Big Screen Blog

Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Big Screen ‘by Remote’ v0.6c – Update Launched

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A new version of Big Screen by Remote – v0.6c has been made available for download on the bigscreenglobal.com website.  (yes it’s completely free whilst in beta).

As well as a new version – the server issued expiry date (attached to registrations) – has been extended by an addition 2 months to 1 December, 2010 (was previously 1/Oct/2010). Users who have existing v0.6x releases (or this new one) can simply reactivate their products to pick up the new expiry date.

This new version fixes some bugs, provides some enhancements on both the Silverlight Client and the Mobile Browser version – but more importantly (for my own ongoing development of this and associated products) – it adds behind the scenes support for the upcoming Windowsphone 7 native client and a new addon currently being called ‘By Remote Host Relay’ (see below).

Taken from the Release Notes – here’s what’s changed in this version :

  • (Silverlight 4 client) Fixed : various bugs in UI such as Recording/Popup Functionality not working in the ‘Whats On’ Browser and other miscellaneous problems.
  • (Silverlight 4 client) Enhanced : Enhanced : Network Connection Settings Dialog has been rewritten – now includes a ‘connection’ wizard so that you can add new connections and test them at same time.
  • (Silverlight 4 client) New :  Contains additional functionality/dialogs for new ByRemote Host Relay (Coming Soon)
  • (Mobile) Fixed : Problems with DateTime display accross UI. Now standardizes the datetime display with globalization support (uses globalization settings from your By Remote Server machine’s control panel and region) – with correct display of 24hr/12hr times, dates etc. These fixes are now visible in the iPhone/iPad (IUI) and XHTML Interfaces.

Plus the following functionality has been added to the By Remote Server (which will be important for new stuff Coming Soon ) :

  • New : Various Internal Support for By Remote Host Relay (Coming Soon – see below for more info on what this is).
  • New : Various Internal Support for new Native Mobile Phone Clients (Coming Soon) – such as Windowsphone7 By Remote Client – including new authentication methods (required by Windowsphone7 clients).

*Coming Soon* By Remote ‘Host Relay’ (working title) – how it works…

By Remote Host Relay is a new ‘addon’ (for lack of better word) – which will be deployed most likely as an additional Windows Service – and provides functionality for those who are running multiple Media Center machines around the house (which have By Remote Servers running on them). 

The By Remote Host Relay offers a ‘single point’ of access for all your By Remote Servers / Media Center machines (which works in a similar manner to a specialized reverse proxy server) – and hence greatly simplifies setting up remote and local access to your machines.  There’s also a single ‘sign on’ (authentication) for the Host Relay – so you don’t need to remember each machines username/password when you’re connecting to it.

Currently – if you have more then one By Remote Server – you need to individually access and configure each one. (which might mean a lot of setup on your router). While this functionality is ‘sort-of’ provided in the existing Silverlight client – it needs to be done for each client machine – and still requires that you open up multiple ports into your network (which may not be desirable).

The following (shabby) diagram below tries to explain the two scenarios – the left hand side being one where each individual byRemote server needs to be exposed – and on the right is the scenario where you are using the Host Relay.

  image

Note that since the Host Relay works by relaying requests back and forth from the Media Center machines (running byRemote) – it doesn’t actually need to be installed on a Media Center PC (so it can be on another Windows Server or Desktop – and potentially even your ‘Windows Home Server’ box). For those of you who are security paranoid (aware) – this might be a machine which has nothing of use or sensitive on it – or it could even be one of your actual Media Center machines (which in turn provides access to other machines).

When you access a By Remote Relay Server from inside the Silverlight client – once authenticated to the server – you are presented with the following dialog (see below for preview – note the wording is still a wip). This lists all the running By Remote Servers available and allows you to quickly select one. (and you can later select another without reauthenticating). You’ll notice there’s also a ‘Wake’ button – which will provide the ability to do WOL (Wake on Lan) to any of your machines which might be asleep.

image

If you access the Host Relay Server from the browser (ie. for purposes of accessing mobile browsers ) – then you see something like this :

image

Then when you launch the mobile client – the host IP address and Port remains the same no matter what other by Remote Server you are talking to – and the ‘destination’ machine name is simply passed in via the url.

image

Please note that while the required functionality is actually built into v0.6c release (and works with all the clients including the Mobile, SL4 and WP7 versions) – the actual Host Relay Server Service/EXE is not yet available for download.  I hope to make this available for download soon.

Also in regards to the By Remote Windowsphone7 client (which this v0.6c release contains specific functionality for) – I hope to have a video demo of it running on an ‘actual’ prototype WP7 device very soon (should hopefully have a ‘loaner’ unit as early as end of next week thanks to MS Australia). I’m currently finalizing the code atm with the RTM dev tools (required by the prototype device) – so it is ready for deployment/testing when I have this unit.  Unfortunately I think I won’t be able to purchase an actual launch WP7 unit until at least December in Australia.

 

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Written by mobilewares

September 10, 2010 at 4:55 am

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