How much energy does my HTPC consume?

After check the power usage of my HTPC setup I can conclude that:

  • HTPC : Uses between 71 & 76 watt (3 watt when turned off)
    (100+ watt on bootup when the Cool’n’Quiet isn’t active yet)
  • TV : This on uses ~117 watt when turned on (0 watt when turned off)
  • TUNER : This one uses 5 to 7 watt when turned on, and 3 watt when turned off.

To put it in a nice table for easy comparision:

The HTPC uses about 50% of a normal pc, but it uses 10 times as much as my previous tuner. A CRT (+ speaker) would need the same amount of energy as my current TV, but an LCD would be cheaper (in energy usage).

Thanks to Stijn Bosse for lending me his power (wattage) meter.
Other readings were assumed by the following data.

MythTV & XBOX Integration

XBMC offers native MythTV support from Revision 12173. It’s still pretty beta, but (in my eyes) it’s still working better than the python scripts.

Add MythTV as a Video Source

  • 1. Once XBMC is installed and running on your Xbox go to “Videos” and select “Add Source”
  • 2. In the “Enter the paths or browse for the media locations.” field you will need to enter the properly formatted username, password, and IP information for your mythconverg database. This information should be prefixed with “myth://” and follow standard linux network access formatting of: “username:password@ipaddress”. For example, if your mythconverg database is located on a machine whose ip address is and uses the username “mythtv” and the password “mythtv” you should enter the following:


  • 3. Input a name for this source in the “Enter a name for this Media Source” field. This name is what will appear in the “Videos” list of XBMC.
  • 4. Click on “OK” to add this source to the “Videos” list.

The issue that I had was that my XBOX froze after selecting a channel. It was caused because my MythTV backend returned it’s hostname to the XBOX, which was unable to resolve (DNS) it. So I gave my backend a fully qualified dns name, which was resolvable and the issue was fixed. From now on, I reused my old XBOX (which was turning into a dust collector).

MythTV: Xbox Frontend
XBMC Forums

Fingerprint Security, think again…

Today I was reading a post about biometrics on Johan’s blog. As the blog post is in dutch, I’ll be so free to provide a small translated excerpt from it:

Biometrics for authentication is fundamentally wrong!
Because it doesn’t fulfill the necessary requirements, like for instance “revocation”.

  • If someone figures out your password, you have the ability to change your it.
    (and you don’t leave it lying around anywhere)
  • If someone copies your bankcard, you can request a new one
    (and you don’t leave it lying around anywhere)

What will you do when they copy your fingerprint? And you DO leave your fingerprints lying around EVERYWHERE.

I already referenced multiple times towards the insecurity of biometrics:

But to show you that it isn’t really that hard to fake, check out this article! Which will show you that copying a fingerprint is about that easy than what they do in “CSI [insert city name here]” to retrieve them … πŸ˜‰

Biometrie voor authenticatie… (dutch)

Welcome to Enterprise 2.0, embrace it!

Let’s talk about “Enterprise 2.0“.

The way we work is changing rapidly, offering an enormous competitive advantage to those who embrace the new tools that enable contextual, agile and simplified information exchange and collaboration to distributed workforces and networks of partners and customers.

Enterprise 2.0 is the term for the technologies and business practices that liberate the workforce from the constraints of legacy communication and productivity tools like email. It provides business managers with access to the right information at the right time through a web of inter-connected applications, services and devices. Enterprise 2.0 makes accessible the collective intelligence of many, translating to a huge competitive advantage in the form of increased innovation, productivity and agility.

Enterprise 2.0 Cartoon

Continue reading “Welcome to Enterprise 2.0, embrace it!”

Green Linux thru CPU Frequency Scaling

Green EnergyBeing “Green” is being helpful towards the environment, but also to your electricity bills… The most commonly used techniques to reduce the power usage of a computer device are :

  • Turning off your monitor/screen/tv when not used.
  • Turning off the hard disks when they aren’t used
  • CPU Frequency Scaling

For the last bit, you’ll have to check if you motherboard/cpu supports this… Most will probably support this, apart from the “really” old. The motherboard (& CPU) of my HTPC (MythTV) is capable of using AMD’s Cool’n’Quiet. I followed the following guide on the Ubuntu Forum, and used the “powersave” algorithm. It reduced my CPU frequency to 1000, where I must admit that I don’t notice anything on my combined MythTV frontend/backend. Next up is measuring the actual power usage, but I need to obtain a measuring device for that… πŸ˜‰

For an interesting readup on the same topic; check MythTV NZ, ThinkWiki’s How to reduce power consumption, …

Running back to the right mediacenter for my needs (part two)

MythTV addictAfter thrashing MythTV in an earlier post of mine, I came to fall back to it… One of the main requirements I had was to be able to stream TV to multiple clients across my home, yet the TV-Server component of Team Mediaportal proved unstable as hell to me. I was unable to view channels I was capable of viewing in the standalone version. I switched to SageTV for a few days, where I must say that this software proved that installing a media center can be “easy”. Yet it lacked some smaller features, required licenses for the base & every extender… which became a big “turnoff”. πŸ˜‰

So I switched back to MythTV, and… Continue reading “Running back to the right mediacenter for my needs (part two)”

Pick The Best OS For Your Life

Often people react that OpenSource people hate Microsoft. Let me correct this; some might, but not all! In my opinion you have to use a given operating system in the area where it’s excels.

So I’m going to post an excerpt from the “OS Wars: The Battle for Your Desktop” (from PCmag):

    Any OS. You don’t need anything fancy to browse the Web and send e-mail.
    Windows. Get things done with minimal fuss.
    Windows. Millions of gamers can’t all be wrong. (Or buy a Nintendo Wii.)
    Windows. All cameras work with it, and the imaging tools are plentiful.
    Mac OS. It’s what the pros in -Hollywood prefer.
    Mac OS. The other artsy people will laugh at you if you use anything else.
    Ubuntu. You’ll get the most satisfaction from taming this somewhat wild beast.
    Ubuntu. Not lining the pockets at Apple and Microsoft just feels good.

If you’re interested in the scores they gave for each OS:
OS Scorecard

Finding the right mediacenter for my needs

xbmc logoCombine all the media one

    has (television, pictures, movies, sound fragments,…), and think about the number of devices one needs to have. A computer for viewing those foto’s, where some media fragments and pictures are located. Then we have our hifi set for our cd’s & dvd’s, maybe even a tuner for the satellite connection. In the old days there was even a VCR involved… In my mind WAY TOO MANY devices! So I went looking.

    The first move I made in this area was to transform my old XBOX to a media center. The software I used for this was XBMC (Xbox Media Center). But this setup turned out to have two disadvantages:

  • Legal : Microsoft isn’t too fond of the project, and it balances on the line between legal & illegal. Therefor the software isn’t easy to obtain, as one needs (read: should) to compile it theirselves.
  • TV : There is no direct TV option in XBMC. One would be able to create an integration using uPNP, but then again… it wouldn’t be “native”.

So I had my tv tuner & my xbox for all my media needs… But being human, I still wasn’t fully satisfied. πŸ˜‰

Continue reading “Finding the right mediacenter for my needs”

IT Strategy : Following -> Enabling -> Leading

Let’s talk a bit about IT strategy. Most IT departments still have the idea that they live isolated from the business. If that would be so, how would all those IT people get paid ad the end of the month? Indeed, by the business they are supporting! IT has a supporting function within the business.

ChessThe roles of IT
There are three roles IT should (try to) position itself:

  • Following : Reacting but delivering consistently
  • Enabling : Predicting, resourcing priorities, delivering
  • Leading : Aligned, experienced, leading thinking and planning

Which role does your departement currently furfil? Before you answer, note that probably 85% of the IT departments don’t even manage to be “Following”.

Continue reading “IT Strategy : Following -> Enabling -> Leading”