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Wind way back nudged my dish out of alignment. I don't recall when, the last thing I recall watching on broadcast TV was the New Years' fireworks in London. However it was nice to have the satellite receiver, in standby mode, acting as a clock.
Lugging the netbook and TV capture card into the top floor of the cow barn was always a bit of a pain, moreso now that I use the machine with a proper flat screen monitor.

Then I remembered that I bought a little multistandard television last May, and it would run autonomously if I fed it 10 AA cells. So with that in hand, I patched the spare receiver into the dish and powered it up from the one socket. The little television running on its batteries provided the picture.

As the satellite dish was right behind me, and maybe a metre and a half from the receiver and the television, it was a doddle to move my dish into alignment. I started with BBC One South (a good, strong, signal) and then switched to horror channel (a much weaker signal), and finally to NHK World (of the second, offset, LNB). Everything was good, signal strengths were excellent. I knew I would need a very good signal as the alignment box is connected by about five metres of cable. The receiver in my bedroom was at the end of 30 metres including a cable join. There would be more losses there, so a good signal was essential.



We went to a vide grenier this morning. I have muscular pain, plus I am starting a course of (mild) antibiotics as my cough hasn't shifted in several weeks and that's not right. So mom had to bribe me with a McDonald's hot chocolate (Banania) in order for me to walk around with her.
It was a tiny vide grenier, maybe 25 people, but I found myself a spare Livebox for €10. I had picked up one last year, but decided to keep it running the older firmware as it streamed nicely to the iPad - something the new firmware struggles to do competently. So I was pleased to have a spare, and even if it didn't work, there were enough parts in the box to make the purchase worthwhile. Four line filters, two Livebox-to-phone sockets, two ADSL cables, two ethernet cables, a Skype something-or-other (looks like a cheap headset?), and three copies of the support CD. Oh yes, and something that looks like an S-video to phono cable. Or something like that, I don't know. It has nothing to do with the Livebox, at any rate.
I did a factory reset from the user interface and entered my ADSL sign in details. The Livebox then signed in as me and synchronised to the previous owner's telephone number. Well done Orange! So I reset the settings by poking the button at the back. After reconfiguring it again, it signed in as me. I asked it to upgrade itself to the latest firmware. It seemed to have some problem with this, given that it was stuck in the "Rescue firmware" for quite a long time (and numerous reboots) but eventually it booted properly with the current firmware. I configured the WiFi to have the same SSID and password as the current Livebox, so if anything happens, this ought to be a drop-in replacement. There is a lot still to configure (NAT, DDNS, DHCP assignments, blah blah) but for now, that's enough. I now have a functioning replacement that is near identical to the current box.
Three different support CDs, three different versions.
Protip: You can configure your Livebox directly by going to If your Livebox is new or has been factory reset, the password is "admin". You do not need to install the Orange bloatware.


Another cheap MIDI interface

I was sent an unwanted inexpensive MIDI interface (thanks David!) which will not be terribly useful for complex MIDI work as it is based upon the QinHeng CH345 chip - you know, the one that can't deal with more than about five notes without losing data. It will, however, be useful for testing my MIDI module if/when I get around to providing support for multiple MIDI devices. With my keyboard and two cheap USB to MIDI adaptors, I can now test three different MIDI ports. I hope soon to put aside some money for a basic WaveBlaster so I will also be able to test with three different MIDI devices (the older Roland keyboard uses serial MIDI too).

Just a shame there is currently no sequencer for RISC OS.

Opening up the hardware is dead easy, the case just clicks shut. At the top is my original crappy interface, and down the bottom is the one I was sent. The layout is different, but the basic premise is identical. A CH345 (or a clone of?) and a MIDI port wired as basically as possible. No opto-isolators either.

There is, inside, an extra little language bonus. The IN+ and IN- are captioned on the board using a numeral '1' instead of the letter 'I'. I guess it was maybe written in the design software by somebody not overly familiar with the Latin alphabet? Still, it is more readable than or or whatever the heck it would be in Chinese...


A sort of selfie

Just for the sake of it, I hooked up the Samsung SDC-415 security camera to my video capture box, and popped it on top of the RISC OS monitor using a bendy tripod.
So here you go. A not-so-great selfie. And it is rather less bright here than the camera implies.

To give you an idea, I have turned off all of the lights except the blue power indicator of the video capture box. It's a pretty bright indicator, fair enough, but I think many cameras would struggle to get a decent picture with the illumination of a single blue LED without being switched to some sort of long exposure mode (if available).

For comparison, here is how my phone did. Notice that I am blurry, it needed a few seconds to create this picture.

On the other hand, the phone doesn't have dozens of dodgy pixels showing up with strong amplification. ;-)



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