i am huge in japan

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Crystal clear PVR

I am now taking advantage of the FreeviewNZ service.

The quality of the picture is amazing. So much better than the analogue signal I was using. I had to "upgrade" to MediaPortal-SVN and install TVServer3 in order to have easy setup. Stable MediaPortal doesn't have the best interface for setting up satellite TV.

There are a couple of bugs to work out but it's improving all the time. I am now getting the Electronic Program Guide from the satellite feed rather than downloading from the Internet. This is cool because I don't have to keep up with website breakages and timezone offsets.

So far I have been unsuccessful in getting TV streaming to work. I'm either doing something wrong or it's broken in the code. Did a trial of the aerial splitter today. Got signal to the digital tuner but the analogue TV could not see anything. I wasn't sure what to expect, I guess that is it.

My next task is finding a good way of getting a dedicated network connection for the PVR instead of an ad-hoc one. I may end up using a PCI wireless card, or doing some tidy cabling.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A much requested update

So let's review the current situation shall we?

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn came out and is installed on my home and work computers. This time I opted to do in place upgrades which went smoothly except for another command needing to be added to my xorg.conf to get Beryl working again. Overall I am enjoying the new version and am pleased to find noticeable improvements in performance. My hard drive speed when copying lots of files to my data partition is now significantly better - think 20 seconds instead of 20 minutes.

On the desktop for a new sprinkle of bling I have starting using the Murrine GTK engine and Screenlets. I always thought people were silly to keep an analogue clock on their desktop but now I can see the attraction. We have been oppressed by the digital taskbar clock for too long!. I also keep a snazzy weather screenlet going.

On the laptop front there has been much change. In the wait for Feisty Fawn I decided to try out SimplyMEPIS. I'd heard it was a good KDE implementation so I was hopeful. As luck would have it, the official release of 6.5 had just happened the day before. After waiting for suitable mirrors to pick it up, I downloaded and installed. MEPIS gives you the option of using a Beryl KDE session out of the box. I gave this a try and was pleasantly surprised to see my laptops onboard video can handle it quite well. There was a window management problem with knetworkmanager which ultimately kept me in standard KDE. Wireless worked fine and I even got some Amarok going along with some SuperKaramba widgets. I enjoy the non standard look and feel of MEPIS after being bored by Kubuntu. The other nice touch was having nearly all multimedia codecs installed out of the box. No more Automatix for me!

On the PVR front, I have just installed a new power supply which has improved performance. It is noticeably quieter and doesn't overheat anymore thanks to a big 120mm fan. It's also sexy black, not that you can really see that when it's in the case. In about a week, a new digital tv tuner card from Hauppauge should arrive. This coupled with the relatively unused satellite dish on my house will let me receive the new Freeview service. At last, crystal clear tv and I'll get to use my splitter!

A red 4 GB iPod Nano is slowly making its way to me. I decided to replace my failing 20 GB 4th Gen model with a much newer and smaller one. I flirted with the idea of getting a Shuffle but decided I would miss having a screen. I'm going for the 'just the songs I want to hear at the moment' regime instead of the 'all the music i have with me all the time' overbearing one.

Is that all? I hope so.