Building a Media Centre

I enjoy a good film and in my youth I used to love going to the cinema but as I got older I found the cinema became far too expensive for the reward and I just didn’t have the time anyway. Since I enjoyed watching things on the big screen the natural answer was a projector and for years I played DVD’s on a computer though a projector. Around ten years ago though the projector blew a bulb and, as I had other things on, it never go replaced. A couple of months ago though I bought a new projector and now I’m looking to set up a full home cinema.

Continue reading

Digikam Tagging

I’ve recently switched from Picasa (which has been retired) to Digikam for photo management and I’ve noticed a few quirks that I need to document to or I’ll forget them. For the most part Digikam is a massive upgrade over Picasa but a few things in Digikam don’t necessarily work quite as I’d expect them to.

Continue reading

My List of Useful Utilities

I hate to think how many computers I’ve built and installed over the years. I’ve found that there are a core set of utilities that I keep coming back to that I’ve found really useful on most installs. As I only use some of them infrequently I thought I’d put together a list so that in future I don’t forget any, perhaps this list will be useful for you as well.Continue reading

Reading Your Ebooks Anywhere

I wouldn’t normally stick my head above the parapet and write a post like this but DRM on ebooks really annoys me as it impacts my enjoyment of the books I’ve bought. I personally find the default option of black text on a white background a little difficult to read especially if there isn’t a lot of ambient light. Most e-readers have an inverse option which is an improvement but can still be difficult. My e-reader of choice is Moon+ reader which has an orange text on black background option which I find easy to read even for extended periods. The problem is you can’t read DRM encumbered books in Moon+ (or any other third party software reader that I can think of). The other problem with DRM encumbered ebooks is what happens if the company you bought them from goes bust? You can no longer download them to your new device, effectively they are lost. This nearly happened to me but fortunately I had a DRM free version I could use.

Continue reading

Reading Material

Over the years I’ve read my fair share of books on various aspects of computing from operating system design through to test driven development and for the last few years I’ve also been taking MOOC’s as I like the learning style. It occurred to me that I should probably keep a list so that I can see what I need to brush up on and what gaps I have to fill. For the most part this is going to be a list starting Summer 2015 but I might try and fill in some of the history if I get a chance to sit down and think about what I’ve read and when. I study a wide range of science based topics but I’ll try and keep this list focused on things that are relevant to the computing.Continue reading

Panasonic HC-V750 Metadata Files

I recently bought a Panasonic HC-V750 camcorder and I was intrigued by the additional files (.cont, pmpd and .tmb) it produces along with the video files – do they contain useful additional data?. A good googling didn’t turn up anything useful but a lot of people have wondered about them. Continue reading

Test Credit Card Numbers

A while back now I had to write a system to process credit cards. Since the software was capturing the card number itself it could perform some initial checking on the number to ensure that the user hadn’t made a trivial typing error.Continue reading

Moving Picasa to a New Computer

I recently took the plunge and installed Windows 8 which meant re-installing Picasa. As I had to go through the pain of installing a new operating system and all my applications I thought I might as well get a solid state drive (SSD) to go along with it. While I love the SSD I’ve found Win 8 to be a bit of a disappointment on the desktop but anyway that is beside the point of this article.Continue reading