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Microsoft Media Center 2005 Reviewed

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the my-tivo-cost-200-bucks dept.

Windows 145

Thomas Hawk writes "Microsoft is set to release their new Media Center 2005 by none other than Bill Gates himself in Los Angeles tomorrow. In advance of this announcement, the New York Times (registration required) is running an article on the new product today. The article says that the quality of the MCE television has generally been received as inferior to rival and competitor TiVo. I wrote a review on the new MCE 2005 last week called MCE 2005, Underwhelmed. I'm offering continuing media coverage of MCE 2005."

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145 comments

Frist Prost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10496950)

Fristy prosty on this fine day! Rot in hell Microsoft!

Re:Frist Prost (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497228)

Just like the amateurs at Google©.

let's face the facts:

- Google© is the favourite search engine for terrorists, paedophiles, communists, neo-nazis and George W. Bush (the latter commenting: "Whew, this is tricky!" when confronted with the confusing user interface of Google©)

- Google© has long ago sold out to AOL Time Warner [riaa.com] ; the next round of IPO will increase their shares and they are likely to achieve a total majority of shares by the end of 2005.

- Gmail fails to meet the standard of users above Novice-level; those who are used to the comfort of a sophisticated email-client, like Microsoft Outlook, connected to a powerful and secure server-side solution, like Microsoft Exchange [microsoft.com] . When I called the Google©-helpdesk ("Hoogle") and asked for POP3 and IMAP support, I heard the insulting sound of muffled laughter, then a "Sorry, we really don't ...", again laughing; then the line was dead. Mind you, we are paying > 80,000 USD per month in AdSense-fees.

- Gmail still does not work fully with less sopisticated browsers, such as Mozilla and Firefox. This may be caused by lacking standards-support in these browsers. Fortunately, barely nobody uses these nowadays, so the problem can safely be ignored for the time being. After all, the standard user-agent for web access is the mature and secure Internet Explorer

- Google©'s investment in Doubleclick.com and other "online marketing" agencies is a dubious move; personally, I can live with text-only advertising as practised by Google© so far, but our company ads are exclusively deployed using latest Macromedia Flash technology, because this simply is what our professional customers expect of us

- The ethical credibility of Google© has been on the decline since a new employee of Google© (a "noogler", according to the company-internal nomenclatura, or "Goospeak") has leaked some disturbing information regarding cruel rituals of initiation, including gross acts of homoerotic sexuality [zchicken.com] , horses [zchicken.com] and mutants [zchicken.com] . However, law authorities are now more alert towards Google©, since the so called FAGACT has passed the Californian legislative. Trivia: the percentage of heterosexual Google©-employees has reached an all-time low of << 0.09% as of an assessment on 2004-08-22.

brave (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10496955)

you are brave, posting on slashdot, dead now

MMC CAPTUARED TEH FLAG! BLUE TEAM ON TEH SPOKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10496961)

first (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10496979)

M$ center is a joke, use mythtv instead.

Blaster bait? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497002)

So now MSBlaster will be a real scream. Put even ods that it will get moded and hacked real quick!

It's a shame, but (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497011)

due to Microsoft policy [theregister.com] , any TV programs you record will be destroyed automatically after 30 days, unless they receive a notice from their legal department...

More Features (5, Funny)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497018)

The article says that the quality of the MCE television has generally been received as inferior to rival and competitor TiVo.

Microsoft salesman: ...But wait! Have you seen all the new DRM features?

Re:More Features (5, Informative)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497168)

Here are some of the more relevant paragraphs from the NYT (relevant to the argument that Media Center PC is not as good as Tivo) story for those who don't want to have to register at their site:

So far, the record of Media Center PC's is mixed. Since they were introduced in 2002, computers using the first two versions of this software have been slow sellers. IDC, which had forecast sales of 1.5 million of them this year, now sees sales at 550,000 units for all of 2004.

Roger Kay, a vice president of IDC, says sales of Media Center PC's have lagged because they are buggy, too hard to use, and often too noisy to put in a living room. And even among the small group of users, they haven't developed the fanatical following of TiVo, the stand-alone video recorder.

"I haven't been in some placid home where the people who use Media Center PC's think it is great and a part of their life," Mr. Kay said.

Stephen Baker, the director of industry analysis at the NPD Group, a research firm, is skeptical even of the existing sales of Media Center PC's. "A lot of their sales have been accidental," he said. "Someone wants to buy the best PC out there, and this is the one with all the bells and whistles"

The media extender device may give Microsoft its desired beachhead in the living room. But those devices are emerging technology and have an initial price tag of about $250. A recorder from TiVo, by contrast, can be bought for less than $100 after rebates, although it has a fee of $12.95 a month, which the Windows system does not.

Re:More Features (2, Insightful)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497257)

Actually, I know a girl whose parents bought her a nice computer for college. I was in her room, and saw the Media Center Sticker on her computer and asked her if she liked it. She had no idea what I was talking about. I still havent convinced her to set it up and use it as a TiVo.

Re:More Features (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497459)

If you can convince her of that, maybe you can convince your way into her panties. College Freshman are stupid.

Re:More Features (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497794)

She had no idea what I was talking about. I still havent convinced her to set it up and use it as a TiVo.

FYI, even if you get the computer set up, she's still not going to go out with you.

Re:More Features (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497272)

A recorder from TiVo, by contrast, can be bought for less than $100 after rebates, although it has a fee of $12.95 a month, which the Windows system does not.

This is EXACTLY why I went with a Tivo. Price. $50 after rebate and it's noiseless. I don't think about it and I don't worry that it will crash.

I was seriously thinking about buying a machine to do MythTV which was my first choice but I always found myself put off by the time/money investment only to have yet another machine running in the house sucking electricity (I am VERY interested in seeing a power consumption comparison between a low-end MythTV machine, Tivo, and Microsoft solution).

Anyway. Building and running a mythTV box, while well within my ability, was just too much of a hassle compared to clicking on CircuitShitty and picking it up at the desk 20 minutes later.

YMMV.

Re:More Features (2, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498071)

The superior solution years from now will the the solution with no subscription plan.

Someone in slashdot pointed out from previous articles that Snapstream could use XML TV to get data from Zap2it. I have tried it, and I ran into every firewall brick wall you can imagine.

Granted I can still schedule shows via Snapstream to record by punching in 9:00 for example. It's just not the same having that TV guide menu like the paid Tivo service.

I can see it now... (4, Funny)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497173)

Judging by the increasing gap between what corporations want with DRM and what end-users want to do with their media, I envision something like this:

Bill Gates opens up the curtain to reveal an enormous display. He introduces the new version and says he would like to begin with a demonstration of his favorite feature.

The screen powers up and... it's completely blank.

"The wave of the future," says Bill. "Our new DRM is completely unbreakable. Through careful research we have determined that the most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen.' [slashdot.org] Through extrapolation, this proves that the most common format of all digital media, including movies, is stolen."

"Ladies and gentlemen of corporate America, I give you: BlankScreen (TM). The new DRM assumes that all users are thieves and simply refuses to do anything at all. No one will ever steal your IP again."

Corporations will buy into this new DRM heavily. Then they will act confused when Apple releases a light-on-DRM media machine that manages to do well for some unfathomable reason.

Re:I can see it now... (4, Funny)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497617)

And halfway into the presentation, in front of all the world, inexplicably, BlankScreen(TM) turns a familiar shade of blue...

Re:More Features (2, Insightful)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497177)

Whats new-- Microsoft's entire success is due solely to protectionist schemes-- any time they are forced to compete on a level playing field by design merit they fail miserably. Expect them to buy TiVo out, try to make some special deal with some big content company or instill one of their patents, in order to make their product "better" by locking the competition out-- it's just their way...

HDTV gap (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497774)


Microsoft's entire success is due solely to protectionist schemes

Those schemes are self protection of Microsoft's own business.

Protecting customers and competitorsM-D partners is a different matter.

I don't see the Media PC booming into a brisk holiday sales season; the TiVo has much stronger word-of-mouth advertising.

Where the TiVo falters, IMHO, is in providing friendly HDTV recording capabilities.

Re:HDTV gap (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498389)

I think EVERYONE is failing in providing friendly HDTV recording capability... considering said capability only hit the market last spring...

I'd rather Tivo take their time and Do-It-Right than fuck it up royally (like some to-be-unnamed vendors). IIRC, an HD-Tivo is still unavailable...

Re:More Features (1)

Warhaven (718215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498360)

Salesman Continued: After MCE Television crushes TiVo into oblivion, you'll want to purchase the Janus-driven iPod Killer! It will be faster! Stronger! It will have features which every jogger, car-driver, and bicyclist needs... A MOVIE PLAYER! It will also make coffee, brown your toast, and prevent unwanted pregnancies!

Talented guy, indeed (2, Funny)

damiam (409504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497053)

Microsoft is set to release their new Media Center 2005 by none other than Bill Gates himself

So Gates himself wrote Media Center single-handedly?

Re:Talented guy, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497083)

No, but he did create the PC market single-handeded.

(that's sarcasm)

Re:Talented guy, indeed (2, Funny)

ricotest (807136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497127)

Considering it's just Windows XP with a few knobs on, I'm sure Gates could have coded it over a few evenings. One-handedly. Whilst jacking off over pictures of Satan.

Re:Talented guy, indeed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497370)

In the Corporate Repbulic of Microsoft the Internet jacks off on you.

Re:Talented guy, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497670)

He jacks off over himself?

Re:Talented guy, indeed (1, Troll)

triso (67491) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497679)

Whilst jacking off over pictures of Satan.
I must interject here. Since Bill Gates is Satan I doubt he would be jacking off over pictures of himself. Perhaps over pictures of Satan's whores, Satan's schoolgirls or Satans's angels. Perhaps?

This has been a message from the committtee to free Satan and his minions.

Re:Talented guy, indeed (1, Redundant)

jamiethehutt (572315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497299)

So Gates himself wrote Media Center single-handedly?

Well it *should* run on less than 640K of RAM then....

Hmm. Another Microsoft Solution (1, Insightful)

sorcium (783353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497082)

Maybe he will get a blue screen of death when he powers it up, much like he did with Windows 98. Sorry MS but you won't get to monopolize the TIVO industry

Re:Hmm. Another Microsoft Solution (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497142)

Coming soon... HDTV viruses & spyware

Oh Crap. There is no way I'm getting one now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497429)

The last thing I want to see is a picture of the Goatse.cx guy (or worse) frozen on my high definition, no less, television with an "Oh Snap!" or "Pwned!1!!" caption.

Re:Hmm. Another Microsoft Solution (1, Insightful)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497425)

Speaking of blue screens... did anyone ever notice that the Windows XP Logon Screen (the pretty one with all the playschool buttons) is mostly... blue? Wanna guess why? Maybe they were hoping if XP bluescreened, a user wouldn't be able to tell from a distance because they'd still see blue and think it was the logon screen. ;P (I kid! I kid! Because of love!!!)

Muslims (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497087)

Muslims just love to watch their beheading videos using WMP10 on a Windows XP MCE2005 PC

Allahu Akbar!!

What news, what news. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497131)

Lets see:

Tivo --- Cheap, works, easy to use, easy to setup.
MythTV --- Cheap, works, easy to use, difficult to setup.
MCE --- Expensive, works, easy to use, modertly difficult to setup.

Hmm...

So MS is saying that I can spend a thousand dollars on a PC, pay them around 150 dollars for the software, subject myself to DRM, and then risk getting my Television infected with spyware, viruses, and worms?

WERE CAN I SIGN UP?!!!!!

Re:What news, what news. (3, Insightful)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497354)

Tivo --- Cheap, works, easy to use, easy to setup.
MythTV --- Cheap, works, easy to use, difficult to setup.
MCE --- Expensive, works, easy to use, modertly difficult to setup.

The only problem with your otherwise insightful analysis is that the MCE "works" only for a rather limited definition of "working" compared to the functionality of the other products on the market. It does less and costs more, and Microsoft's principal argument for you to purchase one seems to be, "Hey, we're Microsoft. You may be familiar with some of our other products."

Re:What news, what news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497587)

So what does MCE not do that other systems do? It certainly does more than TiVo and, in my experience does about the same as Myth, and that more reliably.

Re:What news, what news. (2, Interesting)

lakeland (218447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497444)

I don't think MythTV can be described as cheap. A VIA based MythTV box, using a Hauppauge 250 in an aesthetically acceptable case will set you back about $600. That's more than enough to pay for Tivo.

Of course, this is because certain component manufacturers are suffering from low demand, or are milking the market (you choose). For instance a case is $100 but you can buy a complete DVD player (including power supply) for less than that - and it will look better. Just throw out the inside and plug the VIA MB in... Similarly, the hauppauge with its ivy tuner costs more than the entire TiVo, despite the TiVo including an ivy tuner!

Re:What news, what news. (2, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497876)

OF course, MythTV doesn't have a monthly fee- add in 3 years at 12 per month or so for a decent length of use comparison. And don't forget that MythTV allows customization and add ons (MythGame, MythMusic, MythPhone, add in a larger HD anytime, throw on an ftp server to access your files at a friends house, etc). Plus it can be used as a normal PC when not recording. While it may be more, you also get a lot more functionality for it.

Re:What news, what news. (2, Informative)

lakeland (218447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497895)

Oh sure, MythTV has a lot going for it. And it is very easy to accidentially include addons like a big HDD or a DVD writer in the cost when comparing to a TiVo, which is hardly an accurate comparison.

But TiVo is available as a lifetime subscription for less than the cost of a mythtv box.

A cyberthalamus media center. (0)

Thinkit4 (745166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497132)

Imagine when we all exist as a cyberthalamus. You won't have all these information restrictions and wierd GUIs on your media collection. It'll just be some chip close to the cyberthalamus.

Wait till 2007. (1)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497147)

It's a MS product. It's non-functional 'till version 3. DirectX, Windows, IE, case in point.

Re:Wait till 2007. (1)

El (94934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497520)

Actually, WinCE was non-functional until version 5.0... and Windows itself wasn't usable until version 3.1. But in general you are right, MS seems to have a philosophy of "Release it quickly and fix it later."

Re:Wait till 2007. (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498273)

As someone who used a couple of CE devices a fair bit before v5 of WinCE, I'm curious to know how you define 'non-functional'?

Poorly, I suspect.

Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (2, Insightful)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497165)

Call me picky, but I find even the quietest hard drives (Seagate Barracuda line is the quietest I've found) are unacceptably loud when used in a media PC in my living room. That constant humming is a big annoyance. Add to that, unless the case is an ITX format or smaller, I find a media PC unacceptably large for my living room as well. I've experimented with various harddrive-less media players/recorders but haven't found one that I liked enough to even mention by name here.

Re:Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497259)

I dunno... I got an old Gateway 386 case that strangely enough holds an ATX board and ATX power supply. It goes right where the VCR used to on the shelves. No sound difference, no real loss of room

Re:Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (1)

Zen Punk (785385) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497332)

That constant humming would be the cooling fans...HD s don't exactly hum, they click. I've found that lots of modern hard drives are no more noisy than the noise of an optical drive in a DVD player or the spindles in a VCR.

Re:Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (1)

riscthis (597073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497351)

Call me picky, but I find even the quietest hard drives (Seagate Barracuda line is the quietest I've found) are unacceptably loud when used in a media PC in my living room.
Have you tried a 2.5" laptop drive instead? They're slower and more expensive, but my PVR uses one of these and it is very quiet indeed -- often I only notice it on spin-up and spin-down. Not sure what it would sound like in a Media PC enclosure but may be worth a try.

I have the 60GB version in the Fujitsu range:
http://www.fujitsu.com/global/services/computing/s torage/hdd/mhdd/mht2xxx-catalog.html [fujitsu.com]

Re:Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497369)

You are probably in the minority then. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I do not believe the inclusion of hard drives and their noise has hurt X-Box or Tivo sales.

Re:Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497455)

These are supposedly tuned to be the quietest - the ones they use in Tivo's and other PVR's.

http://www.weaknees.com/maxtor_quickview.php [weaknees.com]

But like another poster said, most of the noise on your system probably comes from the fans.

Noisy??? (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497476)

Are you watching silent movies or something? I use Seagates and when watching tv at even a low volume I can't hear my PC at all. For movies, ie why you want a HTPC in the first place I can't hear anything but my 5.1 system.

Re:Noisy??? (2, Informative)

jimmyfergus (726978) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497580)

Well, your HTPC has to be on full time to record, so it has to be quiet enough when there are no other sources of noise.

However, I'm very picky about noise, and I've been able to silence drives very successfully. Get a modern quiet one, turn on acoustic management, and soft-mount it. Either suspend it with bungees [silentpcreview.com] , rest it on sorbothane foam, or at least use rubber grommets in the drive cage. There are all sorts of discussions about this on www.silentpcreview.com.

I'm amazed by how much bungee-suspension has silenced my hard drive. You have to tackle cooling on a free-suspended drive without the heatsink-effect of a case, but that's not too hard. [silentpcreview.com]

Much more difficult than hard drives, I think, is eliminating fan noise while cooling a modern machine. To have quiet fans, you need low airflow (and good fans), so you've got to work hard to make the case airflow as free as possible. Difficult with small HTPC cases particularly, but not impossible.

Re:Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497512)

Any dvd player i have seen makes more noise spinning the disc as any of the silent hds (samsung or seagate .7 series).
Obviously you will tell me that my ears dont work, that you can hear better or blah. I dont care. just dont spread fud.

Re:Noisy Hard Drive = No Thanks (3, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497999)

The noise you hear from a PC is at least 80% from the CPU fan, power supply fan and case fan. A fanless PC is extremely quiet - hard drives do make noise, but it's quiet enough that you're not terribly likely to hear a proper, low noise harddrive in a living room unless you put your ear up right next to the box it's in.


But yes, in general, these things would be much better if they used lower power CPUs with heatpipes and fanless power supplies. In fact, more PCs in general should be designed this way as I can't stand the humming of fan noise anymore (guess I'm just getting older).

Useful link (2, Funny)

xNoLaNx (653172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497167)

http://www.google.com/search?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ny times.com%2F2004%2F10%2F11%2Ftechnology%2F11micros oft.html%3Foref%3Dlogin%26pagewanted%3D1%26oref%3D login&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=moz illa&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial

Re:Useful link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497185)

Except that I'm not paying attention... This should work better [google.com]

Re:Useful link (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497208)

That one didn't work either, it yielded:

Sorry, no information is available for the URL www.nytimes.com/2004/10/11/technology/11microsoft. html?oref=login&pagewanted=1&oref=login

Re:Useful link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497197)

That link doesn't work for me. It brings up a Google search screen with no results. Maybe it works for others?

Re:Useful link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497387)

Try removing the "%20"'s.

Somewhat misleading customer satisfaction (5, Insightful)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497202)

From the NY times article Regardless of how they get Media Center computers, Mr. Brooks said people like them when they get them home. Microsoft's surveys, he said, found that more than 90 percent of the owners of the Media Center computers are satisfied with them, far more than the percentage of basic PC owners. Eight out of nine, he said, would recommend the product to a friend.

That doesn't surprise me but I think that the figure is intrinsically misleading . . . at only 3% of the market, these media PC's are probably primarily bought by the diehard enthusiast types. These are exactly the same group that would be most likely to be very satisfied with the product. The average Joe that is much more fickle and impatient currently wouldn't even consider buying one of these for his/her living room . . . at least not until they become much more mainstream . . .

Cognitive Dissonance (3, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497624)

Agreed.

To that I might add, the principle of post-decisional cognitive dissonance [wikipedia.org] will almost always increase reported customer satisfaction when more money has been spent on something in order to (theoretically) add value.

On the other hand, even assuming the numbers are a reasonably accurate account and Media Center computers are generally well-liked by their users, I have to wonder how these numbers compare to the numbers that would turn up if the same questions were asked about, say, TiVo. Or outside the genre, about iPods. Is 8/9 really that big a deal?

And finally, I'd take any marketing-associated stats (particularly those associated with Microsoft) with a grain of salt. Just last week Halo 2 was touted as having "highest presale in the history of videogames," [slashdot.org] which was patently false (as noted in several of the /. comments).

Regardless of what you find to be the best explanation, it should be clear that these numbers don't mean what Microsoft wishes they meant.

Re:Somewhat misleading customer satisfaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10498296)

"That doesn't surprise me but I think that the figure is intrinsically misleading . . . at only 3% of the market, these media PC's are probably primarily bought by the diehard enthusiast types. These are exactly the same group that would be most likely to be very satisfied with the product. The average Joe that is much more fickle and impatient currently wouldn't even consider buying one of these for his/her living room . . . at least not until they become much more mainstream . . ."

So they're like Apple customers.

Depressed Geologist Making a Comeback (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497209)

My Doc tells me that I'm manic depressive but I think I'm old fashioned depressed. I have a lot of "referential thinking" but I've never heard thats diagnostic of a manic depressive person. I've never been super manic about anything, yet my doctor says I'm bipolar. I take Risperdal, Lithium, and Paxil. I was diagnosed in 1993.

My hobbies are primarily reading and pitching in to care for my only child, Lana. She's eight years old and growing up fast. I have interests that center around work and trying to make myself marketable enough to stay in the industry for 20 more years until I retire. My cat has been missing for 3 weeks and I miss her mucho. We were close.

I came to this site in order to get the word out on my childhood sexual encounters. Accounts of these may be extremely boring to you all, but I am very appreciative to anyone who would give me some feedback.

My earliest episode, at age four, consisted of fondling the genitals of Robby (age 4). Later at ages 6 through 8, I routinely begged John (age 12 and a frequent babysitter)if he would place his penis inside of me. We tried to negotiate it several times but never were successful in "hooking up". Apparently, one night when John "babysat" me in Europe, we were attempting to get an interlude off thhe ground. Before things got rolling, John produced a palm full of transparent gel substance declaring it was sperm! I was mortified.

To this day I am convinced that my father asked John's father to have John produce "sperm" the next time I asked for sex. My dad thought this strategy would put a stop to my burning desire to explore sex at such a young age. I actually think that my dad set me up several times to see if I was bisexual or gay. For example, I was sleeping at my buddies house one night when I woke up out of a drunken slumber to my buddy dry humping me and whispering sweet nothings! I never figured him to be gay or bi before that, so I figured Dad was up to his old tricks again.

My most pathetic role was played at college. I spied on people having sex. If I could take anything back that I did in college, it would be this. Whenever I see a keyhole, I get the sweats. I think of how I would feel if a boy did that to my daughters.

These are the highlights or shall I say, lowlights of the first part of my life. Please let me know what you think. It would be helping me and my family immensely.

Yours Sincerely,

Backdoor Man aka Michael Sims

2005 is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497224)

Last I checked, it's still 2004. Oh wait, I see, it's going to be be too buggy to be usable until sometime in 2005. Now I get it.

As much as I hate to admit it . . . (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497232)

. . . Windows XP Media Center Edition is pretty cool. My roommate purchased an HP computer for college that came with MCE, though he didn't even try to set it up last year, this year he's gotten it working.

We've used it, so far, to record South Park episodes and Comedy Central's Secret Stash. There's nothing better than going off to Intro to Philosophy class after just having heard a 5-minute unbleeped tirade from an angry black man. We've now got it set to record every show of several series, and it's really nice to be able to start playing a show at a moments notice.

I'm kind of jealous that he's got it, actually. I'd like to turn my spare computer into a Linux box, but I'd also like to record shows on it, if such thing were possible. I have no idea if any equivalent to MCE exists on Linux.

Re:As much as I hate to admit it . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497378)

mythtv, it's been doing this stuff for a while. Lets you seamlessly share tuners across the network so you can watch tv on a PC without a tuner as well (in fact you wouldn't even know the PC didn't have a tuner).....

Re:As much as I hate to admit it . . . (2, Interesting)

user32.ExitWindowsEx (250475) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497384)

MythTV www.mythtv.org

I can even watch TV from across a network with it, using KnoppMyth as the frontend.

Re:As much as I hate to admit it . . . (3, Informative)

MonkeyCookie (657433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497400)

For Linux, there's MythTV [mythtv.org] and Freevo [sourceforge.net] . They're both free, and I've heard good things about both of them.

I'm planning to get a mini-ITX form-factor computer and install Linux and one of the above to use as a media box. I'd also like to put some games and possibly Stepmania [stepmania.com] on it. That would be a nice setup.

Anyone care to share any personal experiences with MythTV or Freevo?

Re:As much as I hate to admit it . . . (1)

DownWithTheMan (797237) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497519)

We used MythTV here at my work (BYU, Univeristy Library) where we only get cable provided by the university... Quite frankly I was impressed that it was able to grab a program guide for such a chopped up cable feed... We get like 7 or 8 channels... As far as the Live-TV features, I haven't had a single problem yet... Plus I've throughly enjoyed the intrensic DVD ripper built in...

Also it came built-in with a MAME/NES/SNES emulator built in so that on your PC-TV you can also play Nintendo!

All in all though I didn't find it very difficult to set up at all, and was overly impressed...

Re:As much as I hate to admit it . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497554)

Any bets on how many more people will reply with MythTV?

Re:As much as I hate to admit it . . . (1)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497727)

Any bets on how many more people will reply with MythTV?

Actually, I was betting that someone would claim the AC is actually an astroturfer, which wouldn't be suprising at all.

Can it join a domain? (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497277)

As I understand it, MCE is just pro with added junk. If it retails for the Same as Home, could be a nice, cheap way to upgrade to Pro.

Re:Can it join a domain? (2, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497516)

Since MCE is only available preloaded on PCs, and those PCs must have TV tuner cards and remotes, it's hard to imagine than an MCE PC would be cheaper than a regular PC with XP Pro.

No It Can't (2, Informative)

corren (559473) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498549)

Unless you upgrade from MC 2004 to 2005 (and have previously joined a domain) you can not join a domain with MC 2005.

This is because MC 2005 is cheaper than XP Pro, and MSFT doesn't want corporations abandoning XP Pro sales.

Bad review (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497303)

" Although the product allegedly will support the ATI HDTV Wonder card it is my understanding that this card only supports OTA (over the air) HDTV broadcasts. WTF?" - From the submitter review

What an uninformed statement. This the fault of cable and sat companies. The htpc communities have screamed their heads off about for awhile now but with the new broadcast flags, I believe we will see the death of HDTV recording (on pc, too easy to share) all together. Unless there is a solid shared standard (with agreement of the copyright holders of course) you will never see anything from HDTV cable and sat on your pc.

If any one is wondering, NO you can not just record the component signal. The pci bus has proven to be to slow to handle raw High definition signals. Hell why do you think pci video card are practically dead?

Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection (great link) (1)

Mstrgeek (820200) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497325)

This a great blog about Microsoft Media Center 2005

http://thomashawk.com/2004/10/microsoft-media-cent er-2005.html

I'm unimpressed (4, Insightful)

El (94934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497345)

I've got a very expensive Sony Media Center PC. The program guide and remote control are nice, but the thing takes forever to switch channels, and video quality is poor (it appears to be dropping frames like crazy when receive standard broadcast TV with a lot of movement). Sure, I can pause live TV, but what good is that when it looks like crap? Of course, it is difficult to say how much of this is the fault of the software, and how much is because of the hardware -- but killing every other process running seems to help.

you are killing the wrong process! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497925)

"but killing every other process running seems to help."

You are killing the wrong process try kill rundll.....etc works even better then try a freebsd boot cd. At root just type in (dd if=dev urandom of=dev ad0) these actions will speed up your sony.

Whew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10497381)

For a minute I thought the "broken windows" icon replaced the Bill Gates borg icon. I was about to ask what happened, did Bill G. finally get tough with ./ ?

XBMC is million times better.. (5, Interesting)

dwipal (709116) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497434)

I use XBOX Media Center (http://www.xboxmediacenter.com) since a month now, and it is WAYYY better than whatever MS will be offering, the main advantage being u dont get stuck with M$ software. My XBMC works with the iBook and a Windows XP desktop that is kinfof like my "Media Server" lying somewhere in the bedroom.

Its all connected to the network wirelessly, and works exceptionally well. U can manage the songs using iTunes and play those on ur home theater connected through XBMC. There are also Optical Audio and Component Out kits available for the XBOX and it works really well. It has the mplayer media player which has all the nasty codecs which can play just about anything.
Also, xbox dosent make the noise that a regular PC will make. It now also supports 1080i DVD playback with DTS audio which is just what I need.

M$ has a media center extender for their xbox, but it only works with their shitty Media center PCs which is wayyy overpriced and too "closed".

As far as my XBOX can do everything i ever want (of course, except the HD-Tivo functions, which i would like leaving to Tivo), spending 150$ for the XBOX just makes too much sense. I would always prefer to have all the media stored on some PC but remotely accessible from a small non-noisy set-top box connected to the TV (like the XBOX).

Re:XBMC is million times better.. (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497503)

I agree, but maybe not a million times :)

It's great for playing movies, music, and showing the family the vacation pictures on the big screen. However, as you eluded to, the XBMC can not record tv shows or any "outside" video feed. That being said, I own 4 xboxes all equipped with XBMC for the majority of my multimedia enjoyment.

Re:XBMC is million times better.. (2, Informative)

jimmyfergus (726978) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497738)

Also, xbox dosent make the noise that a regular PC will make

Obviously, you and I have been listening to different desktop PCs and XBoxes... I'd go for an X-box for this purpose in an instant, if every one I've heard wasn't so noisy. Silence is in the ear of the beholder. They're also harder to silence. Small quiet fans just don't exist, and the Xbox has a small fan (50, 60mm or something?).

Give me TiVo any day (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497955)

XP MCE has always looked to me like MythTV for people who are too rich and/or lazy to geek Linux or TiVo for Paul Thurrott or the Microsoft-zealot balding IT man at your school or workplace. A good thing to have, but with TiVo To Go around the corner to handle the DVD burning thing, is there any real advantage over TiVo? If you are using it like a TV (sitting at a distance) you won't be too comfortable using Word, particularly if you are using a standard-def or any small TV as your monitor, and there's no reason in particular to have Windows except MAYBE the games, and those would only be advantageous if you have a rather well-sized screen (e.g. a plasma).

TiVo may have a fee, but the box is cheap and when it dies you can just get a new one and the fee remains the same -- and if the fee is really a problem, get Lifetime. I think you can get Lifetime and a DVD-burning TiVo for less than a decent MCE box and you don't have to get antivirus, because it's a highly secure embedded Linux distro.

New line of business? (1)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498422)

Releasing this may be a sign that Microsoft is moving more into the field of consumer electronics, and may be paying less attention to trying to release "serious" computer software.

Last time I checked, we are still 18 months away from the release of the next Microsoft operating system, and Microsoft still has not answered any of the serious questions about security or stability.

However, Microsoft is very good at one thing: designing things that are simple and attractive for consumers to use. If they can't make "scientific" operating systems, they can at least make pretty home electronics. It might be a fitting thing for them to do.

Or maybe this is only a blip on the radar screen?

Tivo/ReplayTV not MCE's competitors (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498426)

I think there is a category error here. ReplayTV [leavensfamily.com] or Tivo are not direct competitors to MCE - different setup, different price points. People buy something like a ReplayTV [planetreplay.com] precisely because they want to deal with as little PC-like cruft as possible. Which, of course, MCE offers in droves. MCE still requires too much sit-up effort rather than a more comfortable TV-like sit-back groove. It's possible it may always be burdened by this because of its full-scale Windows nature.

Surely the closest competitor to MCE is the equivalent PC PVR software such as SageTV [www.sage.tv] or BeyondTV [snapstream.com] (or even the crappy pack-in software from ATI or Hauppauge). I know MS wants to imagine this is otherwise by not easily unbundling the MCE software from the hardware base, but it's a fact.

More stuff about (mostly) PC PVR software [avsforum.com] .

Decisions, Decisions... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10498483)

So I have a first-generation Tivo, and have been considering an upgrade to something else so I can play MP3s from my home theatre, since the first-generation boxes can't connect to a WiFi network.

Right now my decision is between a Tivo Series 2 and an MCE 2005 box. After thinking it over, I have to say it doesn't seem to make sense to invest extra money in a MCE system. If I want to record shows, for example, that means I have to leave my PC on 24/7, or try and remember to keep in on while the shows I want to watch are recording. What happens if I go on vacation for a couple weeks? I'm just supposed to keep my PC on that whole time?

Between that issue, and the MCE recording quality problems already discussed in this thread, I'm heavily leaning in favor of the Tivo Series 2. Am I missing something, or does using a PC to record video just not make a whole lot of sense?

I live in the UK... (1)

silic0n (649294) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498564)

and I bought an OEM copy of MC 2005 through work on thursday. It's the only legitimate MS OS I've ever owned. And I'm absolutely gutted that they spent about as much time optimising the My Music feature as Bill spends mailing love letters to liberals. My TV's faster though.
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