TV Links, Good TV Done Right

April 28, 2009

TV Links is a site in the UK that has a nice look and feel to it.  It’s basically an alphabetical list of TV shows that link directly to a viewer for the shows themselves from various sites.  Because it’s in the UK, the site has links for shows that have seldom, or never shown over here.

For example there are links to the Chris Barrie show The Brittas Empire, where he plays Gordon Brittas, the stuffy manager of a British community leisure center.  I haven’t seen that show in years.  I especially remember an episode where Brittas is on trial for murder; it seems that Bolivian and British criminals are using the center to run drug deals “because no one ever goes there”.  Oblivious to what’s going on, he manages to stumble through the carnage, ultimately cutting a man’s head off while trying to reach him to administer first aid.

It’s there, as the first episode of Season Three.  Good stuff.

Other British shows there that play sporadically in America are Mr. Bean, Fawlty Towers, and Father Ted.  Shows that never play here, or may rarely show up on BBC America, include Alan Partridge, The Mighty Boosh, and Bottom.

The site also features cartoons, movies, anime, music videos, and sports shows.  Compared to the fairly chaotic interface of a site like YouTube, this site does it right.


Guba Vs. YouTube

March 15, 2009

I like to watch older TV and films, the more obscure, the better. The advent of user-enabled content on the Internet makes it easier to find these types of shows, but there are still some bugs to be worked out.

YouTube is a great site for finding videos and film, but the system for downloading them is missing, and you have to use a clumsy workaround to transform the Shockwave – Flash files you get into whatever format you need. YouTube is also almost entirely user-generated content, files uploaded into YouTube by users directly. That means that the video service on YouTube depends on the interaction of users with YouTube, since they’re the ones who have to dig out old videotapes and obscure DVDs, find a way to get them into the computer, then send them to YouTube.

Fortunately, YouTube does have a large user base, and interesting videos crop up all the time. But one area that YouTube completely misses is the Usenet archives, a long-running file sharing system that isn’t dependent on websites. Usenet groups are more like user groups, in that they are broken up by interest. Inside these interest groups, people have been sharing files for decades. The video and film files that show up there can be even more interesting than those on YouTube, since they come from a collective interest group.

That’s where Guba comes in. It used to be a difficult process to grab Usenet posts and assemble them back into video files, but Guba already does that for you, and puts the file up with a thumbnail view, like YouTube. Guba also supports user uploads and paid videos, and puts them up the same way.

Guba’s best feature is it’s download service – you just pull down the menu, select the file type you want, and let go. This is a nice feature, as video files tend to jam up as you stream them. Watching them offline saves bandwith and avoids bandwidth-related issues like dropouts.

Both YouTube and Guba have a serious problem with nomenclature, however. Files routinely show up on their sites with auto-generated or truncated names, or bad or inaccurate user labels. This makes it hard to figure out which episode is which, for example, when you find a set of shows you want to watch. This affects the search function as well, as an inaccurate name won’t be as useful to a search engine, and your results will suffer.

But enough of the downsides. My interest last week was the 1960’s British spy show “Callan”, starring Edward Woodward. It was never shown in the US, and I haven’t been able to track it down from the obscure video dealers I checked with at conventions.

The last time I looked, YouTube had a 1971 movie, “Callan”, a feature made from the pilot, in a great print. Nice.

And Guba had six episodes of the last season, in degraded prints from the 1980s. The print quality was fair, but watchable.

The movie file on YouTube came for a user who uploaded it, the videos on Guba came from Usenet.

Windows XO

February 23, 2009

A little further on getting Windows XP to run on my OLPC XO-1:



Windows XP Boot ON OLPC XO

February 10, 2009

The XP CD Install Boot isn’t working perfectly yet, but at least it’s trying:



Mac OS 9 on my XO OLPC

January 4, 2009

Pictures of my OLPC XO running Mac OS 9:




How To Run Mac OS 9 On Your OLPC XO

January 3, 2009

Running Mac OS 9 on your OLPC XO is a good way to have a Mac kind of experience with your little green laptop.

This guide is for XOs running Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) from an SD card.

The software used to run Mac OS is SheepShaver, a PowerPC Macintosh emulator, capable of running up to Mac OS 9.0.4.

Find an Ubuntu version of SheepShaver here:

This is a .deb file; once you download it, double-click on it, and it will install.

Next you have to take care of an incompatible software library that can hang you up.  Run the following command in a Terminal window:

sudo ln -s /lib/ /lib/

After that, run this command to take care of a memory issue:

sudo sysctl -w vm.mmap_min_addr=0

To get sound output, run this command:

 sudo modprobe snd-pcm-oss

Next, get your Mac OS Rom and your Mac hard drive image ready.  See the links below for more information.

Start SheepShaver.  This will load the config panel.  Set the hard drive path to your hard drive image.  Set the Video to 1024 X 768 Windowed.  Set the networking to slirp.  Set the ROM path to your Rom image, and set the memory to 64MB.

Hit Start, and you should start up in Mac OS 9:

Mac OS 9 on XO

ION Hoodie

July 27, 2008

My ION Hoodie IdeaIONhoodie