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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.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-16 12:59:

El "samba filesharing" que menciono creo que es lo contrario de lo que vos decís, es para compartir el disco de la Mele con el resto de la red.

Hasta donde sé, todos los clientes de smb para android exponen los archivos a las otras aplicaciones via http, porque "montar" un disco remoto es muy complicado en android (si es que se puede), y con todas vas a tener ese problema.

Una alternativa es poner los SRT en la Mele. MX Player te permite indicar un folder extra adonde están los subtítulos, capaz que con eso funciona.

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