Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stardate 29/01/2013 12:34 Captain Demotricus Tiberius Berk reporting:- The Gadget man is on a roll.... Today I received a few bits and bobs to further complete my setup. I now have dual DVBT dongles feeding two of the three computers in front of me so I can now watch/Record from/Timeshift 4 channels at a time from the Windows 8 Desktop and the vista laptop. I also have a TV dongle feeding the Windows 7 machine too but I don`t use it for TV. (Not for TV? then what do you use it for? I hear you ask...) Well its a RTL2832U type dongle which can be used as a SDR (Software Dependent Radio) and I`ve always been a bit of a short-wave and HF listener having had several scanners and short wave radios in my time and I`ve never lost the bug so when I discovered how easy and Cheaply you could set one up by using this particular type of chipset dongle I leapt at the chance of buying one (they are now becoming quite rare.). Todays arrivals include the second dual receiving dongle and all the antenna plugs cable and splitters needed to wire everything up. I have daisy chained the sound inputs and outputs from all three computers into the same set of speakers - The windows 8 machine is the "master" and accepts a line in from the Windows 7 desktop which in turn receives an input from the laptop headphone socket to its line in. The microphone input on the laptop has a microphone in it (for dragon speak speech recognition), the microphone socket on the windows 8 machine has a flying lead for inputs from either my phones / radios or whatever whilst the windows 7 microphone socket is permanently wired via an attenuator to my 4 track under the desk (which has its own inputs for decks, Guitar leads, line in inputs and microphones). As you might guess this arrangement is not perfect and it can pick up electrical noise easily. However its about the best I can do with only two useable line inputs and surprisingly once a signal is present - the noise is negligible. Using this arrangement I can play,multitrack and record music from my guitars and synthesizers and even croak a few bars into a microphone too. I can hear audio from all the computers (And the decks/cassettes/instruments) at the same time and on the same speakers. One of my aims is to integrate the whole lot into one viable system and I am getting there slowly. Another small triumph was adding an android tablet into the mix - its connected via that flying lead I mentioned and gives me skype access without using my desktop system resources and also monitors my E-mail feeds. I can also use it as a "super-mouse" by using a remote desktop application which enables full gesture control on the windows 8 machine, - a useful stopgap until my touchscreen arrives. The latest on my touchscreen is that I am on a pre-order list and will get one of the first monitors of the type I`ve ordered as soon as its in the country. -They are apparently in GREAT demand - a good sign, as is the numerous glowing reviews on the web and youtube. Unknown to me when I ordered it has a webcam built into it as well as its own soundcard/speakers /USB hub, and ethernet inputs. -Its a capacitive ten point touch device. I am left with a decision to make when the monitor arrives. Do I :- Sack the idea of putting my windows 7 "seedbox" in the attic and use my existing LCD monitor as a seperate monitor for it and use the touchscreen by itself for the windows 8 machine, OR do I:- Use the Touchscreen as screen 1 and the LCD as screen 2 on the windows 8 Machine and continue to administer the windows 7 machine through "logmein" the remote desktop program. ??? Bear in mind that if I DO carry through with the "Hide my seedbox PC in a cupboard or the Attic" --scheme. that I will have to rethnk my audio setup. As this project was originally a mental exercise - I think I`ve proved it viable so am now in two minds about what to do next. The back of the PCs resemble a plate of spaghetti and out of curiousity I counted my spare and used USB leads - 29 in use and 15 hanging up - maybe I should uprate my power supply? Decisions , decisions... Actually it may be academic, -The windows 8 PC does have two video outputs, - the VGA socket the existing LCD monitor is plugged into, and a HDMI output. I know that the new monitor takes an HDMI input so am just assuming that I`ll be able to configure it for two screens. This may not be the case. I MAY have to purchase a graphics card (existing graphics are on board the motherboard).-If I do that , I may have to uprate the power supply -its 280W (not huge..) Still , I`ll cross that bridge when I get to it! so For now... Demotricus Tiberius Berk signing off.... Edit:- Stop Press! Now have integrated VHS video recorder and freeview box into system via composite video/Audio input and can now transfer Old tapes to digital storage And ANOTHER Freeview Feed (that makes a total of 6 patchable ( and recordable ) channels viewing at same time)

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