Sunday, 5 August 2012

Day 12 - Second Sunday is thankfully quiet

After the excitement of Super Saturday, recordings ease to their lowest level for a full day so far, with 18 channels, 21 sports, 44 slots and 160 hours and 22 minutes of recordings. We can also celebrate the end of the tennis for two reasons: 2 gold or silver medals and no more multiple 8+ hour tennis slots in one day  (it was the only sport that always had 2 or more such slots on a daily basis).

Looking at the hard disk usage (roughly 550GB per PC per day), both PCs have about 1.1TB left on their second disks at the start of today. It's lucky that today has 10-15% less recording time than usual, so it may be that 600GB is free for Monday on both PCs and I'll probably swap out both 3TB drives on pc1 when Monday's recordings finish (pc2 has a third disk in so is "safe" on Monday/Tuesday regardless).

Interestingly, the BIOS on both PCs' Intel motherboards has SATA marked as hot swappable, meaning you can theoretically add or remove hard drives without turning the power off. It's something I've never attempted and I still think it must carry some power-related risk, so I really don't want to try tempting fate. Plus, I'm not sure if Linux would automatically recognise an inserted internal hard drive without requiring a reboot.

I was just looking at tvheadend's bug reporting pages and one bug/feature (Freesat EPG support) has finally been fixed some 21 months (!) after it was first reported. I'm now sorely tempted to throw it onto one of the PCs (keeping the old version around to switch back in of course) to see what they've done - obviously I'd have to wait until about 1.00am on Monday morning to do that :-) It's not clear what you do about Freesat's EPG vs. EIT though on the 24 sat channels though.

I'd probably put the new release on pc2 because that's exclusively recording sat channels. In an ideal world, we'd get the next week's schedules filled in with no duplicates or overlaps if we're lucky. I don't like Now/Next events popping up many times during the day as each of the 24 channels moves onto the next slot - I'd much rather see the next 24 (or 168!) hours planned in the recording section of tvheadend and only if the schedule changes during that day should Now/Next stuff override it.

I just downloaded the latest tvheadend source (it actually moved its Github URL since I last built it on 22nd July) and it built OK. It's not installed on pc2 yet of course, but there was quite a rework of the code in the last few weeks related to EPG grabbing. It appears to have moved to a modular system, presumably because of a lot of shared code between each grabber parser. Interesting to note that whilst everything I've read claimed the Freesat EPG was encrypted, it doesn't appear to be. It's just compressed as a huffman-encoded stream, which - despite the massive length of the source code containing the huffman constants - is actually a well-known format to uncompress. Gotta love open source, haven't you? :-)

Perhaps one of the worst live camerawork of the Olympics, particularly involving the chance of a GB gold medal, was the end of the men's star sailing today. GB needed to be 6th or better if the Swedes won and 4th or better if the Brazilians won. I thought they showed very poor tactics of messing with the Brazilians (e.g. sailing on the same side of the course as the Brazilians, despite the Swedes leading on the other side plus tacking in front of the Brazilians too often, losing them time). When the Swedes took an early lead, GB should have chased after them and not the Brazilians.

So we get to the end with GB in fifth (still pointlessly messing with the Brazilians!) and the Swedes win the race. New Zealand 2nd, Germany 3rd and then we seem to get poor camera direction and skip to GB coming in, presumably for gold. Nope, they dropped behind the Brazilians to finish 7th and yet we never really saw the 4th-6th boats (there was a tiny glimpse of the Norwegian boat who was presumably one of them). The commentators didn't seem to realise for quite a while that the Brits had slipped to 7th and didn't even mention who had slipped in to 4-6th for ages (in fact, the viewers didn't get to know the interlopers until the official finishing caption appeared).

I do wonder if radio comms are allowed to people back at shore to get position updates - I guess not because coaches could give them tactics advice. Maybe they could get a computerised "Radio Sailing" neutral comms which just automatically continuously reads out positions and distance gaps with a computerised voice? I've got to say that without the captions and 3D computerised position images, the live pictures give absolutely no clue at all as to who is leading a lot of the time! It's not a good sport to watch live in person, IMHO, and the fact you need binoculars all the time to watch it doesn't help either!

More bad camerawork followed with the Ben Ainslie gold medal-winning race and ironically, the same dubious tactics as the star race almost happened again! Ainslie kept messing with his supposed rival for gold whilst ignoring the Dutch sailor, who almost got into gold medal-winning 2nd position in the race. At the critical point in the downwind leg, we missed the melee that forced the Dutch sailor to back off and not take the 2nd place that would have given him gold! As I just said before, it's a rubbish TV sport even without the dodgy BBC camera direction. Still, it means our 15th gold and restores the 5 gold lead in the medal table we have on the South Koreans, so it's not all bad.

Just watched a superb Andy Murray gold-winning tennis match - very few players have ever blown Federer completely off the court, but the amazing 6-2 6-1 6-4 score doesn't lie. That's 16 golds for GB now and extends our lead to 6 golds over South Korea. After a depressing first 7 days of events without a gold, they're coming thick and fast. First GB Olympic gold medal in tennis in over a century.

I only watched the last 30 minutes of the following Murray/Robson mixed doubles, because I was fairly sure they wouldn't win. They were playing the #1 ranked pair, which included Azarenka, who is the world number one in singles. Robson double faulting twice in the champions tie-break basically handed the gold to the opposition, but it's another silver for the medal table at least.

 Day 12 recording size: 906GB - grand total so far: 10367GB (10.1TB)

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