Archive for March 2005


TV Out Support…

…on modern video cards is pretty bad. I have a (admittedly aging) GeForce 4 4400 with a Philips TV chip. It can do TV out at 600×800. It doesn’t support custom resolutions, its doesn’t support overscan.

Up until recently I thought it could only output video to one monitor at a time, even with the monitors cloned. Turns out I was wrong about that. Enabling the second display, the TV in this case, to show full screen overlay video gets you an ideal setup. Video shows on both monitors, not just the designated one. The video is always full screen on the designated monitor even when the displaying app is minimized. So I can type this blog post on my primary monitor and watch The Transporter ride rough shod over Paris on the TV, very nice indeed.

My next video card will have to do a lot better. I don’t like this overscan/underscan business, I want a straight digital path from the vid card to the display. In a couple of years that display might be a high-def TV of some sort with component or DVI/HDMI inputs. That means the card will probably have HDMI out, no such card exists yet. If the industry wants to get into my living room they need to make the tools to make it happen. Perhaps Tivo should get into the video card business with one of the big vendors and create a card that accepts a cable card and does HDMI output to multiple HDTV sets and a monitor. That would be ideal.

Thesis Finished!

Last week Friday Florida Tech accepted my Thesis. You can currently read all 101 gory pages here. I’m pretty over the moon with being done with my degree and am taking a week or so to relax. At least one of the professors that reviewed the work was excited about its applications and wanted to know when it could be used in a real life classes. There is also the possibility that the crypto & security work may be taken up by a senior projects group.

Right now I need to do several things before development can continue. On the organisational side I want to change 3 things:

  • Get the source code hosted in a Subversion (SVN) repository. SVN supports renames correctly for directories which is critical when you go to rename packages in Java, something I have no fear or compulsions about doing. We may eventually host downloads from Sourceforge but I have no interest in using CVS as the repository.
  • Get a MediaWiki up and running to host all development discussion, like how they do for Firefox.
  • Set up bug tracking with Bugzilla.
  • Choose a Licence for the code and add it to all source files.

For an open source project those are the best in class tools. The SVN may be problematic because it requires special installation & configuration. The MediaWiki and Bugzilla should run from my current web host.

The other stuff is more about what direction the project should take. Particularly with regards to networking technology and JXTA. I got a profiler out and I am not too happy with what I see. Even small JXTA apps like MyJxta have a 50MB footprint (comparable to Limewire or Azureus) and they randomly chew up the CPU even when idle. JXTA also has issues with the speed of its DHT searches, aka the Discovery Service, which made it useless for presence support. It also takes a long time for each node to startup  and join groups. Interestingly JXTA is not I/O bound as one might expect, being a networking technology and all, actually its XML processing boutd, spending about 67% of its time munging XML documents. You get lots of cool stuff like NAT traversal ‘for free’ with JXTA, the question for me it just how free is it for my particular application?