Carl T. Holscher fights for the customers.

Tag: plex

Bookmarklets I Know And Love

I don’t use my bookmarks bar in Chrome for anything related to Bookmarks. I use it almost exclusively for bookmarklets. What is a bookmarklet? It’s a bit of JavaScript that does a specific function. Instead of linking to a URL, it performs a small command. You’ll see if you keep reading.

I have a shortcut that adds a video from YouTube or Vimeo to my Plex queue. It’s my watch-it-later system for video when I want to watch a conference talk or interesting video later and know I’ll forget otherwise. If you have video hosted on a computer at home, I highly recommend you let Plex organize and share it. To get this bookmarklet go to the Watch Later Help page. Drag the Plex It! link to your bookmarks bar.

In the course of running events, presenters will often send me link to YouTube videos they would like to play during their presentation. the idea of running a video from the web, with the possibility of advertising gives me nightmares.

I use KeepVid to rip the YouTube video to my computer and run the video from there. It allows me to show the video to the audience without running the risk of advertisements, network difficulties, related videos, comments of other undesirable things.

– Markdown Quote
After moaning on Twitter about the shortcut I had found, I longed for a better solution.

Rob Malanowski came to my rescue. Rob, who is my spirit animal, provided a wonderful bookmarklet that grabs the title of a page, puts it into a Markdown link and then grabs the highlighted text and pastes that in after a “>” which makes it a pull-quote in Markdown.

That sounds really convoluted. Here is what it does.

Markdown pull-quote bookmarklet in action

Now I have my quote and link to the page ready to write about. It’s a small thing but it’s quick and it makes me smile every time I use it.

If you want to use this bookmarklet, grab the link below and drag it to your bookmark bar.


Instapaper changed how and where I read. As a commuter that spends most of my hour commuting underground, I can’t read anything online. So I dig into my reading queue. To find the bookmarklet, go to Instapaper’s Save page and drag the Save to Instapaper link to the bookmarks bar.

If you’re curious what I’ve read and liked, I keep a list at Carl Likes which also posts to Twitter at @CarlLikes

– Fever feedlet
This is my shortcut to add a site to my local installation of Fever where I read all of my RSS feeds.

I used to have bookmarklets for Pinboard and HuffDuffer but I now use Chrome extensions for those. I often change the bookmarklets I have in my bookmarks bar. I’ve downloaded and used most of what Brett Terpstra writes because they’re useful and fun.

I hope you found something useful in this smattering of links. Do you use something that makes your life a little bit easier? Tell me about it on Twitter.

Beautiful Dumb and Fast

Maybe it’s getting older or my life’s work in repairing and fixing broken things but it drove me to this simplicity. I want something simple. I want it to work and work well.

Reading The Daily Zen #2 “Beautiful, Dumb, & Fast”, a line from the post stuck with me. It puts my own feelings about the new race of smart televisions.

what I personally want out of my TV is very simple and can be boiled down to a phrase – beautiful, dumb, and fast.

iPod TV
iPod video from Alexandre van de sande

When I see a 3D TV I see a gimmick that gives me a headache. It fixes a problem I don’t have. And 3D implementations I’ve seen have given me terrible headaches after a few minutes.

When I see a smart TV I see a device that will never see software updates or fixes. I better love every feature and issue because it’s never going to change.

That’s the problem with buying into something. I’ve not only bought that TV. But I’ve bought into its ecosystem of applications. I’ve bought into its design. I’ve bought into everything that TV wants to be and nothing it doesn’t.

I’d rather buy into something more flexible. My entire home media setup is based around Plex, a Roku box for the bedroom and an Xbox 360 in the living room.

Plex powers both the Roku and Xbox. I can stream video to either device. Plex sits on an iMac, the last desktop left in the house. It’s always on so it manages the Plex media library hosted on a small NAS hooked to it. It also manages my wireless iTunes syncing for my iDevices.

The Roku and Xbox have also been actively developed for and even before Plex was officially supports on Roku, there was a way to add it as a custom channel. While the Xbox is a closed box, it’s a wildly popular and fairly well supported one.

There are moving pieces to this setup for sure. But it also allows for cheap replacements, upgrades and flexibility. Can take my Roku box with my on vacation and still access Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go. I can’t do that with a smart TV.

And if my Roku box dies, it’s a $50 fix. If my smart TV dies… I’m out a television and all of its smarts.

Give me something dumb any day.

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