Random Short Take #77

Welcome to Random Short Take #77. Spring has sprung. Let’s get random.

Finally, the blog turned 15 years old recently (about a month ago). I’ve been so busy with the day job that I forgot to appropriately mark the occasion. But I thought we should do something. So if you’d like some stickers (I have some small ones for laptops, and some big ones because I can’t measure things properly), send me your address via this contact form and I’ll send you something as a thank you for reading along.

HTPC – Using the Leadtek Winfast DTV2000DS with GB-PVR

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve added an HTPC category to this blog. The point of this is simply to provide a place for a number of random HTPC- and media streamer-related issues that I’ve encountered recently when I made the insane decision to build a HTPC for the movie room while eschewing Windows 7. That’s right – we can do this the easy way or my way. Over the next few weeks I’m aiming to load up a bunch of articles relating to my frustration with this platform as an entertainment mechanism.

As part of this process I bought a very cheap dual digital TV tuner from PC Case Gear – the aptly named Leadtek Winfast DTV2000 DS. You can find details on this PCI card here. I was testing GB-PVR, but couldn’t find the card in the list of supported cards. I don’t want to give too much away, but, *spoiler alert*, it’s an ini file that needs adjusting. Check out the skinny here.

Add the following to the bda.ini file in your GB-PVR installation directory.

[Leadtek Winfast DTV 2000 DS]

Sometimes hotels get it …

I spent a good part of the long weekend in Sydney doing a CX300 – CX3-20 upgrade. The process itself was reasonably seamless, although my heart skipped a beat when the utility partition wouldn’t boot. Apparently this happens frequently enough that EMC wrote a Service Note about it, along the lines of, “try it again a few times and it should work”. And it did, and I was able to continue with the conversion. You’ll be happy to know that no data was lost, and thus no service partners were harmed.

I stayed at a hotel nearby. I didn’t have high hopes as I’d stayed there before and it was comfortable, but not amazing. So when I walked into my room I was pleased to see this:

Hooray, a slightly nicer TV than I normally get when travelling. The cool thing about this setup, however, was the AV panel they’d installed in the wall:

You could plug in composite video, vga or hdmi. It even had a usb jack to use as a charger if you needed. I thought it was kind of neat. The fact that they had set 4:3 content to pan and scan meant that the Broncos game I watched on Friday night looked like they had a lot of thicker than usual players, but the DVDs I played off my laptop looked just fine at 1360 * 768.