Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Finally, a Safari browser that I can use as my everyday browser

OSX Mountain Lion was released by Apple today, and one of the new features is an updated Safari browser. 

I have been a Chrome user for a couple of  years now and I enjoy its quick minimal interface and "everything bar," as well as the advanced syncing features. 

But as a Mac user, I've always wanted to take advantage of using Safari as my go-to browser. However, I have always felt that overall it was less productive than Chrome. 

That has all changed with the release of Safari for Mountain Lion. The major feature that I have enjoyed so far is the additional of the "everything" bar that allows you to type searches or url's into the same bar. It also will instantly recognize text that matches past entries. Its a huge time saver and has really made Safari usable for the first time in years. 

It also feels quite fast, includes icloud syncing with tabs opened on your other IOS devices, and features built in sharing to twitter, iMessage, and Facebook (coming soon).  The other nice feature of safari is the offline reading list, which gives you a text-only, book like approach to reading articles from various sites around the web. Simply send an article that you want to read later to your reader and enjoy it at a later time. 

Great update overall and I highly recommend that all Chrome users give it a spin. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to Ceiling Mount a Home Theater Projector

I recently decided to mount my home theater projector on the ceiling. The process was fairly straightforward and I'll detail it below.

Equipment:

Home theater projector mount (I used this one from monoprice.com)
HDMI Streamer - Belkin ScreenCast AV4, 4 Port Wireless HDMI for AV/HDTV
Electrical outlet
Flat head extension cable
Short HDMI cables
Cable Management - concealer



I have a Panasonic PT-AE900U projector that is about 5 years old. Most projector mounts are universal and fit a variety of different projectors. I found that I had to play around with the monoprice projector mount to get it working properly but I eventually got it to fit. The mount came in three separate pieces. One piece attached to the ceiling, one to the projector, and a bar connecting both pieces together.

I started by mounting the ceiling piece. I was able to find one stud to drill into for the first screw. I used drywall screws for the other 3 mounting points. Once I had that mounted, it was very easy to connect the 3 pieces together.

Step 2 was to install an electrical outlet for power. I already had wires ready to go in the ceiling about 3 feet from the projector. Ideally, I would have placed the outlet closer, but since my ceiling has drywall there was no easy way to install a new outlet. I would definitely recommend using a professional to install an outlet for you unless you already have experience and knowledge in electrical work.

I used a flat extension cable and ran it from the outlet to the projector for a cleaner look. I also used plastic cable concealer from monoprice to cover the cord. The plastic sticks right to the ceiling and you can thread you cable right inside. The extension plug sits on back of the projector behind the projector mount to conceal the plugs.

Finally, I used the belkin screencast hdmi streamer to beam the hdmi signal from my AV receiver to my projector. I tested this product out for a couple of weeks before mounting the projector to make sure that the quality was acceptable. It worked flawlessly, providing a high quality image with no interruptions. One end plugs directly into your AV receiver. The other end plugs into the HDMI in port on your projector. The receiver box was small enough to set right on top of my projector.

I also purchased a very small 1.5ft HDMI cable and a shorter power cable for my projector to minimize cable mess and provide a clean look.

After plugging everything in, I fired up the projector and my receiver and immediately was able to watch a Hi-Def blu-ray on my newly mounted projector.