0Media Player Classic - Home Cinema LogoPlay BluRays and DVD’s in MediaCenter with MPC-HC

I’ve long run Win­dows Media Cen­ter on my HTPCs in com­bin­a­tion with DVBLink and Medi­aB­rowser.  How­ever, recently we have been watch­ing more phys­ical disks than in the past, and I have found vari­ous issues with Media Cen­ter.  Usu­ally I have MPC-HC con­figured as an external player, but doing this for phys­ical disks proved less than simple.  Even­tu­ally how­ever, I have man­aged to get it work­ing flawlessly.

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0Plasma_TVFix grey letterbox bars on LG Plasma TV

I have an LG Plasma TV as part of my main HTPC setup.  Although I cal­ib­rated it (and turned off things like dynamic con­trast) when I first got it, I have always had an issue with the let­ter­box bars (e.g. on 2.4:1 ratio films) look­ing grey — i.e. being lighter than the darkest parts of the film.  I googled to try to find a solu­tion but was even­tu­ally con­vinced by repeated for­ums that it was just my per­cep­tion and even­tu­ally gave up.

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0Ultrabook logo laptop vaio sonyBluetooth drivers for Sony Vaio unknown device

I was recently asked to look at a Sony Vaio VPCSB which was detect­ing new hard­ware on every Win­dows boot.  The machine was oth­er­wise work­ing well.  Upon inspec­tion I dis­covered that there were sev­eral unknown devices which seemed to be related to Bluetooth.  I rein­stalled the latest drivers from the Sony web­site but this failed to clear the unknown devices.  The search was on… (more…)

0Asus E35M1-I Deluxe Wi-Fi AMD Fusion Mini-ITX MotherboardFixing stability issues with Asus E35M1-M Pro

The basis of my main HTPC is an AMD E350 Brazos in the form of an Asus E35M1-M Pro. I had quite a lot of prob­lems with the sys­tem when I first built it, which were caused by issues with the Seag­ate Momentus XT stor­age drive I used. These were fixed a good while ago via firm­ware update from Seag­ate, and since then the sys­tem has largely worked without any issue. (more…)

0adobeRestoring Adobe Application Manager updates

In a recent update to Cre­at­ive Suite 6 Adobe have changed the func­tion­al­ity of the Applic­a­tion Man­ager.  This used to launch the same Applic­a­tion Updates win­dow that is avail­able when select­ing Help: Updates from within any Adobe App, but it now launches a login win­dow for Cre­at­ive Cloud, which not all CS6 users have or want.  A simple change will have the ori­ginal func­tion­al­ity restored

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0Alarm Clock LogoKeeping your HTPC clock in sync

I’ve had a long-standing issue with my HTPC where it loses a minute or two every day.  If I leave it switched on for weeks on end, with only standby util­ised, I find that it starts miss­ing the start or end of TV pro­grammes due to hav­ing the wrong time.  I’ve tried modi­fy­ing the win­dows time ser­vice set­tings to make it update reg­u­larly, but this hasn’t worked.  Thanks to an art­icle on Life­Hacker I recently stumbled upon I’ve now had an accur­ate clock for a couple of weeks. (more…)

2pale moonPale Moon: Firefox enhanced and in 64bit

I’ve been look­ing for a 64bit Fire­fox for a couple of years now, pretty much since Java and Flash player became avail­able in 64bit.  Moz­illa seem in no hurry to pro­gress the mine­field night­lies into a full release, but sev­eral third parties have taken the open source code and com­piled it for 64bit.  I’ve looked at sev­eral of these and the best sup­por­ted and most reg­u­larly updated seems to be a build called Pale Moon.

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1CoolerMaster Elite 335 PC CaseThe end of regular PC price drops?

I reg­u­larly build PCs for people, and have recently been look­ing at a high end spec for someone.  I star­ted, as I often do, by look­ing at what I’d got for a high end sys­tem about a year ago, to see if it was worth mov­ing up the the new gen­er­a­tion, or if a sub­stan­tial drop in the older spec made it tempt­ing to repeat.  In the past the year old sys­tem has always been sub­stan­tially cheaper, so I was quite sur­prised to find that this time it wasn’t.  (more…)

1Media Player Classic - Home Cinema LogoHow to set remote control jump keys for MPC-HC

As I’ve doc­u­mented in the past, I have sev­eral HTPC’s run­ning Win­dows Media Cen­ter.  I also use Medi­aB­rowser for TV series and movies ripped from disk.  I’ve found that Medi­aB­rowser works much bet­ter with an external player than the internal player — per­form­ance seems to be super­ior — so I use Media Player Clas­sic Home Cinema.  I also have sev­eral Media Cen­ter remote con­trols for use with the vari­ous HTPCs, and one of the most fre­quently used pairs of but­tons are the “jump” or “skip” but­tons which in media cen­ter jump the cur­rent play­back for­ward by 30 seconds or back by 30 seconds.  This is really handy for skip­ping adverts in recor­ded TV.  How­ever, under default install­a­tion set­tings these keys don’t work when play­ing videos in MPC-HC.  After much trial and error I finally figured out the cor­rect configuration

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0Adblockplus_iconGoogle removes ad blocking apps: Get them here

It seems that the formerly “do no evil” google have decided to remove all ad block­ing apps from the Play Store.  For­tu­nately it has always been pos­sible to install apps dir­ectly from the APK files — as long as you can find them.  The 3 most pop­u­lar ad block­ing apps are still avail­able to down­load in apk format, all you need to do is enable the installing of apps from “unknown sources” some­where in your phones settings.

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