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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

100 Days With the Mele A1000

I have been us­ing the Mele A1000 for a few months now. I think I have set­tled in­to a us­age pat­tern, so let's do a quick roundup of what it's good for and what it's not very good at.

First a quick re­minder of what it is:

  • Small com­put­er run­n­ing An­­droid (4.0.4 right now)

  • HD­MI/V­­GA/­­Com­­pos­ite video out­­put, ide­al for us­ing with a TV

  • SA­­TA con­nec­­tor, full size SD card, 3 USB port­s: ba­si­­cal­­ly un­lim­it­ed stor­age ca­­pac­i­­ty.

  • Re­­mote con­trol that works with most apps

  • Wifi and Eth­er­net

  • It will cost you ~ $90 to get one.

  • No noise, low pow­er us­age.

I have it in my bed­room, next to my old CRT TV. I could put it in the liv­ing room with the new­er LED one, but I have a Mac Mi­ni I got for work there any­way.

Hav­ing it plugged to an old TV means the video qual­i­ty suck­s. How­ev­er, it works great for watch­ing videos, and when con­nect­ed to a mod­ern dis­play it works per­fect­ly.

So, what do I do with it?

I watch movies and se­ries on Net­flix.

Ver­sion 1.8.1 of the Net­flix app works fine (later ver­sions do not!) and lets you see movies and se­ries legal­ly for a flat low month­ly cost. The re­mote pro­vid­ed does­n't re­al­ly work all that well, be­cause you can't do "drags" and there­fore can't scroll the movie lists left and right. So, to take full ad­van­tage of this you need to get a key­board­/­mouse set. I use this one.

How­ev­er, if you know what you want to see, it's just a mat­ter of search­ing for it.

I watch videos in gen­er­al.

MX Play­er works very well, and gives smooth, well synced video. The Hard­ware video de­coder works just fine, but you have to switch to soft­ware au­dio de­cod­ing.

Hav­ing a plug­gable SA­TA drive is very use­ful here. Just get any 2.5" SA­TA drive, plug it in, and start us­ing it.

File Serv­er

I used Sam­ba File­shar­ing and it "just work­s". You set it up, con­fig­ure us­er and pass­word, and your drives are now shared lo­cal­ly and ac­ces­si­ble to all your oth­er de­vices.

I am us­ing it to store back­ups from my "re­al" com­put­er­s, cre­at­ed us­ing rdif­f-back­up but any back­up tool that can store in a re­mote fold­er should work.

Ra­dio & Mu­sic Play­er

There are plen­ty of an­droid ap­pli­ca­tions that han­dle mu­sic stream­ing and play­ing your lo­cal mu­sic col­lec­tion. Just use the one you like.

Weath­er Gad­get

I like my TV telling me the weath­er. Us­es a ran­dom wid­get from the play store.

VNC Serv­er

In or­der to use it more com­fort­ably, or be able to do stuff in it when I am on the note­book, I am us­ing Droid VNC Serv­er and that even means I can use my own phone as a "re­mote" us­ing the Jump VNC client

Yes, that means I am in my bed us­ing my an­droid phone as a re­mote to my an­droid TV's screen. If the per­for­mance were bet­ter, it would be as cool as it sound­s.

I am us­ing Jump be­cause it's the on­ly An­droid VNC client I found that sup­ports drag­ging things (and it's not per­fect by a long shot).

Pos­si­ble fu­ture us­es

  • Skype box (need to hook a we­b­­cam. Mi­cro­­phone?)

  • Game con­­sole?

    I have Need For Speed: Shift and I would love to play it on a large screen, but how would I con­trol it? I need to in­­ves­ti­­gate con­troller­s, maybe joy­­sticks or gamepad­s.

I bought this with the idea of us­ing Ubun­tu on it, but the lack of ac­cel­er­at­ed driv­ers and Net­flix sup­port has made that a non-s­tarter. So, I am do­ing lots of things where An­droid re­al­ly has low­er qual­i­ty soft­ware than Ubun­tu, but those are forc­ing me to stay there.

I am quite hap­py with it, and as a "dum­b-tv-s­marten­er" it's quite awe­some for its price.

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