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Andrew Pollock


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Monday, 23 February 2009

Upgrading MythTV to Debian 5.0 (Lenny)

I've been dying to upgrade my MythTV setup to use Lenny for ages, ever since I got a HD HomeRun and discovered my primary MythTV front end couldn't play back the HD recordings for some reason (I just got a blue box and the audio, and a lot of errors in the X server log).

I figured it was either the kernel or X, and I hadn't been able to get the lirc kernel module to build against anything newer than Etch's 2.6.18 kernel (as I discovered today, that was because of some contamination in module-assistant's build directory, so I could have tried a newer kernel ages ago - drat), so I was unable to determine if it was the kernel or X.org itself.

An added bonus of upgrading X was it talks to the TV better. I've got the PC hooked up to the TV's VGA input, and previously, the best I could do was get it to talk 1024x768, with the TV set to a 4:3 aspect ratio. When I initially upgraded, for whatever reason, the TV was very unhappy with what it was receiving on the VGA input and wouldn't display anything, so in desperation, I tried ditching the xorg.conf entirely, and then everything just worked. X came up with a 1280x768 resolution, I think despite the TV thinking it's getting 1024x768, so now we can have the TV in 16:9 mode, and things don't look all stretched, even when the playback is only 4:3.

And HD, oh it looks glorious. We just watched the Oscars, and it completely filled the TV and looked absolutely fantastic. Playing back HD content seems to really peg the CPU though. The playback was unbearably choppy until we paused the commercial flagging job that was madly trying to flag commercials in the same recording we were currently watching (i.e. the Oscars).

The only thing that seems to be acting a bit weird is notification pop ups from the D-Bus notification daemon. I've got a Griffin PowerMate that runs a home-grown script to re-pair the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and that uses the D-Bus notification system to provide feedback while it's running. It seems that while the MythTV front end is running, those pop ups aren't displaying correctly. I haven't gotten to the bottom that one yet.

I also had some problems with a couple of init scripts and splashy causing bootup to hang, but I'm not sure that's completely reproducible (I don't reboot this machine all that often) so it may have been operator error.

Overall, very happy with the outcome. The upgrade was fairly smooth, and I've got the additional functionality I've been waiting for.

[00:01] [tech] [permalink]

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Oh the irony

The website for Tourism Queensland's extremely popular promotion to find someone to be paid $150,000 to be an island caretaker for 6 months is hosted by a Canberra company on a server in Canberra.

So much for supporting local business.

(Small world, one of the Executive Directors was briefly my manager at CyberTrust, but that's the Canberra IT scene for you)

[00:06] [opinion] [permalink]

Saturday, 07 February 2009

Climate change, anyone?

[23:43] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 05 February 2009


Sarah and I caught Taken this evening, along with Steve and Emily.

Wow, this was a good watch. Maggie Grace played a very convincing 17 year old. I had to double check it really was the same actor that played Shannon in Lost, because she seemed so much older in Lost.

If you like your action fast, furious and relentless, this is a must see.

[22:54] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 04 February 2009

PlayOn. Coming soon to the Wii, but you need Windows?

I just learned about PlayOn, which allows you to watch Netflix and Hulu content on various game consoles, with support for the Wii coming in early 2009.

This all sounded good, but it seems that it relies on a Windows PC to stream the crap to the game console, it doesn't allow the game console to do it all itself. As I don't have a Windows PC in the house (at least not one that's always running Windows, Sarah can reboot her Mac into Windows if the need arises) this is of little use to me. No sale.

[22:34] [tech] [permalink]

Finding security update notices

Me, I'd go to security.ubuntu.com, because I think I can (successfully) go to security.debian.org to get the functional equivalent. But no, that gives me nothing useful. Apparently one has to go to the less intuitively named www.ubuntu.com/usn

I'll have to see if I can get the former to redirect to the latter.


www.ubuntu.com/security is slightly more intuitive and does what you'd expect.

[10:11] [ubuntu] [permalink]