Is This Mic On???

by Damian on April 25, 2012 · 15 comments

in News

Many of you have probably noticed there hasn’t been much new content coming out from my neck of the woods of late, so I thought I would check in and let everyone know I am still alive & kicking! Really at this point there are two main reasons I haven’t been writing as much of late. The first is simply work/family life has really sunk its teeth into me. I typically work close to 60 hour work weeks, and with 2 young boys at home I am trying to make sure I spend more of my free time with them instead of tinkering around. The second reason , to be honest, there just isn’t much new technology out there that I consider all that interesting/cutting edge/revolutionary, at least not in the areas that I focus on. Media Players have gone blah, with the real hope of something new/cutting edge (the SMP8910 players) appearing to nothing more then vaporware. HTPCs have just lost a lot of appeal to me, and IMO are just not made for families. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to write about in the pipeline, so here are a few things rambling around in this thing I call a brain that I hope to either write about or am looking forward to this year:

  • Xtreamer Prodigy – I have had this in my possession for several months now, and as expected OOTB it was missing some key advertised features (such as a video jukebox). However, this has finally been released, so I plan on revisiting soon to hopefully put together a review.
  • 10Muse – This is an iOS app that allows you to view/navigate your video library in an easy to use jukebox view, and push the content for playback on your Dune/PCH device. The developers are extremely active (just check out our thread at the MSS.net forums here). I had a writeup all done but with all the changes/enhancements made I decided to start over from scratch. Unfortunately the boys have been hogging up the iPads (and there isn’t an Android App :( ) so it is taking me quite a bit of time to get back to
  • Media Browser – there have been quite a few releases since I visited last, so I would like to do a new walkthrough and dig in to all that has changed. As I mentioned earlier, since I don’t use HTPCs as much as a used to this hasn’t been a priority of mine
  • Android Stuff – since I use an Android tablet and phone, I was thinking of doing a quick writeup on some of the Apps I use, in particular those that relate to media streaming
  • Zappiti iOS App – The biggest reason I haven’t bothered with this is because as of now I believe it only supports one zone. Since I have two Dunes in my house that basically renders it useless for my needs. Let me manage multiple zones and then we are in business
  • My Movies – I would love to do a full revisit of My Movies since much has changed. However, enhancements are no longer added to the WHS v1 version (which I still use) and right now it would probably be more work then needed to try and set up with my test WHS 2011 server
  • Windows 8 Tablets – As much as I love my Asus Transformer tablet, I will gladly replace it in a heartbeat if I can get a fully functional Windows 8 tablet in the same form factor. I will definitely be keeping a close eye on this later this year, but it is one of the few things that has me excited
  • WHS 8? My WHS v1 is starting to get long in the tooth, but I really have no desire to move over to WHS 2011. Reading that the next version of WHS will be based off of Windows Server 2012 (formerly Windows Server 8), I am hopeful that the DE type functionality that got kicked to the curb in WHS 2011 will make its reappearance. If that happens a new server will be born in my household :D
  • Misc – I don’t have too many projects lined up at home, but I hope to set up some sort of audio/video outdoors in our backyard, as well as possibly some surveillance cameras. Right now I am more in the investigative phase!

So there you have it, the ramblings of a mad man. If you are reading this please feel free to drop a comment about anything out there right now or on the horizon in tech land that has you excited or you would like to share with the community.





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 15 comments }

Brajesh April 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Okay self-professed man man :), start with Xtreamer Prodigy and 10Muse. The latter looks interesting as it’d be a player agnostic way to manage a jukebox, but on their website, I see the A-300 conspicuously absent, only the 200 series listed as supported. Actually, whatever you end up writing, look forward to reading.

Damian April 26, 2012 at 6:08 am

Hey Brajesh,

I am pretty sure the A-300 is supported, but I will definitely confirm. 10Muse really is a slick app. Obviously it is only targeted to those who want to use their iPad as a remote, so the target audience is small.

The Prodigy jukebox does have promise. Of course there appears to be no tv show support (:( ) but it is much more of a true jukebox then for example the Mede8er

Cheers
Damian

bry1128 April 26, 2012 at 9:43 am

I think an article about media center in windows 8, how well does home server v1 work with windows 8, or maybe just the gui for windows 8 in general would be great info!

Damian April 26, 2012 at 10:39 am

Agreed as well. I am waiting for the final release of W8 and then I will be taking a closer look at. As of now I believe there are not expected to be any changes to WMC from W7 to W8.

Brajesh April 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Initial reports on the first consumer preview were that read/write speeds from Win8 storage pool were slow, so I’ll definitely be looking to see if MS improves that in the second consumer preview and final product.

Brajesh April 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Sorry, didn’t read your posts carefully. You were talking about WMC and I about using Win8 w/storage spaces instead of WHS for media server needs.

Damian April 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I still plan on testing that in some fashion. I don’t know if I will look at in W8 or wait for hopefully WHS 2012 (or whatever it will be called) to test out storage spaces

George S April 27, 2012 at 6:11 am

WOW!!! you just dropped a bomb on me!!
Just when I was going to ask you for a new a fresh write up on HTPC’s, you come up with “HTPCs have just lost a lot of appeal to me”!! that hurts!!
Damian your article on Bit streaming is the one I used to set up my system and have been coming back almost every day to see if anything new was written, but nada…..
Your opinion and concise write up was great!! although there other how-to’s on other sites, yours is the one I look forward to…

Sounds like the wife put the screw to you!! lol

BTW why did you loose interest in HTPC? its a never ending dilemma on finding the best setup procedures for best possible sound and picture….

I hope you change your mind and write a new article!!

Thanks
G

Damian April 27, 2012 at 6:32 am

LOL George,

You can still expect articles on HTPCs from me, I have just gotten to the point where honestly there hasn’t been a whole lot exciting/new HTPC material that has been worth digging in to. HD Audio bitstreaming is now very common to setup, many of the front ends have been looked at and really just have incremental updates, etc…I do plan on revisiting Media Browser very soon and then will work from there. Once W8 comes out as well as new hardware I will probably reanalyze the HTPC atmosphere . FOr now I will probably wait to see what comes out of Raspberry Pii.

Really stability was/is the main issue I have with HTPCs. Too often something screwy would go on for no good reason, whether it be the HTPC not waking from standpoint, certain files suddenly not playing properly, etc… It was never an issue of getting the best audio/video/setup, but at the end of the day since whatever player I have gets used frequently by the wife and kids, stability is the key factor. I still have 2 HTPCs in my house, but for how we would use them (really just video playback) the other media players (i.e. Dune, etc…) are more plug n play, great PQ, HD Audio support, etc… without any of the associated HTPC issues. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the concept/flexibility of an HTPC, there are so many things you can do with it. Just between the long hours at work and family life the idea of spending my free time constantly tweaking just doesn’t have the same appeal to me as it used to.

George S April 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

pheeeeew!! almost had me there…

well, good to hear you will re-energize the topic one W8 comes out!

btw… did you try the W8? OMG!! what a piece of crap!! they better bring back the START button! …..what rocket scientist came up with the idea of moving your mouse pointer to all 4 corners of the screen to access menus!! what lunatic came up with that!! LOL!!

also Damian, what kind of work you do? if you dont mind me asking…

Thanks
G

Damian April 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I tested out W8 quickly, got annoyed by some of the stuff (like the missing start button, although I know you can add back), and just never revisited. At this point I will just wait for the official release. For me I like the idea of W8 for our touchsmart PCs and for tablets, not so much for a traditional desktop.

As far as my job, I am an exotic dancer, I will show my hard drive to the highest bidder :D

Actually, nothing exciting here, I am an acctg/structured finance guy. When I am not at work I am either spending time with the family, at the gym (I go every day, and on work days go at 5am before work), or messing around with tech goodies….

Cheers
Damian

Comp1962 April 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hey Damian its hard these days balancing one career and family for sure and I certainly appreciate all your efforts here. Sometimes I am simply amazed at just how much you are able to contribute to the site.

I can’t comment about Win8 just yet but I know I will build myself a new toy this summer and maybe I might give it a run then but its not a high priority in my life.

I still have projects sitting on the sidelines that I really need to finish up on but I spend more time these days at work. So I know how precious free time is.

George S April 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm

LOL!! Is it true that techie Gym Jocks Hard Drives are 2.5 and not 3.5″!!! LOL!!

Finance!! Nice!! me2! been doing Finance for 13 years… Used to be good, prior to Sub Prime collapse, now its all about who you know…

Banks these days are getting innovative on how to fleece the consumer…. and make the big Bonus! Anyway not a topic for this forum.

T2U Soon!! “I’ll be back”

Markvk June 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

EEEE you finance guys ought to get proper jobs ;)

Damian, thanks for all the info you share, your the reason I’m here! but i was just deciding if i should go the pc/nas route or pc /server route (please see my new thread “help for a very confused newbie”) now you seem to be advising to go down the media player route… now even more confused….. how would i record tv if i got a dune player?????

Damian June 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I had a proper job, but turns out I wasn’t as good a pole dancer as I thought :p

Well, it all depends. If you want to record live TV you need to go the HTPC route (or at least build your server around Windows). You cannot record TV on the Dune or other. Let me dig around to see if I can find your thread to help out, but if not, can you post a link here

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