Archive for the ‘Sony Stuff’ Category

November 09, 2011
Filed Under (Linux, Open Source, Sony Stuff, Ubuntu) by Ollie Cronk on 09-11-2011

Quick post – caveat haven’t had a chance to proof read this one and its late so it will have to do for now!

You may not be aware that you can use a Playstation 3 to act as a media streaming/playback client using a system called DNLA (also known as uPNP). This allows you to view content on your computer on your main TV in HD. Windows Media Player can act as the “Server” portion but its not ideal for connecting to the Playstation.

Crude diagram here, might expand this with my full setup when I get a chance:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been trying to get this working for a while. Essentially the plan is to get access to downloaded videos, videos from my camcorder (now HD) to save burning it to DVD or Blu-Ray and also access my photos and music collection from my Ubuntu Linux server that holds all my content (on a RAID 1 mirrored disk setup) to my TV and home cinema/HiFi setup.

Last time I tried to use a small command line utility and my PS3 was only connected via Wireless to the Server – the result was stuttering music let alone videos. So its something I gave up on for the time being.

Recently I have been able to overcome this as I have discovered flat gigabit ethernet cables that I can run out of my double glazed windows (even when shut!) so I have hacked a gigabit backbone that connects my TV and AV kit (including PS3) to my Linux Server (in fact the very one that served this blog page to you) that hold gigabytes of multimedia (now there’s a word you don’t hear much these days!)

Also discovered http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/ which is a great Java based server component for PNP based streaming – as the name suggests its specifically designed for connecting the PS3 up to content…

Screenshot of ps3mediaserver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey presto excellent quality video (including 1080p video) and music on the TV / HiFi!

Next to work out how to get my iTunes (stuff that only plays on iTunes rather than MP3s) music across and available to the PS3. I have moved and shared the my iTunes media folder (as have that on the network too – as per these instructions – http://lifehacker.com/230605/hack-attack-share-your-itunes-music-library-over-your-home-network – so I can re-use iTunes across different machines – and keep it backed up).



December 14, 2008
Filed Under (Gadgets, Sony Stuff, Technology) by Ollie Cronk on 14-12-2008

The latest firmware upgrade for the PS3 (is it me or does the thing love to spend half its time updating itself or something or other?!) is worthwhile – whilst the last one added Life with Playstation (which is an enchancement to the folding@home application that puts spare processing power to use) this one adds Playstation Home (think Second Life) and the ability to play Iplayer videos (although not download) which is really cool and very useful.

Playstation Home looks really good although it must be struggling with increased demand – as most of the time it fails to connect which is a shame.

Can’t help but think though that some of these products – Life@Playstation, Playstation Home could use better more imaginative names…?



April 29, 2008
Filed Under (Sony Stuff, Technology) by Ollie Cronk on 29-04-2008

I’ve lost patience with Vista and have gone back to Windows XP on my Vaio (using the Sony recovery DVDs which actually work pretty well!) as even Vista SP1 didn’t seem to fix much!

I’m going to be dual booting with the newly released version of Ubuntu which is 8.04 “Hardy Heron” I am trying to make the switch over to Linux on the desktop but there are somethings I miss. I am also going to try VirtualBox which is Open Source Virtual Machine software (like VMware) which seems to be backed by Sun Microsystems…



March 08, 2008
Filed Under (Linux, Open Source, Sony Stuff, Technology, Ubuntu) by Ollie Cronk on 08-03-2008

Desktop of Hardy HeronBit of a techy one here (so skip this if your not into Linux!) but sometimes these posts are useful to others!!!

Whilst trying to get my Sony memory stick slot (Mass storage controller: Texas Instruments 5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD) working on my Vaio under Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) I came across this bug report where someone recommended trying the live CD of the latest release (Hardy Heron) to see if that fixed the issue.

Not sure is progress on the issue with the memory stick reader has been made – instead of:

[10321.605008] tifm_core: MemoryStick card detected in socket 0:0
[10321.611165] tifm_ms: Unknown symbol tifm_has_ms_pif

I now get:

tifm_core: MemoryStick card detected in socket 0:0

Which is possibly a bit of a backwards step!

However what I did discover is that the alpha (development) version of Hardy – the new 8.04 version of Ubuntu which is due for release next month – is pretty stable. So I have decided to take the plunge and did a dist upgrade (changing the /etc/apt/sources to reference hardy rather than gutsy and then running upgrade-manager -d). So far working well (hopefully not famous last words!!) writing this from it.

This thread (SONY VAIO MEMORY STICK: tifm_7xx1: sd card detected in socket 0)
and another on Ubuntu Forums discusses a similar issue / mounting SD cards and the latter suggests using

sudo mount /dev/tfa0 <mount point>

but this doesn’t work for me – if anyone knows how you look up what a device is likely to be listed as I’d be keen to know (need to do a bit of digging on this). I think I need to resolve the tifm_ms bit first.

I have been contributing the bug report (feels good to give something back after all the years of being a Linux user – now on the way to becoming a tester / bug reporter – who knows one day I might write some code for it!!)

Hardy comes with Firefox 3 beta 3 which seems really good also (hope I won’t be eating my words!) unfortunately Firebug and Google Brower sync (two plugins I can’t live without!) don’t seem to be available for it yet – so I am mostly using FF2 still.



November 05, 2007
Filed Under (Sony Stuff) by Ollie Cronk on 05-11-2007

I decided to buck the trend and go for a Sony MP3 player over the Apple Ipod when I bought MP3 players for myself and the missus. On the whole they were a good buy – sound quality excellent but desktop software a bit iffy…

Anyway I discovered a Firmware update today and after careful consideration (as firmware updates can be a bit risky) I took the plunge and upgraded my NW-3000 from 2.01 to 3.00. Really pleased I did as the interface is now much quicker and has an improved loading icon (rather then the disk spinning you still see the normal screen with a little loading AJAX style symbol bottom right (the area where battery status is shown). It also supports AAC files and has some other little improvements – se the linked page above for full details. I upgraded the wifes A1000 with no issues too. Also I used Vista to do the upgrade.

So if you are concerned follow the instructions to the letter, keep your fingers crossed and hey presto improved MP3 player!

Naturally I take no responsibility for any damages occurring from following my recommendation – flashing firmware is always risky and you do so at your own risk.



July 17, 2007
Filed Under (MS Windows Vista 7, 8 etc, Sony Stuff, Technology) by Ollie Cronk on 17-07-2007

Sony Vaio VGN-SZ3HP Overall Review

I knew it was time to replace my ageing HP Omnibook when some of the keys stopped working (well actually stopped working in combination with the shift key – which is really strange!). This time I knew I wanted something far more portable that the 15” desktop replacement that the Omnibook 6000 was – as I’d be using this on my train commute into London every day*. And although I wanted a small notebook I didn’t want to comprise too much on performance -hence the dual core & nVidia powered SZ3 appealed…

Ollie’s Vaio SZ3 running Ubuntu

 

I am often asked for purchasing advice on laptops and Sony is often my response – mainly on reputation as I have never owned one until now. People often say with a Sony you are paying the brand name – whilst this is true to a degree I also think you are paying for R&D and build quality. This certainly comes through with the Sony SZ3 – a well thought out compact & light but powerful notebook.

The SZ3HP is the entry level machine – with a slightly lower spec than that of the top of the line models mainly in processor and memory terms. I couldn’t justify spending much over the £1K mark and didn’t feel you got much more for quite a bit more money. The higher spec model is a different colour and has a fingerprint scanner, is marginally lighter with a thiner screen – quite how they can make it thinner than mine is beyond belief!

See the Vaio site for full specs and info on the SZ range (I see they are now on to the SZ5! I should have published this article sooner!)

Some of the nice features the SZ has are:

  • Dual Performance modes “Stamina” and “Speed” – with a switch to change between – requiring a reboot to changeover – this mainly changes between the Nvidia graphics and the on board Intel graphics.
  • Screen Mounted Webcam – not particularly high res but works well for MSN etc
  • Performance – both in speed and usability – for example the screen is excellent.
  • Design and looks – never fails to get comments from people – as it is a very nice looking machine!

Some of the annoyances are:

As shipped the Hard Disk has been split into 3 volumes – one for System use, and a C: and D: drive. Although I have now re-partioned the machine and dual boot Ubuntu and Vista (got the upgrade via a free deal)

Some of the Vaio software nags you quite a lot unnecessarily

Lack of a physical volume control or mute button like I had on the Omnibook. As it can be annoying when you realise you’ve just booted the thing up on the train and the Windows startup sound is about to play full volume! The only way of changing the volume is via the Fn+F4 and F5 keys which don’t work until your in Windows! I have just discovered you can assign muting to the S1 button – but this can be a bit flaky.

Slightly rattle to the battery – there is a small amount of play in the batter which slides into the back. This might just be my machine (and maybe I should have returned it – but couldn’t be bothered for such a small thing)

Initially it took a while to get used to the keyboard – as it was quite different the HP – the keys are bigger (strangely for a smaller machine!) and surprisingly there is a bit of flex in the keyboard – but I don’t really notice now I’ve been using it for a while. I got on better with the trackpad better than I was expecting (it better than most of the trackpads I’ve used before) to although on occasions I do miss the trackpoint (IBM Thinkpad stick style mouse) that the HP has. I use it in the Speed mode most of the time (apart from on really long journeys) as that gives well over an hour of battery life with good performance. I have managed to get over 5 hours out of the machine in Stamina though (on a trip back from France) using it mainly to read some documents, but also some image editing in Photoshop.

In terms of performance the machine has amazed me – dual core really is impressive – unfortunately with Windows I suspect that 1 core is used to power Windows and its inefficiencies and the other for your applications! It certainly runs a lot cooler and quieter whilst doing nothing on Linux than on Vista! The application that my desktop has been struggling with – Adobe Premiere Elements – runs well – again I think Dual core helps here.

Haven’t played many games apart from a short spell with Secondlife (which I gave up after a few hours – after realising I just don’t have time for games anymore!) which worked better than I expected – the nVidia graphics chip is pretty good.

Vista Notes

Okay so currently I can’t get the Webcam working under Vista (I probably just need to have a bit more of a play with the drivers but so far no joy)

Runs noiser and hotter under Vista than XP or Ubuntu Linux

General Vista issues

– Some software not working (or having to be hacked to get working – like 4oD)

Wireless gets disconnected everytime you lock your notebook (using the Windows Key and L)

More to follow when I can remember them / they annoy me again!

* As it turns out I am no longer doing that commute, but its useful having a truely portable notebook and as I plan to cycle commute the light weight and small size will come in handy!



May 23, 2007
Filed Under (Linux, Sony Stuff, Technology, Ubuntu) by Ollie Cronk on 23-05-2007

Full post to come on this but a summary – 99% of the features of the laptop (nVidia Graphics, Wireless, Mouse etc) all work out of the box (no messing about at all – it just works!) with Ubuntu Linux 7.04 aka “Feisty Faun”!

Ollie’s Vaio SZ3 running Ubuntu

I am really impressed with Ubuntu 7 – its a very well polished piece of software and what with the news of Dell announcing Ubuntu as a supported/pre-installed operating system in the US I think its starting to reach a level of maturity that makes Linux more accessible to the average user – interesting times…

When I did a google I found a link to related model. I have yet to try out all of its suggestions (such as detecting what graphics card is switched on – from the Stamina/Speed selector switch and changing the X config) but as I learn more I’ll update this post.

Hmm looks like this question on Launchpad might get the Webcam working.