Archive for December, 2008

C=64 Demoscene alive & kicking

| December 15th, 2008

We still love the C64, right? RIGHT?! Well, I love mine, even tho its not running as often as I wish, its been a big part of my life, and who I turned out to be. I blame the tweaker in me on the C64..

I got this link from my old C64 bud Frank today, and oh my god did it blow me away. Without further blabber, have a look for yourself..
Booze Design kicking the limits!

Edge of Disgrace Part#1

Edge of Disgrace Part#2

Or download it and enjoy if on your C64.

More info here, here & here ..

Mad props to Booze Design for keeping my one true love alive.. *sniff*

Ive spent some time doing research on the various aspects of this project. Read alot, asked around, pondered, and pondered some more.. What I do know without a shadow of a doubt, is that there are many unknowns, and quiet a few of those will remain such until they are tried out it seems.

Granted, it would have been a helluva lot easier if I had those deep pockets I briefly mentioned being absent in Part#1. So, Im left with trying to find those clever solutions to the issues at hand instead.
As a geek, that IS alot more fun, even tho it will take me longer to complete..

Let me try to draw you a picture and explain.. (up is north if there was any doubt)

hoiseth-sat-layout
(Like my drawing? Im good aint I? Riiight…)

Ok, what you see above is the farm I live at, the blue dots(#1-3) are where there is currently a sat-dish in place. #1 & #2 are 65cm dishes with the so called ‘Europe’ LNB setup; 1W, 5E, 13E & 19.2E. #3 is a old motorized analogue dish that will be replaced with either a ‘Nordic'(1W & 5E) or a ‘Europe’ dish as in #1& #2.

#4 is where we are currently planning to setup BigBen, ok, the name is not set in stone, Im open for suggestions.. The wall on that silo is around 5meters wide, we’ll either do so some serious steel hookup & bang it to the wall(2meter+ over ground), or place it on the ground with a concrete ‘flooring’. In this position it will be somewhat hidden from the recreational areas we use.

The alternative is to place it next to the garage south-west of mark #4. Not the best alternative for the following reasons;
– More digging, need to get the cable safetly underground between the silo(#4) & garage.
– Longer cable stretch(15-20meter)
– Visible from garden south of #3

Ive not done a precise measure of length, but its about 150meter from position #1 to the wall facing west on the silo(straight line). Adding about 20 meters going through cellar(#2) & loft in the barn is atleast a given, might even be more..
The red solid line between #1 & #2 is where we dug down a tube this summer for Cat5e, it has plenty of room for several cables.

If Im gonna do a straight shooter with the cables that means we’ll have 1 stretch going from #4 to #1(~170m), 2x from #4 to #2(~70m), and the last one from #4 to #3(~70m).

Fair enough? Well, somewhat..

In comes one of the big “unknowns”; How much signal & power loss will the longest cable suffer? After consulting people with the know-how, the results are not conclusive.
The signal loss could be within an acceptable %, if not I can put an amplifier at the middle(#2), but this will not help with the potential power drain. That is, the power the tuner/receiver sends to the LNB to switch between vertical & horizontal.
‘Bobben1’ at a .no board suggested I could overcome this with attaching a “power-supply” to one of the outputs on the LNB, granted a variable supply.

My question is this, could I instead use a multiswitch(at #2) using 2 of the outputs, and gain 4 outputs? With a Spaun SMS 341 F for instance?
This would overcome the need to switch between v/h..
With this solution(?) I wont loose 1 output, but instead gain 2.

This is important, not only for the loss of a output, but also since I have one MythTV box in service, and plan to setup a slave backend on location #2. The important bit is this; the tuners I currently use are SkyStar2 which only support DiSEqC 1.0, and that will fail miserably on a Multiswitch..
EDIT: Reading up on this, and I was wrong, there are several Multiswitches that can accomodate this need. For instance a EMP-Centauri E.143-AP, and hook one output to a 4/1 DiSEqC (with 1W & 5E fi), or directly to one of the SkyStar tuners.

The other tuners (DM500, DM7020 and soon DM600 on #3?) got no issues with DiSEqC 1.1/1.2.

Moving further, the existing ‘Europe’ dishes(#1 & #2) got 4/1 DiSEqC’s, either;

– Drop 13 or 19.2E input and screw on 28.2E
..or;

– Get a 8/1 DiSEqC to replace the 4/1 and keep all sat positions

On position #4 depending on what LNB setup we choose, either go for one of the above solutions, or if a ‘Nordic’ LNB setup is chosen, just use a 4/1 DiSEqC.. Pheew, easy!

The MythTV backend slave will be a dedicated 28.2E box with 1 DVB-S tuner to start off, replaced with a DVB-S2 tuner like the Net-UP when it becomes available. The Gbit link between houses #1 & #2 got more than enough bandwith to spare, so the slave(#2) will utilize the Raid array on the backend master thats living in house #1.

So to recap, I know more about potential show-stoppers on the technical side of the project. I still need to get more hands on experiences from people in the know.

Thanx to all the people thats taken time to respond to my questions & the suggestions you’ve given. Much appreciated! I do hope you keep it up.

Till next chapter..

New BBC channels on Canal Digital

| December 4th, 2008

I was looking forward to seeing the new BBC channels that Canal Digital started to beam yesterday. Granted, not alot of new content there, but still, more quality broadcasting is always welcome. More than enough crap being aired these days.

The channels are BBC Lifestyle, Knowledge, Entertainment & HD, yay!? well.. after tuning in last night, not so much. I dont have a HD tuner/receiver, so that channel is out of my reach atm, but the other three, well, take a wild guess what format they are aired in.. Thats right 4:3, completely disregard the original format, its actually aired in full screen. I could hardly believe my eyes..
Watching season 9 of Top Gear in a crippled 4:3 format is just too painful for my taste..

I hope this is just a “minor” premiere hick-up, but I fear it aint. For the person(s) making this decision I grant a well placed foot in their ass as a xmas present. Hohoho

Im a geek, and my fields of interrest range wide & deep. Ive had fasinations for many things over the years, some have stuck, others have faded. Faded for many reasons, some of them for financial reasons, lets face it, unless you have a deep pocket you cannot get all your heart desires. Such is life, no complaints tho, the feeling of finally getting something you have saved up for is just too grand for me to ever want to swap it for the “of I’ll just buy it, even tho I dont need it..”

Ever since I saw my first BUD, Ive been fasinated with what could be possible to bring home from the sky above. The first BUD I saw can barely be defined as a BUD, its was “merely” a 2meter dish, but since I was a youngster that was huuuuuge!

Ive dreamt of owning a BUD ever since then, but due to both finanical reasons and, well, living in city areas this has been impossible. The prices on a dish over 2meters is just mindblowing, its an easy 2 month salary..

I like to check out the used market, on all kinds of things really, be it music, instruments, movies, furniture, cars, computer hw.. anything goes, not that I buy that much, I just like to window shop.

Last week I was browsing around a .no market place; finn.no, and lo and behold, someone was selling a BUD, for the price of a regular 70cm dish! I sent him an email asking for details and if the price were right or if there was a zero missing there at the end. Price was right, so today I confirmed the purchase.

This will be my winter project(well, one of them anyway), it wont be setup before the winter is gone, but atleast the “biggest” investment is done. It will get a round of sanding & paint to “fit” into its surroundings.
Mark’s suggestion wont happen this time around, even tho I’d love to do it. 😉

The dream of a BUD is about to be realized, so is the urge to lock on to Astra2D on 28.2E, finally some quality tv!

I will document the process of transport, digging, setup etcetc in detail, for now, feast your eyes at my first BUD;

bud-4.8m-1bud-4.8m-2

I dont have the brand/name for it, but its a 4.8meter steel dish, complete with ground mounting & feedhorn. Whats missing of HW is a C120 LNB and cabling, I need some high quality coax for this setup since it will be placed about 120meter from the house. Gotta try and “hide” it away as best I can. (yep, some people dont see the beauty of such a dish.. go figure)

Invacom or Inverto ?
invacom-c120inverto-c120-quad

Ive had great experience with ‘regular’ Invacom Universal LNB’s, but I will see what prices the .no outlets can give me.

I welcome any feedback & experiences you might have with a BUD, would like to avoid the most obvious mistakes.

Till next chapter…

4 years of rants & WordPress 2.7

| December 2nd, 2008

Im no good when it comes to dates, if the calendar or phone dont remind me, chances are I will forget about it.
So for me to miss out on this blogs 4th year of rants & giggles just had to happen..

With this little post I cheer a tiny ‘hurrahh’ for the four years thats past, and tip my hat at the amazing job the WordPress devs have done.

Ive tested many an alternative, be it pure blog SW or CMS solutions over the years, but Ive always kept WordPress close to my heart.
Now that WordPress 2.7 is very close to be finalized, I see no reason to change that. Time to upgrade your WP installs folks, the changes “behind the scenes” is simply stunning, help the devs to iron out any remaining bugs in RC1..

Here’s to many more years of rants & oddities!