Product Review – Revo Domino Internet table radio (Frontier Internet Radio Platform)

I am reviewing one of Revo’s latest Internet radios – the Domino FM/DAB+/Internet table radio which one of many of the radios appearing in this class.Revo Domino 2

This set comes in a charcoal-grey rubber-textured housing, with a joystick on the front as the main selection control. It also has a knob for selecting between operation modes and another knob to turn the volume up and down. As well, you turn the radio on and off by pressing this knob in a similar manner to most car radios.

The display is in the left “porthole” on the front of the set and is a small OLED display with a similar “off-white” colour to the vacuum-fluorescent displays on most consumer electronics made by Sony and Panasonic.

Revo Domino - display close-up There is an integrated iPod dock that is covered by a removable panel and the set came with Apple-style iPod inserts that work with whichever iPod or iPhone you have.

It also comes with a card-style remote control which, like its stablemate, allows for operation from a distance and allows for direct access to the locally-preset stations.

Setup

This process is similar to most Frontier-platform Internet radios like the Kogan and the Revo iBlik. The set is capable of supporting “quick-setup” with WPS “push-button-setup” routers and is the first one that I have reviewed to offer this method/ But this option isn’t made as part of the Network Setup Wizard, rather you have to go to System Settings – Network menu and select “PBC setup” to instigate this kind of setup.

It is also the first Internet radio that I have reviewed that supports multiple wireless-network profiles (SSID and security-parameter combinations). Here, this set can remember the profiles for the four last-used wireless networks but the user can delete a particular network profile from the list.Revo Domino - remote control

Operation

It works in a manner similar to the other Internet radios that I have tried, with a “mode selector” and heavy use of menus. The unit also supports FM radio with RDS and DAB/DAB+ digital radio for regular RF-based radio service. The aerial for this is a telescopic rod one that is clipped vertically on the back of the unit so you don’t have to unclip it when you just need to extend it upwards.

The set stores 10 preset stations for each “band” – FM, DAB and Internet radio; and you select them by pressing the star button and highlighting the station with the joystick then pressing the joystick to hear it. To set a station as a preset, you press the star button to show preset list, then hold joystick button in until “Preset saved” comes up on display. For Internet radio, this is in addition to the favourite stations that you have identified at the wifiradio-frontier.com Website.

The set works properly with a UPnP AV / DLNA home media network and the transport controls on top of the set allow you to move across the music collection that you are playing.

The set can work as a replacement for the old clock radio in the bedroom. The Alarm button on the front of the set is for enabling different previously-set alarm times when the set is off or to set the alarm times when the set is on. You can set two different alarm times and determine what to wake to – buzzer, FM station, DAB station, Internet station or iPod for each alarm time. Like the iBlik that I reviewed previously, you can set an alarm event to occur on a particular date, every day, every weekday or every weekend. When the alarm sounds. all the buttons on the unit reset the alarm. The joystick works as “snooze button” and repeated pressing of it allows you to extend the snooze time. There is a sleep-off timer that causes the set to stop playing after a known time. but you have to go through the menus to start the sleep timer, something you wouldn’t do if you are very tired and just want to drift off to music.

There is inherent support for the last.fm “personal-music” service which can “learn” your music tastes from music played from your iPod, last.fm’s Internet radio service or a UPnP AV media server.

Sound quality

The Revo Domino is the first Internet radio that I have reviewed to have tone controls. These are found under “Equaliser” option in “System Settings” menu. There are 5 preset tone settings plus a user-determined tone setup – bass, treble and loudness-compensation.

The NXT “dual-radiator” speaker allows for some “punch” in the sound without suffocating the vocals when music is played. It also reproduces speech very clearly and the set can put up a significantly loud volume without distorting. This can be of benefit if you need to use it in noisy environments.

This unit has the similar output level to most radios of its kind, enough to fill a reasonably-size room with easily–identifiable music and can compete with the noise emitted by typical kitchen appliances.

Points for improvement

There are a few places where the Revo Domino could be improved.

One is that the OLED display could be made a bit larger. This could improve its useability, especially if the user doesn’t have good eyesight, which may be common with senior citizens.

It also could benefit from having a headphone jack installed, which can cater for late-night listening or for playing it through an active speaker system.

Conclusion and placement notes

Beyond the above-mentioned limitations associated with a small display and the lack of a headphone jack, there isn’t anything much else that I could fault this set on.

Here, I would recommend that the Revo Domino be best sold as a “step-up” Internet radio / iPod-dock combination for use in the kitchen, office, workshop, or small shop. It can also work well as a clock radio even though you have to go in to the Main Menu to set the alarm or enable the sleep timer.

Send to Kindle

thinkbroadband :: Broadband Campaign "Final Third First" launched

thinkbroadband :: Broadband Campaign “Final Third First” launched

Advocacy site

Final Third First blog

My Comments on this campaign

There have been steps taken in the UK to “get broadband to the farm gate” but there are still a lot of questions concerning how this is going on.  The main issue being raised regarding rural broadband in the UK is lack of “proper access”. IMHO, this would mean “at the door” access speeds that match service-package “headline speeds” for mid-tier ADSL packages.

Previously, I had blogged about rural broadband not just being about planting a DSLAM in to a rural telephone exchange and providing a backhaul to one or more Internet services. There is a lot more that needs to be looked at in this context, such as the quality of the telephone wiring from the exchanges to the properties. The act of planting a DSLAM in the telephone exchange may provide close to headline-speed DSL to every one of those fixed telephone lines in the built-up area such as a hamlet or village. Then you have the issue of “clapped-out” telephone lines servicing the rural properties that limits DSL performance to these properties. Other factors also include a failure to use the options that are part of the ADSL2 standard to “push out” the signal over long distances.

I would therefore recommend a gradual but prompt process of renewing and reorganising telephone lines for particular geographic areas as users register interest in broadband Internet in their areas of residence. This may also include investigating the use of ADSL repeater setups and similar “push-out” hardware setups. I would also look at the idea of deploying fibre-based Internet like Vitesse did in Birch Green, Bramfield, Hertingfordbury and Stapleford in Hertfordshird (UK), whether directly “to the door” or as part of a backbone to copper-based runs.

Send to Kindle

The Android-driven Wi-Fi cordless phone that thinks it’s a smartphone

News and Blog articles

DSP Group’s Android DECT / Wi-Fi Home Phone Reference Design Has Me Drooling | eHomeUpgrade

DSP Multimedia Handset – Android Based Home Phone | Android Community

From the horse’s mouth

DSP Group’s “video brochure” available on YouTube

DSP Group’s Web page on this phone

My comments on this phone

Most of the news concerning Android is focused on smartphones that are pitched as cellular mobile phones. But this phone is an intent to take Android to a new territory – the home cordless phone which is used as a household’s “common phone”.

Here, it uses VoIP technology through a Wi-Fi network (which nearly all home networks are based around) but can work as a DECT-based cordless phone. But it can work with a home network by providing DLNA functionality, access to home automation, consumer-electronics control; as well as being a hand-held Internet terminal. Telephony service providers like Telstra can customise the phone to suit their needs such as providing a branded customer experience like they do with mobile phones. This can also extend to hosted-PBX providers providing this phone as part of an IP-based business phone system for a small business.

This has been achieved through the use of Google Android as the phone’s operating environment and the phone being able to gain access to applications provided for the Google Android MarketPlace. This can open up this home phone for all sorts of innovative applications. I would also extend this to business-related applications including order-entry for restaurants or tourist information for the hospitality industry.

This phone has become the first reference design for an in-home / in-premises cordless phone to have an interface and level of functionality that puts it on a par with today’s smartphones. It will also definitely appeal to the competitive “triple-play” marketplace that is being built out in different countries around the world and could herald the beginning of a new age of “in-premises” telephony.

Send to Kindle

Phone integration for in-car audio – not just for the iPhone anymore

Articles

Nokia and Alpine integrating handsets into cars, bringing Ovi Maps to your dashboard — Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Alpine’s press release

My comments

Phones like this one can now let the Alpine blast

Alpine, who has been considered the status symbol as far as car audio is concerned, have been one of the first car-audio manufacturers to provide phone integration for a phone platform other than the Apple iPhone, nowadays considered the status symbol for mobile phones. What they had done is to allow the Symbian-based Nokia phones similar to my N85 to work with the car stereos by providing access to Ovi Maps navigation, the music playlist, weather applets and more alongside the usual calling and phonebook functions.

They have achieved this through “Terminal Mode” which uses a “gateway app” installed on the phone and the phone linked to the system through a USB cable or a Bluetooth link. The phone’s apps can benefit from the larger display found in high-end car-audio installations.

The reasons I am pleased about this technology is that

a) the mobile phone that links with a car stereo for full functionality doesn’t have to be the Apple iPhone

b) there is an incentive for vehicle builders, car-audio manufacturers and handset manufacturers to establish a level playing field for achieving full functionality for mobile phones from the dashboard.

This can also lead to further functionality like Pandora, Last.fm, Internet radio, location-based services and extended navigation becoming available at the dashboard without needing to use multiple applications installed in a phone platform that you don’t have or on your car’s infotatiment platform.

Send to Kindle

Skype-enabled TVs – Now Samsung is in the party

Articles

Skype-Enabled TV Ecosystem Keeps On Growing | EhomeUpgrade

Samsung makes Skype for new LED lit HDTVs official | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Get Skype on your TV: Samsung joins the team – Skype Blogs

My comments

I have been following the idea of using a common large screen TV with Skype and similar videoconferencing software on a common PC as a cost-effective method to achieve family and small-business group videoconferencing. This was since Channel 7 Australia had run a news item about it being part of linking older people who were confined to a nursing home with their younger family and also myself seeing it in action with some friends establishing a video-conference with relatives in Italy using this tool on their laptop.

When Skype announced that LG and Panasonic were integrating this technology in to their newer large-screen TV models at CES 2010, I was excited about this idea becoming closer for most people. Now, Samsung had announced this week that they were integrating Skype in the LED-backlit 7000 and 8000 series TVs. This has meant that another TV manufacturer has stepped up to the plate as far as Skype integration is concerned.

These implementations typically require a compatible Webcam (which has an integrated microphone) to be connected to the TV’s USB port and the TV to be connected to the home network via its Ethernet port. The user can then associate their Skype account with these TV sets to start videoconferencing.

The only limitation I see about the action so far is that manufacturers who supply TV peripheral devices like PVRs and games consoles aren’t providing the full Skype-based video-conferencing setup as an add-on to their devices. If this happened, especially in the form of a software download for the likes of the TiVo or the PS3, this could please people who own these devices to set themselves up for large-screen group videoconferencing.

It is also worth knowing that all of these implementations can yield a high-resolution picture but only if the computer on the other end is running Skype 4.2 or newer or if the device on the other end supports Skype HD functionality. Also the Internet service must support sufficiently-high bandwidth for the high-quality pictures.

At least this is a step closer to ubiquitous cost-effective group videoconferencing for home and small business. As well, it is one step taken to bring the videoconferencing practice out of the science-fiction novel and 1970s “future tech” book in to common reality.

Send to Kindle

Use of the Ekahau Real-Time Location System in a residential or small-business environment

I have been talking by e-mail to Mika Kouhia from Ekahau about the use of their WiFi-based real-time location technology in the typical home or small-business network. The applications that may come to mind here will typically cover an emergency-response / nurse-call system that is an integral part of the at-home care of elderly, infirm or convalescing people; or small businesses, especially those who are partners to large business, who need to track assets in a similar manner to what is done by large organisations.

What is the main complication that concerns the Ekahau Real-Time Location System

The main complication that limits this technology is the fact that most of the wireless networks deployed in this space only have one access point, typically the one that is integrated in to a wireless router. You may be lucky to use this technology on a wireless network that has an extra access point such as a wireless router that is repurposed as an extension access point and connected to the main router via a HomePlug powerline link or one of those access points that work with a HomePlug powerline backbone.  On the other hand, you would have to deploy “infrared beacons” around the premises and rely on the Wi-Fi wireless link provided by the router as primarily a communications link.

The infrared beacons work on a similar infrared frequency to the remote controls used to control the majority of TV sets and other consumer-electronics devices in circulation. Thus they won’t interfere with the passive-infrared sensors used in most security systems or automatic “sensor-light” setups because these sensors are tuned to an infrared frequency emitted as part of body heat.

The primary reason for implementing the technology in the home

Ekahau T301BD Wi-Fi Pager Tag

The primary implementation that I was talking about with Mika was to use their T301BD Wi-Fi Pager Tag which hangs around the neck of a person. This tag has an integrated display and two function buttons that also work as emergency-call buttons. As well, if the tag is pulled on the neckstrap, it can initiate an emergency response. The tag supports direct paging with push-button response, which can allow it to work with a “response-check” setup where if the user doesn’t respond within a certain time to a call, the system initiates emergency action. The display could come in handy by showing the person’s name, which would be a good help with people who have memory-loss disorders.

In this implementation, there may be the need to establish Internet access to the pager tag in order to permit this device to work as part of a solution provided by an external service provider. This may involve use of hardware or software on the network that provides at least dynamic DNS functionality and integration with UPnP IGD-enabled routers to provide access to the tag. The functionality could be extended to provide local nurse-call functionality with in-house location display through a local screen and / or Web page available through the home network.

Similarly, the pager tag could work with other technology to assist people who have memory-loss disorders by enabling the use of electronically-generated “reminder screens” for particular tasks. This is relevant to an article that I wrote about in my blog concerning technology that is to assist the elderly in their daily lives. Here, I had talked about a kitchen equipped with various technologies like pico-projection systems, RFID and Wii-style motion sensors to provide reminders through different food-preparation tasks.

How this could be taken further

Ekahau should then consider studying this application as a technology that suits the current home-driven health-care direction.

Here, we are dealing with an older population as people of the baby boom move in to the later years of life and more people live longer. As well, there is more emphasis on home-based health-care so as to provide patients with the dignity of being looked after in their own home environment. This also includes an emphasis on independent living for elderly people, including having younger relatives be part of the older person’s life in a support role.

Similarly, there are disabled or chronically-ill people who want to be in the familiarity of their own home and family and these people can be able to work as carers, whether alone or alongside paid staff members who work on a rostered system.

The supporting software could be integrated in to computing devices that work on any of the common desktop-computing, handheld-computing, set-top box or embedded-device platforms in order to establish an assistive-technology ecosystem in the home.

Send to Kindle

First production car with Internet radio to be presented at Geneva Auto Show

Article

Mini Countryman to be first production car with internet streaming radio? – Engadget

MINI Connected Technology Adds New Infotainment Options, Debuts in Geneva | Motor Trend (USA)

My comments

Previously, I had talked in this blog about the idea of Internet radio in the car and the way this goal would be achieved. Now BMW have integrated Internet radio functionality of the kind that the Kogan Wi-Fi Internet Radio, the Revo iBlik RadioStation and the Pure Evoke Flow provide in to the Mini Countryman as part of the Mini Connected infotainment pack.MINI Connected Internet radio press picture

The article had described some of the gaps about how this goal would be achieved, but I would reckon that the technology would be based on a user-supplied 3G USB dongle or tethered 3G phone; or an integrated 3G modem working with a user-supplied USIM card. They talked of the idea of choosing a few stations from a directory akin to the vTuner / Frontier Silicon or Reciva Internet-radio directories and allocating them to presets so you can “switch around” your favourite streams. The author had suggested that there may be a reduced station list and that, for example, his favourite “speed-metal” Internet station may not be in the list. But if the software works in a manner similar to Frontier’s “wifiradio-frontier” or Pure’s “Lounge” portals, he could be able to add the “speed-metal” Internet station.

There is a strong likelihood of this feature being available as part of the“connected” infotainment packs supplied by vehicle builders to high-end vehicles at the moment but it could be made available to the aftermarket car-audio scene soon.

Send to Kindle

Understanding the Browser-Choice Screen – Updated

News articles

Microsoft offers web browser choice to IE users | BBC Technology (UK)

Microsoft about to offer Windows users a browser choice screen | The Guardian Technology Blog (UK)

La concurrence entre navigateurs web relancée en Europe | DegroupNews (France – French language)

From the horse’s mouth

The Browser Choice Screen for Europe: What to Expect, When to Expect It | Microsoft On The Issues (Microsoft)

UPDATE: The Browser Choice Screen for Europe – Microsoft On The Issues (Microsoft)

European Union press release about the Browser Choice screen

Browser Choice Screen shortcut (available anywhere in the world)

http://browserchoice.eu

Advocacy site

OpenToChoice.org (Mozilla)

My comments and further information

If you run a version of Windows XP, Vista or 7 that you bought in Europe and your default browser is Internet Explorer 8, you may be required to complete a “browser-selection” ballot screen, known as the Browser Choice screen, to determine which browser your computer should run as its default browser. It may not happen if you ran another browser as a default browser, then came back to Internet Explorer 8. It also will happen to European migrants who had brought out their Windows computers with them.

You will have to work through a “wizard” which has an introduction screen then the list of browsers presented in a random order. Once you choose that browser, it will be determined as your default Web-browsing tool every time you go to a Web page. If the browser isn’t installed on your system, the software will be downloaded from the developer’s site and installed in to your system. browser_choice_1_clip_image002_136F9F12

If you run Windows 7, the Internet Explorer “e” logo will disappear from the Taskbar, but you can still find it in your Start Menu. Then, you will be able to reattach it to your Taskbar by right-clicking on the program in the Start Menu and selecting “Pin to Taskbar”.

The Browser Choice screen will subsequently become available as another method of changing default browsers, alongside the options available when you install, update or run a Web browser.

There are some issues you may run into if you move from Internet Explorer 8 to another browser. One is that you won’t have your RSS feeds held in the Common Feed List which works as part of Windows Vista and 7. This may affect the addition of new feeds to programs that make use of the Common Feed List as their RSS data store. Similarly, Windows 7 users won’t benefit from having the tabs viewable in Aero Peek’s multi-window preview. This issue may be resolved with versions of the alternative browsers being built to work tightly with the host operating system’s features, which can be achieved with the Windows application programming interface information being made available by Microsoft.

At the moment, there isn’t a program that adds installed browsers to the shortcut menu when you right-click on a Web link. Such a program would benefit Web developers and bloggers who want to test a page under different browsers or people who want to “spread the Web-viewing load” amongst different clients.

Author recommendations (in no particular order)

I recommend any of these browsers because users don’t have to relearn the user interface if they switch between any of them.

Mozilla Firefox

Internet Explorer

Opera

Safari

Send to Kindle

Nigerian people now address their association with the 419 scams

Main article

‘Maga No Need Pay’: Nigeria Gets Creative to Fight Cyber Scams | Microsoft On The Issues blog (Microsoft)

Music video – “Maga No Need Pay”

Turn up the volume to enjoy this clip!

 

Direct link to YouTube clip for TwonkyBeam users to “push” to DLNA media players or if you can’t see the clip on this page.

At the moment, there aren’t any reliable sources where one can obtain the song as an MP3 file.

My comments on this action

Previously, I had written about social networking sites being used as part of 419-style scams, primarily in the form of the “lost traveller” appeal on these sites.

After reading the blog article about Microsoft assisting Nigerian music talent to take steps to educate the youth against cybercrime, I was impressed about how this country can turn itself around and out of the “419-scam” quagmire.

The song was emphasised at the youth there who would think it was cool to become engaged in these scams and other cybercrime, especially thinking they could “live large” on the profits of these scams at the expense of their victims or “maga”. It is part of the Microsoft-led programs which work in a similar way to “Hand Brake Turn” and similar redirection programs sponsored by churches and similar non-profit organisations to steer youth who are at risk of committing crime away from it.

Here, it is definitely a break from the usual information that exists about these scams where the emphasis is on preventing people becoming victims of these scams.

Send to Kindle

Blog brand now – HomeNetworking01.info –

Hi everyone!

I have changed this blog’s title to “HomeNetworking01.info” to make it easier to remember, especially that the Web address is homenetworking01.info , thus the URL name will effectively become the blog’s “brand”.  

However, it will still focus on home, community and small-business IT and network issues and will also include “on-the-go” network and Internet access for these communities. It also includes some articles concerning the Internet experience such as social-network use, which may perplex most people who don’t use the Internet regularly.

As well, I have enabled a mobile-optimised view which will appear if you are viewing the blog from a smartphone or other handheld device. Both views have a link to allow you to choose the one most appropriate for your device in case the blog doesn’t respond properly or you are using a “tablet” device which may be seen as a handheld device.

The desktop view has a “Print this article” button at the end of each article so it is easier to print out or fax the articles if you need to do so. This is because some articles, such as those I have written about Facebook use, may be wiorth printing out and attaching to a noticeboard by the computer.

With regards,

Simon

Send to Kindle