Month: April 2016

Carnival Spirit – Cruise S614 – Isle of Pines

We reached Isle of Pines but the weather is not so good. Very overcast and humid. When the showers do stop the humidity can be felt immediately. Isle of Pines is still a very beautiful place though.

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For the first time on all my cruises with Carnival, we noticed that the temporary roof on Lido deck was closed over. Was a good idea considering the weather has been a little bad the last few days. This also means that some activities scheduled to take place in this area will go ahead. i.e Evening Movies (also shown in the pictures below);

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Dinner tonight was great. Had something I really enjoyed. Kids seem to have a good evening in Kids club doing the usual activities.

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And below is a quick photo of the Pizza Pirate where you get pizza’s. Unfortunately it appears that they have gone from 2 staff members here to only 1 and this causes some significant delays with getting orders processed and also results in some mistakes during very busy periods. Something I pointed out to a officer who is responsible for these functions on the ship.

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Carnival Spirit – Cruise S614 – Sea Day 1

The show tonight was 80s Pop To The Max from Playlist Productions. The show was very good. Would have to be one of the best shows I have seen on a cruise in a while.

Meanwhile, it’s surprising how much we see people using the internet for facebook and what not. Had 2 people at dinner tonight using social media from phones. Crazy. Why come on a cruise only to remain connected to that sort of stuff, not to mention the price of doing so is expensive in my opinion.

The seas are still rough now 24 hours later. It was so bad today that any open decks got closed off and you couldn’t use them. Also heard lots of conversations of people being very sea sick. You know it’s bad when they put out all the sea sick bags in the various lobbies.

Today is a sea day, and tomorrow is another sea day. We won’t reach Isle of Pines until the 28th of April.

Clocks are going forward an hour tonight.

I had another burger from Guy’s Burger and loved it. Very tasty.

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Guys Burger – Carnival Spirit
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Cheese Pizza
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Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ – Pulled Pork Roll

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Carnival Spirit – Internet Access Prices

I noticed while on Carnival Spirit for an 8 Day cruise that the internet services and cost structure has completely changed.

Below is a screen grab of the services you can purchase during your trip.

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I must admit I really dislike the fact that I cannot purchase a couple of hours in a block and use them sparingly over the trip. As typically I go with out any internet access for the entire cruise and only purchase a couple of hours so that I can pay any bills while away (when absolutely required). However the costs above are so expensive I can’t understand why anyone would pay to use it for the entire cruise.

Will be providing feedback to Carnival Australia that they should work with provider who set this new infrastructure up to allow the purchase of hourly blocks which can be used any time in the cruise, not expired all at once from the 24 hours in which it was purchased.

Below is a speedtest result accessing a Sydney location from the middle of the South Pacific. Purely done for giggles if anything else.

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Service while having a massive ping, was more than enough for web browsing and using email.

Carnival Spirit – Cruise S614

Soon as we left Sydney Harbour the seas seemed to become very rough. We had a swell of about 4 metres. We did however leave on time which was good.

Was surprised to see that the Carnival Internet rates and stuff has changed in a significant way. You can no longer get any sort of pay by hour rate, which I must admit seriously sucks. We only tend to use the internet to pay bills while away, however now you can’t do that and what’s available is very expensive and doesn’t suit our usage/requirements. This is a major negative in my opinion. You can read a bit more about that on the following blog post here.

It was certainly good to be back on board, as our last Carnival Cruise was back in August/September 2015 when we took the same ship (Carnival Spirit) from Singapore to Sydney (post it being in Dry Dock for 2 weeks for updates).

Below is a few images from the day. I wanted to focus on the food (from dinner in this case);

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I did manage to also consume a Guys Burger during lunch time after boarding. Something I had been looking forward too prior to the trip for a number of weeks.

Docker Beta

I finally got my Docker Beta invite/code. Had the email arrive today. I had signed up for this several weeks back. I signed up soon as I seen it was announced on Twitter.

I haven’t installed it yet, let alone started to tinker. Going to install it on Windows and play around with a few Linux docker images. Should be good, as I want to test out a few things. This will be perfect for that.

House construction – Projected Completion

Today we had a meeting with the Site Supervisor for our new house. We now have a projected completion date.

This is good, as I started packing yesterday. I’ve started to pack some computer gear away, and go without some hardware being functional for the next month. Will unpack it and set up after we move in late May.

Will be booking in my FTTP installation with Opticomm in the next 2 weeks, so that I can ensure I get an install date that lines up with our expected handover of the completed house.

We are booked to do a final inspection early May, and we have already highlighted to them a number of items that need to be addressed.

My poor car – Blown tyre

My poor car suffered a blown Tyre. You can see the damage to the Tyre below;

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Of course the Tyre was thrown out and a new one purchased. This is the second time in 2 years I’ve had a blown Tyre on my car.

This time around, it wasn’t I who damaged this one. My wife was at the wheel this time around.

An honest opinion on DVBLink TVSource from DVBLogic

This is my honest opinion on DVBLink TVSource from DVBLogic.

In basic terms, DVBLink and DVBLink TVSource is software that can be used on NAS, PC, Mac and Raspberry Pi platforms that will enable you to enjoy your favorite Satellite (DVB-S/S2), Cable (DVB-C and QAM), Terrestrial (DVB-T/T2 and ATSC), IPTV and Analog channels and recordings within your home network and on the go.

In the case of Australia, this would mainly be used for Terrestrial DVB-T broadcast FTA (Free To Air). Of course you need applicable hardware to be able to interface the software to the broadcast. Will discuss more on that soon.

For background I should mention the recording of DVB broadcast television using a computer is not exactly new to me. I once played a little with Mythtv, and ran a Mythtv backend. However, it never took in the household as it never passed the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). I also some years later used some USB tuners on a Macintosh with EyeTV. Over the last year or more I have dabbled with TvHeadEnd and quite liked it, but I wanted to run a product that could run on Windows if possible and be used on a Desktop computer that could do other things as well.

Eventually I got wind of DVBLink TVSource from DVBLogic. I do not remember how I found out about the software, but I did and that started the idea of perhaps it could do what I wanted.

First thing I worked out is that generic USB tuners won’t work with it. You know the cheap ebay Realtek clone ones (read more about that here). So I thought perhaps I will invest in a nice dual tuner PCIe version, as the computer I planned to use it on that available slots (came to the conclusion that a safe purchase would be DNTV Dual Hybrid 7164 PCIe DVB-T Card.

My DVB-T card arrived, and I was certainly impressed. Terrestrial DVB-T cards have certainly improved over the years. If you want to see more pictures of my card you can check them out here.

DVBLink Server is free and DVBLink TVSource can used for 20 days under a trial license to evaluate. So I installed both and installed the hardware drivers for my DVB-T card. To my surprise at the time the card was visible and configurable (considering I hadn’t had any hardware compatible at this point – it was a win).

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Now I would be able to scan for the TV Channels, so that was my next step. Sure enough with a bit of work I was able to achieve this too.

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After this had to wait for the EIT guide data got populated, and once that was done I was able to browse the web interface that shows up and coming shows on each of the channels.

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This is also where you can program it and pick what you’d like to be recorded. The web interface is quite responsive and does a good job at doing what it is designed to do.

I found that it was also handy you could see at a glance on the Monitoring web page if the tuners are Idle or in use.

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You can play back recordings from the web interface to other devices, however this would incur a cost on CPU power, as transcoding will occur. I personally don’t mind using VLC to play back the files directly from the machine itself, otherwise you can install XBMC/Kodi somewhere and configure the PVR addon for the product. This works really well from my experience. The PVR addon allows you to watch the Live TV and/or recordings. These are streamed over the network.

Live TV and Recordings can also be accessed using VLC using a special formed URL.

Recordings:

http://192.168.n.n:8100/mobile/?command=get_recordedtv_m3u

TV Channels:

http://192.168.n.n:8100/mobile/?command=get_playlist_m3u

You can check out the DVBLogic/DVBLink wiki page for more details on the above feature.

The DVBLink TVSource also broadcasts itself over UPnP/DLNA procotol too.

All in all I am quite happy with the product, and when my trial license expired I set about becoming a registered one. I hope to join the forums and contribute some feedback that might help make the product even better.

This post is NOT sponsored by DVBLogic, it is my own opinion based on my own usage of the product.

Kung Fu Panda 3

On the account it was school holidays and my kids have been asking to go see a movie.

My wife thought it might be a good idea to take half a day off work and take them to see Kung Fu Panda 3.

I haven’t seen the other 2 movies in the series completely, but I have seen enough to understand what is going on.

I would have to say I enjoyed the movie. It was very entertaining. I am glad that I did get to see the end of Kung Fu Panda 2, as it plays a significant part in the story line.

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DVBLink from DVBLogic Trial over

I’ve been running DVBLink from DVBLogic in Trial/Demo mode for the last 19 days.

My trial concluded today, as it has expired.

I think the product could certainly use some improvement and I will be pursuing to push a few points on how I think that can be done. Perhaps my ideas have already been suggested by other users in the community.

Generally I would have to say the product works really well, and I didn’t have much issues with what it does best, which records DVB streams.

The license costs when converted to AUD are quite expensive, which works out to be $73 AUD dollars. However, I do think I will be purchasing a license as it works very well under Windows 10, which I have used for part of the trial period, while I was also running it on Windows 8.1 as well too.

Well worth checking out if you have some compatible hardware, and would like to record DVB streams.

The trailer I got for my birthday finally purchased

For my birthday late last year, I said to my wife it would be nice to perhaps have my own trailer.

Sure enough that’s what she got me, however I had held off buying it until it got closer to moving, as I don’t have anywhere to store it presently (unless my car parks outside – trailer takes my car space in garage).

Decided earlier this week, that this weekend was probably going to be the day to purchase one, as it will come in handy in the next few months.

I went to Mechid in Smithfield and purchased one. Got a 7×4 Highside with cage, in addition to a spare wheel and jockey. The staff I have to say very friendly and totally helpful.

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Good website for new home builders

I was watching a recorded program and just happened to capture a look at an interesting advert. I wouldn’t normal watch them, typically skip them. But it got my attention and even made me laugh.

Basically its a website with major builders and house designs. So you can quickly compare them based on features, at which point when you narrow it down you could go to a Display Village to check them out. Rather than doing it all at first at the Display Village (multiple times) and lots of walking.

Awesome concept I thought and website seems quite good too.

Check it out at ibuildnew.com.au

I got a copy of the commercial off my recording and uploaded to youtube if you’d like to see it.

New House – Hills Home Hub installation

Checked on the progress of the New House and noticed that Electrician has clearly been.

Electrician has come through and completed significant amount of finishing off. Powerpoints,  lights, light switches and Hills Home Hub.

I managed to get a picture of the Hills Home Hub as installed on the wall in the garage. All I need to to do is arrange the Opticomm FTTH installation when we get to a handover/move in date.

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