i am huge in japan

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I have installed a new HTPC, a faster, quieter, smaller one. The details I needed to know before buying the parts and to configure were somewhat lacking on the Internet so I am posting them here for anyone else with the idea or problem.

Computer: Dell Studio Slim
Software: MediaPortal 1.1
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
TV tuner: Avermedia AverTV Satellite Trinity

The Studio Slim is the base configuration and handles 1080p HD fine. It can be a little slow in seeking through the video but playback itself is smooth. SD content seeks quickly. It's fast, quiet and good looking.

To get the Freeview New Zealand DVB-S scanned in I had to use different settings to my Hauppauge Nova S Plus card. MediaPortal settings needed are:

DiESQ: none,
Band: KU Universal
Satellite frequencies: 12456000 and 12483000 with sample rate 22500

Override LNB settings to use: LOW: 11300, HIGH 11300, Switch: 20000

That worked for me. TV playback is smooth and channel changing is quick.

Hope that helps someone.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Logitech Pure-Fi Anytime review and bad experience

I recently bought a Logitech Pure-Fi Anytime to use as a new alarm clock with iPod/iPhone support. It was great until after a couple of weeks when I started to notice sound distortion coming out of the speakers. This happens on all audio inputs so it was not a badly tuned radio station.

I initially thought it might be due to condensation from the winter air because the sound did eventually come right. Upon further investigation I found it is a known fault with 2008 models of the Pure-Fi Anytime. 2009 models had this problem fixed, unfortunately many 2008 models have been sold, they all develop faults. Some people are on their 5th model because they can not source a 2009 model reliably. You can read more about this in a thread on the official Logitech forums here. If your Product ID starts with EA8xxx you are affected, EA9xxx are fine.

I logged a support call with Logitech to attempt to get a new 2009 model sent to me to replace the faulty 2008. I did not want to deal with the online store I received it from initially because it would mean I pay courier costs for a Logitech problem and I could not reliably get the right replacement. The distributor would have to open the box of each Pure-Fi Anytime to check the sticker on the bottom. I explained this to Logitech and they predictably replied saying that I should contact the retailer. He also said that even if they wanted to help me, they couldn't because they have no access to stock. But then Logitech also say that if I have no luck with the retailer to please contact them for help.

When I explained again my reasons why and that I wanted to claim a replacement directly from them under the New Zealand Consumer Guarantees Act, things started to get weird. The customer service agent, started to lie to me about fictional aspects of the CGA, claiming they only had to help me if the retailer was now closed or if the retailer was more than 100KM away. When I pointed out they were lying to me and demanded an apology, I stopped hearing back. Requests to escalate the ticket to a more senior colleague were denied.

I logged a second job to complain about the bad customer service and things pretty much followed the same tune. The mocking claims that they can't help me but can help me if I try the retailer and don't get a result. It was pointed out that the 2009 models can be identified by their Product ID, a fact they knew I was aware of. 2008 models are still readily available in stores, well into 2009.

I have been put off ever buying Logitech products again. If you are thinking about buying a Pure-Fi Anytime, I especially do not recommend it. You have a high chance of being stuck with a product that is not of reasonable quality and speakers which give bad sound for the first 10 to 30 minutes of use. Not very good for an alarm clock is it?

It is disgraceful that Logitech continued to sell a knowingly faulty product and that they do not stand by their products when a customer complains. Their anti-customer attitude is not acceptable. There should have been no problem with immediately sending out a replacement model. I find it very hard to believe that a company like Logitech does not have access to its own products.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mac Mini

In September 2007 I blogged that I had my eye on a new Mac Mini but could not quite justify it. I finally justified it to myself and with the release of the revamped models, I bought one. I went for the low end model and installed upgrade parts myself. I bought 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB 7200 rpm hard drive. Doing the RAM was easy but the hard drive was a bit more tricky. The guide I was following left out a couple of key steps.

But once up and running it was great. I've been very happy with it so far and have been busy importing my stuff in. I've liked playing with the face recognition in iPhoto. It's fun teaching it what people look like.

It's also nice being able to plug in my iPod Touch and manage it without having to open an XP virtual machine first.

After using the Mac Mini at work for so long it's a little strange having a totally different set of apps on my dock.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A rare update

Wow, what a difference a year makes to my setup.

1) The Eee PC while awesome was not quite meeting all my needs so I sold my Acer Laptop and Eee and bought a Dell Mini 9 instead. It's running Ubuntu 8.10 really nicely and I love the bigger screen and key size.

2) PVR is now running Media Portal 1.0 featuring working fine (finally!) TV Server 3 and using the Monochrome skin. I have the Moving Pictures and My TV Series plugins going for a much more informative and graphical viewing choosing experience.

It also got a big hard ware overhaul to match my new 32" 1080p LCD TV. I bought a new HDMI motherboard and cpu and ram upgrades. Storage also got a 500 GB boost. It is a much better PVR now and I'm really happy with it.

3) Ubuntu 8.10 is my distro of choice on my main desktop. I have just recently switched to a slightly modified Darklooks theme from the GNOME extra themes in the repos.

4) I have a 2nd gen iPod Touch that I have tricked into being linux PC compatible by installing iTunes in XP under VirtualBox. The iTunes uses a unc path back to the Linux PC host for the Library location and I have it managing the filenames for me. This means my Linux media players can also take advantage of the proper tagging. I've started synching podcasts with it too.

5)My quest for proper tagging is also related to an addiction to last.fm :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I've been doing some more trials with (the ever increasingly inaccurately named) pvr.

I attempted an install of Media Portal TV Server 3. I last tried it around 10 months ago. I was hoping it would be improved but I couldn't even get the database to create. So I tried the latest Media Portal SVN instead, but that would not detect my satellite card! Not wanting to troubleshoot at that time, I reverted back to the stable.

Next on the cards was making a partition to install Mythbuntu. Happily, getting TV out working was a breeze. A bit tricker configuring to be readable and flicker free, but I got there. Mythbuntu control panel is not designed for low resolution.

I could not get my satellite card to work in MythTV either, even though the Myth wiki says it is supported. I was not able to do much troubleshooting because whenever I rebooted or reset the X Server, I had to wait 10 minutes to power on. Due to a weird power on issue. On the plus side, the remote kind of worked out of the box. I think I chose the wrong kind of MCE remote in the setup. Overall I prefered the Media Portal method of navigating within videos.

I think I have tracked the power on problems down to a fan cable on the PSU being detached. So hopefully things are more stable. In the process I took the time to image my Media Portal partition on to a bigger hard drive so I am currently without a Mythbuntu install. When I have some time soon I will make another attempt.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


1) I got an Asus Eee PC laptop for Christmas. It's so small and handy. I didn't think I would be keeping the default 'easy' interface but I've grown to find it refreshing. It's nice to get away from a standard interface for a while. I'm also impressed by the 20 second boot time! Websites display on the screen better than I hoped. I only come across a few that require side scrolling. I installed Skype 2.0 beta to get video chat working and a little system tray app to turn the camera on for it. Nifty.

2) I started using Leopard on my new Mac Mini at work pretty much from day one. I really like the experience. I didn't realise just how handy Quick Look and Stacks would be! The upped specs really make my VMware work much more pleasant.

3) As part of a general domain project at work I built a Samba file server. Using winbind it authenticates Active Directory users and auto creates them a shared home folder. No username and password prompt necessary. It took me a bit of fiddling around but I got a config that works. I think most of the trouble was on the Windows side requiring digitally signed transmissions.

4) KDE 4.0 came out but I have not tried it yet. I hear it is still a bit buggy so I am holding off for now. The intrigue is starting to grow though.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Another overview update

1) I made the jump to 64 bit linux with Ubuntu 7.10. It's a really solid release and everything I thought I would have trouble with was not an issue. I installed it as a trial but I think I'll keep it around

2) I had to switch the type of Internet connection I had when I moved recently. It has turned out okay and speeds are acceptable. I was scared it would be close to dialup at times but speed tests put my download speed at just above my last one. Yay.

3)PowerFrank is going well. A couple of times I have used him as a general desktop and the speed while a bit sluggish is not so bad. Better than the G3 Powerbook at least!

4)I am awaiting delivery of a new Mac Mini at work, specced as high as it would go. It will also mean playing with Leopard a bit, but not as my main OS yet.