Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tablet Life.......

Over the past few weeks I have been really playing around with my Tablet, and my daughter's tablet. We both have Android tablets, as I do not like Apple, and will not buy any of their products. With the super storm, I was in need of movies for my tablets, and other media to keep us busy during the down times. So after the storm I really did some thinking on how to best use my tablets and media. One idea was to start streaming my media in my house. Now I have a number of systems in my house, and would like for just one point for all my files to live. Having to copy all my stuff from one device to another all the time sucks, and takes a ton of time.

So here is my current lay out of my house.
  • TV room, I have a 64 bit win 7 machine hooked up to the TV.
  • Kitchen, I have a full Win 7 desktop with a HD Monitor, TV tuner card.
  • Bed room, I have a win 7 laptop hooked up to my TV.
  • Office had a win 8 (yuck) game rig.
  • Tablet one, ASUS transformer tf101
  • Tablet two, Samsung player 5"
I do not want to play with the game rig, as I want it for just games, but the rest I want to get all hooked up to streaming. Now I will be replacing my TV room PC with an Android player. This is a small device that turns your TV into an Android tablet. So with my wants listed I headed to Google to see what I could find.

For Video conversion this is what I am doing, and please note this is being done with DVDs that I own.
First I needed to rip my DVDs, and using the TV room computer I installed DVD Fab to do this. This is a free simple DVD ripper. Once I have the DVD ripped to the hard drive, I wanted to make it more Tablet friendly, and yes you do loose quality doing this, but I do not mind the lose. To turn the Vob files into a format I can easily play on Android I use Free Make Video converter. This is an easy and fast tool to do the job. My goal is to get the files around 2gb, and DVD fab will get them to just over 4gb in size.

OK so now I have my videos in avi (mpg) format and I can play on all my computers and tablets now what. Do I copy these to my devices?? No that is a total pain, and this is ware my next find comes in to play. Serviio is a media server, and it took about 15 minutes to setup and run, so I was watching movies on my tablet and the end of 15 minutes. And I mean it, it was very simple and easy to set up and use.
With Serviio I can stream my video, my music, my photos, and more.To view the media on my tablets I install the Serviio GO app from the play store. And to view on my Windows systems I use VLC player, and open the bookmarks. Both of the connections methods I will cover in later posts.

So now my plan is to move the TV room PC to a closet and keep it as my media server, and just connect to it for streaming media. I can connect to the media server from my tablet using a great remote desktop tool called SplashTop. Install it both on a tablet (yes even IOS) and the desktop and it creates a great remote connection.

This hole process is very simple to setup, and I will be doing a step by step of each part in coming posts. The first will be on converting DVDs to vob files (ripping the DVD to your hard drive). If you use a different approach to get your media up and shared please comment, and I will look in to it, as I love this stuff.


GRUNTZ 1.1 released.

Well I have been waiting for this release for some time now and it is here. I was not informed by email that is was ready but I was checking my Wargames Vault account and saw it there for download. So I have printed it out in full color, and will be taking it for a comb binding this week. I have all way wanted to bind my own book so today I got started on that project.

I started by printing the book in parts. Pages 1 ~ 20, 21 ~ 40, 41 ~ 60, 61 ~ 80, 81 ~ 100, 101 ~ 120, 120 ~ 136. I set them to the printer in booklet format, so one one page of paper I will have 4 pages.
OK with the booklets printed I needed to keep the pages together. To do this I stapled them, and yes the stapler does not reach the center of the page. So I took page one of the booklet, and marked it up as so. First I found center, then I had to find the off set of the stapler from its front edge.

In this photo I have a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, in a make shift jig of a computer (on left), box  (in back), on top of a box (bottom). The paper has lines (click for larger view). There is a center line, then the offset line. As you can see the stapler's front in on the offset line and the staple will end up on the center line when done. I have also marked ware I will place the staples. The only line I draw is the off set in light pencil and cross it ware the center of the staple goes.

In this photo you can see the staples. I just punch the staples through the pages right into the box below, starting with the center, and making sure the pages stay in line before moving to the next two staples.

Now I then gently remove the pages from the box so the staples do not rip through the paper. Next lay it flat with the staples sticking up, and lay a ruler along the staples and start a fold. Once it starts to fold bend the staples over as if they were normally stapled, and finish the fold to complete the booklet.
Now you see the booklets I created using this method. I have 7 in total, and I now have to figure how to put them together as a book. I will start with a needle and thread, and loop through the staples and knot each booklet together. Here is a web page that shows some thing like what I am doing but they are using holes for the thread, and I will use Staples form my holds. I am thinking of gluing a strip of cloth ribbon to the back edge of the outer booklets. Sowing the strips to the staples, and then bending them out to glue to the book cover when done. Kind of like L brackets on the front and back booklet. The I will glue the backs of all the booklets, to the back of my binding, then glue the L brackets to the inside covers.

So I hope to finish this supper geekey project soon.