March 16, 2010

More Books to Hunt Down

In addition to finding the serialized second novel in the tales of Candida Smith-Foster, I have just learned (from reading Wikipedia) that another of my fondly-remembered sci-fi series from kidhood, Harry Harrison's Deathworld Trilogy, apparently has four books past the three I knew of! Unfortunately, Wikipedia tells me that these were 'co-written' with other authors and only published in Russian. Hm. Well, still, something to keep an eye out for.

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March 9, 2010

Contributing to the memeflooding

I know, I know, I'm just being a viral marketing tool.

But I can't help it.

Please, please let this not suck.

Oh please.

So far, so good.

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March 4, 2010

On the hunt

One of my favorite sci-fi novels from my kidhood was a one-off novel by David R. Palmer, titled Emergence. It was a sole-survivor story, a plucky-kid story, and a somewhat shaky superman-hero-fights-evil-empire story. It concerned the adventures of one Candida Smith-Foster, precocious heroine (13 years old, IIRC? Update:Nope, 11) and her voyages across a post-apocalyptic United States. Palmer wrote that book, and one unrelated novel (Threshold) and then disappeared.

However, I have recently discovered that he surfaced briefly in 2008 - to announce that he'd completed a sequel to Emergence, named Tracking. It was apparently serialized in Analog between July and October of 2008.

But that's the only place it exists.

So I guess I need to start hunting Analog back issues...

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March 1, 2010

Pioneer VSX-92txh and the HDMI 'Not Supported' message

I was at a friend's house recently and was asked to assist in hooking up a new Sony blu-ray player to their home theater setup. Since the carrot was that we could then immediately watch 'Moon' and 'Blade Runner' in Blu-ray, I said 'sure' and off we went.

We ran into a problem, however, and it took some diagnostics to fix, so I figured I'd write it up here in case anyone out there on the interg00glez runs into it.

The Problem:
The Blu-ray player, when connected to the Pioneer via HDMI and optical digital audio, won't work in 1080p resolution. When we connected the player (a Sony) it went through a 'quick setup' wizard. At boot and during that process, it was configured for what looked like low res - 480? - while it tried to figure out how to set itself. It reached the 'resolution' phase and announced that it would try to autodetect the proper resolution - and then the picture vanished ('No Signal' on the TV) and the Pioneer amp started flashing the message 'NO SUPPORT' on the amp's frontpanel. After 30 seconds, the picture came back (still low res) and the Blu-ray player asked if we'd seen the test page. We said 'no.' Rinse and repeat; the Blu-ray for some reason kept trying and failing to sync up.

After eventually forcing it to break out of the 'quick start' configuration wizard, we found that it was set to the lowest possible resolution, which did work. So we started trying to manually set it to higher resolutions. Eventually, we determined that while it would display 1080i, any attempt to set the player to 1080p would cause the 'NO SUPPORT' message.

This seemed stupid. We were talking about a Pioneer Elite amp, and a Samsung LNT5271f TV - both of which most assuredly would handle 1080p. As a test, I connected the Blu-Ray directly to the TV. It worked fine - so the problem was definitely with the amp. The *other* HDMI devices connected seemed to work fine; the Playstation 3 on another input seemed to work. But the Blu-ray just wouldn't work.

The Solution:
Well, long story short(er). It turns out that the Pioneer lets you manually assign specific video inputs to a particular function - so for example you can select the 'BD' (BluRay Disc) function, and then specify that the amp should switch to 'HDMI-1' and 'Digital Audio-3' (for example) when set to this function. We had done just that, and set it to 'HDMI-1' and 'Digital Audio 3' or some such.

The problem, however, is that although the amp will let you select and use the various video inputs individually, they aren't as independent as you might think. The problem: We had component video cables plugged into 'Component-1' for the cable box - and apparently, that trailing '-1' means that those inputs share some part of the signal path. The fact that component video was plugged into - let's call it Circuit 1, meant that Circuit 1 was limited to the maximum resolution of the component video - which was 1080i.

So we moved the Blu-Ray player to HDMI-4, which had no other devices plugged into that circuit ("-4") and voila, everything worked fine.

Annoying. No mention of this limitation in the manual that I could find, or on the internet. So hope this helps someone.

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