Category Archives: Free Time

All kind of things I do in my free time

NetBSD TV: The Streaming Video Client

For quite some time I’ve been looking for a streaming video client that would allow me to watch the video files that are stored on my NetBSD server on the TV in the sitting room. I thought that my requirements for such a client were pretty basic:

  1. Decent analog video (preferably via a SCART connector) and digitial audio output.
  2. An HDMI connector for future use.
  3. Support for popular video file formats like DivX and MP4.
  4. Doesn’t require a proprietary server software.
  5. A good WAF.

But I was wrong. I couldn’t find any streaming video client that met these demands in over a year. When I recently learned that Sony’s Playstation 3 (PS3) supports DivX in newer versions of its firmware my interest was sparked. After a bit of research I found a number of facts in favour of the PS3:

  1. The PS3 supports UPnP AV and works fine with MediaTomb, an open source UPnP MediaServer.
  2. The PS3 has all the video and audio connectors that I wanted.
  3. As the PS3 can also play DVDs it could replace my DVD player. That would not only avoid an increase in the number of devices in the sitting room but also prevent a shortage of SCART ports on the TV.
  4. The case of the PS3 is well designed and shiny.
  5. In addition to all that the PS3 is also a powerful game console and a Blu-ray Disc player. And I was keen to play Assassin’s Creed anyway.

Based on the above evaluation I came up with a profound business case which was approved by the secretary of domestic affairs straight away (the WAF was even better than anticipated). I bought a Playstation 3 online the next day.

Queen + Paul Rodgers at the O2

Last Friday Silke, me and over 10.000 other people had a really good time in The O2 arena in London. That was of course due to our hosts, Queen + Paul Rodgers.

The concert was brilliant, just as I expected. Brian May‘s mastery of the guitar is just breathtaking. Roger Taylor is looking a bit older than he used to but his abilities as a drummer haven’t been affected at all. He even played the famous bassline from Under Pressure on an electronic bass guitar using his drumsticks. And while nobody can replace the late Freddie Mercury the new lead singer Paul Rodgers is an excellent musician.

Besides some great songs from the new album the The Cosmos Rocks they played the classics that people love. There is nothing like celebrating We Will Rock You with thousands of others or singing We Are the Champions at the top of your lungs.

Silke and I are both hoping that this wasn’t the last Queen + Paul Rodgers concert that we have lived to see.

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Only three years after moving to Cambridge Silke and I finally managed to visit the nearby Imperial War Museum Duxford. It is Chris Cunningham’s fault that we finally made it. He visited Duxford two weeks ago and published a lot of photos in his blog.

We took advantage of the nice weather last Saturday (which is a very uncommon phenomenon on a Bank holiday weekend) and drove to Duxford at noon. As the museum is located on a former airfield of the Royal Air Force it covers a wide areal. We spend an hour walking around and looking at various planes outside:

We even saw a Hurricane performing aerobatics over the airfield.

After a lunch break we made our way through some of the many hangars. We started with the Battle of Britain hangar, continued to the restauration hangar and finally reached the The American Air Museum. And there it was, the aeroplane I wanted to see most of all, just right in front of me: The SR-71 Blackbird.

I have been fascinated by this aeroplane since my childhood days. And I wouldn’t have dreamed of standing in front of one of them.

There was so much more to see in Duxford, and Silke and I didn’t even manage to enter all the hangars. I guess we will have to come back to see the rest. 🙂