Dgtec DG-SD160DVR Driver

24 February, 2008

DGTEC users can download driver DMN8600.CUB directly from the Boxnet widget in the right sidebar of my blog.

Wakes and I have had a DGTEC set top box/PVR/DVD recorder for about 18 months now, and generally it has performed to expectations, though always a little clunkily.

From time to time we’ve experienced screen freezes, necessitating a cold boot to get things going again. The user interface is pretty clunky and the manual is written by someone whose first language is patently not English. I also knew from my experiences in getting started with the product that the on-line support offering was barely non-existent.

So in the back of my mind I was always dreading the day when something went wrong that couldn’t be fixed with a reboot.

I mentioned this to my friend Charlie the other day – tempting fate you might say – and sure enough two days later we completely lost sound on the digital TV signal passing though the device.

As expected, there was no on-line support provided by DGTEC. A few techie forums mentioned problems with their device that a firmware upgrade had fixed, but of course the driver was not available anywhere on line.

So I had to call DGTEC’s Australian support line 1800 189 941, and spent a pleasant hour one night listening to their recorded message telling me they would get to my call shortly. I got nervous when the time ticked closer to their 8pm support close, then even more so when it reached 8.15pm. I gave up at about 8.20pm and tried again the next night. Another 45 minutes on hold before I got to speak with a human, who immediately diagnosed that the first point of call was a firmware upgrade that he would email me. Gee, do you think?

Anyway, I uploaded the firmware and it installed as per the instructions – only problem was, it didn’t fix my sound error.

What did eventually solve my problem was to run the ‘Reset to Factory Defaults’ option in the System Set-up menu.

So anyway, I’ve decided to post the driver here to spare any other DGTEC users the frustration of spending wasted hours on the phone, just because a technology company is too stupid or too lazy to provide such a basic service to their users.

DGTEC users can download driver DMN8600.CUB directly from the Boxnet widget in the right sidebar of my blog.

The instructions for this file are:

1) Using a burning software such as Nero, burn the CUB file onto an empty 700MB CD disc or a 4.7gb DVD disc.
2) Make sure the disc is finalised.
3) Place the freshly burned disc into the tray of the DVR and wait for it to load.
4) Once the DVR reads the disc, it will recognise that it contains new software.
5) When prompted if you wish to upgrade, please confirm.
6) The upgrading will take a few minutes to complete.
7) When finished, eject disc and continue with normal operations.

NOTE: If the DVR does not automatically prompt you to update when the disc is inserted, please use the source button to go to another source and then return to DVD. This will force the DVR to re-read the disc.

Note, the address of the support guy who sent me the upgrade is miguelmartinez@dgtec.com.au. Again, top marks to DGTEC for not even providing an email support address for their products.

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My movies

3 June, 2007

Moodb

I spent part of yesterday updating the database for my DVD collection.

I’ve been using OXD Movie Organiser software, which can be downloaded free from here. The Movie Organiser software is integrated with the MOODb movie database, as well as the IMDB database.

Populating your personal database with details of the movies in your collection is as simple as keying in the title and selecting from the list of possible matches provided. By selecting the appropriate option, your personal database is automatically updated with details of the DVD, including cast, director, year, running time, genre, and a thumbnail shot of the cover graphics.

You can keep a record of DVD’s that you have lent to friends – a great feature except that most of mine get lent out after marathon dinner parties, and the first I know they are out is when they get returned!

An online list of my DVD collection can be found here.


Simpsons Grammar Game

26 May, 2007

One of the assignments in my Editing class this year was to develop a fun and interactive way to teach grammar to students in Years 7-9. (i.e. aged 12-14 years).

With the help of Wakes from Wakelin Solutionz, my team developed a computer game based on characters from The Simpsons which runs along the lines of the TV show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

The game runs on MS-Excel and is simple to use. I think it turned out really well. If you’re interested in having a look, you can download it from the ‘Share Files’ section at the bottom of my sidebar (file size approximately 1.3mb).

When you run the file, make sure you ‘Enable Macros’ – otherwise the code won’t work.

The file sharing widget is courtesy of Box.net – I installed it especially for this game – let me know what you think.

PS – I haven’t asked Mr Murdoch for permission to use The Simpsons characters – hopefully he will be OK with this, given it is for educational purposes only!


Best Web Freebies

24 May, 2007

This great article was in today’s Melbourne Age newspaper.

It reviews ten of the best free software packages available on the Web, including Open Office, Primo PDF Writer, and Paint.NET 3.

I must say I’m surprised that Firefox didn’t rate a mention, (or any non-IE browser for that matter), as I’ve been extremely impressed with the functionality and stability of Firefox since installing it a month or so ago.

The whole Google suite has also been an eye-opener for me. I started with Gmail because Hotmail’s spam was doing my head in, not to mention the crap storage allowance they provided at the time – this led on to Google Calendar, Picassa and most recently Google Reader. I have found all to be stable and with appropriate functionality for my needs – and the best part is the seamless integration between the various Google modules. I even checked out Google Spreadsheets and was pleasantly surprised by the look and feel. (Not rushing out to replace Excel just yet though!)

I used to be a bit skeptical about free software – worried about bugs and poor functionality – but my recent experiences with WordPress, Firefox, Picassa and the myriad of other programs, widgets and gadgets that I’ve come across since joining the blogging fraternity have got me wondering what other great stuff I am missing out on.

I’d love to hear your feedback about any of the programs reviewed in The Age article, or on any other great free software out there.


Firefox v Internet Explorer

3 May, 2007

This is an interesting article from today’s Melbourne Age newspaper which discusses Firefox’s incursion into Microsoft’s virtual monopoly over the browser market.

I was interested in the analysis by Brian Krebs from The Washington Post which showed IE6 was vulnerable to critical flaws for 284 days of last year, compared with a single nine-day period of vulnerability for Firefox.

After much deliberation and skepticism, I recently changed my browser at home from IE to Firefox. I must say, I haven’t looked back and have been more than impressed with Firefox’s features and reliability. I have added in a few of the plug-ins described in the article and can’t believe how well they integrate into the core product. I wish now I’d made the change to Firefox earlier.