Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My Galaxy Nexus developed a hardware fault over the weekend and it is now in for repair. As a result I reverted to using a candybar phone for the first time in 3 years. I dug out my old Skypephone S2, swapped SIM and charged it up first thing Monday morning.

I'm keeping a record in Evernote of the things I miss, but after using for a few days I'm impressed at how little I'm missing my fully featured smartphone.

The obvious candidates are missing Tweetdeck for reading the news in the morning and a home budgeting application to record purchases when they occur. But, there are other more subtle things like not having Evernote on my phone for snapping photos and recording notes when out and about or my password app (which I needed once to get my Google password).

However, the most significant gain so far is the complete lack of any battery anxiety and the halt of the stream of notifications. Might seem trivial, but it is surprisingly relaxing not having to clear them regularly.

So far, most of the things above can be done on a small tablet either at work or at home and are not really needed on the move. I suppose with the big exception of Evernote...

Spotify presents an interesting problem too as I like to listen to that in the car - although not missed at the moment as I'm using a different car for commuting which doesn't have an aux input. Maybe I can find a candybar phone with Spotify...

Incidentally, I originally chose my phone for the large screen for reading eBooks on it and the desire not to carry multiple devices. Whilst the Galaxy Nexus screen is good for this purpose, looking back I've found myself reading either at home or at work - i.e. not on the move - and perhaps a Kindle or Kobo Glo would be better.

I'll put another post up when I get my Android phone back, but in the meantime I'm quite enjoying checking email when I choose and not when I'm told.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Asus AT37N7A-I Nvidia ION Linux Configuration

I've been using this excellent motherboard for about 2 years, it has now been disassembled as I had less of a need for a silent PC in the living room after retiring my use of MythTV.

 I had Ubuntu installed on this PC and during its lifetime was subjected to many performance tweaks. Rather than delete this work, I've decided to put the files online for other people to use.


I wanted digital sound over the HDMI cable so it can be played by either my TV or AV amp; I've played back DTS HD with this configuration, my TV had issues with some sample rates which is why the rate is configured explicitly.


pcm.!default front

pcm.analog-hw {
  type hw
  card 0
  device 0

pcm.analog-hw-formatted {
  type plug
  slave {
    pcm analog-hw
    rate 48000
} {
  type hw
  card 0
  device 3
} {
  type plug 
  slave {
    pcm digital-hw
    rate 48000

pcm.hdmi_softvol {
  type softvol
  slave.pcm digital-hw-formatted hdmi_volume
  control.card 0


These are my xorg.conf settings for use with my Sharp Aquos 32" TV, this has been optimised for use with MythTV specifically playback of 1080p playback at 50Hz, 60Hz and 24Hz.


Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Default Layout"
    Screen         "Default Screen" 0 0

Section "Monitor"
    #Sharp AQUOS Screen Dimension: 701mm x 394mm
    Identifier     "Television"
    VendorName     "Sharp"
    ModelName      "LC32LE600E"
    DisplaySize     701    394

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "ION-HDMI"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Option         "NoLogo"                    "true"
    # If not disabled I can't select 24Hz or 60Hz refresh rates
    Option         "DynamicTwinView"           "false"
    Option         "NoFlip"                    "false"
    Option         "FlatPanelProperties"       "Scaling = Native"
    Option         "ModeValidation"            "NoVesaModes, NoXServerModes, NoPredefinedModes"
    Option         "ModeDebug"                 "true"
    # Options for MythTV performance
    Option         "TripleBuffer"              "True"
    Option         "UseEvents"                 "True"
    Option         "HWCursor"                  "False"
    # Removes non selected modes
    Option         "IncludeImplicitMetaModes"  "false"
    Option         "ExactModeTimingsDVI"       "True"
    Option         "DPI"                       "100 x 100"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Default Screen"
    Device         "ION-HDMI"
    Monitor        "Television"
    DefaultDepth   24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Viewport    0 0
        Depth       24
        Modes      "1920x1080_50" "1920x1080_24_0" "1920x1080_60_0"

Section "Extensions"
    Option         "Composite"                 "Disable"


On startup, nvidia-settings is called with the following parameters:

nvidia-settings -a "SyncToVBlank=1" -a "AllowFlipping=1" -a "FSAAAppControlled=1" -a "OpenGLImageSettings=3" -a "LogAniso=0" -a "GPUScaling[DFP-0]=1,1"; nvidia-settings -r


Here are the mplayer-config settings for smooth playback using the GPU:



There is extensive documentation on the MythTV wiki so I won't repeat that here, for reference though: