Tuesday, December 06, 2016


It was a long and draining week at work (actually several months but this week seemed worse). Still playing catch up with schedules. I did manage to work on some of my personal code and I took a bunch of O'Reilly Safari Online classes (node.js, OSCON presentations, Coursera, etc) on my personal time. Then the week culminated with the VCF Festivus Holiday Party at Infoage in Wall Twp. NJ. Lots of folks, plenty to talk about and I spent a little time in the Museum talking about computers with the visitors. It was a nice break.

Mouse was building the PiDP-8/I, a miniature PDP-8/I based on the Raspberry Pi and the SimH emulator. I think it can run OS/8 (and it has a copy of ADVENT AKA Colossal Cave). I'd love to get my hands on one. We'll see if I can order one of the kits.

The rest of the weekend didn't go as well as I'd like. My 20 year old Linux machine's hard drive died (click-click-click). While I had most of the software backed up I couldn't find the start up scripts for tinydns and dnscache (they were custom scripts). So I eventually switched over to dnscache. Then I attempted to use ISC DHCPD and I couldn't get it running in even the most basic setup (dnsmasq was configured not to do DHCP). Understand that my network has a /22 mask and that I have a large number of devices that require special DHCP options. I finally gave up when I couldn't get DHCPD to run on a different machine. I then started working on setting up dnsmasq for DHCP, after a while I figured out about 95% of what I needed. I'll work on the other 5% in the next week. At least my network is up and running properly now. The last thing I need to do is to create set of scripts that allow me to have a second dnsmasq running (probably on a Pi) so if things go south again I can keep the network running.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

MLB At Bat works on Chromecast

I'm one of the Comcast customers stuck between Fox and Comcast on the YES channel. Tivo officially pulled it from their line up the other day. Which really didn't matter since it's been a dead channel since the start of the year. My wife and I don't watch much sports. In fact it's pretty much just Yankees Baseball. I really don't like that I've lost the channel and I really don't care who is right. I just want to watch the Yankee's games.
One route to let me do a little of that is to stream MLB At Bat on the Tivo (although figuring out the black rules is maddening!). The long story made short, I'll just be nice and say: MLB At Bat on the Tivo is terrible! It stutters, stalls, locks up and as the game goes on it gets worse. The last 5 minutes of the game turns into a 45 minute stutter-step wait. The controls are clunky and jumping back or forward is an adventure in patience (if it doesn't lock up the Tivo). So rather than give up I decided to give the Chromecast a try. We'd already paid for the subscription to the MLB app and we weren't getting our money back dang if it didn't work.
I've been playing with the Chromecast to view online material (O'Reilly Safari books and videos). It occasionally disconnects but it works rather well otherwise. So we've started watching the game on my old Chromecast and generally it works rather well. If we jump ahead or back to do experience some stuttering and pauses to buffer but it goes away in a few minutes and we're watching the game in full, snot-rocket visible, HD. So far no crashes and no progressively worse performance. The app did seem to get stuck on a black out game (why was it blacked out, it was out of our area? grrr). I've even ordered a new Chromecast to replace the one I had been using (I don't think my wife will be giving it back to me ;-)). If there is one thing I'd really like to see, with the Chromecast, is more support for streaming from Linux.
So if next year we still experience the war between Comcast and Fox for the YES channel. We're ready. And oddly enough my Cable bill hasn't gone down any, strange that ...

Update: Well it seems that live games on the tablet and Tivo stutter badly (good grief). Archived games on the tablet don't stutter unless we jump around the game but eventually it recovers. On the Tivo, it also stutters on archived games.

Today we've run into the dreaded 'Blackout' at least on the tablet. I can see it on the PC (via Chrome and Chromecast but the video is terrible). I just checked on the Tivo and we can view it there also. This is ridiculous.

Further updates: Wow, I am unhappy! Seems that I am within the black out area for the Yankees. What this means is I can't watch any Yankee game (in realtime, anywhere in the world according to MLB.TV). The fact that it works on Tivo and the first week on the tablets and works on the Browser is the anomaly. I'm not sure if we'll get this application next year.