Review of the 1st Generation Apple TV

I just got my Apple TV, and after spending some time with it, I found it is an anti-climatic gift, but will offer long term enjoyment.  I know many people recommend hacking the Apple TV to have many other functions, but I opted for the smaller model since I already have a Mac Mini set up in the bedroom with a Drobo to store all of my music, movies and TV shows.

Setup unfortunately was not as easy as it is with most Apple devices.I found that there is a incompatibility with iTunes 8.1.1 where the Apple TV will only show up if i turn off iTunes sharing.  Additionally I am having problems connecting the Apple TV to my Airport Extreme 802.11n router, and had to instead connect it to my slower Airport Express router.

Although the Airport Express is much slower, I found that all my shows and photos finished syncing by the next morning.  This is great, and the Apple TV will stay in constant contact with iTunes to sync the latest shows and movies I download.  Should you get one?  This depends on your budget.  For most people, I would actually recommend the Mac Mini over the Apple TV, since you can connect external storage to the Mini without hacking the device.  The Apple TV is really for people who already have a PC / Mac that they use to download movies and music on to and they are looking to extend the connection to the TV.  It not the perfect solution for everyone, but it  turned out to fill a need for me.

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Lets Play with Bricksmith!

Years ago I had a service station Lego set that I just loved. This, allong with a whole Lego town was accidentally destroyed one night when I was very sick and had to run to the bathroom (running though the town like Godzilla).  It would have been impossible to re-build since I had none of the instrunction manuals and the internet wasn’t arround.

I still look back fondly at this one set in particular and decided it was time for me to re-build it – but this time in BrickSmith.  This was my result –  I am very happy with it and I never have to worry about losing the pieces again.

Lentil Soup

Tonight we made a lentil soup that I improvised on. Below is the recipe.

Lentil Soup

  • 1 1/2 c. lentils
  • 4 cans (8 cups) chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb bacon (6-8 strips)
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 T. chicken seasoning
  • Pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon at the bottom of a large stock pot until crisp. Remove the bacon, placing it on a paper towel and save the drippings in a heat resistant container. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, pepper, chicken seasoning and 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings and cook until the celery and onions are wilted. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and lentils. Simmer for 45 minutes until the lentils are tender.

When done, remove 1/3 – 1/2 and puree in a food processor / blender until smooth and add back to add a creamy texture to the soup. Crumble the bacon on top, stir and serve.

New MacBook Broken 10+ days and counting

Around 1 month ago I had a trip to China planned and I decided to pre-order a new aluminum MacBook from the Apple Store in Hong Kong and I picked it up during my layover back to Taiwan.

After getting back to Taiwan, I sat down and installed all of my applications (using my mouse). I finished installing all of my applications, had everything set up and I opened up Mail to send an email, and I find out the keyboard on my new Mac is broken.  It doesn’t look like much, but if you press the “C” key on the left side, it pops up like a flip phone and you can’t type on it until you bend it back to the right position.

I brought it in to an Apple service center to be checked out.  They investigated the problem, identified that the keyboard is in fact broken and asked if I could send it back to Apple. The Apple Store said NO and told me it was past the restocking period. I went back to the service center to just fix it.

7+ days later it is still sitting at the service center. I call AppleCare and asked them if they could speed up the part shipment, and they said replacement English keyboards are out of stock with no estimated ship date!  I ask for a replacement Mac, and once again they said they can’t do this.  I feel like the biggest idiot — I have a wonderful new MacBook that is less than one month old sitting in the service center waiting for a new keyboard with no available replacement parts. Is anyone else out there having the same issue?

New bunny

So Steven and I went to the pet store to get a new bunny. She/he doesn’t have a name yet, but it is very curious and playful.

All tied up

I just got a new desk accessory today from Thailand. As you can see, it helps keep my desk clean by providing me with a convienent place to wrap my cables. Go Mr . P!

One wrong move

This past weekend Steven and I bought a referbished Mac Mini to use as a media center (instead of a Apple TV). To help offset the cost we were going to fix the iBook hard drive that died a month back.

This sounded like a goodvidea to begin with, but after re-assembling the laptop and plugging it in, we fried the motherboard.

Well this is bad, but at least we can sell the parts off for people who undertake similiar home repairs.