Archive for January, 2007

Paperclip Ingenuity

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

So, the second tech rehearsal of the drama club’s play just happened tonight, and we had received a wireless body-pack-style microphone, but the receiver that came with it didn’t have any antennas included in the box. We were oblivious to the problem until, mysteriously, that microphone didn’t work! (Go figure!) So, we realized that there wasn’t an antenna, and I immediately asked, “Anyone have a paperclip?” My question was answered by laughter, until they realized I was serious. The antenna connector was BNC, so I slipped the bent paperclip into the center ring. Up shoots the signal meter. Hell, it probably did a better job than the stock Shure antenna :)

Rizznocking the Bizzox (for lack of a better title)

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Ok, it turns out that the Sansa C200 series actually uses a PortalPlayer PP5021C chip instead of the 5022, which is what the E200 series uses. Also, the iPod nano uses the same chip, so unlike our previous thoughts, we may be able to get the nano port to work with patches on the c200 series, as opposed to patches to the e200 series port. Also, the Nano port is farther along than the E200 port, so that should help greatly. Development really seems to be getting places, and I’m fairly excited!

Rocking the box

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Apparently, just recently, a group of RockBox enthusiasts have decided to start work on a port of RockBox to the SanDisk Sansa c200 series, which I just got! Basically, they believe that the processor used is identical to the e200 series (PortalPlayer 5022), which means that they might get the e200 port to work with just a few patches, c200-specific. The wiki page for this port is here and the forum thread is here. Also, I just had the fun of going out in the freezing snow to fix our outdoor spotlights, which have a tendency to short due to bad bulb gaskets. Damn GFCI box was downstairs and the lights outside, so whenever it tripped, I had to take everything off to go downstairs and press the reset button…

Estamos Esquiando

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Hmmmm, I went skiing yesterday, and I, idiotically, forgot my snowpants at home, so I went skiing in jeans (with layers underneath, of course). It was probably close to the zero-degrees-F mark, and my goggles kept icing up, making it nearly impossible to use them. The next coming week(s) will yield geeky fun for me, as we are nearing the Drama Club’s debut of “Dear Edwina, Junior”, which means that us A/V monkeys have to scurry around setting things up for the performance, attending Tech/Dress Rehearsals, and stuff like that. I had about 8 mic packs to check and whatnot (it sounds like not too many, but it really is). Luckily, we only had one dead mic, and it was quickly and easily replaced.. If we hadn’t noticed it, we would have had quite a problem during tommorow’s Dress Rehearsal (which, unfortunately, I can’t go to; Mom’s planning “a surprise”) But, other than that, everything’s been fairly normal. Oh, one last thing. The computer in the TV studio at school has been acting up the last couple of weeks, so they took it in for upgrades, and a fresh install of XP. Well, we thought everything was working fine, until we hooked the SVideo out of the computer to our video equipment. No signal. At the time, I wasn’t in the studio to help, so, this is what happened: IT staff installed a new videocard, and plugged it in, got no signal out of the S-Video. So, we bypassed any unnecessary video equipment, and ran an S-Video directly to our main switchboard. Nothing. So, they had to run the show without any computer graphics. I, luckily, stopped in during a study hall to ask Mr. Eberts, the temporary AV guy (permanent next year, once Mr. Bundschuh retires) how the show went. He told me what happened, so I went through basic tests, got nothing out of the svideo. So, I went to check display properties… The IT department forgot to enable TV-out/clone the display. I was stunned. I was absolutely stunned that they were so bad at their job, and what are they paid for? It took me 5 minutes to diagnose, and less than a second to fix. Unbelievable.

Edit: Oof, I got a Sandisk Sansa c250 (mp3 player) on Wednesday night. I used it for skiing, and it replaced my m240. I like its microSD slot and ability to record radio.

Fried-PSU Sandwich!

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Ah, I have so many bright ideas. It started last weekend when I got sick of not being able to play videos smoothly on my workstation, so I decided to move everything off to a new computer I got from my neighbors (by the name of herbie). I debated with my friends on IRC and came to the final conclusion that I’d move my 120gb hard drive (containing /, /media/netshare, /media/music, and a copy of /home) on to herbie, keeping its 15gb root drive. I would then mount the /home on the 120gb as herbie’s homedir, and copy all necessary config, etc over from my / partition stored on the 120. Then, craplandia would become my main machine with a fresh debian install, and I would copy my home partition off the copy stored on the 120. Well, in theory, it should have gone smoothly, but, in my fashion, it didn’t. I had planned on moving the 5.1channel sound card and NVIDIA graphics card that were in herbie into craplandia, so I did so. I took the drive rails off the 120, and out of craplandia it went, into herbie. I took an SCSI-hotswap drivebay out of an unused machine and put it into the 5.25inch bay of herbie, figuring it might be useful in the future. I also gave herbie a second network interface from the same machine, and herbie was up and chugging, but with no daemons running. I had told the people that used my boxen I would take 2 hours, so I set herbie aside and worked on craplandia. In went the new soundcard and GFX card, and I plugged everything back in. Suddenly, all the LEDs on my peripherals and the front panel were flickering madly, and I quickly unplugged it, for fear of losing my peripherals. I tried once more, but to no avail. I went around to several power cords, outlets, circuits, but still, the same problem. I decided to swap the power supply with a different model from my mom’s computer, and it worked! But, of course, it was my mom’s computer, so I couldn’t use it. Then, I remembered that my neighbor had a similar computer sitting un-used (same model power supply, I discovered), and I asked if I could test with it. They reluctantly allowed my borrowing of it (I have a shaky reputation with them..) and I tested it out. Same problem. Then, I tried that power supply in my mom’s computer, and it wouldn’t boot it. Great, now I broke the neighbor’s power supply, and mine! So, off to Dell Gold Chat I went, and much to my surprise, a certain “Heather Humphrey” said “oh, we’re going to need two power supplies and a motherboard” as soon as I described my problem. A+ work, Dell. It was Sunday evening, so I asked when they would arrive. She said they would come Tuesday, and sure enough, the parts did come Tuesday afternoon, thanks to DHL’s speedy delivery. But, Mom being Mom, she wouldn’t let me install them until my homework was done, so I spent Tuesday in text-mode on herbie as well, and took the downtime of craplandia as an opportunity to get herbie working nicely, with Apache, MySQL, etc. (LAMP rulez). One little gripe about that process that took me until today to fix was that Debian sid’s libapache2-mod-auth-mysql depended on apache2-common (which didn’t exist), but the apache2 package depended on apache2.2-common. Thankfully, someone packaged a .deb on the Debian bugtracker, and I was good to go. In other news, a light icestorm is passing by my area, and I took down one of my wire antennas for fear of it pulling my radio out the window. I probably didn’t have to worry, because my other (longer) one stayed up just fine, with medium ice accumulation. Cheers!

Merry New Year!

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Ahhh, the holidays have been good to me. My uncle got me a Pioneer VSX-516-K reciever and I’m stunned that I don’t have to go under my desk and jiggle the RCA connectors for it to work. Luckily, the soundcard in the not-so-old computer that my neighbors gave me has S/PDIF out, that only requires a 3.5mm stereo jack to stereo RCA to provide me with two (count them, two) S/PDIF outs which means I run the reciever fully digital, using mpd and ncmpc. If anyone else uses mpd and could recommend a good mpd client with a good ncurses interface, I’d appreciate that, in the comments. Well, as Santa is all-knowing, he knew perfectly to get a pair of high-quality Bowers and Wilkins DM600 S3 monitors (speakers, for those not on the audiophile vocab level) which look really awesome. Mine are black (without the stand) and have Kevlar speaker cones! So, any of you out there that want to murder me (don’t the whole world show up at my door, now; in moderation, please), I can block your attempts with my speakers! So don’t even try! From my parents, I got a Sansa m240 1GB MP3 player which I am going to try and start a Rockbox port on. (thread here, for those that feel they can contribute) So, those were my holidays! Aaaand, that’s about all, folks. Oh, one last thing that is probably boring for everyone but me! I had a Spanish homework packet, which described Spanish Christmas traditions. Inside, it described how, for Christmas dinner, a common dish is bacalao, or salted codfish. Well, who knew, but my aunt prepared a bacalao for Christmas Eve dinner! (I didn’t have any; I hate fish to begin with) Well, anyways.. Merry New Year!