A197XP Issues

I mentioned back in July that I was having problems with my (quite old now) Sony VAIO A197X. Back then I considered re-installing Windows, but never got round to it.

I don’t really want to abandon it, as it does have a lovely 17″ screen, 1920 x 1080 resolution, which makes it great for watching video.

Sometimes the DVD player does not work as expected sometimes.

Tonight I was watching BBC iPlayer, I watched Doctor Who and that worked fine, but trying to watch Being Human and it decided that was too much…

I think it may have got too hot.

The video froze, despite restarting the browser, I couldn’t get the video working.

In the end I turned it off and watching iPlayer on my Mac.

I think I will now need to reinstall Windows.

No joy with Sony PSP and JoikuSpot Premium

Last October I mentioned that I had tried to connect an Nokia N810 to the internet via JoikuSpot Lite running on my Nokia N95 with no luck.

Well, no I couldn’t. For some reason though it could  connect to the JoikuSpot wireless network, it would not get to the JoikuSpot launch page and as a result no other internet access was possible.

I have since then upgraded to JoikuSpot Premium and have been very pleased with it in regard to using my laptops and the iPod touch.

The other day I tried to access the internet using a Nokia N810 with no luck.

I have now tried with Sony’s PSP and get a similar experience to the Nokia N810.

Basically it wouldn’t get an IP address from the N95.

As I said before I suspect that though the N95 is acting as a wireless router, it is still “seen” by other devices as an ad hoc wireless network rather than an infrastructure wireless network and for some reason the PSP like the N810 doesn’t like this and therefore does not get a valid IP address.

Just as an aside I also tried with a Windows Mobile PDA, and no luck, but then I always have real issues with connecting a Windows Mobile device to any wireless network!

EyeHome stopped

I really do like my EyeHome media streamer and it look like it has stopped working (again). It’s at time like these why I remember why I blog, when it didn’t work before I was advised by Elgato to leave it off for a long time, so at the moment it is unplugged and (probably) cooling down.

The EyeHome is now four years old (which is a long time in consumer electronics) and starting to show its age.

Sadly Elgato no longer make the EyeHome device, so I will need to look for a possible replacement. The key issue will be, can it play the raw MPEG2 recordings from Elgato?

In the interim I am using MediaServer from Twonky and streaming to a Sony PS3, but this doesn’t work with MPEG2 files, works fine with the MP4 iPod versions which the EyeTV creates, but these take a long time to export.

So if I can’t find a media streamer which works with MPEG2, I may just invest in one of the Elgato turbo.264 USB devices to speed up the encoding.

When the GO!ng gets tough, the tough get going…

Okay, in a previous post I mentioned how I quite liked the GO!VIEW service for the PSP from Sony and Sky.

Having now used the service for two months I have unsubscribed.

I think I would have probably unsubscribed last month, but the service wouldn’t let me so I was automatically subscribed for another month.

So what’s the problem, it’s not as if I don’t watch “rented” video?

Well let’s see?

Was it easy to find what you wanted?

Basically yes, the Flash based interface was a little annoying and a little too clever for it’s own good, but for most purposes it was fine.

Were the files good quality?

Yes, as I said previously:

The quality of the Doctor Who video was quite poor, almost VHS quality, however I was more impressed with the quality of the Hustle video which was (in my opinion) as good as the quality I have managed converting EyeTV Freeview recordings.

Was it easy to move the files to the PSP?

Yes, and when you consider I was doing this on parallels on my iMac, I had added a extra layer of complexity.

So why have you unsubscribed then?

To be brutally honest, the one reason I have unsubscribed is that there is no new content.

In the last two months, there have been no additions to the content line-up. So we have Hustle season 1, but no seasons 2, 3 or even 4! We have Spooks season 1, but none of the other seasons. We have a single Doctor Who story and though you can rent the new Doctor Who, as part of the Entertainment package you only have the single Jon Pertwee Spearhead from Space.

True I could have watched other stuff, but I didn’t want to watch Desperate Housewives or badly made TV movies. I wanted more of the stuff I had watched.

So though it was only costing £5 per month, I’d rather not pay £5 per month for re-watching the same content again and again…

If they bring in new content, I may subscribe, but for now I’m going…

Oh dear VAIO problems!

VAIO TZ

Sony have had an issue with a few, well more than a few, of their VAIO laptops according to a BBC report.

Sony is recalling 440,000 Vaio laptop computers worldwide because of wiring faults that could cause overheating.

The recall concerns 19 Vaio models in the TZ series manufactured between May 2007 and July 2008 – but does not include models sold in the UK.

Luckily doesn’t personally affect me, nor any other VAIO laptops in the UK.

Serving media through the home

I really like my EyeHome device. I’ve had it a few years now and even had it fixed in Germany one time when the power supply failed. Changing to 802.11n made it much better and more capable of showing content from my Mac on my television.

It’s such a great concept I did wonder if I would be able to serve media to other devices and not just the EyeHome.

This came up recently when I put a Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) under my television which can act as a uPnP device and serve content from an appropriate media server. Not only that, but you can pair a PlayStation Portable (PSP) with the PS3 to be able to access the PS3 remotely.

A plan was starting to form…

If I could get the PS3 to access content from the Mac, I could then watch it remotely on the PSP. The PSP didn’t like accessing content direct from the Mac, so this could work, couldn’t it?

The first issue was getting some media server software running on the Mac, the EyeHome software didn’t work; and though Elgato make a uPnP software product, EyeConnect, it appeared from the Elgato website that the PS3 as a media extender was not in the list of supported extenders, and there were a few reports in the Elgato forums which kind of put me off. There is a 30 day trial, so I might give it a go later.

What did come out in my research was Twonkymedia.

The PacketVideo MediaServer enables you to share your multimedia throughout your home. It is available for many different platforms and interworks with a large variety of client devices including XBox 360™, Sony PS3™ and Sony PSP™. TwonkyMedia requires fewer resources and is faster than other UPnP media servers, and provides more features that help users enjoy large media collections.

Installed and ran it…

Worked very well.

The PS3 picked up the iMac which I was running the software on.

The PSP picked up the PS3 – though I believe that the PSP can access the media direct, but I was trying to be clever!

I tried a few other devices.

The iPod touch through the web interface could access the media.

My Nokia N95 could access the server, and the media.

A Nokia N810 could access the media, it just couldn’t play it!

Overall I was impressed, very likely to pay the €30 it costs.

Well, not having much success…

I have been using a Vodafone USB 3G stick with my Sony VAIO UX1XN with some success now. However downside is that it sticks out the side and I do worry it might break off (which would be annoying).

I do have a T-Mobile phone and a 3G data plan with them, which allows me to use my phone as a modem. This has worked fine on my Mac, but I decided it would be good to use it with my UX1XN.

However I not having much sucess.

I first tried the Nokia N series software, which required about 100MB of stuff to be downloaded…

This eventually installed, and after I had paired with my Nokia N95, I expected things to go smoothly.

However it failed to make a connection as it said that the modem was being used by another application.

This unhelpful error was because the modem drivers needed resinstalling and the help unhelpfully said that, but didn’t say how to do it!

So after a few attempts, I gave up and used System Restore to rid myself of the Nokia software.

I then tried the standard Nokia software (which also works with N series phones) and alas everytime I tried to to get a connection, the Bluetooth software would case a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

Using Windows Me I would get BSOD all the time, with Windows XP it was quite a rare occurence. On Windows Vista on the UX1XN I get them all the time, I keep having Windows Me flashbacks.

After a couple of attempts, I decided to use the VAIO Update feature to see what new drivers  were available.

So have spent the best part of a day, downloading updates and installing them. The automatic updates took their time, but there were a bundle of non-automatic updates, most of which consisted of:

Download update

Uninstall software

Restart

Install new software

Restart

It wouldn’t be so bad, but Windows Vista on the UX1XN takes an age to start up.

Getting there, final update being installed, will try Nokia software again!

Fast, really fast

Most of the time I am using my Vodafone 3G USB stick is with my Mac. I have though recently been using it with a Sony VAIO UX1XN. One of the key differences is that the Vodafone connection software in Windows gives you a lot more information on the connection than it does on a Mac.

Using it recently I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of things.

Firstly speed. Now Vodafone advertises that you can get 7.2Mbps on the stick, which to be honest I believe only happens in London or outside Vodafone HQ! Having used 3G for many years now I was impressed with the 384Kbps I got back then. Using the stick here in deepest Somerset I was pleased to find I was getting a steady 1Mbps.

Secondly warnings. I was using the 3G connection to download some Nokia installation files, there was a fair bit of data coming down, when I hit 50MB a pop-up popped up and said warning 50Mb data had gone through the stick. I thought that this was pretty neat especially if you are on a pay as you go connection or near your fair use limit.

Overall I am still impressed with 3G and if you are in the right spot you wouldn’t realise that you were on basically a mobile phone connection.

When the GO!ng gets tough…

Okay despite my earlier problems and upgrade issues I am quite pleased with the GO!VIEW service.

I have downloaded a few bits and pieces.

Hustle

The quality of the Doctor Who video was quite poor, almost VHS quality, however I was more impressed with the quality of the Hustle video which was (in my opinion) as good as the quality I have managed converting EyeTV Freeview recordings.

Now I suppose there are some downsides.

According to the GO!VIEW interface, I only have access to the recordings for 29 days, however this could be just because of the “free” month, but I somehow don’t think so.

Also once transferred to the PSP, I only have 14 days in which to view the video.

The major big downside is the choice, the library of content on GO!VIEW is very limited. If it wasn’t for Hustle and Spooks I probably wouldn’t subscribe and if I watch the lot by the end of the month and there is no new content then I will certainly be cancelling my subscription.

Lets wait and see.

Still someway to GO!

Has some computer downtime, so I took the opportunity to download some television programmes from GO!VIEW to watch on my PSP.

Downloaded an episode of Doctor Who, formatted a new Memory Stick (as the one I had on the PSP was full) and clicked transfer…

Oh!

I now need to update the firmware on the PSP (and I thought I had the latest on there, well obviously I don’t).

So now downloading a 25MB firmware 4.05 update…

Ho hum!