PC Guy Late to the Mac Party (part three)

Jul 02 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff

OK as promised the speakers! The most unique speakers are the Audioengine A5 speakers that I will be using inside the house. For the outside I will be using Polk Audio Polk Audio Atrium 45p Self-Powered Loudspeakers.

You have two options when doing multi room audio. One option is to use a central multi room amplifier, or option two is to use self-powered speakers. A central amplifier can get expensive and complicated real fast. So to keep things simple I choose to use self-powered speakers.

Self-powered speakers also keep the wiring simple. You also have the choice to go wireless when using the Apple Airport express. If you decide to use wire you can use your existing Ethernet wire. The Audioengine speakers have a unique setup that allows you to plug the Apple AirPort Express right into the back of the speaker, for 110v power. Audioengine provides a short audio cable to connect the Airport express to the Audioengine speakers. The cable is just the right length. No extra cable to bundle up. Keeps the installation nice a neat. So, if you are using a wireless Ethernet connect you will only need one A/C power connection to the speakers.

 

Audioengine A5 speakers

 

Indoor speakers

-  75 watts peak per channe l

- auto power on and off

- power outlet for Apples Airport

 

 

 

 

 

Polk Audio Atrium series 45p self powered speakers
Polk Audio Atrium 45p powered speakers

Outdoor Speakers

- 25 watts per channel

- case is build to Military specks

- blue Polymer Woofers

 

 

 

 

 

But you say you do not like using Apples iTunes. There is a software application called Airfoil for Windows that will solve your phobia with Apples iTunes, and still give you access to multiple Apples airport express locations. More on that topic next time.

 

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Apple Pushes Back

MacVsVistaIn our 9/19 post Windows ad campaign we made a comment on how Microsoft should spend their money on making Vista better more reliable and instead of spending millions on making us feel better about windows Vista.

Well apple did their own commercial on the subject, who couldn’t resist. Using the I’m a PC vs. I’m Mac format. Apple poked back at Microsoft with the PC guy dividing up his money in two plies. The large of the two plies to be spent on advertising and the very small pile on Vista bug fixes. At the end of the spot PC guy puts all his money in to advertising.

MacVsVista2The next night Apple comes out with another commercial bashing Vista with the “Bake Sale” parody. In the commercial Mac eats the ten million cup cake sold by PC guy. It is short and to the point, nothing to miss here.

The question is how long can Mac continue to be the Cooool guy on the block? And will Microsoft ever win in the TV commercial arena? For my viewing pleasure I hope Microsoft continues to give Mac more material to work with because these guys at TBWA with Laurie Coots do a great job putting down the PC.

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PC Guy Late to the Mac Party (Part two)

Aug 19 2008 Published by under Changing scene, Geek stuff

apple-airport-expressPart of the magic of the whole house audio system is the Apple airport express. This little box is a multi function power house. In this little 4 by 3 by 1 inch package you get a router, WiFi access point, a music streaming device and a network printer adaptor. And one of my pet peeves there is no wall wart. I hate wall warts they are a pain to deal with.

So the part we will be using for whole house audio system is the music streaming device. This part of the Airport Express integrates with iTunes so you can select which AirPort Express you want to send music too. Plus you have the option of playing your music through your Computer speakers and through the Airport Express synchronized. You can also send music to several airport express units all at the same time. So you have the same music playing in several room or areas all at the same time.

We do this with the house, the patio, and pool area. All three areas are playing the same music at the same time.
So now you want to play music in the kids’ room and different music in the family room. OK you select the music from different iTunes library and send it to the desired airport express. Done

So now what about amplifiers and speakers for all this? Being that the AirPort devices are distributed all around your house the cost of wiring is minimal or non-existing, as you can stream wireless to an airport Express using WiFi. So that is where the Audioengin A5 speakers come in to play. More on the speakers next time.

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PC Guy Late to the Mac Party

Aug 06 2008 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff

OK, I have been waiting for Microsoft to pull it together for home users for four years now. Microsoft has introduced “Windows Media Center” (with a major version upgrade in Vista) and “Media Player” I have purchase Roku streaming players to stream music through my house and yard. I have also purchased three different kinds of Media center Extenders to route media around the house.

One of the big problems has been remotes and the need to turn on a TV to play music. The Roku Soundbridge solved the need for the TV but you cannot synchronize the multiple devices to play the same music. Plus the display is text only. I know recently that Logitech bought the Squeezebox™ and has been announcing better integrated product this last year, they are expensive. Nothing like Apple is putting together.

Apple is not always the best solution right out of the gate. Give Apple a few revisions and they start to get it right. The announcement that pushed me into the Apple camp was a little piece of FREE software for the iPhone and iTouch called Remote. To me Remote pulled home media all together and the light went off.

iTunes

So the picture above shows all the parts for a simple, very user friendly and flexible whole house audio system. The core of the system is one or multiple Mini Mac to store all your music. I would use multiple Mini Macs to store diverse music libraries for instance Mom and dad’s music verse the kids music. Running on the Macs would be iTunes as the music server. Ya, I know I did not like iTunes when it first was released, but Apple won me over by integrating their network products (airport Express) and MP3 players (iPods) seamlessly into iTunes.

First iTunes, as we all know works great with the iPhone and iPods. My favored is the iTouch. Why you ask, again it is that free software appilication name “Remote” that runs on the iPhone and iTouch. With Remote I can control my whole house music system from the palm of my hand using a full color remote call the iTouch (better and cheeper then the Squeezebox™ Controller). Very cool…. I can change from my library of music to my Kids library of music. Or I can select an album, see the cover art, select a song, and select what room I want to play the select music in. OR multiple rooms if I desire.

How is this done, through the magic of the Apple Airport express and Audioengin A5 speakers. All that will be in part two.

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