Monday, April 20, 2009

debugging in every day life

this easter I had a mixed time debugging things - aside from family (basically a DDoS attack on the fridge&larder from Ireland and France), various things (i.e. stuff) went wrong in interesting (or dull) ways

first, the fridge decided to turn everything to Ice - this turned out to be quite simple - someone had piled Easter Eggs on top of it pushed all the way back to the wall, so the heat exchanger pushing heat out was having to work overtime and the calibration presumably went awry - removing soggy easter eggs from top and putting them in the freezer to reform made that problem go away

second, the very nice, cheap and elegant and easy to use Humax PVR decided to do a few weird recording errors - we'd seen this first when the clocks went forward for "British Summer Time - but I hadn't bothered looking up the full glory that is Digital Broadcast and Electronic Programme Guides (EPG) - this time, we had a couple of truncated recordings and one that overran by 2 hours - so it turns out (thanks to the extremely well documented "hummy" web site and various AV consumer advice sites) that this is largely due to bugs in different implementations of the EPG combined with occasional missing or mis-broadcast EIT (end indication time) signals inband which tell the PVR when a program "really" ends (as opposed to the time set in advance which may not be right any more) .... plus some really strange effects if your multiple tuner PVR decides to use several different broadcast sources (which the Humax 9200T can do apparently - awesome)....anyhow, the overrun problem isn't really a problem but the truncastion is a bit of a pain, so I fiddled around according to various pieces of guidance and may or may not have fixed it...

third, one of the Macs in the house has been deciding that the wireless net isn't there periodically, and has to be told to pick it again (even though it is the ONLY preferred network...) - 4 other Macs in the house all work fine - this turns out to be a WPA re-authentication timer bug in the intel core solo Mac Mini 802.11 security thing - since apple have known this for dokeys years and it ought to just be driver stuff, I really don't know why it isn't fixed- only workaround for now is to go to WEP only security which I don't really care much about coz we only do ssh/ssl any how so there's no real harm, but it is a bit silly (early MacOS was ok, and later is ok - just ones around 10.4.10/10.4.11...i suppose i can roll back or upgrade ....what a palaver)

oh then there was an intermittent audio problem on the playstation 3 on the new LG HD TV - basically it looks like there's an HDMI audio incompatibility (that turned out to be easy - PS3 helpsites abound and advise on how to pick the most liely to work audio codec)...

then there was trying to get 11 and 16 year old to do maths homework/revision (for SATS and GCSEs respectively) - in retrospect, the techie stuff was trivial in comparison

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