Thursday, March 29, 2007

Nobody's Perfect

SubjectTech Support Issues - Link Theater
DateWednesday, March 28, 2007 11:25 pm

OS: Linux -- uShare and MythTV servers
1. Can't fast forward .mpg video (max 30 sec, then Link Theater stops). Can hit FF, then PLAY, and it will skip ahead a few seconds -- but it really doesn't work like it should.
2. Can't play .m4a files (I know, probably unsupported codec).
3. Can't find media on linked NFS drive in server's filesystem.
4. Can't find recorded media on MythTV server, except in "all recordings" folder.
5. Music/Video/Photo buttons do not work (screen reports "invalid") -- does not work as advertised.
Other issues related to tech support:
A. 24x7 tech support line does not answer at midnight (waited 20 minutes on hold), never got a hold of a human.
B. Contact form on web site does not allow me to enter this information (Region: US).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Just an addition of an extension name from .nuv to .nuv.mpg and voila! All my old videos are playable on the Link Theater. I got some 24 to catch up on.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


My Link Theater worked like a champ! It found my MythTV server right away. My old recordings, though, were in .nuv format. I must learn how to transcode them so that Link Theater can play them.

Meanwhile, I learned that all kinds of media could be shared by using uShare. I upgraded my Freevo box so that the half-a-terabyte of goodies are available to my Link Theater, in all of its High Definition glory.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Goodbye Xbox

Well, I think I found the $250 solution to my HiDef problems. First, I did some research on the net, and present the results here. It turns out my MythTV upgrade is uPnP compatible. For you non-techies, what that means is, my backend system is plug-n-play compatible. It's a new standard for audio and video media. In other words, if you purchase a commercially available product that meets the uPnP standard, then it should work with other uPnP products, even my homebrew MythTV box.

After looking at the compatibility list, I decided the best option was the Buffalo Link Theater. I found the least expensive option on NewEgg, at $229. I've placed my order, and will report back with the results.

Goodbye Xbox. Hello Link Theater

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Insurance Companies be Dammed

My stepdad rails against doctors and insurance companies. IMHO, and the real problem is, ins. cos. are in business for themselves. They want to make money, and unfortunately, they can do things that are not in the beneficiaries' best interest, like delay and pay (their most common M.O.). Doctors deliver a service, and now that businesses have shifted health ins. premiums at least partially to the beneficiaries (that is, if you're lucky enough to even have health ins.), it has become a hot button issue.

AFAIK, the best way to fix the problem is to have a baseline federal health insurance HMO, currently known as medicare, and require that all federal employees subscribe to it, including the Congresscritters. If that were the case, you'd see how quickly the problem gets fixed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Suck Out

I'm sitting with $20K in chips. I flop the wheel draw. I check it. On the turn, I make the nuts, plus a nut flush draw. To my surprise, LuckyLee bets big and IceColdNuts raises. I come over the top, putting them both all in. They each show a set, and the river screws me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm Totally Uninsurable

Not even for an unreasonable premium.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

If You Can't Say It In Words

Well, this settles it. My brick ain't too quick. I copied the HD recording of Extreme Makeover Home Edition to /tmp, and then tried to play it with xine. It didn't work. That means NFS is not the problem -- its the stupid 733 MHz Coppermine CPUs that Microsloth put in the box.

And that's what I'm talking about.

So, I need a new, discreet but quick brick.

Monday, March 19, 2007

MythTV upgrade

Well, the good news is, after a day farting around with it, I got my mythtv backend upgraded to Knoppmyth R5E50. Absolutely no hardware problems. Just sucked on mysql (they changed the protocol in my.cnf) and I kept setting up the backend as root when I should have been mythtv. I could not restore the database either (I was on 0.17). So now I have recorded programs, but no easy way to launch them. But it's done.
I recorded my first program in HD right off the wire. The backend PC plays it like a champ. I upgraded my xbox frontend by updating my /etc/apt/sources.list, as suggested here, but without going to the 1.14 (I'm still on 1.0.3). That worked fine, but the xbox is woefully slow, and does not play the HD program.

I'm going to copy the file over and try playing it locally with mplayer, just to troubleshoot if the problem is NFS. SDTV works fine, and you already know that I got 720p working and playing EDTV. Xbox hasn't the RAM for 1080i.
But face it, our frontends might not have enough horsepower to play HDTV. If this is the case, then we need to search for a new, low cost brick. One with lots of CPU and ram, but that doesn't mean a huge HD. Perhaps one that etherboots really fast.
Let the quest begin.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Crazy Train

I need your advice. I was mean to a complete stranger today. Here's what happened.

The train was short today, so everyone was packed in like sardines. At Seaford, a woman with a cell phone to her ear walks up and sits in the bench catycorner from me. I recognize her as a repeat offender. She's talking loud, and I could barely hear what I was listening to on my mp3 player. After several minutes of waiting for a break in her conversation:

G-Man: Could you please finish your conversation and hang up?
Lady, obnoxiously: No.
G-Man: Please.
Lady, very nasty and annoyed: No.
G-Man: Can you see the sign above my head? It indicates no radios.
Lady: It's not a radio, it's a cell phone.
G-Man: It's a radiotelephone. Please turn it off.
Lady: It's a cell phone. NO.

Now I'm pissed.

G-Man: How do you think the signal gets from your phone to the other one, idiot?
Lady: I'm not an idiot, it's a cell phone. Why don't you turn off your radio?
G-Man: Oh, I'm sorry. I can't hear what I was listening to with all your blabbering, but if its really bothering you, I'll just turn it off and listen to your half of your conversation.
Lady, on her cell phone: Hold on, i got another call (hits flashook, ignores me).

I felt bad. 5 minutes after she hangs up, her phone rings again, and she answers it, but sulks talking quietly in the corner.

My question is, should I have said I was sorry for calling her an idiot?