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Saturday, 14 January 2012

New HTPC Build : In Use

Installation complete and everything working?

Minor hurdle to overcome, activating Windows 7, completely new motherboard and processor etc which falls outside of the OEM agreement. I have my argument ready for when I have to ring up and try to convince someone as this is clearly the nearest replacement available for the board / processor I had while keeping to the HTPC purpose.

Awful picture of the finished product!

To my surprise activation goes through the automated route instantly. Phew.

The M.Play software supplied with the remote needed a little tweaking to make it work but turns out that it is both simpler to change and more reliable than the IMon Soundgraph software supplied with the Silverstone Grandia. It still has its quirks - I've found that keyboard shortcuts (including those I've defined myself) work perfectly but direct calls to programs seem to do nothing, however, that is consistent and a much nicer interface that the Soundgraph one.

I've discovered some oddities, so for instance there is an Eject button, that once shortcut has been setup to a small script, does successful Eject the optical disk (has to be defined for Windows and Media Centre) but as it points to a specific script is not able to close the drive. I can live with that as the only time I'm likely to need the button is when physically removing / inserting a disk so I'll have to get off my backside and cross the room anyway.

I have also had to redefine the Media Center button so that it actually starts Media Center when on the desktop (which seems a glaring oversight but wasn't hard to fix).

In fact the controller works so well that we have not discovered what all the buttons do / do not do yet because everything else we care about works out of the box - the lack of a mouse action is not really a problem as I've a USB mouse stuffed behind the CDs in the cabinet along with a mini-keyboard. I am missing the alphabetic option on the remote though for digging through > 20,000 music tracks.