Streaming Netflix to the Xbox 360


We were just as excited as anyone when we heard about Roku’s Linux based Netflix Player, but not being ones to spend money on hardware, even $99, we’d much rather use something that’s laying around that’s not living up to its full potential. Lifehacker has a guide for using vmcNetflix to stream Watch Instantly movies to the Xbox 360. vmcNetflix is a Media Center plugin. When the 360 was originally released, you could only get Media Center by buying a new PC, now it’s included with Vista, meaning people might actually use it.

Speed testing the latest web browsers


With the imminent release of Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 being finalized this week, Lifehacker decided it was a good time to run the browsers head to head to see which was the fastest and least resource intensive. The testing system was a 2GHz 2GB Vista machine. The timing system used wasn’t directly hooked to the browser, so tests were repeated multiple times to improve accuracy. The cold start winner was Opera, but most browsers opened in about a second if they had been run recently. Safari did well loading content in multiple tabs at the same time, probably due to its short render times for JavaScript and CSS. The final test was memory usage; we’re sure many people will be happy to know that Firefox 3 RC3 only used 66% of the RAM required by the other three browsers.

Suspend in motion


Reader [Brien Schultz] didn’t like his laptop suspending every time he closed the lid to move around the house or to a different work area, so he turned that feature off. Of course that just led to him forgetting to put the thing to sleep when he really needed to, like when he was walking around all day with it in his backpack. To solve his self inflicted problem (common cause of many hacks) he wrote a .NET program to monitor the laptop’s accelerometer. The accelerometer is usually used to park the hard drive heads in case the laptop is falling (it’s also used for hilarity). If BedTime detects that the laptop is in motion, but is not being used it starts a countdown and eventually puts the laptop to sleep. Brien isn’t using the “sleep after X minutes” option because it would put the machine to sleep while it was open and he was just distracted for a few moments. Demo video after the break.

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