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.
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.
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…)
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…)
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
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…)
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.
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…)
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
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.