Screenshot Tour: XBMC Media Center 10 Has Add-ons, Skins, and More

XBMC has come a long way since its humble beginnings as an Xbox media player. Let’s take a look at the latest 10.0 release of XBMC, also known as “Dharma”, to see what’s new.
XBMC is free and open source software that is released for Windows, OS X, Linux, AppleTV, and as a live image that can be run directly from a CD/USB drive or installed to turn an extra computer into a true HTPC appliance. XBMC gives you the functionality of many media streamers currently on the market but in a free DIY package that you can customize and use however you’d like.



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Skin Development

Skin development in the latest release is top notch and many new features and refinements have been added to the skinning engine. Here is a quick look at some of the available skins for XBMC 10.0.
Alaska was being developed by one of the best XBMC skin developers who wasn’t able to finish the skin. He released all the work he had completed to the XBMC community and the community took over with a few different variations. Alaska Revisited Mod is shown below.

Transparency has been around for a little while and it has been fully updated to take advantage of the new add-on manager and other skin enhancements.

Shade is a very minimalistic skin that is a new release for XBMC 10.0.

Night has a Windows Media Center/Zune feel and looks excellent on a big screen. It is also a new release for XBMC 10.0 and is available in the official XBMC add-on feed.

Ellipsis is a skin by Team Blackbolt who have made some of the best skins available on the original Xbox and they have continued their work even after support for the Xbox hardware was dropped. This skin isn’t available in the official XBMC Add-on feed but you can download it from their website using the link below.

Xperience is another Team Blackbolt skin that is available from their website and resembles the NXE 360 dashboard for the Xbox 360.

Add-on Management

In previous versions, users could extend functionallity by downloading python scripts to take advantage of more media sources and other tools. In the latest release, the developers wanted to provide users an easier way to extend their XBMC installation through centralized add-on feeds. The new add-on framework allows for automated download and installation of media scrappers, skins, visualizations, screensavers, python scripts, web interfaces, and other user customizable aspects. This framework also allows for third party developers to create their own private feeds and provide updates and new features outside of the official XBMC add-ons.
To adjust your add-on settings go to the system settings and select the add-ons option.

Each add-on type is broken into a folder for easy navigation and allows you to find exactly what it is you are looking to enable or disable.

Select get add-ons and then select your feed to install directly from within XBMC with a simple click.

Once installed you can either enable the item in XBMC settings, or use the add-on from the home screen. For icanhazcheezburger you can browse to pictures -> picture add-ons -> icanhazcheezburger to view all the crazy captioned cats you could ever dream of.

By default XBMC only comes with the official add-on feed. If you have a zip file containing an unofficial add-on feed you can install that with the install from zip file option in settings. Check the link at the bottom of the post to find more unofficial feeds.

Hardware and Codec Support

On top of many software fixes and features, the XBMC team also added new hardware support for the Nvidia ION and ION2 video cards as well as the Broadcom Crystal HD video processor. They also were able to add support for Google’s new WebM codec, Blu-ray disk playback, and many other playback enhancements.

Support was also added to store your XBMC library database on an SQL server as well as create movie sets in library view. New videos scrapers were also added to gather movie information from HD-trailers.net, Rotten Tomatoes, and many more.

Audio playback was also improved on all three major supported platforms and over 1200 tickets were closed.

XBMC’s Future

XBMC has come a long way and isn’t stopping with version 10. Along with all the great features that have been added there is also initial support for ARM processors, support for gesture based controls, and support for DVR software backends.
If you are looking to purchase a media streamer to get all of your media content to your TV, you may want to consider the DIY route and set up a computer running XBMC.
XBMC homepage (now Kodi)
XBMC (Kodi) full changelog/roadmap
Unofficial XBMC add-on feeds
Team Blackbolt skins

C64x: A Commodore 64 with Blu-Ray, Dual-Core Processors, and More

This Commodore 64 hasn’t just been hollowed out and stuffed with modern guts as a sort of retro case mod.  It’s a faithful rebuild with modern guts and  features a custom boot menu with Commodore 64 emulation–old school computing here we come.
Not only can you boot into Windows, Linux, or other supported operating systems but you can boot yourself right back in time to the C64 OS to enjoy your favorite old school programs and games.  Visit the link below to read up on the specs and check out some more photos. Thanks v_cr!
C64x [via Wired ]

Dolphin Browser Mini Leaves Beta; Sports New GUI, Easy Bookmarking, and More

Speedy and lightweight browser Dolphin Browser Mini is out of beta and sporting on-demand Flash, data backup and restore, better bookmarking, and an upgraded GUI.
Dolphin Mini is the lightweight sibling of Dolphin HD. If you weren’t a fan of Dolphin Browser, it’s worth taking Mini for a spin as it runs smoother with fewer resource requirements and has an easier to navigate GUI.
New to this version is a GUI upgrade (especially noticeable in the menus), easy bookmarking, on-demand Flash plugins to keep browser overhead low, and support for browser data backup and restoration.
Check out the link below to read more about it at AppBrain or search for “Dolphin Browser Mini” in the Android Marketplace.
Dolphin Browser Mini [AppBrain]

Google Chrome Updates; Faster, Cleaner Menus, Encrypted Password Syncing, and More

Google Chrome has rolled out a new update that includes a host of improves such as easier to navigate menus, encrypted password syncing, over all speed improvements, Flash sandboxing, and more.
Google Chome’s new update has a host of subtle but powerful improvements. The browser is faster, the security is improved thanks the addition of encrypted password syncing and sandboxing of the integrated flash player, and the settings menu has been restructured and cleaned up for easy navigation. Check out the video above to take a peek at some of the changes or hit up the link below to read more.
Speedier, Simpler, and Safer: Chrome’s Basics Get Even Better [The Official Google Blog]

Instapaper Updates; Sports Native Social Media Sharing, Browsing, and More

Popular web content manager Instantpaper has updated to version 3.0 and brings a host of new features like native support for social media sharing, a recommendation system, in-app web browsing and more.
Last year we shared a detailed guide with you on how to use Instapaper to save content from the web to your iOS device for later reading–definitely check it out if you’re unfamiliar with Instapaper. Some of the new features in Instapaper 3.0 include a social recommendation system where you can follow other Instapaper users and see the articles they are liking/sharing, native support for sharing to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media systems, smart rotation lock on the display, and more efficient article downloading and storage.
Check out the link below to read a full rundown of the new features on the Instapaper blog.
Instapaper 3.0 Is Here! [Instapaper via O’Reilly Radar]

Don’t Panic! Hides Applications, Erases Browser History, and More

Don’t Panic! is a free and portable Windows application that makes it easy to quickly hide windows, clear document and browser history, and otherwise mask your goofing off.
It includes options for hiding and closing applications, clearing browser history as well as recent clearing the Recent Documents menu and the Recycle Bin. Application closure/hiding is governed by as simple blacklist; populate the blacklist and hit the panic button (or the user-customizable panic button shortcut, CTRL+P by default).
Don’t Panic! is free portable application, Windows only. Hit up the link below to read more and grab a copy.
Don’t Panic! [Portable Apps]

Geek Deals: Tablets, HDTVs, Web Cams, and More

Looking to save some cash while stocking up on computers, peripherals, apps, and other goodies? Hit up our deal list for discounts on all manner of geeky gear.
We’ve combed the net and grabbed some fresh off the press deals for you to take advantage of. Unlike traditional brick and mortar sales internet deals are fast and furious so don’t be surprised if by the time you get to a particularly hot deal the stock is gone or the uses-per-coupon rate has been exceeded.



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Computing and Peripherals

  • 15.6″ Lenovo V570 1066ADU Core i5-2410M, 6GB RAM, 750GB HDD for $719 + Free Shipping (Use code: WEBEXCLUSIVEV570)
  • 15.6″ HP dv6t Select Core i5-2410M, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, Blu-ray for $575 + Free Shipping (Use code: MULN4163)
  • 15.6″ Lenovo Z575 129934U AMD A6-3400M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD Radeon HD 6380G for $543 + Free Shipping (Use code: USPLENOVO804)
  • 14″ HP dm4t Core i3-2310M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, High Capacity Battery for $525 + Free Shipping (Use code: MULN4163)
  • 12.5″ Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Core i5-2410M, 4GB RAM, 320GB 7200RPM HDD for $760 + Free Shipping (Use code: THINKSAVINGS)
  • Motorola XOOM 10.1” 32GB WiFi Android Tablet for $440 + Free Shipping
  • HP TouchPad 9.7″ 16GB WebOS Tablet for $370 Aug 5-7 + Free Next Day Shipping (Use code: SAVE30HP)
  • Lenovo K330 77273HU Quad Core i5-2300 Desktop, 6GB RAM, 1TB 7200RPM HDD, Radeon HD 5750 for $639 + Free Shipping (Use code: USPLENOVO804)
  • 20″ HP TouchSmart 310z AMD Athlon II All-In-One Desktop, 4GB RAM, 750GB 7200RPM HDD + R.U.S.E. Game for $525 + Free Shipping (Use code: MULN4163)
  • 23″ Hannspree SL231DPB LED Monitor for $140 + Free Shipping (Use code: EMCKBKH45)
  • 120GB OCZ Solid 3 SSD 2.5″ SLD3-25SAT3-120G for $160 + Free Shipping (use this rebate)
  • 1TB Western Digital My Passport Essential SE Portable External Hard Drive WDBACX0010BBK-NESN for $80 + Free Shipping
  • Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD Webcam for $39 + Free Shipping

Home Entertainment

  • 50″ LG 50PT350 Plasma HDTV for $589 + Free Shipping
  • 47″ LG 47LE5500 1080p LED HDTV for $879 + Free Shipping
  • 46″ Samsung UN46C9000 1080p 240Hz 3D LED HDTV for $1,698 + Free Shipping
  • Polk Audio RM85 5-Channel Home Theater System for $170 + Free Shipping (Use code: EMCKBKF26)
  • Logitech Revue with Google TV for $100 + Free Shipping
  • The Wire: Complete Series (DVD) for $60 + $3 Shipping
  • Star Trek Two-Disc Digital Copy Edition (DVD) for $8

Personal Portables and Peripherals

  • JVC GZ-HM320 HD Video Camcorder for $179 (Normally $318)
  • Casio Exilim EX-Z800 14MP Digital Camera for $66 (Normally $90)
  • Olympus FE-3000 10MP Digital Camera for $66 (Normally $99)
  • V-Moda RRMT-Chrome Remix Headphones for $25 (Normally $36)
  • MEElectronics M21P Headphones for $15 + Free Shipping (Use code: EMCKBKH87)

Gaming

  • Starcraft II: Starter Edition (unlimited multiplayer) for $0
  • Heroes of Newerth (PC Download) for $0
  • Nintendo 3DS (Cosmo Black or Aqua Blue) for $170 + Free Shipping
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Move Bundle (Eye Camera, Controller) for $85 + Free Shipping
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3) for $48 (Normally $57)
  • Forza 4 (Xbox 360) for $45 (Normally $60)
  • EA Sports Active 2 Bundle (PS3, Wii) for $20 + Free Shipping
  • EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp (Wii) for $17 + Free Shipping

iOS Apps

  • Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold HD (iPad) for $0
  • Zombie Crisis 3D 2: HUNTER (iPhone) for $0
  • The Incredible Machine (iPhone) for $0
  • Pumpkins vs. Monsters (iPhone) for $0

Freebies

  • Kashi cereal or granola bar sample for $0
  • Taco Bueno Cheesecake Chimichanga for $0
  • Oreo Brownie (3.oz) at Quick Chek for $0
  • Winterfresh, Spearmint, or Polar Ice Gum at Murphy USA for $0

Evernote for Android Updates; Now Integrates with Skitch, Offline Search, and More

Last month, Evernote-acquired, Skitch released an Android version. Now Evernote has updated their Android app to integrate with Skitch. It’s a note-taking and annotating double whammy.
The new version of Evernote for Android includes Skitch Integration. When you create or edit notes you’ll see a little Skitch icon on the toolbar now, click that icon and you’ll be taken to Skitch where you can annotate your image. The reverse also works, if you’re in Skitch you can send things to Evernote by clicking the Evernote icon on the Skitch toolbar.
In addition to Skitch integration the new update also includes offline search (Premium users can search all their notebooks, free users can search within the notes they’ve created on that specific device). They’ve also included a new slideshow feature, updated the shared notebook process, and improved the notes moving and tagging interface.
Hit up the link to read the official announcement or head right to the Android Market to grab a copy.
Evernote for Android Now with Skitch Integration, Offline Search, Slideshow View, and More! [Evernote]

Gmail for Mobile Upgrades; Now Includes Multiple Logins, Signatures, and More

Gmail’s mobile interface just received a welcome update; you can now sign into multiple Gmail accounts, set a mobile signature, and set your vacation message from your phone.
The biggest change is the support for multiple logins through the mobile web interface. If you’re a Gmail power user that has to stay on top of multiple accounts you can now do it from the convenience of your phone. In addition you can set a specific mobile signature and access your vacation message to create, edit, or toggle it off.
Introducing Multiple Sign-in and Preferences on Gmail for Mobile [The Official Gmail Blog]