Sunday, December 17, 2017

A bit under the weather, am I...

A bit under the weather, am I...  Yesterday I felt kind of blech all day long, and unfortunately I'm not feeling any better this morning.  Despite the blechs, we managed to get some errands done (mainly grocery shopping) and mostly I spent the day at the kitchen table loading content into our new Plex server.  That was a nice, easy job that felt within my limited capabilities for the day. :)

Below is a sample page (click to embiggen) from our new Plex server, with the movie Casablanca.  We can now see this on every device we own: Macbooks, iMacs, iPads, and iPhones.  We can see it anywhere our WiFi reaches, which includes the entire house, barn, and about three acres of our yard.  I've got movies, TV shows (like Pride and Prejudice), music, and (soon) videos and photos.  All of this content is being backed up into the cloud, using my favorite service (Backblaze).  If I choose to, I can make this Plex server available to the Internet, which means we could access all of it even when on the road.  It's very easy to operate if you want to browse and watch (or listen to) any of the content.  Putting the content up there isn't terribly difficult, but it does help if you have a bit of technical knowledge, are comfortable using a variety of ripping software, and understand file system organization.  Setting up the server in the first place is likewise not terrifyingly hard, but does require a bit of ability with program installation, configuration, and even router configuration.

One very pleasant surprise for me is the quality of the user interface.  It's superb, which is all the more remarkable because this program is free open source software.  Well-crafted, polished user interfaces like this take an amazing amount of work to get right.  They are generally the kind of thing only funded by large companies.  Plex is built entirely by unpaid volunteers, and in this case, some darned good ones!