Be the ocean when it meets the sky

Man, I tell you what… Neil Young is the greatest. If you don’t know about his last albums and what he has done, you got to do your homework. Nevermind the CSN&Y bullshit, he is a force to be recognized. He is a visionary and super creative. I had the pleasure of seeing him with my wife on the Greendale tour. It was a great concert here in Atlanta, despite the people talking throughout the performance.

I have the Crazy Horse DVD and that’s pretty good, but seeing him in concert and the video from Greendale, it brought a tear to my eye. There was something about it that was so moving. It’s not easy to explain. But if you check out these vids, maybe you might feel what I feel:

  • Be the Rain
  • Double E
  • Sun Green

These are very good performances. Now, I should probably say that I really liked the Shocking Pinks, which I have found that many people do not like. But, I don’t think they understood what Neil was trying to do or what he had accomplished.

Even now, as I watch these videos in review, I can’t help feel moved by them. What gets me is that you got “artists” today like the top pop stars who are nothing more than slick marketing campaigns. Then you got someone like Neil Young. I wonder if Mozart had a similar type of situation when he was alive. Was he passed over by the mainstream only to be recognized for his genius 100’s of years later?

One of the best CD’s I own is almost all but unknown amongst my friends. I’ve always been a huge Jim Jarmusch fan, (I wish I could be in the “Sons’ of Lee Marvin”). Dead Man is one of my all time favorite movies. It’s a really great movie that is well written and well produced. Neil Young did the soundtrack and it is so unique and special, it is one of my favorite albums.

I could go on and draw the lines between Neil Young and Nick Cave, but that might be a topic for another night. There is so much good music out there that simply isn’t on the radar because the airwaves are overloaded with crap.

Oh well. More for me!

low cost htpc

One of the other things I wanted to write about was the low cost HTPC I am helping my brother-in-law build.  Not only is cost a factor, but also connectivity.  He’s got a wireless router and could have a hard line ethernet to his entertainment center, but we ain’t there just yet.

I took his PC home to download and install some of the things I talked about before.  This is a really old PC; it doesn’t have any USB or ethernet on it.  I’ll be curious to see what speed processor it is.   It doesn’t even had AGP so I have an older PCI card with RCA video out on it.  I guess that will work.  I plan on building it and trying it out.

The other option I pitched to him was to get an old XBOX and use XBMC.  With the softmods available, it would be easy to hack for that purpose.  He’s not a gamer in the least bit, so an old xbox with XBMC might be the best. Then he’ll just have to worry about connectivity.  I’ll update my progress as I begin.  It will probably be tomorrow or the next night when I have a chance to start hammering on it.

ViaTalk, Trixbox, and your IVR

I set up a quick page on my ViaTalk setup. You can access the link via this page:

ViaTalk and Trixbox

Like I said before, this is a really slick setup. I have a different “time condition” for the weekend that will give the caller a chance to call our cell phones if we don’t answer the main line within 30 seconds. The trial and error paid off since I have a much better understanding of how it’s all glued together.

a lot of things going on

This is the second time my draft got wiped out. If it doesn’t work this time, I am going to go to bed and try again tomorrow. Anyways, I got some cool things I am working on so here’s a quick update. Expect some updates over the next couple of weeks.

  • Trixbox and ViaTalk
  • Zero-Cost HTPC

My VoIP provider is ViaTalk. I’ve been with them since 6/06 and they have been great. I’ve been using an unlocked PAP2 ATA adapter. Recently, my Dad sent me a wonderful PC case he no longer needed and I installed Trixbox. I’ve played around with Asterisk on FreeBSD but the whole Trixbox suite is pretty neat. So now I have several softphones and my PAP2 all talking to the Trixbox box. The whole things works so well, I am used to tweaking something until it is perfect and this exceeded my expectation since it works so well. Once I understood everything, it is a snap to set up and adminstrate. A UNIX/LINUX background will give you a leg up on understanding the internals and help you debug all that much more effectively.

Now, my brother-in-law wanted to find a way to display German videos on his TV. In my case, I have an xbox with XMBC and it is a no brainer for me. But he has some intersting limitations, like he doesn’t want to spend any money on it, he might not be able to easily wire his connection, and it has to pass the spousal approval factor. Luckily, he’s got an old AMD PC laying around so we are going to install, (at least the plan is at this point), Ubuntu and MythTV on it and hook it up to his receiver. He doesn’t have an HDTV so RCA or S-Video will probably be okay. This is a learning experience for both of us, so I’ll be posting some updates on this effort over time.

More as time permits. I’ve kept some of the person updates out of this post. Those will come at a later point.