Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


March 2009 Issue 322

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - MARCH 14th


UPCOMING MEETING

MAIN MEETING TOPIC: VIDEO RESOLUTION & DISPLAYS

For this month's main meeting the steering committee thought it might be a good idea to continue with the subject of digital TV and HD (High Definition) video. So, John M will be helping us understand the relationship between hardware and the technical specifications of the media we might desire to display on that hardware. I suspect John will be helping us understand:

  1. What happens when we stretch low or standard TV resolution media to fill a high definition screen?
  2. What is required to properly view and play DRM (Digital Rights Managed) media?
  3. The lingo and terminology of the HDTV revolution.
  4. What HDTV and monitor specifications mean and which aspects are likely to most impact your viewing pleasure.
As always, we will start the meeting with everyone’s participation in our regular “round-table” of announcements and questions.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS

1) If you are a member and did not attend the December 2008 meeting, then you likely missed out on getting one of the end of year club flash drives with embedded software as a Christmas gift. If so, and you would like one, contact John D to make arrangements to get yours.

2) Club membership entitles you to receive a copy of the newsletter and access to our email list server, which is run for the benefit of our members. Please do not hesitate to post club and computer related notices and problems to it. If we can’t solve your problem remotely, we can be alerted to it ahead of the monthly meeting where more hands-on may help resolve your problem.

3) A few of the regular attendees usually partake of lunch at the Country Squire Diner in Broomall near the intersection of Routes 3 and 320. So, after the meeting, why not join us? It’s an opportunity to get more help and to discuss our common interests.

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LAST MONTH’S MEETING

Attendance: 15 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, February 14th. This was one of our better attended meetings in the past several months. I don’t know whether that was because of the alignment of the stars or due to the topic of the main presentation. I tend to think it was due to the first reason as Nelson just happened to find his way clear of USPS duties.

Main Meeting Q&A: We began last month’s meeting with our normal round of questions and announcements. Among the questions and announcements, John D announced there would be a general discussion at the end of the meeting to generate some ideas on the process to use to select new club officers; Dewitt announced his new email address; Don acknowledged his continuing problem with a certain Vista update and wanted to know more about Wi-Fi WEP and WPA encryption; Marty talked some about his RCA mini camcorder, told us a course he discovered at http://www.greatcourses.com/ and mentioned his problem saving multiple copies of spreadsheets to external drives; Pat updated us on his new Dell and his slide transfer project and alerted us to http://www.paperbackswap.com ; Joan responded with mention of http://www.swaptree.com/ ; Nelson showed us his WinXP Acer netbook; John M noted that he had received a free copy of TurboTax Deluxe in the mail, was using the NetFlix rental option to stream movies, that a new version of the Kindle was available, and spoke about his Samsung BlueRay DVD player and the current sale on the Zyxel PL-100 power line networking devices at Buy.com; and Wendy spoke of her video card replacement and showed us the Apple iPod nano she found and told us of her need to update to WinXP SP2 to be able to run newer versions of iTunes to sync the nano.

Main Meeting Program: This month, John D did the main presentation on the topic of Internet TV which happens to be one source of IPTV. In our area, Verizon is the major supplier of commercial IPTV. In contrast to Verizon TV, Internet TV can be considered a “free” additional service if you already have a hi-speed broadband Internet connection. A PDF of the presentation can be found on the club web site at:

http://www.mlcug.org/IPTV_with_a_Mac_Mini.pdf

I would like to re-emphasize some of the points made in the presentation.

  1. I chose the Mac Mini as the hardware to connect to my TV based primarily on its size, quietness, and flexibility to handle a variety of file formats plus the ability to easily bring other computing functions and control to my TV screen.
  2. Internet TV is NOT for the typical “couch potato” who just wants to chill-out and press a couple of buttons on the remote. The one web site that almost makes it that easy is http://beta.tidaltv.com/ .
  3. The quality of streaming video is poorer than commercial cable TV. In some cases it is noticeably poorer.
  4. The quality of some downloaded video can be VERY good and can rival or be better than HDTV.
  5. Internet TV makes it possible to access international TV type entertainment from almost any part of the world.
Here are some things I did not discuss during the meeting. The Mac Mini has replaced my RCA DVD player.

TidalTV Toolbar – available for Firefox and IE at http://tidaltv.ourtoolbar.com/ . Makes it real easy to navigate to one of the TidalTV web site channels.

Since I began using the Mac Mini to view video files, I’ve encountered a variety of downloadable file types. Most are playable in one or the other of the 2 media players (Apple’s Front Row or Equinux’s Media Central) I use on the Mini. A few require either VLC or RealPlayer.

Here’s a list of video favorites (bookmarks) that I’ve accumulated so far:

In my opinion the best free streaming Internet TV sites from the above list of bookmarks are: The ESPN site is restrictive in that it requires your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to be Verizon FiOS or a college campus and that you use either a MS WinXP or Vista OS or a Mac with OSX. In my opinion the best quality generic downloadable video website from the above list is:

http://www.veoh.com/

It has relatively high resolution videos in AVI and other formats for download. The downside is that it requires you to use either a Mac or Windows OS to download the higher resolution videos.

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IE6 Outdated – Why You Should Update

From: http://www.stoplivinginthepast.com/why-upgrade/

Why Upgrade?

Bottom line? If you are still stuck in the browser dark ages, take a few minutes and upgrade now.

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DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The regular monthly sessions meet in Room 110.

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the upper level of the 2-level parking building adjacent to the St. Augustine Center, on the Ithan Avenue side of the building. NOTE: maps on our web page - http://micug.org/


     MLCUG Meetings 2009      Steering Committee Meetings
    
         March 14			March 18
         April 11			April 15
         May 9				May 13

EDITOR: John W. Deker, Jr. 2210 Lantern Lane, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444-2211 Produced with PowerSpec 8922a: 2.6GHz Pentium 4, 3GB RAM, 640GB HD cap, Brother HL-5250DN laser printer, CD-RW/DVD±R/RW drives, Windows XP Home OS, MS Office XP, Ghostscript 8.54 & Bullzip PDF Printer software

MLCUG LISTSERV: for members only... OUR WEB PAGE: http://mlcug.org/ PUBLICITY: Position OPEN! VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE;

PRESIDENT:     John Deker 	610-828-7897	
V. PRESIDENT:  Al Gottlieb 	215-793-9725
TREASURER/SEC: John Deker 	610-828-7897	
DATABASE:  Layton Fireng	610-688-2080
WEBMASTER: Peter Whinnery 	610-284-5234	
AT LARGE:  Tom Johnson		610-896-2434	
AT LARGE:  Wendy Emery		215-765-3328
AT LARGE:  Nelson Schrock	610-834-0117
AT LARGE:  John Murphy		610-935-4398