MythTV vs NTsmeLl

(ok th title is bad, but NTHell has been overused, and claimed back by The Man.)

So MythTV is up and running, and I now have a well cool VDR and all round HTPC. Recording programs seems to work, although a Summertime mixup between the hardware clock and the Software clock resulted in my intended recording of Sex,Lies and Videotapes to actually be a short documentary about machines that fuck girls. Probably not a bad thing! ….and while we’re at it, a 60yr old man, talking about the pulleys he uses to hoist up his “RealWoman (TM)” schoolgirl model into the correct,,, ahem, position, like he is talking about steam engines, is both highly amusing and pretty disturbing.

Anyway now this is working,,, I no longer use my landline, and since Be are offering 24MB/s for 24 quid month ADSL, and I get shitload of free miutes on my mobile, why on earth do I need NTL?

So do I get my act together, organise, and kick them out? Means getting a BT line. Boo, Hiss. But they are not really the big baddie they used to be.


Well I finally got MythTV working.

It’s pretty cool. A proper hard disc recorder on your computer. It’s really meant to be used as a standalone unit, but mine has just been setup on my workstation, since I have a dammed cool 2405fpw Dell24″ monitor 🙂

The Gentoo Wiki page was very useful in getting this set up. Especialyl the bit in getting ALSA and especially an ALSA mixer device to work.

Restless Natives

Well I got a copy of Restless Natives on DVD. It’s still good. When looking at films that you have last saw quite a few yrs ago (in this case 20), it’s generally dissapointing. However, this was excellent. It’s obviousyl dated, and very very 80’s. But not 80’s in the same way that a film like Purple rain or especially The Breakfast club are (both excellent films). It was a little twee like an update Railway children. But nonetheless it is still a great film. …and the music. What a superb soundtrack by Big Country.

One thing that did suprise me is the quality of the DVD. It was pretty dammed good. Not a sign of pixelation at all. Too often DVDs are poor quality nowadays. Even recent “blockblusters” are poor. Watching on a TV is OK, watch on a projector or anything approaching HD, and the quality is pretty shite. A unforgivable shame in my view. Sometimes I’ve even downloaded a far better quality film, than the equivalent copy on DVD. My DVD of the Matrix is rubbish and stays in its box, and I watch the one I downloaded instead. Now if only you could get DolbyDigital downloads!! 🙂

Stuart Adamson: RIP (4yrs ago!)

BBC News | MUSIC | Your tributes: Stuart Adamson

Bizarre, through a convulted series of things which started with watching Doctor Who, finding out that Restless Natives(top film!) has been released on DVD (mustbuy), and then finding out that Stuart Adamson died 4 years ago….. and I never knew.

There were 3 top bands I listened to when I was about 15-17 U2, The Alarm and Big Country (well actually there were a load more, but these were the top ones) The Alarm have dated badly, U2, welll….. But Big Country are hardly even metioned nowadays. But what superb music. Their 1st The Crossing, is a damm fine album. Hmmmm. To the shop tomorrow to buy CDs methinks…….


The really bad thing about being off work sick, is the fact that you do not have to work, yet you are really too ill to take advantage of it. This is just not fair! I’ve had an appalling nights sleep, alternating between cold sweats, then roasting. So work was not really an option. I’d like a nice long hot bath, but this means I need to clean my bath first, so I suppose at last I get a clean bathroom out of it!

Anyway, pot noodle for breakfast, my being ill treat!

easy peasy DVD copying

Easy peasy way to copy a DVD, not bothering about whether menus will copy and whether you need to worry about libdvdcss etc…

Simply use dd and growisofs

dd if=/dev/dvd of=DVD.iso

growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/dvd=./foo.img


Mouse matless + optical = Doh!

mouse mats……. They’ve always got me a little annoyed. They always seem to be in the same place, which is not where my mouse wants to be. So I rarely use one.

However, over the last few months I’ve been getting a tad annoyed with my Logitech optical mouse. It seems to skip a lot. Especially when I am wanting to click on a crucial icon!!

Of course, stupid me does not realise that my VARNISHED desk is just not a good surface to use..

Sometimes I do feel a bit thick!

M-Audio 1010lt

Well I finally went for the 1010lt. It looks a funky looking card. With tons of spaghetti coming out the back!

I plugged it in, compiled some new modules (ice1712), and ran alsaconf. Worked first time and I got Rythmnbox outputting direct via SPDI/digital coaxial to my amp. Cool. A little bit of extra work resulted in jack working fine with Mixx and Hydrogen. Funky stuff man!

However, I then tried envy24control. I had to first swithc to using gcc3.4.4 as alsatools willnot compile with gcc4.0.1. However, once compiled I ran it. Eeek! It’s a little bit more complicated than I imagined! There’s more channels in there than on your superduper sports/movies and porn package from Sky! However, I’m buggered if I can get it to output via s/pdif. What is worse is than now nothign works. I can output to a pair of analogue RCA jacks. But that is all.

Anyway i will persevere later!

Being a PC audiophile

I’m looking for a decent sound card.

I’ve got an Audigy 1. This is OK, and works fine for MP3, and DVD viewing. However, I;’ve been recently playing with Mixx and other DJ mixing software (all on Linux of course). In this respect the Audigy is a bit crap. I’m using JACK to link it all together. So far using Jack and ALSA is dead easy to setup on Gentoo.

My current speaker setup is a Logitech z640 5.1 system, with the front two speakers replaced by a pair of Monitor Audio Radius 45 speakers. I’m very impressed with the R45’s and I think these will have to be moved towards the rear, and atriplet of Radius 180s will become the front and center!

Eeek this better quality audio stuff is Expensive!

I was trying to decide between the M-Audio Delta 1010lt or the M-Audio Audiophile 2496. The 1010lt looks very cool, and has lots of praises about it’sLinux ALSA compatibility. But for what I need the 2496 would probabyl suffice, and at less than half the price…..

I eventaully ordered the 1010lt from a German company, as it was the cheapest in Europe.


However, after ordering I found out that there is a shop in Cambridge that actually sells them. To be honest I would have gone locally, even with the extra expense, as I always think it’s best to get local good advice. But I’d already ordered from MusikHaus, so it would be unfair to cancel. MusikHaus rang me as well, and seem a decent company.

M-Audio Audiophile 2496 – Digital Village