Hands on: Plex v0.9.3.4


For some time now I’ve hunted for the perfect media center solution for my apartment. Let’s face it, DVDs are so last year! Digital media is where it’s at.

I’ve tried (and loved) many solutions, all the way from plain old Windows Media center to XBMC. Since my recent migration to OS X I stuck with the old faithful iTunes.. That was until now.. Featured on one of my daily RSS feeds was the latest release of Plex, it wasn’t that I hadn’t heard of Plex before – but I’d never actually downloaded and tried it out.

So off I went, downloaded and installed version (latest at time of blogging). The install was start forward enough and was quite quick to complete. I was then greeted by Plex’s Media manager, which was a first for my media center trials.


Media manager makes it a cinch to set up your media locations, and uses its Internet links to download and update your medias metadata. Right from your movies synopsis’ to its media artwork.

What’s even more special, is the ability to choose different artwork if you’re not happy with the default.

As with most media center solutions Plex is also capable of managing your TV shows, audio and photos. Just like it does with your movies the media manager downloads and updates the meta data and artwork for your TV shows and audio.

Once you are happy with your freshly organised and professional looking media collection, it’s time to start-up the beast.

My current setup (awaiting further cash injections) is a 2010 17″ MacBook Pro with HDMI out to my LCD tv, and audio out to my Sony surround sound unit. Now my TV is quite dated now and doesn’t normally play well with my MacBook. However straight out of the box, Plex looks stunning.. With the slight exception of cutting off the RSS feed at the bottom and weather in the top right. Luckily a few tweaks in Plex’s settings soon had this rectified.

The Plex home screen is pretty similar to most media centers on the market, with a menu system on the left hand side and a selected menu related image on the right.


One thing that immediately becomes obvious it’s just how well Plex works with Apples remote control. The menu structure is easy to navigate and intuitive. Giving you everything you need to make this the perfect in media solution.

I am a massive fan of the movie selection screen, everything you need to know to make an informative choice. Displaying information such as the media quality, the movie rating, it’s synopsis and a movie poster. Now, there are other views to choose from, but I always seem to come back to this one.


Plex has a massive amount of features, and should be enough to satisfy any tech hungry mind. So why not dump your current media centre solution and give Plex a try. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!

Not only is Plex available for download to your nice shiny Mac, but there’s also a version available for Windows users too!

Do you use something else for your media centre? Why not post its details in the comments below and we can see how it stacks up!


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A whole new meaning to word 'desktop' (3D)

All of you desktop icon-less freaks out there are going to hate this. BumpTop is an amazing addition to the mac, BumpTop is essentially a 3D version of a normal desktop, giving you the advantage of 5 more surfaces in which to store your stuff! 

Not only do you have the ‘top down’ desktop floor space, you also get 4 walls ‘around’ the top down view to store stuff. Using it’s amazingly fluid transition between the surfaces brings a whole new space age interface to your mac.
For a better explanation, check out this youtube clip:
{qtube vid:=GcbymyM3dWo}
As you can see from the clip, it has many cool feature such as the stack… A couple of things I also love is the multi wallpaper option, to give you a cool view with the right photo’s. Also the preview of picture files on your wall make’s it feel like you are actually hanging pictures!
Despite the applications capabilities it seems to have a small footprint, and so far has not affected the overall performance of my MacBook. Of course, on a lower spec’ed machine the outcome may be completely different.
For now at least I am loving my new 3D environment!

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Gorillacam for iPhone

All iPhone owners will already be aware of the lack of features in the built in iPhone camera app. It was a bit of a disappointment if you ask me.. However, the people of at Joby have released the new Gorillarcam app. Which sports some pretty nifty features, plus it’s completely FREE!

As per the screenshot on the left, the Gorillacam app is capable of:
              • Self-Timer – Set your camera up on your tripod and set the timer for that family group shot, no longer will your beautiful face be missing from your pictures!
              • Time-lapse – Set your camera up to take a shot every 10 seconds, to achieve a perfect time-lapse collection, handy for stop start animation perhaps?
              • 3 Shot Burst – handy for catching those all important action shots, one press of the button gives you 3 shots 3 seconds apart.
              • Bubble Level – does what it says on the tin, perfect if you are using your iPhone on a tripod and want to achieve perfect level photos
              • Grid – again, pretty self explanatory – split the screen up into grid squares, handy for getting something in perfect centre of your shot.
              • Press Anywhere – is a nice feature, enables you to take the picture by tapping the picture and not the small capture button ilke in the built in iPhone app.
              Overall the app seems to perform pretty well, my only comments are due to the way the app accesses the camera and camera roll it seems to be a bit slow at actually saving the pictures. Which isn’t an issue for me, but if you need instant access to take the next shot then this isn’t for you.
              Still, overall I think for free the app plugs a lot of holes in the iPhone’s picture taking capabilities.
              Joby are also the boffins behind the fantastic Gorillamobile which is a flexible. mountable device stand. 

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