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Christmas Comes Early For Boxee – New Gonzee Releases
7 December 2009 by Rob Spectre

For the voracious Boxee fans out there, the wait for the Boxee Beta unveiling finally ends tonight in Brooklyn, New York at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.  Christmas is coming a little early for Boxee diehards and Santa was sure to bring some Gonzee gifts in his sleigh.

I’m dead excited to announce today’s Gonzee releases coinciding with the launch of Boxee Beta as we push forward into a new chapter of social, open source development for the living room.  We have four spectacular apps getting some beta love, packed with pantloads of holiday cheer.

Never mind the bollocks -- on to the apps!

1) Man in the Box 1.0

The brilliant office comedy from Break.com is now available on Boxee.  Man in the Box is a hilarious web series featuring the exploits of Greg and his insane set of coworkers suffering in cubicle hell delivered weekly in 3-4 minute shorts.  Like NBC’s The Office, only a tenth of the length and too demented for broadcast television.

Here’s a great taste with Greg’s viral hit “Facebook Abuse.”

2) KidMango 1.4

The very first Boxee app for kids has gotten a holiday brushup with a full Brightcove integration, making the video bigger on your screen, easier to control and faster to load.  KidMango joins Wired and Style.com with full Brightcove support, making it even easier to enjoy KM’s enormous library of children’s telvision.

3) Cliqset 1.5

The first real-time social experience for your living room has exploded on Boxee with a ton of great conversations in the short month since its release.  The crew at Cliqset rarely rest on their laurel, so of course the Cliqset Boxee had to join the rest of their huge releases this weekend.  Here’s the short list of the new features:

  1. Complete Redesign -- The app’s design has been completely redone with a new diesel look for the Boxee Beta -- guaranteed to melt your face.
  2. Notifications -- You can now view and clear your Cliqset notifications directly within Boxee.
  3. Share Videos on Cliqset -- Like what you’re watching and want to share with your crew?  Video chat now let’s you share the video you are watching in Boxee with everyone on Cliqset.
  4. Play Shared Videos -- You can now play the videos your friends share on Cliqset directly in Boxee.
  5. Channels -- The Cliqset app revolutionized the social experience in your living room with its content-aware video chat.  That experience just got even better with Channels that allow you to talk not only with the people who are watching the same video, but also the same TV Show, film genre, director, online video service, or -- even better -- anyone watching anything on Boxee!
  6. New Activities / Video Chat with Video Inlay -- Tired of switching between your activities and your video chat?  By default, the Cliqset Boxee app now let’s you switch between both with an easy tab navigation while viewing your video inlayed on the screen.  Prefer the classic overlaid video chat? Easily access it with the “Video Chat” button at the top of the screen.

4) Boxee Beta Live

Not making it to the Big Apple for the launch tonight?  Well the Boxee crew and I put together a very special app for you.  Tonight’s event can be watched on Boxee with the Boxee Beta Live app now available in the App Box.

For Linux, Mac and AppleTV users in particular there is a special treat, as the folks over at Cliqset are powering a special real-time conversation for the event embedded in the Boxee app.  You can chat anonymously or register on Cliqset right from within the app.

Check out the great posts about it in the media:

Who’s that good looking guy in the screenshot?

Source: Mashable

Source: Mashable

It’s Halloween on KidMango
27 October 2009 by Rob Spectre

The crew over at KidMango are celebrating Halloween with a new release of their Gonzee app.  With a new look and feel, the latest version features a special channel of Halloween episodes of your favorite KidMango programs.  The special Halloween release will run until the end of the month.

If you already have installed the KidMango app on Boxee, you will get the new release automatically.  If you’re looking for the best kids content on Boxee, you can install this Halloween special through the Boxee App Box.

This release comes two months after KidMango’s successful launch, where KM CEO Paul Marcum had this to say:

Just wanted to let you know that the Boxee app has streamed over 10K videos since launch.  We’re pretty happy with that number – thanks again for putting it together.

I’ll admit that I’m surprised it’s done that well given the Boxee installed base and our niche appeal.  It was announced on 9/3 and without any promo October is on track to top September’s streams!

Congrats to the KidMango crew for making their app the destination for children’s content on Boxee!

New Release – KidMango
28 August 2009 by Rob Spectre

Release #9 for the Gonzee family of applications is Boxee’s first full skin app of exclusively children’s content – KidMango!

KidMango is a new entrant in kids video, providing an online syndication platform, a web destination and an on-air programming block.  The KidMango library brings together popular shows from some of the world’s best producers of animation and live action and includes over a thousand videos covering everything from Einstein to aliens, vampires to Leonardo da Vinci.

Over 100 different series including Care Bears, Dennis the Menace, and my personal favorite, Doodlez

Over 100 different series including Care Bears, Dennis the Menace, and my personal favorite, Doodlez

The KidMango online syndication network is focused on supplying kids web site publishers with video that can be seamlessly embedded into their sites.  It launched in early August and already reaches 450K UUs/month.  Kids looking for an immersive video experience can find the entire library at kidmango.com where the videos are searchable by topic and organized by age group so that parents of preschoolers, older kids and tweens can all quickly find the content that is most appropriate to them.  KidMangoTV, a programming block in partnership with MyFamilyTV, pulls from the library for three hours of daily programming and is now available in over 60MM homes in the US.

zOMG!  Care Bears!

zOMG! Care Bears!

The team at KidMango are big fans of the Boxee platform and with the launch of their app seek to fill an unmet need: KidMango is the first kids video app for Boxee.  The structure for the app matches the kidmango.com site with the content organized by three age groups.  While the youngest children will need help from their parents in playing shows, older kids will have no problem loading up their favorite programs.

In addition to being a content landmark serving as Boxee’s first application for kids, this release is a big technical milestone for Gonzee apps as it featured our first Brightcove integration.  By working with playlists and players configured by the team at KidMango specifically for Boxee, we were able to deliver an identical experience in Boxee to that available on their website including Brightcove’s robust reporting, pre-roll advertising options, and skin.

Congratulations to the team at KidMango for pioneering the kids market on Boxee!

Building In-Window Navigation
21 August 2009 by Rob Spectre

This week I had a client with a navigation requirement that can be frustrating for a lot of Boxee developers.  The application was for KidMango, an online video service chockful with excellent high quality children’s content like Care Bears, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Dennis the Menace.  Their service categorizes their extensive library in four age groups, so a natural requirement of their Boxee app to provide users with the ability of using those groups as navigation options.

Kid-friendly navigation ftw!

Kid-friendly navigation ftw!

One option would be to create entirely different windows for each age group for four xml files total.  But this is not 1994 and we’re not using FrontPage; this option is entirely too unwieldy to maintain.  We could leverage the API and use SetContentURL in an onclick event for each button, but some of these age groups have as many as 50 series in their RSS feeds.  Navigating on Boxee systems with poor hardware would lead to a very jerky experience; we definitely need a loading dialog.

So, for this unique use case I came up with this approach for In-Window navigation.  It satisfies our need to keep our code maintainable, while providing a strong experience for all hardware profiles.  Consider the following code attached to a button control:

<onclick lang="python"><![CDATA[
import mc
params = mc.Parameters()
params['title'] = "KidMango Kids"
params['link'] = "rss://apps.gonzee.tv/kidmango/series.php?channel=kids&pages=3"
mc.GetApp().ActivateWindow(14000, params)
]]></onclick>

Obviously assuming we’ve loaded the mc library already, what we’re doing here is giving each button two parameters – a title and a feed.  We then reactivate the existing window to trigger the Progress Dialog and load our container with the new feed.  Now we need to set up our list container to accept the data we send it:

<content type="url" url="App.Param(link)">

This method looks for the link parameter to connect the list container with a feed.  But, with this approach, it means that the initial state of the app will be blank – no good for sure.  We can solve this by attaching an onload event to the window that queues up the list container with the default feed:

<onload lang="python"><![CDATA[
import mc
params = mc.GetApp().GetLaunchedWindowParameters()
if (len(params) == 0):
mc.GetWindow(14000).GetList(111).SetContentURL("rss://apps.gonzee.tv/kidmango/series.php?channel=home&pages=5")
]]></onload>

And viola!  Junk hardware friendly in-window navigation. For this tip in action, install the KidMango app available soon in the App Box.

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