I just started posting into my Tumblr account.  I’m going to use that account to post interesting web articles I come across. If you’re a Tumblr user you can follow me over there.  I will also update my Tumblr account with content from this website too so you don’t have to come back here to get my latest blog and project posts.

Analog Sunset

We should all be aware that using analog outputs of Blu-ray players to get around HDMI is coming to an end.

Any new Blu-Ray player announced after January 1st 2011 will only output HD via HDMI — players that started shipping last year can still be sold until the end of this year though. If you just love component video, you might figure you’ll be able to get a player today and continue to enjoy it for years to come, but maybe not. You see the studios also have the Image Constraint Token (ICT) which when set on a title will tell every and all Blu-ray players to down convert analog output to 540p. The only reprieve is that if its set on a title, it must be marked on the box, and of course it can’t be retroactively set (any title you own now will continue to play exactly the same way it does on your existing players)

Via Engadget

Extron has a White Paper that goes into more of this.  I’ll post a link to that when I can.


MaximumPC (January 2011) has an article on a new connection standard, HDBaseT.  It’s a single Ethernet cable that can provide HDMI, power, and data 100 meters.  It’s interesting to see how they knock down the data rate of HDMI from 10.2Gb/s to around 8 by skipping the error correction process which they say accounts for almost 3Gb/s of bandwidth. 

“… [pulse-amplitude modulation] functions in the same basic manner as in gigabit and 10-gigabit Ethernet and uses the same cables, HDBaseT follows a proprietary modulation scheme.  Only the physical cables are used, not the underlying Ethernet packet structure.  Even HDBaseT’s 100Mb/s Ethernet gets encoded in this way, although an HDBaseT port can revert to plain Ethernet, skipping HDMI and other features if you accidentally (or deliberately) plug into a traditional Ethernet network.  HDBaseT uses its own physical switches, too.”

Something to be aware of, the article says the standard was designed to span 100 meters because that’s what Ethernet’s established limits are, you can cascade 5 active switches to get 500 meter, BUT (big BUT) “Content providers also get a say in your distance; an optional setting could keep you to 100 meters total so you don’t broadcast Blu-ray movies to the neighbors.  [The Alliance] says hardware could activate the restriction based on a DRM flag embedded in the content.”

So when the time comes and we start implementing this stuff don’t assume you can cascade switches.  DRM comes into play here and can limit us to 100 meters (or less?) if the content provider wants.

Great Videos – No Fuss

http://www.animoto.com looks like a great site. The company I work for used it for one of their presentations. If you look at all the examples you’ll see that it makes videos that have a modern feel, get your point across, and can be used for a variety of different applications. I can’t wait to get some time to put some photos on there and see what it can do. Maybe I’ll have Apartment 3 Media buy a subscription so we can get the added benefit of the songs and no branding.

Android SDK

I’m installing the Google Android SDK as I type. I can’t wait to dive in and see what I can come up with. I know I have a lot of ideas on my plate. LISA & automation system integration are among the top of the programs I want to work on; but first, “Hello World!”

Android Phone Deletes Text Messages

My phone deleted all of my text messages again. This is getting very old, very fast. It has happened four times since the Froyo update. A post on the official code website says it’s a known bug. There’s one post that shows a log file saying the database that stores the text messages is corrupted and that the phone deletes the corrupt database.

There are some other posts that discuss the possibility that it has to do with memory allocated to text messages. I tested that theory by sending myself a dozen pictures and seeing how long it took for the phone to delete my messages. It happened more quickly than the previous time in which I only had one or two photos texted to me. It was a crude experiment and I would need to duplicate it to show any definitive results.

If it really is the database corruption that is causing the problem maybe a program can be written to back that file up once a day. You may still loose a few messages but not all of them. Even as it stands now, when the phone deletes the messages there’s no way to tell if a message that you never saw was deleted along with the rest of them.

As much as I love my Android phone

I dislike it very much right now. Ever since I updated to Froyo it will not charge with the wall charger, only the wall charger. Then today when I went to check my text messages I found that all but the last 3 that I received were deleted. I mean every single message I have ever received or sent. I should probably check to see if my drafts were deleted too. …Yes they are deleted too.

It’s not that I had anything really important stored in any of the conversations, it’s just that I would have liked to delete them on my own terms. I know there is a feature that deletes messages automatically but that’s turned off.

I have seen in other posts that this has been happening and it seems to have been happening before Froyo too. This is the first that I have seen it personally, however.

Not pleased, Google. I am not pleased.

Legos are the greatest…

…engineering platform.  I have two projects in mind utilizing these wonderful toys.  One of them is a CD/DVD duplicator arm.  I want to create a device that does not rely on software to drive the arm mechanism creating a platform/software independent mechanism for delivering blank disks from a spindle to the CD/DVD drive and then pulling off the spent media.  This mechanism can also be used for bulk ripping of my DVD collection.  The action of the CD drawer opening will trigger the arm to pull the disk out of the drive, drop it on the spent media spindle, and then grab a fresh disk and put it in the drive.  The arm will then trigger the button to close the disk drive.

The LEGOs come in very handy for this task because they have servos, switches, and gears that build onto a standard building platform.  All the pieces are made to fit together and if you need something special, you can drill or melt a piece to do a custom job.    LEGOs are the best engineering platform.