Archive for the 'Gadgets' Category

You are totally surrounded! (finally)

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

After many years of struggling with trying to get my AppleTV (mk1) to a state where the surround sound actually works, I finally have it solved.
The answer was, buy a new surround decoder box.
So now I have a nice, shiny Yahama A/V amp that decodes AC3 and DTS from the optical output of the ATV. Yet not just this wonderful feature is what makes this new amp great. What it has also done is about halve the amount of cabling in my bedroom A/V setup. Whereas previously where was a separate hifi amp, surround decoder and speaker set, A/V switchbox, 2 optical/co-ax transceivers + power supplies – now there is the one gox to rule them all as it were. So now I have (almost) all the previous kit plugged into the same device and can switch between it, with the bonus of 7.1(!) surround capabilities.
So I can switch between the ATV, Wii, Galaxy Tab multimedia dock, Sega Saturn, Humax PVR & Toshiba DVD player from one place, each with their own appropriate speaker settings auto-selected.
The only thing it doesn’t do is transcode between HDMI/Component/Composite video (each source-type only talks to its corresponding output), so I’ll still have to select differing inputs on the projector, although the HDMi out from the amp will go through a HDFury box to convert it to component as that’s what my projector supports… Which means I still need the vga sswitchbox that currenty links the sources to the projector, but that’s not too much of a bind really.
So now all the 720p movies that previously played without sound (like the Star Trek movie collection and also the as yet unwatched-in-one-sitting Bourne trilogy) all play in HD (thanks to XBMC now having GPU accelleration on the ATV) and with full surround sound.
SO thank you Yamaha for enabling a geek to lie in bed and be appropriately surrounded by really-big-screen entertainment!
Just another reason for not having to leave the house! ;)

rooted galaxy tab turns itself off when power button pressed

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

This was driving me crazy!
Whenever I unplugged the device from usb and then pressed the power button to turn off the screen, the thing would turn itself off!

What I found was, me using SetCPU to clock the Tab down to 100MHz when screen off, was actually causing the problem.
so the solution was set the ‘screen off’ profile to a minimum of 200MHz with the ‘ondemand’ scaling setting and all is good… :)

“Are you using setcpu? I had the same problem when trying to use conservitave or set the minimum to 100mhz. Currently I use ondemand with a minimum of 200mhz”

Galaxy Tab + dropbox + docs to go + keyboard = laptop replacement

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

So recently I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Tab as it’s “not an iPad”, holdable in one hand and runs the same version of Android as my HTC Desire Z.
Slightly more recently than that, I went a bit crazy and bought a number of the accessories, including the keyboard dock.
Today I discovered that the android version of dropbox does actually do two-way sync, instead of just allowing you to download files from your dropbox. Obvious when you think about it, but I hadn’t tried it before.
What I was trying to do was to find a portable way of editing my expenses spreadsheet and for this I turned to ‘Documents To Go’. Mostly I’ve tried to keep to the ‘free’ android software in the market, however with now having two devices linked to the same google account, it seemed like a reasonable option.
So now, I can download the file from my dropbox onto the Tab, edit in D2G and on saving it gets uploaded back to the dropbox.
So basically what this means is, that the tablet with the keyboard is now a pretty reasonable laptop replacement. If I want a bigger view, I can always plug into a TV with the video out cable. This could also make a very portable presentation systekm, with the powerpoint (spit spit) support of D2G.
Personally, what I would like to see is a combination of the desktop dock that has the HDMI output, with the keyboard, which would then put full-screen HD video, or at least the linkability of that, along with the typability (?) that the keyboard dock brings.
Therefore replacing a more bulky laptop with something you can take as a tablet when you need to move about (the office, primarily), then get back to your desk, slot in the tablet and write up your notes that could also be displayed on the bigger screeen connected via the HDMI port (maybe in the future!).

PSP a gogo!

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

So today I had not just arrive the foldable Targus IR keyboard, but also (finally!) the 8Gb Memory Stick Duo… I suppose I couldn’t completely exclude the possibility of running out of space, with m33 3.53-4 and being able to play video iso’s (not that I actually have more than one) and of course the backups of the games I’ve bought – in case I ever lost the device (just don’t go there!). Yet for flexibility it certainly beats the pants off of the iPod Touch and such devices of the 8Gb variety – decent games, music player, video player with decent size screen, homebrew for ssh/irc/text editing (via the IR keyboard!). So what now, as is often the case when the next generation size of memory cards is released, to do with the 4Gb card? Hmm… Well I could always stick it in my camera (the also Sony, DSC-T7) and whack up the picture res to the highest… Or then again keep it as a backup for the 8Gb, or just stick it in it’s holder and use it as another portable drive… Or even for more TV episodes to watch on the tube.

Pimp my psp – Downgrading to 1.5 then up to 3.1oe-a

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Well I’ve done it finally! After a few months of umm-ing and ah-ing I’ve finally taken the plunge and flashed my beloved psp with firmware. It was surprising, well simple and ‘justWorks’ and now I have a device that not only plays the Family Guy game (required >2.81) but also homebrew (most of what I had before and some that wouldn’t previously), with the added features of fw3.1 such as support for the (available inJapan only at time of writing) camera. It all started as a 2.6 (and buying GTA: LCS as a homebrew enabler) then last year I took the plunge and flashed to 2.71 for some other game I’d bought (then using the fanjita eLoader), which have of course been progressively easier solutions. Now of course it’s a case of drop files into /psp/game150 and actually use them from the game menu, which makes much mose sense. :o ) I suppose the major change with series 3 f/w is adding support for pops, Sonys PSX (original playstation) emulator. This works surprisingly well (at least with my Gran Turismo CD converted with popstation) and with the eboots off of the Interweb (‘officially’ from the ps3 store ). As for the 1.5 component, as well as being the purported ‘best’ for homebrew (portableVNC works!) it also allows ussge of ISOs… Now of course piracy is a bad bad thing and all those hours of coding should not go in vain, yet having a number of games on one memory stick (4Gb for me at the mo’) would be quite a liberating experience and would keep those UMD’s safely and unlosably (?) in their cases. It does also beg the question of is a memory stick faster than a spinning optical disk?.. Will have to check the specs! With a little help from Sony themselves regarding accessories (talkman mic, the forthcoming here but already available in Japan camera & GPS) truly the PSP can become the multimedia platform it was intended as. I read an interview with one of the top guys from Sony UK who said that yes they do watch what’s going on with the homebrew scene. So then, all we need is a decent keyboard with native support and everything else will take care of itself. Oh, and a media player that will do full-res mpeg-4…