Andy Pennell's Blog

See me blather about software development, Gadgets, Technology, Fatherhood, plus anything else that gets me going.

  • Andy Pennell's Blog

    Now Available: HD DVD Emulator for Xbox 360

    • 5 Comments
    As of this morning the product I have been focused on for much the last year or so has at last been released: the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator . This is based on the Xbox HD DVD player, but designed for content authors to test and debug their titles without...
  • Andy Pennell's Blog

    Vote for HD DVD

    • 9 Comments
    Its November and its time to place your vote. No, not for US Presidential candidates, but for the optical high definition format you want to be the winner in the format war, which of course for me means HD DVD. This holiday season might be the last chance...
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    Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive: Movie Specific Known Issues

    • 105 Comments
    The purpose of this post is to highlight the most common current title issues and, where possible, supply work-arounds. For general troubleshooting see the previous post first : the most common problems are described there. Items will be listed in reverse...
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    Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive: General Troubleshooting

    • 85 Comments
    I thought it might be useful to post about general troubleshooting on the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive. For issues with specific movies, see my other post , this one covers the more general case. (I use the term "title" which you can read as "movie", its a habit...
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    Tide is turning: Paramount declare HD DVD only

    • 2 Comments
    An important day in the next-gen DVD format war: Paramount have announced that they are going HD DVD only, an important change from their previous neutrality. "Blades of Glory", "Transformers" and "Shrek the Third" are the initial announced titles. The...
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    Vista Compatibility: My Personal List

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    Following the travails of my Vista install at home (and subsequent success ), I will be listing my success (and failures) as I gradually re-install my old software and hardware onto this new operating system. As I am running the 64-bit version I frankly...
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    My First Program (circa 1980)

    • 1 Comments
    I recently discovered my first real program(*): from 1980, it was my attempt at Space Invaders for the RML 380Z. This was the government-subsidized computer for schools, my school ( Chatham House Grammar School ) was lucky enough to have one. One, yes...
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    Installing Vista: From Hell to Heaven

    • 9 Comments
    I am pleased to announce that I am typing this on a freshly installed Vista64 installation, on the same exact machine that I had so much trouble with recently! A genius Tester in Windows contacted me with a theory and a possible work-around, and he...
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    My personal take on the iPhone: deja vu

    • 4 Comments
    I paid $500 for a smartphone with a touchscreen, music player, email, web browser and a camera. No, this wasn't an iPhone I got before tomorrow's launch, it was a Sony Ericsson P800 and it was almost five years ago . The iPhone hype is really getting...
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    Installing Vista: My Personal Hell

    • 31 Comments
    [Update June 29: Problem solved ! Also updated h/w config to 1G of RAM as it should have been] Short story: installing Vista for me was a catalog of problems, some mine and some not. It started out with not being able to open the box, and went downhill...
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    Living With Vista: My First Few Weeks

    • 6 Comments
    Well I finally switched to Vista on my main dev machine at work. Its a Dell Optiplex 745 (detailed specs at the end) and installing Vista was trivial: I did a clean install via RIS from the corporate network. The default installation includes Office,...
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    HD DVD: Audio Mixing, and why you don't need HDMI

    • 22 Comments
    There has been much confusion over multi-channel audio and HD DVD, so I thought I would try and explain how this works. As a side-effect you'll see why you don't need HDMI for the highest quality audio, and why you certainly don't need HDMI 1.3 for audio...
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    Terminator 2 on HD DVD

    • 5 Comments
    Thanks to the fact that there is no region coding on HD DVD, you can now get the Director's Cut of T2 on HD DVD, encoded with VC1. Previously the theatrical version was only available on Blu-Ray in the USA (in 20th Century MPEG2 format). As Canal+ were...
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    When it hits the fan: Restoring Windows XP via ASR

    • 9 Comments
    My main HD appeared to be failing, so I got a replacement drive and attempted to firstly clone, then ASR Restore my Windows XP installation to it. I am a veteran of umpteen OS installations, but this is the first time I've ever actually needed to do a...
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    Why HD DVD is more technically advanced than Blu-ray

    • 28 Comments
    Since forever it seems that there is this idea that Blu-ray is "more technically advanced" than HD DVD. This was based on Sony's PR as far as I can tell, so now I feel it is necessary to call out the gaping holes in Blu-ray to prove how much more technically...
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    Fixing Letterboxed Widescreen content on HD DVDs

    • 3 Comments
    HD DVD obviously rocks on HD content, but the SD content on the discs often grates me as it is displayed as widescreen content with black bars on the top and the sides. This happens because the original content (usually Extras) came from old fashioned...
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    Xbox 360 HD DVD Update Now Available

    • 86 Comments
    [Player version list now moved to separate post ] As of 2am this morning, the latest software for the Xbox HD DVD player is now available via Xbox Live (and will be posted on xbox.com in due course). The three teams involved (HD DVD, Xbox and the Codec...
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    Matrix coming to HD DVD (only)

    • 8 Comments
    At last: on May 22 we get the Matrix on HD DVD, according to http://www.homemediaretailing.com/news/html/breaking_article.cfm?sec_id=2&&article_ID=10426 Remember when The Matrix was released on DVD? It was pretty advanced in its day, so I'm...
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    Sonos: The Perfect Network Music Player?

    • 2 Comments
    I have posted a review of the Sonos network music player on my personal site . If you have any feedback or questions, please use this blog entry.
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    Xbox 360 HD DVD drive now in black

    • 22 Comments
    We just got some goodies on our team: Xbox 360 HD DVD drives in black! These limited-edition drives were made especially for those of us who helped work on the product, and come along with a black remote control. All I need now is an Xbox 360 at...
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    Comparing the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on with the Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD Player

    • 9 Comments
    With the release of the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on drive, I thought people might like to know how it compares feature-wise to the Toshiba A1 HD DVD player. I have owned a Toshiba since it was released, and have used the Xbox drive extensively at work and...
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    Time to change some American holidays I think

    • 2 Comments
    On July 4th the tradition is to have fireworks. However, as it is July in Seattle, it doesn't get nearly dark enough until 10pm. Try keeping young kids awake/entertained until then. On October 31st the tradition is to traipse the streets dressed as...
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    Why does my TiVo contain Apple's Bonjour network code?

    • 6 Comments
    My HD TiVo finally upgraded to 6.3a last night - at long last I get Folders. However, I noticed at the end of the System Info page some new text saying "This product contains Apple Computer Inc's Bonjour network discovery protocol. Source code for the...
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    BBC America: Why Do You Hate Me So?

    • 0 Comments
    I'm sorry but I have to rant about BBC America's Guide Data that my Tivo uses. My TV enjoyment is determined entirely by how well or otherwise my TiVo works. In my seven years of using TiVo, only once has it not recorded something I wanted. However, in...
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    Go See the HD DVD Tour

    • 3 Comments
    There is a giant truck set up with kick-ass video and audio systems so you can witness HD DVD in all its fabulous goodness. The schedule looks like this: Chicago: Oct 30 Denver: done Dallas: done LA: Nov 20-22 Minneapolis: Sep 29-30...
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