Michael Creasy's blog

Microsoft Windows Media Center, digital media and more...

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  • Blog Post: Many questions - MSAS, playing WAV files and what to develop Media Center apps with

    I've had lots of questions recently and no time to really get answers and post them up here. If I haven't answered you question it's because I don't know the answer and haven't had enough time to get to the bottom of it yet. First of all I had a couple of questions on MSAS which I don't know that...
  • Blog Post: This week's questions (actually last week's): More on HTML and add-ins

    How are HTML apps and add-ins associated with each other? (Can HTML apps trigger add-ins to be launched?) HTML and add-ins can both be part of the same application, that is each is a different entrypoint of the application. The association takes place at registration time, when both would be registered...
  • Blog Post: Media Center PC's are getting cheap!

    Betanews reports that Gateway/ eMachines will be offering a new Media Center PC for $599! The specs are pretty impressive for such a cheap computer: AMD Athlon 64 3400+ 1GB DDR SDRAM 200GB hard drive ATI Radeon Xpress 200 8 in 1 media reader Rewritable dual-layer DVD drive CD...
  • Blog Post: This weeks questions - always on top and registering add-ins and HTML together

    I've decided to take all the questions I get by email and answer them on Fridays in one post, so do please continue to email me any questions you have. That said, here's this weeks questions: How can I keep the Media Center window on top so I can work on other things? In Media Center go to Settings...
  • Blog Post: How to disable a Media Center add-in

    Jason over at Digital Media Thoughts sent me an email about his new article on The Powers and Perils of a Platform . Jason talks about the trouble he had when a Media Center "plugin" went bad and couldn't be uninstalled. It's not clear if it was an HTML application or a managed code add-in, but based...
  • Blog Post: Questions answered

    I've had a couple of questions by email that I should answer (note I've paraphrased some of these): What fonts should I use for my HTML Media Center application and can I use Flash? The SDK is where to go for design guidelines for HTML applications (the short answer is to use a sans serif font). Yes...
  • Blog Post: Media Center keyboard shortcuts

    All the keyboard shortcuts for Media Center for those times when you just don't want to use a remote control are documented here . Update: If the page doesn't display, try again later, it's propagating around servers or something like that I'm told
  • Blog Post: MSN Remote Record

    MSN Remote Record is live and out of beta. In simplest terms it's a way of browsing the same TV guide as your Media Center PC uses and then remotely instructing your Media Center PC to record something. Pretty clever stuff. There's a small download for your Media Center PC and then it looks pretty easy...
  • Blog Post: Emailing me with tech support requests

    I get a lot of emails asking for help with people's Media Center and I can't answer them all. Feel free to email me with things you'd like me to write about, but please understand I can't answer all the emails or provide tech support for you. If you have a problem I encourage you to use the newsgroups...
  • Blog Post: Intel Barebones Media Center PC

    This is pretty cool if you're looking to build your own Media Center PC. Intel have started producing barebones systems in a case that wouldn't look out of place with other A/V equipment. All you need to add is a CPU (an Intel P4 of course), hard drive and RAM. The motherboard is based on the Intel 915P...
  • Blog Post: Update for Media Center Extender for Xbox now available

    There's an update for MCX for Xbox available on Xbox Live now that will allow you to play back CGMS-A content (HBO etc...). You should get prompted about the update next time you log into Live. If you don't have Xbox Live you can request the update here .
  • Blog Post: Installing applications on Media Center

    In response to an emailed question from Mike Kaltschnee about how to install applications on Media Center I thought I'd provide my thoughts on the subject. First, do you really need to install something? Let's tackle what do if you just want to create some links to your web based application. Creating...
  • Blog Post: Sony will offer an upgrade to Media Center 2005

    If you've got a Sony Media Center PC and want an upgrade to Media Center 2005, you'll want to click here .
  • Blog Post: Improving "My Pictures"

    eHomeUpgrade talks about how to improve the My Pictures experience in Media Center . There's some good ideas there. Some that I've thought of before and would like to see and some that I haven't. They noticed that a slideshow always starts with the same photo which annoys me as well, but I've learnt...
  • Blog Post: Got an Extender? Got HBO? You'll want this update.

    Now you can watch copy protected TV on your Extender. Update for the HP model. Update for the Linksys model. Just in time for the holidays. Enjoy everyone.
  • Blog Post: Geek dinner tonight

    A reminder about tonight's geek dinner ... Charlie says he will have some prizes...
  • Blog Post: What would make debugging Media Center applications easier?

    Right now the method for debugging Media Center applications is pretty much to use Visual Studio both for jscript debugging in HTML apps and managed code for add-ins. I know some people have had some problems getting this working and I'll try and post something on that later. There's been some talk about...
  • Blog Post: Media Center Geek Dinner - Thursday December 9th

    Charlie and I have talked about this for a while and we've finally got around to doing something about it. If you're interested in Media Center come join us for dinner at Crossroads in Bellevue next Thursday (the 9th) at 6pm. We'll try and look conspicuous, so I'll be wearing a Media Center jacket. I...
  • Blog Post: Winter Fun Pack 2004 includes TweakMCE for Media Center 2005 users

    The Winter Fun Pack 2004 is now available to download . There's a bunch of things included for Windows Media Player 10 such as skins and new power toys. There's a cool looking addin to add your currently playing music to your email signature when you send email which I'm going to have to play with. There...
  • Blog Post: Tranquil mini Media Center PC

    Tranquil PC (via mini-itx.com ) have this cool looking Media Center PC available in the UK. It's very small and so has some limitations but the design of it is great. It's using a VIA mini-itx platform so it's not capable of playing HD WMV and only supports one tuner, but for a basic Media Center PC...
  • Blog Post: MediaCenter.IsApplicationActive isn't implemented

    If you've been trying to use MediaCenter.IsApplicationActive and wondering why it doesn't work then wonder no more. It can't be made to work as it doesn't actually exist, it's documented in error. To get the same functionality you can use MediaCenter.IsForegroundApplication instead like this: window...
  • Blog Post: Digital Joy

    Coming November 7th .;-)
  • Blog Post: Sample Media Center 2005 Add-in download

    To try and make things easier for anyone looking to experiment with building add-ins for Media Center 2005 I've packaged up the add-in from my previous post on how to build an add-in (there was an error in the registration file I provided in the post - I've fixed that). You can download it here . I've...
  • Blog Post: Cool new Media Center hardware

    HP have announced a new Media Center PC that would look right at home next to other home entertainment devices. The z500 series (link goes to PDF data sheet) supports dual tuners and most interestingly to me is compatible with the iPod (they say the Apple iPod from HP, but I bet a regular Apple one would...
  • Blog Post: Would you like an Media Center add-in sample in VB.NET?

    I posted an introduction to add-ins earlier this week using C#. I know there are lots of VB developers out there. If you'd like a sample using VB.NET post a comment here and I'll work something out over the weekend.
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