March 2011 Archives

Mac horde

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Is there a Mac conference in town at the moment? I just walked into a restaurant on Brunswick street and there is a table of 18 geeks. I feel like I'm sitting in the wrong place.

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We have reached Margaret river, after 3 days, and because it's a rest day tomorrow my body is telling me it's pretty tired. That's not to discount today's ride. It was written up as a 74kn ride, but was actually 84km, and lunch wasn't until 76km. But the highlight of the day was seeing some stingrays at Hanlam bay. Andrea even feed one, and these things were very large. Sung to the tune "You give love a bad name": Stung in the heart, just like Steve Irwin. You give rays, a bad name. You wanted to play, now you're on the grave. You give rays a bad name.

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Two days of cycling down, and I am exhausted. The 40km on the first day was fine. 106km today was harder, especially as the first 55km was towing Eleanor. They decided to use the old one two approach to break me. Eleanor tired me out with her trailer, and then Greg broke ne by riding at 30kmh for the next 50km.

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We've started our second big cycling adventure. We're now at the airport waiting to fly to Western Australia, to start the Great WA bike ride on Saturday. We are both excited, and Andrea is grinning like a maniac!

sound fail

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So most MythTV users would agree that the viewing experience is improved when you can hear the audio feed that is meant to correspond to what you are watching. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm missing that experience.

Fortunately I'm not the only person with this hardware, and other people are doing documentation on how to get some similar hardware working.

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO_set_up_HDMI_audio_on_nVidia_GeForce_G210,_GT220,_or_GT240

But so far that hasn't helped me, and my shiny new mythtv box is almost useless. It seems to be recording shows ok. But that isn't much good when you can't hear your recordings.

I've upgraded to track ubuntu 11.04, which means I'm running practically the latest kernel available (as ubuntu 11.04 hasn't released yet), but still no joy.

postgresql update mysteriously delayed

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Well that was weird. I did a reboot of my little server to test out a new boot loader (migrating from grub-legacy to grub-pc) and this blog stopped working. First it couldn't connect to the database on the right port, and it seemed postgresql was running on a different port. Once I'd reconfigured postgresql to run on the old port, it seemed I had no data in the database.

I can't really explain it, but this must be an artifact of my upgrade to the Debian Squeeze release. The /usr/share/doc/postgresql-8.4/README.Debian.gz file says that the port defaults to 5433 if the 8.3 version of postgres is still installed. So maybe up until today I've been running 8.3 and 8.4. But I'm sure I did some reboots as part of the upgrade, so I don't see why the reboot today would have hit this.

Restoring the data from last nights backup got me going again. It's always important to have backups (and I'm glad I got my backup system in place a few weeks ago).

Trinity iPad in the news

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First there was this article from Delimiter. Then there was a slashdot article. It's all a bit exciting that the place I work at has been in the news, though I think the report Trinity released has made it all to easy for the media to assume that we're all just madly in love with everything Apple puts out.

I think we've rushed into it. I agree the iPad is a good product, but I think in the long run the Android imitators are going to be better. I think that having to use iTunes to manage your tablet is the killer downfall for the iPad. For a lot of people iTunes is fine, but also for a lot of people it's limiting. You should be able to backup your device on any computer, not just the one you've got iTunes on. You should be able to manage your device over the air, without iTunes being involved at all. You shouldn't have to kit yourself out with all the mac gear to write your apps.

And I think the Trinity Report glosses over some of the issues we're going to have to deal with when it comes to managing these devices. Yes we had zero reports of issues from students. But we know we have a fair bit of work to do to scale up from looking after less than 50 devices to looking after over 500.

Dance with Dragons finished

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George RR Martin is going to publish the next book in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series:

http://www.georgerrmartin.com/if-update.html

So perhaps on 2011-07-02 I will have something to use my readings voucher on. How excitement!

mythTV tuner

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To get my first usb Tuner working I had to get the afatech firmware. http://linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/Afatech_AF9015 suggested I try looking at http://www.otit.fi/~crope/v4l-dvb/af9015/af9015_firmware_cutter/firmware_files/. I went for the 4.95 firmware first, and it all works. I didn't pick up any SBS channels when I scanned, but for now I'm willing to live it like that and come back to that issue later.

getting ACPI Wakeup working

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Greg told me that his box automatically wakes up to do recordings. I wanted that to, so I found 
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/ACPI_Wakeup

I had to alter my puppet manifests to create a /usr/local/bin/setupwakeup.sh script like:
#!/bin/sh
#$1 is the first argument to the script. It is the time in seconds since 1970
#this is defined in mythtv-setup with the time_t argument

echo 0 > /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm      #this clears your alarm.
echo $1 > /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm     #this writes your alarm

I haven't test it yet, so I don't know if it works. But all the messages from th ekernel about the rtc module tally with the ACPI pages on the wiki, so it should work.

ASRock ION3D issues

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So far I've found some issues with the ASRock ION3d I bought. Ubuntu 10.10 (or rather, mythbuntu 10.10) for some reason loads the r8169 driver for the ethernet interface, and it doesn't work. I think https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/573259 is this same issue. Fortunately downloading the realtek drivers for the r8168 module, and compiling that fixed this for me.

The display when using the HDMI to my TV is cropping the outer edges. For now I'm just going to live with it, but it makes it annoying when I escape out of the MythTV interface to hack around and fix thinks. Also no sound is getting pushed through to the TV yet. I don't know whats going on there, but I've started googling, and other people are reporting the same thing, so hopefully that won't be too hard to fix.

Climbing the MythTV hill

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I bought a new computer. This time it's to setup a MythTV box, so I have a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) at home. Unfortunately there have been a few technical things to fix along the way, which I'm going to blog for my future reference. It's an ASRock ION3D compute. I only ordered a 250 Gb drive and 2Gb ram to keep the cost down, I can always upgrade those later. And we've already got an external 1Tb drive to use with it.

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The school of hard knocks does little more than knock you down, hard. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201008/what-doesnt-kill-you-makes-you-weaker