For the sake of stability I decided to replace my motherboard and memory on my desktop system. I have done this MANY times and it usually goes smoothly. What I got was an ABIT NF7-S 2.0 motherboard and two 256mb sticks of 400Mhz DDR memory. I learned that Windows XP doesn’t like you to just swich out the motherboard — woudn’t boot, so I tried doing a fresh install. I also learned that this motherboard won’t install Windows XP unless you update the BIOS to the latest (version 24 at the time of this writing). It took a long time to get this done because I couldn’t find my laptop’s floppy drive (ug!). Finally, BIOS updated, Windows XP installed, most of my software re-installed, I am back up and running.
XM Time Shifting
Ever wonder about time shifting your favorite XM Radio show (like one does with television using a Tivo or ReplayTV)? About a 15 months ago I bought an XM Radio (the Delphi SkyFi) so I could listen to my favorite comedy-based talk show the Monsters in the Morning (previously the Monsters of the Midday). In case you ever want to try to duplicate what I did, here you go…
* Delphi SkyFi Radio with Home install kit + XM subscription
* TIRA-1 infrared transmitter/receiver from Home-Electro.com
* Computer with sound card
* iRiver iMP-550 CD-based MP3 player
* Windows scheduler
* TotalRecorder Pro from Highcriteria.com
* BeSweet 1.4
* Windows scripting host + custom script
* Batch file for burning to a CD
The TIRA-1 plugs into USB and has the ability to both receive and transmit IR signals. I use the Girder software to “learn” how to change the stations on my XM Radio (using the IR remote control that comes with the XM Radio). Girder also has the ability to run an “event” from the command line, so, from the command line (via a .BAT file) I can change the station on my XM Radio.
I use the Windows Scheduler to automatically change the station on my XM Radio to the shows that I like to listen to throughout the day and night.
I use TotalRecorder to record the shows I want to keep for listening to later (time shift). Total recorder has the ability to schedule recordings, you can specify what to record, how to name the files, and in what format to write the recording (I just write a 44khz, 16bit stereo PCM WAV file because it is the fastest). You can also have it automatically split up the recordings (I split them at 60 minute intervals).
Then, once a day, I use Windows Scheduler to run a Windows Scripting Host script (written in JScript) to convert all of the WAV files in a specific directory to MP3 (normalizing the volume of the audio as it converts), renaming them as apporpriate, and setting the ID3 tag of the MP3 file. This conversion is done using BeSweet 1.4 and the MP3 tagging is done using a program called MP3Info.
Then, I have another BAT file that I can run that will take all of the MP3 files in the directory, move them to a directory with today’s date, and burn them to CD-R (either starting a new session or adding a session of one already exists). This is accomplised using the NEROCMD.EXE program found on the Nero.com website — this software requires that Nero be installed. One click and the cd is burned and ejected.
Finally, I pop that disc into my iRiver iMP-550 and I have my time shifted XM content (so I can listen to the Monsters while I am at work).