In which There is magic in our hands

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So it was special occasion – no birthdays or anniversaries but something even better. Finally Adi crossed off the one thing he wanted most on his wishlist. A MacBookPro is not just any other thing – it is “D thing” to have in many perspectives.

For us Blawghhers – it is a momentous occasion, as one milestone was achieved. Just as one graduate from play school -> high school -> college and then University so has Adi, from tinkering with the Sinclair, to his desktop box P3, to the HP- P4. Compaq laptop and finally University level for all geeks, the MacBookPro!!

I have witnessed his progress from a grumpy Windows user to a Linux enthusiast going on to be an OpenSource guru and now the eventual Apple Fanboi :P.

So while I am getting used to the left close, multi -touch scroll, window expose and the genie effect on the MBP – I must confess I have fallen in love with FluidTunes. All this just at the tip of your fingers is just like magic, seriously minus getting into all the techie details; I am sure a lot has already been written about it, this baby is a piece of work.

Although I write this post on a decently configured laptop, the grey HP is paled by the white beauty of the Mac …..

In which DVD player,TV and new ways to do old tricks

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And just like that, it has been 9 months since we moved to Pune. To put it in startup terminology, what was an idea or thought to set up home in Pune, is slowly becoming a feature endowed product of a typical ‘HOME’. When we moved here the intent was to remain light, a minimalistic existence. So we had the essentials of a mattress, wardrobe, mirror, gas stove, tables, and chairs, bookshelf, with appropriate contents that went into each and of course a TV. There was almost no investment in procuring any of these as most were what we brought from home and the TV loaned from my cousin. A standard bootstrapped model.

As what would be a natural evolution, the television at first was a non-necessary addition, so we survived almost a month without any cable. But then came the IPL season, soon to be followed by the FIFA world cup and other such highlights of 2010, so it became a necessity to get a cable connection. Now that sports season almost to an end and becoming un-interesting, there are at most 7 channels that we watch out of the 100 odd that are available. Most of the time we end up watching sitcoms on the laptop.

Window shopping at Croma the other day we saw this WESTON DVD Player with USB attach facility. Immediately it became a must-have, and without any second thought, it was purchased. The thought of comfortably watching the favorite sitcoms on a television screen was a much-wanted relief. Now our TV isn’t that high end or state of the art. It is a rugged old horse of about 10 -12 years, a simple CRT of a brand that is now non-existent but does a hell of a job of what it is supposed to do :). So the DVD player was opened and gadget freak in me took over to plug it into the TV. As though it was going to be a Eureka moment, I waited with bated breath when I switched to AV mode – only to find a blank screen.

That was almost not possible, I was damn sure all connections were correct. So unwired and rewired it again but no luck. So the real geek suggested trying the AV slots in the back of the television set – that did not work either. A phone call to my cousin revealed that the AV slots of this old Joe were fried and so I was left with no option but consider buying a new television.

Not sure why, but I was not entirely convinced that there isn’t a workaround for this – there are always these connectors like PS2- USB, laptop to TV using the S-video or the DVI to MUX between various devices, so why should there not be a way to hook up a DVD player to a TV minus the AV jacks. So I decided to  “Google IT” – that’s a sure-fire solution to almost every doubt. The first search result itself gave me the solution I was looking for (100% accuracy). To fix my problem all I was required to do was purchase what is called an RF Modulator.

A few simple steps and VOILA – the DVD was working

  • Purchase an RF modulator and a connecting cable. This device will convert the output of your DVD player into a signal that can travel over the coaxial cable.

Now these things are not that easily available in branded variety – I did have to make do with a local / Chinese make which came at a price premium of Rs.150/- (along with the cable but no guarantee)

  • Hook the composite output of your DVD player to the RF modulator and the RF modulator coaxial output to your TV.

In some cases switching to the AV mode to of the TV automatically will detect the DVD signal, in some cases like mine, you will have to tune the channel frequency of your TV set to locate the DVD signal. You can save this to any of the unused channel numbers.

  • Tune your TV to the chosen channel.

The RF modulator which I purchased also has a slot for the cable wire and an ON / OFF switch to regulate the DVD and cable channels.

Yippee, the USB is attached – now I am enjoying my favorite sitcoms on a bigger screen. Of course it did take a good week to get it all sorted, hunting for the modulator and all, but in the end, it was worth it. Of course, many suggested the simpler solution would have been to buy a new TV – but then what is life without a bit of experimentation – there are always new ways to do old tricks :P.
For detailed articles please see these links
WIKIHOW – Connect TV to a DVD without A/V jacks
ABOUT.com –  The RF modulator – DVD player connection option

In which trupz writes UTWT – A new roads technology

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