New Tivo :) (HTPC) 
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 09:45 PM - Computers
Hello all. I have been living in this house for roughly one year now. Back in Idaho we had dish network with a DVR. I loved it! All this time here without one was starting to get to me. Hulu and downloading episodes did hold me over, but it wasn't how i wanted it to be. I get the most basic of basic cable service through comcast. 10$ a month. a steal of a deal. In order to get a comcast DVR i would have to upgrade to at least a higher plan, plus the cost the rent the unit, and 15$ more for HD unit.

Being me, i hate to pay for things that i can get for free. So i dropped 120$ for the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250. It has dual HD tuners so I could watch something and record something at the same time, HD or SD.

Initially my budget was spent the instant i bought that capture card. So i took some old computer parts i had and built a machine. AMD 3800+, 2gb ddr400 ram, 7800gt video, and a whopping 80gb IDE hard drive.

This was my concept machine, it worked for all intents and purposes. I was originally going to run MythTV on ubuntu. This was shot down rather quickly because my TV card did not support analog in linux :( sad face. I then put windows 7 on the machine and tried out SageTV. I was quite happy with SageTV. It did HD tv, timers, recordings, etc. My favorite part was the mpg format it recorded! Unfortuantly, it had some issues with some or my channels. It would either not see them right or fail to get a guide listing.

My next trial was with the new windows media center. Those who know me, know this hurt me. I HATE windows media center. WMC scanned for channels without me telling me anything but my zip code. The TV interface was easier than SageTV, so the wife liked it better. Its been quite nice really. THERE! I SAID IT! Now to the complaint. It records in a stupid format. .wtv, wtf? Who uses wtv? No one! *sigh*

I used this setup for a couple months. It was working rather well actually. Then the issues started. 1. Random blue screens. something between a windows update and the divers were not getting along. (64-bit). Sometimes it would happen a few times a night, other times nothing. 2. Freezing. It would randomly freeze up. 3. It would overheat due to the POS case it was in. 4. it was LOUD.

This year i have been saving up for something nice, nothing in particular. SO i asked for computer parts to build a new htpc.

-AMD Phenom X3 8750
-ASUS M3N78-VM
-2 GB DDR2 1066 ram
-Western Digital WD10000LSRTL Caviar Black 1TB
-Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250
-hec SECC 7K09 Micro ATX Media Center


I chose a small case the fit inside my tv cabinet. I plan to use an HDMI cable to run the video and audio to my TV then from my TV to my receiver through an optical cable.

Here are some of the parts. Processor, Mobo, and Ram.


Here is the case, its sleek and black.


This is the case with the ram, mobo, and processor.


Here is the cpu :)


Here is the nice evenly spread thermal paste :)


Here is the computer about 90% put together. Everything is is installed except the capture card. I was starting to get worried that the card would not fit in the pci slot.


As you can see they have a nice little heatsink sitting where a card should sit. At this point i have not tested it to see if it will fit. Edit: I tested the card, and it works just fine. It wasn't a very tight fit either, which kinda surprised me.



This is the back end of the machine with the capture card and its input extender.



I've been using the new machine for about 24 hours now. I spent a good 12 hours copying media over to the new hard drive. 500 gigs of movie rips to happily watch without mucking with DVD's. yay! The HDMI output works great, and no reboots or blue screens :) yay! I did move to 32 bit windows to attempt to rid the BSOD.

My next venture is to get the remote working with media player classic or VLC.

I use coreAVC for my HD media. Media player classic uses this nicely, but it has to be set up. To set it up right click, options, external filters, add. Add CoreAVC, then click the Prefer button. This will let CUDA do the video rendering if you have a 8 series or higher NVIDIA card. You know its working if you see a green dot in the tray. This uses MUCH less cpu than without it. Very nice.

Oh, and hulu now works in full screen without stuttering, yay!

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 2.9 / 689 )
Modern Warfare 2 sucakge 
Friday, February 26, 2010, 12:07 AM - Rants
Dear Infinity Ward and Activision, whichever is to blame.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is at the core of the game, a good game. It has all the good parts of a COD based games. It has good, solid gameplay.

That being said. I HATE it! What on earth were you thinking when the retards you call execs made the decision to do what was done. I will get to the list shortly. I am a PC gamer, and as such i expect to have my PC games live up to a standard. Without sounding snooty i would dare say that PC gamers are a more adept and tech savvy than console gamers. No one would argue with me if i said it was easier to start a console game than to chew gum. That is their design, to be dummy proof. Fine, let the dummies play their consoles. I have to ask... WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY ARE YOU DUMBING DOWN MY PC GAMES?!?!! WHY!!!!? I do NOT want a lobby system. I want a server, with people, people that can come and go without dicking the game up. If i wanted to be treated like a damn retard, i would buy an xbox. (no offense xbox'ers)

the controversial decisions made around the PC version of the game were made in order to benefit the consumer experience as much as possible.

Those decisions include removing all dedicated servers and user-generated content, as well as halving the maximum number of players supported in the game.


W T F!!! Ya, its much better now. Thanks for no custom... ANYTHING. Thanks for letting the cheaters go rampant. Its great, i love it!

Did anyone mention that there is a petition with over 250,000 signature to get dedicated servers in place? Their response..
...


Mouse control!? Really?! no way! So what your saying is "Yes, its the same"
Moriarte: Ignoring IW.net, is the PC version a direct port of the console version?

Mackey-IW: No, PC has custom stuff like mouse control, text chat in game, and graphics settings.



Pros:
-Good gameplay
-Nice graphics

Cons:
-"Dumbed down"
-no dedicated servers
-no moderation
-rampant cheating
-Lobby system
-no customization
-"Cheap" PC version
-Lack of caring from Mike Griffith
-User hosted matches
-host migration
-
-------------------------------------

I found these amusing:
http://static.arstechnica.com/drawing2.png
http://blogs.battlefield.ea.com/cfs-fil ... Blog01.jpg
-------------------------------------
* confirmation that there will be no dedicated servers whatsoever How outstandingly fucking retarded of them.

-------------------------------------
Q. Is it true that IW has removed keyboard support? do I have to use a console controller? A. yes, we felt that because so many people who can't read play games, that we would simplify the control scheme to exclude any complicated characters besides Y B A and X, or X, square, triangle and circle in the case of the PS3.

-------------------------------------

-------------------------------------
sources:
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/200 ... w2-on-pc/1
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2009 ... hought.ars
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showth ... amp;page=4
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showpo ... stcount=83
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showpo ... stcount=77
http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showpo ... stcount=23

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 3 / 1031 )
XBOX 360 Firmware upgrade 
Sunday, December 20, 2009, 01:37 PM - Hacks
I was commisioned with a task to upgrade a couple 360's. Needless to say one of them was brand spanking new. Still in the box to be exact. Well, the 83850c Lite-on drives don't like to have their firmware dumped. Reading through countless articles and posts i decided a solder method was the only way to go.

With permission, i dove in.



This is the board with the protective film removed. I used my leatherman and scraped it off with my knife.



Here are my soldered joints. Not bad for a first time on a super small board ;)



And a close up of the solders. For size reference, these wires are strands of cat5e cable.


The switch to enable/disbale the ground.


All put back together and ready to dump :)


Notes:
Use jungle flasher
1. Intro the drive
2. Read the firmware.
3. Make a dummy copy (right click)
4. Load dummy in source, let it auto-ixtreme it.
5. Repair drive (put all the cuts and solders back)
6. Intro it again.
7. Click "Write"
8. Enjoy

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 2.9 / 912 )
Job promotion. 
Sunday, August 23, 2009, 10:53 PM - Family
Its true, i got a job promotion. yay! i will be leaving my job as a help desk team lead to go work on the unix deployment team. This was not an easy decision, as i love the job i currently have. It seemed like my current boss wouldn't talk to me for a few days after accepting the job, which is sad because i love working with him. DD, if you ever want to torment the help desk people... i'm game, sign me up!

I'm excited to learn at my new post though (granted its in the room next door). I will be doing Mac deployment for the most part, with some server and AIX thrown in the mix. Good times, except for the part when they said my i-phone is getting taken back :s boo!




[ 1 comment ] ( 17 views )   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 3 / 917 )
Numara training in Dallas, pt #4 
Thursday, June 4, 2009, 01:11 PM - School
Yay! last day! Training started as normal wit the exception of me checking out in the morning before i headed over.

We wrapped up and took the assessment test. I passed, yay! I promptly checked to see if i could get an earlier shuttle to the airport, i was able to get one and get to the airport in time to catch the earlier 5:50pm flight.

After the maze around the airport and a shuttle link to a terminal and back i found my gate and was good to go.

I made it home alive, and my wife brought me a pizza when she picked me up. wahoo!

I'm tired...

I helped her burn DVD's for her class video...

zzzzzzzzZZzzz......

[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 3 / 861 )
Numara training in Dallas, pt #3 
Thursday, June 4, 2009, 10:05 AM - School
Hello, day #3 has ended. I didn't feel like wandering the mall by myself again today, so i bummed a ride with some of the other guys from training. We hopped in the rental car and headed out to the restaurant area. We picked some Brazilian-Texas place. They had valet parking and people were walking in with suits. Ya, we found out it was 45$ a person for dinner. So we promptly left and went next door to Pei Wei. The food was good.

This is a picture of the huge bowl of soup a couple guys got when they ordred. It was enough soup for 3+ people and a couple guys got them for themselves. We shared one, and the big guy attempted to eat his.


Here are the crab and cheese wontons i got to share with everyone. They were quite good. The sauce wasn't the best. Still good though.


I got some fire chicken or something, it was rather good. The sauce was different than i expecred, but it was a nice change from pizza the other night.


This is the outside of the hotel as i am coming back from dinner, i was on the 5th floor, so i had a view of the tops of some buildings. Couldn't see much really.


Here is the lobby of the hotel in case anyone cares ;)





[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 3.1 / 437 )
Numara training in Dallas, pt #2 
Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 02:25 PM - School
I'm back! I'm in the middle of day 3, so i can now post about day 2.

I woke up to a nice gray cloud. When i walked into the training room it was pouring outside. Good thing i didnt have to leave the building to get to training.



Last night i took an earlier shuttle to the Galeria mall. Still the same mall, this time i tried to find specific store. The Mall directory was horribly out of date. The only two places i wanted to go were not actually there.

I wandered around for a while before deciding to walk to the next complex to the north. I got all excited when i finally found out how to get there. When i rounded the corner to the building i was hoping was a movie theatre, it turn out to be a furniture store. :( On to the next store! Furniture store >:( On to the next! Shoe store.. grrr! One more try! Lakeview teaching store. Wonderful. I turned around and walked back to the mall. On the way back i found a World Market behind yet another furniture store. Inside i found some bacon chocolate.




After my long walk i had pizza for dinner. Sbarro FTW! i saved my stromboli for my lunch the next day.





[ add comment ]   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 3 / 597 )

Next