Monday, December 30, 2002

Used the email by wireless application on our recent trip to Tampa over Christmas to update an online diary. This thing works really well and is so easy to use. You just send an email to a certain address and the application strips out the body of the email for a diary entry and if you have a lat long in the subject line it creates a map of your location. As an RV traveler this thing is great for keeping family and friends up to date on your travels as well as your location. I would think this would be popular with the RV crowd. Use the travels link on the left sidebar for an example. Oh, I forgot to mention that it also sends an email when you send an update to all addresses in a list you create.
Recently accepted the fact that Windows 98SE is a high maintenance OS. I purchased a copy of Diskkeeper, (because it seems to run nicely as a scheduled defrager), and I run it every night. I also run scandisk everynight as a scheduled job. In addition, I run AVG virus scanner as a scheduled job every night. Since I have started doing this I have had few problems and my system has been running without complaints now for months.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Recently the "send link to mail recipient" feature stopped working on my Windows 98 system. Tried lots of stuff to fix it but finally found one procedure that brought it back:

If Mail Recipient is missing when you click Send To on the File menu, follow these steps to install Windows Messaging:

Quit all Windows applications.
Install the Windows Messaging component (Wms.exe) located on your Windows 98 CD-ROM in the following folder:
NOTE: Double-click the Wms.exe file to start the Windows Messaging Setup program.
After Windows Messaging Setup is complete, restart Windows.

That did the trick for me.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

More experiments and I have found that most of the default settings do a good job with Virtualdub capture and filtering. Also, the Tmpgenc defaults for SVCD work pretty well also. I have used the following filters and settings when capturing from VHS tapes. Click here to view latest filters and settings I have used with VHS tapes.

I capture at 352 x 240 using HuffyUV YUY2 compression. I use the above filters to produce a second avi file. I then use TMPGenc with the standard SVCD settings from the wizard and get as good or better quality than all of the previous tinkering with settings that I have tried.

Friday, May 24, 2002

With a lot of assistance by some experts on a video bulletin board I have the process now. First one must not edit Mpeg files in Video Factory. Use the Avi format that you captured with and capture at a television multiple, either 320 x 240 or 640 x 480. So the process goes like this:

1. Capture using Virtualdub. I use CQ=100 for the best quality but it takes longer.
2. Filter using Virtualdub. I use:
Temporal Smooter setting = 6
Smart Smoother seeting 7/40 no interleaving (Mpeg2 does not require any interleaving settings)
Dynamic Noise Reduction seeting = 6
Smart Smoother again at 5/8 and no interleaving (cleans up any remaining pixels)
3. Use Video Factory to edit the .avi file. Do not convert to mpeg until after all editing is done.
4. Save from Video Factory as an .avi file. The only resolution available seems to be 352 x 240
5. Convert to MPEG2 with TMPenc. Be sure that you choose the setting that fills the image out to the borders and not the one that pads with black pixels or you will get a vertically letterboxed video.
6. Burn to SVCD using Nero Burning Rom

That's it. Only about 12 hours work to figure out how to burn a 4 minute video clip. Next ones should be much easier though.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

All went well with last nights test with one exception. The mpeg2s that I creaed in Video Factory were the wrong size. I should have let VF resize them to the default 480 x 240 for SVCD. Will run a quick test on that procedure.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I decided that I needed to convert my collection of small video clips recorded with my TIVO to a non magnetic format. I want to end up with SVCDs since I can't afford a DVD write drive at this time. So, I purchased a cheap TV card for my PC. I got the Haupauge WinTV Go card from CompUSA for around $50. Seems as thought this is a slippery slope I have started down. There are so many variables in this process that getting good digital video capture from VHS tape is like trying to nail Jello to a tree.

After a lot of trial and error and struggling with getting the audio working I am now able to capture video and audio with no problem. I use the excellent freeware package called Virtualdub for my capturing. The initial capture creates a very large .AVI format file, about a gigabyte per minute. I am capturing at 480 x 480 resolution since the mpeg2 file needed for SVCDs requires that resolution.

I tried capturing using 24 bit RGB, YUY2, etc. etc. All of the captures exhibited color banding in the sky areas or any other large areas of similar color. I tried all sorts of filters in Virtualdub with little success. Finally, I looked at the web site and noticed that all of their testing was done in a 15 bit RGB format. So, I did a capture using that and no filters. The result was much improved with little or no color banding.

I was using TMPGenc to convert the AVI file to MPEG2 for creation of the SVCDs. On a whim, I decided to try my copy of Video Factory from Soundforge to do the conversion. This gives me some easy editing capability since Video Factory is my favorite editing tool. The results look very promising. I have played the resulting MPEG2 files in the Windows Media Player at full screen resolution and there are much fewer undesirable artifacts than before. I think the real breaktrhough was using the 15 bit RGB for capture. I may also try one of the other capture formats recommended by Haupauge on their Tips Page.

Next task is to burn an SVCD with Nero to test the quality of the playback on my TV.

To summarize:

1. Capture using Virtualdub and Haupauge WinTV Go TV card using 15 bit RGB at 480 x 480 resolution.
2. Load in to Video Factory and clip extra frames off as needed.
3. Use Video Factory to convert to MPEG 2 for SVCD production.
4. Load all clips into Nero for burning to SVCD.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

My virus scanning software, AVG from Grisoft, picked up another infestation of the I-Nimda virus last night. This is the second attack that has come into my computer. The first one created a LOT of infected files, over a hundred. I used a DOS excecutable from the Grisoft site to clean it up that time. That was about a week ago. This morning it found about 12 infected files and was able to clean them up with no problem. I am pretty happy with the AVG software and the nice thing is that it is free. It has saved me a couple of times now and I am grateful for that. This is one you might want to check out. The bottom line is that you need some kind of virus scanning software on your computer or your machine and all of your friends machines are going to be hosed by some nasty virus before you know it.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

It has been an exciting time here in tropical Florida. Barbara had surgery a couple of months ago to replace her pacer/defib. She has done really well during her recovery. Well, with one exception. We both have caught summertime colds and have been taking a few days off from work to recover. Barbara is almost well but I have been lagging a week or so behind her in my recovery.

Last week while she was home she heard a noise outside our house in our backyard. Going out on our patio she found a man had backed his car down our side yard and was loading our hurricane panels into his car. She confronted him and he said, "Your husband said to come and pick them up!" Of course, she called the police who were here in just a few minutes but he had long gone. The police said that he would sell them for scrap metal for about $30-$40. I set up a security cam that can be viewed here but as my dad said, "that is like closing the barn door after the horse has run away!"

So, now we have had the insurance claims guy out and have gotten estimates from shutter companies to replace our panels. What a hassel. The replacement is costing a hundred times what that guy probably got for them as scrap. We need the shutters down here because of our hurricane season that runs from June through November.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Just need to make an entry to show that I am still alive. Spent the day running errands. Took off most of the day from work. Tonight is the annual meeting for Bofus Creative Enterprises. Should be fun. Dinner out and all of that.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Had to reload software on my primary PC after I allowed the resources to get too low which corrupted some files. I slicked it and installed Windows 98 SE clean. Added all upgrades from Microsoft. The system still would freeze after a while. Found an obscure patch which fixed a conflict between the Gigabyte motherboard which runs a VIA chip on it and the Realtek 8029 network card. Get it at if you have the same problem with this particular hardware configuration.

Monday, February 11, 2002

We had five inches of rainfall over the weekend. In Southern Florida February is our dry season. We typically get only two and one half inches of rain for the entire month. I guess this was caused by a cold front that was stationary over our area. The parking lot at work was filled with debris washed out of the landscaped areas. Mulch, wood chips, and other stuff are scattered all over the parking lot. It is just as well that it was rainy since we needed the weekend to recuperate from all the past events that have taken place. Of course, we spent most of the time watching the Olympics which we enjoyed very much. The downhill events brought back memories of Franz Klammer who was a star of the downhill many, many, years ago.

Monday, February 04, 2002

Back home again after a week in Roanoke. Got up this morning at 5:30 AM to be at the Roanoke Airport in time for our 7:50 AM flight back to West Palm Beach. Forecast in Roanoke was for 60 mph gusts and 30 degree temps. Florida was sounding good at that point. Our two hour layover in Charlotte, NC turned out to be much longer due to a delay in the flight we were catchng from their to West Palm Beach. Arrived in West Palm Beach this afternoon amidst a great crowd of other people seeking sunshine. Checked the Weather Channel web site after getting home and there was a 25 mph wind blowing in Roanoke with a 30 degree temp. With the chill factor it would have felt like 16 degrees. Good to be home after a tough week.

Thursday, January 31, 2002

We are in Roanoke, Virginia now. We are here for Barbara's mother's funeral. She passed away on the 27th. We had planned to travel up to see her on February 14th but had to change our plans when we received the bad news. US Airways was very helpful in working with us to change the reservations on such short notice. Today is the funeral and will be very hard. Everyone is strong and doing well.

Thursday, January 03, 2002

This is supposed to be an update capability from a wireless device. I am however updating this with my web browser through the wireless interface page.
BOFUS Enterprise Inc.
This is our new online ejournal. Bofus has developed an email interface to a web journal or diary. Instead of logging in to update it you just send an email to a designated address and within one minute the web site is updated with your new content. Pretty neat!