This article was written by Daniel Spiewak, a great software developer and friend of the How-To Geek.
Apple recently released a new version of QuickTime (v. 7.2) sporting a number of new features and enhancements. Among the many enhancements – which include (finally) full screen support in the unregistered version – Apple added generic AVI playback, supporting codecs like Xvid, DivX and an enhanced H.264.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the mouse was probably the greatest innovation in computing since the silicon chip, but for a power user it’s really the slowest form of input. Taking your hands off the keyboard to reach for your mouse takes easily 500 ms of time, if you’re fast. Add to that the time to actually find the cursor (no small feat on high resolution screens), and the time to find and click on that one tiny icon you need, and you’re talking some serious productivity cramping. Of course, you could always be one of those *nix rebels who refuse to use any graphical environment, but what’s the fun of using bash, VI and command-line compilers for the rest of your days?
Most of the time, when I download something it’s a file archive of some kind – usually a tarball or a zip file. This could be some source code for an app that isn’t included in Gentoo’s Portage tree, some documentation for an internal corporate app, or even something as mundane as a new WordPress installation.
In the first part, I ran through the basics on how to connect and configure your Mac Mini as the heart of your entertainment center. In this next article in the series, I had been planning on going into detail on how to store your media files on a remote NFS share. However, one of the comments on the first article got my attention and it occurred to me that I didn’t really cover alternate video codecs at all. So, rather than launch into some fascinating list of iptables rules and Apple alias quirks, let’s look at third-party codecs.
Apple has been pushing the use of the Macintosh as the heart of one’s media center for a long time now, but more specifically since the release of the Mac Mini. With its compact size, low price and FrontRow, it’s the perfect computer to plug into your TV and watch some of those “archived” Lost episodes.