Blogs

iShutdown Iphone App

iShutdown is a great app for a small price. I searched the app store for a free solution but came up with nothing. I have emailed the owner of this app a few times and he is actively working on this app and working out the kinks. Having said that, there is not many. He recently released the beta version of his server software which now can be run as a Windows service. I had been using his old application and had set it up to automatically run when windows loaded via the Windows task scheduler. However, now with the new beta version I can just run it natively as a Windows service.


How to Start a Windows Application when your Computer Starts

I'm going to show you how to make a Windows program start automatically when you turn on your PC (without requiring you to logon to your account). Typically software that is meant to run unattended will have an option to run as a Windows service. This enables the application to start once Windows finishes loading BUT prior to someone logging in. Read more »


iheartradio.com - A cool website and iphone app

If you haven't heard of iheartradio by now, I want to make sure you have! This is a really cool iphone app, it's free, AND it works anywhere in the world. A lot of radio programs block use outside of the US, so for people like us living and working aboard, we are a bit out of luck...well, not with this app. Read more »


Does Windows Have Symlinks? YES!

So I was trying to do something the other day with my ServeToMe server. I wanted to add certain folders to the media server that were on different drives. For personal reasons, I wanted to add the folders I wanted to share under the existing folders I was currently sharing, so I thought I would create shortcut files to those folders and drop them inside the folders I was already sharing. I quickly found out that this didn't work.

Hmmm, so I was thinking and thought if Windows has something like Linux symlinks, then it would have to work. I did a quick search on how to create symlinks on windows and sure enough I found it, the command is mklink. So I gave it a try and it worked perfectly. The media server software on my iphone was able to open up the folder just as if it were a regular folder that existed under the root folder that was shared.

This works on Windows 7, not sure about anything older than that. The command is

mklink /D C:\symlink-file-you-want-to-create C:\the-folder-you-want-to-link

So to create a symlink from inside my media folder to my storage drive folder I would do this:

mklink /D "C:\Media Folder\MusicArt" C:\storagedrive\musicart


Understanding Port Forwarding

What is Port Forwarding?

Port fowarding is telling your router what ports to open to the outside world (connections outside of your local network) and where to direct traffic that hits those ports.

Some software requires certain ports to be open on your router so that they can function properly. Some Peer-2-Peer software requires ports to be open for communication to occur between online servers, etc. If you plan to stream media from your home PC to your iphone or mobile device, odds are you will need to open a port for that communication to happen.


How to Setup a Dynamic DNS Service to Access your Home PC

Our global IP address (the IP address that points to your network at your house) is very important if we want to access things on our devices connected to our home networks. Each of your devices have a local IP address, which probably looks something like this...192.168.x.x. This address is the local IP address and does NOTHING for us when we are outside our network (i.e. connected to the internet at our office or friend's house).

What we want...is the GLOBAL IP Address. What is OUR global IP address? Well, this is the address your internet provider gives to you and is probably sitting on your wireless or wired router in your house somewhere. To find out what your CURRENT global ip address is, you can go to a site like: http://whatismyipaddress.com/ You will see your IP address towards the top of this page. Mine looks something like 122.22.x.x.

This will tell you what your global IP address is. So now you can access things through the internet to your home network. You will most likely need to setup port forwarding in your router to allow the communication to go through to the server software and applications you have running on your PC or Mac at home. Search my site on how to setup port forwarding.


Create your own Cloud - How to Access your Multimedia Collection from Anywhere in the World

Recently I have been moving my media collection into the 21st century. What does that mean? Well, I'll tell you what it means to me. It means I should be able to easily access my ENTIRE collection from anywhere in the world and with ease. This article will teach you how to basically create your own cloud. Many companies are offering cloud services nowadays so that you can access your information from anywhere. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft's Skydrive are all examples of cloud services. They offer secure storage and assurance that your data will be safe from disk failures. If you keep all your data on your home PC and your drive crashes you could lose all that valuable data. Well that's one plus for cloud services, HOWEVER, do you know, that Google and these other companies have access to your files and with some of these providers, whatever you upload becomes their property. Read more »


WOL - WAKE ON LAN Explained

Would you like to turn on your PC remotely?
Perhaps from a different room in your house? Perhaps from your backyard? PERHAPS from a beach in the bahamas?

I hope to help people understand what Wake on Lan (WOL) is and how to use it. If you have an Xbox 360 and have ever turned it on and loaded media center with your PC turned off, you might notice your PC will automatically turn on. How does this happen? Well, when your xbox doesn't get a response from your PC, it will send a "magic packet" to your PC. This magic packet will turn on your PC as long as your PC has the WOL feature enabled. Most modern PCs and Macs support WOL and have it enabled by default.


How to embed subtitles into your videos

If you have movies with subtitle files (.srt or .idx/.sub) you know that you are unable to watch them through your XBOX 360 media center and other players that do not support subtitles. It's a shame that the XBOX can't handle these separate files and display your video with them.

There is a work around. You can install PS3 Media Server (initially it was developed for the PS3, however it has grown and now supports the XBOX 360) and serve your files with the subtitles and watch your movies with subtitles on your XBOX. I don't like this method for a few reasons,
Read more »


What format should I convert .ts/.mkv files to?

Recently I have found .ts and .mkv files popping up more and more. I understand the .mkv file format is this open source blah blah container, but it just doesn't play well in most of the media players and also results in very large video files. I can convert them in the mpeg4 file format and reduce the filesize by half and be left a quality that has no noticeble change in audio/video quality. I'm not a fan of either, mostly because it gives my xbox 360 media center problems when trying to stream them from my PC that I use as my media center. Read more »

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