Thursday, January 29, 2009

Remember the Osprey high end Video Capture Boards.

These were all the rage back in the late 90's. They are made by ViewCast

I had totally forgotten about them, and when I went to try to find
I accidentally went to

Turns out to be a reseller of the Osprey Video Capture boards.

I much prefer dealing with Lazlow Zoltan of computer modules down in San Diego. Great guy.
He also sells the Osprey board.

I did a project with the SDI-Master board, from him a few years ago.

Well at least back then they were just Brooktree BT848/BT878 Capture boards.
I was able to get an almost identical capture board (lower quality) for $15 from lifeview in Milpitas. But I think they are long gone now, this was back in 1999 when I was doing this work.
The Brooktree was aquired and is now Conexant.
The chips became the Fusion 878 chip.
To this days it's still one of my favorite capture chips. Much simpler then the Techwell parts.

The GeoVision and Kodicom CCTV DVR capture boards also use this same chip.
My livecam product was also built around it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quantum Camera On a Silicon Chip

From: Slashdot

"Physicists in Switzerland and California have developed a new type of camera capable of imaging quantum correlations between pairs of photons. The details are presented in the current issue of the open-access publication New Journal of Physics. Unlike a conventional camera with a CCD imager, this camera is composed of Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) pixels implemented on a high-performance CMOS chip. One of the authors has provided more background for the non-physicist. Apparently, it could be used to verify the existence of Bose-Einstein condensates that are now starting to be produced in new ways."

TEMPEST: A Signal Problem

from: Hackaday

TEMPEST is the covername used by the NSA and other agencies to talk about emissions from computing machinery that can divulge what the equipment is processing. We’ve covered a few projects in the past that specifically intercept EM radiation. TEMPEST for Eliza can transmit via AM using a CRT monitor, and just last Fall a group showed how to monitor USB keyboards remotely. Through the Freedom of Information Act, an interesting article from 1972 has been released. TEMPEST: A Signal Problem (PDF) covers the early history of how this phenomenon was discovered. Uncovered by Bell Labs in WWII, it affected a piece of encryption gear they were supplying to the military. The plaintext could be read over that air and also by monitoring spikes on the powerlines. Their new, heavily shielded and line filtered version of the device was rejected by the military who simply told commanders to monitor a 100 feet around their post to prevent eavesdropping. It’s an interesting read and also covers acoustic monitoring. This is just the US history of TEMPEST though, but from the anecdotes it sounds like their enemies were not just keeping pace but were also better informed.

Delay in analog TV shutdown presents challenges

From :

WASHINGTON (AP) -- With the clock ticking toward the Feb. 17 deadline for TV broadcasters to shut off their analog signals and go entirely digital, analysts say more than 6.5 million households are not ready. Now Congress appears poised to postpone the transition to June - but a delay could bring its own problems.

To avoid blacking out TV sets in unprepared homes next month, the Obama administration is seeking the delay to give the government more time to fix a subsidy program that has run out of money for coupons that help consumers pay for digital converter boxes for older TVs.

See link for rest.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bye Bye Zune.

Microsoft To Exit the Zune Business?

According to Microsoft's quarterly filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Zune platform experienced a revenue drop of 54 percent, or $100 million. This compares to relatively healthy sales of the iPod, which were up 3 percent in the same period (though revenue did drop by 16 percent). Obviously, with the recent job cuts at Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, pundits are wondering how soon until the Zune also gets the chop. As one pundit wrote: 'Microsoft, by now, should be realizing that it's never going to be as "cool" as Apple, so why waste its time with the Zune where it has no competitive advantage?'"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cox Blocked

I downloaded a movie using Bit Torrent off of Isohunt. But this movie was really a trojan of a new flavor. Turns out the wmv video file was set up to have the video codec to call back home for DRM activation over the net. So when you try to play this file, Cox Cable uses this to shut down the Internet connection. For a few hours there was no way to get back on. It seemed completely dead.
Fortunately there was an easy fix. Eventually you will get a page about DMCA violations with a link to restore the connection.

Every web site you try to access come back with this page.

That link is The second time this happened, I already knew this and was able to reactivate instantly.

HDMI / HDCP with 2560 x 1600 Support?

The Dell 3007WFP and Hewlett Packard LP3065 30" LCD monitors require a
graphics card with a dual-link DVI port to drive the ultra high native
resolution of 2560x1600 which these monitors support. With the current
family of NVIDIA Geforce 8 & 7 series HDCP capable GPU's, playback of
HDCP content is limited to single-link DVI connection only. HDCP is
disabled over a dual-link DVI connection. The highest resolution the
Dell 30" 3007WFP supports in single-link DVI mode is 1280x800 and
therefore this is the highest resolution which HDCP playback is
supported in single-link DVI mode on current Geforce 8 &7 series HDCP
capable GPU's. On other 3rd party displays with a native resolutions
of 1920x1200 and below, the graphics card interfaces with the monitor
over a single-link DVI connection. In this case, playback of content
protected Blu-Ray and HD-DVD movies is possible on HDCP capable
Geforce 8& 7 series GPU's.

There is some hope though: dv411(dot)com is selling converters which
may provide the adaptation necessary for the giant monitors coming our
way. The $450 price tag is steep, IMHO, but that doesn't mean there
isn't already competition in the converter arena of that prices won't
plummet once the converging technologies and trends gain momentum.

Nervous System Manipulation by electromagnetic fields from Monitors

Nervous System Manipulation by electromagnetic fields from Monitors
Patent 6,506,148

I don't think this will work on LCD's. Maybe Plasma?

Subliminal Learning Demonstrated In Human Brain

{image: New research uses sophisticated perceptual masking,
computational modeling, and neuroimaging to show that instrumental
learning can occur in the human brain without conscious processing of
contextual cues. (Credit: iStockphoto/Kiyoshi Takahase Segundo)}

ScienceDaily (Aug. 28, 2008) — Although the idea that instrumental
learning can occur subconsciously has been around for nearly a
century, it had not been unequivocally demonstrated. Now, a new study
published by Cell Press in the August 28 issue of the journal Neuron
used sophisticated perceptual masking, computational modeling, and
neuroimaging to show that instrumental learning can occur in the human
brain without conscious processing of contextual cues.

"Humans frequently invoke an argument that their intuition can result
in a better decision than conscious reasoning," says lead author Dr.
Mathias Pessiglione from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at
the University College London. "Such assertions may rely on
subconscious associative learning between subliminal signals present
in a given situation and choice outcomes." For instance, a seasoned
poker player may play more successfully because of a learned
association between monetary outcomes and subliminal behavioral
manifestations of their opponents.

To investigate this phenomenon, Dr. Pessiglione and colleagues created
visual cues from scrambled, novel, abstract symbols. Visual awareness
was assessed by displaying two of the masked cues and asking subjects
if they perceived any difference. "We reasoned that if subjects were
unable to correctly perceive any difference between the masked cues,
then they were also unable to build conscious representations of
cue-outcome associations," explains Dr. Pessiglione.

In the next set of experiments, subjects performed a subliminal
conditioning task that employed the same masking procedure, but the
cues were now paired with monetary outcomes. Using this methodology,
the researchers observed that pairing rewards and punishments guided
behavioral responses and even conditioned preferences for abstract
cues that subjects could not consciously see.

The researchers collected scans of the brain, using functional
magnetic resonance imaging, to investigate the specific brain
circuitry that is linked to subliminal instrumental conditioning. "The
ventral striatum responded to subliminal cues and to visible outcomes
in a manner that closely approximates our computational algorithm,
expressing reward expected values and prediction errors," says Dr.
Pessiglione. "We conclude that, even without conscious processing of
contextual cues, our brain can learn their reward value and use them
to provide a bias on decision making."

The researchers include Mathias Pessiglione, University College
London, London, UK, INSERM U610, Universite´ Pierre et Marie Curie,
Paris, France; Predrag Petrovic, University College London, London, UK
Jean Daunizeau, University College London, London, UK; Stefano
Palminteri, INSERM U610, Universite´ Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris,
France; Raymond J. Dolan, University College London, London, UKand
Chris D. Frith, University College London, London, UK.


Journal reference:

Mathias Pessiglione, Predrag Petrovic, Jean Daunizeau, Stefano
Palminteri, Raymond J. Dolan, and Chris D. Frith. Subliminal
Instrumental Conditioning Demonstrated in the Human Brain. Neuron,
2008; 59: 561-567 [link]
Adapted from materials provided by Cell Press, via EurekAlert!, a
service of AAAS.
Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of
the following formats:

Cell Press (2008, August 28). Subliminal Learning Demonstrated In
Human Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2008, from

Friday, January 16, 2009

If You Get HDTV, Get An Eye Exam, Says Totally Unbiased Study

from : TechDirt

A new study says that people who are getting high-definition TV gear need to get an eye exam, too, so they can be certain they're getting the maximum benefit out of their new equipment. The recommendation comes from a study commissioned by -- wait for it -- a chain of opticians, which in no way calls into question the veracity of their argument. A spokesman for the chain says that even a tiny bit of shortsightedness can effect the quality of the picture a person sees. That's probably true, but won't the HD picture still look much better than the SD image regardless?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Digital TV switchover

It really looks like the change over to Digital is not going to go well.

One of the things people are failing to realize is the Digital "all or nothing" problem.

By this I mean, when you have a clean signal both Analog and Digital work great, Digital is much better image quality.

But with a weak signal, if Digital get's too many errors, you see black or jumbled up images.

Where with Analog, it degrades gracefully. The video just gets fuzzy and snow, but you can still have a viewable image long past the point where digital will stop working!

For people with Cable TV this is a non-issue, but for people that can't afford it, and live in outlying areas, they may not get any TV soon.


Conflict of Interest May Taint DTV Delay Proposal

Anonymous writes "Ars Technica has discovered that one of the Obama transition team members advising on the digital TV transition has a conflict of interest that would benefit WiMAX carrier Clearwire over Verizon. 'Barack Obama's call to delay the DTV transition would affect not only millions of analog TV viewers, but also powerful companies with a vested interest in the changeover date — including at least one with an executive on Obama's transition team.'"


DTV Coupon Program Out of Money

Thelasko writes "It appears that the US Government's digital converter box program is running out of money. If you sign up after the program runs out of money, you will receive your voucher if the program receives more funding. Older analog televisions will no longer work without a converter box after February 17."


Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Others Fined Over Digital TV Notices
On April 12th, 2008

Ian Lamont writes "The FCC has fined 11 retailers and television manufacturers for violating rules relating to the 2009 digital TV transition. Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, Sears, Kmart, and Wal-Mart supposedly failed to place notices near analog-only TV sets warning customers that the sets did not have digital tuners. In part, the required notice reads: 'This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products.' The fines total $6.6 million."


The Digital TV switchover
by Matt Haughey January 13, 2009

I'm going to go out on a not-so-far limb and say the scheduled Digital TV switchover away from analog scheduled to take place next month on February 17 is going to be delayed again. Originally planned to take place several years ago but pushed to 2009, the early tests in various markets sounded problematic and I can't imagine what will happen on a national scale.

Obama's transition team has already recommended a delay, I bet one of his first actions as president will be to push it back to 2010-2012. The only weird bit is that Hawaii is scheduled to change over in two days, so if Obama does move it back another year or two, will Hawaii stay digital-only?


From John Sokol

Related Reading:


FCC's Digital Television (DTV) Regulatory Information, for the FCC's consumer-oriented DTV website.

Vizio HDTVs with Amazon and Netflix

by Matt Haughey January 14, 2009
I looked around at a lot of CES wrapups and to be honest didn't see too many impressive things. Nothing really stood out as an all-new aha! kind of gadget like I've seen in years past. The theme of this year seemed to be mostly just refinement of existing technologies.

Vizionetflix Towards that theme, I'd have to say the best thing I've seen so far is this line of Vizio HDTVs with built-in 802.11n allowing for Netflix and Amazon streaming movies, Rhapsody music, and flickr photo integration. It's nice to see more opportunities for Netflix streaming to show up in the wild (I love the feature on my TiVo) and it's also nice to see it from a company like Vizio, who I associate with being an affordable brand at big box stores like Costco.
I suppose the tanking economy took the wind out of the sails of most CES news this week, but I'm still a bit surprised there weren't any wild breakthrough products unveiled.

YouTube Coming Soon to a TV Near You

Video streaming web site YouTube announced a new beta service today called YouTube for TV (if you want to try it in your regular browser, here's how). To begin with, the service is available on Sony PS3s and Nintendo Wiis, offering a "10-foot television viewing experience through a streamlined interface that enables you to discover, watch, and share YouTube videos on any TV screen with just a few quick clicks of your remote control." Sounds good so far, but if you've got a Wii or PS3, let's hear what you think in the comments.