One of lifes mysteries: solved!

If you’ve ever looked down at your zipper and wondered why it has YKK on it, like I have, then prepare for the answer.

Now on to a few of the other questions that haven’t been answered yet…

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Mythbuntu 9.04 Vs. 9.10

So, as you may or may not know, I run Mythbuntu on my homebrew living-room DVR. I was really excited about the big improvements that Mythbuntu 9.10 appeared to offer, which includes VDPAU video decoding, MythTV 0.22 (including the MythUI updates) and the general speed improvements that Karmic was to offer. However, after upgrading my DVR, I was quickly confronted with a cold reality: 9.10 sucks for MythTV.

Here I will contrast a few of the differences. Things that work in 9.04:

– Scanning for channels on the backend

– No crashing, even during month-long periods without reboots

– Easy installation and configuration

Now, things that don’t work in 9.04:

– The program guide, if opened during Live TV playback will eat 100% CPU, meaning you have to manually kill the frontend and restart. However, pausing the TV before opening the guide solves this.

– If using an HDHomerun tuner, the backend starts before the HDHomerun is discovered, so you have to restart the backend before you can watch TV.

Things that work in 9.10:

– No additional features that aren’t already available in 9.04.

Things that don’t work in 9.10:

– Installation is buggy and often requires you to repeat steps and try alternative choices to get things to work.

– HDHomerun still isn’t discovered before the backend starts.

– The frontend has some sort of apparent memory leak and will crash randomly, and at other times, hog CPU during menu navigation.

– Channel scanning during backend setup is BROKE BROKE BROKE!! The “new and improved channel scanner” doesn’t even approach useable. Its confusing, and can take hours to get set up correctly. I’m baffled at how this was even allowed to be included in a public release. This was ultimately one of the reasons I went back to 9.04.

– VDPAU video decoding is extremely jittery and unstable. On my setup it seemed like every other frame was being dropped, and occasionally my frontend would crash, although that could have been the general unstable nature of the frontend. Software decoding of video playback is the only useable solution with 9.10. And no, I don’t want to hear it blamed on the nVidia drivers. Maybe upgrading to the new ones makes it work, but since they’re not available in the public repositories, there is no argument here.

So, sorry for the extreme technical nature of this post, but I am livid at the state of Mythbuntu 9.10. I realize that its a very fine line to walk for volunteers to make a nice OS like Mythbuntu, but I would have rather saved time by having them not even release 9.10 in the state its in. I spent 3 days building and rebuilding my DVR while my wife watched me. I also realize that part of the blame falls upstream to the MythTV guys, as they’re in a big state of transition at the moment, so part of it could just be timing.

And one final note, sorry for the negative nature of my post, but I just don’t see an easier way to do this. For an OS thats supposed to be stable and able to run on a living room DVR, 9.10 gets a 0 for WAF (wife-acceptance-factor.) 9.04 has its shortcomings, but my wife can at least handle it.

Here’s looking forward to 10.04, and a more positive DVR experience.

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Go robot!

Its your birthday! So very soon, the earth will be another year older and another year wiser; a rock’n roll star, king, czar, or a kaiser!

Just wanted to say Happy Holidays to all. Hope everyone is well.

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So I was reading around various news sites this morning, and discovered something that just made my jaw drop. Apparently the city of Pittsburgh PA decided that it might be a good idea to tax college students 1% for the “luxury” of going to school in the city, claiming that they’re a burden on city services!! What an insane argument to make.

Consider the following:

  • College tuition has gone up more during my lifetime than it has throughout the rest of its history.
  • These same students that are a burden on the city often have NO or VERY LITTLE income as they work full time at getting grades, and are therefore living off of loans.
  • These loans are getting larger and larger, placing a much greater burden on the students after graduation.
  • These same students LIVE IN THE CITY and pay their landlords, eat food, and purchase goods in THE CITY!!
  • After graduating, these students are being given another reason to flee the city and live in the suburbs, which means no real-estate tax or taxable income for the city of Pittsburgh.
  • The city is trading a small amount of taxes today, for a greater loss tomorrow.

A similar situation is occurring in Baltimore, but it has to do with real estate taxes. It just blows my mind that someone would do something so stupid. Congratulations Mayor Dumbass!

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Windows party!

For those of you not in the know (e.g., you can’t avoid this if your eyes are open at least half the time during the day) today is Windows 7 day! All hail the benelovent Microsoftians that have worked hard since 2001 to deliver a new and compelling operating system! Which Windows 7 party are you attending?


Seriously though, after arguably one of the worst operating system launches ever….Vista, Microsoft does an honorable thing and DOESN’T REFUND ANYONE’S MONEY FOR VISTA!!! and charges you again to “sidegrade” to Windows 7????? I am so glad that I’ve been out of the Windows release cycle for long enough to have forgotten the pain of it all. Microsoft is an evil company on so many different goddamn levels it makes my head want to explode.


Thank them for singlehandedly setting the home PC software world back at least 10 to 15 years. Thank them for squashing out all competition it faced, and even competition it didn’t face. Remember Netscape? How exactly were they cutting into Bill’s bottom line? Microsoft wasn’t in the browser market at all, and at one point had over 1000 employee’s trying to sink Netscape, which they were eventually successful at doing. Remember BeOS? Thank Microsoft’s vendor lock-in policy for their untimely demise.


If it weren’t for Microsoft, we may have seen much faster standardization on the web, in document formats, audio and video formats, portable music players, as well as graphics drivers and API’s, vector graphics formats, programming languages, compilers, and a list of countless other technologies. But because their answer to competition is to use their tremendous pile of cash to either buy up, or out lock-in competition and the public, we can all cough up 100 to 400 dollars to buy one of the 9 SKU’s for Windows 7 to feed the monkey if they dare cut off support for Windows XP.


I just cant stomach any of their continued crap, snarky commercials, or any of their philosophical rhetoric about patents or any other shit. It just makes me sick every time I have to buy a computer with goddamn Windows pre-installed and have to beg for a refund for something I never wanted.

 And I don’t want to hear any of you dick’s running OSX saying that you’re not part of the problem. Apple has proven themselves every bit as bad as Microsoft! iTunes? iPod? iPhone? TPM chip? QuickTime? Possibly worse than Microsoft if you think about it.

In other news, I upgraded my laptop to Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) in about 45 minutes last night. It didn’t cost me anything, and god bless the open ended development of Linux as a whole. Special thanks to Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical for doing a public service and pushing the development of sofware for EVERYONE!!! Not just those that can afford the vendor lock in of Microsoft.

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Net Neutrality

Unless you’re a shill for some company, or are on the take for the government, then you should support the idea of Net Neutrality. Cory Doctorow, agree with him or not, is a smart man, and has a lot of good analogies to make in this article over at the Guardian.
Please keep the sanity.

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How to set up my DVR…so I can remember how to do it.

So, obviously, step 1 is to download Mythbuntu and install it. (NOTE: Do not use ext4, it seems to implode after a week or two.)

Step 2, run through the usual configuration riggamarole. Nothing out of the ordinary for anyone that has installed Mythbuntu, and to be honest, its only gotten easier over the last releases.

Step 3 is to set up the repository to install Boxee. Boxee is a great program, learn to love it.

Step 4, set up the Wiimote by installed cwiid, wminput, etc. And then put the config for it in its proper place. Add uinput to rc.local, and make sure wminput runs at startup by adding it to the same script.

Step 5, modify the MythTV menu to include Boxee.

Step 6, enjoy.

In other news, my friend from work, Tim, and I are planning on getting a sponsored expedition to the giant garbage island. Basically, think of it like Jacques Cousteau’s amazing eye-opening films, except that we will be filming the worst parts of the world. We’ll get some Red One camera’s, a bunch of rum and orange juice, and then haul ass out to the middle of the pacific. Maybe we’ll hit a few of the other truly trashy waterways of the world such as those in India or China.

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