Friday, May 30, 2008

Getting MP4 files to stream to Xbox 360

This has been out for a while, but to keep myself from having to search for it every time I update a system, I figure I will put the info here. So:

Xbox 360 Dev team blog with DivX/XviD update:

How to register and stream MP4 files:!2518DD508BB713E8!156.entry

The regkey info (32-bit Windows):
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Content Type"="video/mp4"

"Content Type"="video/mp4"

"Content Type"="audio/mp4"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Multimedia\WMPlayer\MIME Types\video/mp4]
"Extensions.SpaceSep"=".mp4 .m4v"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Multimedia\WMPlayer\MIME Types\audio/mp4]

"Description"="Includes files with .mp4 and .m4v extensions."
"Extensions"=".mp4 .m4v"
"FriendlyTypeName"="MPEG-4 Media File"
"MIME Types"="video/mp4"

"Description"="Includes files with an .m4a extension."
"FriendlyTypeName"="MPEG-4 Media File"
"MIME Types"="audio/mp4"

"MediaType.Description"="MPEG-4 Media File"

"MediaType.Description"="MPEG-4 Media File"

"MediaType.Description"="MPEG-4 Media File"

"737"="MPEG-4 Media File (*.mp4;*.m4v;*.m4a)"

"737"="MPEG-4 Media File"



President Bush, Science Decider in Chief

Our oh-so-brilliant Commander in Chief, is apparently quite brilliant with science stuff. It seems that when scientists think of something that might cause someone(s) with a lot of money a bit of grief, he will step in and save the day. Or not. First, this humorous account of what happened in March:

And an article that came up today on Truthout:

I do like that they can also create alternate definitions of common terms to suit themselves. Sweet.

Pledge to download Firefox 3 on opening day, go down in history

Sure, you might already be rolling a beta/RC of Firefox 3 (I am), but join the rest of us dorks and try to set a world record for downloads. This should be good.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why didn't ours come like this?

Now that is a nice front end. The 2009 looks similar to this, but I think it's limited to the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) and the rest of the world will get the 5-star, pedestrian-friendly extended front end. Boo.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More about the 2009 Fit

2008 JDM Fit2009 USDM Fit

I love my car, but that has already been covered. Now, I loved the first pics of (what was thought to be) the 2009 Fit in the US. You can see them here:

Now, the first picture above is the 2008 JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) Fit. Notice the relatively short overhangs, and in the article it includes telescopic steering and, I believe, automatic climate control. The second one, however, is at least the USDM if not "global" version of the Fit that's coming out for 2009. It ( has a much longer nose and a rear bumper extension that isn't even seen on the JDM unit. Now, in the UK, Europe, and Austral-asian region it might still get a telescopic steering wheel, automatic climate control, and some other stuff that they will pay for I don't believe that it will show up in the US. I would love the added features (and would pay for them) even if I had to keep the extra overhangs.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meet my next new car, maybe...

I love my 2008 Honda Fit Sport. Period. However, there are a few things I would have liked in it:

1. Integrated navigation option
2. Integrated audio controls in the steering wheel
3. Integrated Bluetooth
4. USB connection support
5. A little more HP
6. A little better mileage
7. 16" wheels standard (although the 15" have been fine with my Sport)
8. Tweaking of the transmission's shifting performance when in normal automatic mode
9. Even more cupholders, since 5 just isn't enough

Well, it seems that the 2009 Honda Fit addresses all of these and more:

Not only are these things addressed, but you get more storage and further integrated head restraints in the back seat so you don't have to take them out when folding them down. Now, the head restraint thing wasn't a big deal, but it's still a nice little tweak. So, if Honda would just add ethanol support I will gladly trade in the Impreza for one. These are great cars.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bike fitment, saddle height, and knee strain

So, having a better idea of what's going on with my knees, I am searching for more information on proper saddle height. Granted, most information is based on road bikes, with mountain bikes being more upright, but it should be a good place to start.

Size chart

Dave Moulton's blog post on sizing

As I find more stuff, I will add it. Although I might just create more posts. Who knows...

A new toy

I bought a 14' trampoline today. And yes, it's awesome. I think I figured out my knee issues, and it appears to be a problem with stabilizing my patellar tendon (and thus patellar tendinitis). I found a small brace that wraps beneath my knee, and tried it on. It worked immediately, so I got two of them. In about 15 minutes, I developed a dull ache at the bottom of my quadriceps just above my knee, and it settled down over time. I tried another brace at the same time, and liked it more, but it was around $40 (and I wasn't sure it was worth it) and I wouldn't be able to wear it under pants that well.

So, what does this have to do with a trampoline? Well, I went to this store (Big 5) to check out the trampoline yesterday, and found these braces. I was thinking about getting a trampoline for my daughter and I play on, and for me to start developing more stamina and flexibility without further shock to my knees. When I went to pick up the trampoline today, and bought the bigger brace and fell in love with it. This brace will not slide or rotate, keeps my knee warm, and still gives me a good range of movement while being snug. I was able to assemble and screw around on the trampoline (about 5 hours) without issue from the brace. So far, so good. I hope this will let my tendons recover and tolerate shock while riding.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Newsflash: UK Gets First Drive-Thru Starbucks, Finds No Cupholders In Cars

So, Starbucks just opened its first, yes first drive-through coffee shop in the UK. In fact, this appears to be the first for the whole of Europe, and it's a "pilot" for them right now to see how this is received. Now, for most people in the US this would be laughable, considering how many already exist in the US. We have all sorts of drive-through places, so coffee is a requirement in this country. And, speaking of requirements, this is why we have so many cupholders. This is also why people get annoyed with having small cupholders when the "medium" size sodas (you know, 32oz.) won't fit. My Honda Fit has 2 cupholders in the front so large they hold my Gerolsteiner and San Peligrino 1 liter bottles with ease. In addition, I have 3 more, 2 of which are in the rear doors and they hold .5 liter bottles of Arrowhead water and most other bottles as well.

This is where the US and the UK/Europe see things differently. I am a fan of Top Gear, and on that show they make fun of the US (a lot, but along with every country) and one key thing is our "need" for cupholders. Many of the cars they test, along with Fifth Gear, don't have many cupholders and the ones that do aren't that big normally. I for one will love to see how many UK/EU spec car owners are going to get annoyed with the idea of getting drinks but not having a (or enough) place for them. Granted, I believe that the cost of owning and operating vehicles there tends to keep them from even wanting to drive long enough to warrant eating and drinking in the cars, but the commute could become a lot more interesting if these drive-through facilities take off. Or not.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A new addition blogroll

R-Squared Energy Blog

I saw this referenced by a commenter to The Truth About Cars blog, and so far it looks pretty good. The reference was to this post that covers a gasification process to produce biofuels. Check it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

2 Attacks of the Flu, Are You Kidding?

Right, so I just got off of my second flu. First, I got sick in January with what I thought was the flu, as I had joint pain and fatigue, but I think that was some sort of sinus infection. I got a steroid injection, some pills, and off I went. Next, I got the REAL flu in the middle of April and was stupid sick for 3 or 4 days, and drained for nearly a week after that. I started riding again and getting better, and then my daughter came down with the flu last Weds/Thurs and she shook it off in a day. Then, my wife came down with it halfway through last Saturday and was really miserable. It appeared that my wife developed what I had, while my daughter had a weaker strain, but that's unlikely.

Now, the fun part. I came down with another fun flu yesterday. I was in extreme pain and felt like my spinal column (along with all my other joints) was trying to explode apart. I was able to get my super awesome friend (I doubt she's reading this, but we'll call her "Lotus" for now) to come over with some food and Gatorade. The pain was so bad I almost called for an ambulance, and I needed someone at the house that could take care of my daughter in case my wife and I were both taken to the hospital. Fortunately, while Lotus was here, my fever started backing off and after another couple of hours I was able to move around a little bit. I was up until 0245 because I wasn't sure I could even sleep

Well, I did. I first got up at 0630, was pretty confused, and went back to sleep. I got up at 1230 and was fine, except for the dire need to get red beans and rice from Popeye's. After a trip to there, I was (and still am) completely exhausted. I think I'll be fine for this Friday's night ride, along with rides this weekend. But it does make me wonder one thing: Why did I bother getting that stupid flu shot in the first place?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Jackass driving car tries to wipe out cycling pack, in Australia

Strangely, where I ride in AZ I don't run into (or, more importantly, get "run into") by these problems. I guess it's a combination of the areas I ride, the typical driver, and how I ride. In AZ, you can ride 2 abreast on road as long as you maintain a reasonable distance to the curb (kerb) or edge of the road. I typically don't ride a "full" 2 abreast, but will just overlap to some degree with the rider in frontof me. Granted, wheel overlap can be problematic depending on the skill of the riders involved (the better rider at the back) and the speed, but I don't worry about conversation (primary reason for close proximity) when doing much more than 28mph.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A really, really cool function for Google Reader: Share with Note

Now, anyone that knows me, or has been following my shared items gadget knows that I like to share stuff in Google Reader. A lot. However, there are times that I would like to share something, but also tack on an explanation as to what the hell I was thinking when I found the "New ways to restrain a goat, in bed" post so interesting. Well now, I can do this without fear of PETA hunting me down. Again. Even if I still found their use of a "restraining order" a bit counter-productive to their claims...

NiN has given me The Slip

So, with 24 hours being an eternity in web-terms I must be one of the slowest people I know. Of course, being this slow, it could be I will only know other slow people and, much like the relative speed of light, everyone will always appear to be faster...

In any case, Trent and crew over at NiN have seen fit to release their whole album now, for free, on their website. You get LAME encoded MP3, FLAC, Apple Lossless M4A, and high-res WAV files. The MP3s get immediate download links, while the others are torrents. I read a comment from minntc that The Slip is pretty good, and I have another 30 seconds for the download to complete before I can verify this claim.

Monday, May 05, 2008

NASA sends Student Driver to Moon, leaves certificate for all

What's that? Your greatness still hasn't been immortalized in bronze by those who should be grateful to be stepped on by you? Do you feel the need to oppress others with your legacy by having it spin in orbit, so you can always "look down" on others? Then I have the site for you. Simply go here, read, look for another link, click on stated link and if you're lucky you'll get to a page that let's you enter your name to be inscribed on future space debris; you know, the kind that we'll have to shoot down in 100 years...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Specialized Rules! And Crank Bros are good, too...

So, I had an interesting ride with the Moab yesterday. I took it out for a light ride, and used my Crank Bros. Eggbeater MXR pedals. Now, I got these a little while ago, but had 2 rides on them before this (one each on a Cannondale CAAD2 mountain bike, and on the Surly Cross-Check) and decided to throw them on the Schwinn for a ride up and down Garden Canyon Wash. On the way back, I was surprised to have my left foot fly out, only to find that my pedal had unscrewed itself from the XT crank arm. Awesome. The bearings in the pedal (such as they are) seized up so I wound up spinning the threads out. I took off my shoe, and screwed the pedal back into the crank arm with the pedal still clipped-in (try yanking the pedal off with no leverage; it's entertaining). When I took off my shoe, I found that one of the soccer-style cleats broke off, and the other had the nut (mounted to the shoe) come loose and left it to rattle around on the nose of the shoe. This, coupled with stitching coming undone, and another nut-mount that came loose made me thing I was going to have two things to warranty. I tightened the pedal, again, with an allen wrench and carefully rode back home.

This morning, I went to the shop (Sun 'n Spokes) and told them what happened. After a bit of a laugh, I got a new pair of shoes (pictured) and upgraded to the Eggbeater SL after giving them my old ones. The upgrade was due to them being able to warranty the old ones and get fresh ones in exchange, hence a zero-out in stock. I have the Eggbeater SL on my Stumpy and have never had an issue.

With this, I will continue to pimp out Specialized stuff (I've had to warranty some arm/knee warmers, a saddle, and a saddle bag; never an issue) due to great issues. Also, I will continue to recommend the Eggbeater SL but will probably not be such a fan of their cheaper pedals. At least their warranty support has been great from what I've heard, and this situation worked out for me.

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, May 02, 2008

Finally took a pic of the Stumpy, but...

It's crap! I will dig up (or take) better pics tomorrow. I know, I know; likely story...

Posted by ShoZu

Nero Recode 3 for the Xbox 360

My friends know that I like to convert video for portable media players. I started doing this for my 5G iPod Video, and now I have an Insignia Pilot. I liked using Recode 2 (comes with Nero Ultra 7) to make a video file at 320x240, or some derivative that worked within the "divisible by 16" requirement. Later, Apple updated the iPod firmware to support video up to 640x480 I started making videos that I would later use to play on the Xbox 360.

In Dec 2007, the Xbox team updated the 360 firmware to allow even more playback support. This included DivX, XviD (MPEG 4, Part 2 Video with MP3 or AAC) along with h.264 (MPEG 4, Part 10 Video with AAC audio). These can use AVI and MPEG 4 containers, but with different rules.

Now, the bummer for me is that while I could use one application to make one video for two players (the iPod and Xbox 360) I can't really do that anymore since the Pilot doesn't support MPEG 4 Part 10, nor AAC audio. In addition, it will only go up to 320x240 in resolution and I don't want to use that on my 46" Samsung LCD.

Since this is what I've got to work with, I decided to make a high quality "master" video of a DVD using h.264 (Ahead calls this "Nero Digital AVC", while DivX/XviD/MPEG 4 Part 2 is simply "Nero Digital") and, if I really like the audio, I'll use 5.1 AAC to keep all of the AC3/Dolby Digital tracks but compress. On a side note, Recode 3 will let you use MP3 or AC3 (keeps the audio and just mixes it with the video in the MPEG 4 container) with Nero Digital, and AAC or AC3 with Nero Digital AVC. However, Recode will only spit out these videos in MPEG 4 containers, and not AVI. So, keep this in mind when you create videos for the Xbox 360 as it will only understand AC3 audio if using MPEG 4 Part 2 video and an AVI container; simply renaming the file isn't enough as I have found out.

To get this file converted for my Pilot, I use iriverter with the Creative Zen config, at 320x240. I use no more than 768k video and 192k audio. These settings have worked fine even with 5.1 channel AAC audio in the "master."

So, to convert "One Missed Call," I used Nero Digital AVC with around 980kbps video and 192kbps audio (you can go down to 160kbps and it will still be quite good, but I keep it a bit higher in case of further conversion with iriverter). Doing this, the 1.5 hour movie was less than 700MB and fit on a CD. The result looks quite good on my HDTV. I am still working on "enrolling" the mp4 extension in Media Player 11 so I can simply stream it from my laptop/desktop to my Xbox 360. More information on that is in the blog link, but requires 3rd party add-ons.

Once I get the specifics, I'll update this.

Journey to Forever, a case study in self support

They have very interesting projects that they perform at sites around
the world, but I find their BioFuel page very interesting:

It's worth a read.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Anatomy of a Racecar Driver

Yes, racing is a demanding sport and requires more strength and coordination the faster you go and change direction. But, this is still pretty cool:

My Stumpy

Well, since I put the Schwinn up here I might as well put my Stumpy here.

Large, Blue, SJ FSR, fsr technology, M5 manipulated alloy frame with Transform monocoque TT, sealed cartridge bearings, disc compatible, 120mm travel, replaceable derailleur hanger, two sets of water bottle bosses
Fox Triad
Fox Talas RL, 100-140mm, rebound, compression adj, LO, alloy ST
Specialized 3D forged CNC machined, 4 bolt, 31.8mm OS clamp, 8 degree rise
Easton - EC70 CNT MonkeyLite Carbon Bar, Hi Rise, 31.8mm clamp diameter
Oury Lock-On
FRONT BRAKE Avid Juicy 7 hydraulic disc, S/M 185mm, L/XL 203mm, polygon rotor
REAR BRAKE Avid Juicy 7 hydraulic disc, S/M 160mm , L/XL 185mm, polygon rotor
FRT DERAILLEUR Shimano M-580 LX, 34.9mm clamp, top swing, dual pull
Shimano M570 LX 9spd shifters
Shimano XT, 9spd, 11/32
Shimano M-760 XT Hollow Tech II, 2-piece crank/BB
22A/32A/44A with Shimano Dura-Ace chain, XT BB
Crank Brothers Eggbeater SL
Mavic Crossmax SL Wheelset
Specialized Eskar, 2.3 tires run tubeless, using Stan's to set them up, and Specialized Air-Lock afterward
Specialized Phenom 143 Saddle on
Thomson 30.9 x 400mm seatpost
Salsa Lip Lock 34.9mm clamp ID, Blue

This is a rocky trail

When I "talk" (such as it is) with others on forums and try to tell them how rocky our trails are, they state theirs are just as harsh. However, this is rarely the case, so I took this picture to explain what we consider "rocky." There are much worse sections, but this gives others a better idea of what I am talking about when setting up tire and shock pressures.

Posted by ShoZu

3rd in race, last to know what's going on

So there I am, lost as to what to do. I'm the one on the right, with the white jersey staring off into space. The one on the top step is Jon, who I've been riding with since the first time I lived in AZ. I was sick a couple weeks before the race for a few days, and the week of the race I tried getting some mileage in. If I would have been able to ride, I think I would have had second. Maybe next time. Or not.
Posted by Picasa

Savannah going for a ride

Savannah has been in love with horses for a while, and she's been to a "class" for a few weeks. While she isn't old enough for formal instruction, she does get to do a lap while her friends are taking lessons.
Posted by Picasa

New (to me) bike

This is the Schwinn Moab I just got.

Schwinn Moab 1, Red (I guess it's a large, but it's a great size whatever it is)
2004 Marzocchi Marathon SL (currently 45psi in both positive chambers, and 200psi in the negative)
Shimano Deore hubs with Sun Rhynolite rims
Shimano XT Cranks FC-M752
Shimano XT shifter/lever combo ST-M750
Shimano XT Rear Derailleur
Shimano XT Front Derailleur
Shimano LX Cassette (9-Speed)
Specialized Low-Rise bar (31.8mm)
Oury Grips
Specialized Pro-Set MTB 90mm 12* (static, uses sleeves)
Specialized Phenom Gel Saddle
Specialized Mag-Pro flat pedals or Crank Bros EggBeater MXR
Generic Seat Post
Shimano Deore V-Brakes BP-M420
CST Cheyenne 2.1 Tires

I have had a couple rides on it, but only out front of the house. So far, so good. I don't see myself taking it on many of the rocky rides I do since I can't stand on the pedals for very long (if at all) thanks to my super-fun knees. However, the fork tuning seems to be coming along quite well, although I will be fiddling with the negative air chamber pressure a bit more.

I am waiting for a Specialized Pro-Set MTB 90mm 12* stem to come in. I thought I was getting it with the bike, but the box had the wrong stem in it. So, Shane at Sun 'n Spokes is letting me keep this stem (provided I don't mess it up) while we wait for the correct one to come in.

OK, this is a cool ride

Check out the glow-in-the-dark paint job of the PUMA GLOW RIDER. Oh, and they have some bad-ass shoes too.

Lazy, lazy, lazy...

Yeah, this is one happy, but sleepy dog.

back online?

maybe it is time to start using this thing. I finally got a new battery for my Dash, so it is nice and stable now. I bought and sold a Surly Cross-Check, and now have a Schwinn Moab that I got used. More stuff to come. Maybe.