Pumphose site is live

September 15, 2006

The Pumphouse Design and Building Works web site is now live – after some pfaffing (with a “p”) to get it not to fail too badly in IE5.2/Mac. I’m pretty happy with it – all layout done in largely W3C compliant CSS/XHTML, with a nifty sliding menu system that should work out to be search engine friendly, and all.

Matt and Anna build lovely homes in a sustainable way from natural and recycled material. I wish them all the best.

Synergy is the way to virtualize multiple computers

September 14, 2006

This is soo cool… there’s this software called synergy, which runs on *nix, mac and windows, that lets you control multiple desktops with one mouse and keyboard. You tell it how you have your monitors set up, then moving from one desktop to the next is as simple as dragging the mouse off the appropriate edge of a machine. See what I’m getting at? How cool is that? I have been using a KVM and/or VNC to control my setup (see this photo), but synergy beats that hands down. The other lovely thing is that it integrates the clipboard for the machines you have hooked up together, so you can copy and paste text, images and HTML seamlessly between machines! Awesome. Thanks Hack.5 for getting me on to this.

Good news on the EPG saga

September 12, 2006

I’ve found another grabber, mentioned in a forum post on the MediaPortal web site. And so far, it’s very cool. It runs as a service, and automatically downloads updated EPGs every 12 hours (configurable). It’s nice to have the full functionality of the HTPC back.

The Quest for an Australian EPG continues

September 11, 2006

My post below proved to be famous last words… the writer of DUGG, the Australian Electronic Program Guide grabber, announced recently that the source of his data has started using encryption. While the encryption in question is ridiculously simple, he decided he didn’t want to get involved in a coding arms race with the data provider, so he is no longer working on DUGG. I can completely understand this, but I’m very dissappointed none the less.

So where does it leave me? I could subscribe to IceTV, I guess, but I think it is overpriced at $130 for a year’s worth of program guide information. I want to give OzTivo a whirl, but for some reason my IP address is on their ban list, so I can’t register on the website. I have fired off an email, so hopefully that will be sorted soon.

Does anyone know any reliable way to get Australian EPG data?

UPDATE: I’m now up and running fine. Read this post to find out how

Dave’s site live, and being over flash

September 11, 2006

I’ve finally squashed all of the bugs on Dave Thomas’ web site. I’m a dill – the majority of the difficulties stemmed from the interaction between the flash movie on the front page and the javascript controlling rollovers etc.

It seemed I had a few options – fs:command , GetURL or the new ExternalInterface API. The first two had cross-browser compatibility problems, so I concentrated on the newest solution. Of course, this meant that the actionscript/javascript communication only worked if the user was running a recent (8+ from memory) version of flash. Worse still, Safari on mac OS10.3 completely crashed…

Using SWFObject to only show the flash movie on recent players got around this. Users with old players just see an imagemap with js rollovers. Then I discovered that more recent macs (Safari 2+ on 10.4) didn’t play the rollover animations correctly. It seemed that the browser was calling the onmouseover and onmouseout events simulaneously. Arrgh! Fixed it with some js broswer detection – something I try to avoid doing unless my back is against a wall.

If I was doing it again, I would not bother doing the front page animation in flash at all, I would instead use a javascript effects library like YUI or moofx. But I thought doing it in flash would be quicker. Anyway, chalk it up to experience. As I said to Dave today, the launch beer is gonna taste fantastic!

Getting it together for Shanghai

August 20, 2006

I have been ripping our performance DVDs and transcoding the clips to Xvid, to use for backings for Shanghai. I now have a directory on my hard drive with 21 tracks in Xvid format, ready to go. If I use VLC to play the video back, I can point it at the directory and it will play the tracks back in numrical order, so it’s only a matter of renaming the tracks to arrange a set. Neat, hey?

I also remixed “is it true” today, lowering the synth lead. Hopefully it will clash less with Sue’s vocals during the performance.

The other Shanghai related thing I did today is transcode the “I hate being pregnant” video into a format that I can upload to YouTube. I will do that tonight, when it won’t matter if I choke our upstream bandwidth. Once it’s up, I will have a go at embedding the clip here! Cool, hey?

I am finally starting to get excited about this trip.

Australian EPG grabber that works

August 19, 2006

If you are playing with a HTPC in Australia, you’re probably frustrated by how difficult it is to get decent EPG (Electronic Program Guide) data. The commercial TV networks object to providing this data, as they are luddites. There is a solution, however. It’s called DUGG, and it works really well for me. After a little fiddling with an .ini file to rename the channels to match my MediaPortal setup, it works a treat!