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Monday, May 21, 2012

Temperamental Television

Until recently I didn't realise just how sensitive DTV (Digital Television) actually was. My experience tells me that an amplifier is highly recommended (unless your dongle/device/set top box is exceedingly good). The thing which has made me particularly curious though is the impact of local electrical appliances (such as power boards, heaters, and even networking devices. Removing or swapping particular devices can have an immediate impact on signal strength/integrity.) and the connections between the tuner, antenna, amplifier, etc... While I admit that some of the equipment in my setup could be of a higher standard the tolerances that we're talking about are borderline absurd. Changing the angle of connections is enough to change the signal strengh/integrity substantially. Moreover, signal integrity issues at certain points are extremely difficult to debug without specialised equipment (I've seen some digital TV strengh metres being sold but I haven't tried one as yet and the cost outweighs the possible gains. Admittedly, there are some signal strength measuring systems in the software itself but this is not ideal as it can not go into an arbitrary position in the pipeline.) and the only real feedback that you get is how 'choppy' the sound/picture is. I've found that moving the amplifier power point on to a less noisy circuit can be extremely helpful as well as changing the angle of the cable the being used to carry the signal into various devices (the amplifier is particularly susceptible to this problem and I've found it best to lay it on a flat surface). I may experiment with Microwave based transmitters (2.4/5GHz range) later on but early indications/reviews say that cable may actually be better. I've also been thinking about using an adapter to carry the signal over a non-coax type cable (or a medium that is less suspectible to issues related to cable bending) to hopefully reduce the impact of these problems but once again its a cost/benefit issue and I've seemed to have found a viable solution as is.

I've figured out that some of my recent problems with LibreOffice may also be due to issues with regards to externally inserted objects (such as images). I've been working on a new document (on 'Internet and Computer Security') and its 225+ pages/67K + words and there have been no random crashes as I've previously experienced when working on larger documents. I guess I'll have to write the text before hand, and add other objects in now from now on (at least until they fix the problem. This should also get me around another problem that I've found when editing text and there are images in the document (they don't move perfectly correctly with the text when cut/pasted.). The other alternative is to switch to another system of document management...

Have a theory about some connectivity issues I've been having lately. While playing around with MTU values has resulted in success I've also noticed something else. Sometimes, there seems to be a noticeable delay at certain critical points as though the traffic almost as though it is being buffered. Also, if there is other web based activity simultaneously this will help to get around the problem of stalls/stops at these particular points. Suspect there may be a timeout value that I may be able to tweak in my browser to help smooth out this intermittent problem (I've been dealing with it by dynamically shifting MTU values (depending on the circumstance) along with using HTTP/206 partial download capabilities but am thinking of building something more robust/automated/finding a better configuration for a more elegant solution.).

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No Dependency Debian Packages, Random Stuff, and More

- come across issues with packages on Debian from time to time. Came up with a following script which basically strips dependency checking ...