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Well, I did it.

I cut my hair.

My hair was normally cut by mom, and she was going to cut it again in July but instead ended up in hospital, then not able to move around, and then inconveniently dying. So, yeah, it's been well over a year.

Which meant it was long. I stuck it in a ponytail with a rubber band, but not being female I couldn't exactly use a hair clip. Rubber bands are...unpleasant.
Since getting/using Marte, it's pretty much a given that on any breezy day (all of them nowadays, why d'you think I never fly the drone?) I'll end up with half the lawn covering me. Marte is a total master at spewing grass cuttings into the air.

Washing grass bits out of long hair. It isn't fun.

Drying long hair in the winter. It isn't fun.

Long hair on a windy day poking you in the eye? Jeez, I don't know how girls with hair down to their waists cope - how the hell does one sleep with that?

So I got up, had tea, washed my pillows and sheet and hung them out to dry. And then took the scissors from my toolbox and lopped off the ponytail. Some poking and prodding later, more bits lopped off. Now it's a little shorter.

I suppose it doesn't help that I have hair like Johnson, only with more grey. Even freshly washed, brushed, and trying to be good ... it looks like an unkempt mess. It was less of a disaster when my hair had colour, it mostly lay flat. But this grey stuff? It does whatever the hell it wants.

Does it look bad? Probably.
Do I care? Not even remotely.


HDMI to composite video

In Châteaubriant the other day, I stopped at Action in order to get some more Celebrations (can't have too much of a good thing, right?). As I was there, I noticed an HDMI to composite video adapter for something silly like six euros.

Of course I got one.

It has an optional USB input to power the device, and this is recommended since the device claims (on the back) to require 1 amp. The HDMI power output is only really supposed to be "at least 55mA" as it is intended to power some sort of EPROM that can be interrogated by the host to figure out the capabilities of the attached display device. Whether the HDMI output is capable of running the adapter is a valid question. The Pi Zero did keep it going, when I knocked out the power by accident, but a diode on the Pi is liable to physically burn out if it continually supplies more than ~200mA. In short, devices such as these need to be self-powered.

Three RCA (phono) sockets provide composite video (CVBS) and the left and right audio channels.

The one and only control is a little switch to choose between NTSC and PAL. This will obviously alter the colour encoding method, and should also switch between 576i/50Hz (PAL) and 480i/60Hz (NTSC).

Since I don't have a display device capable of accepting composite video, I used the somewhat torturous path of taking an HDMI signal, using ths gizmo to convert it to composite video, and then using another gizmo to convert composite video to 1440×900 VGA for my monitor.

The first test was of my satellite receiver. All available output types (576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p) worked. Sometimes the adapter would get confused and I'd see a messed up monochrome with splotches of green and purple, however switching to a different output type and back again would get it to resync and lock into the signal. This syncronisation takes a couple of seconds each time.

The next test was with the Pi Zero running Kodi. Here, the light blue Kodi startup display did not work. It was torn across the screen. I wonder what resolution it was using? Kodi proper did work, both at its default resolution of 640×480 (I think I set that because of the little 5" TFT panel) and also when switched to 720p. Additionally, the command line worked, although it was hard to read. Just like the BBC Micros' MODE 0 on a TV!

Here's a photo (!) of the screen whilst Kodi is updating itself. As you can see, the results aren't that bad. Certainly you would lose quality as everything is being squished down to not only 720×576, but also putting luminance and combined chroma on the same wire.
However, if you have an HDMI device and nothing that can accept HDMI input, this would make a useful way to connect the two. At any rate, it isn't going to look any worse than the analogue broadcast television that people of my age grew up with.


And since I had Kodi running and visible on the screen...


Netflix on Kodi on a Pi Zero?

Not illegally, I should point out. I have a Netflix subscription.

It can be done, perhaps.

The first thing to note is that the maintainer of the Netflix package has changed recently, and Kodi has changed as well, to make a situation where a lot of the information on the Internet is just plain wrong.

The first thing to do is start up Kodi and make sure everything is up to date.

Then call up the shutdown/restart menu and choose Exit. This will cause Kodi to reboot. Don't worry, it is supposed to do this. Once upon a time it used to drop to a command line, but now it simply restarts.
To access the command line, press ESC when the startup splash screen appears.

You'll need to log in. On my Pi installation, the username is osmc and the password is osmc.

When you have a command line, enter these commands:

chmod +x
This will download, mark as executable, and then run a script that will fetch and install all the stuff required to get the Netflix add-on to work. Trust me, it's a pain in the ass otherwise so you'll want to do it this way.

Once it has completed, exit back to the Kodi UI. Then go to Add-Ons and "Install from zip file". It will be barred, so choose Settings and allow from unknown sources. You'll get a dire warning. Promise you'll behave, and the option will be set.

Go back to add-ons and choose Install from zip file once more. In the file selection that appears, go to Home and then... I think it was add-ons (I don't remember) and look for Once you have found it, let it install.

Now reboot.

Now when you go to Video in the main menu, and choose Add-ons, you will see Netflix there.

This is about as far as I got. I could not find any way to provide the add-on with my account details. Sources indicate that there's supposed to be something in the configuration, but I didn't see it. Only an option to logout (but I wasn't logged in!).
Perhaps because of this, trying to run the add-on would pop up the "Working" spinner for a while, before reporting "Netflix error" and giving up.

So near, yet so far...


Even more data!

Orange just sent me the following text:
Bonne nouvelle : votre offre s'enrichit de 30Go d'internet mobile. Vous bénéficiez désormais de l'offre Open Up 60Go sans changement de prix ni réengagement.
Which means that my mobile offer has gained 30GiB of data to give me 60GiB per month without any change in price or resetting the number of months my contact is valid for.

60 gigabytes per month? Or 2 a day (roughly)? What the hell am I supposed to do with that?
I thought it a bit excessive when my original 3GiB became 30, but now sixty?

Looking at my Netflix downloads, The Half Of It is 252MiB and The International is 496MiB, so that 2GiB represents perhaps six to eight hours of standard quality streaming every day.

Are there people who use that much data on a phone? I can imagine perhaps if it's tethered to a regular laptop with no broadband to fall back on, but just "as standard"?



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Joseps, 14th June 2020, 18:12
There has to be some trick to use a hairclip in a manly way. Maybe glueing a log or a full-size shovel, impregnated with petrol and grease essence. Just some ideas, although I also prefer the convenience of short hair. 
Regarding Netflix I ended buying a Mibox. It isn't that cheap but works pretty well. Funny thing, I ended my subscription some time ago, and now it just runs Kodi to play over smbb from a Raspberry4's usb drive. I should play Kodi in the Pi, but unfortunately, I have it in another room next to my 3d printers running octoprint and other server stuff.

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