New Tivo :) (HTPC) 
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 09:45 PM - Computers
Hello all. I have been living in this house for roughly one year now. Back in Idaho we had dish network with a DVR. I loved it! All this time here without one was starting to get to me. Hulu and downloading episodes did hold me over, but it wasn't how i wanted it to be. I get the most basic of basic cable service through comcast. 10$ a month. a steal of a deal. In order to get a comcast DVR i would have to upgrade to at least a higher plan, plus the cost the rent the unit, and 15$ more for HD unit.

Being me, i hate to pay for things that i can get for free. So i dropped 120$ for the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250. It has dual HD tuners so I could watch something and record something at the same time, HD or SD.

Initially my budget was spent the instant i bought that capture card. So i took some old computer parts i had and built a machine. AMD 3800+, 2gb ddr400 ram, 7800gt video, and a whopping 80gb IDE hard drive.

This was my concept machine, it worked for all intents and purposes. I was originally going to run MythTV on ubuntu. This was shot down rather quickly because my TV card did not support analog in linux :( sad face. I then put windows 7 on the machine and tried out SageTV. I was quite happy with SageTV. It did HD tv, timers, recordings, etc. My favorite part was the mpg format it recorded! Unfortuantly, it had some issues with some or my channels. It would either not see them right or fail to get a guide listing.

My next trial was with the new windows media center. Those who know me, know this hurt me. I HATE windows media center. WMC scanned for channels without me telling me anything but my zip code. The TV interface was easier than SageTV, so the wife liked it better. Its been quite nice really. THERE! I SAID IT! Now to the complaint. It records in a stupid format. .wtv, wtf? Who uses wtv? No one! *sigh*

I used this setup for a couple months. It was working rather well actually. Then the issues started. 1. Random blue screens. something between a windows update and the divers were not getting along. (64-bit). Sometimes it would happen a few times a night, other times nothing. 2. Freezing. It would randomly freeze up. 3. It would overheat due to the POS case it was in. 4. it was LOUD.

This year i have been saving up for something nice, nothing in particular. SO i asked for computer parts to build a new htpc.

-AMD Phenom X3 8750
-2 GB DDR2 1066 ram
-Western Digital WD10000LSRTL Caviar Black 1TB
-Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250
-hec SECC 7K09 Micro ATX Media Center

I chose a small case the fit inside my tv cabinet. I plan to use an HDMI cable to run the video and audio to my TV then from my TV to my receiver through an optical cable.

Here are some of the parts. Processor, Mobo, and Ram.

Here is the case, its sleek and black.

This is the case with the ram, mobo, and processor.

Here is the cpu :)

Here is the nice evenly spread thermal paste :)

Here is the computer about 90% put together. Everything is is installed except the capture card. I was starting to get worried that the card would not fit in the pci slot.

As you can see they have a nice little heatsink sitting where a card should sit. At this point i have not tested it to see if it will fit. Edit: I tested the card, and it works just fine. It wasn't a very tight fit either, which kinda surprised me.

This is the back end of the machine with the capture card and its input extender.

I've been using the new machine for about 24 hours now. I spent a good 12 hours copying media over to the new hard drive. 500 gigs of movie rips to happily watch without mucking with DVD's. yay! The HDMI output works great, and no reboots or blue screens :) yay! I did move to 32 bit windows to attempt to rid the BSOD.

My next venture is to get the remote working with media player classic or VLC.

I use coreAVC for my HD media. Media player classic uses this nicely, but it has to be set up. To set it up right click, options, external filters, add. Add CoreAVC, then click the Prefer button. This will let CUDA do the video rendering if you have a 8 series or higher NVIDIA card. You know its working if you see a green dot in the tray. This uses MUCH less cpu than without it. Very nice.

Oh, and hulu now works in full screen without stuttering, yay!

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XBOX 360 Firmware upgrade 
Sunday, December 20, 2009, 01:37 PM - Hacks
I was commisioned with a task to upgrade a couple 360's. Needless to say one of them was brand spanking new. Still in the box to be exact. Well, the 83850c Lite-on drives don't like to have their firmware dumped. Reading through countless articles and posts i decided a solder method was the only way to go.

With permission, i dove in.

This is the board with the protective film removed. I used my leatherman and scraped it off with my knife.

Here are my soldered joints. Not bad for a first time on a super small board ;)

And a close up of the solders. For size reference, these wires are strands of cat5e cable.

The switch to enable/disbale the ground.

All put back together and ready to dump :)

Use jungle flasher
1. Intro the drive
2. Read the firmware.
3. Make a dummy copy (right click)
4. Load dummy in source, let it auto-ixtreme it.
5. Repair drive (put all the cuts and solders back)
6. Intro it again.
7. Click "Write"
8. Enjoy

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Defcon 16 
Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 09:26 PM - Hacks
Defcon 16 this year was good stuff. Me an Thurm drove down on wednesdat night so we could get our tickets early. We met up with Jake and Bryce and stayed at a Holiday Inn, which had very nice beds.

The second night we were there, we ate out at ??? and they had some sour cream chicken, sooo nice. I will put the name of place in when i remember it, i paid cash, so i cant go back and look.

A couple of my fav talks:

1. BackTrack Foo- From bug to 0day
2. Shifting the Focus of WiFi Security: Beyond Cracking your neighbor's WEP key.

The back of the badge has a 2-D barcode, which i figured to say: . It also has a SD card slot, USB connector solder points, and a dip switch solder point. I got a usb connector, but i dissapeared on the way home :(
The badge:

A crowd Shot:

** My badge either appears to be toast, or my battery is dead. I went to show someone and it wouldn't turn on. Turns out the battery was in backwards?? So, when i find a new battery i test it out.

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Ignition Autoconnect crap errors "wzccmd.exe" 
Tuesday, June 3, 2008, 01:22 PM - Hacks
BYU-Idaho wireless requires the Ignition AutoConnect to be install to take care of the certificates in order to log on to their 802.1x wireless. In the process of using their setup program it crashes with wzccmd.exe. Google brought up like 3 results, all about spyware.

I gave up for a while. I use linux for everyday use so i didn't need to too badly. Linux (ubuntu 8.04) connects perfectly.

After plinking around with it today and sending hate mail to the help desk, i started looking around my system to find something that could possibly be conflicting. Long story short, i disabled the vmware network adapters in my network control panel. BAM! it worked.

Just disable your vmware adapters, install autoconnect, then re-enable them. Its working for me, so i am writing this post to help others who may have this same issue.

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New Video card. 
Tuesday, February 5, 2008, 12:09 AM - Computers
Yay, my new video card came today. a Evga 8800GT. I picked this bad boy up for about 225$ online. So far on my tests it has kicked the crap out of my 6800GS that it replaces. I ran a few tests thus far. The few games i have had a chance to try have run wonderfully. FEAR,UT3, and Counter-strike:Source all with full settings at 1600x1200. Ran like silk.

Here is my 3dmark06 score for my old card and new card. Both stock. 8800gt is 600/900. I will overclock later.

Old and New Cards.

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Broken Gateway LCD 
Friday, August 10, 2007, 12:54 AM - Computers
So i recieved a broken 18" gateway LCD (FPD1830). It would turn on, but would not stay on for more than 1 second. After some reading and googling, i found out the reason it won't stay on is because of the inverter board. ... highlight= Someone in the forum suggested to replace the capacitors. Others reported success, so i went ahead and bought some caps at radio shack. ($5.32) I took the board and caps to a local shop and had them soldered on for $20. Took the board home and re-assembled the whole LCD, booya! it works :)

18" LCD for $25. Steal of a deal i'd say

The green capacitors are the ones needing replacing.

The working LCD :)

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Mouse speed in Linux 
Sunday, June 10, 2007, 07:44 PM - Programs
do: xset m 1/4 10 // 1/4 = speed 1/2 or 3 up to like 7
in this fodler: /usr/X11R6/bin

Worked for me, we'll see if it stick after reboot.

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