Tip : Playing Media to Your Windows 8 from another DLNA Server


This post will give an Overview of what’s involved to Play media from a DLNA server on your network to your Windows 8 Desktop / a DLNA Media Render.

This scenario will arise when you want to control a HTPC without going to the Desktop on the PC to interact with the Media Player.  You can use a DLNA DMC to interact with Windows Media Player or a DMR to playback media from your HTPC.

Refer my earlier post on DLNA in case the terminology like DLNA, DMC, DMR, DMP etc. are new to you.

 

Windows Media Player available on  Windows 8 / 7 can act as a DMP, a DMS and a DMR. The purpose of DMP and DMR are the same – a player to play the media content. On DMP, you go and select the media that is played. But on DMR, you can remotely sent media to DMR for playing. For e.g.: Using DMC, you can route the content from a DLNA server to DMR.

 

I am assuming you have your Desktop , Smartphone, TV or Blu-ray player connected to your home network and a DLNA server already running

Refer this Post to Enable DLNA Server on your Windows 8

Steps involved.

  1. Enable DMR Profile on Windows Media Player
    • Start Windows Media Player
    • On “Stream” menu,  select  “Allow remote control of my player”
    • A Dialog box will open asking you to select whether to allow or not.
    • Select “Allow Remote Control on this Network”
  2. Leave Windows Media Player Open. This is required.
  3. Now you can use the following to control playback from a smart phone or PC
    • Windows 8 / 7 PC
    • iPod/iPhone/iPad/Windows/MacOS X/Linux / PocketPC.
      • Download / Install Linn’s  Kinsky on your Device / PC
      • Refer the detailed manual  for playing around with Kinsky
      • The below steps are assuming Kinsky is installed on iOS Device. Steps are pretty same for other versions also.
        1. Fire up Kinsky
        2. Selecting your Media from the DLNA Server
          • Under “Home” area Click on “Library”
          • You will see the currently available Media Servers listed here
          • Select your Media Server and Navigate to the folder containing the media files to be played
        3. Select the target of Playback. Kinsky refers this as “Rooms”
          • Click on “Rooms” button. You will find this on the Right hand column below the playback controls
          • This will list the DMR available. Select your preferred DMR
        4. From the Library section, tap on the track / file you want to play
        5. You will see the track appearing on the Right hand column(Playlist area)
        6. Tap on the track in the Playlist area. The track will begin playing on your DMR.

I haven’t explained Kinsky in detailed as there are other solutions around and the manual is pretty exhaustive. Also the steps captured can be used to Play any media – Music, Videos and Pictures.

Note : The playback depends on the Media Formats supported by your DMR.

Post back your DMR alternatives , issues and Feedback.

See Also : All Articles on DLNA

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Restore Ubuntu Boot Menu after Windows 8 Install


Read on to get back your Ubuntu Boot Menu which disappeared after your Windows 8 install.

Most of us would like to utilize our Desktops for running multiple Operating Systems, which co-exist on our Hard Disk.  Each OS has its own boot-manager to help us in booting to our OS of choice during start-up.  Windows 8 also has the same, but some what partial in allowing us to use our favorite Ubuntu after Windows 8 install. Windows 8 hijack the boot record and puts its own boot manager. Its tidy compared to earlier versions and recognizes existing Windows install. But it never recognizes (purposefully ? ) any Linux-based installations.  So after your Windows 8 install, you will not have any option to get to your Ubuntu.

Ubuntu / Linux communities knows this and they have long back put up a solution to fix this. The utility in lime light is “boot-repair”.  It has a basic and advanced mode to repair or get back your grub  boot manager back. When this is restored, grub will be updated to include your newly installed Windows 8 also in the boot menu.

Ubuntu has a detailed help page on how to achieve this. So I’m not going to explain this in detail and leave you to visit the following url to go ahead.  You will need a Ubuntu Live CD to start with.

Boot-Repair : Community Ubuntu Documentation


Tip: How To play media available on Windows 8 FROM connected Entertainment Devices


Windows 8 can serve media available on it to connected Entertainment Devices. This makes it possible to enjoy your Videos or Photos on your living room wide-screen TV or play music on your networked AV Receiver. The technology that makes this possible is DLNA in disguise. Microsoft hardly mentions this anywhere.

For this to work, your Entertainment Devices should be DLNA enabled and in particular supporting DLNA Media Player profile.

This is the basic functionality supported by all DLNA enabled TV, Blu-ray Players, PS3, XBox, AV Receivers and other Media Players.

Setup your Media Library.

Follow the following steps to add media stored on your local hard disk to Media libraries on Windows 8.

  1. Launch Windows 8 Desktop App by clicking on the “Desktop” tile on your Start Screen
  2. Once on the Desktop, fire up “File Browser”(look for the Folder icon on your task bar on the Desktop)
  3. File Browser by default show your libraries in the window opened
  4. Double Click the library to which you want to add media files. For eg Music
  5. By default your My Music (in this eg) folder and C:\Users\Public\Public Music (in this eg) are available on the Library
  6. To add a different Folder to your library, Click on “Manage” menu from the File Browser menu bar
  7. Click on “Manage Library”
  8. A dialog box will open to add your folders containing media to the Library
  9. The “Library locations” section will list your existing folders available on the library
  10. To add a new folder location, Click on Add and then navigate to your folder of interest and click on “Include Folder”
  11. Repeat step 10 for additional folders if required
  12. Click OK to close the “Music Library Locations” (in this eg) dialog box
  13. Windows will scan and list the media files in the File Browser. You will see that it also displays the Meta data  in the listing
  14. Continue steps 4 to 12 for other media types as appropriate

Once the library is step up, you can find media files on newly added locations on Windows 8 built-in media apps like Music, Videos and Photos

Share your Media with in your network

Follow the following steps

  1. Invoke the Charms Bar
  2. Click on “Settings” then select “Change PC Settings”
  3. On the “PC Settings” column select “HomeGroup”
  4. Once selected you will see the “Libraries and Devices” settings on the left side
  5. Switch the toggle to “ON” for the Media types you want to share. Windows 8 may throw up a message that File Sharing needs to be enabled on your network if it’s currently disabled. Accept and continue.
  6. Under “Media Devices” section , enable the option for allowing your media devices to play the content

Your Media is ready for playback from your connected devices. On your Entertainment device’s respective menu, you will find your Windows 8 Machine name along with the user who is sharing listed under servers. You can navigate to the media folders and starts playing on your Entertainment Device.

Currently Windows 8 doesn’t do any media transcoding, so you will be only able to play media types supported by your Entertainment Device.

If your media is available on a network folder or NAS, the steps captured under “Setup your Media Library” will not work. In that case use Windows Media Center if available, to add your network location to the respective library.


How To : Setup @me.com or @iCloud.com email account on Windows 8


Follow the following steps to connect @me.com or @iCloud.com email accounts to Windows 8 Mail App

Updated on 2 Oct 2013.  iCloud SMTP doesn’t authenticate if the username contains @iCloud.com also. If your existing iCloud mail account already registered in Mail App on Windows 8 stopped working, then create a new account with the following instructions. If you are doing so, please ensure, on the Wizard which starts , you key in your @iCloud.com email id instead of @me.com id.  If you continue the wizard with @me.com id, email sending will fail. Also, the SMTP port  has changed , instead of 25 use 587. Also SSL needs to be enabled for SMTP.

  1. Start Mail App
  2. Invoke Charms Bar by moving your cursor to the right edge of the Screen
  3. Select “Settings” then select “Accounts”
  4. Select “Add an account”, then select “Other Account”
  5. Select “IMAP”, Click “Connect”
  6. Key in your @iCloud email address and password on the respective fields
  7. Then click on “Show more details”
  8. On “Email User Name” field enter the iCloud id without the @icloud.com part. For e.g. if your id is abc@iCloud.com, enter just abc . iCloud SMTP server fails authentication, if you enter the username with the @iCloud.com part.
  9. On “Incoming (IMAP) email server” field key in imap.mail.me.com
  10. Leave “Port” field entry  at 993
  11. Leave “Incoming server requires SSL” selected
  12. On “Outgoing (SMTP) email server” field key in p07-smtp.mail.me.com
  13. Change “Port” field entry to 587
  14. Leave “Outgoing server requires SSL” selected .
  15. Leave “Outgoing server requires authentication” selected
  16. Leave “Use the same username and password to send and receive email” selected
  17. Click on Connect

Mail App will now complete the setup and sync your emails from your account

Once you see your mails from me.com or iCloud.com, few more settings needs to be changed.

While you are in the newly setup account mail box in the App

  1. Invoke Charms Bar by moving your cursor to the right edge of the Screen
  2. Select “Settings” then select “Accounts”
  3. Click on your @me.com or @iCloud.com from the list of accounts
  4. Scroll down to “Special Folders” section
  5. For “Sent Items” select “Sent Messages” from the drop down list
  6. For “Deleted Items” select “Deleted Messages” from the drop down list
  7. For “Junk” select “Junk” from the drop down list

That’s it. If you wish you can adjust the mail download interval and the timeline for which mails to be downloaded locally.


Windows Phone 8: How its going to penetrate the Enterprises?


Windows 8, both Desktop and Phone versions of the OS have been out for a while. Overall, the acceptance of the same has been favorable from the tech world. One area where Windows Phone 8 can shine is the Enterprise, due to multiple factors.

We will use the following three key sections to analyse and find whether Windows Phone 8 can make an impact on the Enterprise landscape or not.

The Present

The current enterprise mobile solutions are heavily dominated by Blackberry and iOS Devices to some extend.

Blackberry

Blackberry still remains the Enterprise IT Department’s favoured mobile work force solution, highly contributed by the secure framework for email delivery and reliability. There is nothing at this moment which can excel the security and reliability of Blackberry.

But over the few years, compared to other Phone manufacturers Blackberry have failed to raise any enthusiasm on the Consumer front. Also the infrastructure solution from Blackberry haven’t seen any major innovation or upgrade from what they have started. They have been trying hard to push ahead, but the time horizon that has been projected by them to come up with something new has been longer compared to competitors, who have a recycle period of 6 months on an average. All these factors have triggered a shift in continuing with Blackberry solutions among the current users. On another note, my honest view is Blackberry OS 10 has very promising Enterprise features baked in.

Also Blackberry doesn’t have anything to offer for the current Enterprise users demand on working on Office documents and instant messaging. Their BBM solution is more of peer-to-peer messaging solution which will not work for Enterprises, who would like these to be integrated with their Corporate Directories.

iPhones and iPads

iOS devices currently enjoys a favourable position in Enterprise space. This is mainly attributed by the push or acceptance from top executives, who were either bored by the crude Blackberry handsets or who liked to use their shiny iDevices also at work. This acceptance at the top management and the pressure put on IT departments by the top decision makers started the trend in penetration of these devices with in the enterprise. Still, iOS devices in Enterprise are limited to a creamy layer with-in the hierarchy.

Another landscape where Apple dominates are the startups and technology based organizations who doesn’t want to invest heavily on Enterprise Infrastructure or use their own implementations and want to have a loosely coupled work environment. Over a period of time Apple also supported this trend by improving their support for Microsoft Exchange Active Sync and device security aspects.

Still IT departments are skeptical in accepting iDevices as a replacement for their existing infrastructure on security aspects and control on these devices.

The Future

Another not so significant player is Android. Due to Open source nature and lack of native support of Enterprise exchange policies , they never were in the radar of Enterprise IT. Companies like Samsung and LG have tweaked the OS to in-corporate the same. But on Nexus versions, which offered pure Android experience, this was not supported. So the users have to depend on third-party applications from NitroDesk and RoadSync for this. Haven’t heard any large-scale implementation of these tools at Enterprise level. The usage was limited on the Consumer space, where users like to have access to MS Exchange on their personal phones. Windows Mobile (predecessor of Windows Phone OS) did have these build in but, the lack of acceptance on the Consumer Space and continued support of Blackberry solutions saw hardly any adaptation.

But, this is gone change with the presence of Windows Phone 8. This new revamped mobile OS from Microsoft has started seeing acceptance from Consumers mainly due to the new virgin UI and social media integration. Unlike Apple who hardly had any Enterprise integration other than ActiveSync support, this new OS has the Enterprise Core built-in like its Desktop counterparts.

How?

Now why this could be a threat to iOS and Blackberry on Enterprises?

  • Blackberry is at the verge of being written off by Enterprises soon. To have a blackberry based messaging solution, the overhead is more for IT Department. You need to have a tie up with the Mobile Service Provider, license cost and maintenance of additional servers for this solution.
  • iDevices are still consumer devices at the core. Other than ActiveSync, device encryption and support for Exchange policies, it is still lagging in surviving on Enterprises. Joining a Domain, accessing files server with in the Enterprise etc. are not native to the OS or missing.

Another key factor which cannot be ignored is most of the Enterprises run Microsoft based Enterprise solutions at their organizations. Hardly seen any major shift in this trend.

The lacking from the existing players is where Windows Phone 8 have a niche.

  • To support a messaging solution on Windows Phone 8, IT doesn’t need any extra infrastructure. Your existing Exchange server is more than enough. ActiveSync licenses are part of the deal
  • No dependency on Mobile Service Provider
  • Support for Device Encryption and Security as per Enterprise Policies
  • Tight integration with Microsoft based Enterprise components in the OS. SharePoint for example.
  • Native support of MS Office applications on Windows Phone 8 is another nail in the coffin for the current players on Enterprises.
  • Device Management and Provisioning
  • Can have an Enterprise hosted App Store

The acceptance on Windows Phone or tablets on the consumer front is skeptical. One factor highlighted by analysts is the low App penetration in Windows App Store. But there are other plus points which can influence consumer adaptation. iOS has started getting bored for users.

A fresh UI from Windows Phone till it ages would pull in consumers. Unlike iDevices, you are not locked into an ecosystem.

On the Enterprise it’s a different story. IT doesn’t take decisions on WOW factor and usability.

Their key decision-making parameters are cost and how well they can have integration with their existing infrastructure, which is dominated by Microsoft solutions.

Security and native MS Office are another enablers for voting for Windows Phone or tablets. VOIP solution based on Skype which gives a transparent experience, also cannot be ignored. Enterprises will be slow on migrating to Windows 8 based Desktop and laptops, but there is nothing holding Enterprises from adopting Windows Phone 8, who want to replace the aging Blackberry Devices.

So until Apple comes with its own infrastructure solutions for enterprise and Blackberry speeding up their upgrade process – Windows 8, both Desktop and Mobile will be a threat to both on the Enterprise.


Tip : Playing your media available on Windows 8 TO any connected Entertainment Device


Now a days its hard to find any entertainment device which doesn’t offer any network connectivity options. Your Wide Screen TV, Blu-ray player, AV Receivers, Media Players and your gaming devices like PS3 and XBox comes with either Ethernet or Wireless Connection.

If you have your devices connected together using a Router / Switch / Hub then its easy to share media across devices. There are quite a number of implementations from different manufacturers. Few are proprietary, others are universal. Airplay from Apple is restricted to devices from Apple. To have Airplay supported by an entertainment device, there involves licensing. So you find features like this available only on high-end products. But there is one universal standard which is quite popular and supported by majority of devices out there today. You will find even on your Smart Phones – DLNA.

Refer this post for more details on DLNA. To simplify, it provides a set of protocols to share, control and consume media – Music, Pictures, Videos.

9 out 10 Entertainment devices which has a connectivity option will have DLNA implementations. Some manufactures try to give their own name to this,  like AllShare by Samsung. So if your TV , Blu-ray or media players support DLNA then you can stream media from your Windows 8 Desktop / Tablet to these devices. This Windows 8 or Windows 7 feature is called “Play To”.

Please note for this to work your Entertainment Device should support DLNA renderer profile. Other wise, you can only play media from the device which are made available by a DLNA Server. But don’t worry your Windows 8 supports DLNA Server profile also. In such a scenario follow this post on steps involved. The difference is, if your Device support DLNA Renderer Profile, then while browsing media on your desktop you can initiate a playback on the device from your Windows 8. In the other case, you need to go to the menu system on your Device to connect to a  DLNA server and pick the media published by the Server.

How do I know whether my Entertainment devices support “Play To” or DLNA Renderer profile?

Multiple ways are available

  1. Go To your Charms Bar. Select “Settings” then “Change PC Settings”. From “PC Settings” page select “Devices”. See your Entertainment Device is listed or not.
  2. Go To “Control Panel”, Select “Devices and Printers”. You will see your “Play To” supported devices under “Multimedia Devices”

So if you are happy to see your Device listed, then lets find out how to stream media to your Device.

While browsing your media on your media library or File Explorer on your Windows 8, right-click on the music file , image or video and Select “Play To” from the context menu. On selection of “Play To” you will see your Devices listed on the sub-menu. Select the Device to which you want to play the media.  You media will start playing on the device, provided its switch-on !!!

Note : Even though your devices are supported and still this is not working, then please ensure that “UPnP” is enabled on your Router. Consult the Router manual for enabling the same.


Connect your Windows 8 App with your WebSite


Connect Your App with your Web Site in IE10

Connect Your App with your Web Site in IE10

Windows 8 in many ways have given different perspective on how far integration can exist between different Apps and your Social Media.

Another not so well-known integration is in helping App Developers in connecting their Apps to the users.

Currently the two ways of letting your users aware of your App developed for Windows 8 is when

  1. User browse the Windows Store and discover the app
  2. Putting your reference to the app on your website

How about giving App recommendations or switching to the App when user browse your website?

That’s what the Connect your App in IE10 does.

What this does is, when the user is browsing your website on IE App on Windows 8(not the Desktop Version of IE) , then the tool bar will alert the user about an app available to him. This could be an app that gives a Windows 8 Modern UI navigation to your Website or for Achieving something else, say and Bank advertising its mobile App.

When a matching app is found the Page Tools icon on IE 10 will change from Connect Your App to your Web Site in IE10

User can click on the Page Tool icon to either visit the App on Windows Store or launch the installed App. This feature is already available on iOS.

To achieve this the Developer needs to add few metadata in identifying the app and connecting to the site and app on the Windows Store. Any body inclined to utilize this feature can visit the Microsoft Blog for more details

Note : This implementation is only available on Windows 8 with IE10. It’s not supported on the Windows Phone 8. This feature will not work on Desktop Version of IE10 on Windows 8.