Best free channels for your new roku and live tv streaming

After getting my new roku I've started to dig into the best free channels and the best channels to add in general. What I really wanted to do was to stream live tv to my roku - and while I figured out how to do this - it might not be worth it. See more on this below.

1. Netflix. Roku may talk about free movies and channels but the truth is that without Netflix you might as well not buy a roku. Other sources are limited and commercial laden - Netflix should be your first stop.

2. Crackle. Ok - these are free movies - but seriously? "Zombie strippers"? There is a reason these movies are free. It is an ok addition to Netflix but only for spare entertainment.

3. Amazon stream. Even though you have to pay extra I've found that occasionally I can find a must watch movie on amazon even when it isn't on Netflix.

4. Ustream. This is interesting and has a lot of potential. In theory this service is intended for expats outside USA- but there is no verification so anyone can use it. I was indeed able to watch live tv for free - fox, NBC, Abc. The problem was resolution. Then true quality was terrible - I viewed it as radio with a side helping of grainy images. If you are looking for a hi quality live tv experience on the roku good luck - I wasn't able to find it.

Lastly - I didn't but one of the fancy hdmi cables - and have found that the basic rgb cables work just fine.


Why is Facebook stock on the rise?

As someone who has played in tech stocks for a while (all the way back to the APCC days) I've been watching facebook stock (FB) for some time with interest.

After all the hoopla that surrounded the IPO it was fascinating to watch reality take hold. Will fb be able to monetize mobile traffic? Will they be able to retain the RIP employees? As the questions mounted, the stock started to tank.

In the meantime I've been watching as our client base has continued to invest in facebook advertising. Google has a well established reputation (and measured ROI) in our client's portfolio of promotion - and we have for some time been recommending facebook as well.

Because of our agency relationship with Facebook we are able to see the ebb and flow of advertising dollars  from a unique vantage point and for me I'm seeing several reason to be optimistic about the future of fb advertising.

1. paying to promote posts is showing a healthy return on investment
2. paying to promote company pages is a great way to build fans - which in turn has value as a communication platform.
3. the concept of a facebook powered ad network (currently in the works) is a powerful one.
4. it appears as though facebook has begun to sort out the monetization of mobile traffic.

All these support an optimistic forecast for facebook revenue and stock appreciation. As I type this it has already surged by almost 4% today alone.

Classic ASP Plotting new visitor location on a google static map

I've been intrigued by the possibility of plotting my web registrants physical location on a map for a while so I thought I'd give it a try and see what was required to make this happen. There are two tools that I ended up using:

1. Google static maps API. Really easy to use - basically just construct the URL to the google map image and you are off and running.

2. Get the visitor location (lat longitude) from their IP address. This was a bit trickier.

Getting started:

1. Visit https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/staticmaps/ and read up on the creation of a google static map. In my case I stuck with the most basic implementation to keep things easy.

2. After searching for a while I found the best way to get from IP address to location was to use this web service: http://ipinfodb.com/ This service allows you to call an HTTP address and get back physical location information. The basic idea it to call the infodb URL like so:

URL = "http://api.ipinfodb.com/v3/ip-city/?key=" & locationKEY & "&ip=" & UserIPAddress

The result if you simply browse to this address is a semi-colon delimited string containing details like city/state and Lat;Long.

What I did was to create a classic asp function that returned the Lat,Long position like so:

Function getPosition(UserIPAddress)

URL = "http://api.ipinfodb.com/v3/ip-city/?key=" & locationKEY & "&ip=" & UserIPAddress

Set xmlHttp = Server.Createobject("MSXML2.ServerXMLHTTP")
    xmlHttp.Open "GET", URL, False
    xmlHttp.setRequestHeader "User-Agent", "asp httprequest"
    xmlHttp.setRequestHeader "content-type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
    getHTML = xmlHttp.responseText
    set xmlHttp = Nothing   

 arrLocation = SPLIT(getHTML,";")

 strLatitude = arrLocation(8)
 strLongitude = arrLocation(9)

 strCoordinatesTemp = strLatitude & "," & strLongitude

 getPosition = strCoordinatesTemp


Once this function was created, all I had to do was iterate through my latest visitors IP address to generate the actual map

'--get most recent 5 locations
sqlGet = "select top(5) pr_ip_address,pr_index from tProfile order by pr_index desc"
set objRsLocations = objConn.Execute(sqlGet)

DO WHILE NOT objRsLocations.EOF

strCoordinates = strCoordinates & "%7C" & getPosition(objRsLocations("pr_ip_address"))


Once that was done - just append the coordinates to the google static maps api url and you are good to go:

<img src=http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?size=300x300&markers=color:blue%7Clabel:%7C<%=strCoordinates%>&sensor=true>

The result?


Generating a fancybox iframe modal from a google visualization datatable

I've been trying for a little while to create an iFrame modal to deliver content and interactivity from within a google visualization data table. The solution was to use fancybox and then escape the characters.

The tools:

1. use Google data tables to add sort/etc. functionality to a table.

2. install and fancybox and jquery accessories

3. enable HTML for the column you wish to call the modal from and then escape the chars.

IMPORTANT: note the allow HTML and the \" (this is how you must escape the double quotes in order to not break the data structure).

<script type='text/javascript'>
      google.load('visualization', '1', {packages:['table']});
      function drawTable() {
 var options = {'showRowNumber': false, 'allowHtml': true, 'pageSize': 10, 'page': 'enable', 'sortColumn': 0, 'sortAscending':false}
        var data = new google.visualization.DataTable();

data.addColumn('date', 'Date Done');
data.addColumn('number', 'Pounds');
data.addColumn('number', 'Kilos');
data.addColumn('number', 'Reps');
data.addColumn('string', 'Lifts');
data.addColumn('string', 'Comments');
data.addColumn('string', 'ranked');
data.addColumn('string', 'edit');

data.setCell(0,0,new Date(2008,5,2));
data.setCell(0,5,'<a class=\"fancybox fancybox.iframe\" href=\"fancybox/demo/iframe.html\">testing</a>');

var table = new 

The result? Check out:

This means you can open an editor form or info window from an HTML link that is embedded within a google datatable. Thanks to fancybox you can even refresh the parent (google datatable) from the close link within the modal...

Happy coding


Pick one - ski magazine 10 best mountains you've never skied

I've just finished reading november's issue of ski magazine that talks about 10 best mountains you've never skied.

As it happens I've skied most of them - here is what I'd tell fiends who were trying to decide which one to head to.

Grand targhee
This is one of my personal favorites - but then again I also like alta and mad river Glenn. This resort has a simplicity that is quickly vanishing. Don't look for million dollar water parks and costumed performers - just 1970 era condo lodging and really nice runs. I don't remember great vertical but rather hero run after hero run. If your kids like to ski bring them. If your spouse want to shop and spa - leave them behind.

Powder mountain
A don't miss destination. Hardest part is finding a place to stay nearby. I recommend staying in SLC proper at one of their cheap hotels - then using a rental car to get there.

A basin

Stevens pass

Mt rose
This was the first place I ever encountered true Sierra Cement. One of the deapest and most aweful ski experiences of my life. Cool vibe and some nic terrain, but as a destination I'd pick somewhere else unless I was already nearby.

Epic and great. One of the best places around the Tahoe area. If you like to ski and want to be near the Tahoe area, this is a don't miss.

Seriously? You've get all the drawbacks of Vermont ski areas plus the drive minus ameneties. If it is a powder day and you can arrange to stay for a while and you don't have a family, then go for it. The lack of crowds ensures you will have fresh pow all day long, but for my $$ I'd pick a less out of the way place. Or just fly to Utah.