06 October 2010

Exchange 2010 hosting

We started today new service: Exchange hosting
Service bases on Microsoft Exchange 2010, WMware virtualization and HP Proliant and HP Storageworks hardware.

26 July 2010

New game

Today I bought very addictive game for my iPhone. Like tetris, but really dynamic:
Wristbreaker Tetris -style game for iPhone

21 May 2010

Got rid of my DVD player

Today was kind of historic milestone. I unwired my Onkyo DVD player. Proper DVD player has been almost #1 signal source for my home cinema for decades! First one was bought from Helsinki back in 1991. Second one vas bougth 5 years ago with Onkyo AV system.

Instead of dedicated DVD player I plugged external LG Super Multi DVD player Model GE20LU11 via USB to my Popcorn Hour C200. Cracked player Region Free using MediaCodeSpeedEdit and cracked C200 using Community Software Installer. Instructions are here

Some may wonder, why DVD player, not BluRay. I just have many DVD-s, not yet BluRay disks. All new HD stuff is coming from torrents in H.264 Matroska container format. Just saved few $$$.

Usability report after the break.

03 March 2010


Other day I downloaded Michael Jackson's "This Is It" from www.isohunt.com. Got FLAC version and MP3 version. FLAC = Free Lossless Audio Codec, I think it't cleared out now :) For C-200 users I highly recommend FLAC version over compressed formats. Soundstage is magically clear! May be We MP3 and compressed music people forgot how real uncompressed sound feels?

There is considerable size difference:

"This is It" 2 CD collection on HDD:
  • FLAC 630 MBytes
  • MP3 180 Mbytes (various 270-300 kbps)
So, it's about 3,5 ratio. Worth to listen!

22 February 2010

C-200 is cured!

After consulting with Network Media Tank forum http://www.networkedmediatank.com/ and Popcorn Hour support I tested my unit by using external Chieftec 850W (bah...) ATX power supply. C-200 woke up from coma and the problem was located. Popcorn Hour C-200 PSU was simply dead. After few letters back and forth with Popcorn I decided, that best way to get equipment up and running again is to repair it myself and let them ship only PSU. People from http://www.networkedmediatank.com/ told, that RMA is really long process, together with shipping almost 2-3 months in some cases. So, I accepted self repair option.

Got new PSU today, changed it in 7 minutes and C-200 is running better than ever again :) New PSU is a bit differently labelled, but internals seemed quite similar, as much as I disovered under the hood.

I have to say, that Popcorn Hour web-based support in top-notch. Didn't have any problem with delays or other.

02 February 2010

Popcorn Hour C-200 is dead

Most probably internal power supply unit failed. No standby light, nothing. RMA case, I believe. I was able to use it under one week.

29 January 2010

Got C-200 online and working

After first disappointment I started to find solution, as sending unit back to China wasn't too good idea -- huge freight cost and long waiting time. And my searches were successful.

TWO main issues found:

1. Avoid using "Auto" setting in "Network" setting, use 10/100. For some reason my 15m long Gigabit cable didn't guarantee flawless 1Gb connection and instead of falling back to 100 Mbit, C-200 went crazy;

2. I had to abndon my beloved TwonkyMedia server and move over to Syabas MyiHome 5.2.0 streaming server. It has hugely better compatibility with Network Media Tank system than Twonky.

More notes

1. Chassis of C-200 is sligthly narrower than my std A/V equipment, like Onkyo TX-SR706

PA C-200 425 mm
TX-SR706: 435 mm

So, it's 1 cm narrower. As I don't put anything ontop Onkyo to avoid overheating (this is issue with Onkyo AV equipment!), C-200 has to be below and it doesn't look cool.

2. Installing internal HDD and sharing it to home network is super easy and works well. It's good idea to keep all hot new albums on C-200 HDD to use it autonomically. May-be in the future I will abandon my dedicated streaming server at all?

3. Speed has increased many times due to 2x faster processor and double memory. It really flies now through the menus and media directories.

4. RF remote (its not IR) has pro's and con's. It is really usable, absolutely no need to point it to the device, obstacles are not issue any more. But I can't use now my universal IR remote. Popcorn has solution for that, obtaining IRK-200 kit.

Issues not solved

1. Selecting 1080i resolution from screen settings menu generates bad whistle in left speaker. Have to use 720p, as my 41" plasma is not supporting 1080p.

28 January 2010

Received Popcorn Hour C-200, doesn't work

Popcorn Hour A-110 (smaller) and C-200 (larger)

Received Popcorn Hour C-200. I liked the form factor, it fits much better into my home audio system than old undersized A-110 model. I connected it to my home audio-video system, to home server via Ethernet -- and disappointed.

C-200 started up like perfectly normal. Showed media source menu. Recognised my TwonkyMedia UPnP server. First my new C-200 played SD stuff but at very sluggish way. Did't respond to pause, stop and play commands. Actually responded, but with very big delay. 16x fast forward kept going long time after pressing play. C-200 screen showed play command, but nothing really happaned, kept doing fast forward. Didn't respond to STOP command either. Returning to previous menu level was also extra slow. I restarted C-200 many times, didn't help. restarted my streaming server, no effect.

Things went bad to worse, after upgrading firmware from Maintenance menu. Kernel version 19-POP, firmware version 408-000. Firmware upgrade went OK. New firmware downloaded 100%, installed 100% and verified 100%. But new it is not recognizing any media files. Not in streaming mode neither in network browsing mode. Sees all my servers, but no media files.

I have now to wire back my old Popcorn Hour A-110 what pisses me off big time.

08 January 2010

Ordered Popcorn Hour C-200 today

I ordered Popcorn Hour C-200 today. I have been happy A-110 owner more than a year. It's very good HD streamer, handled Full HD 1080 .MKV and H.264 better and earlier than others.
So, why did I switch?

1. It has much more powerful Sigma Design SMP8643 processor (previous model had SMP8635). A-110 excels in video decoding, but lags in Fast-Forward, jump to and other UI functions. I really hope, that new processor makes user experience better;
2. It has LCD, enables to play audio w/o switching plasma on;
3. I like new design and form factor.

Now I have to wait some 2-3 weeks....

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