Sunday, October 24, 2004


Did you by any chance make a recording of the final episode of season 3 of "The Shield" that went out this last weekend - 22:50 on Five. Is it tucked away on your Tivo or Sky+ box? Is there a VHS I can borrow? The reason for this woe is that the PC I use to capture TV programmes did a wobbler and I missed the finale of what has been the best series on TV this year!

If you could furnish me with a copy I'd be eternally grateful and will always be available to fix your PC/TV/Video (why didn't I use mine on Saturday night?!) until I retire from this broadcast engineering caper!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Hirst restaurant sale makes �11m - This ain't TV or IT or in any way technical but I felt I had to vent my spleen - The charity my wife works for is currently putting the finishing touches to a medical pack that contains vitamins, dietary suppliments, basic medical supplies etc to give to displaced mothers in the jungles of Bhurma and it is expected to extend the life expectancy of theirs kids by 100% in the 'early years' (pre-six year olds suffer infant mortality disproportionately) - it costs $15.
You've got fools here spending �4k on a cocktail glass so that the talented Mr Hirst can be a bit richer.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Article in this week's Broadcast

See the full thing here

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I'm really enjoying the new series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on Radio 4. One of the funniest things so far is Bistromathics - the advanced number theory that powers spaceships:

Bistromathics itself is simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the behaviour of numbers. Just as Einstein observed that time was not an absolute but depended on the observer's movement in space, and that space was not an absolute, but depended on the observer's movement in time, so it is now realized that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observer's movement in restaurants.

The first non-absolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved. This will vary during the course of the first three telephone calls to the restaurant, and then bear no apparent relation to the number of people who actually turn up, or to the number of people who subsequently join them after the show/match/party/gig, or to the number of people who leave when they see who else has turned up.

The second non-absolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of those most bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number whose existence can only be defined as being defined as being anything other than itself. In other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Recipriversexclusons now play a vital part in many branches of maths, including statistics and accountancy and also form the basic equations used to engineer the Somebody Else's Problem field.

The third and most mysterious piece of non-absoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the bill, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table, and what they are each prepared to pay for. (The number of people who have actually brought any money is only a sub-phenomenon in this field.)

The baffling discrepancies which used to occur at this point remained univestigated for centuries simply because no one took them seriously. They were at the time put down to such things as politeness, rudeness, meanness, flashness, tiredness, emotionality, or the lateness of the hour, and completely forgotten about on the following morning. They were never tested under laboratory conditions, of course, because they never occured in laboratories - not in reputable laboratories at least.

And so it was only with the advent of pocket computers that the startling truth became finally apparent, and it was this:

Numbers written on restaurant bills within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of the Universe.

This single fact fact took the scientific world by storm. It completely revolutionized it. So many mathematical conferences got held in such good restaurants that many of the finest minds of a generation died of obesity and heart failure and the science of maths was put back by years.

Oh, and they have made it available in 5:1 audio on the website - and jolly good it sounds!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

"There are now at least 85,000 Elvis’s around the world, compared to only 170 in 1977 when Elvis died. At this rate of growth, experts predict that by 2019 Elvis impersonators will make up a third of the world population."

Monday, October 11, 2004

Patching FireWire? - I'm working on a project that needs just that and I'm fiddling about with one of these - it is quite elegant - sixteen 6-pin IEEE1391 couplers mounted on a 1u panel with cable management bar - bear in mind that even 400Mbps FireWire will only run (at best) about ten metres and going via a patch panel means you probably don't want more than three metres either side of the panel. I'll blog how well it does when I've got it in.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Faster webcam response using a RamDrive - you probably hadn't noticed but I managed to improve the update and download speed of my webcam by forcing my capture app (CamFTP) to write to a RamDrive and then pointing IIS to the same drive as a virtual site - it used to be a breeze under DOS/Win95/98 but I recently came across a grown-up version from Microsoft for Win2k - see here.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Starting to put Dilbert lengthways so it looks good if you view this blog via AtomicLava

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Leitch DMX6800 de-embedders are cards that sit in their 6800+ series frames. I put in eight at MTV and we've hit up against a funny problem - the embedded output of Sony DSR1500 VTRs will not register - the output of a DSR2000 is fine and sending the DSR1500 to any other piece of equipment (VTRs & Tektronics WVR610 waveform monitors) shows that (seemingly) the output of the DSR1500 is fine. So it really seems that there is a compatibility issue between the VT and the card. I had the luxury of having eight cards and several VTs of each model to play with. How Leitch deals with this will decide wether I buy their glue gear again! I never get this trouble with Crystal Vision!

Monday, October 04, 2004

More disk drives in freezers! - Yes, it worked again - got MTV out of trouble by chilling a dead 73gig SCSI drive - see my origional post here.