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About Rick53

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  1. Rick53 added a post in a topic Fcc And Cable Co. Sound The Death Knell For Htpc   

    I'm likely going to switch to Satellite. I had assumed I could connect a Satellite STB to my HTPC and control it with an IR blaster to record channels. Can I do that? OR is there something built into Satellite STB that makes it able to tell its outputing to a PC instead of a TV?

    Supposededly, HDHomeRun is coming out with a dual tuner, cable card ready model for $250, that beats the only CETOK quad tuner card for $400 and likely more since its so high demand.

    Eitherway, COMCAST has changed their service into 1990's satellite over cable, all the disadvantages of Satellite, none of the benifit. Its such a waste, there should be no reason why I can NOT use open market equipment with Cable. The Music industry found a way to protect copyrights without forcing everyone to use propeitary equipment, Cable with a decade more time still can figure it out, OR, they don't want to figure it out, they like the idea of a propietary system that forces their customers to pay extra for every little thing they want to do.
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  2. Rick53 added a post in a topic Fcc And Cable Co. Sound The Death Knell For Htpc   

    Thanks for the info, this issue and the laws/regs are so complicated most of us could never expect to learn all the aspects without quitting our jobs and spending all day in law books and speaking with industry insiders.

    Digital Rights Management:

    This is a legitimate issue, I can understand the case that can be made that if a person is able to record Premium Service digitally, like HBO content, they could redistribute that content on the internet within hours of the first showing, for others to view it without paying the premium that they should. That is virtually stealing the programming.

    Unfortunately, from what little I understand, some of the more maliciuos companies, like ViaCom and Disney that would sue their own mother if they could get a dime out of it, insist on their less then premium content NOT be recorded either. At least that is the excuse for those on the Cable Company's side. Maybe its just the premium channels that ViaCom and Disney offer, maybe its all the content they offer, but it's a little bit on the unreasonable side to insist that no be able to record re-runs of "That's so Raven" because they might distribute it, and if they did, how much is that going to hurt them.

    Since the cable company's are encrypting all but local channels (they have to keep clear by law), NOT just the one the content providers want encrypted, it appears, the Cable companies are using this issue as an excuse to encrypt all the channels they legally can, basically taking advantage of their government granted Franchise and Waivers to create more of a monopoly to make more money, instead of making more money by competing on a level playing field and offering a better product at a better cost. When I call Comcast to complain how my entertainment equipment doesn't work like it should anymore and how am I'm suppose to get it to work like it should, they offer no answer or apology, they only offer to sell me more services and equipment.

    I may be wrong, but do you NOT have to except the DRM license agrement for WMC before it enables the ability to tune digital channels? MS and other HTPC software providers are offering the technology to prevent the illegitimate recording and distributing of premium content, the cable and satellite companies are just refusing to accept it and only offer their solutions, that just happens to corner their market and force the consumer to pay more for less.


    This is the 1st thing I started searching for on the internet the moment my HTPC was rendered near useless by COMCAST. It does really seem like the right answer to all the woes that come with Cable Companies encrypting their signals.

    I found very little and it appears only ATI and a lesser know company will be offering a Cable Card tuner, and they are NOT available yet. DRM plays into this as well, because Cable Labs has also sorts of dracionian measures to prevent recording the content the cards unlock, and on top of that, up till now the products were only offered to OEM's and you could only get them by purchasing an entire system. There may be a cable card tuner available soon for $400, which is NOT much of an option.

    You'd think in the interim, they could easily do integrate a watch but NOT record feature into the Cable Cards, to satisfy the DRM issue for premium channels. At least until they work out the DRM that recorded programing could NOT be copied and distributed. I'd be very satisfied with that solution, you might NOT, but at least it would be better than what we are stuck with now.

    I "read" that TV manufacturers stopped making TV's with Cable Card slots, don't know if that is true, but the best I can tell is that the Cable Card has a spotty start and just can NOT get off the ground. I "think" that is because the cable industry is NOT cooperating with the development and only do as little as possible to avoid being held accountable under the law mandating the cable card technology.

    I had a friend with a Cable Card TV and he asked COMCAST about the Cable Card and they did nothing but try to talk him out of trying to order one, saying it was extremely expensive and it never worked, etc. I saw somewhere that COMCAST will issue 1 Cable Card as part of the subscription and charge like $3 a month for additional cards.

    BTW, have you noticed that Satellite companies have successfully employed Smart Cards that are much cheaper and reliable and they work perfectly. Only if they extended that technology for 3rd party solutions, like a sattelite tuner card for PC's that used their Smart Card. That, and if there was an alternative to good reliable HSI from the cable company, I would cancelling today. I probably will cancel once I research and figure out all I need to know to set up satellite, especially if I can do some work around for an HTPC.

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  3. Rick53 added a post in a topic Fcc And Cable Co. Sound The Death Knell For Htpc   

    Well, I'm NOT an expert or even fully informed on this issue, so take this with a grain of salt, but best I can tell, the big 4 recieved this waiver as requested from the FCC, this allowed them to encrypt all their content. I keep seeing references that all cable co. can do this and will be soon, if they haven't already.

    The law was very reasonable, it basically made the Cable Co. keep their basic services most people used open and usable with 3rd Party Technology, to keep some competition in the market. They could still take measures to make sure the "PREMIUM" content that does have extra value and is susceptible to people trying to virtually steal it, to lock it down and force the consumer to use only their limited equipment. The cable co. got a waiver so they could deny even the basic services to any devices and limit it to only their own provided equipment.

    It appears Comcast (in my area, and many others) has encrypted all their channels except for Local Channels, Public Channels (I believe there are laws about that) and a foreign channels that no one ever watches.

    It basically forces you to use the STB, unless you want to limit yourself to just the local channels.

    I pay $107 a month for expanded basic cable and internet, and according to COMCAST that is NOT enough to deserve any HD channels at all. Well they'll argue, they are forced to carry the local HD channels, but since they won't provide an HD STB, unless I pay more, I'm suppose to fit an A/B Switch to my HDTV and switch back and forth to view local HD or the rest of the channels I pay for, welcome to 1979 again.

    OK, enough grumbling, what drove this was the Content Providers (Disney, Viacom, etc) to the Cable Co. were insisting on protecting channels so digital recordings could NOT be made of their programming. It appears the Cable Co. are taking advantage of that and using it as an excuse to virtually eleminate what little competition they have for 3rd party and open market devices that work with their service. Including products they are so far behind on, that they have nothing to compete with, so they just eleminate it altogether and force their customer to pay to use an inferior product. (If they truly wanted to just comply with their Content Providers demands, they would just encrypt the few channels of those Content Providers, instead they encrypt all channels they can that have any value at all).

    What that means to HTPC, WMC and Home Servers streaming Television. No way to cheaply integrate them into the service your provided, at best you can improvise some sort of unreliable half-measure with STB and IR blasters to integrate some of your service at lesser capability and you'll have to pay more to do it.

    I'm NOT up on the Cable Labs (Cable Card) solutions, the best I can find in some quick reading is that there are NO viable products now, at least for home built computers, that what few products there were in the past were extremely expensive and the cable companies didn't cooperate so they were unreliable. I believe ATI and another company will have Cable Card tuners out soon, but they will be insanely expensive, and you've got to worry if they will even work, your at the mercy of your cable company that doesn't want to support the cable card to get it to work and keep it working.

    And the DRM thing, some of the content providers are doing every legal maneuver they can to prevent people recording their programing, especially digitally in a way it can be distributed on the internet. This is stiffling innovation and preventing already mature technologies from being used. There are some premium providers that do have a case about this, HBO, Showtime, etc. BUT the cable companies would have you believe that its all the content providers, like Cartoon Network is suffering irrepable harm if people digitally record re-runs of Scooby-Doo, someone might distribute that recording digitally and they could loose potential business, yea right.

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  4. Rick53 added a topic in General Discussion   

    Fcc And Cable Co. Sound The Death Knell For Htpc
    Monday evening, I had the abrupt surprise of finding that my HTPC was popping up dozens of warning that my recordings had NOT taken place because the channel was no longer available. I start to investigate and find almost all of my channels have NOW been encrypted by my Service Provider, COMCAST of Southern Maryland. This left about 90% or more of my recording schedule on my HTPC unavailable because the clear qam channels are encrypted.

    I do a little research and find that a few months ago the FCC granted a waiver request to Cable Co. to the laws and regs designed to increase competition in the Cable Industry, specifically the ban on integrated security into the STB. Well, my provider just used the waiver to encrypt most of my channels, leaving me only provider STB to tune any service other than their most basic limited channels, i.e. the most popular channels, other than the big 4 networks are now encrypted and can only be viewed with the providers STB.

    The only response I get to the crippling of my 3rd party and open market equipment, is you can always get more STB for an additional monthly fee. The complaint that they fail to provide the full cabability that I expect, is met with a silent pause and then asked if I want to order more STB's.

    My provider is NOT the only one, seems most, big and small, if they haven't already done this will be doing it soon.

    I believe the waiver required the Cable Co. to notify customers 30 days in advance, which I was never notified, I've gone back and locked at mail, bills, COMCAST Website, nothing about the encryption.

    I do NOT think there are any cable card tuners available anymore, I read about one that will be out soon, but it costs $400 which is NOT much of a solution.

    I can't see how I or most others will be able to utilize any WMC function in VAIL, at least with TV, other than a few token channels, without excessive cost, or compromises with poor quality limited function improvised fixes with stacked up STB's and a mess of splitters and combiners, and for most of us, that will be converting digital cable to analog just to be convert back to digital again inside the server.

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  5. Rick53 added a post in a topic Re-Install To New Hardware   

    Best to have a backup when dealing with the unknown.

    If you have to perform a re-install, what happened to me;

    I crashed my VAIL server, I had 2 drives with folder duplication. I re-installed VAIL, and my vail automatically installed to the drive without the previous OS partition. It left the drive with the 1st OS partition alone, never added it to the storage pool. After install I was able to go into the dashboard and see the drive the re-install left alone. I could see all the files in all the shares and copy them over to the new drive through the dashboard. After I finished transferring files, I used the Drive Manager to repartition the original OS drive, then the dashboard to add it to the storage pool. Then it automatically turned on folder duplication and built the duplication again.

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  6. Rick53 added a post in a topic Atom Ready?   

    Keep in mind, we all suspect that the VAIL preview has the most limited features set. If you only want to use the most basic features and store/move files over your network, sure the atom will do; BUT

    Do you want to spend money on hardware now, only to find out that later releases have powerful features you want to use, but can't because your hardware is NOT up to the task?
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  7. Rick53 added a post in a topic Intemittent Share Access Latency   

    Thanks, on closer examination, it was one computer in the network that was having problems more than others, I download the drivers from the manufacturer instead of using the MS Windows Update Drivers, installed them and it works like expected.
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  8. Rick53 added a post in a topic Would "vail" Be An Upgrade Or Would A New Purchase Be Required?   

    Retail = MS has to provide user support
    OEM = The hardware manufacturer has to provide user support

    Microsoft is fully aware that end users buy OEM versions of their product, MS officials have stated in interviews they don't have a problem with it as long as the end user abides by the user agreement, which means he gets NO user support.

    Just my guess, but I think that is the crux of MS position on WHS, they want to avoid having to support consumers running their own servers at home. I'm guessing, providing support makes it a huge project that devotes lots of resources, while keeping it OEM w/o support keeps it a small project with little resources and thats all MS is will to devote right now until the market shows more enthusiasm.

    Offering a new version as an upgrade would imply some sort of support or warranty, so my guess, it will be OEM only like v1.
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  9. Rick53 added a post in a topic Tivo Streaming   

    My TiVo series 2 was the biggest reason I got into Home Servers, set up the streaming software on a server for the TiVo instead of a PC.

    I got sick of the $14.95 a month service fee, and some of the limitations of uploading files and file formats with TiVo and built myself a HTPC, never been happier. I use Win7 and WMC on the HTPC.

    Only drawback on HTPC vs TiVo:
    -Higher initail up front cost, but lower overall without paying the monthly TiVo service fee.
    -Greater complexity=Greater chance of crash / complications, but also far greater flexibility and capability to do so much more than TiVo.
    -Got to have an HDTV, NOT required, but there will be times you have to go into the windows interface and on a SDTV its really difficult to deal with at the lower resolutions.
    -Remote for HTPC is less responsive than typical TV / Consumer electronic, BUT use a wireless keyboard with built in pointing device is very responsive and so much more flexible/capable than a remote.

    I probably had to reboot my TiVo a couple times a year, and even then it was usually from errors over the network, my Win7 HTPC I have to reboot more than a dozen times a year. I think its worth it, and love the HTPC, but if you want that rock solid reliability, almost never crash, instantly respond and never sit thinking while you press the remote button, like consumer electronics, then you may want to stick with TiVo, HTPC, ever once in a while you've got to reboot for a crash or update, etc. Video playback is flawless, its navigating screens and menus, where you get the "press the remote button, it doesn't do anything for 4 sec while its thinking".
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  10. Rick53 added a post in a topic System Hard Drive Size.   

    Don't know if you can take that 100GB from the 160GB drive, after removing it from the storage pool, go into and Disk Management and expand the system partition to bring it back up to 160GB again for the system drive. I don't see why NOT, but I've never tried it, I might be forgetting some of the partition rules for the partition with the OS on it. Eitherway, 60GB is all you'd ever need for a system drive, but you've got to have a 160GB at least.

    There was a post, that you can modify a config file for the install, to reduce the size of the system partition, but nothing can be done about the requirement for 100GB to be partitioned for use for the storage pool. So, even that trick, you may get away with using a 120GB drive for Vail, but you still only need 60GB for what your doing.

    The SSD is a perfect example of why this requirement for WHS is dumb, if you want a system SSD drive, you should only need to buy a 60GB drive, but instead you have to buy a 160GB drive, or at least a 120GB if you want to trick the system.

    There may be a good reason why this rule is there, but MS should explain it, it smacks of the 640kb of memory thing, they just arbitarily picked some numbers cause they can't imagine why any user would want to do something different.

    I may be pointing out the obvious, but if your installing WHS on a system with 2 drives, pick the larger of the 2 drives to install the OS. That would make all the space in the smaller driver available for the storage pool, and with duplicaton enabled, which requires 2 drives, you'd have the most space available. I've never done it, but I don't see how it can be done any other way, once you've filled the smaller drive with duplicated files, your drive will show filled for duplicated folders, even if you have some space left over on the larger drive. I'd think, ideally you'd want indentical sized partitions on each drive, if they don't match, you'll run out of space on one before the other and show filled up when there was still space left over on one drive. If you turn duplication off, at least for some folders/files, you'd probably be able to use the space on the larger drive for the unduplicated files.
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  11. Rick53 added a post in a topic What Do You Think Of Vail ?   

    I like what I see so far, BUT, I wouldn't pay to upgrade from WHS v1, unless I get more than what I see in the preview.

    Well, I've never paid for WHS, I used Windows 98 with file sharing for years for my "file server in the basement", installed the beta's and previews of WHS v1, which I had to re-install multiple times because they had a limited time for use, until the system would NOT allow any more re-installs. I switched to Amahi/Fedora, which I didn't like, but hey you can't beat the price of "FREE".

    I liked WHS v1, but NOT enough to pay $100 for the software. I like WHS v2, but NOT enought to pay $100 for it either unless we get new features before it goes on sale.

    Give it the ability to be a Back-End Server for WMC, and I'll bite on buying a copy. What I think is a WMC back-end:
    -Ability to install mutliple TV tuners
    -Ability to stream live TV from those tuners to multiple computers to WMC as the client
    -Ability to record and store TV at the server, which is controlled by WMC at the client computer
    -Ability to stream the recorded TV stored on the server

    I'm no expert, but my guess, most of that would be really easy, except the streaming live tv over the network. Of course, the network would have to support the throughput, and that would be a problem outside of MS control. Might be another reasy why there are rumors that MS is shying away from supporting WMC in VAIL, they don't want to get blamed for it NOT working when the problem is really the home network users set up.
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  12. Rick53 added a post in a topic System Hard Drive Size.   

    I am NOT a IT expert by any means, so take this with a big grain of salt. There is an argument that a seperate physical drive for the system is safer, if the server duties are working the drives in overtime and thus increase the chance of failure, a seperate physical system drive will allow that physical disc to work less and you reduce the chance the server goes down from a failure of the physical drive that also contains the system partition.

    BUT, this is WHS and in a typical home use, some enthusiast would have to be doing something really out of the ordinary to be pushing the demand on the physical drives to the point that this would be a factor. For the overwelhming majority of WHS users, I'd think it would be a joke to make the argument above as being any factor at all.

    I think all the complaints you see are just borne out anal rententive whim, user want to put 2 indetical drives in their server and have the full space in both to match up and be available to use duplication on the entire space available. Arguably, kinda a dumb reason, but at the same time, why should you NOT be able to do that if you want to? For some reason WHS won't let you do that, you end up with an extra 60GB or 100GB that you have to choose to add into the pool as a mismatch for other storage or NOT to use it all and let it the space go to waste doing nothing. As well, if you have 20GB or 60GB drive on hand that would perfectly as a system drive, you can't use it, you have to use a larger drive and only add the perfect sized drives into the pool for a mismatch of drive sizes to make up the pool.
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  13. Rick53 added a post in a topic System Hard Drive Size.   

    Yea, thats my complaint since WHS v1, why do you need at least a 80GB disc when only 20GB will be partitioned for the OS and the rest put into the storage pool. Why can't I put the OS on a 20gb drive, and use other drives to make up the storage pool. For VAIL, its 160GB min disc size with a 60GB partition for the OS.

    If you want a seperate OS drive, you have to use a drive with an extra 60GB/100GB that you don't need, then remove it from the left over partition space from the storage pool and let it sit and do nothing.
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  14. Rick53 added a topic in General Discussion   

    Intemittent Share Access Latency
    On boot up of client computers, I often get a message that Mapped Network Drives are unavailable, with a red X next to the icon for the drive, but within moments of the OS finishing booting I can get into the mapped drives or shared folders. I figured that was normal, sometime the OS checks the mapped drives before the network has been established, etc.

    Sometimes I try to access a shared folder or mapped network drive on the VAIL server, and I have to wait 30seconds and even as much as a minute in a few cases, before I can see the contents and interact with the drive/share. BUT, once that initial wait is over, "usually" there is very little latency working with the share/drive or others on the server.

    At first I assumed this was just the server computer in sleep/power saving mode, and it having to wake up after a request, BUT, it also done it within 10 minutes of the last time I accessed the server, or even in the middle of current session, although that is far less common than when I access the server after a long wait. (I have NOT confirmed the server was in sleep/power saving mode when I experienced the latency, just assumed it.)

    I have wireless and wired computers, its happens on both, seems more often and longer on wireless though.

    I've noticed this with WHS v1, but it seems much worse in VAIL.

    Is this normal, or is there a problem I should looking to fix?

    *I haven't installed Connector software, I didn't either in WHS v1. I had it installed on one machine for a while and did NOT notice a difference.
    -AMD Sempron 140 (2.7GHz?)
    -2GB RAM
    -Cheap MoBoard AMD 690/600 Chipset
    -1.5TB & 1TB WDC Caviar Green HD's (SATA)
    *Gigabit Lan - One big Gigabit Switch at center of the star, i.e. wired computers and server are all direct shot to the switch, wireless is one more jump to a wireless router (configured as an AP).

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  15. Rick53 added a post in a topic System Hard Drive Size.   

    1st 60GB partition will be for the system, the rest will be allocated to the storage pool, that will be managed by Drive Extender.

    If you add additional drives, the entire drive will be partitioned and dedicated to the storage pool and managed by Drive Extender.

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