Category Archives: Tech

Anything technology related that isn’t covered by one of the sub categories.

“Macs rule!” or “Honey, where’s the remote?”

As you know, I got an EyeTV Hybrid, and I’m very happy with it. One of the nice things about the device is that you can control it with your Apple remote, if you attach it to a Mac that includes one. Unfortunately, I’m using the EyeTV with the PowerMac in my basement, which does not.

So the obvious next question is, how could I remote control the EyeTV. (Because you know, it’s not a real TV until it has a remote control. :-))

First off, the EyeTV appears to have an IR receiver built into it, so I tried a couple of the universal remotes I had around the house, but didn’t get any reaction.

I then considered just buying a remote. The Elgato site identifies several commercial Mac remotes that will work with the EyeTV, but even I could figure out that buying one doesn’t make sense: it’s not like I’m actually going to use it, I just want to be able to claim that I could.

Then it came to me: Salling Clicker!

Salling Clicker is a software package that allows you to remote control almost anything on your Mac (or PC) using a bluetooth cell phone or PDA. I’ve been running it on my laptop for quite a while. It’s a convenient way to make sure that I always have a presentation remote with me, since I know I’ll be carrying my cell phone.

There was only one problem: The G5 doesn’t have a bluetooth interface either.

Now, I still had a D-Link USB bluetooth transceiver from back in the days when I used to use my PC for something other than game playing. I remembered from the last time I plugged it into the PC that it needed a very specific driver to work, so I went to the D-Link site, only to find out that there was no Mac driver. Hm… Oh well, I plugged it in anyway and, as I should have guessed, the Mac recognized it immediately.

The rest of the story is short: installed Salling Clicker, paired my phone with the Mac, discovered that Clicker already knew how to control the EyeTV (woot!), and happily spent the rest of the night clicking through the channels.

EyeTV Hybrid

I decided to purchase an EyeTV Hybrid. I was frustrated with the quality of the TV listings software I was using and, from all accounts, the EyeTV software is the best thing you can get on the Mac. I wasn’t able to find the device at any local retailers (of course, *sigh*) so I ordered one from CDW.ca. This took quite a bit longer than I expected, but it finally showed up today and I just hooked it up.

It’s an interesting beast. It uses software decoding, so (unfortunately) it uses significantly more CPU than the old one. On my G5, that works out to be about 25% when just streaming live TV and close to 95% when recording. Note: 95% is fine; max load is 200% on a dual CPU box.

The good news is that the picture quality is significantly better than the old myTV.PVR box (including de-interlacing on the fly, *woot!*), and the software works. Here’s the proverbial “picture worth a thousand”:

EyeTV software running on the G5

The even better news is that, even though EyeTV does not directly support Canadian TV listings, Guillaume Boudreau’s EyeTV EPG Proxy worked perfectly me. One caveat: Setting up the virtual host to fake out data.titantv.com convinced Great Castle Wilson that it’s name was “localhost”. It took me a while to figure how to fix that, but it’s all good now.

Windows XP. Bah.

On my Windows box, it runs some funky “welcome screen” thing each time it wakes from the screensaver. I suppose that’s a feature, but what bugs me about it is if I click the “shutdown the computer” button, it says “There are people logged onto this computer. Do you really want to shut down.”

The thing is, there aren’t “people” logged on. There’s just one, and it’s me. So instead of checking who is logged on, noticing there’s only one, and saying “McQ is logged onto this computer…” so I can shutdown without stress, I end up worrying if someone has rshell’ed in from somewhere and is hacking my machine.

It’s a perfect example of the design ethic at Microsoft.

Random Mac tip for the day

For some reason, one of the folders inside my Applications folder keeps getting hidden. I’m not sure why this happens, but I suspect it’s a side-effect of updating one of the standard applications that I use.

In case this happens to you, and you want to make a hidden file visible again, then the simplest way to do it is to do:

/Developer/Tools/SetFile -a v YourFileOrDirectory

Obviously, you must have the developer tools installed to have this command available.

PDAs are dead.

It happened last week. As of today, no PDAs appear in either the Future Shop, Best Buy, or The Source fliers that came with our local newspaper. There aren’t even any non-phone PDAs on the Future Shop website.

Weird. I knew it was coming, but I just didn’t notice how fast.