Archive for the ‘building’ Category

apt-get on Windows: win-get & Cygwin

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I want to run some python scripts, whose instructions state the need to run apt-get first.  The apt-get command is from unix-land, whereas I use mainly Windows.  How can this apparent obstacle be overcome?

I guess first I should try the “easy way”, i.e. get the script running on a unix machine e.g. a Mac}

Google:[apt-get windows 7]:

  • {No use to me}
    • {Naively, I thought it sounded like a Windows version of apt-get, but it is actually only inspired by apt-get, and is only for getting Windows applications such as FireFox.}
        • Win-get is a automatic software installer and package manager for Windows, inspired by Debian’s apt-get tool. With win-get, downloading and installing an application to your computer is as simple as: win-get install firefox
    • win-get is an automated install system and software repository for Microsoft Windows written in pascal (for the command line client) and php for the online repository. The ideas for its creation come from apt-get and other related tools for the *nix platforms.
    • The system works by connecting to a link repository. Finding an application and downloading it from the stored link using wget.exe . Then performing the installation routine (silent or standard). And finnally deleting the install file.
  • {Possible solution? e.g. run on a Mac then use the download on Windows?}
    • {Could this be an alternative?  Download on a separate computer and transfer to destination by memory stick etc.}
    • APT-ZIP is a package to update a non-networked computer using apt and a (removable) media (harddisk, USB key, ZIP drive…)
    • The apt-zip-list and apt-zip-inst commands simplify the upgrade process of a non-networked Debian host using apt , by using (preferably high-capacity) removable media, like a ZIP or USB drive.
    • You can use wget in Cygwin in the computer where you haven’t got installed Debian, to execute Apt-zip. Also you can run the script from a LiveCD.
  • {Better solution?  Needed in any case?}
    •  Cygwin is:
      • A collection of tools which provide a Linux look and feel environment for Windows.
      • A DLL (cygwin1.dll) which acts as a Linux API layer providing substantial Linux API functionality.
    • Cygwin is not:
      • A way to run native Linux apps on Windows. You must rebuild your application from source if you want it to run on Windows.
    • Latest Version & Windows Compatibility:
      • The Cygwin DLL currently works with all recent, commercially released x86 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows, with the exception of Windows CE and Windows NT4.
      • The most recent version of the Cygwin DLL is 1.7.17-1.
      • Version 1.7 added Windows 7 compatibility.

Mobile Video Editing Hardware: Thoughts, Ideas & Dreams (continued)

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Following-on from my earlier post, Mobile Video Editing Hardware: Thoughts, Ideas & Dreams, where I considered an eventual migration from my laptop to a luggable PC, my thoughts veered (possibly having spotted cash-icebergs among them) towards an alternative solution:

  • Use the laptop for lightweight editing & compositing.
  • Use the desktop as a number-crunching RADI-attached server.

The two could be linked by:

  • Remote access / remote sessions (some of which via smartphone)
  • DropBox, e.g. have an active folder where I can drop Adobe Premiere XML and have it processed remotely by Adobe apps installed there.

Some links:

    • (There’s no equivalent “_part_1” page.  I guess it’s just “Part 2” of that guy’s story).
    • DIY virtual machines: Rigging up at home, by Trevor Pott, 11th January 2012 14:33 GMT
    • Personal Virtual Machine (PVM) (in use) for about seven years with retail boxed version of Windows XP.
    • VM has been moved from virtualization platform to virtualization platform over the years … the most recent incarnation … inside Hyper-V.
    • …nothing beats Windows Server 2008 R2. It comes with a top-notch virtualisation platform (Hyper-V), and added RemoteFX support with Service Pack 1. You can still use the desktop operating system for all your HTPC needs, and a single Server 2008 R2 Standard license allows you to run both a host copy and a single virtual instance of Server 2008 R2.
    • In my case, the host instance does little more than play movies on the projector via VLC. The virtual instance of Server runs my Plex media server, and aggregates my many storage devices into a single share using DFS.
  • Shuttle Inc (Taiwan)

Mobile Video Editing Hardware: Thoughts, Ideas & Dreams

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Want a mobile “suitcase” editing system, something more (and more expandable) than a laptop but not too expensive.  Primarily to be used for Adobe CS5.5 for media enhancement / editing / compositing etc.

Nearest I found was NextDimension’s range around $7000 I think (but just guesswork – could be way off – would need to get a quote).   That would (if true) be around £4500 at current rates.  Plus import…  NextDimension call such machines “flextops” (Maybe they coined the term? Google searches on it mostly come up with them.)

Apart from the (mil/broadcast-lite but me-heavy) price, it might possibly be undesirably heavy to lug around much.   If so (just guessing, not assuming), it would make more sense to go for a modular quick-setup system.  So, starting to “think different” in this direction:

  • Standard tower, capable of taking new CUDA etc. graphics cards etc. as they emerge, but no need for more than say a couple of disks, maybe if SSD could even get away with just a single disk? (For system and media – inadvisable for traditional disks of course, what about for SSD’s?  I have much to learn about SSD’s though).
  • “Laptop-Lite” to talk to it.  With robust shuttered-stereoscopic HD monitor.
  • Gigabit network to NAS fast storage (SSD and/or RAID ?).

Maybe in that case it would be far more logical/affordable to use an existing laptop as a client working together with a luggable tower server, sufficiently light and robust for frequent dis/re -connection and travel.  And remote access of course (no heavy data to be exchanged, assume that’s already sync’d).  And some means to easily swap/sync applications and projects (data) between laptop and tower, giving the option to use just the (old) laptop on its own if needed.  All such options are handy for the travelling dude (working on train, social visits etc.) who also occasionally has to do heavy processing.  Then would just need a protective suitcase for the tower, plus another one for a decent monitor for grading etc.

I certainly won’t be spending anything just yet, but it’s good to have at least some kind of “radar”.


Mobile Editing Blues: FW800 Unusable on MacBook via BootCamp

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

This is a problem I encountered some time ago, when I was running Boot Camp v3.1 on my MacBook Pro.  Since then I upgraded to v3.2.  I know there’s a v3.3 around but before upgrading I thought it worthwhile to see whether v3.2 had fixed that problem (especially since I couldn’t rule out the possibility of v3.3 reintroducing it).   Only one thing to do: prevaricate test.

  • Copy file from GRaid Mini (GRm) to Desktop:
    • 2GB fine
    • 12GB appears ok initially but then fails (to zero b/s transfer rate, then the Grm device “no longer exists”, at least until reboot)
  • Reverse: 2GB fails (same way) almost immediately.

OK not good thus far…

Next tried an alternative approach: run W7 as a Virtual Machine on Mac Os via Parallel.  I have Parallels v6.  Forum search revealed that there is no FW support in either v6 or v7, though the developers seem interested in knowing why people want it.

  • 2GB GRm to W7 Desktop: ok
  • The reverse: ok.

Had to stop there due to other work – and a very full W7 disk.

The next workaround to consider is attaching a NAS.  Ethernet bandwidths can be 1Gbps, hence more than FW800’s 0.8 Gbps, though I wonder if there could be any issues of lag / latency in this approach.  I’ll do some research and put up another post about this idea.

Cavity Wall Insulation – Problems

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

My girlfriend is considering buying a 1930’s house.  It has evidence of dampness and cracks inside, against the outer and southern wall.  A surveyor mentioned it had cavity wall insulation but did not associate this with the dampness or cracks.  But I remember stories from decades ago where lacking-in-thought installations offering reduced heating bills etc. resulted in just these kinds of effect, by bridging of the wall-cavity.  Furthermore, in this part of the world, the southern direction is where the rain mostly blows from.  I’m no expert, but remember my parents’ repeated warnings about this issue – from their absorption of newspaper & TV coverage over several decades.  So time for a bit of Googling.  Best sites I found:


  • Potential Problems:
    • Cavity wall insulation risks internal dampness and accelerated corrosion of ferrous wall-ties (the latter e.g. by condensation).  Not a certainty, but certainly a risk,the “success rate” would be interesting, but for a specific case, it is more about proper pre-installation inspection for suitability.
    • Increased the risk of damp to the property could in turn cause internal decorative spoiling, plaster damage, fungal decay to  structural and joinery timbers and also accelerate the risk of corrosion to the metal wall ties.
    • Another problem is insulation sinking under its own weight. Over time, the fibre can compact and settle in the cavity, leaving cold areas at the top of the house, ripe for mould growth. Insiders say this is often due to insufficient fibre being used – a common problem with contractors employed on bulk contracts claiming the government subsidy.
    • Foam insulation can sometimes lead to cracking damage – usually to internal wall surfaces – following foam cavity wall insulation which might possibly be due to the expansive force of the foam as it cures.
  • The Failure Physics / Mechanism:
    • Internal wall dampness can arise where rain blown by wind hits external walls then the cavity insulation forms a bridge to the internal wall. This can happen even when the cavity material is itself water-resistant (presumably because of surface tension and capillary action etc.).
    • If the installation is less than perfect, leaving unfilled air pockets – these could leave ‘cold spots’ on the inside walls which attract condensation. Another problem concerns wall-tie corrosion; cavity insulation makes the outer brick leaf colder, and therefore wetter, which can accelerate rusting of the wall ties.
    • Aside from the damaging consequences of dampness, cavity wall insulation can sometimes actually lose building heat.  Blown mineral-wool fibre has to become only slightly damp (around one per cent by volume) to lose all of its insulation properties. Any damper than this, and it will actually start to draw more heat out of the house than if the insulation were absent.
  • Potential Misdiagnosis:
    • It feels like there is some blind-spot, if not denial, to this long-standing issue.
    • There is a tendency to assume damp-course issues, even when they are not relevant.
    • Another reported misdiagnosis is roof problems, the cost of (potentially pointless) fixing of which can be thousands of pounds.
  • Materials & Installation:
    • Various kinds of material can be used, the cheapest and most popular being blown “wool”, others being fibre, bonded polystyrene beads and foam.  Choice of material does not guarantee freedom from dampness risk.
    • In new buildings, usually the insulation is fixed only to the inner leaf, leaving a narrow cavity to intercept any rainwater that penetrates the outer brick leaf. This insulation material is usually in the form of rigid foam boards, which are intrinsically waterproof, or semi-rigid mineral-wool or glassfibre “batts” (vertically-aligned grain).
    • Some properties are not suitable for cavity insulation.   Pre-installation inspection should include checks via a boroscope.  Even large cavities do not give freedom from risk.
    • Installations should be backed by a 25 year C.I.G.A. guarantee.  In any case, assuming that the company responsible for the original installation is still trading, then these costs may well be their responsibility.
  • Removal:
    • Removal under guarantee does not necessarily take place instantaneously…
    • Removal plus damage repair (internal plaster etc. and/or ties) can cost around one to four thousand pounds.  Removal difficulty/cost depends on the material, and can leave “permanent scars” on the building exterior.
    • All cavity insulation can be removed. Mineral fibres and polystyrene granules can be blown or vacuumed out, whilst solid foam insulation must be manually broken up and scraped out.
  • An alternative to “filler” types of cavity wall insulation: Celotex.  This is a type of insulation board that can be attached to inner or outer walls, external to the cavity.  Guides: