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Deck Hazen's Archive

A computer user since 1976, Deck enjoys testing new software and reconfiguring his equipment to squeeze the most out of it. "Computing has come a long way since those early days" Deck recalls "I get a real kick out of watching the industry grow - getting paid to write about it is just icing on the cake!"

Deck Hazen's website.

Make Your Workspace More Productive and More Comfortable [How To]

Posted by Deck Hazen On April - 22 - 2011Comments Off on Make Your Workspace More Productive and More Comfortable [How To]

In my last article (An Explanation of the Pros and Cons of Using RAID on Your Computer), we discussed the problem of heat build-up during the very hot Auckland summer months and how a RAID 5 configuration with 4 disks can sustain the failure of a single disk. RAID protections provide one part of what should be an overall strategy to protect your data and your computer from heat.

In this piece we divert a bit from our standard hardware/software fare and look at the computing environment as a whole. We will postulate that a tidy workspace is, in fact, a happy workspace and suggest a few tricks to make your work-space more productive and more comfortable.

The three biggest factors driving the design of my workspace are heat, noise and clutter. If I can minimise these three and maximize my computing power and productivity (all within family budget constraints, of course), I will have archived the objective.

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There are times when you just want a quick list of your most recent movie titles when someone asks if you’ve seen any good movies lately.

If your memory is as bad as mine and you can’t even remember what you ate for lunch, it’s very handy to be able to whip out your business card with a URL pointing to a list of your most recently watched.

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The purpose of this post is to confirm the confidence I have in RAID technology as expressed in the earlier post “RAID“. It is occasioned by my recent plans to write a very different piece.

Background: the Warning Signs

Summers can get pretty hot here in Auckland. The average temperature for this time of year is 24 degrees Celsius (that’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit to North Americans) with 99% humidity so it’s no simple matter to keep a computer cool.

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Localization:

For those of you tuned in from around the world – welcome. I’m a Kiwi (a person from New Zealand) and this article was written primarily to address NZ Windows Media Center users lack of access to the Electronic Program Guide from Sky Broadcasting.

Having said that, there are topics covered herein that could well be of use to others beyond the borders of New Zealand. Our primary tool in this article is “Big Screen EPG” that’s now being used by many people around the world to push the contents of an XMLTV file (the EPG information) into the Windows Media Center database. If this sort of thing is of interest to you, please read on.

Did you miss the previous posts in this series?

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You’ll recall from New and Improved EPG that Big Screen has just released a final (not a beta) version of their Big Screen EPG program that grabs program guides from the internet, prepares them, and loads their data into Windows Media Center’s Program Guide to use in conjunction with the WMC Live TV function. We ran through a basic setup of the program in part I, in part II we’ll cover the setup process in more detail, examining the options and perhaps arriving at a transparent process that will provide you with the best EPG for the New Zealand broadcast area.

Did you miss the previous post in this series?

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Setting up a TV in Windows Media Center

Posted by Deck Hazen On December - 1 - 20102 COMMENTS

WMC TV for your PC

Back in a previous post (add a tuner) we talked about the features available in the TV section of Windows Media Center made possible by the installation of a TV tuner card.

In this article we’ll take you through the whole process, step by step, with plenty of screen shots. The tuner for this report is the WinTV-HVR-NovaT very similar to the model shown below.


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