Saturday, February 17, 2007

Google Reader

In the past I used MyYahoo homepage as a way to keep up with websites. After a while though, I found that MyYahoo sometimes didn't update well and I would end up going to each of my favorite websites & blogs over and over just to read the latest posts. Last Fall I discovered Google Reader. Google Reader is a RSS reader that "reads" feeds from websites and blogs (sort of like reading the latest newsletters). Using Googler Reader, I subscribe to all of my favorite websites and Google Reader keeps track of those websites. When I go to the Google Reader webpage, it automatically updates each time there is a new post on one of those sites. I can then browse each new post as I have time. Instead of going to each website over and over, I just go to Google Reader and only view the new posts. It saves time and makes sure I don't miss any posts.

Andy Wibbels has a free video tutorial that takes you through the process of using Google Reader. This tutorial is a great way to check out Google Reader. Tutorial

If you want to try Google Reader, the site is here:

Monday, February 12, 2007

Automatically transfer Beyond TV shows to your Ipod

If you own a video Ipod and use Beyond TV, Sage TV or Windows MCE you have likely been using different software tools to get your shows from your PC to your Ipod. highlighted one way to transfer shows and dvd’s to your ipod using videora ipod converter and I’ve tried out a free way to do it using the windows version of handbrake with great success. My problem with these solutions is that they take a lot of extra work and they aren’t as integrated into Beyond TV as I would like. My ideal solution would be something like the Btv2Ipod plugin written by lex148 where a button is added to BTV and you just select a show and click on “copy to ipod” and you’re done. Unfortunately, this plugin doesn’t seem to play nice with BTV 4.5 and higher and I haven’t seen any updates to that plugin since it was first published.

I came across an interesting solution recently that might just be the answer. If you’ve ever used Sage TV in the past you may have heard of a plugin called SageToIpod. That plugin was originally written for SageTV by Geoff Gerhardt. He has since continually updated the plugin and now calls it Ipodifier to signify the evolution away from being only for Sage to one that will import a variety of video sources like BTV, MCE, bittorent etc. The gui has been improved and it looks quite nice. This plugin can transcode a few videos you have on your PC, but it can also work with BTV. Ipodifier will monitor your DVR application for new video and automatically transcode the video into a format compatible with your video ipod. It then adds that video/s to Itunes and syncs to your ipod. With the proper settings, it will even organize the video in your Ipod into categories using video playlists.

The gui reminds me of the BTV webadmin screen and looks nice. If you have an Ipod and use BeyondTV or any other windows PVR app, give it a try. While I still hope for a totally integrated (with copy2Ipod button) solution, this is pretty close and has features that can automate the process more than the BTV2Ipod plugin did.

For my other posts about the Ipod, click here
For my other posts about the HTPC, click here