Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Tony Hart deserves an OBE

Guys, i could really do with some help here. My gf's mum is a district nurse and is currently assigned to Tony Hart. He's apparently a lovely chap but really rather frail.

I was thinking that it's a bit wrong that he's never been acknowledged for all the nice work he's done. Everyone i talk to has fond memories of Take Hart. Here was a nice man making inspirational programmes for children. Not zany or whacky, didn't jump up and down or patronise. Just shared his love of art.

So could you please sign this petition: and even better pass it on to friends and family. Use your facebook/myspace powers if you have any.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

BT Vision causes home network to die

I've had right trouble with the home network ever since i moved to BT. Turns out it was the BT vision box causing the trouble. The BT Home Hub has only two ethernet ports. I've got 2 pcs, the vision box and two xboxes all to fit in. So i thought put the pcs and xboxes on the hub and the bt vision can go direct to the BT HH. But the vision box crashed all file sharing, remote desktop connections.. all apart from simple pings. Only when i put the vision box into the hub and placed something else into the spare ethernet port on the HH did the trouble disappear. Haven't a clue why and BT seemed to know less than i did.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

XBMC media sources: fixing invalid computer name

New oct 2007 T3ch builds may have some problem with sources that don't contain user name and passwords. The jury's still out but if you have this problem find sources.xml under xbmc\userdata and edit as follows;

.. or ..

obviously make sure that it's a valid user account on your computer.

Ahh... the uplink port on an ethernet hub

I've had my little hub for years and never looked at the 'uplink' port as anything special. If i had to guess it would this is the one you connect to the router. Turns out it's the most badly named piece of kit ever made. It has nothing to do with uplinking. All it means is that the standard crossover cable can't be used on that port. Once i stopped using it and rebooted all devices in sight the network starts to shine again. If you have to use it use a non-cross cable. Mine's a cheap little hub and these often share port 1 with the uplink port. You can't use both together. So it's one of t'other. Yes, i feel miles behind on networking knowledge now but it's always the small things that you think you're familiar with that you always ignore. Pirsig had the same pain with a little nut on his bike and all of a sudden that little nut or ethernet port suddenly becomes all important.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

WinXP 64 and BBC Radio Player

RealPlayer is used by the BBC and unfortunately being a bunch of lazy bastards never got round to writing a nice win64 version. But you can use RealAlternative (much better anyway) to use the Radio Player service. BBC won't tell you that because apparently they're resolving the problem by being in discussion with RealNetworks - have been infact for about a year and a half. RealNetworks are saying that RealAlternative nicked their code but never took them to court. Either put up or shut up. And BBC, it's a case of innocent till proved guilty. Hopefully they'll dump the RealNetworks bedpartnering and get something that will work on all platforms.

BT Home Hub and Team Fortress 2

Well they don't like each other do they? I was getting loads of connection problems. But the advice doing the rounds is to asign your pc has the DMZ device. Go to the router's advanced settings and you'll see it there. Works a treat. Thanks to MagicPanda at Eurogamer for pointing me in the right direction.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Tidying up movies in xbmc

Ok. If you put a new movie file into xbmc it'll try to work out what movie it is from It's not 100%, more like 75%. To get round this you have to manually edit movie titles and run searches again. If you lose your xbmc database you'll have to start all over.

Well, this was bugging me so i've written a little prog. to handle tidy up movie files. It'll create a NFO file for each movie plus you can grab images off the net and use them as the thumbnails in xbmc.

grab it here

you'll need .net framework 2.0 to run it and it presumes that all your movies are in the following format;

main movie folder
--> movie name as folder
--> -->
some file.avi
movie name as folder
--> -->
some file.avi etc..

sorry that looks bad, can't get any indenting to work on this blog. :-(

i keep my file names matched to the folder names apart from split files. Let me know your thoughts. I'll be happy to pass on the source code if you want to expand it.

Movie ripping

Okay, here's the quickie guide to ripping your DVDs to xvid/divx. You'll need Auto Gordian Knot (AGK) and DVD Decrypter. AGK you can download fine from their website, DVD Decrypter you'll have to get from a torrent share.

I found using AGK to run the process from start to finish would cause a few lip-synch problems. What you want to do is run DVD decrypter first and then run AGK on the files that it produces. I haven't found a lip-synch problem yet.

DVD Decrypter is a joy. It'll hunt for what it thinks is the main movie file on the DVD and you should be able to just press Go. When you run AGK afterwards you'll want to point it to the first IFO file that is created. You'll know you've got the right one as the movie length and details will appear in the AGK window. Choose your output and mps settings, a guide on that can be found over at

CD Ripping

The xbmc has a great music library system but you want to get your id3 tags right first time. I've recently ripped through my cd collection and wanted to get it right - finally.. all nice and tidy.

AudioGrabber is the best bit of cd ripping kit i've found out there. i'm sure there's others but the clear advantage with AudioGrabber is the ability to handle track artists rather than just album artist. Xbmc will pick up on those and just makes all those compilation CDs rip just fine.

You'll also find Tag&Rename, Mp3Tag (for it's integration into windows explorer) and a bulk renaming utility very useful. I use 'Bulk renaming utility', does what it says on the tin. Good for tv show rips as well but more of that in another post.