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"Networked Family" Concept

Yesterday, I started the "VOIP Relay Concept" topic. I didn't want to pollute that topic. But to give you guys full context to the importance of that topic, here is where all this idea started.

1. My mom is overseas. Very distant from us. I want her to feel like she is part of our family.
2. The real-time possum cam, I sat-up before, can bring a household together. I can set up a cam in my house so that my mom can see what we are doing anytime. e.g. she sees me hanging out in the kitchen, playing with with kids.
3. She might be motivated to "call" us as she sees us doing something. Whether it is with the push of a button, or if the communication channel is always on (TeamSpeak).
4. When this kind of system is set-up on both sides, it's almost as if she is part our daily lives.
5. You can buy a netbook for about $200 now. It come with a web cam and mic. Get everything installed for virtually nothing.

So this same netbook could help her communicate to us and see how we are doing in our lives. And software could be running in the background on her netbook so that we can see how she is doing on her life.

I keep using me and my mom as examples. But this concept is really the next step in social network. You walk up to your computer (basically a communication center) and can immediately communicate with your family, your friends, or whoever you choose. If we can tie our cellphone into this technology with the "VOIP Relay Concept", then we can do this from all over the world.

I would love to hear your thoughts and your ideas on this topic.

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 28 May 2009 19:33:28 +0000

you know, I set up skype so that my computer can auto answer. this way, my mom can talk to me whenever she wants.

we did that with my cousin in taiwan. so whenever we want to "pay them a visit", we call them via skype (sound and video) and they can see the us any time they want.

sarcast
Fri, 29 May 2009 01:30:32 +0000

Several days ago, I ordered an Acer Aspire One for $200. I received the netbook today. And I started building the "Networked Family" computer. I called it the "CommCenter".

First, I installed the network photo album slide show screen saver, so that it can automatically pull photographs from my photo album server.

Next, I sat up TeamSpeak so that my mom is automatically connected 24/7. It uses the built-in microphone and speakers. One of my gaming friends happened to log into my TeamSpeak server, so we tested it. It works well. Hands-free, voice-activated. My mom won't need to do anything.

Then, I sat up Unreal Stream Live Source Server, so that it's built-in webcam could feed the Unreal Media Server, which multiple client could connect. Set it up so it automatically runs on boot.

Finally, I sat up the Unreal Streaming Player so that she can see a live feed from my own "CommCenter" at any time. It also starts automatically.

So far it is very promising. Can't wait for her to try it on the other side of the world. After doing all this, I decided not to install Skype. But I may reconsider if it doesn't work out.

Side note: The Acer Aspire One looks smaller than the MSi Wind U100. But when I stacked it with my MSi Wind U100, it's actually about the same size. It's also not thinner. It does look fancier. Mouse buttons are less flimsy (but I can't stand the placement). And the plastic seems more sturdy.

Chieh Cheng
Sat, 06 Jun 2009 11:14:59 +0000

How's the internal mic and the speaker on the Aspire One? The mic on the MSI Wind doesn't pick up sound very well and it's staticky, and the speaker is tinny.

gnowk
Sat, 06 Jun 2009 21:25:16 +0000

I haven't really done any full range experimentation yet. But I would say they are about the same. Obviously, you won't get any large stereo quality sound. The speaker are so small. But in both cases, I think they are decent.

The sound on the Aspire One is quite distorted when turned all the way up. But I think it'll be alright for just speech. The MSi Wind U100 doesn't seem to have the distortion problem. But then we are comparing Apples to Oranges, because my MSi Wind U100 is running a completely different operating system than the Aspire One. And it's running an experimental driver without mic support. And, of course, this operating system can't run TeamSpeak, so I can't compare.

It was a good thing that they moved the mic onto the top of the screen. Because I installed the same "CommCenter" software package on my father-in-law's HP OmniBook 500 and my Wife's Acer Aspire 3004WLMi. Both had the mic on the body of the notebook, above the keyboard. It was impossible to eliminate the feed-back loop for voice recording. So the only way to set it up for these computers was to use an enable button to talk, rather than voice activation.

On notebooks with the mic on top of the LCD screen, such as the Acer Aspire One and my HP dv6119us, there was no feed-back loop problem. I suspect it's the same with the MSi Wind U100.

Chieh Cheng
Sun, 07 Jun 2009 17:11:30 +0000

I was wrong to speculate that all laptops with mic on top of the LCD would be free of feed back loop. After receiving the new keyboard for my MSi Wind U100 netbook, I installed the same software that I installed on my mom's Acer Aspire One. Then I run TeamSpeak to tune it in. But none of voice activation settings can eliminate the feed back loop. The only choice is to use "push button to talk" functionality. Even with this feature, the voice playback was horrible. I don't know if it is horrible because of the mic's feedback loop, or because the mic sucks, or because the speakers suck. Maybe this is the statickiness that gnowk was taking about. But compared to the Acer Aspire One and the HP dv6119us, the MSi Wind U100 is practically unusable as a "CommCenter". I'm going to have to test it with my mom. If this "networked family" concept works out, I will have to get an Acer Aspire One to replace the MSi Wind U100 as the "CommCenter".

Chieh Cheng
Sat, 20 Jun 2009 03:02:49 +0000

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Title: Install TeamSpeak on OLPC XO-1
Weblog: GearHack
Excerpt: After finding out that "OLPC XO-1 Runs x86 Linux Binaries", I was able to install and run TeamSpeak on the OLPC XO without any problem. Just had to install the sound driver using the following command: sudo modprobe snd-pcm-oss To start the sound driver automatically on boot, insert the foll . . .
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