My perfect TV setup Updated

XBMC's home screenThis is an update to an older post: My perfect TV setup

I recently upgraded the whole media consumption set-up in my apartment. This post describes all of the different aspects, hardware and software components in use.

Hardware

  • Mac Mini – this is the main hub of the whole operation. It sits in my living room, connected to sound system and projector.
    Specs: 2.3GHz i5, 2GB RAM, 500GB HD, Intel HD 3000 Graphics.
  • Apple TV – the new 1080p one. Connected to the LCD TV in my room.
  • iPad – also the new one.
  • Projector – still the same old one that won’t die. Only 720p, but I refuse to replace it before it has reached the end of it’s lifetime.
  • Logitech Harmony – universal remote to control the cable box, sound system, projector and XBMC (via Mac Mini’s infra red port) in the living room.
  • 2TB harddisk – connected to Mac Mini via USB.
  • 2x AirPort Express – connected to speakers in the kitchen and bathroom.

Software on Mac Mini

  • XBMC – with it’s recent Eden release and a few configuration tweaks the perfect, easy to use frontend for all my movies & TV shows.
  • Transmission – Torrent client with a nice web based remote frontend.
  • Catch – to automatically download new TV show episodes.
  • Air Media Server – serves media to iOS devices.
  • AirServer – receives AirPlay streams from iOS devices.

Software on iOS

Continue reading

Morning News Update, November 4 2010

  • Google released an Apache module that auto tunes performance
    Google has announced that they are launching a module for the Apache HTTP server called mod_pagespeed, that will automatically tune several properties to optimize page load speed. I haven’t tried it out yet, but will definitely do so.
    Amongst other things, mod_pagespeed will:

    • recompress images
    • modify cache lifetime for static elements
    • make changes to pages built by CMS

    I don’t know if I’ll see a great performance on this server, as I already took care of a lot of speed improvements myself, but this module is a great way to implement common best-practices without having to dig into Apache’s configuration too much.
    Read more and download the module on the Page Speed Google Code website.

  • Facebook Mobile Announcements
    Just a short summary of what Facebook announced yesterday, there’s already tons of coverage out there:

    • Facebook for iPhone updated (as I hoped in my tweet just minutes before the event started).
    • Facebook for Android updated.
    • Single Sign-On for mobile platforms.
      So you don’t have to deal with entering your password in every app that uses Facebook connect.
    • Facebook Places API Update. Full read and write access for third parties.
    • Deals. This sounds kind of like Groupon mixed with Foursquare.
      Could be very interesting, once it reaches the critical mass of user adoption.
    • No dedicated iPad App in the near future.
      Although I’ve read about speculations of a HTML5 based website/app that could offer the same experience on multiple tablet based platforms.

Morning News Update, November 2 2010

  • Google Announces API Console
    The new Google API Console lets you manage your API uses across all your applications and websites.
  • iOS 4.2 Gold Master release seeded to developers
    iOS 4.2 has gone Gold Master and can be used by all iOS developers to create consistent apps across iPhones, iPod touches & iPads.
    Apple urges to submit new iOS 4.2 apps soon, so they are available in the app store, once the software update gets pushed to all the devices.
  • eBay + Paypal + Facebook Connect = Group Gift-Buying
    In an attempt to capitalize on the rise of social commerce, online auction behemoth eBay launched its Group Gifts service today, enabling users to source the power of their social networks to collectively purchase gifts.
  • Video comparison between HTC 7 Trophy (left) and the Samsung Omnia 7 (right)
  • Internet Explorer 9 just beat everyone in HTML5 compliance
    Internet Explorer 9 just beat Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari in a compliance test.

    W3C HTML5 compliance chart

    W3C HTML5 compliance chart (click for bigger version)

Morning News Update, October 19 2010

  • WiMAX 4G Coming to New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2010
    The next-next generation U.S. wireless technology is preparing itself for primetime in major metropolitan areas. New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles will each have 4G WiMAX by the end of 2010.
  • Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie To Step Down As Chief Software Architect
    Microsoft has just announced that Ray Ozzie, the company’s Chief Software Architect is stepping down from this position.
    Ozzie assumed the chief software architect’s role in June 2006. In his role, Ozzie was responsible for oversight of the company’s technical strategy and product architecture. Prior to this role, Ozzie was chief technical officer from April 2005 to June 2006. He assumed that position in April 2005 after Microsoft acquired Groove Networks, a next-generation collaboration software company he formed in 1997.
  • Driverless taxi gets called with an iPad
    This is just wild! A group of researchers in Berlin have been working on “autonomous cars” for a while. The Berlin team has pushed the idea ahead by hooking the car up to an iPad. The iPad’s GPS location is sent out to the car, and then the user can even track the car’s movement and scanner information directly from the iPad.
  • Google Puts the Emphasis on Location in Search
    With a few tweaks and an interface change, Google has placed location and location-based search front-and-center in its search engine.
    The big change, announced earlier today on Google Blogs, is thatGoogle has moved the user location setting to the left-hand panel of the search engine results page. This feature automatically detects your current location and tailors search results based on that.
    The change rolls out starting today and will be available to users in 40+ languages sometime soon.
  • Apple releases Q4 results: $20.34B revenue, $4.31B profits
    Apple reports earnings of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 a share, in the fiscal fourth quarter, versus $1.82 a share in the year-ago quarter.
    3.89 million Macs, 14.1m iPhones (almost 2x the previous year’s number), 4.19m iPads sold in Q4.
    ANdy Rubin's answer to Steve JobsDuring Apple’s earnings call yesterday, Jobs pointed out that open systems don’t always win.
    But he also tried to reframe the debate. Open versus closed is a smokescreen, he argues. Google likes to characterize Android as open and iOS as closed. We think this is disingenuous. The real difference between the iPhone and Android is, he says, integrated versus fragmented.
    Android chief Andy Rubin responded with his first tweet. (See image)
  • IPv4 Space Shrinks To 5% Final Addresses To Be Issued In Early 2011
    The Number Resource Organization, the coordinating mechanism for the five Regional Internet Registries or RIRs, this morning announced that less than 5% of the world IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) addresses remain unallocated. The IPv4 pool first dipped below 10% in January 2010, and in the next nine months some 200 million addresses have subsequently been allocated from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to the RIRs.
    Follow @IPv4Countdown to keep up to date and meanwhile prepare your systems for IPv6 (it’s about time anyway).

Morning news update, October 15 2010

This is the first post of what I plan to make a recurring feature on this blog. Each day I will try to assemble a post with interesting news that pop up in my newsfeed.
So here it goes…