Wanted to Buy: New MythTV Frontend

October 26th, 2008, 9:33 pm PST by Greg

At some point in the not-too-distant future, I’d like to replace my Myth frontend. I have been doing some thinking about what I really need for this computer, which sits with my home theatre equipment and makes me watch the TV I want to watch.

The current incarnation has a single Hauppauge tuner card for recording. I also have a dual-tuner card in my main computer for a total of three. The magic of MythTV means that I can watch any recordings on the frontend.

I am now starting to think that I don’t really need to record on my frontend. I could do all of the recording on my main computer, and just do playback on the frontend. That would eliminate the need for much storage on the frontend, so I could eliminate the hard drive altogether and just have a few gigs of flash for the operating system. Everything else could be on a network share.

I don’t have any immediate plans to go to high definition, so the processor needs for playback-only would be pretty minimal by modern standards. A little Atom processor should do it. The Atom + motherboard should sip little enough power that it can be passively cooled, if the case is right.

So, my list of requirements becomes:

  • Intel Atom or similar low-power processor.
  • digital video output (DVI-D or DVI-I or HDMI) and digital audio output (S/PDIF coax or fiber).
  • a motherboard that can boot from USB (or a CF card or something).
  • some kind of remote control input. I haven’t quite worked this one out yet: it could just be a serial or USB port with some generic IR receiver.
  • a nice little case that blends well into a home theatre rack.
  • no fans, hard drive, or other moving parts.
  • ethernet.

I have looked around, but can’t find anything that hits all of the key points there. (Some of the contenders I have looked at are Shuttle and Hush. The picoPSU could figure into the plan too.)

Anybody have any suggestions?

Awesomesauce Videos

October 23rd, 2008, 10:03 pm PST by Greg

I have two video links to share, both of which are serious must-sees.

First is Ron Howard’s Call To Action. I’m sure many of you saw this in your favourite aggregator today, but if not, it’s awesome.

Second, I have been wasting my life opening wine bottles! I was shocked when I saw this video about removing wine bottle foil, and even more shocked when I tried it and it worked.

Wacky Predictions

October 10th, 2008, 3:46 pm PST by Greg

Since my last prediction worked out so well, I have decided I should make more. [Keep in mind that I’m totally making this stuff up: I wouldn’t bet the farm on any of it. I’m also not saying that I want this stuff to happen, just that I think it will.]

First, the most important thing in the whole universe, ever: the US presidential race. It’s no longer terribly controversial to predict that Obama is going to win, so I’ll have to go wackier.

Prediction 1: In the lead-up to the election, McCain will continue personal attacks on Obama. This will annoy voters and open up Obama’s lead. Obama will continue to do what he has been doing the whole time: “I don’t want to make personal attacks; I want to talk about the issues and have this good economic plan.”

Prediction 2: Obama wins with 55–60% of the vote. I’ll say 57% (a 14 point spread). I have no good sense of how that plays out in the electoral college. (At the moment, electoral-vote.com has 343-184 with 11 too close to call.)

Prediction 3: The Dow Jones will continue to slide down until late October, and will begin to rise slowly after that. Pundits will blame this on Obama’s pending victory, even though it’s just bargain hunters in the market. Either way, I will effectively be betting real money that this guy is right (about the market, not the lame money-saving tips). [Edit 10/12: and this guy.]

Prediction 4: As to the Canadian election, electionprediction.org is currently predicting another Conservative minority, which is probably where the smart money would go. I’m going to go crazy and predict a Liberal minority. No real reason other than 4 parties beating up on Harper might take its toll.

Let’s see how I do. Anybody got anything to add?