Nov 17, 2006 / 0 comments

Paramount Comedy silences the word "ass" in That 70s Show before 9pm. Trouble quite happily leaves it un-silenced even when shown at midday.

For a show that contains the phrase "dumbass" at least once per episode the Paramount Comedy approach is very annoying.

MPEG2 straight to the brane

Nov 15, 2006 / 0 comments

I received a Freecom DVB-T stick last week (early wedding present). I've not actually played with DVB-T before, so I wasn't sure how much of a hassle it would be.

My first act was to plug it into my laptop, with the aim of finding out the USB ID and thus which driver I'd need to compile up (I have a tendancy to build my own kernels with only drivers I think I'm likely to need). I did so and was greeted with:

dvb-usb: found a 'WideView WT-220U PenType Receiver (Typhoon/Freecom)' in cold state, will try to load a firmware
dvb-usb: did not find the firmware file. (dvb-usb-wt220u-02.fw) Please see linux/Documentation/dvb/ for more details on firmware-problems. (-2)
usbcore: registered new driver dvb_usb_dtt200u

Interesting, think I. I'm more organised than I thought and have already compiled up all the various v4l bits I thought I might end up using. So I go looking for the firmware file, find a copy, dump it in /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/. Replug the device. And get:

dvb-usb: found a 'WideView WT-220U PenType Receiver (Typhoon/Freecom)' in cold state, will try to load a firmware
dvb-usb: downloading firmware from file 'dvb-usb-wt220u-02.fw'
usb 1-4: USB disconnect, address 15
dvb-usb: generic DVB-USB module successfully deinitialized and disconnected.
usb 1-4: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 16
usb 1-4: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
dvb-usb: found a 'WideView WT-220U PenType Receiver (Typhoon/Freecom)' in warm state.
dvb-usb: will use the device's hardware PID filter (table count: 15).
DVB: registering new adapter (WideView WT-220U PenType Receiver (Typhoon/Freecom)).
DVB: registering frontend 0 (WideView USB DVB-T)...

Rockin'. Now I need to tune it. I find Adam's DVB page which has the initial tuning file for the Tacolneston transmitter in Norfolk. I type scan uk-Tacolneston. It fails to find anything. I wonder if I'm using the wrong transmitter. I decide the supplied antenna is probably to blame and go to see about sorting out the one in the attic. I try again. I get a channels.conf containing 91 channels. Wooo. Copy this into ~/.mplayer/ and fire up mplayer dvb://. And have Freeview on my laptop. Nice.

Unfortunately this requires me to have the loft aerial plugged into my laptop, which isn't very portable. Paddy tell me this will get better when the analogue transmitters get turned off and the digital power ramped up, so I look forward to that. Until then it should still prove useful to have a portable DVB-T stick - I intend to see if I can pick up BBC HD next time I'm staying in London, and check if Freeview coverage has made it to my parents' yet.

Writing this all down makes it seem quite convoluted, but actually the process was a lot smoother than I expected; plug in stick, copy firmware, replug stick, scan for channels, watch tv. The issue that took most time to sort was the aerial. It's really quite cool to think about how easily you can get yourself an MPEG2 stream of TV to play with.

I ain't dead

Nov 13, 2006 / 0 comments

Well, I've survived my stag weekend. I did have some fears I might not. TFM did a great job of arranging it; 15 of us ended up in 2 cottages at Park Farm Barns (most of us for Friday and Saturday, with a handful of us there until today). Paintball was played at Skirmish. Much meat was eaten (possibly the largest piece of beef I've seen up close). Much alcohol was consumed. And my arteries are going to take a while to recover from 3 mornings in a row of fried bacon for breakfast. All good though. Thanks to everyone who managed to make it.

Anyone hacking non WinCE phones?

Oct 29, 2006 / 0 comments

I am familiar with the Xanadux project which is working on porting Linux to various WinCE based smartphones. However I'm not aware of anyone doing the same for Nokia or SonyEricsson phones. Are there no such projects or have I just not found them? I'd have thought phones running Series 60 were likely candidates to have other neat stuff ported. Is this not being done because it's harder to get into Symbian, or is it not being done because Symbian is much more functional than WinCE?

Another year, Another Expo

Oct 27, 2006 / 0 comments

I spent the past couple of days at LinuxWorld UK, mostly on the Debian stand. I'm not sure I'd go as a punter these days; I don't think a lot changes year on year. However I do think it's good for us to turn up and show our faces so people can come and talk to us and realise we're wonderful people. Plus it's always good to see people I haven't seen in ages.

We sold a lot of T-Shirts (even the red one with yellow writing that looks like something Phil would come up with after too much vodka [I bought one of these myself]). We didn't sell a lot of DVDs, but that's been happening since broadband became more pervasive. There were a reasonable number of people who just stopped to chat (shouting "Use Debian, it's great!" at people as they walked by was surprisingly effective). Lots of questions about how we felt about Ubuntu. Not really many about why we hadn't released yet which is a change!

I also found a new toy I think I want; the Nokia E70. Steve has one of these and it looks pretty sweet; 3G+WLAN, a keyboard and a screen that, while not that big, manages a pretty good PuTTY session in 80x43 or so. And all of this in something not that much larger than a normal phone. That's appealing. I'd been sort of lusting after an HTC TyTN, but reports of poor reliability have put me off. And Simon has put me off the 9300i by saying it's quite slow as a phone.

Finally, courtesy of Trexy, I present a new, work safe, goat sex:

Goat Sex

And now I will spend the next week sleeping I think.

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