Archive for August, 2009

Review: Pontypool (2008)

Monday, August 24th, 2009 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

Pontypool2008Winter in Canada, a guy is on it’s way to work. It’s early in the morning, still night, he is on his way to his morning shift working as a radio host. What starts as a normal work day soon evolves into a complete mess of news and facts of what is happening on the outside. The viewer stays with the moderator, just listening to the reports of bloodshed and a weird virus that is spread by words! “War of the Worlds” (the radio play!) meets “Tape“.

The main actor is really cool (Stephen McHattie), the story is a refreshing change to the straightforward “atomic waste” or “five kids in the wood” films. Unfortunately the story telling is not good, it just looses it’s logic half way through the film with just random events happening. Still, above average for good acting and a nice idea.

6.5/10 – quite well done but too far fetched and illogic

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smoking, again

Friday, August 21st, 2009 | Misc | 2 Comments

Blogging about quitting is nice, but the real world is different. I struggled for 5 months – no smoke at all, but after one and yet another one I am an addict again. This sucks (literally), but I couldn’t see my tag cloud any more without posting this “confession”. I feel a bit sorry for myself, but I was constantly thinking about it, and in the end started again, because not smoking became a pain as well (thought about it almost every day). I guess I’ll have to wait for the time I just really want to quit, not just prove something to me.

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flawless x264 1080p playback on Intel Atom – finally!

Friday, August 21st, 2009 | Gadgets, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Full_HD_Logo.jpgA few month ago I tried to get x264 encoded material working on my eeebox and had to resign. The eeebox is fine for a XviD media center, but is just not powerful enough for top notch x264 playback. I wanted to have a cheap media center, silent, low power consumption, just working. If you treat your eee or whatever Intel Atom system right, you will be happy with a lean, efficient, best “value for money” box. The eeebox worked fine so far, XP with mplayer, fast and no hick-ups, but not x264 capable.

asrockAfter buying myself a big full HD TV (47″ Philips 9703D) I had to think again. Watching my Blue Rays (PS3 playback) as they were meant to be watched I can’t stick to my little eeebox any more. The recent ION systems sounded good enough for a try. I bought myself an ASRock ION 330. Basically it’s an eeebox with a dual core cpu and a nvida graphics processor. The cpu upgrade is nice but not necessary, the gpu really makes the difference.

If you want to know whether your system is up to date try watching this and have a look at your cpu.

My first try was to play back some 1080p material in Windoze XP. Well, playback was better as on the eee, but still choppy and not in sync. Looking at the cpu I saw, that my machine was far from using the gpu for decoding. Google revealed that you need PureVideo, which is a driver that you have to pay for. Come on, I just paid for the hardware! Now you are trying to rip me off just to use it? This was not an option, so I installed Mint 7 – and what should I say? Everything works as smooth as a f*** with free software. Just to tease you to read on: my low end system idles at 8 to 10% cpu during smooth and synced 1080p playback. Finally, a little dream come true!

Okay, this is how you get your ION system working:

  1. install your favorite flavored Linux, I went for Mint 7
  2. 
    
  3. install the nvidia drivers (download, gdm stop, install, gdm start)optional: enable compiz using the “extra” effects level just to see how fine your gpu works (I can even wobble my windows with a video playing inside – how kewl is that on a <$300 system?) 🙂
  4. 
    
  5. compile mplayer from source
  6. $sudo apt-get install build-essential subversion
    $sudo apt-get build-dep mplayer
    $svn checkout svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/mplayer/trunk mplayer
    $ cd $HOME/mplayer
    $ ./configure
    $ make
  7. enjoy
  8. $mplayer -vo vdpau -vc ffh264vdpau video.mkv

You need a custom build mplayer for having the option to use nvidia’s gpu API (the configure script will output something like VDPAU=yes as an option for your build). The pre compiled version doesn’t come with VDPAU support.

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