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Halloween Playlist:
V/H/S Trilogy

by toddkelley on October 31, 2014

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Halloween Playlist:
Kingdom Come

by toddkelley on October 31, 2014

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Halloween Playlist:
Hollows Grove

by toddkelley on October 31, 2014

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Halloween Playlist:
The Taking of Deborah Logan

by toddkelley on October 31, 2014

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iWant the Synology
DiskStation DS415+

by toddkelley on October 30, 2014

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I’ve been acclimating myself to using the Plex app on the Xbox One for organizing and streaming my local movies and tv shows. But the app itself is just the front-end application. The server software (which is the meat and potatoes of the system) is still running on my Mac Mini and 2 G-RAID 4TB firewire hard drives. They’ve been running non-stop for all most three years and the whole set up is getting pretty old. One of my content drive’s fans has died, so the screams of the drive overheating scares the hell out of me.

Trying to make the whole process a lot simpler and energy-efficent, I’ve been looking at buying a dedicated NAS (Network Access Storage). The idea is to buy an enclosure that can house 4-5 hard drives and serve all my content without the need of a dedicated computer. Synology’s current line of NAS systems run their own proprietary OS, with a host of 3rd party apps to choose from.. including Plex Server!

top3The NAS that’s really caught my eye is the Diskstation DS415+. It’s a Quad-core 4-bay NAS optimized for intensive tasks and encryption. They brand it as being “..designed for small and medium-sized businesses” and delivering “outstanding performance, accelerated hardware encryption, and ample storage capacity — satisfying the growing need for both speed and security.”

Plex Server is a processor hog, so you’ll need a good amount of power to use it correctly. The idea of putting 4 inexpensive 4TB drives into all four slots and moving all my content directly on there is a dream of beauty. Plus with the RAID system, my data should be protected from drive failure, giving myself enough time to swap out any bad drives.

At $600 (enclosure only), the DS415+ can be a bit pricey. But this wouldn’t be something you’d replace every year. This should give you 4-5 years of worry-free content serving in the home, as well as on the go. Just knowing I can view my entire Plex media collection on my phone and table when i’m commuting to work is enough to get me to start saving.

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Can’t Wait To Play:
The Division

by toddkelley on October 25, 2014

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Can’t Wait To See:
Avengers: Age of Ultron

by toddkelley on October 24, 2014

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Can’t Wait To Play
Rainbow Six: Siege

by toddkelley on October 19, 2014

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First Impressions:
iPhone 6 Plus

by toddkelley on October 13, 2014

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After 3 great years with the iPhone 4s, it was finally time to upgrade to the next big thing. I always knew that my next phone would be a larger screen. I was hoping that Apple would come out with a ‘phablet’ sooner than later. Unfortunately it was later. I’ve been eyeing the Galaxy Note and HTC One for over a year and came close to jumping to Android– all for the bigger screen experience.

Luckily, 2014 was THE YEAR. In September, Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for September 12th release. Myself and Kitchen Rebel knew it would be a big hit to our bank account, but we both use our phones in every aspect of our lives. And the iPhone 4s was on it’s last legs. So we put in our order at midnight on September 12th, and in about 3 weeks, we got our shiny new 5.5″ screens in the mail.

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The Bad Stuff: Upgrading Woes 

Upgrading to the new phones were a bit of a pain. There was no information telling you how to do it, so I had to hunt around the web to do so. Turns out I had to call in. After being on hold for 20 minutes, we got our accounts transferred to the new phones. Unfortunately, I had to dump my grandfathered unlimited data plan for a shared 6GB plan. Don’t know how that’s gonna affect my mobile life yet.

The next morning on my commute to work, I realized my phone didn’t have internet. Turns out the new data plan didn’t get activated on the new phones. So I had to call in (again) and get that taken care of. But tech support was great. I had to talk to a separate person for each phone, but they had both phones up and running with data inside of 5 minutes.

The next obstacle was content. My iCloud account did a great job with transferring my apps, mail, passwords and contacts over seamlessly. But my music was another story. I now had 128GB of storage (twice what I had on the iPhone 4s), so I wanted to get a ton of music moved over. iTunes had serious sync issues. And even when it said it copied 7000 songs over, they wouldn’t play. I had to go online and try a few tricks (ex. turning off Find My Phone, deselecting ‘manage only check songs and videos’, etc.). Eventually I got music and videos upload and was ready to go!

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The Good Stuff: Life After Upgrading

First off, let me put this out there. The iPhone 6 Plus is an incredible device. Full disclosure, I don’t really talk on the phone that much. And iPhone is more a full featured communication and information device than at phone for me. I’m constantly on the go and doing something, so i need a way to stay in touch (personally and professionally) while i’m in motion. The 6 Plus is that perfect device.

The 5.5″ larger screen is the perfect sweet spot for folks who need a tablet that makes phone calls. I expected it to be great for videos and games. What i didn’t expect was the optimal size for reading books. It would seem to be a little small for that sort of thing, but the gorgeous retina HD screen makes text in iBooks and the Kindle app crisp and easy to read.

All the essential social apps look great upscaled to the larger size. Games look awesome. I spend a lot of time playing XCOM, Civilization Revolution 2, Madden Mobile and Marvel Puzzle Quest. The speed and screen increase (from the 4s) seems similar to jumping to a next generation console. For video, I spend a lot of time on the NFL Now app, looking at game stats and highlights. Somehow the phone’s larger form-factor makes it easier for using it as a remote for XBMC, Plex and Xbox One, as well as streaming content to DLNA devices and Google Chromecast. Also, using it as a second screen device is just as good as an iPad mini.

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Afterthoughts: 

After living with the iPhone 6 Plus for 5 days, I can say that it’s the best phone/mobile device i’ve ever owned. There is no ‘Bend-gate’ issues. My pants are normal-sized and I put the 6 Plus in my front pocket all the time. There’s no bulge issues at all.

The only issue I think I have with it, is.. it’s slippery (lol). I laughed when a lot of reviewers talked about it’s slipperiness. But after trying to pick it up, I dropped it twice on the first day. I’m a lot better now, but it took some getting use to. The phone fits perfect in my hand. I can use it for most things single-handedly, but it took some getting use to. Battery life is awesome. As it stands I’ve had to recharge it every other day (with extremely heavy use).

The iPhone 6 Plus might not be for everyone. The “6” version is smaller (but slightly larger than the 5s). If you’re a Mac person and looking for the perfect digital lifestyle device, the iPhone 6 Plus is worth the small fortune you’ll probably have to pay.

RATING: ★★★★☆

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HOMELAND S4

#Watching Homeland

by toddkelley on October 12, 2014

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#NowPlaying Diamond D

by toddkelley on October 12, 2014

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getITUNES

getGOOGLE

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#Watching
The Walking Dead,
Season 5

by toddkelley on October 12, 2014

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Coincidence is a coward’s rationaleUnknown

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#Watching Intruders

by toddkelley on October 12, 2014

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It’s easy to be independent when you’ve got money. But to be independent when you haven’t got a thing— that’s the Lord’s test. Mahalia Jackson

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#Watching Star Wars Rebels

by toddkelley on October 6, 2014

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#Watching Time Is Illmatic

by toddkelley on October 4, 2014

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#NowPlaying The Hue

by toddkelley on September 30, 2014

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Drive

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Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.Anthony Bourdain

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August 17th, 2014 @ 03:50:58

#Playing Destiny

by toddkelley on September 29, 2014

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After the big waste of money that Titanfall was, I was a little apprehensive about getting ‘the next big game’. Another $60 on a FPS was not in my budget. But I really liked the commercial. Plus I really don’t like multiplayer-centric play. I enjoy a good single player story-mode. So I paid for the XBOX One digital download.

I’ve been playing Destiny off and on since the launch. Actually out of out of town on business when the game went live, so i didn’t really start playing until a week later. It hasn’t been an obsession like the Call of Duty games. I’ve only made it to level 10 so far. And it took a while for me to get use to the game play and all the different nuances.

The next big game I’m waiting for is WWE 2K15 (which has been pushed back to November 18th for the Xbox One). Until then (and in-between Madden 15), I’ll push to get into Destiny more.

Rating: ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

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Doctor Who Series 8

#Watching Doctor Who, Season 8

by toddkelley on September 28, 2014

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Sleepy Hollow Season 2 TV Show HD Wallpaper

#Watching Sleepy
Hollow Season 2

by toddkelley on September 28, 2014

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I tell you Worf, war is much more fun when you’re WINNING! Defeat makes my wounds ache. Martok

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#Watching: The Driver

by toddkelley on September 23, 2014

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Coming Soon: Plex Streaming
Media Server for Xbox One

by toddkelley on September 22, 2014

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XBMC on my Mac Mini has been the center of my television experience for the past few years. After kicking cable to the curb in 2006, my life has been filled with ripping DVD’s to my computer and streaming it to the TV. XBMC was awesome. I could add and catalog all my local movies and tv shows, while still watching Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime directly through their XBMC apps.

But when I finally got an Xbox One, that all chanced. The X1 became less of a gaming system and more of the primary streaming box. XBMC apps were nice, but still were a bit clunky. Sometimes the services would update their technology and the apps would break. But on the Xbox One, the experience was seamless and (for the most part) always working.

Still, I missed being able to get to my local content effortlessly. True, it wasn’t THAT much of a hassle to switch inputs and grab a different remote for the Mac Mini. But it was still annoying. I’m still chasing that ONE DEVICE TO RULE THEM ALL. According to Microsoft and Plex, that may be happening pretty soon.

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Every month, Microsoft does a press release for the monthly updates they do to the Xbox Platform. They’re constantly tweaking the operating system and adding new apps. During the latest press release they announce a lot of new functionality to the system.. but for me, they buried the lead.

Apparently, Microsoft has approved a version of the Plex Streaming Server to be added to the Xbox App Store. This is a huge thing. That means there will finally be a native application that allows you to organize and stream your local content directly through the Xbox One. You can (sorta) do that now by plugging your current media center system into the HDMI passthrough port, but it’s not the same. It’s still treated like a separate device and there are a few display bugs that pop up from time to time. With a native app, it will allow me to control everything with the Xbox controller or the official remote (which works great).

I’m not sure if they’ll allow you to plug in and use USB drives and access the content there. I’m assuming copyright issues will crop up. But there will be built-in DLNA  support, so streaming from Network Access Servers will be enabled. I have an old Diskstation NAS that should work perfectly. I’m counting the days until this happen. If history had taught me anything, this solution will not be everything that i’m looking for. But it’ll be one step closer to media paradise. I can live with that.

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