So while I was in San Francisco tippity-tapping away for the Man, Jen took advantage of our three-month extended NetFlix promotional and ordered the first three Deadwood DVDs to watch. She got all the way to Episode Seven before I got home, and we took some time out on Saturday to pop the next disc in. Already, I’m hooked, and that’s only three episodes. Great writing, production values, and characters (not to mention the acting.) Yet another series we’re coming in late on.
While I was in the S-F and staying with my friend Nick, Apple finally shipped the Apple TV, which required a trip to the Apple Store downtown to pick one up. He got it home and hooked it up to his plasma, and within about two minutes had music streaming from his laptop. The quality of the downloads available from iTunes was a little disappointing, to my eye—the encoding was pixellated and blocky. Not satisfied with the standard configuration, Nick devoured all twenty-two pages of forum postings by the Apple TV hackers, and during the course of the next evening I watched him dissect his box, load a few files via a FireWire enclosure, and reassemble it so that he had SSH and the ability to modify the system. From there, he encoded and uploaded several movies that weren’t offered through iTunes, and they looked much better. He was still perfecting his process when I had to leave, so I’m not sure how much success he’s had since then. My opinion of it is that it’s a nice toy, but for $300 I’d rather buy a used Mini and build my own streaming video server to stick under the TV. It’s not robust enough yet to warrant the cost or the limitations. Besides, we need a TIVO and a TV that has more than just a coaxial input first.
Finally, I had the opportunity to play with Aperture a little bit before I got too busy. My first reaction was WHOA. This application looks and feels like no other Apple product I’ve used. As I get further into it, I’ll post results here.