireless on the laptop and make sure you don’t see the old SSID).

Step 2 Bridging the Cisco router

Now that the wireless part of the Cisco router is completely turned off – time to bridge it.
Via the admin page on Cisco box head over to Administration > Management
You should see an option for ‘Router Mode’ and ‘Bridged Mode’
* If you only see ‘Router mode’ then your Cisco box has an old firmware and you need to do an extra step (see 2.1).
Select ‘Bridged Mode’ and save settings.
The box will reboot. That should be the end of using the Cisco EPC3925.
You shouldn’t be able to connect to the Cisco box after the reboot. Don’t freak out. In bridge mode everything is turned off  by default like DHCP which allocates IP addresses. The epc3925 is now a very basic modem which connects to your internet provider and presents the internet as a connection for other routers to share. (if you do need to connect to it – it’s now at IP address: 192.168.100.1  <- note the different network number. You will need to manually set your laptop IP address to be something like   192.168.100.25)

NB: Bridging the Cisco router will not prevent your telephone from working as confirmed by comments below (Thanks Graeme & Paddy).

Step 2.1 – the extra step to enable bridging on older Cisco firmware

Only do this step if the option is not present on your epc3925. (If you have recently done a ‘hard’ reset on your Cisco box – please allow UPC time to update it.)
Follow the  instructions here to enable the bridging option on the Cisco:  http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056758726

Use Opera (it’s the best for this). Once visible jump back to Step 2.

Note: Because the administration pages are just HTML at the end of the day, the ability to put the Cisco box into bridge mode hasn’t been disabled – The settings have just been hidden and the workaround allows us to see the setting again. 

 

Step 3 Connecting the Asus to the Cisco

Disconnect your laptop from the Cisco box but leave the cable plugged into Port 1 of the Cisco box.
Connect the cable that’s plugged into Port 1 of the Cisco box into the WAN port (  Blue ) of the Asus RT-N16
Power up the Asus.

Step 4 Connect the Laptop to the Asus

Connect the laptop to the Asus with another Ethernet cable. Use Port 1 (yellow port) on the Asus to connect the laptop.

On the laptop using a web browser go to http://192.168.1.1

If you need to upgrade firmware,  download from here and unzip the file. You should have a single .trx file  use this for the upgrade. Mine was old so I upgraded to 3.0.0.4.260 – the latest beta has Wake-on-LAN.  (Make sure nothing else is plugged in if upgrading. Use the Asus control panel to upload the .trx file. After a reboot you should see the new control panel. The upgrade is worth it!). Let the ASUS reboot.

You should now have the Asus dashboard.

If it’s the first time to use the Asus – follow the instructions on the Asus Quick Internet Setup wizard to setup your internet connection.

I found the wizard to be great – it did everything and the whole house was back up and running when completed.

I used the wireless network name SSID, security type and password from the Cisco (noted from Step 1) as the wireless name and password on the Asus. This mean’t I didn’t have to setup all the other devices again.
At this point you’re done. The Cisco is bridged and the Asus is now doing all the work with ease. No more bad WiFi or dropping of connection.

I disconnected the cable from the laptop  to the Asus and used the wireless connection instead.

If you have devices that connect via ethernet cables plug them into the yellow ports on the Asus.. Nothing (except the one ethernet cable going to the Asus WAN port) should be plugged into the Cisco.

 

Super Wifi Bonus Step – WindSurfer Antenna

Need to boost your wifi even more!? No problem. Use the windSurfer antenna.

Grab the stencil here print it out on stiff card, cover in tinfoil and cut out.

More video instructions here:

Extra info: Reversing the bridge mode

With the Cisco box in bridge mode it takes the IP address of 192.168.100.1
If you need to connect to it and want to reverse the bridge mode you need to do following
Disconnect the Asus router.
Reboot the Cisco.
Manually set the ip address of the laptop to be 192.168.100.50 (Note: 50 is not important it just shouldn’t be 0, 1 or 100 or greater than 255)
Connect laptop to the Cisco via port 1
In a web browser connect to http://192.168.100.1
Login with your usual username / password
Head over to Administration > Management and you should see the option to put it into router mode again.
Select ‘Router Mode’ save settings, the box will reboot and work as originally set.
Remember to undo the ‘manual setting’ of your laptop.

 

Digital TV receiver Xoro DTV-M5

I got a new digital TV box (Xoro DTV-M5)  which is capable of receiving Saorview channels from the ever friendly guys over at  TvTrade.ie and I have to say I’m very impressed with it.

It’s a receiver capable of  displaying HD at 1080p,  digital teletext (Mheg5), subtitles, pause &  record (you’ll need to use your own USB key), view pictures & play movies (AVI) from external storage devices.

The box construction is sturdy, not the prettiest thing you’ll ever see but is quite compact. The remote control is functional and standard compared to a lot of boxes like this. The front of the box has USB slot (for external storage devices), a LED channel display, a channel up/down and a power button.

Around the back, are the SCART & HDMI outputs which is great for old and new TV’s. (see picture for other inputs/outputs).

Setting it up was really easy – connect antenna, connect hdmi to TV and plug in. Starting the box for the first time requests you to scan for channels.  It found all the Saorview channels (Tv/Radio) in a few minutes. Just so you know – I don’t have an antenna mounted on the house so I used my trusty small whip antenna which worked just fine once it was outside the house. As you can see from the photos in the gallery the strength wasn’t that great but the quality was good and I didn’t have any glitches with the picture.

Only RTE2 is broadcast in HD at the moment and you can really noticed the difference between SD and HD.  The 7 day EPG works as you expect and it’s easy to navigate no problems here.

Plugging a USB key into the port on the front enables the PVR features, hitting pause works well and is handy if someone rings you in the middle of watching the Father Ted or something 😉 You can rewind, skip forward just like regular PVR.

The only problem I came across was with the USB key and recording. My USB key is quite old and was nearly full with about 400Mb free but it caused the box to freeze on one occasion. The remote couldn’t turn the box off so I had to unplug and restart it. I found a different key and couldn’t recreate the problem so it might have been the key.

The USB key happened to have a video file and it played just fine – the box supports a wide range of video formats: mpg, avi, vob, dat, asf, mkv, rm, wmv, tsf, and qt.

I didn’t try viewing pictures, nor did I try all the games.. only tetris but who really plays these kind of games on tv anymore? I also didn’t try the recording of programs listed in the future – when I do I’ll update the blog post.

TvTrade.ie have a real gem here with the Xoro DTV-M5. It delivers exactly what it promises and it’s a bargain with the current promotion of this new Digitial TV receiver!

The only downside of the box is that it doesn’t have a satellite FTA receiver built in – but at that price it would be impossible to squeeze it in and I can’t really complain as this box packs in so much already.

9/10

 

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BlackBerry Torch (9800) review

I’ve had the BlackBerry Torch for about a month now and I have to say – it’s a keeper. It’s now my main day-to-day phone. I get about 2 days between charges which is good considering the large touch screen.
The phone is in my preferred form factor: touch screen slider with a full qwerty keyboard (much like the palm pre I love so much). (9/10)
The keyboard isn’t as good as the one I’m familiar with to on the BB 8900 but still it’s a pleasure to type emails/messages on it.  (9/10).
The trackball has been replaced with a trackpad which works really well for navigation and scrolling. (9/10)

The touch screen is responsive and quick. It still doesn’t handle ‘pinch-zoom’ in the browser as well as Apple devices which is disappointing but all in all the screen is good compared to the terrible BB Surepress Storm attempt. I was expecting the resolution to be higher but it’s okays for the job. (7/10)

The call quality is very good, the headset works really well – so well that most people don’t realise I’m driving which is nice.

The phones charges off USB (most of nokia’s phone still fail here!) and nice and quickly (8/10) the camera is okay to take daytime photos. The flash isn’t great and a lot of photos I took in poorly lit areas didn’t come out too well. (7/10)

The top 3 things I like about the phone – (1) the single message inbox which shows all my emails and social network messages. (2) The universal search i.e. just start typing to find what you’re looking for (app/contact/email etc.) (3) The voice command feature is just fantastic. Spending a lot of time in the car, with a press of the button the phone asks for a command like ‘Call Ian, mobile 1’ and it will dial @ricei in and instant. The voice dialing just worked straight out of the box with no training  at all. (9/10)

Apps

The app store is okay but not great. (8/10). Apps are easily found and installed.
BlackBerry has most _but_ not all the regular apps. Here is a flavour of what I’ve installed: Facebook, Twitter, 4Sq, Opera, Rove Mobile SSH (handy for checking our cloud instance), Google Maps, Gmail, Gist, Linkedin, HulloMail, DropBox, DriveSafe.ly and QR Scanner.

I keep my phone on silent for new emails/text/SN updates etc. so I rely on the LED notification. RIM doesn’t allow you to customize it but BeBuzz is a small app that allows you to customize the LED colour to suit your needs. It’s really handy with one quick look I can see if it’s a Cauwill mail (blue),Google Mail(red), @twitter/facebook (orange), text message (green) etc.

Just a quick mention to drivesafe.ly which reads your emails and SMS out loud to you while driving makes things a lot safer. (9/10)

The native social network apps integrate nicely with your existing contacts by updating them with photo’s, email, phone numbers etc. from all the networks into one comprehensive address book. (9/10). Sweet.

BlackBerry Travel is terrific for keeping all travel related info in one place.  It automatically picks up email confirmations from hotels, airlines and creates a new ‘Trip’. It pulls information like weather etc. about your destination, who in your Linkedin network is there and things around your hotel destination. It also pulls flight information too.. just awesome!

So that’s a round up of BlackBerry apps I’ve got installed – however BlackBerry is missing some key apps like: skype, spotify, plendi, xero 🙁 .. Get on it developers and get them released!!

Games
No angry birds 🙁 to be honest I haven’t found any games worth playing on it. (1/10)

 

BlackBerry Torch 9800 Specifications

Size (LxWxD) Closed: 4.4″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″  /  111mm x 62mm x 14.6mm
Open: 5.8″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″ / 148mm  x 62mm x 14.6mm
Weight
161.59 g / 5.7 oz (includes battery)
Operating System BlackBerry 6
CPU Speed 624 MHz
Memory
– 512 MB internal flash memory
– 4GB built-in storage memory
Expandable Memory
– 4GB microSD card included
– Supports up to 32GB microSD card
Battery
1270 mAhr removable/rechargeable cryptographic lithium cell
Battery Life
GSM Talk Time: 5.5 hours; GSM Standby Time: 17 days
UMTS Talk Time: 5.8 hours; UMTS Standby Time: 13 days
Audio Playback: 29.8 hrs
Video Playback: 6 hrs
Keyboard
Physical keyboard: 35 key backlit QWERTY
Touchscreen keyboards: portrait/landscape full qwerty, condensed portrait
Display
High resolution touch scree
Half-VGA+ display (360 x 480 at 188ppi)
3.2″ (diagonally measured)
Navigation – Capacitive traditional touch screen (no SurePress)
– Optical trackpad
Camera
5.0 MP camera, flash, auto focus, face detection, image stabilization, scene modes, 2X zoom, video recording
Video Camera
Normal Mode: 640 x 480 pixels
MMS Mode: 176 x 144 pixels
Voice Input/Output
Integrated speaker and microphone, hands-free headset
capable, Bluetooth headset capable, integrated hands-free speakerphone
GPS
Integrated GPS with A-GPS (assisted GPS) ready
Media Player
Video format support: MPEG4, H.263, MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile H.264, WMV
Audio format support: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, FLAC, OGG
Ringtone format support: 32 polyphonic – MIDI, SP-MDI, MP3, WAV
WiFi Wi-Fi Band: 802.11b/g/n, support for UMA (carrier-dependent)
Bluetooth
Bluetooth v2.1; Mono/Stereo Headset, Hands-free, Serial Port Profile, Bluetooth Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP) and Bluetooth SIM Access Profile supported
Headset
3.5mm stereo headset capable
Network
SKU1 UMTS: 2100/1900/850/800 MHz (Bands 1,2,5/6)
SKU2 UMTS: 2100/1900/900 MHz (Bands 1,2,8)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS networks

In an Internet based startup? You should apply for iGAP.

iGap is drawing to a conclusion, just one more session on funding which will be delivered by  Brian Caulfied @BrianCVC . Brian, who gives VC’s a good name, is one of the main organisers of iGAP along with Ray Walsh (EI) and Sarah Buckley (EI).

iGAP is a programme that is designed specifically to help early-stage internet companies to develop that clarity and to give them tools to help them to execute on the strategy they have defined.

It’s the “clarity” bit I’d like to explore a little more. At Cauwill we have a great product that works well internationally. We have (international) customers in the travel sector some of which pay, others are very slow to pay 🙁   Before embarking on iGAP we identified a few concerns with the sector which would prevent growth & scaling. iGAP  confirmed our concerns and has helped us to formulate a plan to tackle a new sector i.e. get our value prop and promise statement for the sector,  how best to approach it and the best route  to market. We had a tendency to build things first and then go  to market. iGAP helped to us to step back from the product & features and focus on a strategy before building/coding anything.

So how did iGAP change the way we do things?

I firmly believe it’s a combination of quality speakers and the format of iGAP that makes it a success. I’ll get back to the speakers in a moment but I’d like to focus on the format.

  • Training – I hesitate to call it training.. it’s more than training. Speakers provide insight into their businesses, how they run things, how they set the team up and how things work in web businesses.
  • War Stories – we get to hear from those ahead of us about how they got there.. and in some case what they did wrong to cause the company to fail. for example Colm Lyon of Realex Payments, Ray Nolan of Worky.com, Feargal Mooney of HostelWorld, Niall Harbison of Simply Zesty, David Lenehan of Polldaddy and others too numerous to mention here but thank you all for coming in and talking to us.
  • Networking – everyone on iGAP is encouraged to network, get to know everyone one the programme and the past programme. iGAP also run several events/panels in parallel where more networking is possible. They even had the Telegraph in and several iGAP companies got profiled on it. A common thread with a lot of the speakers was that b2b business can be very personal and finding the right person is half the battle.
  • Open and Sharing Environment – after ‘training’ we go to our cohort groups which is run by the facilitators. Here we openly discuss the day and discuss the ‘homework’. Companies bounce ideas off each other and a lot of good stuff comes out of the cohort meetings. We are all in the same boat so it’s easier to row together and share our pains than remain in isolation. Some of the feedback at times can be brutally honest.

I know many such management training and incubation programmes exist, we were on LEAP which was good for us at the time, but iGAP is different because it focuses specifically on the needs of internet businesses.  Over a period of seven months, six modules were led by international lean start-up and customer development experts such as Eric Ries, Scott Rafer, Paul O’Dea , Justin KnecthSean Ellisand Oren Michels .Over the programme they addressed issues such as lean startup theory, product market fit, monetisation strategies, internet customer acquisition, business development using APIs, etc.

Here is a quick synopsis of the content covered by the speakers

Paul O’Dea : Provided the Business battle card. This a great way to get an overview of the your business in 5 questions:

  • What do you want to be famous for?
  • Who are selected customers?
  • Where is your measurable value?
  • Why should customers choose you rather than your competitors?
  • How will you get your product to market?

Eric Ries : What can I say? This guy has changed the way we do things in Cauwill. We love the lean startup theory and before we do anything we pause and think  – how can we do this the lean way? If you’re reading this – thank you so much Eric.  #leanstartup #MVP

Scott Rafer :  Scott dealt with the business models and understanding your customers sales funnel. The better you know your customer – the better chance you have in closing out a deal with them. “Startups fail because they lack customers and a profitable business model” – Steve Blank

Sean Ellis : Delivered content on Marketing and Customer Acquisition. Really enjoyed this talk. Everything in the presentation is based around the Startup growth pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is correctly finding product market fit. He provided us with a set of questions and one very tough task – asking your customers how they would feel if they could no longer use your product. It’s a horrible question because we live a world where we (startup companies) think our product is super cool and everyone should love/use it .. we just don’t want to hear potentially bad stuff from customers. You know what? This was a great (tough) task and helped us to improve our product market fit.  Do it here http://survey.io

Justin Knecht : I was too ill to attend Justin’s talk, but catching up from Ian and hearing his thoughts on the module this was also another great presentation with real insights into user centric design. I’m currently going through the slides so I’ll update this post with my thoughts at a later stage.

Oren Michels : Up there with one of the best speakers I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. This guy is all about biz dev. Very clear delivery on how to be stronger with customers and help prevent the sales funnel from filling up with ‘Barney Deals’. Oren mixes in stories from The Valley which are very entertaining! The timing of this talk was just serendipity.

iGAP has provided us a framework to structure our decisions and do things faster. It’s not rocket science but it is definitely some form of science – mixed with a bit of luck. We still have things to fix but we’re confident that with a clear focus and sticking to a good strategy we’ll be fine.

Tuning BBC One HD on Sky

From  November, viewers who have HD, either via Freesat, Freeview, Sky or Virgin, will be able to tune in to the new, dedicated BBC One HD channel, which will simulcast with BBC One. Like its standard definition counterpart, BBC One HD will broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It hasn’t made the regular Sky EPG so you’ll need to tune it in. It’s really easy – here’s how on a Sky HD box.

1/ With your digibox turned on, press the “Services” button

2/ Select ‘Options’  and then scroll over to  “Add Chnls”

Set

Update: (July 2011)
Frequency: 10847
Polarisation: Vertical
Symbol: 23000 (used to be 22000).

Press the Yellow ‘Find Channels’

Select BBC 1 HD and Press ‘Select’ when complete.

You’ll now find BBC 1 HD in the ‘Other Channels’ . Just in time for Match of the Day (which is just amazing in HD!).

A guide to winning the Seedcorn competition – Part 3

Part 3 of the guide covers: the Operations, the Key Risks, the Financials, the Funding and the very important Exit.

These sections really bring the plan to a close and it’s focused one major thing: Think Jerry Maguire – think “Show me the Money!”.

You need to show the money (twice).

  1. Money that company will make from the product year to year
  2. The amount of money the company will be turning over in 3 / 5 years

Remember you are inside the mind of an investor.. if they are going to but €MONEY into the company they will want to see a return of, say, 10 times €Money. You have to be realistic. You can’t sell an iPhone App to every owner of an iPhone. You’ll get a % (a two digit number if your lucky). Investors are very smart and will therefore spot any flaw.

The last section is “The Exit”. For us (and presumably others) this was a very short section – we clearly stated what we wanted to happen in 3 years. The investor wants to see an exit otherwise no matter how good everything is they won’t invest. Scroll down to see an answer investors like to see.

Tomorrows post will conclude the series and have a word document template with even more comment!

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Nokia n900

So we got to play with a Nokia n900 phone for the past week. Well, it’s not really a phone – It’s more like a small tablet PC!
Yes it makes phone calls, yes it sends and receives SMS’s but let me explain why it’s a Tablet PC and not a phone.

Under the hood the n900 has ARM Cortex-A8 processor with up to 1Gb of Ram and 32GB internal storage, 3.5mm AV connector
TV out (PAL/NTSC), Micro-USB connector, High-Speed USB 2.0 Bluetooth/WIFI/Integrated FM transmitter and the quickest Integrated GPS with A-GPS I’ve ever seen on a nokia. Not to mention it has a full qwerty keyboard, a good 5mp camera but unfortunately the device is let down a little by the dodgy touch screen. The stylus does improve the touch screen but not something I would use all the time so I’ve been left tapping the n900 a couple of times before I get the desired response. Anyhoo – that’s a lot of spec for just a ‘phone’ – this thing is capable of running XP for heavens sake!

The operating system, Maemo, is built on Linux so you get all the benefits of a Linux OS – It’s not every day you can open one can open an x-term on a phone and ssh into your cloud! sweet!

The user interface is pretty good – nice and swishy. Nokia have kept some of the Symbian look and feel (most notably under the main menu) but the rest of the system is what you expect from a modern phone, errr, tablet pc.

Here is a list of my favourite apps so far

  • Facebrick
  • TweeGo
  • Angry Birds
  • Stellarium
  • Hermes
  • Firefox
  • Foreca Weather Widget
  • rootsh
  • wifiEye

Some of the downsides:

  • The size & weight – it’s huge!
  • Nokia maps doesn’t have voice navigation!!!!
  • this is a development device and won’t really be use to the general public, it is however a big change for Nokia and I for one like the change.
  • the touch screen
  • battery life – 1 to 2 days tops