The PC is becoming ever more ubiquitous – as well as games, you can receive radio channels, listen to various types of music, watch DVDs or other movie files, upload, download, share and do all sorts of other things. Television, though, has always seemed a little trickier – at the very least you need a TV card of some description.
We have a main TV in the house, but with 4 people and differing requirements, scheduling time to watch can be difficult. Especially when one half of the household only want to watch at particular times. Watching on the PC or laptop is, of course, possible. But because I don’t watch more than one or two hours per week, even the relatively low cost of TV tuners for the PC is more than I want to pay. The BBC iPlayer goes some way to resolving the problem, but maybe I want to watch the programme when it’s on rather than after it’s finished.
Zattoo solves that problem – for me. It’s a free to download program which uses peer to peer sharing to stream channels over the internet. Sign up, give far fewer details than most other services, download the program and install it and you’re good to go. It uses Adobe Flash to handle the viewing, but otherwise is pretty self contained. There are a number of channels available for it – in the UK this means the 5 terrestrial channels and a number of satellite/cable only channels, effectively all the Freeview ones.
At the moment it’s limited to the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Spain but there are plans to expand the service to other countries. The quality is very clear (I ‘m on wireless so encounter some artifacting) on wired internet, though I wouldn’t suggest using it on dial up. In theory, the more people who sign up, the better the quality and speed. You can view in a small window, in a full size window or go to full screen without losing quality. You can run it on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac and on Linux (there are .deb files, .rpm files and a tarball available).Â It should be noted that, in the UK at least, this is a fully legal service.
Earlier today I watched a very relaxing program on watercolours (click to enlarge):
I will be following this application as it continues to grow and, hopefully, it will encompass the rest of the programming available on UK TV.
I have long been curious about how people find my site and what they do when they get here. There are a number of plugins you can install for WordPress, but there isn’t (as far as I know) one tool which shows everything. And now there is.
Woopra is an application which analyses your site traffic and can bring up a number of facts about who they are and what they do. Signing up is free – you sign up, submit your site(s) and await notification. At this time of writing, it can take around 7 days but I believe they are working on ways to speed this up. Once you have signed up, download the WordPress plugin, install the app (with a few extra steps for Ubuntu users!) and watch the graphs fill up.
Woopra is in beta at the moment, but I must say that it’s one of the most polished beta apps I have used. For example, on starting up you are presented with the dashboard (click for bigger):
Just on that one page, you can see how visitors find their way to your site (where they land and leave), which searches they do to get there, which referrers pass you the traffic and numbers of visitors by country. There’s also a little stock ticker at the bottom of the page which gives info on your numbers and tells you whether they are up, down or static.
The “Live” page gives live information on your visitors. For example:
Visitor number 304 lives in the US (in the Chicago area) and is a Mac user browsing with Safari. They are reading the Amarok Installation page and browsing at a resolution of 1600×1200 – useful to see if you are interested in making your site readable at various resolutions. I have hidden the IP address of this user.
I won’t bore you by showing screenshots of every page, but I hope you can see how detailed the information is and, by exporting to a .csv file you can analyse and manipulate the data to your heart’s content! You can view visitors by browser, by OS, a mix of the two and a variety of other mixtures. I have discovered that someone is using Windows 98 when they visit!!
This tool isn’t for everyone. If you have one or more sites that pull in revenue for you, this tool will be of great help. If, like me, you just like trying things out an are nosy it’s also a good tool 🙂
For one thing, the number one search for this site is “lesbians” – frustrated porn viewers ar emy greatest source of traffic.