web analytics

What you can do with this gadget is up to you

Written By: - Date published: 11:09 pm, January 10th, 2008 - 3 comments
Categories: International - Tags:

Spotted in the NY Times (6 Jan 2008) this new gadget looks like it takes the concept of open source one step further (article has some photos too).

“HACKERS, welcome! Here are detailed circuit diagrams of our products — modify them as you wish.”

That’s not an announcement you’ll find on the Web sites of most consumer electronics manufacturers, who tend to keep information on the innards of their machines as private as possible.

But Neuros Technology International, creator of a new video recorder, has decided to go in a different direction. The company, based in Chicago, is providing full documentation of the hardware platform for its recorder, the Neuros OSD (for open source device), so that skilled users can customize or “hack” the device — and then pass along the improvements to others.

The OSD is a versatile recorder. Using a memory card or a U.S.B. storage device, it saves copies of DVDs, VHS tapes and television programs from satellite receivers, cable boxes, TVs and any other device with standard video output.
Because the OSD saves the recordings in the popular compressed video format MPEG-4 (pronounced EM-peg), the programs can be watched on a host of devices, including iPods and smartphones. The OSD is for sale at Fry’s, Micro Center, J&R Electronics and other locations for about $230.

The OSD’s capabilities will grow to suit changing times, said Joe Born, founder and chief executive of the company. “Digital video is a fast-moving space,” he said, and many consumers don’t want to buy a new piece of hardware every time a media company comes out with a new way to watch its shows. “The best way to address this problem was to make the product open source, allowing our smartest developers and users to modify it.”

The OSD has not only open hardware, but also open software: it is based on the Linux operating system. Neuros Technology encourages hacking of the device; it has contests with cash rewards for new applications for the OSD. One winner, for instance, designed a program that lets people use it to watch YouTube on their televisions.

Using the OSD for daily video recording demands no special technical background, and no PC is required. Setup is easy: Plug a U.S.B. hard drive or other memory device into one side of this lightweight unit, and plug the TV and, for example, the DVD player into the other side.

I recorded a show from a DVD this way and, to my delight, I was soon watching it on my iPod. Thank you, hackers!

The OSD does not have a display screen. Its menu is viewed on the television screen and navigated by using the remote control that comes with it. The device can also be connected to a computer or to a home network of computers.
People who are tired of stacks of DVDs and VHS tapes in the living room may find the Neuros an inexpensive way to tidy up: an entire library can be archived on a U.S.B. hard drive. Then you can stroll through your own personal video shop from the living room couch or, when traveling, plug the drive into a laptop to watch programs recorded from satellite or cable service at home.

But these are just the daily functions, designed for duffers like me. Gamers at their consoles can record their online contests, edit the videos and share them with friends. Brett Manners, a mechanical engineer and wind-surfing instructor in Perth, Australia, had another innovative use for the device. He rigged up a combination of the OSD and a video camera and used it to record his wind-surfing adventures directly to MPEG-4 format. (To watch some excerpts, see “Windsurfing With the Neuros OSD” on YouTube.)

Products like the OSD are a good example of a small but growing trend toward openness, said Jimmy Guterman, editor of Release 2.0, a technology and business newsletter published by O’Reilly Media of Sebastopol, Calif.

“The open source hardware movement parallels the earlier open source software movement that started off as a renegade thing 15 years ago,” he said. “Now it’s the center of I.T. at many major Web sites like Google.”

He hopes for the same openness in hardware, although he said that the issue was more complicated. “Companies may keep some aspects of their hardware closed, while opening others,” he said.

Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley forecaster, said openness was likely to apply to new products like the OSD, rather than to existing proprietary products. “It’s a lot easier to design future products with openness built into them,” he said, “than to open a closed product.” By ANNE EISENBERG

3 comments on “What you can do with this gadget is up to you ”

  1. crashtard 1

    Come on guys, this is meant to be a nz political blog.. I’m a huge fan of open source, and if you ever find anything kiwi and new, post away.

    Full text of a NY Times article is crazy, they’re not exactly on the cutting edge of tech. Slashdot had this in 2006: http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/26/224210

    If you’re gonna nick gadget stories, at least get ones I might not have seen over a year ago.

  2. dancer 2

    hey CT – i’m realise it’s a bit a a leap sideways from the usual but i’m giving myself a little leeway in holiday mode. and as a total non-techno person this appealed. so forgive me if i’m behind the times but i suspect i’m not alone. meantime the politics onslaught is just around the corner.

  3. Draco TB 3

    Good to see hardware companies finally getting in on the concept of the Free Market.

    captcha: speech inspectors

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago