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video success

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yesterday I was able to make my first video DVD. This was a huge accomplishment for me.

I have a PC: 2GB RAM, Core 2 Duo processor, the cheapest NVidia video card for Vista, and Windows Vista Ultimate. Last year I had purchased and installed a TV tuner card, the Hauppauge HVR1600. We don't have cable. The card allows me to grab digital TV signals over the air (OTA).

Anyhow, the antenna signal comes through a cable which I connect to the tuner card. In Vista, I go to Media Center then I think I had to go to "Tasks" then "Settings" and somehow get it going on recognizing the TV tuner card. Once that's done, I as able to recive TV signals in Media Center and program the computer to record certain shows for me. The programming is like "record this show" -- I don't know if I can program it to record at xx time, xx channel. Anyhow, the programing by show worked ok for me.

Media Center records in dvr-ms format. The tricky part for me was finding where the recording went. It's in c:\Users\Public\Recorded TV. Once I knew that, I can open Windows Movie Maker (it came with Vista Ultimate), select to import video then go find the recording and import it. With Windows Movie Maker I can cut out segments of video if I wanted to. In this case I did because what I wanted on DVD totaled 4 hr 5 min. I wanted it less than 4hrs so that I can be sure I didn't have any problems fitting it on 2 DVD's. Windows Movie Maker also allowed me to combine the 1hr video with the 3hr video, and then split it at the "2hr" (or wherever you want to split it) mark. So I ended up with two projects - the first half for the first disk and the second half for the second disk. Once I finish messing with the video - and save it, I select the "publish to DVD" option.

Up comes a message that says it will close the project and open Windows DVD Maker. Select OK and Windows DVD Maker comes up. It had options for creating menus but I didn't mess with any of that. I went with the default and went on to the option to burn DVD. Some several hours later (go away, do something else), the first DVD is finished. I repeat in Windows Movie Maker for the second half - "publish to DVD." It will prompt to close Windows DVD Maker, after which it will re-open with the new project. Go through the same process and several hours later, the second half DVD is produced.

Voila. Digital OTA TV to video DVD.

I did save the project each time, hoping that it won't go through the several-hours long conversion the next time I want to burn a copy. I haven't test this.

I did have an audio sync problem with one of the clips, but it sync'd back up at the next clip. There is a way to shift the audio clip relative to the video, but I didn't mess with that this time around.

Media Center interface is cryptic to me. It's weird and takes some getting used to. But video quality was excellent, and the recording seemed reliable (no stopping at random, it recorded at the designated time, and no time was lost in resetting between recordings). Overall, it went smooth except for having to find where the recording went. Next I will have to figure out which files I need to keep: I now have the original recordings of the two shows, three Win Movie Maker files (the whole shebang and then the split 1st and 2nd projects), and two Win DVD Maker projects.

slow progress on fence

The LAMLand blog seems to have disappeared. I've waited for some time now to see if it comes back and it looks like it is not coming back.

Last week I finished taking down the fence. However, Guppy wants one of the corner posts replaced - namely the one by the gate. This post is supporting both our section and our neighbor's section and the last folks that worked on those sections did not replace the post. The folks that I've mentioned this to has told me it's going to be a real adventure (to put it nicely) to remove that post. Since I don't have the time this weekend to deal with that, I haven't started. However, I did purchase its 10-ft replacement. Getting that 10-ft pole into my car was an adventure, but I made it.

We do have some pickets that have not been installed. In other words, they've not had holes in them. I've started staining them in the few hours I can find here and there yesterday. The ones that I've had to rip off the fence will need some repair before I stain them.

party Sunday

Friday, April 11, 2008

Big weekend for the Dominican Sisters of Houston, as part of their 125th anniversary year-long celebration

It happens to coincide with the Grand Opening of a new park down town, an event which also looks like much fun.

Old news, but last week there was much ado around the new cathedral. And for good reason. Cathedrals don't sprout up every day, or even every generation; it's a very rare event. This one is located on the corner of St. Joseph and San Jacinto (St. Hyacinth). Cool, eh?

Me, I gotta fit in some time to work on taking down the fence (still). We have to go check out some boarding kennels (two in mind). It's for doggie when we take a brief trip out of town a little later.

Doggie is better. He knows the bathroom routine. He's not demanding. I try to give him playtime (on leash) every evening. I'm not demanding either; we've not worked on any commands for a long time. He's still crated much of the time. We look forward to a time when he can calmly join us, and crate will be by his own option.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Credo Christian E-cards worth checking out

link courtesy of

fence nightmare

Saturday, April 05, 2008

This is NOT how I want my fence built.

Here, you see that the fence posts are too short. Fence posts should be as tall as the fence (for this kind of fence). At least a third of the post should be in the ground to support the stresses above ground. I bet they buried at most 2ft.

Also the top rail should be 6 to 7 inches from the top of the picket. You see here that there is waaaay more than that in this construction.

Here are front and back pictures of a splice in the top rail. Looks kinda ok from the front, but from the back you can clearly see that it's sagging already.

Now we have a case of too long: the nails are too long for the 2x4 when nailing to the shorter side. But they didn't care and used the nails anyway and proceed to "knock them down." That is unacceptable.

The pickets are spaced too far. The objective is to have a privacy fence. Furthermore, with age, the pickets will shrink and the gaps will then be even larger. You see some warping already and this has been up only 1 week, though it rained practically all week.

Here's a piece of creativity. A 2x4 is ROUGHLY ripped along its length to approximate 2x2's and loosely nailed to the bottom of the rails. It's a piece of crap and really does nothing other than waste 2x4's.

I will splice 4x4's to the poles using a lap joint to bring them to proper height, though I will not correct how much of the pole is buried. I will then place a top rail at the proper height. I will move the middle rail to approximately middle. I will add proper 2x4's approx 6-7 inches from the bottom of the pickets. I will stain my wood before installation where possible. Right now I have to take the fence apart. I've spent all afternoon taking down one span of pickets. I'm having to gouge into the middle 2x4's to get at the knocked down nails. The nails to the top rail are just tearing through my pickets when I pry the pickets off. There is no other way for me to remove the pickets. I will do my best to save my pickets; I am considering wood filler of some sort. Once taken down, I will flip the 2x4's so that the gouged side will be covered by the pickets. Since the rails will all be in positioned differently from what they have here, all the mounting holes will be "new." I will use screws as that would not require a partner on the other side to counter the hammering. The neighbors will appreciate that since I'm making lots of noise in taking this fence apart. This has been a nightmare and it's going to take alot of effort to fix.

same story: tired and busy

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I've been absent from blogworld because I'm crazy busy, which also means sleep-deprived. The dog. The Chrism mass, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, the following sunday mass because I was up for my volunteer gig. We're still having to go to Skip's house every week to pick up mail and make sure nothing is awry. The Dominican volunteer gig is suddenly time-consuming.

We've a contractor at the house to do some repairs. The head guy and I kinda clashed this morning and they picked up and left. So I guess the correct term is we HAD a contractor. Not the first time. Years ago we let a flooring guy go and it was up to me to finish the job (which I didn't quite finish). So now the task of caulking and painting is on my plate, as well as re-doing the fence they were working on and patching where they didn't do it right. And since I get to re-do the fence, it means that I can stain the pickets before they get put up (the second time). It's going to be a real challenge to get those fence boards off the fence. I'd say my summer is cut out for me.

It's a whole story with the contractor, but I doubt you'd want to hear it.

Doggie got neutered last Friday. This week his main task is to stay calm and sedated. We have the famous "ace" pills for that.

I'm swamped at work and deadlines are just passing by. I don't think they'll let me keep missing the deadline, as in I better get that scheduled work done. Being sleep-deprived and unmotivated does not help.

We did also help a friend move this past Saturday. We provided transportation for the boxes but no labor. It wasn't much but we didn't start until after midnight (so technically it was Sunday morning) and Gumby was tripping down memory lane since the friend is moving to Gumby's old stomping grounds. We didn't get home until after 3 a.m.