New tuner and anyone got a crappy AGP video card?

I slotted a new tuner card into my MythTV backend last night. This time it was a KWorld "Dual Hybrid" from Dick Smith Powerhouse. Once again it's an SAA7134-based card, so it Just Works. Nice to have two cards in there.

I spent some time trying to get one of the analogue tuners to work. They work well for vision but I can't seem to get the audio to work, whether I use saa7134-osss or saa7134-alsa. My reading of the various wikis suggest you don't need to route the audio through the supplied cable into your soundcard, and the card is turning up as an ALSA/OSS device:

arecord -l
**** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
card 0: I82801BAICH2 [Intel 82801BA-ICH2], device 0: Intel ICH [Intel
82801BA-ICH2]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 0: I82801BAICH2 [Intel 82801BA-ICH2], device 1: Intel ICH - MIC ADC [Intel 82801BA-ICH2 - MIC ADC]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: SAA7134 [SAA7134], device 0: SAA7134 PCM [SAA7134 PCM]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 2: SAA7134_1 [SAA7134], device 0: SAA7134 PCM [SAA7134 PCM]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

Also, does anyone have a crappy, low-end and, importantly, thin AGP video card? The one in there at the moment (a very high-end IBM GXT6000P) takes up the AGP slot and two PCI slots! I'd be willing to swap for the GXT6000P (though you'll need AGP Pro, I think) or a few beers to anyone who has a cheapo card. The machine doesn't need a video card but it's always handy when something goes wrong.

Fred Nile racist, or just playing politics?

Erik de Castro Lopo has responded to yesterday's post about Fred Nile's recent conversion to racism.

Erik makes the pedantic claim that Islam is not a race. In this era of the dog whistle I thought this hardly bore arguing. By arguing against the Islamic religion, Nile is talking in code to racist voters, while keeping himself slightly distant from overt racism. If Nile were really being honest and talking about the religions he really despises, he'd argue against Catholicism. Like most fundies, I'm sure he hates "Papists" more than even atheists! That would certainly tie in with his argument for banning full-body religious dress, since this is worn by both types of religious extremist.

Then Erik goes on to defend immigration controls. He poses the hypothetical "Zebuts" who aim to overthrow current governments and replace them with a new system. If done non-violently and democratically, I don't see a problem here. You can't argue against the will of the people and claim to believe in democracy. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the view of Kissinger-style democracy where the people must keep voting until they get it "right", as currently being imposed on Palestine.

Next he makes some claims about Islam to back up why Muslims should be kept out. I'll change just a couple of words, and include some references to back up my assertions.

The Dutch are traditionally liberal, yes. These days they're increasingly racist. Hence the "Civic Integration Exam".

Finally, claiming that democracy is not about the majority imposing its will on the minority is pretty laughable. It's precisely the nature of democracy. What about the (large) Dutch minority opposed to the "Civic Integration Exam", to use one example? What about the will of people who, non-violently, smoke dope?

If you want anything other than the tyrany of the majority, you need a benevolent dictatorship. Allow me to offer my services ;)

Fred Nile: racist

I don't suppose I have too many hardcore Xtians reading my blog, what with me thinking it's perfectly okay to ridicule adults who still have imaginary friends. Just in case I do, it's worth pointing out that Fred Nile, "Christian" "Democrat" leader, is a racist as well as being a narrow-minded bigot in other areas. In fact, I'm not even convinced he is a racist, but what this really shows is that he's just a politican like all the rest and he feels he's been outflanked by the even-more-narrow minded Family First pinheads.

Nile has come out saying there should be a morotorium on Islamic immigration. Of course, he's happy for the "persecuted" Xtians from the Middle East to arrive in droves. I mean, these guys are paragons of virtue, having never done anything dodgy at all.

Beach and beer

We had a great weekend up the coast at my parents' holiday house. We drove off on Friday night and watched a film when we arrived. Saturday morning we slept in, had a lazy breakfast reading the paper. Then a really nice swim down at Avoca. The water temperature is brilliant at the moment.

The bottle shop in Wamberal has an excellent range of new boutique beers. We bought a case of Red Emperor which is a really tasty red ale contract-brewed for a Mittagong label in Mildura. Really spectacular was the Hunter Bock from Hunter Beer Co. Delicious and malty, it comes in a champagne bottle which brings a bit of drama with it. I'll keep an eye out for their Witbier.

Saturday night we spent with Ben and Kaz who cooked us a lovely dinner and then we played Settlers well into the wee hours. In the morning they cooked for us again, a lovely brekkie! We owe them a few meals now.

Then Sunday we drove down to Putty Beach and had another surf. Lovely conditions and a beautiful, warm weekend. Weather should start getting colder soon, so it might be one of the last swims we get in.

In other beer news, I'm doing a woodwork course on Tuesday nights. My project is to make a box that keeps my beer at the appropriate temperatures. It's basically a big box to put the fermenter in, which will be lined with some kind of insulating material and will have a Peltier device and fan to keep things cool. My problem isn't that it's too cold, it's way too hot in our house to brew. The beauty of a peltier is that by reversing the polarity I can heat if that becomes necessary over the winter.

Chutzpah is...

I figure the word "chutzpah", as mentioned in Mediawatch last night, probably isn't the most familiar term to Australian gentiles. It's a fantastic word so I thought I'd start a series of examples. Feel free to send in your examples. BTW, it's always been pronounced "hoos-pah" or "hoots-pah" by my Jewish friends, rather than how you'd expect from the spelling.

Chutzpah is... honking your horn at the kid riding across the pedestrian crossing on his BMX, while driving an SUV with two kids in the back and talking on a hand-help mobile phone. (Spotted this morning on Erskineville Road.)

Loving MythTV

We've been using MythTV over the weekend using my shiny new silent front-end. Turns out, surprisingly to me, that the front-end has enough grunt to play Xvid encoded videos just fine, so we've been working through the backlog of great stuff from UKNova. I expected to have to re-encode it all as MPEG2, for which it has a hardware decoder, but it seems to be able to decode it all on its own.

Some people asked about the hardware I chose for my front-end, so I'll detail it here and some caveats.

I bought a Via EPIA ME6000 mini-ITX motherboard on the basis of this site and because I wanted something tried and trusted, that "just works" rather than faff about. The Melbourne company I bought it off, can't remember the name sorry, put it in a case with a CF-to-IDE adapter so the CF card slots into the front of the case. Very nice! Most important feature is it's completely solid state. No fans!

It runs Minimyth from a Compact Flash card. Minimyth was a joy to install, though configuration was somewhat trickier. It doesn't give particularly great feedback. As a result of this, I ended up ditching my existing serial-based remote and IR receiver and buying a Streamzap, which is well-supported and Just Works.

If you're going out buying kit, you'll find the ME6000 is hard to find. Via have a few other fanless motherboards, but be careful as some of the newer chipsets aren't supported by OpenChrome, the drivers for the hardware MPEG decoder.

My only criticism of Minimyth is that it includes a few Myth plugins like MythStream but doesn't include the interpreters they require, like Perl of Python. Granted, this is supposed be a lightweight system but there's little point including these items if you can't use them! As it is, MythStream is ridiculously complicated and, disappointingly, MythMusic doesn't seem to handle streaming media. I just want to add GPC!

Finally, the system is connected via wired ethernet at present. At some point I intend to try it out over wireless, to see if there's enough bandwidth. I expect there should be enough, and that means one less cable running around, which helps with the GAF.

Overall, very very happy with my setup. I picked up 2x300GB hard drives yesterday and now just need to buy a SATA card for the backend. Also need to slot in the new DVB tuner I bought last week.

Green lightning?

Last night there was a huge storm in Sydney. Given how hot it was all weekend, that's not terribly surprising. Was a pretty cool storm, going from about 23:00 until well after midnight, as it kept swirling around. We'd be just dropping off to sleep when another crack of thunder would shake the house.

Anyway, we're sitting out the front watching the cool lightning displahy when both Holly and I spotted a very bright, green glow to the North-West. It was green lightning, but perhaps behind clouds.

Searching online, I've found other references to green lightning, but nothing explaining what causes it. Then again, it seems the causes of ordinary lightning are, amazingly, still open for debate, let along exotic types of lightning.

So anyone know anything about green lightning?

MythTV front-end in the lounge room

We've finally got MythTV up and running properly. I have a fanless Via EPIA system sitting on top of the telly as the front-end running MiniMyth. It's very very nice!

I had trouble getting my existing, serial remote receiver going with MiniMyth. It wasn't made any easier by being so difficult to debug on that platform, and my laptop not having serial connectors. So I ended buying a known working remote with the config files found here.

Still to get working is mounting my music and other video on the front-end using Samba or NFS. Also need to plug in the new DVB card I bought last night, which will involve some shuffling around of cards in the server. And I need to buy a SATA interface card to connect the 600GB of disks that Moz has for me.

So far, with only one tuner and 16GB of disk space, I'm very very happy with it! I just wish Australian TV was better at sticking to their bloody schedules. With more than one tuner, I can set it up to record five minutes either side, but I shouldn't have to.