Trying out Plex

The black Friday deals were so good this year that I was able to pick up a portable 2TB drive on eBay.  I decided to make a copy of my media drive and attach it to my desktop computer and install Plex Media server on it.  I’ve been trying it out for the past week or so and overall its pretty good.  It was able to correctly name and add movie posters to the videos that I have but it missed a few here and there and some of them are incorrect but thats not really a big deal to me since I know what its supposed to be.

I can’t change some of the media data so that it can correct itself but overall its ok.  I bought the Plex Media player for my iPhone so that I could try it out on the road but I haven’t really done that yet since it requires my home computer being on.  My computer is about seven years old so it probably sucks down a lot of power so I’ve only been using it while I’ve been at home.  So far its been working like a charm.  It connects to my Chromecast just fine and I can also run it off of my iPhone and airplay it to my Apple TV.  My home computer sounds like its struggling a little bit as it decodes the videos but I don’t see any slow down on the Chromecast when I play my vidoes at 720P.

I did add in my music too to my Plex account but I haven’t tried using that yet.  I’ll give it a try during the next two weeks while I’m off from work.  What I really wanted was a NAS that would support Plex but it was just too expensive for a backup solution and a media server.  I’m thinking that I should probably just get a micro PC or a Mac Mini and make it a home media server (no backups) and use it for iTunes and for Plex. This way I don’t have to turn it off all the time and I’ll have a central location to put all my files.  I can run a time machine backup of the machine too which should be fairly helpful.

I’ll have to wait a bit until that can happen, right now the desktop should do just fine and I have enough Netflix movies and shows to binge watch while on the road but its definitely coming in handy at home when I want to watch a new movie i’ve acquired.  Until then, i’m going to enjoy being able to stream all my movies at home to my TV or my iPad.

Trying out ifttt

I’m trying out this new service that I discovered while browsing through my Twitter feed on Flipboard.  It’s a service called ifttt, for those of you that have never heard of this before, it stands for “if this then that”.  This is a neat little service that allows you to “put the web to work for you” by creating a series of recipes to do certain actions on the internet.  As an example, I’m a heavy Evernote user, at least I am for work but I do use it for personal stuff too.  Since I want to be able to archive a lot of the things that I do, I’ve been looking for Evernote recipes to utilize.  One of the things that I want to archive are blog posts such as this one.  I have just set up a recipe to archive anything that I post to my blog to my Evernote account so that I can have a running archive of all the crap that I rant about online that no one will ever read.  This recipe isn’t my first one, the first one that I did was to have all my Instagram photo’s archived to Evernote and that one seems to work just fine since over the past few days I’ve seen pictures pop up in my Evernote account that I took with Instagram.  I must say thats pretty damn nifty!

Being nifty and all, I’ve created a few more to archive pictures I’m tagged in on Facebook, my tweets on twitter, and my status updates to all go to Evernote. I hope that I have enough space to save all this crud but since most of what I do online is text and not media, I don’t think it will be a problem.  Only time will tell as ifttt does its little dance on the internet as I’m posting things.  The only concern that some people might have is putting in their login and password into ifttt to make the recipes required.  I have enough trust in most service aggregators to put those credentials in but if there are qualms about doing that, then this service isn’t for you.  Besides, I can always change my password if something fishy starts going on anyway or enable my privacy features on any number of accounts that I hold.

The only thing that I think is missing is a way to go back and archive things that have already been posted. For example, I’ve blogged a LOT over the years.  There are at least 7 years of posts sitting on WordPress right now and it would suck if I lost them all due to some unforeseen error.  The best that I can do is export it all to an XML file so it can be re-imported into another blog hosted by WordPress.  If I could just put it all in Evernote, that would be totally bad ass but I know that I would quickly go over my limit since there are nearly 1000 posts in this blog.

I’ll continue to monitor my Evernote account for changes since I made quite a few recipes tonight.  If this works out, Evernote might be my Go To app for almost everything that I do on the web as long as I don’t go over my monthly limit for my free account.

Social Networking on the Web Just Got Better: Seesmic!

I will admit that I am quite an avid user of social media.  I have my presence all over the interweb on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  I’ve been pretty content most of the time to just using Twitter and Facebook but the real challenge has always been finding a Twitter application that can update the status of both at the same time using my computer.  I currently have this ability using Twitbird Pro on my iPhone and iPad but there hasn’t been that many apps that do what Twitbird does.

I was using an app called TweetDeck for a while but for some odd reason, I couldn’t log into my Twitter account anymore.  Being quite frustrated by this fact and after doing a few password resets, I decided to go trolling through the web for something new.  I stumbled upon Seesmic while using my Evernote app and browsing their Trunk.  I downloaded the Seesmic desktop app but I was having the same problem that I was having with TweetDeck in terms of authenticating my user name.  How crappy!  I think its because they recently changed how they want Twitter apps to authenticate using their API called OAuth.  I know I received an email about it but I didn’t think it would affect me so soon.

I decided to uninstall Seesmic on my desktop but noticed that they had a web version as well.  All I had to do was create an account with Seesmic to get started.  I decided, why not give it a shot so I signed up and miraculously my user name and password for Twitter worked just fine on the web version.  I’ve been using the web version for a few days now and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed so far.  It has Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, and Google Buzz (which I still don’t get at all).  The interface is super easy and I can update all the services at the same time if I want to.  I still only update Facebook and Twitter but its nice to be able to follow my LinkedIn feed now without having to log into the actual website.  I’ll keep trying this out but I think I’ll be using Seesmic for the foreseeable future instead of installing thick client Twitter apps.