Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Back From the Dead

I started this blog to chronicle my, often unsuccessful, attempts to make a family friendly home theater PC sort of AV setup. Unfortunately, through a move and another baby I let the blog slide into the abyss. A few days ago, however, I happened to check the Blogger dashboard and it seems that my measly comatose blog actually gets a few hits now and then. You know what? I still work on a number of projects that might be interesting to someone and let's be honest, an AV setup is never really finished. I'm going to try to bring the blog back!

For the hell of it, let's take a look at the todo list from 2010 and see what still applies. In future posts I'll elaborate on the things that are still applicable.

  • Redo all the movie sheets 
I found a way to automate this using a movie sheet generator for the WDTV, but I don't currently use movie sheets or the WDTV.

  • Re-rip movies as MKV's without any compression (yuck)
I used MakeMKV to do this. It was time consuming. I'll touch on what I think is the best way to do this later.
  • Set up the HDHomerun to record OTA HDTV
I've had this working in the past, and it is currently partially functional. In that I can use the HDHomerun to watch broadcast TV  in one room and on my wife's iPad, but we rarely watch broadcast TV so it hasn't been a huge priority. I don't use it to record TV, but it is still technically possible, although it isn't integrated into the system very well. I have some ideas on implementing this better that I'd like to get to at some point, so I'll put it on the new To do list. 
  • Find a solution for removing commercials from recordings, preferably automatically
At one point I had this working, but it is currently disabled. I didn't like what running an old PC all the time was doing to my electric bill. It has been so long and the software I would use in a new system is so different, that I would probably have to start from scratch if I did this again. I'll add this to the To do list, but at the bottom.
  • Configure print server
I don't currently have a printer at home. Back in 2010, my thinking was to use my router as a print server and at one point it was doing that. Then the printer died, and I didn't replace it. The router died too, but that's another story. In any case, with new hardware, setting up a print server is a pretty trivial thing to do

  • Configure iTunes to play and serve music, control via iPhone.
This was working, but I managed to lose all my ripped music, which led me to start using Spotify rather than iTunes (which I absolutely loathe, anyway). Also for the past two years I've had an Android phone which led to it's own set of integration problems. My current attempt at a whole house audio system is an active project that I'd like to write about soon.
  • Install remote desktop client
My intent here was to be able to access a headless PC server. This was working and I used both TightVNC and Splashtop. I ultimately stopped running a PC server and switched to a low power NAS appliance so this became obsolete. I used it again when I ran an HTPC connected to a projector. The goal here was to be able to make changes to the HTPC without powering up the projector. I don't currently use an HTPC with the projector but I'm planning to in the future, so I'll almost certainly come back to this.
  • Find a way to automatically upload photos to Flickr
I currently use Flickrsync. I have a couple Eye-Fi cards and it is possible to use the Eye-Fi software and Eye-Fi phone apps to automatically upload photos to Flickr. Unfortunately, you can't upload to more than one online service, which I would like to do.
  • Set the small drive as cold storage
I've had a few hard drives in the past few years. I'm not even sure what I was referring to here. I need to get this all straightened out.
  • Install an NFS server for windows
I honestly don't remember if I got too this or not. The main reason for the NFS server was to serve files to the first generation WDTV which had a hard time with Samba (i.e. Windows) servers. Not long after the move I replaced the the first generation WDTV with newer hardware where this wasn't necessary.
  • Install a bittorrent client and with a web based UI
  • Restore available data from online backup
  • reformat large drive
  • copy data to the large drive
  • Set the large drive to be automatically backed up

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