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Jessica Chesher

Managing Editor

Innovation eReview
Tech Talk
by Marian Berda

Welcome to the premier Tech Talk column!  This section of Innovation e-Review is dedicated to blending new and existing information on technology that may influence your lifestyle at home, or at your business.  As technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, our plan is to offer you an array of interesting topics that may range from new tech gadgets for today’s student, to the changing landscape of wireless technology.  We welcome your suggestions, comments and/or ideas for topics as our Tech Talk feature evolves over the coming months.
You may wonder who I am and what I am doing here, well, I am Marian Berda and I am the Technology Manager for the NYS-STLC at the Syracuse University College of Law.  For the last five years, I have worked with Information Technology Services at Syracuse University College of Law and helped transform the department from a maintenance-driven entity to a customer-service oriented department.  At IT Services, I have worked on many aspects of information technology from technical support and development to systems analysis, faculty instructional development and training.  I am very excited to be part of NYS Science & Technology Law Center at Syracuse University College of Law and hope to expand our services to you as we initiate new and existing products and services to better serve our NYSTAR constituents.

My interest in technology began many years ago because of my children and the toys we bought them to expand their knowledge and creativity.  During the early 90’s, toys became much “smarter” with computer chips and electronics built, it seemed, into every toy.  The purchase of our first Nintendo one Christmas found us up until the wee hours trying to master the levels and competing for the highest points.  I think we almost woke the kids.   Since then, Christmas became our “toyland” of adventure.  Santa’s wish list turned into our list of most adventurous toys to choose, and of course, we did hope the children really wanted as well.  From Lego’s robotics to computer flight simulators, our Christmas eves were spent setting up (and playing!) most of the toys purchased.  I became so good at mastering software games the kids would summon me to a friend’s house to get them to the next level of a game.  Hence, my “techy” world was born.

Today, we are discovering our own toys to enhance our entertainment experience with some help from Microsoft.  Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is software that sits on top of Windows XP operating system on your computer and allows all entertainment pieces to converge into one system.  Computers with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are called Media Center PCs.   Your home PC may now be a digital media focal point that brings together your entertainment choices from one remote control.  You can store, download or share your music, movies, home video and even record TV at one convenient location.  A Media Center PC may include:
  • A Media Center compatible remote control that keeps all of the entertainment on your computer and complements the keyboard and mouse.
  • A remote infrared (IR) sensor that enables the remote control to communicate with the computer and also controls cable or satellite box.
  • A advanced graphics card for displaying the best TV experience on your computer monitor.
  • A TV tuner that captures your television signal from a cable, satellite or antenna source to your computer’s hard drive.
  • A hardware encoder that enables you to record TV shows from cable, satellite or antenna to your computer’s hard drive.
  • A TV output that allows you to display Media Center content on a television connected to your computer.
  • A digital audio output that allows you to integrate digital audio form your computer into an existing home entertainment system.

Well, you may think that this is great, but you really don’t want to cozy up to your computer late at night.  Using Microsoft Xbox,  connected to your home entertainment system, you cay play the state-of-art games, watch DVD movies, enjoy digital music, view photos and videos and stream HD television and movies directly into your television/stereo home entertainment center.  Sounds cool, eh?  

If you don’t need/want the gaming capabilities that Xbox brings, there are several other products on the market that will compliment Microsoft Media Center.  Linksys makes a wireless media center extender that will bring your digital entertainment in through and store it on your Windows Media Center PC, then send it to your home entertainment center.  Using wireless technology (hurray, no wires!), you can access Microsoft Media Center at your home entertainment center, and are able to connect all other wireless technologies to your home entertainment center.  Just think, with a purchase of a few $10 cameras installed outside your home, you now may see who is at the door or monitor activity on your property without leaving the comfort of your couch.   With a nominal purchase of additional hardware, you may control your lights, appliances and other gadgets, turning your conventional appliances into a “smart home”.  Best yet, remote capabilities will allow you to access the resources anywhere you are in the world with Internet access.  Technology is very cool…..

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Demo:


Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Overview (300K)


Media Center Extender Demo (300K)

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 product information:


Media Center Extenders:




Understanding Home Theater System:



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