I recently acquired a Gigabyte Brix Pro (this one) and decided to turn it into an emulator/steam powerhouse. For what it is, its pretty impressive for its size. I’m able to fit an mSATA drive (64gb) AND a 2.5in HDD (1TB) along with 8gb of RAM. It runs great with an i7 Haswell processor, and Intel 5200 Graphics. For the price I paid for it, totally worth it.

I decided to run Windows 8 on it, since the frontend I intended on using (HyperSpin) only runs on Windows. I’ve ran HyperSpin on other machines, so I already have the config files, XML files, yadda yadda yadda already set up. There was a major flaw in my plan though that I didn’t think of. Hyperspin’s video previews look corrupt on Intel chips. It’s a known issue and having the video preview available on game “hover” was a great UI feature. I tried multiple workarounds with disabling 3D acceleration, DirectX settings, nothing worked. So I started looking around for an easy alternative.



Enter GameEx, after messing around with it for about a day now, I love it. No crazy XML file editing, no bulk renaming files. You just point it to a directory, say these are the ROMS, this is the emulator, for this system. DO IT. And it just works, and it’s beautiful. No mucking around with Autohotkey scripts, no odd strict directory structures, it “just works”. It even has a sync program for EmuMovies to grab all the preview videos for every game.

GameEx Library

GameEx Library

For example, I wanted it to launch Dolphin along with an ISO of a GameCube game. I just pointed it to Dolphin.exe and the directory of ISO files, and it auto-read them and put them into GameEx. Select a game, boom it’s playing. Conversely with Hyperspin, I would have to edit an XML file (or rename the ISO) to match up perfectly, then autohotkey script dolphin to run full screen blah blah blah, none of that matters with GameEx. I just point to directories, and done.

(I’ll also mention that GC/Wii games work nearly perfectly on the Brix Pro at 720p, Wiimotes work great with it too).

I’m pretty sure I’ve abandoned Hyperspin for GameEx. It’s on sale for $18 right now (for all of July 2014) and I highly recommend it (it’s free if you can sit through a nag screen every boot up, I couldn’t >_<). The only “maybe” issue I have is the themes, it definitely does not look as great as Hyperspin, but it’s WAYYYYY more productive/functional that it makes up for it. That said, the next version (GameEx Evolution) looks to be the answer to that, and I’m excited try it out once it’s released.


I’ve been ripping a lot of my personal DVD and Blu-Ray collection to be put on my NAS system instead (see my multiple posts about how XBMC is awesome). I usually use Handbrake or MeGUI to encode to xd64 MKV files and preserve the commentary and different audio tracks. I also use AnyDVD HD (Yes, I actually bought it) to take care of any copy protection on the disk. It is amazing and anyone who wants to rip movies (espeically Blu rays) should use it.

The main problem for me, is hardcoded letterboxes. When you get a Blu ray disk, you are expecting the highest resolution video you can get (until 4k gets popular). Which usually mean 1920×1080, or 1080p. But most disks I’ve found have hardcoded letterboxes so the actual film is only a fraction of that. For example, I just bought the Bond 50 Blu Ray collection, all the James Bond movies on Blu Ray in one box. Every disk, even the newer ones are NOT 1080p, they all have hardcoded letterboxes that take up about 100px or so on the top and bottom, losing about 200px total. When removing the letterboxes on rip (most programs do this automatically), the movie is actually only 1920×816. So many blu rays do this and it’s driving me nuts.



So, I quit my job about a month ago to start working at Digital Extremes (by the way, play Warframe) and finally I was able to rid myself of Apple devices. The only reason I had a Macbook pro in the first place was because my old job was completely Apple-centric. Apple servers, apple wireless, APPLE EVERYTHING. Why? I don’t know. Personally I wouldn’t trust my data with a server I couldn’t configure completely (let alone pay for potential updates) but that’s just me. Especially if all we were doing is serving files to the LAN (and rare cases through VPN) and that’s it. You could set up a Ubuntu or Debian server in a weekend that did the exact same thing, with more features and costs less and… nevermind.

The point is I had an opportunity to get rid of my Macbook Pro, so I sold it on eBay, and at first got a Macbook Air 11in. Now, I will say that if you’re going to get a Macbook at all and you don’t give a shit about specs (AKA most web development work or browsing) it’ll work great for that and it’s pretty cheap, at least for an Apple product.

After a while, I realized that since almost the entire business world is Windows based, I switched the Macbook Air for something even more portable, and more… fun in general. The MS Surface Pro 128GB. Since I was within 2 weeks of buying the Air and paid about a $50 difference.

Totally worth it.



Here’s a way to group your collection data via exact attribute values using BackboneJS and UnderscoreJS.

this.categories = _.groupBy(this.collection.models, function(row) {
	return row.attributes.{attribute you want to group by};

this.categories should be a new object with your data grouped by the attribute you selected.

The tricky part was returning back the attributes of each model by going row.attributes.


I’ve been an enthusiast of XBMC and HTPCs now for a couple years now and I’m almost always looking for a more efficient way to stream/watch my media across different devices in my apartment (my current project is finding a cheap NAS setup to be somewhat expandable). Since I love messing around with hardware and software, I got a Raspberry Pi. The perfect little linux computer that is insanely cheap, and easy to get up and running.

Putting XBMC and RPi together, The Raspberry Pi showcased that you can run 1080p video from the Raspberry Pi through HDMI. Before this I used a Zotac ZBox ID41, but for the price of it and the amount of times I actually used it, I decided to switch to the Raspberry Pi approach.

After months of messing with Raspbmc (and other XBMC oriented versions of Raspbian) and having a bit of trouble, I finally tried the new build of OpenELEC made for Raspberry Pis running XBMC 12.1.