Geek In The Ghetto

May 12, 2008

XBMC Beta for Mac [XBMC]

Filed under: Uncategorized — funkdigital @ 2:56 pm
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Xbox Media Center, the open source effort that extends the capabilities of the O.G. Xbox, has been released for Mac in beta. Lifehacker has the scoop. Personally, I have yet to explore the full capabilities of Front Row, but I still wouldn’t mind giving XBMC a spin for comparison sake. Download the latest beta here.

What’s so great about XBMC you ask? Well, imagine utilizing the interface of Apple TV without paying one dime. You can run this software on any Mac running Leopard OS X and stream all of you media to the idiot box of choice. Play most video formats, saved DVD, your music and slideshows, all on your TV. The only issue I’m going to have is that I move my Macbook around so much that it’s not exactly a set top device like an Apple Tv or a Mac Mini. Time for a new Mac maybe :).

May 7, 2008

10 Mac Applications I Can’t Live Without [Apple]

App Unbox

I recently upgraded to Leopard. It only took me almost a year to get around to doing it, yet I was still stoked about using the latest and greatest. I had to make the decision—Archive and Install or Fresh Install. After the first go around, I realized that my Tiger install was bloatted with apps. So I took the plunge. I backed up what files I could and decided to do a fresh install.

This go around I desperately needed to limit the number of applications to the essential applications that I couldn’t live without.  The following is a carefully considered list of the the third party applications that make me a happy mac user.

Quicksilver

Quicksilver

I didn’t understand the power of this little app at first, but after digging through, watching video, and customizing some things, I’ve come to find that it’s indispensable to me. I use it mostly as an application launcher but Quicksilver is so much more.

Firefox

Firefox

This one’s a no-brainer. Firefox just has so many useful extension it’s painful for me that it’s just more useful on an everyday basis than Safari (Sorry, Jobso). I know, you say, Safari is faster. I’ve found that Safari is indeed much faster than my Firefox 2.0 for the Mac. However, I’ve been revving up Firefox 3 Beta 5 and it’s almost as fast. And it has those handy dandy add-ons. Plus, the star bookmarking just deads Safari. Damn you, Mozilla. Damn you.

MacTheRipper

Mac The Ripper

DVD ripping software at its simplest. In best Samuel L. Jackson voice “Yes, they deserved to be ripped and I hope they burn in hell!

Unison

Unison

I’m a little slow. It only took me like 10 years for usenet and newsgroups to catch on. I use Giganews for bandwidth, Newzleech to find nzb files and Unison as a newsreader. Unison is THE newsreader for Mac. If none of this makes sense, head over here.

Perian

Perian

Don’t get me wrong, VLC is great. Why use it if there’s a pre-installed application in Leopard that can play most vids, with a little help. That’s where Perian comes in. Install this and you’re stock Quicktime application gets an engine upgrade, racing stripes and fat custom tires. You can play FLV, Divx, H.264 and most AVI formats. Add Flip4Mac to the equation also and you can leverage Windows Media (WMV) also.

Miro

Miro

Mrs.funkdigi and I dropped our Dish Network service. It was becoming a beast and in these days of economic slowdown, paying for a service that’s not ala carte (the way things should be), I couldn’t see paying over $120 for TV I wasn’t watching. I found out about Miro (formerly Democracy) and soon nixed satellite. Miro offers tons of content, like Joost, put has the added benefit of torrent integration. With Tv Rss I’m able to access only the shows I’m interested in.

Remote Desktop for Mac

Remote Desktop

On Tiger, I was using Parallels as a crutch. Parallels is a superb virtual machine product and coming from my Dell, I thought I’d find that I wasn’t able to get things done with just my Mac. So, I had Parallels as a backup in case I couldn’t do something on a Mac that I used to be able to do on my PC. Well, as I’m sure many of you Mac users already know, that wasn’t the case. During the time, I needed to Remote into my office machine if I happened to work at home. I found Remote Desktop for Mac (a Microsoft product LOL) and ditched Parallels.

iSquint

iSquint

iSquint is a simple video converter that lets you compress video to a size suitable to you iPod or iPhone. It’s fast, has a small app footprint, and its reliable. It also can automatically add the converted file to your iTunes library. Battlestar Galactica on the subway. Rejoice!

The UnArchiver

UnArchiver

A quick and dirty zip, rar, etc. unarchive tool. Again, nice and small.

iLife

iLife

I know, it’s beast sized. There are other applications that can be used to substitute just about every app in iLife. Oh, and it’s pricey. I tried my best not to reinstall, but wifey wan’t to use a slideshow for our re-wedding and I also need to edit a track to loop a couple bars of D’Angelo’s Higher. I found myself wanting to use iLife again because it is so well integrated into Leopard and just easy to use. So I’ll do the slideshow with iPhoto, burn the DVD with iDVD and use Garageband to create the instrumental. *shrugs*

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