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June 2022 July 2022

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Friday 1st July 2022
 09:03 BST

  I feel sure we had some rain yesterday, but I can't seem to remember when it was. I do remember thinking that it would save me watering the garden even if it was quite a light fall of rain. There were some sunny spells, but nothing of any great significance, or at least not enough to raise the temperature any higher than the forecast 19° C (and that only last an hour or two).
                              and brighter
  The BBC weather forecast said sunny spells all day early this morning, but now admits that 1pm to 4pm will be dull. It agrees with the Met Office forecast that it will be 20° C this afternoon. However the Met Office forecast was much more pessimistic. The latest revision has added full sunshine at 10am, and sunny spells at 1pm and 8pm. It gives hope that even the latest revision may be too pessimistic, and that we will get even more sunshine than that. For instance, it is sunny as I wrote this. Tomorrow may be 21° C, and should feature more sunny spells in the morning, and just a few in the afternoon.

   Yesterday, the last of June, and half the year already over, was not a great day, but it was "satisfactory" (as frequently written on my school reports !). I had a fairly lazy morning. My original intention was to have a shower, and then go to Tesco. I didn't have a shower until almost midday. Instead of doing stuff that I should have done, I started experimenting with the little toys I ordered from Amazon.

  I ordered three little gizmos, but while the others may be useful some day, just one did every thing I wanted it to, but it was far from straightforward to getting there. The basic task was to make a digital copy, that would play on my PC, of a DVD that had some sort of copy protection added to it. It is interesting that using three different internet search pages didn't come up with any information about it. Google, at least, did say there were hidden results that they couldn't show.

  My rusty old memory has a hint that I may have read a news item saying that the makers of DVDs using this copy protection were forbidden to use the DVD logo because they did not conform to the DVD video standards. It's only a guess, but after a court case the details were hidden on the internet to avoid future embarrassment to the companies involved. That is most unethical, but I guess what I ended up doing was a bit unethical.

  The thing is, while I could not watch the DVD on my PC, I could still play it OK on my set top BluRay player. On dark scenes I did notice some sort of patterning that was probably the result of that copy protection. What I ordered from Amazon were three little gizmos that looked like a TV to the BluRay player, and so it was happy to play to it. Two of them were almost identical. They took the HDMI digital signals, and converted them to standard PAL or NTSC video. One of them had RCA connectors, and the other had a SCART connector.
  The one shown above was the one I eventually used. You plug a standard size HDMI plug in the left hand side, and the video comes out as a stream on the USB connector. I first tried it using a BluRay disk (£1 from Poundland) that I also couldn't play on my PC. It worked, but the frame rate, using VLC player, was only 5 frames a second, and thus very jerky. I next tried the HDMI to SCART converter. I plugged in the SCART to my analogue video to digital stream converter, and viewed that. It worked perfectly, but with one huge drawback. The Analogue to digital box defaults to a low definition NTSC signal. When used on a Windows PC, the application program knows how to change the parameters of the conversion for better definition. There is no application for a Linux PC.

  The next thing I did was to put the DVD in the BluRay player, and try that with the direct HDMI to USB dongle. The picture looked less jerky on VLC player when the converter was fed a DVD resolution signal. I still wasn't happy that VLC player was doing a great job of playing it, and saving the video from VLC involves a bit of faffing around. The next step was to see if I could capture the video stream using my digital video editor. I could not find the capture option anywhere. I eventually found that video capture was removed in the version before I had. Apparently no one had volunteered to look after that bit of the program.

  On to the next step - search for video capture applications. The curious thing was that a couple of webcam applications were noted as having record functions. I tried one I already had installed, and it certainly played the video OK, but there was no sound ! I then installed OBS Studio. It is program/application that can both record video, and stream it out to the internet if desired. I may experiment with the streaming at another day, but for now I just wanted to record.

  OBS studio certainly does the job, but it is a strange program. Half the video is obscured by configuration panels either side. It also appeared to not have any sound. I wondered if it was capturing the sound, but just not bother to play it. That turned out to be the case. I recorded a few minutes, and when the output file was played on VLC player it had perfect sound, and the video showed almost no jerkiness. I suspect there might have been a problem with the signal from the BluRay player - there is a choice of 1080i or 1080p playback. I may have chosen the wrong one.

  I played around a bit with the bit rate of the saved video, and settled on what seemed to give a good picture without eating up too much disk space. Once I was happy I went back to the disks home page, selected one of the two main features, and hit record on the OBS Studio application. I had no sound to give me any confidence, and the DVD packaging had no clue as to how long each feature lasted. It was a case of sit back with fingers crossed.

  Quite some time had passed by the time I left the first feature recording. It was good that near midday I had taken time out to have a shower, because just after 3pm Jodie arrived for our Thursday beer tasting session. I had to keep popping upstairs to my PC to see how the recoding was doing, and when I found the player had gone back to the beginning, showing the feature selection menu, I stopped the recording of the first feature. I then selected the second feature, and hit record again.

  The beer tasting session with Jodie went OK, and was better than some weeks because most of the beers were at least pleasant, or better. Of course there was one exception - a very sour beer that I managed a few mouthful before tipping the rest into Jodie's glass.  Jodie left to get the previous train to her normal. It was, for her, at that inconvenient time when timetable changes from rush hour to off peak, and there is a slightly longer gap between trains, but only 20 minutes.

  Once Jodie had gone I could do two things. One was to prepare my dinner, and the other was to check my recordings of the DVD. I think, with more experimentation, I could do better, but it still looked pretty good. Maybe it was actually very good when I consider that the original video was shot in 1982, and there were no high definition cameras in general use then. The DVD was recorded with an upscaled standard definition, i.e. 625 lines, picture.

  My dinner, like my breakfast and lunch, was all based on left overs from my Indian takeaway the previous night. My breakfast was a naan bread with sliced red jalapeños covered in melted cheese. My lunch was two poppadoms, used as scoops for a pot of coleslaw. Dinner was the deluxe version - a naan bread with, once again, sliced red jalapeños, three different types of cheese plus the salad that was originally supposed to go with the chicken tikka, doused with mayonnaise. It was rather delicious even if it was just about all bad for me.

  I watched one episode of QI last night, but didn't bother with the second one because Johnny Vegas was one of the panellists. I just can't stand that thicko. That gave me a good reason to get to bed early. I read for a while, but even though I only had a dozen or so pages to go before the end, I started to feel really tired. I guess I had turned the light out, and was asleep around 9.30pm

  I seemed to sleep well last night, although I still woke every 2 or 3 hours for a pee. I had originally gone to sleep uncovered, but I felt a bit chilly after a pee at 1 or 2am, and slept the rest of the night sometimes fully covered (except my head), and sometimes just partly covered. I can't really describe my dreams in any detail because it seemed like loads of very short dreams all morphing into a very long sequence with no real story to it all. It was like using a VCR and recording a few seconds from one channel, pausing the recorder, changing to another channel, and recording a few seconds of that, continuing to do that for what seemed like ages (but was possibly no more than 15 minutes).

  My diet was not ideal, and it came as no shock that I started this new month with a blood glucose reading of 9.5mmol/l. Actually I think I may have got lucky to have got away with a reading under 10 after eating all that starchy stuff. I guess that naan bread doesn't have any added sugar - and of course it doesn't need any, but neither does white bread, but mist common white bread has added sugar - quite a lot of it for some popular sliced white bread. Incidently, the new test strips for my blood glucose meter arrived today, and in theory, I am back to possibly accurate readings again.

  At the moment my plans for today are fairly simple. Once I have had a shower I shall wash some clothes. It may not be a sunny day, but at least it should stay dry, and with a bit of breeze my clothes should dry quickly enough. After I have the washing on the line I definitely need to go to Tesco. I fancy something nice and meaty for dinner today, but I have no idea what it will be until I see it, and buy it in the shop. It might be as simple as some beef burgers.
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