Monthly Archives: May 2006

Wonderful Engineering

The other morning I went to pour Cheerios into my cereal bowl, when I noticed there was a Cheerio stuck on the side of the container.052606_1015a

At first I thought, “What a crappy design!  How can a company design their own container to have one of the best selling cereals get stuck?”  The engineers who made that container should be fired.

Then, I realized one important detail.  The container is Kellogg’s brand, Cheerios is General Mills.  The engineers aren’t terrible, they’re genius!  They designed it so the competitors cereal would get stuck.

If this was done on purpose, I applaud such great ideas.

Despite this whirlpool of thought I was stuck in, the bowl of Cheerios was delicious.


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Natural Selection?

Is it just me, or does this makes very little sense.  Not the part about people dying, but the part about the city warning people.  I guess I just don’t get the point.  For one, these people are clearly addicted.  Chances are they’re not going to listen to sound logic and reason.  Two, and I could be wrong here, but smart, sensible people don’t get addicted to street drugs.  So, who are the people dying here?  I’m going to  guess it’s not people involved in the community, or loving parents, or hardworking average people.  And thirdly, its taking business away from drug dealers, and in general cleaning up the streets.

In conclusion, (I hate the phrase) I feel no sympathy for the people, and I also feel the city is wasting its money on this.

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I’ve been gone for a reason.

I’ll put the ‘boring’ DVR stuff at the end, to spare you.  First up, Xmen: The Final Stand.  What an awesome movie.  Go see it or I’ll take out your knee caps.  The special effects were sweet.  The story was kickass.  They left room for another movie.

I also did well when we played paintball yesterday.  The first game I took out 2 people with a total of 5 shots.  As usual, much fun was had.  I’m getting better and now I can stay somewhat calm while getting shot at.

Now comes the DVR stuff, which is the reason I haven’t really updated this in a few days.  The tuner came on Thursday, so right away I put everything together and started installing.  As first, I went with XP and a program called GBPVR.  It was alright, it just didn’t have as many features built in as they make it sound like.  A lot of thing come from plugins, which can be a pain in the ass.
After a few days of messing with that, I decided to give Knoppmyth and MythTV a try.  The install was much easier, and everything was recognized.  It seemed like was going to work first try.  For the most part, it did, except for changing channels.

This is basically the reason, I was reluctant to try MythTV and Linux.  If something doesn’t work, and it’s not obvious, I have no idea what to do about it.  At least with windows I know how everything works and how to troubleshoot it.  With linux, I’m lost.  So, I’ve posted for some help on the Knoppmyth forums.  We’ll see what I get.

Here’s the final specs for the DVR:

AMD Athlon 1.2GHz
BIOSTAR M7NCG 400 motherboard
512 DDR 2100 RAM
120GB Hard Drive
PNY GeForce FX5500
Hauppauge PVR-500MCE Bundle Kit
IN WIN IW-D500T case

I also disconnected the case fan, and ordered a new CPU fan.  Once I get the case set, It should be much quieter and run fairly cool.

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D to the V to the AAARRR!!

The PVR 500 tuner came today.  Woot!  So I got right to installing it.  Generally things went without a hitch.  All the settings fell into place, and it was surprisingly well documented.  The only somewhat hard part came when I didn’t get any video with live TV, which was kind of big.

Then, I realized I didn’t have a mpeg decoder defined.  Once I got that, everything worked.  then I got the remote working.  the only place it’s lacking right now is with the TV-out.  I thought my GeForce2 could cut it, but I think I was wrong.  I’m going to try more fully featured drivers, and a different mpeg decoder and we’ll see.  If that doesn’t work, I’m trying to decide between a new video card and a Xcard media thing.  The Xcard will give me much better TV-out  and hardware decoding for mpeg2, mpeg4, divx, and a slew of other things.  We’ll see how the better drivers work out and go from there.

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Always with the DVR

Today I went to the driving range and made my golf swing much more consistent.  I figured out that I was closing my eyes when I hit the ball.  Keep them open and bam three time better.  So that was fun.

I also got an e-mail from dell and the tuner card will be here on Friday.  Hopefully it will get here sometime in the morning so I have a portion of the day to get everything working.  I’m also trying to figure out how make the DVR quieter.  Right now there is a fan on the CPU, a small fan in the case, the fan in the power supply, and a small one on the video card.  The loudest one is CPU fan, followed by the case fan.  I think I may upgrade the CPU heatsync if I can find a quiet one for cheap.  After a quick search, this one looks decent

I think I’ll get that one.  All I have to do is measure the motherboard to make sure there’s enough room for it and I’m good.  The current heatsync and fan keeps the chip fairly cool, so temperature isn’t a big concern with me.  Now the question is what to do about the case fan.  I don’t really like where the fan is now, because there is an air duct over the CPU to feed that cool air.  The rest of the heat is going to be coming from the tuner card (I think).  A PCI slot fan may be a good idea, but again it needs to be very quiet.  It’s a 60mm fan in there now, but I’ll look and see what else I may be able to work out.

Let me know what you think about all this crap, especially the laptop HD vs 120gig HD things from before.

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What a day for a White Wedding

This past weekend was my cousin’s wedding in North Carolina. It was my first time in NC. I found it rather dull. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time. The wedding was very nice, the reception was fun, the golfing was fun (more later), the place we stayed was nice. What I mean is that the State seems rather bland. As we drove to the resort, there was nothing along the road. It’s not like I was expecting a whole lot, but there was nothing. I didn’t see any neighbourhoods, I didn’t see many strip malls or anything. I have no idea how someone could live in that area without having a car. Everything, and I mean everything is a 10 minute drive away.

 So, we stayed at Little River Golf Resort.  It’s pretty much a golf course with condo things on the property.  The rooms were very nice, they practically throw golf carts at you, and there’s free wireless.  We got there on Thursday afternoon and pretty much killed time until the rehearsal diner.  The diner was at Pine Crest Inn which, like everything else in the area is a golfer hangout thing.  Golfing is huge down there, since we were right next to Pinehurst (the famous golf course).  Anyway, the diner was very good.

Friday was the day of the wedding, but it wasn’t until 5:30pm, so we had some time in the morning.  Since I was going to be golfing on Saturday morning, I went to the driving range.  I also had $5 resting on how well I played on Saturday.  I bet my dad that I could stay within seven strokes of him.  Since I couldn’t remember the last time I golf-ed, I decided to hit some balls at the range first.  Well, the highlight of the driving range was taking the golf cart over there.  I didn’t do too well with the whole golf thing, but at least I knew where I stood.

After the driving range, was the wedding.  It was held right in front of putting green behind the clubhouse.  It was very simple, short and nice.  They didn’t go over the top with anything.  I think the best way to describe it would be ‘classic’.  After the ceremony was the reception which was a lot of fun.  I’m not much of a partier, but it seems that Greg is.  I’ll post a picture or two later.

Our tee time was 11:32am on Saturday morning.  The course was pretty hard.  Take a quick look through the course tour on their website.  At least look at hole 16 and 17.  Hole 16 is totally over water and 17 starts over the water then goes downhill and to the right.  I think 17 is the hardest hole on the course.  Well, I lost the bet with my dad, but I did better than I expected.  I even par’d one of the par 3 holes.  There were a few shots that looked like I knew what I was doing.  Basically I was trying to hit the ball a medium distance and straight the whole time.  I shot a 122 for 18 holes.

After golfing I took a quick dip in the pool, and then it was off to diner for Greg’s birthday.  That was pretty normal for my family.  After we got back, I tried connecting to the wireless in the room.  I connected just fine, but couldn’t get to the internet.  Well, don’t leave me bored and with a wireless connection to no where.  I decided to try and do same hacking, which failed miserably because I don’t really know what I’m doing.  What I did get what a list of everything in my subnet.  So, I tried to connect to one of them and I get prompted for a username and password.  I decided to try some combos, and my first try got me in.

Now the question was ‘What do I do with access to all the wireless access points at the resort?’  I wanted internet access so I did some connectivity checking for them.  I didn’t get anywhere with that, so then I started poking around.  After just looking at settings and things I decided that I would change the name of their wireless network before I left as a friendly security reminder.  If I really wanted to be a bitch I would have encrypted the network, changed the name, and changed the user and password for the access points.  I didn’t because I’m a nice guy, I just changed the name of the network to ‘Secure Me’. 

I was greeted at home by the case for the DVR.. I didn’t waste very long, and everything was assembled that night.  Right now, everything is together and running.  I ordered the tuner card, so that should be in by the end of the week and everything should be operational by the weekend.  Sweet.

I think that is enough for you to read now.

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I knew I forgot something.
If I put the DVR in the family room, with the digital cable, how do I hook it up.  Keep in mind that the DVR will have 2 tuners so that you can record one thing while watching a second.
If the DVR goes in the room with digital cable, the signal has to come from the cable box, meaning that the signal for changing the channel will go to the DVR then be sent to the cable box via an IR blaster. And thus, the problem. Since the cable physically has to run from the wall to the cable box before it goes to the DVR, than the DVR can only receive one signal, whatever the cable box is putting out. That means that you won’t be able to record one thing while watching another.

The other option is to not connect it to the digital cable and use regular cable.  But then I might as well put it in the living room, which means I’d need to use one of the PCI slots for a wireless adapter, which I don’t want to do since one of them gets the tuner and one gets a soundcard.

So, another question, how the hell do I hook this whole thing up?

Now playing: Red Hot Chili PeppersWet Sand


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