Analog TV is sooo 1990

Yeah, you losers out there in the rest of the world: we no longer do analog terrestrial TV broadcasting in Sweden. At October 15 2007 the last parts of Sweden go DVB-T.

(Yes, some dinosaurs are said to still get analog TV over their cable networks but I’m sure they will be extinct soon enough..)

Sagem 64140TThe upsides with DVB for a casual TV user such as myself, is the built-in standard EPG and the fact that the time is sent to allow “terminals” to sync and stay accurate easily. It would be even better if the Swedish broadcasters would a) send program data for more days ahead than what they currently do (currently they only provide roughly 48 hours ahead) b) fill in more details in the meta data about the programs – right now a film or a TV show can be explained as “American movie” or “drama” with no further explanation.

BTW, a little side-note. In my house-hold we switched to digital early this spring with the Stockholm area switched off analog and not long after the switch I one day noticed how my EPG would show all the Swedish åäö letters in a funny way (and my box uses the name of the show for recorded files so they ended up looking funny as well). It looked exactly like they were UTF-8 encoded suddenly – but assumed a more regular character set like iso8859-1 or similar. I filed a bug report to Teracom, and I don’t know if I had any impact at all but in a day or two the bug was gone.

Rockbox on iAudio 7

Cowon iAudio 7We’re slowly building a team and effort in the Rockbox project to make a port to the Cowon iAudio 7 player.

It’s a 60 gram 4/8/16 GB flash player with a 1.3″ 160×128 TFT LCD, FM tuner, Telechips TCC771 MCU and a bunch of chips familiar to us from other existing Rockbox ports.

TMM already bricked his first player…

Update: this entry does not allow comments anymore. Go to the Rockbox forums to continue!

Hacked not Voided

The other day while I was browsing the endless stream of pointless articles about iPhone this and iPhone that, I fell over this slashdot article that mentioned the US Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which basically says that a company cannot void a warranty just because the user has tampered with its software if the company cannot prove that the alternative software is to blame for the failure.Lots of Rockbox Targets

Of course I’m not a lawyer or even in the US, but it certainly seems to be something that should apply for quite a few Rockbox users who have feared returning broken units to manufacturers with the Rockbox installation left intact. (Both Archos and iriver are known to have refused to service such players – but I guess neither of those cases actually were in the US with US customers.)

It does however require that there is an existing written warranty in the first place.

And then I figure the struggle for a mere single human being to fight against one of these companies claiming that Rockbox isn’t to blame could be more than just a little intimidating and probably just won’t happen…

Movie Trailers by MMS

When I took the PendeltÃ¥get train home from work today, I couldn’t help noticing a big ad for some new Swedish upcoming film, displayed on the wall of the car. The ad wasn’t particularly interesting by itself, but I found the offer “SMS this word to this number and you’ll get a three minute trailer for the movie sent back to you as an MMS” shown on the ad a really cool idea.

I was tempted to do it just to try out the technology, but while I pondered about actually doing it I reached my station and I went off and forgot all about it…

Booting Linux Faster

I have to admit the little I’ve used SUSE Linux I just disliked it and the yast thing is completely inferior to debian’s system – a lot because of its slowness.

However, I noticed they’ve worked a lot on improving boot speed, boasting a cutdown from 55 seconds to 27, and I’m a bit jealous about that…

I  mean, I reboot like once every two months so I could save like 3 minutes of my life during a year. Not too shabby… 😛

Hack Everything!

Being an ordinary hacker person in an industrial country such as Sweden, I own lots of random technical devices that I either have and use in my home or carry around for my use and enjoyment. Most, if not all, of these provide a fair amount of features and bugs. Many of them are controlled by an internal microcontroller.

My dect phone, my gsm phone, my DVB-T boxes, my TVs, my music players, the “entertainment system” of my car, my DVD-players, my wifi-router, my printer, my digital camera, my GPS, my video camera and the likes.

lcddisplay.jpg

I seriously wish I had the docs and the source code for all of these, and thus the ability to change them to behave more like I want them to. I don’t believe I’m alone either. I wouldn’t even have to do most of these changes myself, we would have communities built up around basically all of these devices so that people from all over would share their ideas and code to improve your device. I would hack them all, if I could.

Of course, some of these devices aren’t at all possible to upgrade since they’re produced and sold without that ability and for those I’d have to accept this (and buy a different model the next time around), but a lot of these things can be reprogrammed at will already if we only knew how.

If only the manufacturers didn’t hate us.

libcurl in less than 50KB

Gary Maxwell enlightened us that his build (of a slightly older libcurl) is way below 50KB on an ARM7 architecture, while Dan Fandrich could squeeze the latest libcurl release to at least below 100KB on x86.libcurl

Of course these particular builds are fairly stripped down builds with only HTTP support left, but they are built from unmodified sources. Full-fledged builds with all protocols will of course be significantly larger.

libcurl bindings

Christopher Smith blogged about improving curlpp and not only did Jean-Philippe react immediately, it also showed me how far away I am from these C++ guys and their ideas and views of the world.

Not only I am not even aware of what functors and facets truly are (nor do I really care), but I find it interesting that the choice of them and whether or not one or the other is used or supported is such a religious thing…

You know what? The older I get, the less interested I get in the maze that is OO concepts. I just so have no interest whatsoever in C++ nor Java!

Of course I’m primarily happy they use libcurl and that they keep enhancing the ways people access it. I have work enough on the C API so I never really dive very deep in the various bindings (there are more than 30 these days).

On a slightly related note, there’s a second Lua binding now called Lua-cURL – the other one is actually called luacurl and yeah the names are… not very imaginative and very very very similar to each other.

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