Get ready for ‘Interstellar’ with these TED Talks

TED Blog

Since the first teaser in 2013, we’ve been in countdown mode for Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s new outer-space epic that promises to blast us through space and time. It opened today in limited release; if you’re as excited as we are but can’t clear three hours until the weekend to go see the whole movie, here are a few TED Talks that relate to the plot points we could figure out from obsessively watching trailers.

The story begins on an earth devastated by drought and climate change. Dystopian, but unless we take action, we’re heading there in reality too. In this talk, Jonathan Foley makes a case for “terrafarming” — thinking of the planet’s food systems as one big connected whole.

Meanwhile Gavin Schmidt shows us how emergent global patterns are causing our climate to get less predictable (scary, but they make hypnotizing GIFs).

And … I don’t know…

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Turn mythtv recordings into mp4 files

This piece is a work in progress, but I figured I should publish it slowly as I continue to add to it, as it might help people, even though it is not quite working yet. I’ve had it working in the past, but it’s not quite working on my setup yet.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing around with mythtv recordings to try and keep them for later viewing in a format that is transferable to other devices, players etc. I have found x264 encoding in an mp4 container to work quite well – especially for transferring to my ipad or iphone for viewing.

In this guide I re-encode my mythtv nuv files into mp4 x264 files and save them into my videos for viewing through mythvideo. I use the script which I have found to be the best script available for doing the re-encoding – though if you know of a better script, feel free to point it out.

1. Configure mythnuv2mkv script on your system 

Setup a custom job utilising the bash script. You will first need to get it here –>

I suggest you place it somewhere on your system where all users can access. I’ve put mine in /usr/local/bin/
Make sure you chmod 755 to ensure it is executable.

2. Install dependencies for the mythnuv2mkv script to work

Install the dependencies required for it to work. I suggest installing all of the mp4 and mkv dependencies.

$ sudo apt-get install mplayer mencoder wget imagemagick x264 faac faad gpac vorbis-tools mkvtoolnix

3. Customise the script to your liking

There a quite a few options to consider for the mythnuv2mkv script. The options are stored in a seperate file named mythnuv2mkv.cfg which resides in the same directory/folder as the script. Here is a copy of what I have to help you.

4. Setup a user job on mythtv.

You will need to setup a user job in order to call the script from mythtv. The easiest way is to use mythweb to do this. I have a previous post on this here — Adding a mythtv job using mythweb

Using this guide, make the following changes to these variables and save them .

 JobAllowUserJob1 = 1
 UserJob1 = /usr/local/bin/ --jobid=%JOBID% --quality=med --copydir=/media/videos/newly.exported --chanid=%CHANID% --starttime=%STARTTIME%
 UserJobDesc1 = Convert to mp4

Restart mythtv-backend in order to enact the changes. Remember that if you do this, you can cause programs that are being recorded to be interrupted. I suggest that if you have anything recording that you wait until nothing important is recording before restarting mythtv-backend.

5. Test the user job.

Now that you have the script and user job added to mythtv, you just need to find a recording and test it.

Adding a mythtv job using mythweb

Here are some simple instructions on how to setup a job within mythtv using the mythweb plugin. The mythtv site has some information on user jobs, but not very descriptive on how to setup through mythweb.

  1. Go to your mythtweb web page – wherever that may be (e.g.
  2. Click on the settings icon
  3. Choose the setting for mythtv – you should now have a list of settings similar to this. Make sure you have the “Edit settings for: -All Hosts-” is selected.

4. Within the table you should find 3 fields that you need to change in order to get a job configured. These are :

  • JobAllowUserJob1 – this needs to be set to 1 for on (as opposed to 0 for off)
  • UserJobDesc1 – this is a simple description for the job. Whatever you want to make it.
  • UserJob1 – this is the command you want to run itself (e.g. /usr/local/bin/ –jobid=%JOBID% –quality=med –copydir=/media/videos/newly.exported –chanid=%CHANID% –starttime=%STARTTIME)

You can essentially run whatever script you like as a user job. Go to this page on the mythtv site for a description on the job arguments. The example I have used is from my previous blog on setting up the mythnuv2mkv script which is quite useful for exporting TV recordings for later use. Click here for more information.

5. Now once you make the changes you want, make sure you press the “Save” button at the bottom of the form to commit the changes.

6. In order to use the new job, you will need to restart mythtv.

$ /etc/init.d/mythtv-backend restart
$ service mythtv-backend restart

The job should now be ready to go. All you need to do is highlight the TV recording you want to run the job on press the menu button on your remote and you should see under the job options section your job description. Select it and it should run. Under system status you can view the job status.

I hope that helps.

Lamborghini batman car

I was walking around Sydney a few weeks back and accidentally found a display of these Lamborghini’s from the newest Batman movies. I just thought I would share them with the world. Taken with my iPhone 4S camera. I vaguely remember the cars on batman begins – didn’t Bruce Wayne crash one? Or was that a different car – not sure.


Batman was pulled over by the police once – looks like a different car though.[yframe url=’’%5D