First Lightwing Update is Released

The Lightwing SDK version 1.1 for Windows has been released! This is the first update since the launch of the Lightwing project back in March 2016. I fixed some minor bugs and added some major new features and 3 new demos. The new features include:

  • Directional touch swiping with page transitions.
  • Background effects during page transitions.
  • Content pull updates from a web URL.
  • Improved display pausing.
  • New cube page transition.
  • New louvers effect for images, video and backgrounds.
  • New demo – Smith’s Furniture (with touch tracking 3D models).
  • New demo – Garth’s BBQ (with CSV food menu).
  • New demo – Fratello’s Italian Restaurant.

I have also been busy doing live demonstrations of Lightwing to potential corporate licensees and even some IoT startup groups in the Dallas area. The feedback has been really positive. Folks are amazed at how severely Lightwing (and the ARM i.MX6) outperforms 3D on Android and browsers . If you would like to see a live Lightwing demonstration before your competitors do, send me a private message using the contact form page above!

To learn more, see the Lightwing Introduction and download the free Lightwing SDK for Windows to get started!

Major Update to the HTPC Guide is Complete

I completed the first major update to my HTPC Guide in 2 years and I am still convinced this is the best HTPC solution anywhere. This may also be the most popular HTPC guide on the web for Live (Over The Air) TV with DVR and EPG features on Windows. I think this is because of the completeness of this guide. There are several other guides for Kodi and MediaPortal out there, but their focus is generally on pirating movies, use outside of North America and most still ignore DVR for Live TV completely. There is also the ongoing problem that most guides describe add-ons for Kodi that do not actually work any more. My guide continues to document a complete solution that actually works in North America with quality program guide data at very low cost.

Microsoft recently pulled the plug on Window Media Center and even DVR support for Live TV on the XBox. That demonstrates their commitment to HTPC! My HTPC guide is the best route forward for those users who want to stick with Windows and not pay hefty subscription fees. It is still possible to get WMC to run on Windows 10, but why bother? Kodi with MediaPortal and SchedulesDirect EPG is fantastic and supports so many new features and the latest hardware.

The biggest problem for me has been with Kodi’s support for NetFlix. It’s not the Kodi team’s fault – to be clear. These problems have been caused by NetFlix continuously redesigning their website. So I now have to access NetFlix using the Chrome browser. It’s not ideal, but it does work and I’m confident it will always work because NetFlix can never abandon their Windows users. In hindsight, Windows has proven to be the real strength of this HTPC solution because no matter how the TV Titans break things, there is always a solution on Windows.

Many HTPC newcomers come looking for the “ultimate” HTPC app that integrates “everything”. Unfortunately, that app still does not exist. But, Kodi with MediaPortal and SchedulesDirect (and Chrome) on Windows is very, very close.

And I still laugh out loud every month when I read my internet-cable bill!

New Lightwing 3D Digital Signage Platform has Arrived

This week, I’m rolling out the Lightwing project, a disruptive new approach to building digital signs, touch kiosks and interactive GUIs for ARM i.MX6 hardware from multiple board vendors. Lightwing is ground-breaking because it composites and renders everything, including text, images, video and animated 3D objects natively through OpenGL ES on ARM i.MX6 signage players. And Lightwing works without Android, Windows, JavaScript, web browsers or Adobe Flash. There’s no good reason to use these for digital signage. They only cause performance, maintenance and security problems. I have known this for awhile and now Lightwing proves the point.

Since Lightwing runs the same signage content on both Linux and Windows, it has been fascinating to see i.MX6 hardware (with 5 Watts of power) outperform Windows on my Intel Core i5, which has twice the processor cores, 3X the clock frequency, 16X more RAM and 100 Watts of power. It’s truly stunning what’s possible when you get rid of bloatware with well-targeted code!

The part that surprised me is that it’s actually easier to author and update content this way too – with open tools. Building custom digital signs and touch-panel control applications is now a lot more accessible to a lot more people. Lightwing has serious commercial potential, so I am expanding this blog to offer and support Lightwing software on the best i.MX6 hardware. I plan to support more i.MX6 vendors over time. I also have ideas for additional features that will drive Lightwing into new applications. As always, I want to hear your ideas too!

To learn more, see the Lightwing Introduction and download the free Lightwing SDK for Windows to get started!

Welcome

I am a software developer specializing in visual applications with both low and high-level code, particularly in the areas of OpenGL and digital video on embedded Linux, Android and Windows. I am currently assisting some disruptive start-ups with architectural design and implementation of 3D graphics and video acceleration using OpenGL ES on Android and embedded Linux for digital signage and video teleconferencing applications with bleeding-edge performance that is only possible by pushing the limits of advanced visual APIs on the latest multi-core SoC technologies. With this blog, I hope to share some practical solutions I have found to real world problems in visual computing that are not well known or documented elsewhere.