June 27, 2010: Beginning a Project

This morning we went to the Omega in Geneseo for a late breakfast.  After breakfast we went over to Walmart for a very quick stop just to pick up a few vital supplies and for me to hit the computer and electronic sections to see about finding an external hard drive that I can hook up to the laptop so that I can get some DVD archiving done.

I was very fortunate to find a two terabyte USB hard drive enclosure for around $139 which is very good.  It is just a cheap Western Digital but more than enough for my uses.  That is a very good price and it is a “rollback” currently so it is usually more expensive.  This will let me get started right away.  I am very hopeful that we can get the basement in dad’s house cleaned up, at least, on this long trip even if we can’t get a truck to haul all of our remaining stuff down to Texas.

I had to work for several hours this afternoon and into this evening for the office.  Once I had some free time I got the external hard drive hooked up and started the first DVD archiving to get up and running.  It may not be hard work but it is stuff that really needs to be done for everyone’s sanity and it makes me feel much better to know that real progress is being made on something very tangible.

I am hoping, if all goes well, that about four hundred DVDs can be archived during this trip.  That will represent a massive percentage of dad’s remaining store in the basement.  We have done hundred previously although much work was lost at one point requiring me to start over from the beginning but now we seem to be making some significant progress and my plan is to script a massive compression process that I can allow to just run on its own without any intervention given the volume of work that I will have for it to do all at once and to let the server do it without needing me to set up desktops to do the work.  That should be far, far better than it was before when I had to do everything by hand.

This evening we watched When in Rome on the AppleTV which was quite good.  It had a lot of people that I like in it and was a cute story.  Nothing too ground breaking and, of course, Dominica figured out the entire plot from the very beginning as she always does but it was still cute.

We spent an hour or more just looking through movies available on the AppleTV to see what was out there.  I was very interested to learn that it appears, at least according to some strong rumours, that the next generation AppleTV is about to debut.  Rather than being a direct descendent of the current AppleTV it looks like it is going to be based upon the iPhone and iPad platform and be effectively nothing more than an iPad without any screen with just HDMI output.  This will allow it to be extremely green using almost no power whatsoever and should lower the development cost from Apple’s perspective.  The rumour is that the new AppleTV will be absolutely tiny, use almost no power and output full 1080p instead of the ridiculously limited 720p of the current model.

The new AppleTV is said to have no hard drive, which was a huge mistake, in my opinion, of the current models.  The need to download content to the current unit is a huge pain and the connection to iTunes makes it almost worthless.  Competing systems rely on streaming nearly all content and the current AppleTV has moved in that direction slowly with Internet Radio features and podcast viewing being added since the original version that Dominica and I bought some years ago.

So we will see what all features exist in the new AppleTV when it finally releases, if it ever does, but the old AppleTV was so close to being an amazing idea that I think that Apple will really do itself and its customers a major disservice if they do not continue and upgrade the platform and, hopefully, take it in a new direction not involving local storage.  My primary concern is that they may not support that DLNA standard that all of the competing platforms are using.  If they fail to support DLNA then they will not be able to compete against the PS3 and XBOX 360 and many other devices, in my opinion, that already do this and do it so well.  People have large collections of music and video that they want to be able to listen to and view via their AppleTV that simply cannot do so in any reasonable way with the current system.  The new AppleTV will also need to support a slightly wider array of formats as well.

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