Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Emulating old SoundBlaster & Adlib cards under Win2k & XP allows you to run those classic DOS games that looked for the hardware directly. Nowadays your Windows sound device probably shares an IRQ with your network card, both of which had them assigned at boot-time. However - VDMSound provides an emulation that works well with all the games I've tried - remember XQuest?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I'm really enjoying using Firefox - less bloaty and zippier than IE6 and with some great features (tab'ed browsing) AND (seemingly) none of the vulnerabilties (including the ones they'll discover next week!) - I started using it because Graham mentioned it and because of the JPEG of doom!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

High Def TV is what we're all talking about now but I realised that the first HD job I was involved with was ten years ago - a Japanese opera shot using Sony's HDD1000 1" digital format - 1045 lines! See a pic of one here - looked like a BVH3000 as I recall. I think they were the first ones in Europe and we had a couple of Sony staff engineers looking after them - pictures were superb (uncompressed, I believe). Anyhow - I knew Sony had an analogue RGB HD format in the mid-eighties (30Mhz of bandwidth on 1" tape!) - in fact Bosch and Toshiba had similair machines to service the broadcast HD channels in Japan. You can see an excellent overiview here. There was also an early stab at D-Cinema in the form of the Proscan 290 - it recorded 10Mhz of analogue luma on 1" tape with the chroma being MPEG-1 encoded and multiplex'ed with the audio - here is the explanation nicked from Lion Lamb:

This machine is designed for a more subtle version of HD cinema (Compared to earlier attempts!) The luma (Main bulk of data) is stored using analog methods on FM carriers. There is no color burst or color subcarrier, so the resulting image is 'cleaner'. The analog information is digitally time- aligned, ensuring it lines up perfect with previous and future fields. The chroma channel uses MPEG style compression. On playback, the chroma and luma channels are carefully digitally time-aligned to eliminate problems with chroma jittering in relation to luma. The data rate of the chroma alone is about 3 Mbps. Seperate heads are apparently used for luma, and chroma/audio. There is spectrum left in the chroma and audio channels for a substantial amount of metadata. The format has not been popular at this time.

Friday, September 24, 2004 - I typed in "chav" into their search box - see what pops up!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Arghh! Bitten by Bill! I decided to put a USB-WiFi network adaptor on my server for those odd occasions when it's useful - Win2K server (of course) demanded a re-boot (and the crowd did not say "Bo Selecta"!) - all the other NICs were now not bound to any protocols. Since that machine lives in a bay in the basement and I access it over VNC & remote desktop I had to dig it out and hose it up in the dining room - it took pulling out the NICs, deleting the driver files and re-installing them before I could get either in LAN adaptor or the Internet facing card to bind to TCP/IP. I took the opportunity to upgrade it to gigabit - BUT, a couple of hours later I thought "I wonder if Windows re-enabled NetBIOS on the Internet facing interface?" AND IT HAD! In two hours I had picked up seventeen worms and assorted other malware.
Now I'm not a Microsoft basher but I wonder why it has taken ten years of people hooking up Windows machines to the Internet for XP SP2 to actually have a safe configuration as default? I'm a geek and know how networking works - I pity people who aren't as in to it as me when they attached to always-on connections.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

You gotta love open source!
I have a Neo35 car MP3 disk system - thirty gigs of MP3s in the boot and a wired remote on the dash - very nice - all my CDs in the car! Anyhow - about a year ago (and a few days outside the warranty period!) it developed an annoying fault whereby the back key would randomly press itself (sending the song back to the start). Once this started it was like it until you reset and sometimes you had a few minutes grace, sometimes half an hour. I was is a logic issue as it does it whether the wired remote is attached or even if the disk is in the USB caddy you use to download into it on the PC. Ho hum - then, along comes the Open Neo Project where the company has opened the firmware to the wider programming community and they've produced a version that allows you to re-map the keys - nuff said! I'm back in-car-MP3-nirvana!

Friday, September 17, 2004

September 2004 Security Update for JPEG Processing (GDI+) - Wow, image files than can contain executable code - when will the madness end? Was that part of the JPEG spec or a little extra that Bill et al. added themselves? Stick to standard you fools in Redmond!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Google Groups: View Thread "EBU Wants HDTV to use 720 Progressive" - oh dear, in the same way that digital radio has meant hideously compromised quality (typ. 64kbit MP2 as I listen to BBC Radio 7) the EBU have buckled under the influence of the bean-counters and are opting for *the worst* slightly-higher-than-standard-def option. Progressive scan - when will these people realise that you can show progressive frame-rates accurately over an interlaced system but never the other way around. For more spleen-venting on that subject see here.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Bitten by SP2?
I wish I'd waited a few days between upgrading the machines on my network at home! Despite Joel's reassurances AND the promise of a working Bluetooth stack I took the cautious route and upgraded the media machine first - all seemed well - I then (after only an hour of thinking about it!) upgraded the main family machine - here are a few observations:

1. DivX codec is affected by the new Data Execution Prevention schema - bummer! You can disable this by changing the following parameter in boot.ini
/NoExecute=xxxxx with /Execute

2. Pop-up blocker in IE is no better (and I'm getting the feeling it's worse) than the Google toolbar.
3. The firewall's config is so simplistic as to be unusable.
4. Even though I have a current version of Norton AntiVirus (updated an hour before the SP2 upgrade) it can't verify if it is working.

So, I've disabled all four of these features on all machines - I do have an industrial firewall/proxy between my LAN and the Internet and so I still feel as safe as I ever did - if you have a lone machine attached to the web maybe leaving the firewall on would be preferable.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Using a UK G5 keyboard with Windows

Back in December I blogged on about using a G4 kyboard with XP - well although I was quite pleased it was never just right - position of quote marks in relation to the pound and dollar symbols. Anyhow - I came across this brilliant Microsoft utility that allows you to build new keyboards - none of that messing around with scan-code mapping (although that is useful to put a "print screen" key on an used key on the Apple keyboard). Anyow - here is a layout for a UK G5 keyboard (pained as I am to admit, it is the best keyboard around!) - I have no dead-keys defined as I don't like them - get it here - extract and run the .msi file.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Broadcasting System Details - I'm often asked what standards are used in which countries - here is a definative list.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Tom's Hardware Guide Business Reports: Defcon 12's Fear and Hacking in Vegas - Bluetooth Vulnerabilities - check it out just to see the picture of the BlueTooth rifle! Thanks to Rupert for this one.

Friday, September 03, 2004

MTV is finished! - well, nearly! We still have some training and custom metalwork to do but it all works and is looking good! Thanks to Dave Watson for these pics.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Root6 support never does this!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Every time Windows update changes (now running at v.5) there is some DLL or other on all my machines that needs to be re-registered. I suddenyl started getting an "Error number: 0x80244001" which (as it turns out) needs the following run from a command prompt:

regsvr32 msxml3.dll