Niall’s virtual diary archives – Saturday 20th September 2014

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Saturday 20th September 2014: 1.14pm. Location: Dromahane.

As it always is with vacation time as an adult with responsibilities, I have a long list of tedious chores I have been putting off to do which is a bit like work but you don't get paid - certainly in my case where I can work when I want, if these chores had any attraction I'd have done them already instead of putting them off in some cases for a year now (it's weird to think how just thirteen months ago I was still working for BlackBerry in Canada!). Anyway first up was upgrading the "tv" which is a cheap Chinese Android TV stick running xbmc, and I'd been putting it off because getting a working new kernel with a working new userland and working latest Android is a very long and tedious process of trial and error on those sticks, they get zero after market support and they never really get debugged fully in the first place (including in hardware). In short, I would gladly pay someone to make the support hassle go away, and at the end of this year they say Google will finally release a cheap Chinese stick equivalent to counter the Amazon Fire TV (not the chrome cast, something much more powerful and useful), and with that no more nights like last night which took six boring hours to find a reasonable mash up of mostly working parts assembled from various enthusiast firmwares.

All I can say is roll on that day! The only two alternatives to DIY android tv on the market are Amazon's box (not released in Europe yet) or the Pivos Xios which I already have, and don't get me wrong it is great but it's also very old and slow hardware which can't hardware decode newer video formats, and it's so underpowered that menu navigation is a chore. I will say this about the cheap Chinese stick, when it isn't crashing out it really flies and has no issue with playback of flash video which opens up all those internet sites and catch up TV services, I even nearly have smooth Aeon skin on xbmc at 1080p which isn't bad for less than fifty euro. Apart from all your time you must invest in working around the bugs that is.

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