Sunday, January 31, 2010

TVersity support for Canon 7D raw files

TVersity has built-in support for photographic raw files, using dcraw to perform transcoding/conversion on the fly.

Unfortunately the dcraw (version 8.88) included in TVersity version 1.7.4, does not support the Canon 7D camera.

Pukkita's Digital Darkroom Corner has more recent builds of dcraw.  There are actually two versions, and type which works on my system (the file dcrawMS.exe) still does not contain Canon 7D support.

Instead, I've got a version from LibRaw.  This is not exactly the same.  The file dcraw_emu.exe is mostly compatible - but does not support the -c option (which TVersity uses).  This option is used to force output to stdout.  I've modified dcraw.bat to handle this incompatibility:
@echo off
echo TVersity is converting a raw digital camera image ...
dcraw_emu.exe -w -h %1
move %1.ppm %2
Of course, once TVersity is updated, then this will no longer be necessary.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

TVersity media serving to the Astone AP-300

TVersity is a digital media server that can share media over your home network using UPnP/DNLA.

This is kind-of like Windows file sharing/SMB, except that a digital media server can be a lot smarter.  You get access to traditional media such as picture, audio or movie files, like you would through network file sharing.  TVersity though can take things further, supporting:
  • On-the-fly transcoding of media into a format suitable for your media player,
  • Downloading content from the Internet,
  • Streaming media as it is being downloaded or transcoded,
  • Tagging of media to present a smarter content view instead of just a traditional directory structure,
  • Improved network performance compared with normal network file sharing.  I'm able to stream 1080p video rather than having to copy it to the internal HDD
My media player is a Astone AP-300 and is similar to many others in that it has network connectivity, HD video support, and of-course acts as a UPnP Media Player/Renderer.

It supports many video and audio formats, including H.264 video, FLAC/AC3/DTS/AAC audio and MKV/MP4/MOV containers.  As such I don't really need the transcoding capability of TVersity.  What I'm interested in is the content that TVersity can access from the Internet, including:
  • YouTube
  • Picasa Web Albums (like I did for my BeyonWiz DP-DP1 PVR)
  • Flickr
  • RSS feeds of music
  • Internet radio stations
  • and plenty more

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Building an automatic chicken door opener

We recently got chickens and found them to be noisy in the morning because they wanted to be let out of their coop.  Of course, we just wanted to sleep in.  What we needed was an automatic door opener.

Here's our 3 hens (Edna, Dora and the bantam Dotty).  Click for more photos.
Our three Chickens

Here's the chicken coop, with the addition of an automatic door opener.  The chicken coop was purchased from Pets Station.
Chicken coop purchased from Pets Station

There are some (expensive) automatic chicken doors that are available for purchase, but I decided to design and make my own.  You are welcome to copy or adapt the design to suit your own requirements.