Thursday, January 12, 2012

Windows 8 Missing Media Centre?

A colleague recently told me that Window 8 will no longer have Media Centre in it based on the Beta version he was testing. This didn't really surprise me.

I've been questioning in my own mind whether Windows Media Centre was still a valid technology and whether I should just convert my Media PC to another household computer.

This came about because I can access and stream content both locally from other media devices in my home and from the Internet given the capabilities of my Smart TV, Smart Blu-ray player and Smart Home-Theatre-In-A-Box (HTIB)system. Also, do we really need Media Centre if we have to use a set-top box or Personal Video Recorder (PVR)to change channels from our cable and satellite provider? One of the reasons for a Media PC is to eliminate all those extra boxes.

This is also a consideration in Canada given that Media Centre doesn't support Over-The-Air (OTA) High Definition broadcasts. I have to use Hauppauge's WinTV Tuner software to watch OTA HD. Bell and Rogers don't support cable card technology so I can't buy one of the cable card tuners such as Hauppauge's WinTV-DCR-2650 or SiliconDust's HDHomeRun Prime either.

However the rumour was just that, a rumour, and Media Centre has or will show up in a later beta version of Windows 8 according to Microsoft’s Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky in a number of articles posted on the Internet such as WinRumours and ZDNet.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hard Drive Woes Again

This is a follow-up post to my June 22nd 2010 post on backups and crashing hard drives.

Seagate replaced the drive in question under warranty with one of their "factory reconditioned" drives a couple of weeks later. I had already purchased a new, larger drive so I could get the system up in running so it has been sitting in a cupboard for about a year

At the end of June, I decided to upgrade the drive in my HP MediaVault with this drive.

You can probably guess where I am going with this.....

Less than 20 days later the reconditioned drive failed just after I loaded 500 photos from a family vacation. Fortunately I had done a full backup less than 8 days ago so had almost a complete set of files. I was also able to recover many of the photos from the camera's memory card (thanks to CnW Recovery , so all in all, I lost just a few days podcasts and a handful of photos.

Who says lightning never strikes twice in the same place?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Hard Drive to Computer Perfection

"There are two kinds of computer users: those that back up and those who haven't lost any data...yet."

- Me.

I mention this as the 500Gb Seagate hard drive on my home office desktop crashed two weeks ago. Fortunately I back up my data periodically to one of three USB external hard drives that I have, so I didn't lose any data, well, not much data. I apparently forgot to include the right Adobe Photoshop Elements catalog in the backup.


Oh well, the old one wasn't working that well anyway.

But the downside was that it still took close to 3 days to reinstall Windows Vista and 20 some programs that I use and their corresponding data.

This indicated to me that my backup process was not that good and that a disc image would probably be a better option. I know a number of disk image programs exist so a future article will deal with some of the options such as free and for-a-fee Macrium Reflect, Paragon or Acronis True Image as well as my trials.