20 Sep 2000 gtaylor   » (Master)

I created a suggested printers page on LinuxPrinting.org. It's gotten about 400 visitors in two days; obviously this was way overdue. Thanks go to Robert for helping identify the best inkjets in the low and mid range categories.

Lpdomatic should now handle ASCII jobs as well as Postscript, barring any embarassing silly bugs.

Cupsomatic should now handle options in all the usual CUPS and PPD ways, be they defaults in the PPD file, embedded in the job, or specified as CUPS job attributes. Various other minor bugixes happened as well.

I really must find a free software job. Many seemingly good nonfree prospects keep saying things like "we mostly use Word" and "we do Windows work, but are branching out into Linux". Urgh.

How to build a tivo

I've thought through how to construct a device with tivo-like functionality in my house, all for only four times what a tivo costs, albeit with better functionality, flexibility, and freedom. The end goal is a TV in the bedroom operated in normal remote-control style, that can watch live TV or anything from an assortment of automagically prerecorded stuff. There should be no computers etc in the bedroom; they're all in the basement or machine room, accesed via Ethernet or serial.

The key is that the second such TV I add to the system must then operate jointly with the first, so that it's one recording backend with two TVs seamlessly sharing data. The real fun comes in distributing backends across the net so that my freinds and family can share shows. But I digress...

The parts: a DC10-style MJPEG video card ($150?), a 30+ gig disk ($200?), my ratty old cyrix-based computer, a video overlay box ($100, run via rs232; it gives you esentially a 20x10ish text screen overlaid on the video, for control display), an Irman consumer IR input dongle ($30), an analagous consumer IR output dongle ($100! anyone got a cheaper source?), my existing cable box, my VCR (to demodulate the cable box's channel 3), and an RF modulator ($50-150).

The plan: cable-to-cablebox-to-VCR-to-DC10. Then DC10-to-overlay-to-RFmod-to-housecable. The computer itself is essentially headless. Control of all TV watching happens via IR input over cat5 to the computer in the basement; a w3m or similar web browserish interface displays on the overlay terminal to select the recorded show or live pass-through channel to watch, and whatever it is gets sent on channel 3 to that TV. The computer selects shows to record based on TV guide info parsed from yahoo, and records them by setting the channel on the cable box via IR out and writing mjpeg to disk.

It has the disadvantage of constructing mjpeg files, which aren't nearly as well-compressed as modern mpeg; my understanding is that mjpegs are essentially jpeg-encoded frames in sequence. Without the deltas, the compression is not ideal, although the hardware is much easier to build. This all stems from the DC10 card; I wasn't able to find a full-hardware mpeg implementation with linux drivers. If one exists, do tell...

Audio is also a bit uncertain. Apparently one often does the audio separately with a sound card and software encoding. I don't see how sync gets maintained, so a video editing-style card with integrated audio support would be the best deal.

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