Leopard, Boxee Impressions

So I was able to get Leopard installed on my HTPC. I had a ~7GB dmg on my Tiger setup, which I restored to an external drive with the Disk Utility, then proceeded to boot from it and install the OS.

Leopard runs pretty smooth, I guess just getting into it at its fifth (10.5.5) iteration means all of the major bugs have pretty much been squashed. Plex… it was just OK. It was no real improvement over my previous configuration really, and it crashed a few times trying to do basic operations.

I decided to give Boxee a try, as was recommended to me. Man this thing is slick! I added my media sources and it recognized 2/3rds to 3/4ths of my media automatically, providing more information about each episode or movie. Upon watching the media, it “scrobbled” (like last.fm) what I’d done to my profile. After watching, I applied a rating to what I had just watched, also put on my profile. How neat is that, as a concept? This is exactly what I was looking for months ago, but didn’t even think to look for an existing solution, I just assumed it didn’t exist.

I love how it integrates with other social media applications. Twitter (if I didn’t hate it) can be setup to have all of my updates tweeted to it. Last.fm can be setup to have all music I listen to scrobble to my profile. You can view your Flickr photostream and watch slideshows directly from the app. There’s more, it’s so cool.

Boxee takes over your apple remote (universal remote in my case), so when pressing Menu it takes you to Boxee instead of Front Row. This is not a problem for me, because everything Front Row offers is contained in Boxee — and that is a VERY small subset of Boxee’s operations. After using it a bit, I’m really happy with the fact that it takes over the remote, it removes the requirement upon Sofa Control (as I used to use), or Remote Buddy (a similar product). Boxee even has an option for you to suspend the system, a feature which I use very often.

Boxee is still in “alpha” stage, but I’ve only come across a few bugs. I plan to contribute as much as I can to this project, because I think it’s really cool. It currently runs on Intel OS X 10.4/10.5 and Ubuntu. If you want an invite, let me know.

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