Opera Unite – eliminating the need for web servers


Norwegian web expert Opera has today announced the release of its Opera Unite service that promises to shake up the old “client-server computing model of the web”.

Opera Unite works by turning a computer into both a client and a server – effectively removing the need for a third party server to host data.

What this means for the average web user is that serving and accessing data should become much easier. A user simply selects folders on their PC that they wish to share. These folders will then accessible via web browsers at a designated web address. Opera have stated that the service should work with any modern web browser.

Apart from standard file sharing, Opera Unite also allows the creation of photo galleries complete with thumbnails and also allows users to play any mp3 stored in a shared folder within its built in media player. More savvy users can also host entire websites on their PCs should they wish to. There’s also a social networking aspect to the service.

If you’re still not getting the gist of it, here’s a little scenario to illustrate its potential:

Johnny goes on holiday to Alaska – he wants to see the grizzly bears. He takes his netbook with him, which only has an 8GB SSD. Johnny has planned ahead though and has set up his desktop back home to share his mp3s. He can now access all of these via his netbook from anywhere with a web connection. He can also save the photos of his trip on his netbook on a daily basis and share them with his friends and family back home without needed to upload to a hosting site like flickr.

Opera Unite is available with special versions of Opera 10, which itself is a pretty good web browser.

If you still don’t quite get it, maybe this video will help. (Warning: video contains dramatic American voice over and mood-setting music).

SHINY VIDEO PREVIEW: Kaleidescape Mini System – I WANT!!!


I’ve slightly fallen in love with the Kaleidescape Mini System. I’d say my girlfriend would be upset if I brought it home but then she’d probably fall in love with it too. We could have some sort of beautiful endless threesome – me, Jenny and luxurious home entertainment system full of 1.5TB worth of 1080p upscaled DVD movies and CDs. We wouldn’t care for the way others would judge our tripple love. We would never leave home again.

The way it works is that you give them £6,695 plus VAT and you get a machine that rips anything you can stick in its optical drive. Now, I’m not going to say that this latest box beauty from Kaleidescope is cutting edge. It’s isn’t. It won’t import Blu-rays and, despite there being an Ethernet port, there is no option of downloading content to store from the internet. How dangerous would that be?

Both are, of course, on the Kaleidescape road map for the near future but until then, you’ll just have to settle for a fantastically silent running, wonderfully crafted, free standing server that’ll store between 75-225 DVDs or 825-2,500 CDs depending on how many cartridges you opt for.


Films are imported in around 20 mins and CDs five or six. Not so much a byte is compressed and, even though all the information is taken from each disc, when you press play it skips all the trailers, ads and nonsense and starts at the beginning of the film. Luxury.

It is possible to connect each one to up to 15 zones about your house/hotel but it does all have to be wired, so you’d better hope you’re living in a new build.


The Kaleidescape Mini System is a must for rich film fans and a dream for the rest of us. It may not sound like anything wildly new but there’s an incredible sense of style about the way everything is done from the menus to the quality of the image output. To sum it up in six words – I want, I want, I want.


CES 2009: Cisco announces Internet-connected Media Hub: get your music and video organised


Cisco has announced its new Media Hub (well, the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub, but that’s a bit of a “my company owns your brand” mouthful) which allows users to consolidate their home multimedia libraries and access them from their network or over the Internet.

The Hub comes preloaded with a general media server as well as an iTunes server, and automatically searches the network for other media devices, presenting music, pictures and video within a simple web browser…

Micron Technology promises 1GB/s+ SSD drive within a year


Micron Technology is an American company wthat makes various semiconductor devices – RAM, flash memory, etc. It’s just announced that it reckons it will be able to build a blazing-fast Solid State Drive before the end of next year that’ll be able to transfer data at rates of up to 1GB/s.

Currently, they’ve managed to hit 800MB/s throughput, and 150,000 – 160,000 random reads per second. They’re hoping to get that latter figure up to 200,000. For comparison, the current fastest-available SSD, from Intel, can do 250MB/s data transfers and just 35,000 operations per second.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that this tech will be in your laptop next year. It’ll take a little while longer than that, and initially only be available for servers, but if anything, it shows that the rapid pace of innovation continues in the world of flash storage.

Micron Technology (via Computer World)

Ecobee – a Wi-Fi thermostat


We’ve all been there. Sat, just after midnight at your PC, shivering because the heating’s not on. You wrap a blanket around you, but you know that at some point you’ll need to turn the heating on, because you’re nowhere near done with your work for the evening.

What you need is something that will save you getting up, because getting up is cold. You need the Ecobee – a Wi-Fi thermostat. It syncs with a web server, so you can control your heating from afar – turn it on before you leave work, for example. It could even adjust the heating depending on what the weather conditions are like outside – if it knows there’s a cold snap coming, for example…