Man Cave Part 1

I have started converting a two-and-a-half single-brick internal garage into a man cave. It will be a place for the family to play the arcade machines. It will also be the kids play/rumpus room, until they get a bit older and then I convert it into a true mancave with darts, pool table, bar, projector etc.

I am not a builder so I am learning as I go. I started a few days. I have constructed a timber frame to hang gyprock sheets. The frame is made of 70x35mm structural pine. I’ve bolted the frames to the brick piers using 100mm screws and wall plugs. As the timber wall sits directly on the concrete floor and touches some brickwork below the damp-course I’ve used some 500 micron dampcourse tape to insulate the timber from the brick and concrete.

When I pulled my compound drop/mitre saw out of storage it died on first use. Acrid black smoke came out of the motor. Not a good start. I used the hand-saw and a small circular saw for the rest of that day then purchased a mega-cheap drop saw from Aldi’s the next day. I picked up some R1.5 wall batts from bunnings and got the walls up. See pics.

I am getting ready to hang the gyprock. I found a few videos on youtube about hanging drywall. I was a bit concerned that some of the joins wouldn’t match up with timber behind it – but from the video it looks as if it doesn’t matter too much for the horizontal joins. From what I can tell only the butt joins have to be secured on timber.

Color Nook Color Video Playback – MobileRead Forums

Just found this from Exdous1999 and Baka no Kami: Tested and worked perfectly for me. Messed around a little and finally found settings that work for making nookcolor compatible video. I used a converted called Handbrake which is available here: http://handbrake.fr/ If you need help using Handbrake check the user manual they have on the site.

Set the output container to MP4

On the video tab set the video codec to MPEG-4 FFmpeg .

Set the Target Size to something appropriate for the type of video. I find that 175MB for every 30minutes of video gives a good picture, so an hour long TV show would be 350MB a 2hr movie 700MB, etc.

On the audio tab highlight whatever is in the bottom box and hit the remove button. The audio turned out to be the problem the first couple of times I tried this, the audio on my original file had a sample rate of 48 and the NC wouldn t play it, when I lowered the sample rate suddenly the video worked. So, set the autotab like this:

Source: Automatic or use the drop down to choose which audio track you want if the video has multiple

Audio Codec: AAC faac

Mixdown: Stereo

Samplerate: 44.1

Bitrate: 128

Now hit the Add button. The only thing left is to set the destination for the final file. Browse to whatever folder you want, but be sure to use .mp4 or .m4v as the file extension, if you use anything else the NC will not recognize it as a video file even if everything else is right.

Now hit the start button at the top and go read a book while you wait for Handbrake to process the video. Other settings may also work for video, but so far this is the only thing that worked for me, so it s what I m sticking with.

via Color Nook Color Video Playback – MobileRead Forums.

Pinball Machine Emulation

Wow, check out the vids on this page of some super-dooper fancy pinball emulation.

Especially this vid – wow!

Not the same as the real thing but at ~$6K for an “Addams Family” pinball machine (and another few thousand to fix it up) it’s as close as I am going to get.

HyperPin, VP9, and Dream Pin a work of art!!!

Finnally got around to installing some VP9 tables… VP8 didnt really impress me too much, but VP9 blew me away. Must say these guys did a great job.

via Hackall – hyperpin.

Genetic Algorithm Library – CodeProject

Genetic Algorithms

Genetic algorithms operate on a set of possible solutions. Because of the random nature of genetic algorithms, solutions found by an algorithm can be good, poor, or infeasible [defective, erroneous], so there should be a way to specify how good that solution is. This is done by assigning a fitness value [or just fitness] to the solution. Chromosomes represent solutions within the genetic algorithm. The two basic components of chromosomes are the coded solution and its fitness value.

via Genetic Algorithm Library – CodeProject.

Digital Standards Organization

I am a big believer in open source, open standards, open everything. I noticed this from Digital Standards Organization:

What is an open standard? The Wikipedia page shows many definitions, which specify characteristics of a specification, or of the processes that produce it and make it available.

To understand why there is no single agreed definition, and to let us build a canonical definition, we can start with two observations:

1. The standardization process is driven by two conflicting economic motives. Established vendors see standards as a route to direct profits, while the market at large sees standards as a route to lower costs.

2. As the economic has become digital, governments – both as users and regulators – have become engaged in the conflict between these two interest groups.

Read more here: Digital Standards Organization – Free and Open Digital Standards

P.S. – I love using the letter “z” in words. I never get to use them in UK/Australian english.  🙂

My new toy: Pivot

The joy of coding kicked in again the other night after a colleague mentioned Pivot, a tool made by MS. Part of my organisations work involves ingesting and understanding massive datasets. My colleague was interested in using Pivot to help display information to the business users. What is Pivot? Watch this TED Talk for a quick run-down:

After hearing my colleague talk about it and seeing the aforementioned TED Talk my coding juices started flowing. It was as if Pivot was my hammer. So many things at work could be displayed so efficiently via Pivot.  Not having coded in a while I had to reinstall Visual Studio. (I downloaded the Express version as I suspect my MSDN licence will soon be given away to another employee…)

After playing with PhotoPivot and grabbing the source I thought I’d have a go at creating some pivot data files that let me browser my music collection in Pivot. I figured that as I’ve got the album art for most of the albums it would look pretty good. Plus I can pull out metadata like Artist, Release Year, Album Name, Genre, File Type, Bit Rate, Beats Per Minute, Track Count, Album Size, Album Duration straight from either the audio files or from their directories.

I bashed out some code late at night the last two evenings after the family had gone to bed. Very happy with the outcome so far, but the size of the collection smashed Pivot. I have not optimised the images at all – not using DeepZoom yet. Trying to view the entire collection caused Pivot to hang 4 out of 5 times.

Progress so far is good. I’ve whipped up a shoddy Visual Studio (Express) solution that creates the cxml file, based only on facets like Artist, Release Year and Album Name. So far so good. Tonight I’ll be working on implementing DeepZoom. That should free up a lot of RAM on my poor box – it only has 4GB RAM and Pivot seems to use every bit of it. That being said the memory requirements of my collection should drop by a large degree when I properly implement DeepZoom. I found a little discussion regarding how to implement DeepZoom using the pAuthor libraries so I will probably implement the same thing in my code.

I have found a few implementations of Pivot libraries online. I am using them as a reference of things I can do…