Wireless Media Player

I purchased a D-Link Wireless Media Player so that I can stream audio, photos, and videos directly to my TV. A simple hook up to the TV and configuration of the media player added this little mean machine to my network. I have a lot of avi files that I’d like to watch elsewhere than on my 17″ monitor, and with the recent influx of movies from Netflix, I needed a way to keep the movies coming but still be able to watch them at my leisure. The media player and my PC are all I need. Using DVD Shrink 3.2 and backing them up to my hard drive allows me to watch movies I want to when I want to, and to keep the movies rolling in. This also allows me to watch TV series that I don’t have access to via my cable network, which I DL via bittorrent. Video playback is crystal clear over a Wireless 54 Mbps G connection. Kickass.

While that’s fancy and all, the media player doesn’t recognize/understand the original menus integrated with the DVDs, so upon selecting a movie, I would have to watch a series of menu animations before getting to the full feature film. Wisening up, I figured that if I only added the main feature to the folder, I could skip menus and previews, and the film would start immediately upon pressing play. Using DVD Shrink, this is an option. By leaving off the menus, previews, and unwanted extras, the compression rate of the main feature is lower, resulting in higher quality playback, and less hard drive space used for each flick. Instructions to keep just the main movie and accompanying audio are here.

On my playlist tonight, a documentary titled The Corporation, and A Dirty Shame by John Waters.

Netflix Queue

I’ve posted my Netflix Queue on my site, using RSS, and added a link in the sidebar under the author section. The feed is pretty nice with full descriptions and links to movies. The only thing I don’t like and am unsure if I can modify is that there are no paragraph breaks between items. I’ve tried, via CSS to add an extra break tag but have had no luck. So, the movies listed are what is currently in my queue. Those at the top have the highest priority and will be shipped next. Today is the day I am to get my first shipment of DVDs. I hope they come as I am curious to get this Netflix thing rolling.

A few Netflix blogs to peruse and get started:

The more I’ve been reading these sites and jumping to other linked sites, I keep hearing about “throttling,” which translates to: the more discs you rent from them, the slower the service. I, apparently, won’t have any problems for the first 3 months because I am a new customer and they want to keep my business. But, as time goes on, so I read, my service will get slower if I am renting a lot of movies each month. Think I’m kidding? Studies have been done, and reports have been produced. This is why Netflix recommends you keep your queue pretty stocked, so that if a movie is in heavy circulation and your wait for it is projected to be “long,” then they have something to ship to you further down your queue.

My queue will update regularly as I add more movies. Right now I only have 9, as I don’t like to get too far ahead of myself. Can anyone recommend any good films?

Netflix

Movies movies movies. So, I switched the way I rent movies today. I currently pay about $15/month to rent unlimited videos through a local chain. Several drawbacks include: can’t rent new releases for 6 wks, limited and censored selection, late fees if I don’t get them back within 5 days, lack of convenience having to drive there and walk around searching through crap they have to find that they don’t carry what I want.

I was talking to a coworker the other day and he mentioned that he uses Netflix. He told me all of the advantages and I was interested so I checked it out. Today, after reading a few reviews and checking out the site, I joined. Netflix has more advantages than disadvantages. Advantages include:

  • Selection: Over 45,000 titles to choose from, including genres I am a fan of like Foreign, Gay & Lesbian, and TV series. How many titles are on the shelf at your local video store?
  • Uncensored Selection: With their uncensored collection, Netflix ensures I will see all the scenes my mother would prefer I not. I was at the movie store the other week and was going to rent Bad Education and A Dirty Shame until I saw both were the censored version.
  • No late fees. No due dates: Keep the movies as long as you want. Months, even. My local video store allowed me 5 day rentals. Blockbuster claims to have no late fees, but after 30 days they’re going to charge you full retail price for the movie.
  • Shipped to your door: They pay the shipping both ways! Does your local video store deliver?
  • Know what you’re getting: I can click through catalogs looking for films I want to see, place them in my queue, and wait for their arrival. There is a God.
  • Online account management, online ordering, online, online, online. Online = Jesus.

The above listed advantages are just a few. The Netflix site is easy to navigate and pretty fun to peruse. Based on what you’ve seen and how you rated it, the movies in your queue, and your listed favorite genres, the site makes recommendations of movies that you may be interested in. You can search by actor, title, genre, director, or keyword to find what you’re looking for. My first movies ship out tomorrow, and should be here by Tuesday. I’m getting Aimee and Jaguar, Tipping The Velvet , and Crash.

Fixin it up

I spent a little time today doing some adding and editing of the site, including:

  • Added a short bio
  • Added an updated list of blogs I read daily
  • Added new linking Firefox and Thunderbird buttons
  • Reworked some wording on comments page
  • Removed some stuff on main page like category link
  • Changed the footer slightly to add some MySQL recognition

The site is still very much a work in progress. i want that huge “Regressing at its finest…” at the top replaced, but I’m not sure what to put there. Funky text? An image? I’m totally open to ideas.

Kubrick

I did a quick theme change here. If you’re using Mozilla it should pick up the new stylesheet. If you’re still seeing the old comic theme, hit Ctrl+F5 to do a hard refresh of the page. This is the default theme that ships with WordPress 1.5, based on the Kubrick style. I’ve done a little bit of modifying, including enabling Gravatar, adding and removing stuff from the sidebar, and fooling around with the comments template. There is still much work to do, including adding a bunch of links to the sidebar that were removed, and possibly some XML data. This template is a lot more user friendly and not nearly as “busy” looking as the previous theme I was using. With Kubrick running, I can now add a few pages of content, instead of posts, possibly filled with photos, or something to that effect. I hope you enjoy the switch. It will have to grow on me for a while. The comic theme, while loud and obnoxious, was my favorite, hence the reason I rocked it for close to a year and a half. Kubrick is a lot more calm and cool blue, which is what I’m trying to move towards. I will not be posting a calendar on the side, because it reminds me how infrequently I post which always makes me feel like crap. Anyway, now I just have a few kinks to work out. Hope you like it!

2003 Mazda Protegé LX

So, I bought a new car. I was sitting around on Sunday and thinking about my 95 Toyota Camry that needed brakes, had a large problem with the oil pump, lacked a radio due to it being booted, and had various electrical problems. I decided I wanted a new car. Did I say wanted? I meant needed. I went to a local Mazda dealer and perused the lot and saw a 2003 Protegé LX with only 22,600 miles. The exterior was absolutely flawless and the interior was sparkling clean. I went back on Monday, test drove the car which has a sunroof, power windows, remote keyless entry, and a six disc in-dash cd player. I couldn’t pass it up. I got the dealer to knock $2,000 off the sticker and got $2,000 for my trade-in. We had a deal and I was told to come and get it at 11:00 this morning. I was there, on time, ready to hand over my Toyota and get the keys to my new spiffy ride. By 11:30 I was on the road in my new car. It’s so sleek, handles amazingly, grips the road, and is extremely responsive. The car is covered under warranty until December, but I doubt I’m going to have any problems. My first car was a 96 Mazda Protegé LX, which I loved so much, and thanks to a careening wagon around a corner was totaled. I’ve returned to the Mazda family and I couldn’t be happier.

Below is a shot of a 2003 Protegé in Garnet Red Mica, the color I got.

2003 Protege LX

Also, I picked up a Griffin iTrip to wirelessly transmit from my iPod to the FM radio. Works like a charm.

Aeonn = Happy Kid.

Back in the swing of things.

WooHoo! I am back from Cape May, NJ a whole lot more sunburnt than when I left. I had a lovely four and 1/2 days with my girl, spending time at the beach, and doing touristy stuff like checking out the Sunken Ship, Lighthouse and World War II bunker, and heading over to Wildwood, NJ to walk the boardwalk, ride some rides, and have a lovely anniversary kiss on the ferris wheel.

Back in St. Louis and back to work for me. And school. I decided to take a class this summer since I realised that I have a lot of time on my hands and I should be doing something.

Here are a few new programs for you to explore and possibly add to your thumbdrive/pen drive/flush drive/USB drive… what are we calling these things these days?

AEdit 5.0– Full word processor program. This handy tool creates files in .rtf format which can be opened in Word. Very handy if you want to edit on the go. Has full font support, full editing and formatting toolbar, and is only going to cost your drive 1.6MB of space. (for some reason, the linked site wants to constantly refresh. Once the page loads, click your browser’s stop button and the page will stay. Weird.

XMPlay – XMPlay “…is an audio player, supporting the OGG / MP3 / MP2 / MP1 / WMA / WAV / CDA / MO3 / IT / XM / S3M / MTM / MOD / UMX audio formats, and PLS / M3U / ASX playlists.” It runs right off your USB, is easy to use, appealing to the eye, only uses about 5oo kb, and it’s free.

XMPlay screenshot

I dumped my Norton AntiVirus and installed a copy of Avast! 4.6 Home Edition. This program does all the stuff that the more expensive programs do, including live update of program files and virus definitions, live system monitoring, email scanning, and removable drive scanning. Avast! is super slick, fast, and has three scan modes, including standard, thorough, and quick. The only con, thus far: Inability to set a regularly scheduled scan. P.S… It’s free. They do require you to get a registration key (for the free edition) within 60 days (provide an email address); after doing so, the program updates for 14 months, and then requires a new key (free).

Sorry I was so slow to update after my arrival. Trying to get back into the swing of things. Pictures of Jersey coming sooner than soon.

P freakin S… my girlfriend is moving here this week. Excitement!