Sunday, January 1, 2012

How To: Wirelessly Stream Music from iPhone to your PC

   There is a free program out there that allows you to wirelessly play your Music, Pandora or any other music app that supports Apple's Airplay feature from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch thru your computer's speakers or your living room's surround sound system via an HTPC.

Download Free "Shairport 4 Windows" Program
Version (673kb - 12/08/2013)

How To: Create an HTPC - (Part 1 - Intro)

   What is an HTPC ?  HTPC stands for Home Theater Personal Computer.  It's just a fancy name for a computer or laptop that is used to view your movies, pictures, music, live TV, etc. on your TV.  Below I describe my setup and what problems I ran into.

I wanted an HTPC that would fit my needs:

•  Powerful enough to watch the latest movies at 1080p
•  Energy efficient - (since it'll be on almost 24/7)
•  Sleek Modern Interface
•  Quiet
•  Fast boot and resume
•  Wirelessly play media from my iPhone
•  And play a few games

XBMC 11.0 "Eden" w/ MQ3 Skin

How To: Set up XBMC

   This tutorial will help simplify the process of installing and setting up XBMC (Xbox Media Center), a free program that displays a slick user interface for your Movies, Pictures, Music, TV Shows, Games and other media.  You can also install different skins and customize them to get just the right look you want.

Official Site:
Latest version: 11.0 "Eden" Beta 3 (2/11/2012)
Favorite Skin: Aeon MQ3

I chose XBMC because of these nice features:

•  Plays just about any file out there (.mkv, .mp4, .wmv, .avi, .vob, .iso, CD, DVD, Blu-ray, etc.)
•  Fast, responsive, polished look
•  Automatically downloads all artwork, fanart, info for all your movies, games, etc.
•  Active community w/ regular updates
•  Includes AirPlay built-in (for playing videos, pictures, youtube, etc., from my iPhone)

How To: Set up Wake On Lan (WOL)

   If you're away and need to access files on your home PC that is turned off, you can remotely power it on and access those files.  Or, if you get tired of getting up to hit the power button to turn on your computer or HTPC, you can set up your router, PC and phone app so that you can power on your PC from the comfort of your couch.

WD ShareSpace NAS: Installing a New Hard Drive

   The WD ShareSpace NAS (Network Attached Storage) will only work with Western Digital SATA hard drives.  I recently installed a couple of 1TB Western Digital hard drives that were previously used on a Windows 7 machine and was a bit bummed that the NAS unit would not configure them properly.

   The lights on the unit were: Power = solid green, Hard Drives = solid orange, Network = randomly blinking green.  The power button would not work either, I had to unplug the power cable to turn the unit off.

Restore Hard Drive's Full Capacity

   When installing an 80GB hard drive from my NAS unit into a Windows 7 PC, it only showed it as a 32GB capacity hard drive.  If this happens to your hard drive, there is a program that will restore a hard drive's full capacity just like from the factory.

Download Free HDD Capacity Restore Tool (32-bit)
Version 1.2 (480kb - 1/1/2012)