Tips on Buying a UPS?

After moving to Bangalore, it turns out that I would need to get one or more UPS’s for the machines at home. The place we will be moving to in a few weeks does have power backup, but if/when there is a power cut it takes a few minutes for the generators to kick in and is not instantaneous as I was thinking. I have never bought a UPS until now and don’t have any experience with it - what are the things that I need to consider?...

May 15, 2011 · 2 min · Amit Bahree

Media Centre Pictures

Sorry this took so long (been extremely busy lately), but as promised here are pictures of the media centre during the various stages of being built. Clicking on the thumbnails below, will show you a larger version of the photos. Also given my previous experience with the MCE , the wife is always very sceptical whenever I say anything about ‘fixing’ the MCE. Moral of the story (as I learned the hard way) the MCE is a ‘production’ class machine which does not get touched without adequate planning with fall back options planned....

December 31, 2009 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Allowing remote desktop with blank passwords on Win7

I finally got the time to upgrade my MCE with the RTM bits of Win7 (was running an old RC build until now). Given this is a dedicated MCE with nothing else on it and an on an isolated part of the network, I don’t have a password set for the Account I use to login (of course not a recommended practice). Now, I wanted to RDP to the machine and I realised then that Win 7 does not allow RDP with blank passwords by default (Vista behaves in the same fashion)....

December 19, 2009 · 1 min · Amit Bahree


I build my first MCE a few years ago and since then not looked back – despite a few of my screw ups . In our household the MCE is used a lot and it really has changed the way we watch TV. One starts taking things for granted such as the ability pause live TV or rewind when you did not quite catch the last dialogue. And this was brought more in focus when during the transition from the old MCE to the new MCE (more on that in a second)....

May 5, 2009 · 3 min · Amit Bahree

Cumulative Update for Vista MCE

You might have noticed this via your Windows Update that Microsoft has released a cumulative update for Vista MCE! It is supposed to fix a number of issues, though I have not seen any changes (but then I was not having any issues in the first place). You can get details on what this update contains.

July 1, 2007 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

lifeStation's upgraded to Vista

If you recall I talked about lifeStation last year and Simon from Passive Technologies posted a comment letting me know that they have upgraded all their machines to MCE Vista from MCE XP. There is also a new lifeServer which boasts 6TB of storage and RAID 5 (though I cannot find out anywhere if this is 6TB of total storage or usable storage). On a separate note, this might be a good candidate to run Windows Home Server ....

June 19, 2007 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Life without an MCE

I must say after getting used to viewing TV (and Movies) via a MCE - not having one is sorely missed. Recently the machine was randomly hanging and a few blue-screens and as it turns out one of my memory sticks went bad which was causing the issues. Although I had bought the memory from Crucial , over two years ago - they have a lifetime warranty. I called them and they immediately volunteered to change both the sticks (as I was running them in dual-channel)....

June 1, 2007 · 2 min · Amit Bahree

"Jerky" Movie playback in Vista

I don’t know if this is a Vista x64 issue, but when I am watching a DVD on the laptop the movie playback is quite jerky and as a result very irritating. I have tried both Media Player and Media Center and unfortunately get the same result. Interestingly though, a few weeks ago, between the two (Media Player and Media Center), one of them was jerky but the other was smooth (I forget which was which), but now both are the same....

December 10, 2006 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Cool MCE

<p> <img src="images/lifeStation_thumb7.jpg" alt=""/> </p> I recently came across this advertisement in one of the magazines. There is a company called Passive Technologies who have released a pretty cool looking MCE machine called lifeStation . It looks like an appliance and still runs MCE 2005; I would recommend to wait when they upgrade to Vista. I don’t own one, so I don’t have any first hand experience. I also don’t know how much it costs, but it is bound to be pricey....

December 10, 2006 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Cool MCE Case

Check out the soon-to-be-released Origen AE S210 which among many other features has bays for 12 HDD’s, and a 12" touchscreen LCD! Not sure on the damage it will cause (£££), but if its reasonable, then I would need to find a business case when Vista ships to get my hands on one of these :).

January 26, 2006 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Do you get less wet if you run in the rain?

Seems like BBC is answering exactly the same question, and if you ask me they got too much free time on their hands.

December 27, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Building the Ultimate MCE

If you are still in the market to build you MCE, ExtremeTech has an article talking about the best case, powersupply, etc. to pick for the job. You can check out my MCE configuration here. [Listening to: I Am - Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day (03:54)]

December 15, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

New MCE Cases

I am quite happy with the case I have for my MCE, but I came across the following to new cases, which if I had to buy now I would seriously consider - they are on opposite end of the spectrum and depending on what you need and your budget one might be a better fit than the other. DIGN X15e Aluminium Enclosure Enlight 7473 Home Media Chassis Drool on! :)

November 28, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

MCE Update coming out soon

According to Neowin , MS is going to release the Rollup Update (code names Emerald) to MCE soon, which will incorporate: 2x HD Tuner supported No CableCARD No QAM DVD Changer Xbox 360 Extender support Sonic DVD Burning fixes Slight improvements in Media Library performance The update will be free and available via Windows Update. MS also released some information at the PDC about Diamond (Windows Vista MCE) and Neowin has some screen shots on their site and some more pictures here ....

September 16, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

How to screw up your MCE?

Well on one lovely weekend when there were clear blue skies (big deal here in London), I thought what better way to spend the day then mess up the MCE and stay indoors all day to fix it. And how does one go about doing that? Well here is what I did and lessons learned (hopefully) :). Firstly, just because there is a new update for the BIOS don’t be compelled to update it (as I did), remember the age old advice, don’t fix it if it ain’t broken....

September 12, 2005 · 5 min · Amit Bahree

Media Center Pictures

A few of you have asked me to upload some pics here of the MCE; and here they are - sorry it took a while, but better late than never. In case you are curious, this is my MCE configuration . Me and Karan assembling the box - as you can see we just finished screwing in the motherboard Here is what the finished CPU looks like from the inside - the PCI Express graphics card is on the left rear side (you can see the silver heat sink), also the fan less power supply on the right....

September 12, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Problems with the MCE Remote Control - repeats the keys you pressed

I had this very irritating issue with the remote control of Media Center, where mostly whatever key I pressed, got pressed more than once (even though I pressed it once); it it would cause things like as you move around - very irritating as you would skip over channels you wanted to change or navigate to music or pictures, etc. But it seems like this issue of Stickiness is because there are two buffer overruns in the eHome infrared receiver ( read Q331913 ), and although Microsoft has this patch to fix it, I would recommend installing the new Update Rollup1 for the eHome receiver as the earlier patch was released in 2002 and even though I have MCE 2005 it was a suspect of not fixing the issue (mind you I did not do extensive testing)....

July 18, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

DVD Audio not loud enough

Well, we have a very nagging problem on the MCE, Live TV, Recorded TV, Music, Radio - all was fine, the only issue was whenever we saw a DVD, even with the MCE and Windows volume all the way to maximum, the sound was not loud enough to hear and quite often we had to switch on the sub-titles just to follow what is going on. Finally, though it seems I have found a fix - and it seems to be working....

July 17, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

My Media Center Configuration

I have been asked this a few times and till now I have been shying from posting this, but here it is now, the details of the MCE I build a few months ago (in Feb. 2005). Motherboard: I got a 939 pin MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ RAM: 1 GB, DDR PC3200 (Ballistix) HDD: OS - Maxtor 80 GB Data - Two 200 GB (each) in RAID 1...

June 27, 2005 · 1 min · Amit Bahree

Extensions to MCE

Now that my Media Center is up and running (yes, yes I know, I will be posting the specs and pictures soon, as I am travelling on work in Brussels will do it when I get back), I have been thinking of how to extend that to make it a fuller experience (if there is such a word). Here are some things that I was thinking of integrating/extending/playing with (and hopefully have more stuff up on the sandbox)....

April 5, 2005 · 2 min · Amit Bahree