Monday, September 24, 2007

TV Wiring Diagram

For all of you wondering how I have my SageTV box, a VCR/DVD, and a cable converter hooked up, here goes.

Input from the cable is split 4 ways. Leg 1 goes to VCR/DVD Antenna In. Leg 2 goes to the SageTV Antenna In. Leg 3 goes to the cable converter Antenna In. And finally, Leg 4 goes to the TV Antenna In.

The SageTV box also takes a Line In from the cable converter's Line Out. This uses the Left and Right audio outputs and an S-video output. The SageTV also outputs Line Out that goes into the TV Line 3 In.

The cable converter's ins and outs have been previously described except that the Left and Right audio outputs and Composite video are split and also go to the VCR/DVD Line 1 In. Originally, this was done so that I could record on the VCR from the cable converter which is no longer necessary.

The VCR/DVD Line Out goes into the TV's Line 1 In.

Yeah, it's a mess behind that entertainment center.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Last Fall when we went to Sun for an executive briefing, I fell in love with their Sun Fire X4500 ("Thumper"). I joked that I wanted one for home.

Now Data Robotics has an equivalent for the home market. The underlying technology is obviously different than Sun's Thumper but the result is similar.

It's a 4-bay SATA enclosure with USB 2.0 attachment. You just stick in a couple of drives and it figures out the best way to protect as much storage as possible. There's a good illustration of how it uses a mixture of RAID and mirroring in George Ou's blog post below.

If you need more space, add another drive or just pull out the smallest drive and stick in a larger one. Oh, don't worry about moving your data off before you do this. Just yank it out with the Drobo running.

With 2 400GB drives, I get 371GB protected. If I add another 400GB drive, I go to 743GB! Don't you love RAID? (Ok, pseudo-RAID)

Here's a couple of blog posts that give a lot more details.
It's worth a brief discussion of the related software. Data Robotics provides a Drobo Dashboard. You'd think it was not required as the Drobo presents to the operating system as a USB drive. However, currently there is a required firmware update for the Drobo that can only be installed via the Drobo Dashboard. So I installed the Dashboard.

But, it is a .NET 2.0 application. While the Drobo Dashboard was a 17MB download, the .NET Framework was a 23MB download. And now I have 3 Windows security patches to apply!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Google Street View

When I was driving down Poplar Pike last Thursday just after lunch, I saw this little Mini backing out of this driveway. It backed out onto Poplar Pike and proceeded East in front of me. It had blinking lights so I just assumed it was a mail carrier. As we stopped at Hacks Cross Road, I realized it had lettering across the back saying "Survey Vehicle" and a funky looking gadget on top. I had spotted a camera car for Google Street View!

He turned South and paused right on the railroad tracks. I can only presume he was trying to get a comprehensive shot of the grade crossing.

He went on South on Hacks Cross Road and turned East onto Ridgetown Lane.

So when the Google Street View for Memphis is available, remember you heard it here first. And look for the silver Camry on Poplar Pike near Hacks Cross Road!

Monday, September 03, 2007


One of my many quests is for a lightweight, free, PDF creator. I know there're tons of them around but they all seem to either require ghostscript or put a watermark on the output.

The other day, I came across doPDF. I saved it away for a rainy day.

Well, that day came around today. It's a quick download and install. It works well too.


I archive copies of my phone bill (around 30 pages and no, I don't have an iPhone). The copy created with doPDF was 745KB and the copy created with Adobe Acrobat 6.0 was 93KB. doPDF was set at 300 dpi and Acrobat at 600 dpi.


doPDF worked fine but 8 times bigger is really too much.