Sunday, February 11, 2007

Memos: Hot Action Edition

  • I've been loving A/V's Hot Action CD lately. It's the perfect thing to play loudly through my AirTunes to get me moving more quickly while I do laundry or pick up around the house.

  • Last night I watched a bunch of episodes from Season 2 of "The Office" (UK) and then watched a documentary that came with my DVD set. The funniest part about the documentary was the rest of the cast saying that the reason the atmosphere worked so well was because they were genuinely annoyed by Ricky Gervais almost all the time. I can completely understand this. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to stand the guy in real life, either.

  • So the Apple TV is apparently only Component Video or HDMI only. Is there a similar box already out there that will work with regular TVs and can grab video from a computer on the lan and display it on the TV, hopefully with a remote and decent UI? Any suggestions would be welcome. What about XBox Media Centre? I've heard contra Ming's doubts that it's still perfectly alright for playing modern compressed videos.. I should read more about people's real life use of it.

  • Almmost certainly getting an iMac this week. Was on the phone with the Little Mac Shoppe on Friday and am going to go in either Monday or Tuesday to make the order.

  • Everything electronic that Sabrina has purchased has failed to work for one reason or another. So apparently I'm now re-purchasing everything, and they all seem to work. Odd. Who knew that a "Magnasonic" DVD player wouldn't be quite up to scratch? Seriously - Magnasonic. They don't even try anymore.

  • Currently reading The Changing Face of China by John Gittings. It's rather slower going than I had thought. There is a rather unpredictable rhythm in the narrative switching between illustrative anecdotes which can be read rather quickly and more concrete information that needs to be read more slowly if one wants to retain a proper timeline of causes and effects. The book also manages to stay neutral on the verdict of the rightness or wrongness of China's current path and simply presents the events as they occurred, noting deviance from Mao's philosophies and goals but not passing judgment. I'm still only about halfway through, perhaps I'll write more when I've finished.

  • I haven't had any desire to write about politics lately. Not sure what changed, I used to always have something to say about whatever was in the news. I still read my usual political blogs, Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars, Hulabaloo being the best ones. But perhaps I just don't think I have much to say that isn't just reiterating some brilliant piece by Digby or Tristero or whatever super talented writer has decided to tackle a subject before I've gotten to it. Canadian politics perhaps is just in a lull at the moment, but at the same time there isn't quite the level of absurdity pervasive in our politics as exists in America which makes reading about it so entertaining.

    On that note, Raul Duke at The Immortals Co-Opt has been kicking all sorts of ass lately. Go read the last few entries.

  • I couldn't leave the house yesterday because I was waiting for the oil man all day, and today I slept in into the afternoon. I needed to catch up since I was not getting much sleep through the week, just lying in bed unable to even begin to feel tired, as happens with me from time to time. So other than some house cleaning I haven't really done much this weekend. And now I'm looking down the barrel of my alarm clock going off tomorrow and having to go back to work again. Not pleased. *sigh*

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By al - 9:07 p.m. |

i dread the day i have to use an alarm clock again.

I used to be pretty on top of things when the Liberals were in power. Since Harper has been PM I've really stopped keeping track.

I guess I could fire up the XBox later on and see how well XBMC works with some of the new anime I've been watching. I just know my old P3-450, back when it was a desktop and not a server, was really struggling to play the newer DiVX videos going around.
Fired up the XBox and XBMC. XBMC is pretty nice, but the controls take a while to get accustomed to. It plays some of the newer anime I have on disc, but it can't keep up. It's not horrible, I'm getting about 22-23 fps from a 29.97 fps video. Occassionally it drops to around 14 fps and you can really notice it on screen. I don't know if performance would be better if I ran it at a lower resolution; my XBox is connected to the big TV downstairs and it's configured for high definition 1080i.
From the WikiPedia page: Link.

"# With its 733 MHz Intel Pentium III Celeron and 64MB shared memory, the Xbox does not have enough hardware-resources (not fast enough CPU nor large enough RAM-memory) to play 720p/1080i resolution-native HDTV video (at 1280x720 and 1920x1080 pixels), (like WMV HD). XBMC can however upconvert all 480p/576p standard-resolution movies and output them to 720p or 1080i HDTV resolutions in better quality than most (if not all) HDTV's native function to upconvert video.
# Again with its 733 MHz Intel Pentium III Celeron and 64MB shared memory, the Xbox does not have enough hardware-resources (not fast enough CPU nor large enough RAM-memory) to play MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) encoded videos with Cabac and Deblocking if the video-resolution is higher than 352x288 pixels. Workaround: If you encode your MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) videos without Cabac and Deblocking then the Xbox hardware can handle up to 720x576 pixels video-resolution. It is best to encode your videos to MPEG-4 ASP (like DivX or XviD) instead, as then that video's native-resolution can be anything up to 960x540 pixels (a.k.a. HRHD resolution)."

Still looks pretty promising. Anyone want to sell me a modded Xbox?
what a glorious cd.

its my drinking-revs-while-trying-on-outfits cd.

among other things.
After I posted my last comment, I tried downgrading the video output to 480p and the problems still persist. Your source will have to be encoded at a specific resolution as well.

If you're looking for a modded XBox, I could build you one.
was it the same playing off the hard drive and from the CD?
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