Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Connecting the Box

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  • Ian Hickling,

    totally unrelated: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7021444.stm

    Apparently Maori living in Australia living in Australia are being targeted by the NZ govt to return. Interestingly,

    "One in seven Maoris now lives in Australia. Many cross the Tasman Sea for better job prospects and to escape social problems and racism."

    and just to belabour the point:

    "Some Maori migrants moved away to escape drugs, gangs, domestic violence and racism from the white population. There are also tensions within their own communities."

    It's sure not the impression I get these days. When I went to school, the Maori culture was dying, but the Bastion Point protests seemed to bring a rennaissance to the culture and I'm proud of the way Maori have brought their culture back to life. Maybe I have a rose-tinted view, as I only get to visit "home" once a year? Or is this the bias of the BBC's Sydney-based reporter?

    Barbados • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Paul, thanks for that, good stuff explained well.
    On the travel thing, Maori TV was great last night with an interview with the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Parekura Horomia, from Sydney. Would TVNZ do this?
    Also on tech and music, Radiohead are offering their latest for offers (digital busking?)
    http://www.inrainbows.com/Store/index3.html

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Better Radiohead link http://boingboing.net/ scroll down, bookmark BB. Also on things gadget http://gadgets.boingboing.net/ especiallt article on DVD - DVD recorders http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9787239-1.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave
    Of course Giz is good, http://www.gizmodo.com/
    NZ consumers please read these sites regularly to avoid tech purchase disappointment, especially with DS, HN, B&B et al.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    BTW a lot of people make the mistake of connecting their wonderfull new TV with a crappy old cable - I don't mean go buy an expensive gold cable, those are a ripoff - what I mean is don't use one of the yellow/red/white composite cables - at the very least use S-video or pref a YPrPb 'component' cable or best of all a digital connection (the dread HDMI) - if you choose that cheap cable that evil Sky UI will literally dance for you

    Actually, good point. The Freeview box is connected with a component cable (because one came in the package) and the Sky box isn't. If that's the difference, then the effect is really quite significant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I don't want to go out and buy a turntable.

    interestingly many indie labels are turning back to vinyl as a way to combat ripping.
    yes you can play your disc into your computer in real time but results will be variable and its a lot more of a hassle than a cd rip.
    only problem is 12 inch vinyl doesn't squeeze into your ipod very easily.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi James

    I have a lovely turntable, and I still haven't digitised anything. And it might even have the deep base richness in a digital file that the CD format allegedly is missing.

    I've digitised a few of my records (including Little Feat!). Sadly at home, with the equipment I used, you don't capture the vinyl sound. It's better than a music download and in some cases more alive than ripping a CD but usually the ripped CD is better quality.

    That said I'm ripping to play on an iPOD using earplugs so the quality for that is just fine. When I want to hear the real sound I put the vinyl on.

    The big minus is it takes a lot of time - you have to play the record at normal speed - then I have to spend at least the same amount of time again "cleaning" crackles and pops that seem more obvious when digitised - then about half that time again to get it into iTUNES organised the way i want it.

    BTW I used free software Audacity to process the files and captured them using an http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/imic/\iMic from
    Griffen to feed into my Ti lapbook. It takes a bit of getting used to but the process is fairly easy - just time consuming.

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3262 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewD,

    Vinyl ripping is great for all that rare stuff sitting around on plastic in your attic.

    I used a Dick Smith turntable and Audiograbber freeware and ripped Tuxedo Moon and their piece of genius, "Desire".

    It's worth the $100 alone.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Russell - definitely all the colour info is being converted to PAL colour modulation (and worse mixed back into and stomping on the black and white [Y] signal if you use the plain yellow cable rather than S-video) - component is the way to go

    But really modulating your nice digital signal to some analog form then having the TV convert it back to digital so it can display it is quite silly - analog means noise at some level whatever you do - which is why HDMI is the way to go, sadly with the tacky DRM

    (note: that even if you go digital all the way you wont close the 'analog hole' - it's still there - pirates will just take the backs of their TVs)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    I've digitised a few of my records (including Little Feat!).

    As good a reason for digitising as you can get!

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one with a stack of vinyl that hasn't seen a lot action lately. Hard to get rid of, so one of the hard solutions has to be found... I've got a reasonable set-up for digitising and I can borrow a turntable from work- it's just the time involved.
    Bart: audacity has some beaut filters, eh. I've recently used their noise reduction at work to clean up a nasty buzz in some audio- amazingly successful. Taking out the crackles and pops: a lot of me old vinyl is a tad scratched as well...

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1469 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Ian
    The BBC is right & so are you, (although "Army" of Maori hmm where is the BBC coming from).
    Just get the glasses updated. Things are getting better but Maori are still at the worst of it.
    Turia of the Maori Party says it best.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0710/S00002.htm

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    interestingly many indie labels are turning back to vinyl as a way to combat ripping.

    I wonder if record labels will start releasing fancy CD packaging as a more expensive alternative to buying the music digitally.

    It's like what Radiohead are doing - sell the digital version relatively cheaply, but also offer a pricer boxed package for the hardcore fans.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1851 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Rob

    Taking out the crackles and pops: a lot of me old vinyl is a tad scratched as well...

    Audacity is nice. Opensource as well :). Actually the documentation was really helpful. As for getting rid of scratches - well a couple of my albums had some "issues" that I could remove - at least well enough for listening on the iPOD.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3262 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one with a stack of vinyl that hasn't seen a lot action lately. Hard to get rid of, so one of the hard solutions has to be found... I've got a reasonable set-up for digitising and I can borrow a turntable from work- it's just the time involved.

    Yeah. That was a bit my point. I think many of us (well me anyway) would quite happily pay for a good service, and I assume that with a good set-up, it would be quite straight forward for the person doing it.
    It's kind of like replacing your own brake pads. Sure I managed to do it in the past, but it's kinda hard, the pro probably does it better, and certainly a lot more easily. Oh, and then there's the asbestos thing.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Ackroyd,

    Wait, Russell - are you saying the terrestrial Freeview box will only have HDMI as the HD output? Not HD component as well (like the Apple TV)?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Wait, Russell - are you saying the terrestrial Freeview box will only have HDMI as the HD output? Not HD component as well (like the Apple TV)?

    Hard to tell, but it looks like the copyright owners will insist that the only actual HD output available on either Sky or Freeview boxes will be HDMI.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Ackroyd,

    So I should re-list the component-HD-input-only HD tube TV that I bought off TradeMe two days ago.

    Dang.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I wonder if record labels will start releasing fancy CD packaging as a more expensive alternative to buying the music digitally.

    I think the thrust of the idea is to remove the digital copy altogether making it harder for anyone to distribute pirated versions of it easily cos it means someone has to encode it, edit it, de click it (essentially mastering it for digital distribution) sure some people are going to do it but joe average isn't going to be clued up on it enough to pull it off.

    kind of a step backwards and making the music for the home use only I guess. Still it worked in the passed and it makes it a niche market and you have to have a turntable to be part of the club, and snob value has always been a part of the music thing at some level.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    OK, Russell, time to answer the hard question: Do Freeview boxes have a special chip to make breakfast television less humiliating for everyone concerned? Hate to say this, but at least the Aussies can treat you like a moron with some style...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    OK, Russell, time to answer the hard question: Do Freeview boxes have a special chip to make breakfast television less humiliating for everyone concerned? Hate to say this, but at least the Aussies can treat you like a moron with some style...

    Sorry, but you have to do it manually: ie, don't watch it. I never even watched when they were paying me to be on it ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    BTW, just procrastinating my way through a few MP3 blogs. They're almost all featuring the Radiohead release news, with the choose-your-own-price graphic. So the "getting a buzz" part would seem to be working ...

    Oh, while fans wait for the album to drop, here's a list of live versions of nearly all the album tracks available via Hype Machine. That's clever and cool.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18712 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sorry, but you have to do it manually: ie, don't watch it.

    My only excuse, M'Lud, is that it was an experiment - the kind you can't perform on bunnies without all kinds of legal and moral hassles. I'm sincerely remorseful and will never do it again. Three's effort is better - at least the twenty minutes of channel surfing I could endure - , but that really is damnation with faint praise.

    But to be positive for once, it is useful to know Bill Ralston would prefer being shot with a tazer to being brought down with a gun. In Pamela Sterling's position, I'd be willing to test that out if he doesn't stop auto-plagiarising his Listener column for the one in the Herald on Sunday (or vice versa).

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    "will Freeview boxes have to have HDMI" - short of a law I can't see how they can insist on it - remember that an HDMI box will refuse to display on a non-complying TV .... but HDMI TVs should still display for a box that doesn;t have all the magic crypto - why would any Freeview vendor go to all the trouble to get HDMI certified (trust me it's a real pain) and build a secure manufacturing line when it doesn't add much functionality .... it's not like they wont be able to decrypt the unencrypted FreeView signal if they don't have it (which IS true for the US markets I design settop boxes for)

    Once digital broadcasts start there's going to be a whole bunch of open source people building mythTV boxes - I bet someone will do a CD you can use to convert that old PC (don't throw it away just yet!) into a PVR by adding a couple of digital tuners from DSE and popping in a mythTV/linux CD

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    "But do you know what the service entry for bigger jobs is on the new iMacs? You take the screen off! Retailers have been issued with big suction-cup thingies as part of the service kit."

    Brought a tear to my eye. I still have my extra long Torx drive, case splitter and discharge tool they gave you when you completed the Mac service training in the eighties. <sigh>

    Been stuck with non-Mac stuff for years... the gear I play with now needs a bit more grunt :) [3 X quad core four way boxes and 8Tb of disk at the last count...]

    One day when we're rich I'm going to throw out everything except the NAS and replace the lot with Macs.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    Oh, and on the NZDS thing... a little bird tells me a number of large public sector organisations were one hour out this week... poor suckers are still using GroupWise. So if you turn up for gummint appointment and there's nobody there... :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

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