Saturday, January 31, 2004

HFML, Levitation
Wow - watch the clips! Using strong non-fluctuating fields they make various small organis objects fly! If you scroll down there is a very funny spoof letter from a cult type church who want to install the machine under their pulpit! Thanks to my friend Rowan for sending me this one.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Benjy's Sandwiches
Today I didn't bother to make a packed lunch and wished I had! This banana looked pristine but was rank inside! No wonder the guys here describe that particular emporium as "filthy McNasty's sandwiches"!

Thursday, January 29, 2004

We sell for these guys and this is the best video waveform monitor and analyser I have seen in my sixteen years of broadcast engineering BAR NONE! I've probably QC'ed more hours of broadcast TV in the last decade than anyone else in London and have had my fair share of Tektronics/Hamlets/VideoTeks and this system kills them all.
The new killer feature is a time-shift capture based on any error condition - you can set it to hold a defined number of frames either side of (say) a CRC error - no other 'scope can do this! Call me for a demo.
See my photo blog (scroll down the right-hand side) for the first few photos from my new E200 - See James's blog (he mobile blogs continuously!) for some slightly better framed shots!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Software I have to have on my SPV!
We have upgraded at work to the newer E200 model SmartPhone and these are the things I can't do without!
  • PocketTV - Just the best MPEG player - do a search (right hand menu) for occasional MPEG-1 files I upload encoded for the 'phone - you'll also find the TMPGenc template that I use.
  • Pocket Music - again, search for SPV items to find my previous posts on this excellent pocket MP3 player.
  • SmartExplorer - like Windows explorer but on your 'phone! Now works over IR and BlueTooth for file transfer.
  • Task Manager - you'd be suprised how much stuff Windows leaves running!

Monday, January 26, 2004

My SPV links for Internet Explorer - just copy these shortcuts into your SPV's \storage\windows\favorites folder - pages that are optimised for the small screen. SPV

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Eventually got my site feed working - I can join the legions of syndicated news feeds! Lockergnome has some great RSS resources - see the right hand bar for the link. Also - check out my favourite news agregator - News Gator - top dog primarily because it is an Outlook pluggin that means I'm not having to run another piece of software - my selected feeds appear as folders along side my email, contacts, schedule etc. With the newest version it also brings NNTP (Newgroups) into the party.
See the right hand bar for the link to subscribe to this site.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Project Blinkenlights: Blinkenlights
Are these guys insane? (in the membrane!).

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

LORDSMURF.COM - a great DVD authoring resource.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Good things I miss from Win2K
1. The old-style password control panel - allows you to define autologons etc.
Start>Run>control userpasswords2
2. The classic search tool (not the hideous "hand holding" thang in XP!)
TweakUI powertoy and go to Explorer - scroll down and set "classic view for search in explorer" - bliss!

Sunday, January 18, 2004

A few notes on network copying
Having spent the best part of a day last week with my colleague Rupert (see his blog in the right hand column) trying to get a Win2K HiDef storage system to talk to a Linux film grading system here are a few observations regarding the efficiency of different network protocols.
1. NetBIOS (using the v 2.2.7a Samba server on Linux) - over TCP/IP runs at about a tenth of the speend of FTP under exactly the same conditions. I'd heard that Windows networking copying was inefficient but I was suprised how badly it did. Before you point the finger at Samba, it was actually a tad worse going between the Win2K and another XP computer.
2. Going between 100-BaseT and Gigabit only produces an improvement of about five-fold. This bears out the observation that most GigE implementations (over twisted pair) don't yet run duplex.
3. Cables count! Even short cat5 cables won't handle GigE - you need proper cat5E.
4. Win2K (unlike every other flavour of Windows) won't recognise unencrypted passwords. You have to tweak the registry to enable it:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\lanmanworkstation\parameters Set the key: enableplaintextpassword to a "1" to enable plain text passwords

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Hutchinson's Three Network has announced mast number five-thousand has just come online - that's about one mast per three subscribers (on current figures!).

Friday, January 16, 2004

The UK 405-Line Television Network
The first year I was at the Beeb (1988) they closed down the last of the 405 line relays and someone calculated that the cost of buying everyone who was still using a 405 line set a brand new Sony 28" TV was less than the cost of running those transmitters for another week - amazingly that's what the BBC did - anyone who could turn in a working pre-1955 TV (and B&W license) got the new set! One of the few times they spent money wisely (while I was there, anyhow).

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Wanted: Freelance engineer for three weeks starting 14th Feb
To rig and babysit three Media Composers and a LanShare server with a daily playout of the finished piece (for C4/ITN) in cooperation with the ENG/links engineer. You should be good with Avids and a strong broadcast engineer generally. You'll have a spare Avid and VTR (because the job is abroad) but you should know your way around the software and hardware as well as the networking between. £300 per day with all expenses covered. Send me an email!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Yippee - got my DVD player reading home-made disks
I have a Cyberhome DVD 302 which has been just a fine DVD / VCD / CD / MP3 player for the last couple of years but wouldn't read the disks I was burning in my new Sony DVD burner. I eventually found a reference on a German bulletin board to a firmware upgrade that doesn't seem to be linked off the main site at all! Anyhow - new firmware and the player is happily reading all the flavours of DVD I can throw at it (+ and - as well as R and RW). BUT the only software I've tried that makes video DVDs that work consistently is Ulead VideoStudio 6 DVD edition. Everything else (Nero 6, Pinnacle DVD-Studio) just makes disks that either go no further than the menu OR won't read at all. Curious.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Filters for VirtualDub
Avery Lee's genius in creating one of the best tools for manipulating digital video is only matched by the fact that he makes the source code freely available and extensible - the build I use is fccHandler's MPEG version here. Anyhow - a couple of the pluggins I use a lot are Flaxen's VHS restorer and the DeLogo filter which does a pretty good job of removing station idents.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Video vs Film motion
I'm a big fan of the look of video - 50 field motion for me looks a lot better than 25 frame jerky motion of film. People who "film look"(!) video to make budget video productions more professional show they know nothing about TV! Anyhow - Steve Roberts at the BBC (who resores old Dr Who episodes - see the website he runs wrote a bit about VidFire, a pluggin for Premier that makes the "missing" fields from film-recordings of video by motion vector estimation - see this thread from 2001.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Radio 3 set to broadcast John Cage's seminal work, 4'33".
Which (if you didn't know) is four and a half minutes of silence(!) This is actually a challenge to broadcast because of audio compression and the silence-detecting backup system - see Digital Spy.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Adrenaline and LanShare
Oh dear - I've just been working in Bermondsey for the week doing the editing facilities (suites and SAN) for "Spooks"- the BBC spy drama by Kudos Productions - all went in well and the wiremen made a superb job of the cabling (as always). However we supplied the three editing workstations (Avid Adrenaline) and forgot that when they are on a gigabit SAN you have to install an additional 64bit PCI 1394 card for the video hardware. The recommended one is the Pyro.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Outlook 2003 Add-in: Personal Folders Backup is a handy plug in that periodically backs up all your folders as .pst files.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Handy Gadgets from Lindy

EIDE -> SATA adaptor - sits on the motherboard!
TCP/IP over the mains Could be handy if you couldn't run ethernet (and it's faster than 802.11b)

They have some great niche PC bits.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

What a great idea - I found that more recent versions of Kazaa Lite wouldn't work through my firewall at home - wind it back to release 2.4 and I'm going again.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Windows and NTP
I've been working on a project recently using an Adrienne Timecode capture card (see November's page for their details) to synchronise several encoders and servers to a TV-standard timecode signal. Now, you look at the Micro$oft implementation of NTP and imagine they have done the decent thing and used the Unix protocol (port 123, UTP etc.) but no - it is Unix NTP with Windows authentication (but only if used on a LAN!) - so when you're testing it - pointing it at your favourite Internet NTP server it works fine, but as soon as you install the TC card and start pointing other machines on the LAN at it (but before you've authenticated mapped drives etc.) it throws errors. What can you do?