Friday, February 27, 2004

Problems and Updates on the HP-X8000 mods
Although the drive updates and cooling works well one problem we hit into when installing them into the client's facility was that initally we racked the computers with the DVD drive on the left hand side (and hence the motherboard upside down). After about thirty mins of operation the Pyro firewire cards (see entries from Jan 2004) got very unreliable under the Avid application (which uses it's own 800mbits protocol called flame thrower) but from Windows all was well. Eventually we flipped a machine and all came good - must have been the additional vibration of the drives and the fact that the card had gravity working on it.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

SONY SLV-D950 - Just put in nine of these bad boys in an installation - a very nice and compact solution for an edit suite - covers the VHS / DVD / CD requirement in one compact unit.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Ultra and mobile blogging
We have several world-class software developers here at Root6 - our tech director James Clarke has done a real job on logging for reality TV shows in his Ultra application. He's extended it to take in mobile picture blogging and if you go to Atomic Lava (link in the right hand column) you'll see the application being used to blog the engineers thoughts and pictures snapped on their 'phone cameras. If you click FunkyWorm you'll see what I've started to blog, and if you click the photos from my SPV click you'll see the Flash viewer that another colleague Nick Ridley has written. All very good stuff since the photos appear on the blog within minutes of you clicking "capture" on the 'phone.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Scrap license fee, Tories urged - This is iniquitous, The BBC license fee is about a third of the cost to the average family of the money ITV take from them on their annual supermarket bill. I have a choice as to whether I pay for the Beeb - I can either buy a license or not. I have NO choice as to paying for ITV which represents poor value in both a financial and artistic sense. This is my definition of a tax. As far as I can see the only morally decent models of funding TV are the license fee OR pay-per-view. Getting rid of the license fee would mean that the Beeb would have to chase the same down-market "reality"/pop/soap model more than they currently do and would be a further nail in the coffin for good tele in the UK. Why don't we just hand the whole lot over to the "editorial" team of the Sun and enjoy LiveTV (remember them!) 24-7 on two-hundred odd channels, all available from that nice Mr Murdock (sic)!

Monday, February 23, 2004

I think I'll give this Linux distro a go - like Koppix it boots off a CD so really good for diagnosis and trying things out. I shall report back!

Friday, February 20, 2004

We Are Morons: a quick look at the Win2k source || - ooooh, and it makes me wonder!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Digital monitor connections - a great page on the Lindy site that explains the difference between the various flavours of DVI and ADC (and when some also have SVGA!).

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Graham has been spanking the X8000 with the 15k drives for a couple of days and tells me that it is stable and the throughput is good (even though they are stripped via the Windows storage manager!) - so, 36 more drives please!

Monday, February 16, 2004

IDE drives and media data - we do a lot of this sort of thing - I ran into exactly the same issue at home - here's an email I wrote to my colleagues about it:


Petra asked me to write a little note re the cheaper Avid products and IDE drives.

Chris was integrating an ExpressDV machine last week with the intention of having the media drive (250gig IDE model) on the same IDE channel as the system drive. The BIOS on that machine would only allow for one DMA device on an IDE channel and so the media drive chugged away at 33Mbits per sec (shows up as a PIO device in the device manager). Performance with 25Mbits DV media was somewhat jerky!

Now I know it will often work (on motherboards that support multiple DMAs on the same IDE channel) but it isn't best practise to try and get away with it and since another IDE/PCI adaptor (ATA 133Mbits spec) from Lindy (including cables!) is only £19 to us it seems that is the best way to go.

If the motherboard of the machine in question has Serial ATA ("SATA") then an SATA drive as the media drive would avoid this problem. However, SATA drives are currently about £100 more expensive than the same sized IDE drive and so the Lindy solution still saves us a bit.

The Lindy part number is 70642 and there is a price break at three pieces. I have put three cards in Pete's cupboard in accounts,


Friday, February 13, 2004

Four extra SCSI drives on an HP X8000 workstation
We have to supply nine of these top-end dual P4 machines to a client who needs 300gigs in each - the new 15k Baracudas from Seagate are out and so four 73gig Ultra320 drives seemed the answer:

Move the system IDE drive to the same bay as the DVD drive - you need a bay-adaptor (Lindy part number: 40545) and then mount the drive cooling fan kit on the side of the four-way drive bay (Lindy part number: 40517). Finally you need to remove one of the onboard SCSI ports from the back of the machine and run a terminated Ultra320 cable to the new drives from the mobo SCSI adaptor - Adaptec part number 1490826-00.
A few cable ties to tidy and a few hours of burn-in testing to ensure coolness and stability and it looks like we're good to go!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Ben Brown our office IT manager doesn't do things by half - he's returned from a work trip to Switzerland with something for his lady!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Analog Devices : Interactive Design Tools : Utilities : Vrms / dBm / dBu / dBV calculator
Suggested by my colleague Rupert (see his dead blog in the right hand column!) - of course proper engineers like me do dB calculations in their heads!

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Intel(R) LCOS Technology - an interesting take on big flat panels for HiDef television.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Today myself and my work mate Graham (blog on the right hand bar) had to rig a Sony Xpri at the Video Forum. Previously this trade show was the province of The Guild Of Wedding Videographers (that lot again!) but it seems to have moved upmarket - so much so that we're there demo'ing high definition television and digital film workflow. I did spot a stand by some people called DV Warehouse - all shrink-wrapped copies of Adobe Premier and OEM DVD-burners! Perhaps it is clinging to it's Prosumer origins.
Chopper joined us later and we had a jolly time getting it all talking! SPV pics here.
Oh, Graham and I did spot what was clearly a production model of a Blue-Ray disk recorder (50 gig re-writeable disks) - clearly a domestic gadget from the far east - all composite video i/o (on phonos) and unbalanced audio. There are a couple of bad pics of it on the previous link.

If you're comming to the show then swing by the Sony stand and get Graham to give you the Xpri/HDCam religion - I'll be there on Wednesday.

Friday, February 06, 2004

SPV shortcuts
Press and hold the following:
  • Home key - brings up a menu that allows you to disable the more battery hungry protocols!

  • Hang-up key - locks the keypad

  • Left & Right key while in Inbox - moves between SMS and Email folders

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Monday, February 02, 2004

Cross-talk in Makie mixers
The 1604 is a popular mixer in Avid suites because it has loads of facilities (lots of channels, auxes, four groups etc.) but they cross-talk between the two track return and the mono input channels. Today I was in a suite and there is a lot of bleed at only 35dBs below if you are using the 2TR return button to listen to the output of the Avid and at the same time digitise via the mono-channels and stereo bus you get an awful lot of cross-talk. Putting a balancing box in line with the 2TR return sorted the problem so I assume the bleed is back out of the 2TR input.