29. September 2010 21:05
After upgrading my media computer to Windows 7, I found that my TVersity installation had more or less disappeared. I reinstalled it and found that nothing (NOTHING) would play in my DirecTV HR21-100 MediaShare receivers. Bummer. After several hours of fiddling, here's what I found out.
- The latest version of TVersity (1.9.2) appears to have problems with DirecTV, so I reinstalled version 1.8.
- Much prowling around showed me that my codec installations had been broken, probably by the Window 7 upgrade, although I can't be sure. I removed all the codec packs I could find and reinstalled TVersity, which reinstalled its codec pack.
- The 1.8 version allowed me to play most of my AVI and M4V files without any change to the PROFILES.XML file or fiddling with access rights to the TVersity server or the folders containing my media. That was good.
- However, MP4 files would not play. Upon investigation using GSpot (http://www.videohelp.com/tools/GSpot) I found that the MP4s used an H.264 codec which wasn't recognized. Many people complained about the Microsoft-supplied MPEG4 and H.264 codecs.
- I found a simple program called a "filter tweaker" (http://www.download.hr/download-filter-tweaker-for-windows-7.html) that let me see which codecs were available for H.264. Interestingly, I did have an ffdshow-based codec for 64-bit H.264, but not one for 32-bit.
- I installed a recent build of ffdshow (http://free-codecs.com/download/FFDShow.htm) and installed the 32-bit version. After the obligatory reboot, I found that I now had an ffdshow alternative to the 32-bit Microsoft H.264 codec. I selected that codec to be used.
After chosing the ffdshow 32-bit H.264 codec, everything seems to play just fine, even when setting my preferred video resolution to 1920x1980. The lessons here are:
- Remove all codec packs BEFORE upgrading to Windows 7.
- Ignore 94.7% of the information about codecs, TVersity, DirecTV, etc. on the Internet: if the page entries date before 2009, they are serious out of date.
- Find a way to peek inside a video and determine its codec. Most video files are mere containers for video interleave streams.
- Use one of the 'filter tweaker' programs to fiddle (recoverably) with your system's codec choices.
- Only install the absolute minimum needed to get everything to work. Windows 7 is, in spite of all of the above, a far better video generation engine than Vista was.
27. September 2010 16:32
Well, the government is at it again. They (the FBI and others) want to require that all peer-to-peer and internet services have a cryptographic back door that allows wiretapping (see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/27wiretap.html). What they don't say (IMHO) is this:
- This request will naturally be followed by a requirement for absolute identity linkage. Anonymity will disappear as ISPs are required to provide end-user log-ons to their internet services.
- Peer-to-peer services will disappear as service providers are required to route and/or monitor each and every connection. ISPs will be forbidden to allow arbitrary point-to-point connections.
- Every major cryptographic package will be required to provide a back door.
I don't know about you, but when I upload my personal and confidential backup files to a web host, I always encrypt them as strongly as is reasonably possible. This, too, shall pass. Under these proposed strictures, the very decentralized nature of the internet will have to end and only "approved" (i.e. fully regulated) web sites, hosts and service providers will be able to make direct connections.
This is an ABSOLUTE DISASTER! And the cat is out of the bag anyway. There is no way to return cryptography back to the 1980's. Even with 'approved' (monitored) services, steganography and other means will be available to the evildoers (and the good guys) to quickly pass secret messages back and forth to each other. Imagine two fictitious Facebook accounts used by bad guys who encode messages in seemingly benign pictures of children and dogs. The powers that be just don't get it: you can ask for change and destroy the utility and beauty of the internet, but you won't fix the problem.
14. September 2010 23:51
I was excited when it appeared that Paragon's HFS+ driver would allow me real access to my Mac OSX partition on my MacBook. Wrong!
I didn't want to have two copies of my MP3 library, so I decided to tell Windows Media Player to use the MP3 files on the HFS+ partition. I got some blue screens which I traced back to the Paragon driver, so I stopped letting WMP download internet content. This corrected most of the BSODs, but not all.
After yet another BSOD, I contacted Paragon and they gave me a new version. I put it to the test and guess what-- it destroyed my Mac installation! Yes, I'm now sitting here twiddling my fingers while a TimeMachine restoration is taking place. When I'm done with this post I'm going to have a beer and cross my fingers (on the other hand).
I'm too old and too experienced to comprehend why ostensibly competent companies like Paragon put out software that is clearly not ready for prime time. I was able to break this driver repeatedly within less than 15 minutes. Did they REALLY have a beta test program? I don't see how.
Although their support staff seems to respond quickly, I am very disappointed by an organization that would put out such code.