Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stuff I like (updated) - Part 1 - Media Box

Hi all,

On my old blog that I started while I had a mountain of time, I made a series thingie about stuff that I liked.  Granted, it was 99% about parenting stuff, but I still think it's important to share what I like.

I'd like to revisit the situation.  Plus I'm avoiding getting on a treadmill, so....

Media - Kodi

It looked complicated to me, but it really wasn't at all.

I can't say enough awesome stuff about this setup, but in short, it gets it done.  I have a ChromeBox that boots into Kodi or Chrome OS, and Kodi does 99% of the stuff I want it to.  For that 1%, Chrome OS gladly takes up the slack.

The long version is:

Kodi used to be called XBMC, standing for XBox Media Centre.

I started using XBMC back in the days when I had an XBOX classic, and loved it.  It streamed media beautifully.  I even went to stores that sold used XBOX classics (the 360 had been around for a few years), and bought them to have, just in case mine died.  And it did. Several times.

Eventually, I got to the point where the hardware was failing faster than I could replace it, so I decided to go back to having a computer do the job and bought a Mac Mini.  I was used to having XBMC, and there was a version of XBMC that ran on the mac, so I thought I was all set.  I found that it was too slow, so I went to using the core OS.  Bit by bit, my Mac got a bit old, and wasn't able to do stuff very well.  I pondered the idea of upgrading it, but it was so expensive, and I didn't know that I'd be happy with the results, so I plunged again, this time to a ChromeBox.  I have a ChromeBook, and it's great for what it is - a window to the web.  That's it, though.  The limitations of the Chrome OS started to show after a while, namely:

 - Inability to access Windows File Systems
 - Wonky File Manager (Moving one file at a time was possible, moving multiples was problematic)
 - Limited media viewing (couldn't see images of DVDs, and stuff like that).

It was gorgeous for web stuff, and it booted SO fast, I barely needed to breathe.

I heard about the ability to load XBMC, now renamed to Kodi, onto a ChromeBox, and I started salivating.  It takes awhile, but it's amazingly worth it (instructions here).  I'll admit, I was hesitant, but after an hour of floundering, I was ready to rock.

I'm still working out some network kinks with it, but this is small potatoes next to the feeling that I couldn't do anything with the old setup.  It can do everything that I was missing, and looks damn sexy doing it too!

I have a few other things that I like, that I'll ramble on about when I have a few moments.

Thank you!

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