Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Midweek update.

 Monday night I decided I was going to mess around with the game room PC. I hooked it up to the tv and fired it up. Man, oh man, is that thing loud. Me using this as an always on server, is kinda not looking so good now. I tried another scraper for the movie data. I chose the universal movie scraper and it still has problems! I don't even know what to do. And now every time I connect to the office pc, it shows some MAC error. Just another thing on "figure it out" list. In Handbrake news, I have had numerous problems with subtitles showing up correctly for Underworld Rise Of The Lycans. So decided to try it one last time, one with English vob sub and one with cc closed captions. I played them on the office computer and there was no problems, but there isn't problems with subtitles on that computer. I put both copies on my tablet. I had been dreaming about being able to play both files. Tuesday morning, I finally had a couple minutes and tried the files. Ta da! Both files played perfectly and both files played the subtitles correctly. No blur, no stretched out text and no green ring around the text. What the hell!? I'm happy it worked, but why is it doing this? This happened on X-Men also.

 I'm trying an experiment, I'm trying to use the "high profile" preset on Handbrake, but not use the m4v extension. Default file extension for high profile is m4v. I want to see if it works. I use the high profile setting for all my cartoons and tv shows. The problem with using high profile is, it won't stream to our Blu-ray player and some smart tv's can't play m4v files. I won't go back and re-do any movies, but I wanted to try it on High School Of The Dead. I want to be able to stream that anywhere.

 Tuesday night I played the HOTD files and of course they worked in VLC. I reorganized a couple of folders for my movies, so Alien is in it's own folder and then Alien Directors Cut is in it's own folder. I don't know of that's gonna help the scrapers, but it's worth a shot. I renamed some other files, so Alien, Alien 2 Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien 4 Resurrection. I like how it looks and it helps when you're just browsing through to see what to play. I'm gonna do the same thing for Lord Of The Rings, so Lord Of The Rings 1 The Fellowship Of The Ring. This morning I started up XBMC on the office pc and let the library update. I went to our Sony Blu-ray player and selected XBMC, and found the newly created HOTD folder. I selected the first episode and ta da! Nothing, it did not work, it said the files is unplayable or corrupted. It actually froze the Blu-ray player. I hard reset the player and tried it again. I played the original files I had and of course they didn't play. I tried the new hybrid m4v/mp4 file and again it froze the player. Oh well, at least I know that it still will not work.

No music since last time.

 Video games
The closest I got to playing video games was looking for a power cord for my fat Ps2. My thought is since my slim Ps2 is having problems, I wanted to try the fat one, but I don't want to unplug the power cord from behind an entertainment center.


This is extremely sad. People who don't think climate change is happening, need to wake up!

 That's all I have for now. Till next time.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend review for 7/26/14 - 7/27/14.

 Friday night we rented Is Heaven For Real. It wasn't a bad movie, but it wasn't as good as I thought it could've been. Trials and tribulations are a fact I life. It's how you react, fix and move on is the key.

We went to a community garage sale at a YMCA. It was actually pretty cool. There wasn't very many booths, but they had a live band and some booths were selling cold drinks. We got some stuff for the house and we had fun. After the sale we headed out for some more sales that we saw. We scored a couple more things. We saw one sign for a sale and we were like, okay let's go check it out. We drive for I didn't even know for how long. We drove down this old farm road. Passed the place so we had to turn around and when we got there it looked like the house from Texas Chainsaw Massacre

 After surviving the Texas Chainsaw Massacre house, we blasted the ac and headed to a birthday party. At the birthday party we got some good grub and tried to relax. After the party, we headed up the road to a little burger shop and got some really good chocolate malts. That was the perfect thing after being out in the hot sun. We went back our house and dropped off our goods. 

 We headed over to our friends house with narrowly making the nine o'clock deadline for Redbox. Over at out friends house, we played some games and listened to some Pandora radio off the Comcast X1. That was actually pretty cool. I actually had never tried Pandora before. It started getting late so we decided to head home. When we got home we finished watching Party Down South and headed upstairs. 

 We popped in our Netflix movie. I had seen this movie preview last year some time. We saw the preview for it in another movie. I was like, I'm moving that to the top and we're watching it. Take Shelter started playing and I warned Melissa it's going to be very slow and low budget. Of course it was really slow, but I was in it for the long haul. We got too tired and turned it off about an hour into it. 

We did a few house chores, had some breakfast and relaxed. We popped in Take Shelter to finish it. All in all, it was a good movie. Very slow and I was thinking of it was a Noah's Ark type metaphor? I'm glad I watched it. And General Zod, Michael Shannon, is actually a pretty good actor and really could sell his part.  Melissa asked me to hook up Pandora on our X1. I made an account and picked some nice classic rock station. After I mowed the lawn it was time to barbecue. We turned on our Pandora X1 app and we were set. We made an amazing shish kabob with some peppers and onions. It was so good, there was no time for pictures. Ha ha. I hope you had a great weekend, I know we did. Till next time. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Midweek update.

 I told you about the USB record player out friends let us borrow. Now I'm trying to find more records to record. My problem is, where do I draw the line for vinyl music? If I already have the song, do I also need it on vinyl? Vinyl does sound good, but sometimes not as good as digital in my opinion. So since I already have Eagles in my library do I then want a vinyl recorded Eagle song? I don't know. I'm gonna have to think on it. I have been struggling with closed captions on some files. It's really pissing me off. Spider-Man with Tobey McGuire, the subtitles didn't work. I tried the English vobsub, now I have to redo the whole thing with cc closed captions and see if it works. It's frustrating having to redo a couple hours worth of work.

I haven't played any games at all.


Melissa found a new to us song. Lorde Tennis Court.

 I hope enjoyed the pictures and music. Till next time.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekend review for 7/19/14 - 7/20/14.

 Friday night we watched After.Life with Christina Ricci, Liam Neeson and Justin Long. It has some huge name actors in it and I didn't think it would be a "b"movie. The premise was okay and they acted quite well. What I took away from the movie is, Liam Neeson needs to be the "Tall Man" from Phantasm in a reboot. That would be amazing. If you haven't seen Phantasm definitely check it out.

We had a friends wedding to go to. So we spent basically all afternoon at this wedding. The microphone was having problems and you couldn't hear any of the people saying their vows. The actual ceremony was like seven minutes long. Way to quick in my book. So it was finally time for the reception. We were starving at this point and the had barbecue catering. We got out food and they had ribs and wings. I looked at the ribs and it looked like there was blood in the meat and I was like I'm not eating this. Concerned I pried open the wing. It was definitely raw. It was disgusting. So basically everyone at our table was disgusted. We actually went to the caterer and said look this is raw. She tried to say it was the "smoke" I said I've had smoked chicken before and this is raw. I pulled apart the chicken in front of her and showed her the blood and she couldn't say anything. I did grab another plate of the cornbread, beans and mashed potatoes though. That was actually really good. After the first dance we decided it was time to leave. We got home and relaxed. Saturday night we watched a movie called trust_. It's a really good, disturbing take on real life cyber predators. I was actually getting mad at the stuff that was going on in the movie. It wasn't bad, but wasn't great. 

We went to the movies and we watched The Purge: Anarchy. It was a really good movie and a really good sequel. There was some things I think they could have added to make it even better and I could see a part three. I was also wondering where Lena Headey was from the first one. That would have been cool to see like Ethan Hawke driving down the street in this one so it would have tied it in. But all and all it was a really good movie and it will be a buy for me when it comes out. Speaking of waiting for movies to come out, I'm still waiting to hear what month Godzilla 2014 is coming out. That is a buy the day it comes out for me. After the movie, we went home and did our house stuff. Sunday night I got to use or friends usb record player that I borrowed. I recorded a couple tracks I have been wanting to for a few years. After a couple trial and error tracks all was good. I put them in my iTunes library and synced them up. Today on the way to work I listened to them and they actually sounded really damn good. Yes there was some clicking popping, but it is vinyl and it is more nostalgia driven then hd reproduction. I'm not an audiophile by any means, but I do like high quality music. I don't think it takes away from the music or song when you remaster them. You know how many movies will be lost because no one can restore them. I used Audacity and the LAME mp3 codec. I have used Audacity and LAME before and I love how it sounds. I use 320 kbps. 10 meg file size be damned, I want quality. It was so much fun ripping those tracks from my vinyls. Now I want to buy more vinyl and start some more ripping. I let a few seconds of the clicks and pops go on the beginning of the songs so it sounds like you dropped the needle yourself. With nostalgia clicks and pops in my ear I say farewell, till next time. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

End of the week update.

 On the midweek update I added an update about how I tried OpenELEC on the throw away computer and it worked. So Wednesday night, I put the 500 gig hard drive I had in another computer into the the throw away computer. I installed OpenELEC and everything was smooth.

 I transferred over a couple movies, had the scraper get the meta data, added some weather widget and was good to go. I was about to re hook it up to my tv and surround sound, but I was like let me test this real quick. I ran down stairs, turned on the ps3 and scanned for media servers. Of course my office computer showed up, but the OpenELEC computer did not. I was like what the hell, let try and configure some more stuff. I adjusted some things, tried my phone with the remote app and that worked. I tried logging on from the web and that worked as a remote control not a stream like I thought, but I was like oh well maybe I can figure that out later. I ran back down stairs, tried the ps3 again and nothing. 

 Back up stairs I started up Psmc to look for renderers. The office computer, Xbmc, Ps3, Sony Blu-ray and an unknown renderer showed up. I was like okay that must be the OpenELEC. I tried streaming from it to the office computer running Xbmc and it couldn't even find the throw away computer. What the hell? If Xbmc can't see the throw away, there's no way that anything else would see it. Well there went a couple hours of time. I downloaded Mythbuntu installed that real quick, but I didn't have time to throw some movies on it. 

 So my thought is that OpenELEC is a client machine, meaning you would use that to stream from the server or a network computer that has your files on it. That is great and I will want and use that, but I need a server type computer.

 Thursday night, I was like I'm gonna try OpenELEC again, there has to be something I'm missing. I downloaded two versions of the generic amd64. I tried the one with the .tar extension, created the sd card, turned on the computer and there was some sort of failure and the install stopped. Next I wrote the .img extension to the sd card and it worked and I installed OpenELEC and was up and running. I took my time configured everything and the game room pc was born. The office pc found it and I transfered a couple of files over and they worked. I found the files from the game room pc on the office pc, everyhting was working. Psmc found the game room pc all was good. I restarted the computer to update the library.

 I ran down stairs turned on my Ps3, searched for media servers and tada? Nope, no go at all. The only media servers were my office pc, office pc Xbmc, Psmc and that was it. No game room pc Xbmc. I ran back upstairs, clicked on the network and I found the game room pc, but not as a media device, just as a computer. What the hell is going on? I have both computers next to each other so I hopped back on the game room pc and looked at the upnp everythign was still checked and good to go. I got back to the network screen and still no game room Xbmc. I Uncheck upnp and all of the other settings, then re checked them. Tada, game room pc Xbmc shows up on the network. I run down stairs, check my Ps3 and the game room Xbmc shows up. I go back upstairs, add a couple more movies and resrt the game room pc to update the library.

 I let the game room pc boot up try the movies and they work and look good. I glance over at the network screen and no game room Xbmc. I found the culprit! Every time I restart the game room pc it stops upnp from working and it will NOT work again until I un check and recheck the boxes. Fine, I'll take it. I can handle that. Now lets transfer some movie folders over from the office pc to the game room pc and let's start this server journey. I copy over about 25 gigs 45 minutes later they're on the game room pc in the folder I want so I start scraping the data. I got beautiful fan art, plot summaries and glorious back ground dvd cover wallpapers on every single movie I move my cursor over.

 Hallelujah, the gods of movies are smiling down upon this wondrous creation that is called OpenELEC / XBMC! I'm looking through my movies, trying to pick what I want to try real quick and I stop on Alien. It's a classic, nice surround sound and I added the regular cut and director's cut. But hey, wait a minute, I'm not seeing the directors cut. But I put them both in the same folder on my office pc, what could be going on. I look on the office pc, yup both movie files are there, both files play and work on Xbmc on the office pc. So I don't know what's going on with the scraper or what, but some files will show up, others won't.

 So I cleaned up all the files and just kept the file folders the way they were and I didn't scrape the data. It's going to be a server any ways so it doesn't need to look pretty. And I can still watch movies from it if I want to. Now I just need to hook it back up to the tv and surround sound and transfer all the files and folders over from the office pc. Well that's all I have for this update. Have a good weekend. Till next time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Midweek update.

 So I don't even know where to begin. I told you last time about using the cc closed captions in Handbrake for some of my files and it worked great, until I tried a couple different files and the subtitles didn't work. So I don't even know what's going on. I guess I will just keep using the English vob sub and if that doesn't work, I will re rip the file using the cc closed captions. I hate more than anything redoing work because something didn't work correctly. I have also ran into some weird subtitle problems, the subtitles will work, but they are blurry and stretched across the whole screen. I don't know how to fix it. I tried on file three different times and the same thing happens. When I watch movies or videos on my tablet I want subtitles. It helps in case the audio isn't loud enough or whatever. The subtitles work on the computer and on the tablet they are stretched out. You will say, "Ben, try a different media player." I will say, "I have tried three different media players on different machines and it is a mixed bag of results." I use VLC on all of my computers. I use two different types of VLC app on my tablet and the same file will have the same subtitle issues on both VLC apps. And the stock video app can't display subtitles anyways.

 So I am at a loss. I will keep trying different things to make it work. Speaking of VLC, why is it that the new actual VLC release plays the movies and makes them look like carp? Then the unofficial app plays the movies and videos fine? I don't get it. I just want to make sure I can enjoy my media on all my devices with all options available, including subtitles. I got given another GameCube and I don't really know what I'm going to do with it yet. I was thinking about having it bee an external hard drive, but I don't know what i would do with it. I want it as a nas, but I would have to buy a nas enclosure and strip it to to put it in the GameCube. I will just think on it for awhile and go from there.

 So I haven't touched the throw away computer in awhile. I just need some time and a night when it's not 90 degrees in the house. I have a lot of different OS's I want to try and I can't wait to work on it. In other news, Raspberry Pi got an upgrade, it's called Raspberry Pi model B+.

 As you can see from the pictures, it has 4 usb ports now, a micro sd card reader, more gpio pins, better power management and a new audio plug. This makes me really excited, I cant wait to build this model into my GameCube. My original idea was to use a couple of powered usb hubs for what I wanted to hook up to it. Now, I wouldn't have to. I still will probably end up doing it though. I like the idea of having two ports for the keyboard, mouse, 1 for Bluetooth and have an open port for a controller for emulators. My goal is to buy the old b version for the PidOne (The Ps1) and the b+ for the GameCube. The Ps1, will be the media streaming device and the GameCube will be the all in one emulator station with all the roms and emulators I can stuff in it.

 Video games
I haven't played any games since last time I wrote about it. As I wrote about on the weekend review, I was looking for some old video games and I didn't find any. For my GameCube, I have the Game Boy Player for it, so I wanted to find some Game Boy or Game Boy Advance games for it. I'm still gonna keep my eyes out, but I want deals on this stuff. I don;t want to spend an arm and a leg for something that will more than likely be just a collectors item without a lot of use.

 Cool pictures

 I love architecture. And this is amazing how old this is and it's still standing. Well that's all I got for this update. Till next time.

So last night I braved the heat of the night and decided to put OpenELEC on the throw away computer. It worked. It worked flawlessly. I transferred a couple movies over the network and not from any programs. I logged into the computer from my other computer and dropped some files on the hard drive and played them back. 

 I hooked the throw away computer up to my tv and it worked. When I was hooking the computer up I noticed there was a toslink or optical out. I hooked it up to my surround sound and after some configurations it worked. My file I tried was playing on my tv and my surround sound. That is a success. I am extatic, now the last thing I want to try is setting it up as web file server so I can log in from the internet and watch a movie or video if I want. I also ran into another movie that I used the cc closed captions in Handbrake and it didn't show up on xbmc. I'm still confused by that, but the computer working how I wanted it to over shadows that. I will make an updated post if I get anymore work done. Till next time. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekend review for 7/12/14 - 7/13/14.

 Friday was 94 in Seattle that meant it was going to a long hot night. We rented Non Stop from Redbox. It has Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. They both starred in Chloe together with Amanda Seyfried. Non Stop wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as I thought it would have been. I'm tired of alcoholic, burnt out, anti heroes. Liam Neeson, is an amazing actor, but I don't feel like this was as good as it could have been. It just felt like it's been a lot before. Passenger 57 comes to mind.

We woke up early so we could go to a community garage sale and our junk in the trunk sale. I have been so excited for junk in the trunk. The last few years we went, we have scored some good stuff. In the months leading up to this, I have been making a list of stuff for me to try and find. I was looking for some raspberry pi parts, games, controllers, power supplies, Game Boy games just anything I could find. Well, this year was not very lucky at all. I didn't find any parts or games. I was extremely disappointed, because I want to find as many parts as I can for as cheap as I can without having to pay for shipping. Oh well, the summer is still young and I know there will be more sales. We skipped the car show this year because it was way to damn hot to walk the car show.

 After the junk sale, we headed over to a birthday party with the family. I was ready to be out of the heat and get some food. We sat and talked for a couple hours. I got to talk about some games and consoles with a cousin. It all worked out. After the party, we headed up a few exits to eat at Dick's Drive In.

Picture by Melissa. I wouldn't get the deluxe burger anyways. It has that nasty sauce on it.

 I have been craving it. We sat in the car with the air conditioning, eating our Dick's. After we were done eating, we got a couple burgers for the road. We stopped at a gas station grabbed a few drinks and we headed to our friends house and jumped in their pool. It was very interesting to me. It was 90 plus, we got in the pool and we actually started to get cold. What the hell? After the pool, I borrowed a couple of movies from them and we headed home. Saturday night we watched Bad Grandpa .5  and we went to bed. 

was supposed to be 95 degrees so we decided to keep the windows shut and do our inside cleaning. I was able to work on some digital files I have been needing time for, which was nice. Later that night I went outside and braved the heat to mow the dumb lawn that hasn't died yet. Then we made an amazing stuffed pepper dinner and we tried, without success, to cool down. If you couldn't tell, I don't like the heat. I hope you had a good weekend. Here's to more garage sales and less heat. Till next time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Midweek update.

 I haven't touched the throw away xbmc server computer in awhile. I just need a couple hours and I can get started. I have had quite a few times when that computer would have came in handy for server applications though. So that's the good part, at least it would get used and not just stored in a closet somewhere. I am still up the air about the other computer I have though, I think I want to try xbmc on it before I rip out the hard drive and use it on the throw away.

 I have had more time to try different settings for Handbrake and it seems to be working quite well. I have it set for stereo as the first audio track and Dolby digital with ac3 passthrough as the second track. I have been using closed captions cc instead of English vobsub with default selected and that seems to work even better than before. It even worked on files I couldn't get subtitles to work on before. And I have started using create chapter markers. I haven't been able to test this streaming yet, but I'm hoping when I stream, I could actually skip chapters. We will see. 

 Video games
I have had more time to play some games, but I have been finding my slim ps2 is having problems. It can't read some discs, but can read others. Some memory cards can't be read either. I have tried gold, silver, black and blue discs and it's mixed results. So with my ps2 giving me issues, I used my ps3 and popped in Devil May Cry HD Collection and played a few missions. After that I popped in Medal Of Honor Warfighter. I haven't played these games in a long time. My ultimate goal is to beat old games I haven't played in awhile. I haven't played any roms lately either. 

No updates on music. I'm a slacker. Ha ha.

 Cool pictures

 I think the bitchy one is funny as hell. I actually ranked higher than a lot of my friends. Well this was a short but sweet mid week update, till next time.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekend review for 7/4-7/5-7/6/14.

 Obviously from the title I had a three day weekend. Thursday night we watched Drive with Ryan Gosling. I was actually kinda disappointed, I thought it was gonna be better than it was, with more driving and chases. Oh well, whatever.

 Friday was the 4th of July, so we were invited to our friends house for a block party. They had so much food, a live band and fireworks. I ate extremely way too much. I don't even know what came over me. That was the most food I have eaten in years. We got to sit, relax, meet new people and indulge. It was really nice, the only hang up for me is, the husband reminds me of my ex friend I used to have. Even the stories that he tells, screams my ex friend. The husband is nice and all that, but it's weird for me. Friday night we were invited to another friends house to watch fireworks from their porch that is basically on the top of a hill with no houses in close distance to them.

 You can't really tell the house distance in the crappy picture, but we had amazing views. 

 Saturday, we had to do emissions and grocery shop. After that we had a relax day. I got some time to add to my digital movie collection and knocked out some shows off of the dvr. 

 Sunday, our friend from the block party came over and we all just talked. Sunday night, Melissa had to got to bed early. So I decided I was gonna try and finish some old ps2 games. Psssh, that didn't work. The ps2 either didn't read discs, memory cards wouldn't work, my old Codebreaker discs wouldn't work or they didn't have the game I wanted and the Codebreaker website is either down or doesn't exist anymore. What the hell? Well after failed attempts at some games, I started watching some Netflix. This was not the end of the night I was looking forward to. Oh well, I hope you had a good and safe weekend, some people were not as lucky.

Anyone who thinks "Roman Candles" are safe. They're not!! This happened to a little kid by a roman candle. All fireworks are dangerous and could leave you permanently disfigured. 
 All fireworks are dangerous! Period!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Comcast X1 and HD DTA, my experience.

 So awhile back, I talked about how we had a Comcast install. Well it has been two weeks and I figured I would chime in on my experience so far. Let me back up to when we moved into our house. I had setup a Comcast, at our old house over the internet. I would recommend to NEVER DO THAT. I picked a triple play package with cable, internet and unlimited phone. Our old house would be long distance for us to call from our new house and Melissa talks to her aunt in Canada, so unlimited phone is a must. Cut to moving day, the Comcast tech showed up and where I had originally planned on having the entertainment center, wouldn't work there now. I had to move locations for my entertainment center and couches. I'm already pissed and mad at this fact, but there's nothing we can do. Now mind you, we didn't have any furniture set up at the time, so the installer could get to anywhere he needed to go. I told the installer what my plans were and he was okay with it. He got under the house and ran a new cable line from our connection closet to the TV and even ran an Ethernet cord for me also. (That was the second thing I was livid about was I had placed my Ethernet jack where the cable outlet was). He had to drill new holes in the connection cabinet and cut an access hole under it to run all of these cords.

 All the cords were ran and I was ready to install my equipment. Oh and by the way the whole online ordering thing, yeah I got an sd dvr, with 1 meg internet. I will hit on that more later. I needed to buy a keystone jack and a new wall plate now for these new connections. I have never done this before and it probably explains a lot about the connection issues I sometimes have. Anyways, I start installing my equipment. I have a surround sound receiver, tv, speakers, Xbox, Ps3, Wii, Ps2, dvr, ethernet switch, Wii senor bar and Wii speak to hook up. I start running cables, labeling them and I run the hdmi cord for the dvr and lo and behold, it's sd. Meaning there's no hdmi, it's coaxial cable only. What the fuck am I supposed to do now? I take the tv off of the mount and unhook the hdmi cord I had for the dvr and screwed in the coaxial cable. I put the tv back on the mount and start setting everything up. When I was trying to connect to Xbox live, I was getting a couple of errors. I called Comcast and I was like, this is a brand new house and brand new cables, this is unacceptable. They scheduled a tech for the next day. 

 When the tech showed up, he started going through all the connections and noticed I was only getting 1 meg down. I said no, that's not right, I ordered whatever they had at the time, but not the "economy package". I told the tech, how am I getting a dvr, unlimited phone and these channels if I had economy? He said that wasn't possible, called Comcast, explained what was going on and they said hey, wait a minute, this isn't correct. The tech even installed new cables and wall connectors because he couldn't figure out why it was so slow. They did whatever they did and my internet speed was what is was supposed to be according to their speed test. I say according to their speed test because, to this day, even with our "speed upgrade" I have never had the full speed I am supposed to have. Yes, I know it's because of my neighborhood, and yes I know it's because it's a "data pool", but whatever. 

 So ever since then, almost five years ago, we have had sd dvr, whatever speed they said we had and unlimited phone. I was able to play on Xbox live and PSN and stream Netflix, so I wasn't complaining too much. We signed a couple of two year agreements and when the agreement was up, we called and got a new package deal with what we had before. I did have to take back my old Comcast modem because it was on the "End of life list". I exchanged it and the guy was trying to get me to try "Blast" for free for three months and I said no thank you, do not put that on my account. I hooked it up and my internet speed was crazy fast. And immediately I was pissed, because I knew that guy put the "Blast" on my account anyways. I called Comcast again, even though I was just on the phone to setup the modem and had them take blast off of my account. They were surprised I would want to do this and I said well how much does it cost after three months free? They said it would have been like 20 extra bucks or something, I said are you gonna pay that extra 20 bucks for me? They said no, I said well neither am I. I saw the modem lights go out and start flashing again and I knew they had taken off the blast. 

 Now a few years later, our modem was having problems with our phone and our voice mail. Cut to me taking another modem back and exchanging it again. This time they did not try and add something on and they didn't give me the battery pack for the modem, but I was happy because I noticed that when we would get a power blink or outage, the modem wouldn't fully restart so we would  have problems. I got home, called Comcast to activate the modem and re setup our WiFi. So cut to a couple more years and our contract is up and we want to save some money. Melissa and I paper, rocked, scissored for the opportunity to call Comcast for our new "upgrade" and commitment. Melissa, I think just gave up on me trying to call and called herself. Now they won't even talk to someone, without them being on the account. I had to call Comcast, add Melissa to the account, so she could call them back to get our new package. I don't know what Melissa all said, but I know that she got a new two year deal with the X1 dvr, a movie package and hd for the same amount we were paying before. 

 I won't re go over the install for the new dvr, but I was pissed off and didn't want it setup how it is. I will eventually fix that. Now for the service part of this rant/review. There is an auto tune to hd feature, which is nice, but it only works when changing channels in the guide. If you record an sd channel, it will not record an hd channel. You might be saying duh Ben, what were you thinking. Well if it auto tunes to hd, why cant it record hd? We have never had hd in our house now, we did have it in our old house, so this was not a jaw dropping, oh my god it looks pretty experience. My only concern was will sd still look okay on our tv if we can't find, or the channel isn't in hd. Yes, it does look good. Now we have to learn what the hd counter parts are. We have to figure out if we want everything in sd or everything in hd or mix and match. We don't need news in hd and we don't need everything in hd. But, we are paying for hd now, so I want to use it. So Big Brother, Under The Dome and numerous other shows are being recorded in hd and it is nice. 

 After a week of use, we got a letter from Comcast saying, they haven't charged our account correctly and we will now be charged for the two dta boxes we have. Dta boxes are basically mini cable boxes that you can use to at least get minimum channels on your tv without having to get another actual cable box. They were free when we got them and they just worked for us. They were sd, but we had an sd dvr in the living room so no big deal. Well after this letter, I said I am not paying two bucks for something that doesn't get used. I took the first dta box back and asked if they had any hd dta boxes, he said yes, I said how much are they? He said the same price. I said cool hook me up. I'm paying for hd and I am paying for one dta, might as well get hd out of the deal. The setup process was very fucked up. I called the automated line and tried 3 times to set up the hd dta box and no luck. I call customer service, get a person who has a cold and I can barely understand to hook up the box. I get put on hold for at least 10 minutes and then the box works and I get disconnected from the guy, whatever. Now I have to quick setup up the hd dta box so it's somewhat watchable. I'm quick scanning the menus and there's no output zoom option. Just 1080i and below or auto. Auto output looks the best. So now we had sd channels that small squares with black around all edges. I have to grab the tv remote and zoom it to make it watchable. I haven't been able to program a zoom button on the new dta remote and the tv remote can't be programmed for the dta box. 

 Were still getting used to how it all works and somethings we love other things we don't. I hit on the hd auto tune, well it won't work for a couple of hd channels like TVGN hd. It refuses to auto tune. When I search for a show to record, it defaults to sd not hd. I have five tuners on the dvr and it seems like only four want to work at any given time. Melissa finds our shows and records them. Then I got back later and find the shows we want in hd record those and cancel the sd shows. It sound slike a mess, but eventually we will get it down. Another weird thing, we have the screen saver set to five minutes. Even when we are watching a show and leave the tv, it will start the screen saver. I tried both X1 apps and neither worked. The X1 dvr app was looking for a cloud service and if you said cancel it would fail. So I don't know about that. The last thing is, I can't get the movie channels I can from the X1 on the hd dta box. Why is that? It's their cable box what's the difference.

 Bottom line:
Right now I feel like the X1 dvr is worth it. Hd is worth it and paying the same price for more, is worth it. I know this was a long post, but I wanted a history to go with my review. I'm not saying Comcast is bad, but I'm not saying they are perfect either. Till next time. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Midweek update.

 On the weekend review I hit on the surround sound out of my digital movies. Now I will get into the trchnical details. So I was said before I wanted to have the file size small, but have all the surround audio on them. So it's looking like the file size is about 1.8 to 2 gigs per file with subtitles and surround sound. Some movies don't have DTS for instance, so that will make the file size smaller. I still can't get subtitles to play while I'm streaming from my computer with xbmc to my ps3. I'm at a loss. I will keep trying though.

 I tried encoding a couple movie files with DTS pass through and Dolby digital pass through selected and my ps3 wouldn't read the file. I did some research and Handbrake even says that won't work because of the container. So I'm going to stick to ac3 pass through. It works good enough for what my application is. 

 The throw away computer was up and running. The only problem was I couldn't get to the desktop on Xbmcubuntu to add a second hard drive. Xbmcubuntu, acts like it is a stand alone device. So it only would access one drive and the media on that drive. Which is really cool, but I'm not sure if that's what I want for my application. I downloaded Openelec and in going to try that out and see how that goes. It says it's an auto updating small foot print OS with a desktop environment, but the core is based on Xbmc. I can't wait to try that out. 

 I'm still up in the air about the 500 gig computer. I don't know of I want to sacrifice that working computer for a bigger hard drive for testing out different Xbmc builds. Obviously I need room to store files and 160 gigs isn't big enough so I'm at a crossroads. I'm not going to remove my new internal hard drive I bought recently, to put into this Xbmc test box. I can't risk losing data off of it. I will update the progress of the Openelec build soon.

I'm still waiting to hear some new.

These pictures aren't really inspirational, so I will just post some pictures that I like.

Alice In Wonderland / The Matrix mash up. 

 Well, that's what I got this week so till next time.