i am huge in japan

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New year changes

Downloaded an unexpected new version of Media Portal yesterday (v0.2.2.0). Something for people to play with over the Christmas break. It was a pain free upgrade and the subtley slicker interface is nice. There are some good back end features I have started to tinker with but am yet to perfect.

My main gift this year from the Mrs is a new LCD monitor. I get to choose it though. I'll be ordering it in the next couple of days as I see what sale prices unfold.

KDE was tempting me all week after a play with the Kubuntu live cd. Gave in to temptation yesterday and did some customising. Doesn't quite feel right though so came back to GNOME. Speaking of GNOME, I gave the Slab menu from SUSE a try again. I didn't like it as much as last time. Too cumbersome for my new way of working.

I think it's time to look for a new desktop wallpaper too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tribute to my MD

I found out last night that my beloved Mini Disc player no longer works. It tries, it really tries, but it can't manage to read anything. I guess I have neglected it over the past few years. I went down the mp3-cd player route instead of upgrading it to net-MD, using it only for occasional listens. I think I made the right decision but sometimes you just want to record audio digitally in real time.

I have a collection of mini discs that will perhaps never be heard again. All that time spent manually tapping in song titles and track marks is now spent forever. I guess I could buy a cheap player second hand but maybe it's time to let it go. I have some audio and VHS cassette tapes I have no player for.

So good bye my mini friend, you were a companion on many a driving session.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Today I did some long over due housekeeping on the increasingly inaccurately named PVR. These days it is more of a....media portal.

I did some maintenance on iTunes. Updated to 7.02, reindexed the library after all the files had changed to a different drive letter. Enabled network library sharing. The sharing worked great between PVR and Macbook. However Apple changed the protocol with version 7 and now third party programs can't read the shares until they reverse engineer it again. Bad news for the linux pc!

There was also a problem when inserting a DVD. Media Portal offered to play it but then Media Center popped up and took over. This is bad because these days whenever Media Center opens, it corrupts the display and I have to reboot. I told Windows to do nothing when a DVD movie is inserted and told Media Portal it could offer to play DVDs. Now that works great.

I also found a website with NZ TV exact frequencies. I entered into Media Portal the two that don't display properly for me. Alas there was little change. More of an aerial issue I suspect.

I'm still resisting another try of MythTV. There was an attempt made on the XP day after all but it went so wrong I don't want to talk about it :P, ok just a few bits. Wasted big download, kernel panic, power on issues, video out issues, monitor carrying and grub errors - I was beat before it all began.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Giving XP a kick in the bum

I have noticed the PVR booting slower and slower, taking a frustratingly long time to finish loading Media Portal. Today I decided to do something about it.

As sometimes getting the PVR on is an urgency, I will use a slightly expanded boot time frame. From power button to Media Portal menu being available it was 1 minute and 25 seconds. Miserable. It used to be around 40 seconds.

I knew some things I could change but I googled around for others and found advice about emptying the prefetch folder. C:\Windows\Prefetch. This basically caches programs you've opened before in hopes you might need them again. I had 104 files in there. Some multiple versions of programs. Clearly this was a major bottleneck to deal with at boot time. I deleted these files, gave the pvr a static ip (been meaning to for ages), deleted temp files, then rebooted. Instantly I had 30 seconds chopped off with a boot time of 55 seconds. Note that it took two reboots to see this change because the prefetch folder needed to be repopulated with stuff I actually use (a whole 5 files now). 55 seconds is good but I can do better.

Next up, disabling some services. Wireless and printer services are something I wont use on it so they can go. A few other odds and ends got disabled and it was time for another reboot.

(note, something just clunked over at the now off PVR, I hope everything is okay!)

Before completing this reboot, I dropped into the bios to clean up the boot order, just the main hard drive only. Getting back into Windows I had approximately 42 seconds. Much better and probably about the best I can do for now. I may do some more indepth research to better it but the main bugbear is off my back.

On another note, I am being encouraged to give MythTV another go - some preliminary research is still making me unsure. I can distract myself with optimising XP for now!