Tag: <span>NAS</span>

“It just works”, they said.

“Except when it doesn’t” they didn’t say.

What follows is a bit of a rambling post about random playback issues I’ve experienced when using iTunes to stream music to an Airplay. Simply put, for no reason I can fathom, iTunes playback across Airplay will stop. The track is still playing in iTunes but there is no sound passed to Airplay. Searching for this issue has helped me narrow it down to the problem being iTunes, beyond that I’m stuck.

Read on for some lessons learned…

Media Tech

Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve ditched my Windows PC and bought a MacBook Air so all my PC tech is now Apple.

Am I a fanboy? Possibly. But for me it’s more about things working easily, and I’m not really into hacking stuff these days so the fact I can plugin an Airport Express in and instantly I can bounce music to a nice beefy set of speakers across the room, or fire up a video on either my MacBook, iPhone or iPad and bounce it to Apple TV to watch on my big screen… well it’s simple, easy and works. For me.

I don’t feel “locked in”, I still use a hybrid service for things like email and calendaring (Google), and I don’t use many of the default Apple apps (Sssshhhh I have Microsoft Office installed on my MacBook!). It all just works for what I want to do, I will continue to tweak things like that but I’m very happy that things are just working (I won’t mention the failed hard drive in my NAS box the other day..).

I’m very aware it’s materialistic but I’d argue that having a simple, reliable system for entertainment, is good for me. It lets me relax and as I don’t watch to all that much TV, being able to bounce 6Music round my flat is a just wonderful. I no longer spend frustrating hours trying to get something ‘simple’ to work and whilst I don’t ‘hack’ things all that much these days it’s still nice to not have that stress in my life.

Tech

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I cannot be bothered with faff.

This is one personality trait that has definitely changed as I’ve gotten older, or perhaps it’s just a reaction to the years I spent indulging my ‘gadget-geek’ and allowing myself to think that jumping through 5 hoops to get a simple task done was “OK”.

My mindset these days is very much that technology is there to serve me. If something starts getting in my road I’ll work around it, or replace it completely, ruthlessly.

I’m about to talk about a technology company which I know some people don’t like, but bear with me.

I have an iPhone, an iPad, Apple TV and an internet connected Samsung TV. The bulk of my content consumption happens through those devices. I have a desktop PC, running Windows 7, which is where all of my content creation occurs. More of my time is spent consuming content so I recently bought a NAS drive to allow me to remove the desktop PC (and it’s large hard drive) as a middleman.

I can now watch movies on my TV that I created (ripped from bought copies) on my desktop PC as they now live on my NAS drive. I can view photos the same way.

I can also browse and play music from my NAS drive using my iPhone, or iPad. Unfortunately I can’t hear it.

My plan was to use an Airport Express, connected wirelessly to the NAS box, with audio out to a dedicated set of speakers. I have an old (“g” standard) Airport Express and bought some new speakers (AudioEngine 2).

Alas, the plan is failing and whilst I’m still not sure why, it’s getting the Airport Express setup that is causing the problems. That might be down to the Airport Express itself, or the Windows box, or even the router (a Thomson box supplied by O2). I’ve tried every set of instructions I can find but still nothing.

What are my options now? I could buy a newer Airport Express in the hope that works easily, or I could buy Airplay enabled speakers and be done with that extra step.

Too much faff ya see. If it had just worked I wouldn’t even be moaning about it here.

Tech Work

… write.

12 days into 2009 and my first little hiccup. The weekend offers me nothing with which to grace this blog, unless you want the fascinating tale of the one time I ventured outside all weekend, to pick up our wheelie bins as they had blown over. This led me to have wet slippers and the discovery that the sole of said slippers is slightly tapered and the join between sole and upper is almost completely underfoot in the middle of the slipper, unlike a more conventional slipper construction which would have a solid sole all the way across the sole of your foot, the join being at the sides.

Oh god. Am I really talking about slipper construction? How quickly I sink to such depths.

But then deciding to stay within the confines of the house, rather than venture outside into the howling gales and lashing rain, means my sources of blog inspiration are limited, as evidenced above.

Largely I ‘pottered’. Which means I did a little work (a design proposal for a prospective web design client), played some games on the PlayStation (ok, one game, Pro Evolution Soccer 3), tidied a little, watched TV a little, ate a little (3lb weight loss from last week!), read a little more of Live and Let Die, and so on and so and so on.

Ohh and I played with the cat.

But I’m determined I won’t resort to using the cat as blog fodder even if he remains charmingly cute and occasionally annoying.

To be fair my weekend was quietly enjoyable and if I’m honest it did actually generate a fair few topics for this blog. It’s just that I can’t seem to write that much about any of them.

I was going to discuss the blatant sexism in the James Bond novel I’m reading but then it was written in 1954 so one can hardly expect it to live up to modern political ideals.

I could discuss Pro Evolution Soccer Master League tactics, specifically who is a good buy for a Division 2 team (hint: Gouffran, Gambino, Urreta, Mezague and Beria first) but that would REALLY narrow my audience. Not to mention the fact that most of the information I have to offer is already listed in the previous parentheses.

I could cover the fact that I spent some of the weekend re-installing Windows and, subsequently, will have to spend more time re-installing the applications I use. In a way this is a good thing, it means I can clear out those that I don’t really use anyway.

And finally, I could ponder my thoughts around the idea of switching to using my MacBook as my main computer, with the purchase of a NAS drive to host my working files, media and photos but… well that’s a way off so no point in doing that.

Instead I thought I’d just start writing and see what happened and, as usual, I find that I’m quite able to fill a blog post. Sure the quality isn’t that great but a post is a post (except when it’s a page, right?).

And hey, YOU’RE still reading..

Blogging

I’ve used Picasa on my Windows machine for a few years now, it is my photo library and where I probably do most of my photo editing as well. I just love the way the application works as it ‘just works’.

So to hear that, finally, it is available for Macs certainly does warm my cockles.

(hang on, I’m not a cockney… there are no cockles here!)

The thing about Picasa, something I’ve only really considered since hearing this news, is that the way it’s been designed seems almost Apple-like, with small touches well designed and well thought out. Of all the applications I run on my Windows PC, Picasa is the most pleasurable to use, it is a powerful application that seems simple. Not something that can be said for every Windows based application.

When I got my MacBook I did consider making it the main computer in the house, moving all my media files and work files to an external drive and switching my personal computing habits over to the way Apple do things. I never did make that switch and one of the reasons was that, with 6 years of digital photos in the library, the prospect of having to use iPhoto to manage them filled me with dread.

I wonder now if I can finally make the switch.

Music wise I use iTunes, so that’s fine. Work wise most of my projects are web based so all I need is an FTP client and text editor, again the Mac is well equipped to handle those things (Coda for example). Beyond that I already know the Mac will handle everything else I need it to do.

So, for me, Picasa is the cherry on the icing. The finishing touch that should let me, finally, work the way I want to work, independently of any constraint enforced on me by the operating system and choice of applications. Yup, sounds like it is time to get that QNAP NAS drive I’ve been pondering.

For those interested:

Photos Tech