Ajit Monteiro

This blog has moved

Posted in Uncategorized by amonteiro on June 17, 2010

This blog has moved to http://blog.ajitmonteiro.com. See you there!

Windows 7

Posted in Microsoft, Random Links, UI, Windows 7 by amonteiro on September 23, 2008

If you are interested in windows 7 you should be reading Engineering Windows 7. Its a blog with detailed articles about the ideas, thoughts and challenges encountered while developing Windows 7 written by Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky, both very high up in Microsoft (click their links for wikipedia entries).

The first Windows 7 videos have also hit the web. They can be found here at Life Hacker.

Finally…Hello from Seattle

Posted in Microsoft by amonteiro on September 18, 2008

Following the less then stellar Microsoft ads with Seinfeld, Microsoft finally goes on the offensive.

I’m beginning to really respect their ad campaign that felt misguided with the Sienfeld ads. Here is some more courtesy of Paul Thurrot…

Now Playing Artwork in the New Zune Software

Posted in Music, Zune by amonteiro on September 18, 2008

As you probably know the new Zune Software was released last tuesday. I think most of its functionality has been talked about in great detail on other blogs; so not to repeat what has already been said, I decided to create a video of my favorite new feature.

For a lot of common artists the now playing screen shows beautiful artwork and information about the artist.

Weekly Tip: Network Media Folders Tip (Vista)

Posted in Vista, Weekly Tip by amonteiro on September 18, 2008

A lot of people these days store their media content(Pictures, Music, Videos) on a networked drive or server. This becomes a challenge to handle from client computers, due to having to always find the folder in Network Places or by typing in the path.

A little known fact is that Vista gives you a built in way to manage these folders.

  1. Click Start -> Your Login Name (in my case it is Owner)
  2. This brings you to a general directory with all your personal folders. Right Click Pictures and click Properties
  3. Now click the Location Tab image
  4. Here you can change the location to where your pictures are located on the network drive
  5. Click Ok, you will be prompted with with “Do you want to move all the files from the old location to the new location?”  – You should say Yes to this or you will end up with multiple Pictures folders.
  6. Now repeat steps 1 through 5 for Videos and Music.

You should do this by default on all computers used in your house and everyone will be adding and managing media in the same place. This makes things a lot easier to manage and backup.

Bonus Tip: I would also recommend creating a shortcut to these folders in the windows explorer Favorite Links. You can do this by dragging and dropping them there.

image

Most programs that manage your media are defaulted to look at these directories, so they’ll be pointed at the right place automatically.

XBMC for Windows Review

Posted in Media Centers, Reviews, XBMC by amonteiro on September 12, 2008

6

As part of my home entertainment setup for my new place, I’ve been evaluating HTPC options to bring all my media content to the living room TV. Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing the different software and hardware solutions that I have had personal time with.

Historically I have been a big fan of Windows Media Center, but now the market is saturated with options, so making a decision is a lot harder.

First up lets talk about XBMC and where it stands as a media center platform on Windows.

XBMC or Xbox media center is an open source application created for use on a hacked first generation Xbox. Although it has a huge fan following on the Xbox, this review is limited to the windows version of it. The default skin for it isn’t very aesthetically pleasing, however there are two gorgeous skins (Aeon and MediaStream) available that make it a viable option for the living room. All the screen shots in this review are taken using the Aeon skin.

The Basics

Like most other media centers, XBMC supports

  • Videos
  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • Music
  • Pictures
  • Programs
  • Weather

TV shows are a little misleading, since it doesn’t really have DVR functionality. They are actually shows that already exist on your computer. So technically Videos, Movies and TV Shows are the same thing however its nice that they are separated out.

I’m very impressed with the customizability of XBMC; since its open source, its being actively worked on constantly, especially in the skins department and you can change backgrounds, fan art (more on this later), menu items etc. to make it look and function exactly as you you would like it.

Music, Videos, Movies, TV Shows

XBMC has two main views for you to get at your content. The Files view is generally used to manage and add content, while the Library view is for every day use of browsing and playing your content. Below are some images on what that looks like.

Music – Album View

3

Movies

1

Fan art

XBMC uses the concept of fan art which is extra artwork that is used as a background when content is selected. This reflects the context of what content is selected. Below are some screen shots that reflect it. This currently doesn’t work for music (as far as I know).

2

5

Weather

This is a standard media center weather application, although it is nice that it is added by default.

4

As you can see from the screenshot above, some details of the skin still need some work. But on a whole things look very good.

Note on Stability

XBMC for windows is still in its early stages, so there are some kinks that still need working out. On my Vista machine there are times when it crashes for no apparent reason, however its still very usable.

Pros

  • When skinned can look very aesthetically pleasing. To me its the best looking media center application available
  • Very Customizable
  • Open source and actively being developed

Cons

  • Still has stability issues
  • No DVR functionality
  • Takes a while to setup the way you want it

I’m back

Posted in Random Thoughts by amonteiro on September 12, 2008

Its been a long time since I’ve blogged here, but its time I make a come back.

Things are definitely getting exciting in technology these days; with the iphones (and their especially cool app store), new zune software, holiday season coming up, windows 7 going beta next year etc.

Also, given the fact that I just bought a new condo and am working on setting up the tech for it, I finally have enough to say again to make blogging worthwhile.

So stay tuned.

How to Enable Concurrent Users/Sessions in Windows Vista

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on March 13, 2007

My MCE computer is used completely for home theater purposes, and so it is very rarely used outside of the MCE environment. It also does not have a keyboard and mouse hooked up to it. This makes it very hard to accomplish any maintenance tasks without using remote desktop.

Unfortunately, by default Vista does not allow concurrent users logging in at the same time. So, until recently, if I wanted to rearrange some files on the computer, I would have to log in using remote desktop (which logs out the MCE user), rearrange the files, log out, connect a keyboard to the MCE computer so I can enter the password, and re-login with the MCE user.

Fortunately, the relentless folks at The Green Button have put in a lot of effort to find a work around. After some clever hacking you can log on with multiple users to the same Vista machine. Here is a link to the discussion so you can see the progress they have made.

And finally a how to taken from Missing Remote

  1. Download Sunmorgus’ hacked Termsrv.dll file HERE (If you’re using Vista HOME PREMIUM, use this link and follow the reg instructions below.)
  2. Now, Vista’s security needs a little massaging to allow you to modify the original termsrv.dll file, found in C:\Windows\System32, so….
  3. Click Start, then type “cmd” in the search box & hit enter. This will launch the Command prompt
  4. Type the following & hit enter: takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\termsrv.dll
  5. Then type this & hit enter (NOTE: Replace USERNAME with YOUR USERNAME!! If your name has a space in it, enclose it with quotes, like “Mike Garcen”): cacls C:\Windows\System32\termsrv.dll /G USERNAME:F
  6. Then go to your Windows Explorer, and go to C:\Windows\System32
  7. Rename the original termsrv.dll to something else, like “termsrv.dll.ORIGINAL”, just in case
  8. *NOTE* If you are unable to do the above, try rebooting into SAFE MODE
  9. Then copy & paste the Hacked DLL you downloaded in Step 1 into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
  10. And voila!

More details at Missing Remote and at Ricky’s Web Review

Ultimate List of Quality Desktop Background Websites

Posted in Desktop Backgrounds, Random Links by amonteiro on February 23, 2007

Although this post is going to read like a spam post, it really isn’t (promise). The other day a friend of mine asked me to recommend a web site for desktop wallpapers. The only good one I knew of at the time was Mandolux. But after reading a recent post on digg I came across a lot more. This is that list…

From More Creative and Beautiful Wallpapers (click for full write up)

From Digg

For those of you that want backgrounds that look like they came with Windows, here is the official set that was considered to go into Windows Vista.

Is this list missing any other good websites? Leave a comment and I will add it.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to Make Historic Joint Appearance at the Fifth Annual ‘D: All Things Digital’ Conference

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Random Links by amonteiro on February 23, 2007

“Apple, Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, the seminal figures in the development of the personal computer, will make a rare joint appearance at The Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference this year. The two men will jointly discuss the history and future of the digital revolution in an unrehearsed, unscripted, onstage conversation on May 30 with D co-producers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.”

- Yahoo Finance

This should be a very interesting discussion. Hopefully it hits YouTube for those of us who won’t be be there.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.