As much as I like and enjoy my Apple TV it has a tendency to frustrate the crap outta me. I've experienced two recent situations that made me wanna remove the thing from my closet and chuck it out the window (where it would probably land softly on the grass outside).

Blue screen? No, white screen!
I typically rent movies from Netflix but sometimes it's nice to rent something from iTunes. So after renting Hit Man and waiting a few minutes for the HD movie to queue up I was pretty surprised to be greeted by a glaring white screen. Audio was working fine but the video was a big mess of white nothing. I tried the immediately obvious things like fast forwarding, rewinding, and stopping and restarting the movie. I also adjusted the video display settings on the Apple TV to ensure it wasn't some funky HD setting. After none of that worked I used my MRF850 system remote to shutdown my entire home theatre system which basically amounts to power cycling equipment that is turned on (except for the Apple TV). The movie continued to display only white. It wasn't until I unplugged the power cable for the Apple TV (there's no on/off switch) and plugged it back in that the movie actually showed video. Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. =(

Apple TV 2.3 iTunes 8.0.2 Syncing Issue
Apple released an update for Apple TV (version 2.3) that promised new features like AirTunes Streaming, additional third party remote support, better playlists compatibility with iTunes and enhanced music volume control (they didn't mention the Remote app on iPhone getting this feature but it does. And it's cool). What they didn't tell you was that a number of people were going to have some significant problems with the update. I was one of them.

After upgrading my Apple TV it no longer showed up in iTunes. I wasn't able to sync any new music, movies, or photos but I could still play all the content that was already on Apple TV. What was puzzling was my Apple TV continued to show up in iTunes Apple TV list which seemed to indicate my computer and Apple TV were able to see each other. To further add to the frustration my iPhone Remote app wasn't able to see the Apple TV and control content playback. After doing some searching I tried several of the solutions other sufferers had success with. I even wiped the entire thing and attempted to start over and resync all my music, movies, and photos. I was able to perform the factory settings reset but iTunes still wouldn't see my Apple TV.

While trying to remotely connect to my 1TB Time Capsule to check IPv6 settings (one of the suggestions from the previous link) I noticed my computer wasn't able to recognize the Time Capsule. Naturally, I power cycled the Time Capsule by pulling it's power cable. After it came back up I was able to connect via Airport Utility and surprisingly iTunes was now able to see the Apple TV. After all this fuss I was able to set up my Apple TV all fresh and anew and sync all my data (which took over 3 hours). Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. See a pattern here?


The Bank of Time

Posted by Aaron West at 3:09 PM in Productivity, Personal

I was watching Merlin Mann's Time and Attention Google Tech Talk (March, 2008) earlier where he talks about reshaping the stuff that comes at you to optimize your time, attention, and ultimately your results. Listening to him talk about renegotiating yourself and to whom you give your time and attention as well as redefining the culture of your team reminded me of The Bank of Time. I first heard The Bank of Time in 1996 while in college and it's something that stuck with me and has resonated throughout my life since.

The Bank of Time If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, but carried over no balance from day to day, and allowed you to keep no cash in your account and every morning canceled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day, what would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!

Well, you have just such a bank and its name is Time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as a loss whatever of these you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries no balances. It allows no overdrafts. Each night it closes the record of the passing day. Each day it opens a new account with you. If you fail to use the day's deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the morrow. You must live in the present - on today's deposit.

Invest it so you get the most in health, happiness, and success.

Are you drawing out every second of your day? What can you do to better manage your time and make the most of today? Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly. And if you want to learn a few tips to capitalize on your 86,400 seconds check out Mann's Time and Attention talk.