WebGuide from ASCII Express

I always hated the fact that, living outside of the USA (Ireland), I couldn’t use the MSN Remote Record service to remotely set my Media Centre PC at home to record certain programs.  ASCII Express have a product I stumbled upon called WebGuide4, which not only achieves what MSN Remote Record does, but will give me access to my pictures, music, videos, download recorded tv (dvr-ms files) and will let me stream recorded TV remotely to any device, PC, Windows Mobile device, etc.

I installed the demo, and after about 17 seconds of investigating it, got out my credit card and signed up.  One of the best $15 I ever spent!


Buffalo TeraStation 2TB

I finally got my TeraStation last week, and it’s been sitting under a coffee table in the den since.  It’s not totally quiet, but my wife and kids haven’t complained yet, so I suppose that’s good.  I set it up with RAID 1 to give two 500GB shares on the network.  All my Recorded TV from my MCE2005 and Vista Ultimate (X64 build 5744) boxes are sync’d to one share on the NAS box using the free Microsoft SyncToy nightly.  All my pictures, videos and music are on the other share.

The best thing is that I now have about 300 hours of TV recorded without having to delete stuff I haven’t yet watched.  The worst thing is that I now have 300 hours of TV I haven’t watched…

There’s no noticeable network lag when watching recorded TV from the unit (all the DVR-MS files are recorded in High-quality – about 3GB/hour).

The web interface to the box is clean and straight-forward, although the help text popups could do with being re-translated into english, as it appears as if that was an afterthought.

If you’re short of disk space, I’d definitely recommend this unit.  Along with the 2.0TB unit (4x500GB), it’s also available in 0.6TB (4x160GB), 1.0TB (4x250GB), and 1.6TB (4x400GB) configurations.


It’s Hammer Time…

Well, Longhorn…sorry, Vista Time.  Jim Allchin finally posted the announcement ending five years of development to the Vista Blog.  Build 6000.16386 has gone gold (RTM, Released to Manufacturing).  Microsoft expects to have 18 languages at the January launch, and 32 within 100 days of English RTM.

No sign of RTM on MSDN yet, but Saturday is looking promising.  According to the MSDN Downloads page, “Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be available through MSDN Subscriber downloads within 7 days of release to manufacture”.  Still no word if/when it will appear on Connect.

Well done to Microsoft on reaching this goal.

Of Storage and (not-so) Live TV

I have four kids who love TV.  I have a wife who is fond of a soap or two and various documentaries.  Just over a year ago, we got our first Windows XP Media Center PC and put it in the sitting room, where it chugged along with it’s 320Mb of storage.  Twelve months later, we have a second MCE box in the den for the kids (650Mb of disk), and the sitting room box now has two external USB 2.0 disks, bringing the total storage on that box to (gets out calculator…) 780Mb.  It’s still not enough.

But what is it not enough for?

As the last year has passed, we have set more and more series to record, and watched less and less live TV.  I hadn’t noticed this until I realised recently that I hadn’t seen the news in a week!

The posting below announcing the WD 500Mb drives is nice, but I need lots of them!  I could use a HSAN (home storage area network).  We’re recording TV at a faster rate than we’re watching the stuff.  Last night, at about 11:30, I wasn’t quite ready to go to bed, and wanted to watch something about 30 minutes long, but all I could find were movies (all 2 hours and more), or tons of the kids stuff (Simpsons, Fillmore, etc.).  I ended up watching an episode of Father Ted (one of the best comedies ever).

So what am I saying?  I need loads more storage, and loads more time, or to be more selective in what I record?  No, I want to record everything I might watch.  And stuff I might never watch.  I reckon 4Tb should do for the time being.

Now, anyone have a solution?