Home entertainment, part ii

As a result of Hat’s prompting I re-investigated an application called Remote Buddy. I’ve discovered that this program cleverly fixes the problems I was having: it enables me to use a single remote control for everything, instead of having multiple remotes; and it enables me to access everything I need remotely, without having to walk across the room to use the keyboard and mouse. Remote Buddy is slightly unintuitive to set up but fine once you get the hang of it, and it’s extremely powerful and configurable.

This solution is not quite as tidy as having a single application that does everything, as ideally I’d prefer not to ever see the Mac desktop at all when I’m doing things like watching TV and listening to music from the other side of the room, but that’s hardly the end of the world. And I’ve just discovered I can now control iTunes whilst I’m in the bath, which is particularly excellent.

It’s reassuring to know that I could get a Mac mini with plenty of storage and a TV tuner, connect it to a TV, and very effectively use it as a ‘media hub’ without having to buy additional hardware. Ultimately, though, I do wish that Apple would make this sort of thing easier, so that I don’t have to use a third-party solution to glue everything together in this way. The Apple TV just isn’t good enough currently because you can’t connect a TV tuner to it.

Home entertainment, part i

It’s really starting to get on my nerves that there’s no way of watching live TV in Front Row. To watch TV I have to come out of Front Row then walk over to the computer and manually start up EyeTV (and then the same the other way round to go back to Front Row).

I have to admit, Windows Media Center does seem like a considerably better product in this regard.

GTA IV

I quite fancy playing Grand Theft Auto IV but I don’t want to buy an Xbox 360 as I refuse to buy Microsoft products on principle unless I absolutely have to, and I don’t want to spend the amount of money required to own a PS3.

Still, I’ve got a new mouse. I needed to stop using the Apple Mighty Mouse because it’s so ergonomically appalling that it was literally killing my hand. Why are Apple incapable of designing mice that are actually usable? Anyway, my new mouse is a Logitech VX Revolution, and I’m very pleased with it so far. It’s extremely comfortable and packed with useful features.

O2 Broadband

Well, I’m up and running with O2 Broadband, which was a completely painless process.

So, now I have faster broadband than I did with Zen (it claims to be 8MBit, the same as I had with Zen, but the download speeds are faster) for one third of the cost. And, since the service claims to be ‘unlimited’, perhaps I will now be able to use BitTorrent for more than 48 hours each month. Hoorah.