Western Digital HD Live

I have been thinking of getting a media player or media computer for our family room but wanted something that was simple to use. I finally decided to pick up a Western Digital HD Live Media Player from Memory Express and I have to say I am impressed with it so far. I did not have a huge list if requirements. I wanted to be able to watch videos, browse photos and listen to music in the family room.

While the media player has a couple of USB ports to plug USB drives into the unit the real selling point for me was the wired network port. A wireless network adapter would have been great, but running a network cable into the family room was not a big deal and it means a faster connection. Once the unit was plugged into the network and my a/v receiver I was quickly able to browse my network.

Using the media player has been easy. It has played every media format I have tried to play on it so far. Everything from Xvid Avi files, 3gp video files recorded from my phone, to complete .iso backup files of our DVD’s. Streaming the data from my desktop has been no problem. No lag, jerkiness or delay. Most of my music is either MP3 or Ogg format and both have played flawlessly. Photos have been great to browse through. No problems looking through them at all.

I have only really tried the YouTube feature of the media player. It plays the content well enough, but finding the content on YouTube takes some patience to enter a search term since you only have a simple remote control to enter characters with. I have not tried option to browse Flickr photos yet. Pandora and the other Internet radio options are not really possible here in Canada.

If you are looking for a media player take a look at the Western Digital HD Live Media Player. I am very please with it and can see getting a lot of use from it. I got mine on sale from Memory Express with free shipping. That saved me around $10.00 in shipping. Not bad considering it was also the best priced at $119.00. The fact that it showed up on my doorstep the next day was a real bonus. If Memory Express does not have it on sale anymore you can also find it at TigerDirect.

ES File Manager

You know you are a computer geek when instead of looking first for cool and exciting games to play on your new Android phone you go hunting for a file manager. Not that I did not download some games as well but a decent file manager is just a requirement to organize all of the media I am going to create using the built in camera, video recorder and of course to keep track of all the audio and other files I want to load from my desktop onto the phone. That is why one of the requirements I had for a file manager was to be able to connect to a file share on my home network.

There are many good file managers available for Android but they all lacked the essential feature to be able to connect to a network share. The best app I found was ES File Manager. Not only can you use it to manage files on the local SD card but it can connect to Windows/Samba shares and FTP servers. This was exactly what I was looking for. Now I can simply connect to my main desktop Samba share and copy the files I want on my phone easily. No need to connect the phone via USB cable. This also makes it easy to copy and move photos and video off the phone to my main desktop. The only thing that would make it easier is if Dropbox finally got their Android app finished so I could just sync those files. Until then ES File Manager makes it easy to do.

Check out the official ES File Manager website for more details. Great app for those that want to browse local network file shares. Not sure why people use the other file managers.

WordPress Android App

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I wrote yesterday about my new Motorola Milestone smartphone. I have been exploring the Android app market and was happy to discover that Automattic has an official WordPress app. While I don’t plan on blotting regularly with the phone it does offer the ability to do the essentials with your blog. For example you can edit and add new posts and pages. Managing comments is probably the most handy feature.

Writing long posts could be tiring and time consuming using the app on your smartphone, but it is excellent to use to jot down post ideas and some basic notes.

It is also possible to upload photos from the phone and embed them in the post. For example here is a photo I took of my kids playing in the snow.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted a smartphone. It offers me the ability to do more in places where I am normally just waiting. For example the majority of this post was written while I was waiting for my kids at one of their afterschool activities. If you have a WordPress blog and want to do more with it on your Android smartphone check out the WordPress app in the Android market. I am hoping it will allow me to blog more than I have been. 🙂