Dec 26

Boxing Day 2015

We just got done gathering some clothes and other items to donate.   We noticed there may be somethings that we wanted to make available to our friends before we take them to Goodwill.  If there is anything on here you want please let us know.    We will be donating these items on Thursday.    I forgot to take a picture of the plastic kids kitchen, will add that soon.

The Ultimate Indoor Fort Building Kit:

About 10 pieces that all fold up for easy storage.

IMG_1816IMG_1817

 

 

Awesome Ride-able Horse Thing:

This may make noise……

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vTech Lean and Ride Bike

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Baby Doll Bed/Bath

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MMS Official 2007 Laptop Bag

never been used.

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Bag Full of Letter TilesIMG_1830

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Kids Vacuum

start them early!

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Fire Truck and Other Truck

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Sep 29

A Gift for Microsoft: Xbox One to Xbox 360 Streaming

Microsoft,

Nice work on the  Xbox One to Windows 10 streaming.   I am sure you have already discussed the 6b252c54-380d-4f54-a60e-1e1c347db6ce[1]following but I wanted to bring it up just in case.  I am suggesting this because I think it will set you apart from Steam and PlayStation.  I am a fan of what you have done and would like to see you gain some ground.  Feel free to implement, this is a gift.

Allow Xbox 360 to Stream Content from from the Xbox One

I was recently using my Asus Vivotab Note 8 with an ATOM proc to stream games from my Xbox One.     I was connected over wireless and using a Xbox 360 controller.    I was surprised that it actually works.    The hardware in the Xbox 360 has to be better than this tablet.

Advantages:

  • It will be difficult to convince people to purchase multiple Xbox Ones.  I can buy a new Xbox 360 for $167 right now at Amazon.     Most people have more than one TV in their house why not try to get some form of an Xbox attached.   Game streaming and TV apps should be people’s motivators.
  • AppleTV and Amazon FireTV have new versions coming.  These versions are there mainly to deliver TV apps and some ported mobile games.   Why not deliver world class next gen games to all TV’s in your house and all the same apps.  This would be roughly the same cost as one of those devices.   The AppleTV gen 4 is $150 and the Amzon Fire TV gaming is $139.
  • Increase Sales of digital games.   Once you have a Xbox connected house the consumer is not going to want to switch rooms to change disks.   Using the streaming to Windows 10 I have already found myself looking at digital purchases first.
  • Motivation of upgrades.  This can be a motivator for any consumer that is on the fence about upgrading their Xbox 360.   Backward compatibility is on its way but you can also use your 360 on a second TV and play any game from your library.

Disadvantages:

  • Small decrease in sale of second Xbox One to households that are able to meet there use case by purchasing or using an old Xbox 360
  • Xbox 360’s stay in the market longer – support cost will increase

 

Sep 17

Amazon Fire TV 4k, Is it time to get excited about 4k?

Amazon Fire TV 4k

Amazon Fire TV 4k

Amazon has announced a new FireTV to be released on October 5th.   Lets take a closer look at the features and look to see if on paper the gaming addition could be the perfect emulator.   Is  there enough 4k content and applications available to justify the purchase?  This article is going to make the assumption you already own a 4k TV product is just a way to receive the content.  This document will be documented as more info is discovered on the FireTV.   Leave questions, comments and lists of 4k content in the comments section.

How to Pre-Order/Buy

Amazon will be releasing these two models on October 5th:

The Feature List:

All of the following is taking right from amazon’s site.  Use the links about to see the original and pre-order the Amazon FireTv 4k.

  • All-new Amazon Fire TV now supports 4K Ultra HD for true-to-life picture quality. Watch high-definition 1080p streams on Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu and more, even without a 4K TV.
  • Now with Alexa, use your Fire TV Voice Remote to check sports scores or the weather, play music, and more – instantly
  • The easiest way to enjoy over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, and Showtime Anytime, plus games, music, and apps
  • Cutting the cord? Watch the best of live TV on NBC News, NBA Gametime, and Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HDTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more.
  • Say it. Watch it. Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.
  • Now with 75% more processing power, a dedicated graphics engine, better Wi-Fi support, 2 GB of memory, 8 GB of storage and expandable storage of up to 128 GB
  • With over 800 games – the most games of any other streaming media player – there is something for the entire family, including Minecraft, Lego Star Wars, and Pac-Man 256
  • Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, including original programming like Transparent, plus over 1 million songs with Prime Music

The Fire TV Gamaing edition has all the above and:

  • Fire TV game controller
  • 32GB of SD
  • 2 Free games

4k Content

I have purchased a 4k tv and I am stuck with the 4k apps,  the fire TV would allow me to have more control over the current 4k apps.   What are my real 4k options?

 

Netflixnetflix

 

Netflix requires the Premium subscription which is 11.99 a month. It also requires a 20 mbs connection to the internet. 4k TV Shows: Better Call Saul, Bloodline, House of Cards, Daredevil, Chef’s Table, Narcos and many more see link below.
4k Movies: Not many, will add a list when I find one.   If you know one respond in comments and will add
Content List Links:
Netflix PR List
Amazonamazon

 

 $99 a year gets you access to the Prime Videos.  4k TV Shows: Bosch,Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, Alpha House, Gortimer Gibbons, Hand of God, Red Oaks,Orphan Black
4k Movies: Funny Girl,Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hitch, Philadelphia
 Content List Links:  respond with any list of links and I will add them.
YouTubeyoutube  YouTube is free.  Nothing additional is needed.  There appear to be 1000’s of videos.  Search for UHD or 4k

Use Case 1 – Replacement for TV apps

The TV apps that come on most modern Smart TVs are okay.   The main problem I have seen is they are slow and do not update very often.   I also hate that I run all my devices into an AV receiver then send just video to my TV.  I do not want to send audio back into that receiver.    I will also never get a good version of Kodi as a TV smart app.    Hopefully the Fire TV will update often with a wide varity of 4k content/content providers.

Use Case 2 – Emulator Box

The gaming edition of the FireTV comes with 32gb of additional storage and a xbox like controller.  Once I get this device I want to look at the possibility of making this an emulator box.   This has the perfect form factor, processor and controllers(up to 4) for a decent foundation.

I will test the following emulators:

  • epsxe – Playstation 1
  • GBA.emu – GBA 
  • NES.emu  – NES
  • SNES9x EX+ – SNES

If these work I will look into MAME, Sega and Atari.   Once that testing is done I will link the document here.

Use Case 3 – Plex and Kodi

These are my two favorite apps for content consumption on a TV.    I am hoping that we get to a point where both of these apps support 4k.  I feel like this is our best chance of getting there.

Use Case 4 – 4k Sports

After reading about the cable, Dish, and Directv 4k solutions I have lost faith in any traditional provider being able to deliver 4k sports anytime soon.    I am hoping that ESPN notices the same thing and releases 4k content through there app.   I am assuming if there is an app this device will make it available.

Other Reading

The following links are worth looking at.

Conclusion

After looking at the complete lack of content I cannot recommend chasing 4k at this point.   I think I am still going to buy the Amazon Fire TV Gaming edition for two reasons.  First I think we will see 4k sports on this device before any other device(I hope the people at ESPN are reading).  Second I think this box may be a better solution than any other emulator solution I have looked at.

Sep 09

Forums Are Back, Theme Change and More

I cannot make up my mind on how to do comments/forums so I have re-added bbpress and linked it to the commenting system on the site.   Try it out if you get bored,  I will continue to add to the site.   The splanic subreddit is out there and linked at the top of the page.  I have added @splanicsite as a twitter account that can announce new content.    I have a bunch of other ideas I will continue to work on….  If you read this try posting a reply comment.

Sep 08

Xbox Game Streaming has Arrived

Overview of Xbox Game Streaming

Windows 10 is finally out!. If you have not gotten Windows 10 use this link to get the free upgrade before it expires: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-upgrade. Windows 10 introduces Xbox Game Streaming, could this give me flexible to game anywhere in my house? I have tried on multiple devices and have been pleased with the results.

Testing Requirements

The following are required to stream Xbox One Games.

  • Xbox One
  • A Windows 10 PC or tablet
  • A decent Network
  • Xbox One or Xbox 360 controler

I completed my testing on the following devices:

  • Surface  3 Pro
  • Asus VioTab Note 8
  • Custom Build Gaming Desktop

Testing Results Per Device

M80TA_1

First the Asus VioTab Note 8. I tried on here because I thought there would be no way an ATOM based proc could hang with a 1080p game streaming over wireless. I plugged in the xbox 360 controler with the usb adaptder and away we went.   It was not great but it did work and was completely playable at medium quality. The main issue is the 8 inch screen, I need to build a holder into a ball cap and this thing would be perfect.  If this is the only option you have(cheap) then may be worth trying it out.    I have not gone back and used this just because I have other options in my house.

 

 

Surface-PDP-128GB-MQ2-00004-Large-desktopThe Surface Pro 3 feels like it was designed for this.   At high quality there are almost no issues.  I am able to stream with just a minor hit to quality.   I can plug my Xbox 360 controler right in the USB without an adapter and away we go.   I been using my wife’s Surface for this testing,  this alone has motivated me to buy the next generation when it is released(hopefully this year).

Use Case:When the kids turn on some really bad cartoon or my wife starts watching some reality show I immediately reach for the Surface.   I pull the keyboard off plug my headphones and the 360 controller in and start escaping the world of bad tv.   I do have a dual band wireless router and the stream look much better using that over the single band.   This does seem to limit my range so I have not done much streaming/gaming outside.   As the weather gets cooler I will start testing my range.

 

81Qvsxp0nyL._SL1500_The final test was on my  gaming desktop.   I will not go into wall the specifics but it can run all modern games without issue.   The other advantage to this PC is it is hardwired into the network.  I can push this PC to very high quality without seeing much in loss of quality.   On this setup I use the Xbox One Controler wirelessly since the Xbox One is in the same room.

Use Case:   I have a pair of nice Asus 24inch monitors that allows me to play games on one and still have access to the world on the second.   I still have the option to go sit on a couch and play on a larger screen but I find myself playing off the this streamed PC more often.

 

 

The Interface

Open the new Xbox application on your Windows 10 workstations.   You can turn on the Xbox from the first screen.  My first time through I needed to add the IP address of the Xbox.   Once added it was always in the list.   To turn on the Xbox I believe you need to be in the sleep mode on the Xbox,  I do not think you can power it up from a full shutdown.   This feature is extremely nice when you are in a different room of the house and want to quickly get some gaming in.

xboxon

 

It takes about 30 seconds to power up and for the application to notice there is a valid Xbox online

 

stream

 

Once online you can get to the settings of the steam by moving your mouse to the top of the screen.  The buttons from left to right are a xbox button, mute, stop streaming, stats and quality.

 

xboxstreamon

 

dialog

speed

 

The stats button is worth pressing to troubleshoot any issues you are having.  This can be turned on and left on while you are streaming content.    If you run into issues drop you quality on the qutility selector.  The lowest I needed to go was medium which was till playable but looked like a 360 game.

 

Things That Need to be Improved

I only have 3 real complaints or things that should be improved.

  1. Sometimes you lose focus when you click on your second screen. When you come back to the streaming session it asks for you to reconnect.
  2. I do not like the prompt to connect a controller if I do not have one plugged into the Windows 10 workstation. I often connect the Xbox One controller to the console and do not need this prompt.
  3. The Scan for new Xbox One does not work very well. I had to manually put in a ip address. I only needed to do this once but it would be nice to never have to do it in the future.

Conclusion

Xbox Game Steaming works and works very well. I will continue to use this to avoid bad TV in my house. Maybe one day I could be sitting by a camp fire with Master Chief and a beer. If you have any additional comments or questions feel free to follow up in the comments section of this post.