Thursday, September 18, 2008

Building a Digital Lifestyle

The cobbler’s children have no shoes. I’ve always liked this saying as I can relate. Working with computers every day I try to avoid having none of the computers in my house working. Right now I am in the process of trying to do an upgrade to our home network.
It all started with the phones. We bought iPhones last year, then upgraded them to the new iPhone this year. (At a profit actually since I sold the old ones unlocked on eBay.) With the new phones they could synch calendars between them if you bought a hosting service from Apple. I made the plunge with the justification that I would also use the web hosting. (I am well aware that clicking on entries in the history wasn’t working.) That is the reason for the new look. (If you have been following along). Being able to have our address books synched between our phones and home computer is such a time saver. I don’t know how many times we lost new names or addresses because they would get overwritten.
The next goal was having a home server that holds our pictures and music. So far this has been trusty little mac mini but it has run out of hard drive space and I would really like to have all the important files mirrored onto another hard drive. This means a bigger computer. With a larger case to hold more hard drives, why not copy our movies onto the computer also. This was my downfall that I have been trying to achieve since we moved from Oregon. I installed linux and MythTV and could never quite get them to work reliably enough to take over for the Mac Mini. Then something, I am guessing an electrical surge, knocked out the power supply, motherboard, and one hard drive and they had to be replaced. I replaced the parts but linux did not yet support a lot of the new hardware. I thought Vista Media Center would be mature enough to give me the “just works” solution. However, my best guess is that Microsoft does not want their media center to compete with the cable boxes they sell so media center does not support digital TV, argh! (unencrypted QAM, which is odd since come February and the analog signal is turned off there are a lot of people yelling for this.) Not to mention the headaches I’ve run into with simple things like registration codes and DRM. I would have tried Mac OS X but Apple does not support any TV signal. I guess it is still a dream to have a reliable computer that can handle TV, video, music, and pictures.
...sorry kids, no digital convergence for you.

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