Boxee Box Announcement brings two steps forward, one step back

The Boxee Box will be released on November 17th.

Yesterday evening, at an event to announce the release of the final version of the Boxee Box, open-source company Boxee demoed the new enhancements to their software, along with the announcement of a set-top box to rival the Rokus, AppleTVs, and GoogleTVs of the current technological landscape. The problem: the software was updated in some key ways to make the end user happier, while succombing to political pressures that lead to steps backward in functionality; namely, the Boxee software can no longer access Hulu, and other online streaming platforms, and Netflix support will not be available on day one.

Something for which Boxee has always been known is bringing together multiple video and content sources into one succinct interface. Hulu, Netflix, NBC, Comedy Central, Fox, local files, the list goes on; if video was out there, Boxee could aggregate and play it. They have made some cool changes and interface tweaks that have allowed it to be just that much cooler, but the addition of a webkit browser, blocked by the majority of online streaming interfaces, will more than likely cause some problems for current Boxee users. The Boxee Box is a stand-alone set-top box that will provide the general consumer with a fifty-foot interface for their televisions to aggregate media. For those technical users that have used Boxee in the past, there is little add from the application you can run on any PC or Intel Mac. Boxee the software is merely an application that runs on top of a computer interface and if a consumer can figure out how to connect their computer to a television, they already have a Boxee box.”

Still, the majority of general consumers will not be able to figure out the connection between computer and television, so the Boxee Box will sell well among consumers that know it even exists. Coming into an already overcrowded set-top box space, the Boxee Box might have a hard time breaching the market, but the features the box does boast is not a shabby list. Two quotes struck me on this point and it will make a big splash in the tech community: If it has three letters in it, we support it,” and In the end you shouldn’t care about so many formats… I don’t even know half of them. But you should be able to hit play and have it work.” Boxee’s openness will work to its advantage in a world that is suddenly focused on the open/closed debate perpetuated by the rival operating systems created by Google and Apple.

Bottom line for this product is this: newcomers to the Boxee brand will be pleasantly surprise at the platform’s flexibility and range of abilities. However, users of previous versions of Boxee may find the new Box a step backward from the current incarnation. Of course, no final decisions can be made without hands-on time and hopefully, the plethora of market partners will allow for just that.


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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.