Beamer – a Airplay movie player

We’ve got a few movies sitting in the file system of a server, and normally almost all processing (mainly transcoding between various movie file formats) happens on the server side. The 2 server side applications we tend to use are

– ServeToMe

– Plex

Both of them can play almost any file format – and work very well, except for one problem. Both are generally (in our house) controlled from a iPad, using Airplay to route it to one of the many AppleTV’s connected to TV’s in various rooms. And it works – and the applications are generally easy to use – family friendly.

– We (as so many other families) seem to have a increasing appetite for high definition formats, and transcoding these take more and more CPU from the server. This is ok as long as we only try to play one stream at a time, but kills our old server whenever we start up more than one stream.

This is where Beamer comes in. It opens files from your laptop (or other mac) and plays it directly to a Airplay enabled device (such as a AppleTV) without even trying to show it on the OsX device. And all the transcoding happens in Beamer.


No fancy user interface here – it all uses normal file opening dialogue.

But so far – it seems to work, and is fairly CPU light on my MacBook Pro.

pfSense – – open source firewall

Hm! This one is new to me – seems interesting.

The pfSense® project is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD specifically tailored for use as a firewall and router that is entirely managed via web interface. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution. The pfSense project has become a fairly popular project with more than 1 million downloads since its inception, and proven in countless installations ranging from small home networks protecting a single computer to large corporations, universities and other organizations protecting thousands of network devices.

This project started in 2004 as a fork of the m0n0wall project, but focused towards full PC installations rather than the embedded hardware focus of m0n0wall. We also offer an embedded image for Compact Flash based installations. The two projects have since diverged significantly.

We’ve steadily grown to become one of the most widely used network firewalls in the world, with in excess of 200,000 known live installs as of December 2013.

[From About pfSense –]


I have used BusyCal for years – we bought a family license once upon a time.

So I’m looking forward to trying out their new BusyContacts

Introducing BusyContacts
BusyContacts is a complete replacement for the built-in Contacts app on OS X that is designed to make creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient.
BusyContacts brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing capabilities that BusyCal users have enjoyed with their calendars. What’s more, BusyContacts and BusyCal integrate seamlessly together to become the ultimate contact and calendar solution on the Mac.
BusyContacts syncs with the built-in Contacts app on OS X and iOS and supports all leading cloud services, including iCloud, Google Contacts, Exchange, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


[From BusyContacts]

I’m Go’ing for it

I’m taking the plunge into learning a bit about Go :

Go is an expressive, concurrent, garbage-collected programming language.
The Go home page is the primary source of information about Go. It contains installation instructions, a tutorial, and more.

This repository holds the gc compilers and Go packages. Changes to the code are reviewed before being committed.

The gccgo front end for GCC is hosted as a branch on the GCC Subversion server. See the gccgo installation instructions.

[From go – The Go Programming Language – Google Project Hosting]

Synology gets better

My son has just bought a Synology NAS – so this is of some interest in our our household:

Synology gets even better w/ version 5.0: Why every Mac & iOS user should have a DiskStation

9TO5MAC | 10 MARCH 2014

I’ll admit, I’ve never felt the need to purchase network-attached-storage (NAS) hardware for storing and accessing my media or … Read more

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