Sunday, 19 June 2005

Quartz Composer HOWTO now on

My Analog Clock bit of fun (see earlier post) has been copied onto the website, which contains more information on Quartz Composer and the fun things you can do with it. Thanks to the site admins for their interest in my blog post!

Direct link to the howto

Sunday, 5 June 2005

Foxtel Digital STU and MythTV

One of the most common things I get asked for is the settings I use to control the Foxtel Digital STU from MythTV. Well, since the set top unit is almost directly compatible with the Sky Digibox used in the UK for a longer time than Foxtel Digital in Australia, we go to them for the remote codes. The link in the post header has the remote codes (click the 'hand-tuned LIRC config file' link) that I use successfully.

However note that the codes use the Sky terminology for the buttons (which you could change), for example the FOXTEL button = SKY, BACK = BACKUP, and our SETUP button = their TEXT.

Hope this helps.

Friday, 3 June 2005

On the feasibility of internet media

So you might have noticed I've been getting sucked into the revival of downloadable legal media on the Internet. But I've got some complaints to make.
Compression codecs and computer performance is increasing, bandwidth of consumer connections however are not (discounting when those swapping dial up for broadband out of desperation).
Why then are media producers not making smaller files? I downloaded systm the other week and even the h.264 small version is 86MB! For what turned out to be a 10 minute clip! In my opinion this is too big for a small version. My tolerance level for download times is decreasing (explaining the rise and rise of Bittorrent). I think that about 2 times the length of the clip is an acceptable medium (meaning you invest three times the length of the clip of your time -- contrast this with traditional media, where live TV is 1x, a recording you chose to make is 2x and a PVR with commercial skipping is less than 1x the length of the clip). I concede that podcasting software, like PVRs bring down the number but your Internet connection is consumed, unless it can be told to update when the connection is not in use.
Now I know it is possible to get the content to fit in with this ratio, even for those on dial up. Rocketboom, a video Blog, offers a mobile phone version at And I watch Call for Help on my mobile. Now I encode that at 88kbps, which suits my ratio nicely at 44kbps working for most 56kbps modem users and up.
Don't get me wrong, please still offer your content in high quality for those who are willing to wait, but please make a smaller option available for the rest of us.

For tech goods, try eBay

eBay is the best place for tech stuff. So cheap! Granted, most is shady imports, but who can argue with 30%+ off after shipping? (Rate based on my purchases of memory cards, and a firewire enclosure.) It's still a case of caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, but if you need it or want it bad enough and you can't get it retail, give it a shot. It's not so good for software though, for games especially prices aren't competitive (great for the sellers though).