Jun 102007
 

For the past several months I’ve been using Orb to stream music, video, photos, and live tv to my cell phone, from my media collection at my home. Orb the best mix of web 2.0 and mobile technology I’ve seen so far, a truly "killer app" in the realm of accessing your data from any location on demand. In fact I would go so far as to call Orb a prolific release that isn’t getting its due attention. In this article I’ll explain how Orb works and allows you to access your digital media from anywhere…

(To give you a brief rundown of some of the devices you can stream your media to: Microsoft Xbox360, Nintendo Wii, Smartphones, PDAs, Sony Playstation 3, Laptops, Desktops, etc…) and (To give you a brief rundown of some of the data formats you can access through Orb: RSS feeds, photos, .mp3, xvid, divx, .mp4, .wav, .avi, .mpg, mpeg, live tv, etc…)

Orb Networks is the company that produces Orb2.0. The first line of their mission statement reads as follows: Orb Networks, Inc. is a team of entrepreneurial, talented and innovative people who are driven to fulfill the promise of the Internet. That is a lofty claim, to fulfill the promise of the Internet. I would say they are living up to part of that goal so far. The Orb software allows you to access your collection of data on your home pc or network from any web browser. That idea right there is HUGE, but what really makes Orb stand apart is how easy they make it work. You download the Orb software on your home PC and you are ready to rock and roll.

From the Orb website you can browse your music, movies, and other documents. Orb allows you to choose your streaming format too. You can play your music or movie in an embeded Flash player or your favorite media player. As long as your home PC has the proper codecs, Orb will re-encode your media and stream it to whatever device you are trying to play it on. Orb will adjust its bandwidth usage to insure smooth streaming.

Orb doesn’t stop at allowing you to stream music and movies, you can also watch LIVE TV!! As long as you have a supported tv tuner in your PC running Orb, you can stream your cable or satellite television to any device. I’ve used this feature while traveling and sitting in airports or long train rides. I can even set my DVR to record shows with Orb.

Orb can also function as a home security server. If you’ve got webcams attached to your Orb PC you can view the webcam from your mobile device. You can view your photo collection, read your RSS feeds, get stock quotes, weather, view your text documents, and view bookmarked online (youtube type) videos. The list goes on and on.

The main site you interface with your Orb server is http://mycast.orb.com. Once logged into your MyCast site, you can setup a personal home page using drag and drop widgets. Orb even supports Google Gadgets and multiple Tabs on your MyCast page. From the MyCast page you can manage all elements of your media including playlists, RSS Feeds, directories, and playback settings. The interface is intuitive and pleasing to the eye. Its an excellent example of using AJAX, JavaScript, and Flash to make a seamless web application. I look forward to the next round of web applications inspired by this new functionality.

And like all good software these days, it needs a social networking component. Widgets. Yes Widgets!! Everybody these days loves widgets. You can place them on your website on your MySpace profile or other social networking profile. You can even generate RSS feeds of your playlists to share. Orb even allows you to create a custom web page for your friends to view your shared media.

If you haven’t done so already…go download and install Orb! What are you waiting for? It’s FREE. If you stuck out this long to the end of the post, I thank you. Web 2.0 principals and technologies are allowing us to do remarkable things with our digital media and devices. The surface is just starting to be scratched when it comes to these kinds of advances. I’m looking forward to the next few years when we’ll begin to see a convergence of technology and everyday life. I wish luck to Orb Networks and their quest to fulfill the promise of the internet.

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