30 Jan 2006 @ 7:15 PM 

Well, I’m so glad you asked.  Since I have two MPEG-encoding tuners, it’s amazing what my poor little Sempron chip is capable of.

Right now, 60% of the CPU is being used by mythtranscode, which is going through the movie Road to Wellville and removing all the commercials while compressing it to MPEG4 instead of the default MPEG2 (about half the size with equivalent video quality). Another 22% of the CPU is being used to transcode the movie LA Story from DVD to MPEG4, so I don’t have to find the disk to watch the movie whenever I want to (and just to prove I can). Meanwhile, both tuners are recording shows (Surface and Stargate, I believe) and I’m watching the Simpsons from last night.

I’ve really been abusing the recording features, and I’ve got 66 programs saved, using 68 gigs of my 212 available. After removing commercials and transcoding to MPEG4, a 30 minute show fits in 360 megs.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 30 Jan 2006 @ 07:15 PM

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 28 Jan 2006 @ 6:20 PM 

I’ve finished the MythTV install, and posted a quick description for your edification.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jan 2006 @ 06:20 PM

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 27 Jan 2006 @ 12:32 PM 

I didn’t do any work on the MythTV box Wednesday, but I got a borrowed monitor to help me set things up Thursday.  Looks like I’m in business, although I need to get a cable to split the speaker output from the sound card into RCA jacks to get to the TV.  Then, I’ll push a tunnel through the firewall so I can program my PVR from work.  Oh yeah.  That’s the stuff.

I promise to post a full review and more pretty pictures soon.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Jan 2006 @ 12:32 PM

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 24 Jan 2006 @ 8:21 PM 

And the hardware is installed.  Tonight, I have completed my mother’s federal tax return preparation and then finished installing the hardware in my MythTV box.

The only tricky part has been finding somewhere to tuck all the power cords. The PSU I chose has a lot of cables attached to it, very generous compared to most power supplies. Unfortunately, I only need two of them to power the drives and front case fan – the rest are just in the way.  Fortunately, I have a spare 5 1/4 drive bay that I am not using, and it’s placed perfectly to hold the cables.

Strangely, neither the motherboard (which has onboard sound) nor the DVD drive included an audio cable, so the optical drive won’t be pumping any CD audio for the time being.  Good thing that’s not a big issue for me, eh?

The case now contains all the components I intend to install. The only other parts that are not connected are the mouse, keyboard, and remote control.  Whew.

For photos of the progress so far, check out the gallery.  Good night.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Jan 2006 @ 03:28 PM

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 23 Jan 2006 @ 9:37 PM 

I just spent an hour putting the first pieces into the case. The LC13 case is quite roomy and built like a tank. The Sempron processor is easy to install, as has been the case with every ZIF-style chip in the past decade. The heatsink was equally easy to install, although they sure have grown since the last time I installed a processor (that was a K6-200, if I remember correctly). The pre-installed thermal paste is a nice touch and worth the extra few bucks for the retail package, in my mind at least.

I’ve got the hard drive temporarily placed, as I have to pull its cage out again in order to install the DVD burner (which arrives via UPS tomorrow). And, that’s enough fun for tonight. My pile of hardware has dwindled considerably, with the tuners and video card being the only parts left to install (after that burner, of course) tomorrow night.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 23 Jan 2006 @ 09:42 PM

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 23 Jan 2006 @ 7:38 PM 

By this time tomorrow, I’ll have the last piece of my MythTV kit in the house. I will probably not assemble it until this weekend, but ya never know. The initial hardware will include a 250 gig hard drive, two analog tuners, and a wireless keyboard and mouse to assist the remote.

Photos and details as I complete the project. This should be fun. 🙂

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 23 Jan 2006 @ 09:44 PM

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 21 Jan 2006 @ 8:31 AM 

Boy, those congresscritters really don’t seem to get it. Nobody outside the MPAA and RIAA wants a broadcast flag, no matter what you call it. As always, Cory Doctorow’s analysis is fantastic.

Under the DCPA proposal, digital media technologies would be restricted to using technologies that had been certified by the FCC as being not unduly disruptive to entertainment industry business-models.

Unduly disruptive? Hey, folks, the disruptive technologies are the ones that drive us forward and upward to ever-higher levels of economic and creative success. Phonographs, automobiles, computers, compact disks, radio, television – all disruptive technologies in their time. There is no Constitutional right to protect existing business models, and isn’t Congress supposed to be in the business of protecting the Constitution and the sovereign people of the United States? Or are they instead in the business of protecting campaign donors against their own customers? Yeah, that was rhetorical, thanks.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 21 Jan 2006 @ 08:31 AM

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 20 Jan 2006 @ 9:48 AM 

From the [info]altfriday5:

1. Which languages do you know? How did you learn them (e.g. natively, from classes, by immersion)? English – native; Korean – school and immersion; Spanish – school but lost most of it.

2. Which language would you most like to learn? Why? Swahili – duh?

3. Have you visited any places where you did not know the predominent language? If so, which ones? Was it hard to manage? Mexico – my Spanish blows. Fortunately, I’ve only gone to tourist spots so the English of the locals was good enough.

4. Which language do you most enjoy hearing, seeing, or expressing? Why? Spanish, it sounds very musical at times.

5. Which languages, other than the one(s) you know, are you exposed to your daily life? Arabic, Russian, Farsi.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Jan 2006 @ 09:48 AM

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 19 Jan 2006 @ 7:42 PM 

What a great semi-conciliatory tape we’ve seen transcripts of today.  I’ll have to ask my Arabic-speaking coworkers what he really said when they get to hear it themselves – nobody trusts the translations in the media, especially when they vary from outlet to outlet.

Regardless, if anyone thinks it’s a good idea to negotiate with this fruitbat, please leave. Not the country, the planet – if you think Osama is a reasonable person who can be trusted, you are a danger to yourself and others.

It may be a surprise that I don’t personally agree with a lot of scary things that our current administration is doing, and that our timing and rationale for going into Iraq was flawed at best.  But, there is no way I’d trust Osama more than I trust President Bush.  Does Bin Laden actually expect people to just forgive and forget?  Oh, that unprovoked attack against thousands of civilians?  Bygones!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 19 Jan 2006 @ 07:42 PM

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 17 Jan 2006 @ 4:29 PM 

I seem to have caught whatever it was that lay the Boy low this weekend.  You know that you have a bit of a fever when it’s 50 degrees outside and you think that’s comfortable.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 17 Jan 2006 @ 04:29 PM

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 17 Jan 2006 @ 1:40 PM 

From the story about Oregon’s assisted suicide law.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in his first dissent, sided with the Bush administration.

Anyone surprised?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 17 Jan 2006 @ 01:41 PM

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 09 Jan 2006 @ 1:29 AM 

Blame [info]suddenlydizzy

Open your chosen media library for this (iTunes, WinAmp, MediaMonkey, whatever).

Answer, no matter how embarrasing it is.

How many songs?
18212

Sort by artist
First artist: ? And the Mysterians
Last artist: ZZ Top

Sort by song title:
First Song: #1 Zero – AudioSlave
Last Song: ZZ Top Goes to Egypt – Camper Van Beethoven

Sort by time:
Shortest Song: CEO Outro – Slick Rick (0:02)
Longest Song: (Excluding Symphonic Works) Sasha’s Voyage of Ima – BT (42:30)

First song that comes up on Shuffle: Pre 62 (Akasha’s Post Modern Mix) – Groove Armada

How many songs come up when you search for “sex”? 53

How many songs come up when you search for “death”? 35

How many songs come up when you search for “love”? 668

How many songs come up when you search for “you”? 1444

How many songs come up when you search for “why”? 54

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Jan 2006 @ 01:36 AM

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 08 Jan 2006 @ 11:26 PM 

Save our Bluths is surprising in a way. Based on the last episode of Arrested Development (hilarious, watch it), I’d kind of assumed there would be something at Saveourbluths.org – nope. Apparently Saveourbluths.com predates the episode, and was probably the inspiration for the URL flashed on the screen during the show.

Seriously, watch it.  It’s surreal and bizarre and not based around the foibles of teenagers with too much money living in some Orange County neverland.  Instead, it’s based on a completely wacked out world of rich people and strange humor.  Think Monty Python without so many accents.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 08 Jan 2006 @ 11:26 PM

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 06 Jan 2006 @ 8:36 PM 

The idiot governor of my adopted state says, Add intelligent design to teaching

From the article linked:

Marvin Olasky, a University of Texas journalism professor who has written favorably on intelligent design

That pretty much says all that needs to be said about Intelligent Design. No scientist is behind any of this. The college professors trotted out to be the educators willing to back ID are all liberal arts types. Nothing against my liberal arts friends, but you’re not scientists.

When we need someone’s expert opinion on Chopin, we ask a music professor. When we need an expert opinion on Shakespeare, we ask an English professor. When we need an expert opinion on biology, we ask…a journalism professor?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 11 Oct 2006 @ 05:35 PM

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 05 Jan 2006 @ 9:14 PM 

The gallery is back, after a long bout of “what the heck” with the hosting company and with the PHP-based installer script.

The photos that are up now may or may not be the same exact photos that used to be up, but it’s a start.  You try posting 300+ photos in an evening and remember which ones you used to have on the site.  Yeah, I didn’t think so, biotch.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Jan 2006 @ 09:14 PM

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 02 Jan 2006 @ 6:26 PM 

I’ve added the new and improved WordPress 2.0 software to the site.  It’s nice, the upgrade was simple, etc.

Somehow I ended up trashing my photo gallery setup completely, though.  Hopefully it will be back in business by tomorrow, but we’ll see.  What’s perplexing is that many directories moved around, as if by magic.  Magic because I don’t actually have permissions on those directories, so I shouldn’t have been capable of moving them even inadvertently.  Mysterious.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 02 Jan 2006 @ 06:26 PM

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