Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition and Xbox 360

Over the past few days I installed Windows Media Center Edition on my PC and configured it to connect to my Xbox 360. Let me tell you, this is one slick system for streaming media to your TV. The Xbox 360 works as an extender for the Media Center and can be set to access any of the pictures, music, or videos you have on your computer.

When I started looking into this, I was surprised to find out that Microsoft doesn’t even sell Windows Media Center Edition. The only legal way to get it is by purchasing a new computer which has it installed. I think this is a huge marketing mistake by Microsoft.

I think another mistake is the fact that the Xbox 360 only supports a few video types. Transcode 360 is a free piece of software you can download to get around this limitation though. It allows you to stream a wide range of video formats from MCE to the Xbox 360 by converting a file on-the-fly as you watch it. The speed and quality is excellent.

I did have some trouble installing the Xbox 360 Media Center Extender software on my computer, but that’s probably because of the way I installed MCE in the first place. In order to get the software installed, I had to extract all of the files out of the installation exe, then extract again out of one of the update files. From there I tried to install updates one by one until I found the errors and could download the missing updates. It was a real pain in the ass, but it’s working great now.

Hamachi

I had first ready about Hamachi a few months ago on Bryan’s site and finally got around to trying it out this weekend. It’s one slick piece of software. Much easier than setting up a VPN and all that junk.

With Hamachi you can organize two or more computers with an Internet connection into their own virtual network for direct secure communication.

Hamachi is fast, secure and simple. It is also free.

Think – LAN over the Internet.

Think – Zero-configuration VPN.

Think – Secure peer-to-peer.

Access computers remotely. Use Windows File Sharing. Play LAN games. Run private Web or FTP servers. Communicate directly. Stay connected.

Aside

I just ordered another 17 inch flat panel monitor. After getting a dual display setup at work I just couldn’t live without it at home anymore. I did a few quick searches and found the exact same monitor I bought almost a year ago. This year it’s only $70 in rebates, but the price comes down to $160. Couldn’t pass that one up!

Another View

Aside

I just figured out the mouse problem I had awhile back. It’s my mousepad. Right now if I try to use the mouse on the mousepad, it will barely move, but if I place the mouse on another surface it doesn’t have a problem. Doesn’t make much sense because most of the time it works fine (like right now). My mousepad is actually more like a piece of plastic. Maybe the coating is wearing off and causing a problem. Maybe I’ll order a new mousepad.

Mouse Twitch