Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hardware hacking day fizzled out

So my plan for today was to get working the only remaining unimplemented piece of functionality in my HVR-950 driver - the IR support required for the remote control. Things didn't quite work out as planned.

Overslept and didn't fall out of bed until noon.

Poked at the v4l code for the em28xx driver and found out that unlike other em28xx based devices, there is no i2c device for the IR port on the HVR-950. I guess they're using the onboard em2883 IR port, but no other device supported seems to do it this way. So much for my hopes of flipping a bit and having the IR "just work". No datasheets available from EmpiaTech, so I'm going to have to do it "the hard way".

Went to rebuild my Windows XP so I can do a USB snoop and see how the IR port works. Had to install the "checked build" from MSDN since I don't have a copy of the retail build lying around. Got stuck and had to go to the office when I found out I didn't have the CD key.

The PC is from 2004, and pretty much all of the hardware support wasn't available in the stock version of XP (including the Ethernet driver, which creates a chicken/egg situation since I can't just download the needed drivers if there is no Ethernet). The fact that HP shipped some of the PCs with my model number with an Intel Ethernet and some with a Broadcom Ethernet, combined with Windows not making it easy to see who the hardware vendor is for unrecognized devices forced me to download both drivers (each around 25 MB).

Now the PC is caught in a loop rebooting every time the desktop comes up. I think I'm going to have to reinstall Windows and try again...

And either there is a driver problem or none of the USB ports support USB 2.0, so I'm going to have to stick a USB 2.0 PCI card in the PC if I'm going to be able to do anything with the HVR-950.

Oh yeah, and because I'm using the checked build, I can see how poorly engineered everybody else's software is because Windows keeps showing dialogs with assertions whenever some application does something illegal. You would think that vendors who write device drivers would try them out on a checked build (Hauppauge, SoundMax, are you listening?)

Enough ranting about my PC woes. Does anybody even care? I guess at least it's cathartic to have somewhere to vent...

On the upside, I did watch No Country for Old Men. Weird.

Looking down at 35th street, a party at the bar seems to have spilled out onto the sidewalk. I can hear the music here in my living room as I write this.

I have to wake up relatively early tomorrow to catch a train to New Jersey for the day. Will be good to see the family and there is the promise of spaghetti since my birthday was earlier in the week.