Home Page: Technology For Rural Living

  • For all current software downloads:

Downloads Page Updated 2016.02.02: 

Lake George Jazz

Each year I attend the Lake George Jazz festival and I am introduced to players of which I had no prior knowledge. The festival is a beautiful venue held in Shepard Park on the shore of the Lake and is free. I am often curious to find out more about these players and during the process I record some of my internet finds relating to them.  There is often some sample music or Youtube video also.  This page is still incomplete and I will add more as time allows.   

About HDTV and Hires devices

I find that increasingly desktop and hi resolution programs are being compromised for portable devices and phones.  I don't own a cell phone and and the only low resolution device I have is an Acer Netbook (1360x768) other than that all my devices are 1920 x 1080 which is the standard resolution for HDTV presently.  I feel this resolution provides a viewing experience that is very good and I desire nothing better presently.  I feel that a 720p screen to be ok up to about a 24" screen and at 30" is visibly inferior.  For small screens I suggest a computer monitor with an HDMI which will give you true HDTV (1920x1080) which is a much better viewing experience than a small screen 720p device.  1920x1080 monitors are available for about $100.

Okay this being said HDMI 1920x1080 is likely to be the standard for some time into the future and when purchasing hardware it is the standard to aim for.  Any computer purchases should have a HDMI (1920x1080) out put.  

Increasingly the world of computers and TV are merging and many people now have a PC connected to their HDTV.  This allows the HDTV to be the monitor for the PC.  I have several machines  set up in this manner which I use to display all sorts of media and control with various RC and IR devices.

In the beginning I used various 3rd party software to accomplish this but as time went on I decided to create my own software which was optimized  for HDTV (1920x1080).  I wanted to use very simple controls on a black background with large fonts that you can see from your easy chair.  I wanted the primary control of the program to be from the mouse ( I currently use a RC wireless mouse which works up to about 25'). 

I started with the first generation of software in 2003 and now in the 5th total rewrite initiated 2011.11.  I have reverted to using DirectX 9.0, after many alternative experiments, and now incorporated Mark Heaths Audio Library which produces high quality sound files.  The development continues and I am just putting the final touches on  MmimageShowHDTV.exe which is an image display, processing, slideshow, and archiving utility for HDTV.

I find the new Windows10 client forms to be really ugly and being as bright as it is a real distraction on an HDTV display.  For this reason I have now included a D/W button in many of my programs so they can be started on the desktop with no client frame or you can press the W button and view the program in a re sizable and movable client window then revert to the desktop view at any time. 

Win10 First impressions

It seems every evolution of Windows allows you to do less not more.  I still need XP which I run as a virtual machine on Win7.  Presently I have two boot drives one for Win7 and the other for Win10.  I often have to reboot to Win7 for some tasks.  I have yet to find a single feature in Win10 that I wanted or needed that I don't already have in Win7.   I have recently been playing with "Speech" recognition and I do feel that there is some improvement there over Win7.  

Update 2015.11.24 I have returned to Win7 as there are just too many things that don't work under Win10 maybe in 6 months or a year I will try a new update.

Update 2-15.11.06
  • I have now been using Win 10 for over a month and have found a way to solve most of the problems like turning off updates.  One major problem still exists.  I cant "Map A Network Drive" and to use my network I must return to Win7 

Cant connect to any of these drives. All I have to do is switch to Win7.

This window is laughable as the link takes you to a description of MS help which makes no mention of the problem you are experiencing with "permissions".

This is a deal breaker for my and leaves me mostly using Win7 which networks these drives without problem.
  • Auto updates with no way to disable is a deal breaker for people with monthly bandwidth caps.
  • Updates are often defective requiring a system restore to prior to the update with updates turned off otherwise the update will reinstall.
               Solution:  <File:C:\windows\system32\services.msc> or open CDM and type: services.msc
                 Scroll down the services list to “Windows Update” select and disable.  When you want to do an update it will be necessary to reverse this procedure:
  • I use my program MMstart.exe as an alternative to START and DESKTOP icons so any improvement in these areas are meaningless to me.
  • I do not need or want facial and fingerprint recognition I don't even use USER passwords as I am the only user on my machines.
  • I often run machines not connected to the Internet which is impossible with Win10.
  • Compatibility with portable devices has come at a cost to the Desktop environment. 
  • The new Win10 program client window is just outright ugly.  Too bright and really hard on the eyes.
           This will probably be changed in time.  I notice the new Vis2015 compiler has a dark grey mode available "Thank God".  I spend a lot of hours there.

Update 2015.12.01 I have given up on Win10 and returned to Win7.  I find no features in Win10 that I need and numerous things I need are missing or non functioning.

About TV capture NTSC

I do a lot of my TV watching in a window on my computer desktop.  For many years I have used KWORLD ntsc capture devices.  This hardware is workable but not great and the included software is deplorable.  For simple TV viewing I wrote a program MMshowTV.exe which displays the output of the capture board in a sizable window.  For capture I use NCH softwares DEBUT which works quite well.  Recently my KWORLD hardware gave out and I decided to try a STARTECH alternative.  

NTSC is the standard for video signal that was in use for many years (640 x 480) but it is actually half that due to interlace and 40 lines in the vertical blanking interval so the quality by today's standards is pretty poor.  But being you can use an old VCR as a RF modulator converting coax to video. Then run r/l audio and video  to an inexpensive (about $35) USB capture device you can  watch TV on your PC.  In a Window of less than 400 width or so the image tolerably good. NTSC provides in inexpensive TV display on a PC.

Upon installation the appropriate drivers were found by Plug and Pray and all my existing software worked without problem.  This device has worked without problem on the Y/C output of a VCR, Camcorder, and Dish receiver.  Remember this is a NTSC device which has resolution limited to 640x480.

I had used NCHsoftware's " Debut " for some time and it works quite well and is free but after a very bad experience with this company I have vowed to stop using their products.  In a search for an alternative I have found STOIK which seems to work quite well.   The interface is a little crude and the Internet link does not work properly but I have done numerous captures and the quality is quite good for NTSC.

After several months of flawless operation I decided to try Startech's - Grabbee Software.  After installing none of my audio software worked properly and the OS had a loud audio shrieking sound.  I was unable to resolve these problems and did a system restore to prior to installation and all was well again.  

Note: I continue to search for a HDTV capture device from DISH.  Presently I think Hauppauge  might be a solution. 

Posted several new Videos:

Update 2014.10.20  -Youtube posts:

I have numerous Youtube posts which have had over 90,000 views. 

Late Blight in Tomatoes

Tomatoes and "Late Blight" - Remains a problem!?  

 My neighbor lost all his tomatoes this year to late blight.  I too had some late blight damage but was able to harvest a lot of tomatoes.  I continue to search for a solution. 

I am going to try sodium bicarbonate spray next year. Sometimes this has an effect of limiting fungus infection. Lime water might also be effective at some point in the growth cycle.