08-29-08 - 1

So far this fucking media PC is a giant frustration. It kind of amazes me that so many people out there build their own computers. It's still just such a cluster-fuck of incompatibility and broken ass drivers and Windows bugs. I would've really struggled if I didn't have another computer to use to get on the net and google about these problems, and if my google-fu wasn't so fucking advanced I never would've made it.

Apparently Windows XP SP3 has a well known crash bug, it fails to boot if you have a firewire drive hooked up. Yay MS. So I have to remember to unplug my external drive every time I reboot or it hangs.

The fucking LCD front panel is worthless; the hardware is terrible, it's too bright and the contrast is awful and the visible angle range is like one degree. The software for it is even worse, I have yet to succeed in actually getting it to show the media information like it's supposed to.

MS's Media Center app is no good. It's sort of okay for video I guess, but it's totally broken for big music collections. Just opening up "My Music" it stalls out for 60 seconds, and browsing around is just impossible with how slow & badly designed the GUI is (it shows 9 albums per page). Plus it does the fucking evil iTunes thing where it thinks it knows how to organize my music better than I do. JUST SHOW ME MY FUCKING DIRECTORY STRUCTURE!! Those 5000 songs I have randomly downloaded and stuffed in a folder called "misc" , no I do NOT want those to get all mixed in with my purchased music when you sort by artist or song title. Urgh.

So now I get to try some of the other media center apps, like MediaPortal. Or I could just write my own. It's a pretty fucking trivial app. Take remote control commands, browse playlists, play music, yay.

If I can't find better software to run this thing it's going to wind up being just a disk server + networked audio player. So like we can use our laptops to pick songs and tell it to play remotely and it will output to the stereo. Actually I want that kind of interface no matter what, so I'll have to find an elegant way to make that work. The ugly way is just to remote desktop to the media pc and set up plays there. Another ugly way is to use something like PulseAudio to beam your laptop's audio out to the media pc.

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