Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Logitech Harmony 525

I bought this cool gadget last week. It should ideally be part of every household that has more than 2 remotes -- but due to the technical complexities involved in configuring it for their devices, it is not actually meant for every one. But for those with little techy background, this is a bliss.

This is how it looks

This is basically an universal remote, which can be used as a single replacement for all the remotes in your drawing room. What is unique about this product is that it can be configured for an activity instead of a device. To be more clear, the functionality of the remote is not based on which device you choose to operate on; instead it is based on which activity that you want to operate on. For example, in a typical home with a TV, home theatre (HT) and a set top box (STB) for digital TV, when you watch TV, you need to change volume on the HT, change channel on the STB, program guide on the STB etc., etc., Basically there are a number of actions that you would perform while watching TV and each belong to its own appliance.

After proper configuration, this is what my remote does when I say 'Watch TV' (on a single button press)
1. Powers on my TV, Home Theatre (HT), Tata Sky Plus - SetTopBox (STB)
2. Waits for 3 seconds (for the devices to load)
3. Sets the TV's input to Component1
4. Sets the HT's input to AUX
5. Changes the channel in the STB to 'NatGeo' (to avoid the irritating ad-channel at the start on tata sky).

all at a single click. Now when I change volume, it sends out the volume up/down to the HT and when I change channels it sends out the channel up/down to the STB. This is what I called 'activity-based' against 'device-based'. Pretty useful and cool.

There are few things that I don't like about it: I hate their configuration mode. It should have been better. You need to have internet connection to configure your remote at home (horrible). Every page in the configuration wizard sends out HTTP requests via the internet to their servers (even worse) -- this makes it too slow. And the justification they provide is: the remote configuration is available at any place at all times!! WTH!!

For configuration, the remote needs to be connected to your comp via USB..Hmmm, soon a wall clock might have a USB port to sync with your outlook calendar! I hate the fact that there is no way to alter any configuration of the remote, without a comp (and yuck, an internet connection too). Some times this makes me postpone a configuration that I would love to have then. Also, the remote's LCD display is always ON; that makes me feel the power is wasted all the time -- I'm surprised why isn't there a power button for the remote itself! No wonder it runs on 4 AAA batteries. Not sure how long it runs.

Anyways, while configuring the devices it controls, they have a huge collection of devices for you to choose from. The software identifies the correct device for you based on various inputs (make/model/type etc); sometimes it asks you to press one or more keys from the original remote and compares it against their database to disambiguate. This was impressive to watch. I had to get used to 'thinking in harmony' before I got comfortable. I should say it wasn't a easy thing to get started immediately -- but given the task, not sure if this could have been any simpler.

But once configured, it rocks! I'm starting to forget that there are 3 devices involved while I watch TV -- there it wins, silently!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Never Give Up On Anything

Courtesy: Pravs World

Its Madness -
To hate all roses, because you got scratched by one thorn.
To give up all your dreams, because one did not come true.
To lose faith in prayers, because one was not answered.

To give up on your efforts, because one of them failed.
To condemn all your friends, because one of them betrayed.
Not to believe in love, because someone was unfaithful.

Remember that, another chance may come up.
A new friend, A new love, A new life.

Never give up on anything!

Sunday, May 02, 2010


A funny play, describing an IT office :) In tamil though; subtitles still can't bring the original effect!

Jakkuboys - The Movie from Scube Productions on Vimeo.