Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Digital Product overload

The level of choice in the digital home market space is starting to reach a level, that I have having trouble choosing what path to walk. I have been pretty firmly grounded in the Media Center product family, and happy with that choice. I now run entirely off on one Media Center Pc and Xbox 360 extenders in the home, and have found that experience pretty stable, and acceptable for the wife. There are a great deal of plug-ins for the Media Center that can extend the functionality (The Green Button is great for information about this and everything Media Center related) but watching a video about plug-ins that are coming out for the Popcorn Hour, and seeing some of the Sage-TV extenders go on sale recently makes me wonder if I picked the wrong horse. There are some great things coming out of Non-Microsoft companies, even the Apple TV is starting to look useful with a little hackery ala Boxee. I know that I am moving more towards the Microsoft vision of the connected home with a powerful PC that drives the home media experience on less powerful presentation devices, and a laptops for misc entertainment experience.

Hulu, and online content are changing the options to a large degree, and smaller (surprisingly) powerful devices are looking like they might displace the experience I have bought into all together. If we see Boxee on Xbox360 with out plug-ins like SecondrunTV and better STB style DVR's I may have to rethink the whole living room altogether. That said, I am more than a little excited to try out the NetFlix Streaming, as we may soon give up on Cable all together.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Power savings tool

I'm sure that others are working through the process of figuring out where to save money, energy seems like a good place to start so I found a handy dandy cost savings calculator. Granted it is for PC's and their monitors, but I also used it for the LCD Televisions that we have in my facility.

Energy Savings Calculator

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Oh how I hope twitter dies

Oh, the twits in this life. Today I came up with what I will start calling people that use twitter, twits.

140 characters of wasted breath.

That was my twitter tribute for the day, did you notice it was 140 characters? This is the breadth of the message that twits are able to transfer, you to say more, but have to abandon English and move to l337 abbreviations @othertwits and the other insular, pointless jargon they create to accommodate a service that isn't worth the electricity that it takes to keep the servers running. Ask the twitter twits how they hope to make money. No really go ahead.

I have a shorter answer, they won't. Interesting how Evan's other ventures don't make money either. Ask Google, if they can show you how Blogger has made them money and all your likely to find out is that it doesn't make money on it own. So Mr. Williams "successful" project actually only is useful to help Adsense get more web property displaying ads, and building Google goodwill. Odeo was an abject failure, in idea, timing, and execution and now the twit has convinced other twits to tweet. Good on ya, but I cannot wait for this fad to die.

Zune software is way more usable than that Crap iTunes

So I moved computers again (I'm a masochist), but it is the last time I swear. Or at least it is the last time until next time.... Continuing on, I moved my Wife's iTunes library again, and was annoyed at the number of dupes, and albums that showed up as multiple albums because of collaborators. Now If I had spent the amount of time on her music library that I have spent on mine (prior to Zune) the number of dupes and erroneous info would be much lower (and there would be artwork for the damn albums too). I have probably spent upwards of 40 hours grooming my music collection and when necessary re-ripping so the bitrate is consistent, and the ID3 tags are close to correct, so when I first installed the Zune software imagine my dismay at having a startling amount of bad meta-data. Pushing north of 27gb of music all ripped at 320kbps, I was far from pleased to see so many unknowns and Blank FT Blank artists. The Zune software lets you drag an "album" onto another one, and the meta-data like Album title, and Artist will be corrected auto-magically. That is incredibly intuitive and useful. Should that not be enough, you can look up albums using a very poorly designed search UI, that lets you find and select the correct album, pulls cover art, and lets you assign songs to the correct song number, which fixes the titles too. The UI is only weak because it pops up in the middle, cannot be re-sized, or moved from the center where it conveniently blocks info that you may have forgotten in between starting your search and finding the correct album info. The end product of meta-data is amazing, the UI, could use some work.

I did manage to get my Wife's data mostly cleaned up, but it was painful and not nearly as nice to use as Zune's way of doing it, plus if iTunes doesn't find the album art automatically, you have to add it manually from an external source. There is not search and select UI, not even a poorly designed one.