by Jake Ten Pas
“There once was a device called Apple TV,
Cable’s customers, it did steal away
But without an app called AirParrot,
No old Mac would properly AirPlay.”
- From “A Song of Device and Ire” by Marillion
I love George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series with every last muscle fiber in my unrepentantly nerdy heart. I’ve only read the first three books, but I’ll soon start “A Feast For Crows,” which means it won’t be long before I start “A Dance With Dragons,” and then commence to bitching about how long the next book is taking, along with every other grown nerd child.
I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the TV series based on the books, HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” I’ve enjoyed it so much that the unavailability of the second season was the final straw that broke my will and sent me on a quest that ended in me attaining Apple TV.
Regular readers of this blog well know AM:PM PR’s obsession with Apple products, which verges on the fanatical lust for conquest normally reserved for Dothraki hordes. I, on the other hand, temper my fascination with Apple with an ongoing frustration at the company’s nickel-and-diming mentality when it comes to charger cords, adapters and other peripheral products that they don’t need to gouge you for, but seem to take great and wicked pride in doing nonetheless.
Case in point. It all started with a journey to Best Buy. My goal was to pay the gold price for an adapter that would allow me to connect my MacBook Pro directly to my TV, enabling the watching of “Game of Thrones” on a screen large enough to convey the show’s visual majesty. Once there, I realized that I’d have to spend nearly $50 to buy the proper plug/cable combination. For little more than twice that amount, I could own Apple TV, the miracle puck that would open up a whole new world of adventure and exploration, also known as “time wasting.”
Let’s rewind for a moment. As I said, season two “Game of Thrones” is not yet available for purchase, but a traveling minstrel told me about an amazing site where you could stream pretty much every great show of the past five years with no fuss or muss. Because I don’t want this site to get shut down – on the totally slim chance it’s doing something semi-legal – I’ll simply refer to it as Mt. Dew and Whoppers. Now, Mt. Dew and Whoppers, or MD&W, is truly a miracle, sent from The Seven to serve me my stories on a silver tray. If it was possible for me to watch it on my flat screen instead of my computer, by the Lord of Light, that destiny had to be realized.
Picking the brain of the Nerd Herd (Geek Squad?) at Best Buy, I was assured that my TV would be able to mirror any content from my MacBook Pro upon release of Apple’s newest operating system, Mountain Lion, with the help of Apple TV. As an aside, I hope Apple calls its next OS Shadow Cat. What the experts forgot to tell me was that this only would be possible if my computer was newer than 2011, which it most assuredly isn’t.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this was an issue until I was at home with Apple TV purchased and set up, Mountain Lion downloaded and MD&W cued up and ready to make all my Throne-Gamey dreams come true. After thrashing about, reprimanding both my TV and my computer, choreographing a punch-dancing sequence and trying to will an AirPlay icon to appear on my screen for roughly a fortnight, I took my cyclopean problem to the real Geek Squad, my coworker Cam and the think tank at our sister company, 7/Apps.
What they discovered on my behalf is the most amazing invention ever in the history of the past few months. It’s an application for your computer called AirParrot that allows you to mirror your computer screen onto your TV using AirPlay even if your computer is old and decrepit. Mine is about three years old, which in computer years translates to being buried in the ground long enough that your bones are considered fossils.
Once I installed AirParrot, I went home that night, opened MD&W, cued up episode one of season two of “Game of Thrones,” switched to Apple TV mirroring, and pressed play. What came next can only be described as what it would feel like to slap Joffrey Baratheon a thousand times with my own hand. My quest to retake the Iron Throne of my couch (and by iron, I mean of course microfiber) succeeded, and another epic chapter of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” was written in the pages of this blog, which itself has been forged of Valyrian Steel. Winter is coming, after all, and thanks to AirParrot, I now have enough stories to keep me basking in TV’s warm, glowing, warming glow until the wheel of time brings Spring around again.