Spam (madbodger) wrote,

Yet more yak shaving

It all started when [profile] fizzygeek and I were discussing the Ramones movie Rock 'n' Roll High School. She wondered if P. J. Soles had done any other films. Offhand, I could come up with Stripes, but nothing else.

A few days later, I was playing with my TiVo and I tried keying in "P. J. Soles" to see if she would be in anything airing in the next couple of weeks. Sure enough, it came up with Out There, a movie I'd never heard of, which had an amazing cast, including Julie "Earth Girls are Easy" Brown, Carel "The Addams Family" Struycken, Tom "Spongebob Squarepants" Kenny, Cindy "Tron" Morgan, and June "Lost In Space" Lockhart, along with many others. So I recorded it.
Eventually, I watched it. It's quite a quirky little film, and one of the plot points was that accordion music would repel aliens. The final credits rolled, to the accompaniment of "Mexican Radio", on accordion.

That's when the trouble began. I decided I liked that treatment of Mexican Radio, and went to find a recording. I was able to glean that it was by Frankie Blue and his Accordion Orchestra from the credits, so I went looking. No joy. I couldn't find it in any form, anywhere.

As I'd deleted the recording by then, I looked to see if it was airing again. No joy. So I'd search for it occasionally, hoping it would come back around. Finally it did, and I recorded it. I figured I'd transfer it to my computer, separate out the audio track and transcode it digitally.

Denied! The broadcaster set the "no transfer" bit, and I couldn't transfer it to the computer. Grump. Okay, I'll just hook audio cables to the TiVo and digitize it that way. So I rounded up my fancy Firewire Solo digitizer, a firewire cable, a pair of RCA to phone jack cables, a laptop, and its power supply and hauled it all downstairs to the TiVo.

Oops, didn't have a copy of Audiocorder. Downloaded that, only to find my license had expired. Chased down how to obtain an upgrade license, did that, waited for the registration email, and registered the software.

The software came up, with the input source set for "Firewire 1393" which seemed a little odd (firewire is also known as IEEE 1394, so it seemed to be off by one. But I couldn't get any signal, with any settings of the controls (physical and onscreen). I tried switching to the internal mic and that worked fine. I tried the sound system preferences, and I could see the signal from the firewire device just fine. I tried switching back to firewire in Audiocorder and only then noticed that choice was greyed out. Restarting it remembered the previous (internal mic) setting, so there was no way to get it back to the firewire one. Maybe it's a driver issue?

So I went to the manufacturer's web site and navigated to the driver download page. It offered a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version, and I wasn't sure which I needed. There was also a dire warning that their software wasn't approved for the current version of the operating system.

A little investigation revealed that I'd get the same software download either way, so I downloaded and installed it. This required unplugging the device, installing the softare, shutting down the machine, plugging it back in, and booting up.

When the machine booted up, I got a little alert informing me that the device firmware was out of date, it was updating it, and this would take about two minutes. The alert disappeared after a few seconds, the front panel lights went off, and the device seemed dead. I really hoped I hadn't bricked it! Unplugging and replugging it resulted in the lights coming on, the "updating firmware" alert reappearing, then the device going dead. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I did some research, and this was a known problem. The company's advice was to shut off WiFi and bluetooth and wait for a couple of hours and it might fix itself. Or probably not, according to most of the people who had that problem.

Then I remembered I had an old machine in the basement that couldn't run the current version of the operating system. So I went down there, downloaded the software, installed it, shut down, plugged in the device, and booted up. I got the now-familiar "updating firmware" alert, and the light went out. But this time, the light came back on after about 30 seconds. A quick check looked as if the firmware was up to date (2007, it turns out) and the driver recognized it.

Then I unplugged it, went back upstairs, cabled everything back up, and was able to record the audio. Then I cleaned it up, transcoded it, and now I'll be able to listen to it in my car.

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