Introducing the unofficial fan channel for Tested!
This channel showcases all of the great content produced by http://www.tested.com!
Features of the Roku channel include:
- Watch the podcast LIVE as it happens.
- HD videos from Tested.
- Listen to the This is Only a Test podcast.
Add the channel here:
Posted on 22 May 2012 | 2:54 pm
Windows Phone looked great. …but then I actually had to live with it.
I had an aging iPhone 3G in my pocket, and iOS was feeling more boring and stale than ever before. I was ready to jump ship to a new phone ecosystem, and after some thorough research and soul-searching, I had made my decision. My prospective new phone was months away from being released, but I anxiously awaited its arrival.
Unfortunately, that day would never come. Léo Apotheker would see to that.
My heart was broken when I read the news. WebOS, the mobile operating system that I had just fallen in love with, was dead. The HP Pre 3, the phone I had been infatuated with for months, would never see the light of day. All of my carefully laid plans had been dashed by a single bullet point in HP’s quarterly earnings report.
Back to the drawing board, I guess.
“Gingerbread” was the Android du jour at the time, but nothing about it (or any of its variants) ever appealed to me. The “authentically digital” design of Windows Phone piqued my interest, and the new “Mango” update seemed to close a lot of the gaps that kept it behind the competition. Blackberry was also a thing that existed.
In the end, Windows Phone was the only real choice for me. I decided on the upcoming Samsung Focus S as my next phone, and started waiting. Again.
I found a lot to love about the phone and the OS throughout the honeymoon period. Windows Phone was just as smooth and fluid as I had anticipated, and simply using the phone was an enjoyable experience. The software keyboard was excellent, and provided the best typing experience that I’ve ever had on a mobile device. The Windows Phone Marketplace had all of the apps and games that I needed, and Wonder Reader was the mobile Google Reader experience that I’d always wanted. Live Tiles were neat! I was very happy with my choice.
…but then, the problems began.
It turns out that the Samsung Focus S has a few kinks and bugs that are unique to that specific phone, and not necessarily to the whole operating system. For example, when the phone is plugged in and charging, the entire user interface goes from buttery-smooth to slow-as-molasses. Plugged in or not, the on-screen keyboard will lag noticeably if you leave the keyboard sound effects enabled. This is quite unfortunate, as the “plicks” and “plocks” of the Windows Phone keyboard are delightful.
The real showstopper is that it doesn’t play nice with my 802.11n Wi-Fi network. Every other device in the house can connect to my Linksys router without issue, but the Focus S has a rough time of it. It’s not unusual for me to get 20 Mbps down on my laptop, but the Focus S struggles to break 1 Mbps. I’ve seen better results when I disable N on my router and just go with G, but I refuse to compromise all of my other devices just for this phone. Never having full Wi-Fi speeds has led to a whole slew of other problems and annoyances, and even though this may be a phone-specific issue, it has been consistent with my general experience using Windows Phone over the past 7 months.
If I had to choose one word to sum up Windows Phone, it would be “unreliable”.
When I was first getting acquainted with “Mango”, I was especially impressed with how podcast functionality was integrated directly into the OS. I’m an avid podcast listener, and having a good podcatcher on my phone is absolutely essential. Windows Phone allows you to subscribe to all of your podcasts via the Zune Marketplace, and it will automatically download new episodes as they are posted to your feeds. The idea is that your phone will always be completely up-to-date for you when you leave for work in the morning. …theoretically.
It doesn’t work.
Oh, sometimes it will work. It works just often enough to remind me that the feature exists. But I would say that a good 80% of my mornings are started with outdated feeds. This was one of the main features that I was excited for when transitioning to Windows Phone, but it may as well not even exist with how often it fails. Since my podcasts haven’t been automatically downloaded, the next step is to manually download something to listen to for the ride in.
You would think that would be an easy task, but you would be wrong.
Half of the time, if I press the button to retrieve new podcast episodes from the Marketplace, it will fail. Instead of obtaining the new updated feed, it will instantly show the old outdated feed that is cached on the phone. When this bug occurs, there is absolutely no way to refresh the feed to gain access to new episodes. The only alternative is to use a third-party podcast app (which are all equally unreliable), or to download it on a computer and then sync it to the phone.
…just what I want to deal with when I’m rushing out the door in the morning.
Sometimes it will fail to download a new episode, but it WILL show the updated feed. The Wi-Fi issue that I explained earlier prohibits me from downloading the podcast in a timely manner, so I usually stream the podcast over AT&T’s cellular network throughout the entire drive in.
…that’s actually not as bad as it sounds, believe it or not.
…that is, until Windows Phone gets in the way yet again! If I lose network connectivity at any point during the stream, then it will fail to resume. The time elapsed will continue to progress once signal is restored, but no audio is played. The only resort is to completely restart the stream from the beginning, and then manually scrub back to continue listening.
All in all, listening to podcasts on Windows Phone has been an unmitigated disaster for me.
My experience with the rest of Windows Phone has been frustrating as well. I never quite know which apps are going to be in my multitasking menu, so I find myself generally ignoring it. Camera settings are never saved when you close the app, so if I want to take a 720p video, then I have to manually set that option each and every time I launch the camera. I used my phone to record video on a recent vacation, and I must have set the 720p option over a hundred times. This is yet another example of Windows Phone getting in my way, instead of making things easier for me.
I gave it a good try. I really wanted to love Windows Phone. I even subscribed to Windows Phone fan podcasts! …but I think I’ve had enough. Everything’s broken. Nothing works. I feel frustrated and disappointed every time I use my phone, and that’s not something that I want to feel for the remaining 17 months of my contract.
So what’s the plan?
I’m holding onto a very slim, unrealistic hope for Open WebOS. If they actually manage to release it, and port it to a Google Nexus handset or something, then I might be back on board. It sounds like Android has finally become tolerable with Ice Cream Sandwich, but I would probably hate myself a little bit for using it. Blackberry is also a thing that exists.
I dunno. I’m not very optimistic about my personal mobile future, to be honest.
I’ve also been watching eBay auctions for an AT&T Pre 3. I guess that says it all.
Posted on 10 May 2012 | 8:39 pm
Due to external circumstances that are entirely out of our control, we are disappointed to announce that our Whiskey Media Roku Channel is dead. There will be no further development on the new 2.0 version, and it will never be released.
We are still very proud of all of the hard work that went into this project. Our Whiskey Media channel would have been the very best thing on the Roku, and it is both sad and unfortunate that it will never see the light of day.
We’d like to sincerely thank all of our users and beta testers, and hope that they have enjoyed using our products.
Here are some screenshots of what could have been:
Posted on 9 August 2011 | 7:44 pm
Introducing This is my next, my newest private channel for the Roku Streaming Player! This channel is not available in the Channel Store, but you can add it to your Roku it here.
This is my next showcases all of the great content produced by tech site thisismynext.com.
You’re looking at This is my next, the temporary home of Joshua Topolsky, Nilay Patel, Paul Miller, Joanna Stern, Ross Miller, Chris Ziegler, the lovely Justin Glow, and delightful Dan Chilton — a group of journalists and developers hard at work building the next great tech publication in partnership with SB Nation. That project will launch in the fall, but until then you can find us here, writing editorials, covering interesting news, and producing our weekly podcast. And if you think this is exciting, just wait until you see what we’ve got coming up next.
Features of the Roku channel include:
- Listen to the podcast LIVE as it happens.
- HD videos from This is my next.
- Listen to the final produced episodes of This is my next Podcast.
Posted on 15 May 2011 | 8:34 pm
Big, huge thanks to everybody at Whiskey Media!
Posted on 13 March 2011 | 7:46 pm
I’ve developed the bad habit of not announcing my new Roku channels on this blog.
Introducing 1080p Showcase, my newest private channel for the Roku Streaming Player! This channel is not available in the Channel Store, but you can add it to your Roku for free here.
The sole purpose of this channel is to provide streams of 1080p videos, and ONLY 1080p videos. You won’t find any 480p or 720p streams here. “Where can I find 1080p content on my Roku?” is a commonly asked question, and this channel is designed to be the definitive answer.
This initial release features 1080p videos from YouTube. It turns out that not many websites are streaming in 1080p yet, but as more places begin to offer it, they will be promptly added to this channel.
I’m particularly fond of the channel’s visual design. Some of my influences for it are as follows:
If you want to test your new Roku’s 1080p capability, then 1080p Showcase is the best and easiest way to do it. Try it today!
Posted on 6 March 2011 | 4:42 pm
Haven’t updated the blog in awhile, but not for lack of news. Just a strange combination of laziness and busyness.
CNET recently posted a video for How to Watch CNET TV on your Roku box, and look at what other channel they had installed!
Speaking of which, Jeff Gerstmann (of Giant Bomb fame) recently addressed the Whiskey Media Roku channel on his VYou page. Pretty cool!
As a matter of fact, Whiskey Media as a whole has been doing an absolutely amazing job of getting the word out. First of all, there’s been a good amount of Roku talk on their official Twitter account, as well as on specific staffers’ accounts.
Their recently redesigned corporate website now features a video message from CEO Shelby Bonnie, and at one point he mentions the Roku channel. An official shout-out from the CEO!
The new website also contains the statistic #1 most followed independent Roku channel!
The webpage for the recently announced Giant Bomb World Tour mentions the Roku channel as a paid member benefit.
This is all ramping up to the big, huge update to the Whiskey Media Roku channel that’s coming soon. Hopefully real soon. Stay tuned!
After months of public availability in the Roku Channel Store, Roku has finally added the Whiskey Media channel to their official website, located under the “All” section of their “What’s On” page.
When I compare the forthcoming update to what’s currently available in the Roku Channel Store, I can’t believe how much it has progressed. I’m really happy with the way it’s turning out, and I hope that current users will be surprised and delighted by this update.
Surprised. And delighted.
Posted on 5 March 2011 | 11:59 pm
I hadn’t mentioned it yet, but late last year I developed and released the Viddler Channel as a private Roku channel. This channel is not available in the Channel Store, but you can downloaded it here.
This is worth mentioning now, because…
Below are the list of Roku Private Channels I have found most useful and recommend to Roku users.
Video’s from Engadget, I Can Haz Cheezburger Fail Blog and more can be found on “VIDDLER” . This is a free channel with a ton of online content.
Posted on 24 January 2011 | 8:34 pm
I was honored to learn that Giant Bomb had recently named me a “Community Starlet”!
It’s time for us to once again give praise to hard working Giant Bomb members! Today, however, we’re doubling the Starlet count with the equally fabulous Evilmax17 and BuggeX. These two grabbed our attention with their brilliant uses of the Whiskey Media API. They each created dedicated Giant Bomb video applications on various media streaming services.
Remember that media-streaming Roku box that Tested.com clearly favored when compared to its fellow competitors? Well, it just so happens that Evilmax17 took it upon himself to tinker with the Roku SDK, and mesh it together with the Whiskey API.
Thank you once again evilmax17 and BuggeX for putting the time and effort to creatively use our development tools and build something for all of us to enjoy.
That really, really made my day. Thanks guys!
Posted on 3 December 2010 | 3:00 pm