Archive for April, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

April 30, 2004

A very well rounded movie, angsty without being depressing, and off the wall without being completely artsy. The science behind the memory wiping technology was self standing. Very funny in parts, with a tightly woven plot, this movie was a pleasure to watch; my only real problem was the length.

Some absolutely stunning Kirsten Dunst pillow fight shots.

eight out of ten.

Knoppix at first blush.

April 28, 2004

In the process of installing my new laptop harddrive, I had the opportunity to use the knoppix CD to boot and restore my backup image.

This is the first time I’ve ever touched Knoppix, and it’s fairly impressive, it auto detects all my hardware (ethernet, sound, video, mouse) and sets up all the drivers so it just works. It’s not designed as a rescue disk, but it’s got everything a rescue disk needs.

The power of the user group

April 25, 2004

Had an interesting experience at this week’s Humbug meeting. The hard drive in my Thinkpad has been a little sick of late, and it just so happens that a developer on the smartmontools project (which lets the SMART subsystem in modern hard drives warn of impending disaster) is interested in Thinkpads. We got to talking, he introduced me to the project and we started running a diagnostic on my hard drive. While I was at dinner he had passed the results around the smartmontools developers and they had come up with a dire prognosis: imminent failure within twenty four hours. Not exactly what I wanted to know, but very useful none the less.

Mythtv on Debian guide.

April 25, 2004

Now that I’m getting close to having a working mythtv setup, it behoves me to write up my experiences in the hope that it helps someone else out there. My guide is a work in progress, but hopefully there’s that useful bit of information to save people scratching their heads for hours on end.

Kill Bill Volume 2

April 24, 2004

A lot darker this time around, with much more psychological interplay between the characters; baddies fighting baddies, the bride taking us through the revelation of carrying a child, and of course, dealing with Bill.

I didn’t feel the second was as stylistically complete as the first, with the only striking effect being the grainy black and white scenes, compared with the first that had black and white, anime, silhouettes, the dojo etc.

The Uma school girl scene was a bit freaky.

Taken together, a very complete shlock film, I would have preferred the elements of the two films to have been shared around a bit better.

Seven out of ten.


April 18, 2004

Without actually knowing what XVMC actually is, XVMC is the X11 interface to MPEG playback hardware on modern video cards. NVidia is the only brand of cards that people talk about using it with, I’m not sure if that’s just because NVidia are the only people to write drivers for it or what.

I finally got around to getting xvmc working with mythtv, and on my woefully underpowered system it makes all the difference in the world: live TV is stutter free (the front end no longer pauses to buffer input) and the CPU usage is down to around 40% when displaying a 460×480 picture.

There was a fair bit of stuffing around involved as I eventually discovered that XVMC and TwinView (an NVidia configuration option that allows the Monitor and TV to display the same image) don’t work together, only one display can use the MPEG hardware at one time. The NVidia documentation came to the rescue again, however, and walked me through setting up the TV and Monitor to be separate screens on the same display, such that the TV is :0.0 and the Monitor is :0.1, which lets the myth frontend use the MPEG hardware.

I also setup the NVidia AGP driver, it seems to provide some marginal improvements.

All in all, the current setup is almost usable. The picture on the TV is not full sized, or particularly smoothly rendered.

King George Square

April 9, 2004

Some night time photos taken at King George square, of the bronze statues, water feature, City Hall and the surrounding buildings.

Les Triplettes de Belleville

April 4, 2004

Seen on the Brisbane leg of the French film festival.

A funny, whimsical, quaint story. The dog’s dream sequences were especially well done, I particularly liked the dream in which the owner is drawing the dog (ox and cart style) around the rim of a giant food bowl.

It had depressingly little French in it.

In the slipstream

April 4, 2004

On Friday I had the slightly unnerving experience of being trailed by a roller blader enjoying my efforts to break up the air for him. He did thank me for the ride when I turned off, at least.

Bugs, patches and ..more bugs

April 1, 2004

Filed Debian bug 241449 initial scan data not packaged.

Sent some Brisbane data for the dvb utility scan upstream.

My current problem is getting the myth front end to use the ALSA sound driver, configuring mythfrontend using ALSA:hw:0,0 just doesn’t work, the gui just ignores that device string, with no reason.