Two things happened this weekend from an entertainment perspective.

First, I finished getting all of the “hidden packages” and stunt jumps in Grand Theft Auto 4, taking me to 95% completion. It was a bit confusing why I hadn’t hit the 100% mark, having completed everything else, but then I found this 100% completion checklist and realized I haven’t taken all of my “friends” to do every possible activity. Guess I’ll be doing that this week. (Admittedly, that seems pretty freaking tedious to contribute towards 100%. Come on, Rockstar.)

Second, Jenn and I went with my parents to see Tropic Thunder. It was funny, to be sure, but I’m not sure which was funnier: the movie, or watching my dad nearly fall out of his seat laughing at the movie. There was definitely a lot of random stuff going on in there, and I went in not really knowing anything about it or what to expect, but it was worth the watch. Far and away, Tom Cruise was the greatest thing in that movie, though - so over the top.

I still want to see Death Race, though. I was totally in the mood for mindless action but we ended up hitting Tropic Thunder instead. My craving for destruction has not yet been sated.

media comments edit

A potential storage alternative to Windows Home Server for my media center: Drobo. Looks like a cool, affordable device that has the ability to make several disks appear as one (which is the feature I was really looking for in WHS). They even have an add-on that can turn the whole thing into NAS. Slick.

UPDATE 8/25/08: I ended up getting a Windows Home Server.

media comments edit

I still haven’t solved my media server problem, mostly because I know it’s going to be a time-suck to set it all up and rip all the DVDs and get it to meet the minimum Wife Acceptance Factor. I can imagine eating up a full weekend on it. It’ll be nice when it’s done - if it gets done

  • but the investment is sort of a hurdle.

Anyway, following various Twitter links and surfing around, I’ve found a couple more interesting articles to contribute to the thought pool.

That “death of DVD” article comes closest to what I’m looking for. It even points to Windows Home Server for storage, which is definitely something I’m considering. The only real problem is the number of PCs and the form factor of each that I currently have. I have a desktop and a really under-powered mini-tower that I can use for the HTPC and the file server. The problem is that neither are really suited to sit in my living room. The desktop is too large, and the mini-tower, which is a better size, isn’t nearly powerful enough to be anything but a simple file server. Of course, it’s not powerful enough to run Windows Home Server, either, so if I wanted to go that route, I’d have to allocate the desktop to it and punt entirely on that mini tower.

And there’s the rub.

So now the current plan is (I think), based on budget and time…

  1. Get a 1TB drive from Costco that I can use to start the ripping of the movies.
  2. Get the mini-tower formatted with some sort of OS on it that can work as a file server. Maybe a Linux variant with Samba or something. Jury’s out.
  3. Hook up the 1TB drive to the file server.
  4. Hook up my existing media/archive drive to that, too. (I have iTunes on my laptop running off of that so I can just switch where the network drive gets mapped to and I’m good.)
  5. Rip a couple of movies so I can test it out.
  6. Get Vista Ultimate (I have a license for it just hanging out) on the desktop and get My Movies installed.
  7. Point the desktop to the file share on the mini-tower with the movies and see if the media server will play it reasonably.
  8. Start making decisions:
    • Does the mini tower work reasonably as a file share? Is it fast enough?
    • Can the desktop go out in the living room or is it too big and loud? If it’s too big and loud…
      • Should it be the file server instead so there’s some more power behind it?
      • Do I need a Mac Mini or the like for the living room?
    • When do I get my 1080p TV? (I have 720p now.) Do I want the TV more than the media center? (Probably.)

What my ultimate plan would be to save me time and frustration…

  1. Get a 1TB Windows Home Server ($730).
  2. Get a Mac Mini ($600).
  3. Get a Media Center remote control and receiver for the Mac Mini ($30).
  4. Install my copy of Vista Ultimate on the Mac Mini using Boot Camp.
  5. Install My Movies on the Mac Mini.
  6. Rip DVDs to the Windows Home Server.
  7. Play through Mac Mini/Vista/My Movies.

That sounds simple and doesn’t require any stressful decision making… but it does run $1360 (plus, in some cases, shipping). Is it worth the extra cost for reduced hassle? (It might be.)

UPDATE 8/25/08: I ended up getting a Windows Home Server.

net comments edit

Typemock Isolator 5.0 has been released and there are a lot of cool things that come with it. The two big ones:

  • Arrange/Act/Assert syntax: A more fluent syntax style for setting up your mocks. You can still use the old API, but the new one offers a nice alternative to the classic record/playback metaphor.
  • Open Source licensing: I blogged about this before, but it’s finally in effect. You can get the goodness of Isolator for use in your open source project. I’ll totally be hooking this up in CR_Documentor.

This is huge. I’m totally excited. Check it out.