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Archive for November, 2008

ABC is 60fps in DC

Posted by onlydarksets on November 26, 2008

I’ve been testing out the new release of Handbrake to convert my SageTV recordings, and I couldn’t get the file to load to my iPhone via iTunes.  Thanks to G-Spot, I remembered that ABC shows are 60fps here in DC, and the iPhone tops out at 30fps.  A freaking error message would have been nice.

Posted in iPhone, SageTV | Leave a Comment »

Easing the jailbreak upgrade – aptbackup

Posted by onlydarksets on November 23, 2008

Anytime you upgrade a jailbroken iPhone, you have to reinstall all of the jailbroken apps (iTMS apps and settings are retained).  While there is no way to completely automate restoring the jailbroken apps and settings, aptbackup will automatically reinstall any Cydia apps.

UPDATE: Scratch that – it didn’t work for me.  I can’t say it’s “broken”, but I’m not about to troubleshoot how to get it to work correctly.

Posted in iPhone, Jailbreak | Leave a Comment »

SageTV extenders and Blu-Ray playback

Posted by onlydarksets on November 21, 2008

I was researching Blu-Ray players, when it occurred to me it would be much easier to just get a BD drive for the PC, rip the disc to the SageTV server, and play it back from there.  However, Sage does not appear to support this natively yet, either in the client or the extender.

One alternative, though, seems to be to remux the audio/video streams into a MKV container.

  1. If the blu-ray has DTS audio use tsremux to remux the .m2ts to .ts with AC3 audio. If the blu-ray has AC3 audio skip this step.
  2. Demux the .m2ts (or .ts) into elementary streams using tsmuxer.
  3. Use mkvmerge to put video and AC3 audio into .mkv container. Make sure you specify the proper frame rate for H.264 files or the audio will be out of sync.
  4. Move to Sage import directory and enjoy. No reencoding at all so video is perfect blu-ray. No menus of course.

Here is another set of instructions:

  1. Put bluray in, rip to disk using anydvd hd.
  2. Go to the bdmv\stream folder. look for the largest m2ts file. its usually 16-25gb or so. some say this doesnt work as the movie is split into multiple files….i have not seen it yet after 14 blurays.
  3. Run “eac3to.exe bluray.m2ts bluray.mkv” this will break the audio and video into seperate files.
  4. Run mkvmerge.exe -o FINAL.mkv bluray.mkv bluray.ac3″ This will mux all the files together.

Now here is the hitch, when you first run eac3to on the m2ts, it will result in several audio tracks. most will be ac3, some may be flac. the flac would be DTS audio or even HD audio. I have not been able to get these to work on the HD100. you will need to run “eac3to.exe bluray.flac bluray.ac3” to convert the audio.

Not quite ideal, but better than nothing.  The search continues, though…

UPDATE: OK, here’s another option that appears to work most of the time:

  1. Installed Swiss Army Knife (SAK) on the PS3. This is a tiny little Linux program that is extremely simple to install using a simple USB stick. It’s not a full blown Linux OS that requires Linux knowledge. It basically just loads and gives you about a half dozen options. One of those options is…
  2. Ripped the BD to my windows machine over the network. Just tell SAK the IP and folder name of a shared folder on a networked Windows machine and press Enter. The end result for me was a roughly 18gb .iso file of Michael Clayton. (Obviously you can skip this step if you have a BD drive. I don’t, but now I know I don’t need to buy one.)
  3. Mounted .iso as a drive and ripped/extracted it to a new folder called “Michael Clayton” using AnyDVD HD.
  4. Pointed my HD100 to the big fat .mt2s file in the Streams folder and hit play, fully expecting some sort of problems, the kind that would make people go through all sorts of muxing/demuxing/mkv’ing. But it just worked! No stutters, no glitches, beautiful picture, it was all there! (This is a VC-1 1080p disc from what I can tell. It sounds like VC-1 movies are the kind that tend to give people the most trouble, so I don’t know why this seemed to work so easily for me. It makes me wonder if for some reason the HD100 is better at playing .mt2s files than .mkv files?)

Posted in SageTV | 10 Comments »

Save up to 25% at eBay

Posted by onlydarksets on November 18, 2008

Using Microsoft’s Cashback program, you can save 25% off of any Buy It Now purchase at eBay (up to $250 in cash back).  The downside is that you have to wait 60 days to get your cash, but still – up to $250 off of competitively priced products?  That’s some marketing budget.

So, search for it on, look for the eBay cashback link at the top, click it, and complete the transaction within 1 hour.  Apparently that’s it!

I wish I knew about this 5 days ago

Posted in Microsoft | Leave a Comment »

Worldwide spam cut 66% in one day

Posted by onlydarksets on November 17, 2008

According to the Post, two ISPs in California shut down a hosting provider that was responsible for the majority of the world’s spam.  Instantly, the amount of spam dropped up to 66%.

Source: Small Business Trends

Posted in Fuzzy Concepts | Leave a Comment »

Mounting multiple ISOs

Posted by onlydarksets on November 17, 2008

When installing Office, etc. from our Microsoft Partner MSDN library, I usually take the lazy route and use 7-zip to unpack the ISOs.  ISODisk lets you mount up to 20 ISOs simultaneously, and it seems like a more efficient path.

Posted in Microsoft, Microsoft Office, MS Sharepoint, MS SQL Server, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

Vista’s “Shrink Volume” feature

Posted by onlydarksets on November 17, 2008

The wireless stopped working reliably on my laptop, so I needed to reinstall Vista.  Instead of doing it all at once, though, I decided to resize the partition and install Vista to a new partition, which would allow me to access the old install.  This way, I can still access the programs, settings, and data from the old install until I am sure I have everything.

I tried using Vista’s “Shrink Volume” feature, but it only let me free up about 40% of the actual free space on the disk.  Turns out that “Shrink Volume” isn’t really all that intelligent.  It takes the last available sector reported by the disk as the limit of the free space it can create.  So, if you have 70GB out of 120GB free, but there is a certain type of data written to the sector at the 90GB mark, you can only free up 30GB, not the full 70GB (image worth a thousand words).

There is a workaround (see here to disable hibernation), but this is something that Vista should handle invisibly.

Posted in Windows Vista | Leave a Comment »

Windows 7 media formats and transcoding

Posted by onlydarksets on November 15, 2008

Looks like Windows 7 will support DivX and XviD, in addition to H.264 and MP4.  It’s about time.

Posted in Media Center PCs, Windows 7, Windows Media Center | Leave a Comment »

I bought a new camera – Canon XS

Posted by onlydarksets on November 14, 2008

I (finally) pulled the trigger on a Canon XS with EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens. It compared favorably with the XSi, and at a total cost of $452 from Abe’s of Maine ($473.95 – $10 coupon – 2.5% from MS Live Search cashback), it’s in my comfort zone for a technology I’m not really geeked out about (yet…).

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Automated Gmail backup via IMAP

Posted by onlydarksets on November 4, 2008

I’m pretty sure Gmail has some redundencies out there, but if you want a local copy of everything in case Google goes under, check out Gmail Backup.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »