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Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Forget AppleTV – Mac mini as Video Server

March 10th, 2007 No comments

I ran across this podcast/article at HTGuys today. It gives a pretty good high-level description of a working home theater system that uses the Mac mini as the hub for video and audio. The system is primarily used for movie viewing (ripped from DVD’s) and the bulk of the conversation is about this, but it does mention recording TV as well.

This article highlights some of the advantages that the mini provides over the AppleTV. In particular, the mini allows for AC3 audio passthrough to your receiver for surround sound. There doesn’t appear to be a way to encode surround sound into AppleTV-compatible files. The mini also allows for the possibility of TV recording and central storage that can be shared out to the rest of the house (the AppleTV has a 40GB hard drive for caching content shared from another computer’s iTunes library). With a wired network, the system here is able to stream HD content to three computers at the same time.

As much as I’d like to dump my cable DVR and roll my own, I still can’t make up my mind which approach to take. More and more, I see disadvantages to the AppleTV approach.

ZFS Missing from the Latest Build of Leopard

March 6th, 2007 No comments

According to the caption on this screenshot in Think Secret’s latest Leopard gallery, ZFS is not present in the latest build of OS X 10.5. This is a bit disappointing because I’m excited about the improvements in ZFS. It would be a bummer if the OS X port of ZFS didn’t make it in the final release. I hope that ZFS makes it back into Leopard.

Regardless, I’m going to continue my project to build a Solaris server using ZFS for the shared storage pool. I should be able to post more about that later this week or early next.

QuickTime 7.1.5 Now Includes “Export Movie to Apple TV”

March 6th, 2007 No comments

Apple released an update to iTunes and QuickTime today to add some new features and fix a few bugs. One of the new things that showed up in QuickTime is the ability to export a movie to Apple TV. I need to play around with it a bit more, but it appears to use a higher bitrate (around 2Mbps for my short sample)
and it sets the file type and creator on the resulting export so that it imports into iTunes.

My first experiment isn’t definitive because I started with a H.264 file. I’ll try working with a DVD rip later and update the comments for this post with the specs on the completed file.

WWDC 2007 Leopard Innovations Track – Nothing New?

February 27th, 2007 No comments

I read the email announcement about the tracks at the upcoming Worldwide Developer’s Conference with some interest. Could this be a source of new info about OS X 10.5? There’s a whole track devoted to the next version of OS X, called Leopard Innovations. Unfortunately, it only mentions things we have heard of before like Core Animation, QuickLook, iChat Theater, 64-bitness, Synch services. Elsewhere, CoreData and CoreImage¬† get mentions too.

In the end, nothing to see hear, folks. Keep moving. Leopard announcements will be coming later.

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , , , ,

Trailrunner updated to work with Garmin and Nike +

February 26th, 2007 No comments

The good folks at TUAW posted that the very cool Trailrunner has been updated to directly import GPS track logs from Garmin Training Center and workout information from the Nike + Sport kit (which keeps distance.

There’s a tutorial available that explains how to use your Garmin Forerunner with Trailrunner. I don’t have a Foreunner, but I’d love to hear from someone that does.

Multitouch Again

February 18th, 2007 No comments

I wrote earlier about Jeff Han and multitouch. He’s formed a company called Perceptive Pixel to commercialize the technology and they have created this cool video to show it off. I was going to post this a couple weeks ago, but I sat on it while I got busy with school and then other people picked up the story. When updating my blog today I thought I would go ahead and finish this post just in case someone hasn’t seen it yet. Just watch the video. It’s totally wicked. Continue reading to get the embedded video. Read more…

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , ,

One Thing I Love, and One Thing I Hate About OS X

February 18th, 2007 1 comment

I wrote yesterday about how OS X makes all that UNIX fun easy to use. After a couple days of playing with Windows & Solaris Java Desktop, I was reminded of one thing that I really like about OS X, and one thing that I absolutely despise. Read more…

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: ,

Solaris, ZFS, and Why OS X Rocks My Socks

February 17th, 2007 No comments

I’ve been away for a few days, but I’ve actually been pretty busy. One of things I’ve been working on is installing Solaris 10 on a PC at home so I can setup a ZFS pool using four 250GB drives. It hasn’t been too bad, but a few hardware incompatabilities have reminded me why I like OS X. Read more…

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , , , , ,

HDHomeRun hits it out of the park

February 7th, 2007 3 comments

HDHomeRunI’ve been following the HDHomeRun a bit since CES this year. The idea is very simple – the box takes digital TV signals from an OTA antenna (ATSC) or your cable service (QAM), including High Definition channels, and then uses 100baseT networking to stream those channels onto your local network. You can either watch those streams using VLC or capture them to a computer-based DVR system like SageTV, MythTV, or even Windows Media Center.

The obvious advantage is that in contrast to a PCI, PCIe, or USB tuner, the HDHomeRun isn’t tied to just one box. Multiple clients (up to two) can access the two tuners. Streaming to multiple clients (multicast) isn’t available right now, but this would be technically possible with a software update. Read more…

Pin the (Long) Tail on the Colts

February 7th, 2007 No comments

The Super Bowl highlights are up on the iTunes Store (which still has DRM) and this reminds me again that the producers of sports programming are missing a huge opportunity to cash in on the Long Tail Effect. Look, I could care less about Peyton Manning (the shameless shill!) and the Colts. I was rooting for the Chargers this year (my wife is from San Diego and we visit every summer). Still, I’m sure that there are dozens of Colts fans that will buy the highlight video from the iTunes Store to remember their team’s victory. Bears fans probably won’t be interested, except to watch the first 12 seconds a few times and dream about next year.

But I’d sure like to own highlight films of my hometown San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl victories under Joe Montana and Steve Young. Shoot, even a “Road to the Super Bowl” special featuring “The Catch” would be fun to own. Then I’d still like to get a video of UCSB winning this year’s College Cup (Go Gauchos!) and maybe some classic games too. Yeah, classic all-time sports matchups on the iTunes Store – are you feeling me now? Read more…