Wednesday, August 17, 2011

These aren't the droids you're looking for...

...move along, move along.

This post is singularly lacking in all things Warhammer. Instead, it's what I've been up to for the last few months (i.e. not posting here). If not warhammer = not interested, you're free to stop reading.

Road Trip
I spent a few weeks travelling around France, with my brother and my partner. Highlights include Paris, being in a bomb scare at Charles De Gaulle airport, the fantastic Mont Saint-Michel which felt like Middenheim, lots of driving, the amazing Bayeux Tapestry, the Lascaux Cave paintings and the megaliths at Caranc - there are over 3000 megaliths in roughly 4km. I also dragged this guy (click for hilarious twitter feed and amazing photos therein) around with me, long story. Actually that's not true. You've heard of the travelling leprechaun? Photos taken of it around the world? I was going for something similar, except this Jack Bauer actionman is a workmates and was sitting on his office desk for the past few years. It made for interesting situations, and many odd looks from other tourists.

Mountain Biking (MTB)
I spent a week in Wales cross country mountain biking. Wales is a gorgeous country, I highly recommend a visit especially to northern Wales.
MTB is fast becoming a passion (brace yourself) equal to Warhammer. It's also the only thing trying (and failing) to hold back my expanding waistline. I've spent a lot of time learning to fix and replace parts. I'm a bit hard on the bike, I think I've done about 400 to 500 miles in the year I've had it (not much by a MTB's standards). 3 separate links broke on the chain while in Wales. I was lucky that it broke beside the Trail Centre the first time so I could purchase the necessary bits to fix it. If it had happened an hour or two later it would have been a long walk back. My trail kit is nearly complete - it should have everything one needs to do full or temporary fixes to the bike, enough to get you home. My aim is to learn how to fully service and replace everything on the frame, barring the front forks. I'm tempted to start a blog about the whole learning experience and to keep a log of the trails I've ridden, if nothing else it would be alternate memory storage (I have a terribly memory).

XBMC is awesome. I've been learning about all the bits I'll need to put together a decent HTPC box, which can record HD TV as well as series link. I'd like it to replace the Magnet set to box we currently have - it's a piece of crap. During the learning process I set up XBMC on my laptop while sharing out my entire media collection from my main PC.

PS3 Media Server
Up until now I've been using PS3 Media Server on my main PC to serve up content to my PS3. It's lacking in all features except it does give you the ability to play content on your PS3 using the PS3's native methods. Your main PC which is serving the content, first transcodes the content for the PS3. So you have this massively powerful PS3 console with it's Cell processor being swaddled and spoon fed, rather than doing any heavy lifting on it's own. That always annoyed the heck out of me.

XBMC has some fairly amazing lookup (scraper) scripts which (as long as you have a tidy enough directory structure) identified all my TV shows and Movies without any issues. The only (of many) TV series it missed was Conan the Adventurer :) It grabbed the series artwork ok, but didn't identify any of the episodes I have. I am incredibly impressed with it.
Note though, that it doesn't yet handle live TV or TV recording except through plugins other people have written.
Next step is to get a TV card and test record live TV with my desktop to make sure I can do what I want, before actually buying any PC parts for a HTPC.

MythTV repair
I've spent the few evenings repairing a MythTV box of a friend. Unfortunately I've only managed to do the equivalent of giving it a new lick of paint, and the problem has gone away on it's own. It reminds me of a quote:
Bugs which go away on their own, generally come back on their own.

is quite high up my list. I'm planning on easing my way back into this with a few smaller models.

I haven't forgotten about this blog, noooo. In fact I have a list of topics as long as my arm upon which I shall wax ill-lyrical soon.

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