Did the world end, or are we good?
In years past I've used XBMC on the Xbox and Linux, then more recently Boxee and MediaPortal. I started wanting something that just worked, and was a bit easier to setup. I really like many of the Linux media programs, but they do take a bit of maintenance. So when the RC of Windows 7 came out I figured I'd give it a go. Once I found Media Browser (www.mediabrowser.tv), I was sold.
So reasons I think Windows 7 is the way to go.
1. Media Browser - Fantastic plug-in for media center. Almost as good as XMBC in it's prettiness and useability. Very impressive to show off to your friends and high Wife Acceptance Factor.
2. Easy - It took me about a week of fiddling after work to get it setup the way I wanted.. and I had no issues getting DTS HD or pass-through audio to work. Very easy to get hardware accelerated video to work with ATI. If you use windows 7, check out the antipack, gets your hardware accelerated video working fast, along with all your audio. (http://babgvant.com/blogs/andyvt/archive/2009/08/02/antipack-get-your-videos-working-without-destroying-your-pc.aspx)
3. Cheap Video card - I bought a Radeon 4350 off of Newegg, with passive cooling. Does 1080p video with 1 - 5% cpu usage.
4. NetFlix , Media Center has a NetFlix plugin, no HD video, yet.
5. Easy TV - Has a nice TV Guide, easy to make it work right. I do not have a cable card tuner for it yet, but Ati has on you can get off of ebay, and new models are coming out next year. Cable card tuner would eliminate your ir blaster issue. In the mean time there are a few MS Media Center remotes that come with ir blasters. Also TV shows go right into Media Browser.
As this is slashdot I bet I will get spammed for saying so, but IMHO it is the best all around system out there right now.
Now I don't want to criticize to harshly, but I think he could have done been much more green for less money. Now the obvious thing he could do would be to downsize his house once his kids are a ways. How big of a house do two people need.
Apart from that there are several other cheaper things you can do. I have tried to "Green" up my house a lot too, however I live in Minnesota so solar panels are even a worst investment. But here goes.. list of cheaper green things that I do.
1. When a bulb goes out I replace it with a CFL. hen can be expensive so when I see them on sale for a $1 each I grab a few. I do not recommend replacing all you light bulbs at once because that gets expensive, but when one goes out, go for it.
2. New windows - this was my most expensive energy improvement. $9,000, but it did make my house quieter and drop my heating bill by 45%... My old windows will really bad.
3. My furnace and A/C.... probably don't need that efficient of a furnace where he lives, but in Minnesota, I am rocking the 95% efficient furnace. The furnace and new windows dropped my worst heating bill (January) from $240 to $105. I save between 500 and 600 a year in heating. (Again my windows were REALLY bad)
4. Whole House Fan.. I got one from http://www.airscapefans.com/
You turn off your A/C at night, and pull in fresh air. It uses much less power than you A/C, on low the smallest model only uses 38 watts. And for a cost between $500 - $1300, they do not hurt the wallet too much.
I have to agree.. the body scans go over the line.
But as other people have pointed out, it is a very inefficient use of "safety money".
How many people have died in the last 30 years because of hijacked airplanes in this country. While the 9/11 attacks we horrible, how does seeing me naked help keep us safe (though I am devilishly hansom!)
Would it not do more to spend this "safety money" on things that a much more likely to kill us? How many people died last year in car accidents because our roads systems are old and unable to handle the current traffic, or how many people died from cancer cause by dirty industry? How many kids turned to crime because the education system failed them?
Just think we need to focus on what really can kill us.. stop worrying about the edge cases.
First I want to say that several of the comments that came before are very good. There is a wide variety of experience and can help you get started.
I would say start as small as you can and expect to not get it right. Take your big project and break in into a few smaller easier to digest sections. You are going to make mistakes, but as you practice and you get you company more used the process will evolve and work better.
I won't give you specific examples of process, because I am not familiar with your organization and the process will have to be tailored for you company to work well. I will give you two books I feel are good to help. I read a lot of books on project management and I think these two are very good starter book.
Information Technology Project Management , Kathy Schwalbe
Managing Software Development Projects: Formula for Success , Neal Whitten
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