• Stack Overflow Careers

    Jeff has announced careers.stackoverflow.com, and I’ve jumped in quick to grab http://careers.stackoverflow.com/davidgardiner

    Some other places you can find me in the social network “cloud” are:

  • Getting podcasts onto my new phone

    add01_3301[1]I recently replaced my dead iPod Shuffle with a Samsung C3050 phone that amongst other things has music playing as a feature. I bought an 8Gb micro-SD card to go in the phone to store podcasts on.

    When I unpacked the phone from its packaging, I discovered that this phone uses a slightly annoying custom socket to connect to a PC, headphones or power jack. It also didn’t come with a USB cable in the box (so when the box said “supported USB” it didn’t mean “easily”). I ended up making my very first e-bay purchase and bought a $10 cable which did the trick.

    Now to get podcasts syncing…

    I had been using WinAmp with the Shuffle, but I found that its support for a basic USB drive (which is how the phone’s SD card appears when connected to the PC) was not perfect. After scrounging the net to find a decent podcatching application. Some of the problems I encountered along the way included MP3 files getting filenames that the C3050 didn’t like, MP3 files ending up in the wrong location on the SD card, and some software that just plain didn’t like the feed – the “.” in “.NET Rocks” seems to be a common cause of that.

    I finally found Mediafly. This site offers feed aggregation as well as software for syncing podcasts to various devices.

    I’d already started using SpokenWord.org to aggregate my feeds, so I just added my aggregated RSS feed URL - http://rss.spokenword.org/playlist/2940 – to Mediafly. It then started downloading the latest files, and I was able to sync them over to the SD card.

    So far it looks like this is working pretty well.

    The C3050 is a pretty basic phone (what do you expect for less that $100 from the local Vodafone shop), and the music player has a few annoying quirks – in particular it too easily forgets if it is part-way through playing a track, and there’s no way to determine (from the PC) what tracks have already been listened to. But in spite of that it does the job, which is the main thing.

  • Upgrading the Media Center to Windows 7

    After my success with upgrading my not-so-modern PC to Windows 7, I thought I’d take another plunge and do an upgrade of my Vista Media Center machine. This is the family TV so any problems would not go down too well!

    The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor didn’t flag any major showstoppers, but it did suggest uninstalling the ATI Control Center (which I did). It also warned that I may need to upgrade the drivers for the iMON device (this is the front-panel display on the Antec Fusion 430 Silver case and IR receiver for the remote control). Conveniently, just before I installed Win7, iMON reported that there was a new update available so I allowed that to go through, hoping it would help avoid some of the problem some people have had.

    I inserted the Windows 7 Ultimate x86 DVD, ran setup and selected ‘Upgrade’. Probably about an hour later (and 2-3 reboots) it was all done.

    A quick check confirmed that yes, live TV still worked (phew!) – and so did the remote control.

    Going to the Guide showed the new layout, but oh dear – there were no listings for any of the ABC or SBS channels – hmm that could be a problem. But that was enough for one night, so I left it there.

    The next morning, I woke up to discover that the kids had already figured out how to watch the previous night’s recording of Ice Age – which was a good sign that nothing had changed too dramatically!

    I recall seeing mention in the Australian Media Center Community forums that Windows 7 would finally allow use of the FM radio tuner included in the Hauppauge HVR-2200. I went to the FM Radio menu but it said I needed to add a tuner, even though the upgrade had found the 2 digital tuners ok, so I followed these steps:

    First, choose Analogue antenna

    Confirm 2 analogue tuners are available

    Now choose to set up the digital tuners

    Confirm 2 digital tuners

    2 analogue and 2 digital tuners will be configured

    Scanning begins

    Analogue as well as digital channels are found

    TV Signal is now finished

    Then I was able to go to the Radio menu item, choose FM Radio, then enter the frequency for a local radio station!

    Enter 107.9 to get Life-FM in Adelaide

    I was intrigued about what to do about the missing TV guide information for the ABC channels in the guide. Mike Hayton (from Microsoft) posted this explanation of how the guide gets updated, so I configured the Automatic Download setting to ensure the guide gets a chance to grab the latest listings..

    Windows 7 TV Guide

    So, thus far everything has gone very well. The upgrade went without a hitch and everything appears to be working at least as well as before. One problem I did have with Vista MCE was for some reason I was never able to upgrade the ATI video drivers beyond around version 8.4. Every time I tried a newer version, the machine would BSOD. So far the upgraded machine seems stable with the latest video drivers from Windows Update (8.632.1.2000 17-Oct-2009).

    I see from New Magic’s drivers page that there’s an updated driver for the HVR-2200 for Windows 7. I’ll have to check whether that got installed through Windows Update, otherwise I’ll install that just to keep current.