December 2007

Major HDTV lag with Guitar Hero, Donkey Konga and DVDs [unsolved]

I went over to my friend’s house to play our first guitar hero 3 battle for wii, mode only to start sucking immediately even though I play on expert and my friend plays on medium. “WTF?” I said. My friend was like “well I think you were sucking is all” but I thought I was going crazy. Was my wiimote malfunctioning?

Then I noticed the notes were coming down later than the music and started playing early and got a little better, but the lag was horrible. I asked him if he’d ever calibrated the game and he said no, so I calibrated it and the delay changed from 0 ms to a whopping 115 ms. Then I was able to play perfectly if I payed more attention to the music than the screen, but my friend had gotten used to playing before the notes hit so it messed him up to play on the beat. He tried calibrating again, but he hit the notes before the downbeat like he was used to playing, so the game recalibrated to 0 ms. We kept trying to recalibrate, but guitar hero must quantize the delay to either to 0 or to 115 because that’s what we kept getting. We compromised and set the calibration manually to 75 ms, which was manageable for both of us, but I had to play a little earlier than I was used to.

My friend has an LG HTDV. I’m not sure what model it is. I have an infocus SP5000 projector. When I play at home, there is 0 latency, though fast moving notes motion blur a little. His LG though has a very noticeable delay.

I had brought over donkey konga as well to show him the game, and plugged it in, but it was unplayable. I could compensate on the easy (monkey) songs if I played an eighth note ahead of the beat, but on the harder (gorilla) songs it was impossible. Unfortunately, donkey konga is an older game and there was no option to calibrate. My friend said it was fun and played it like he played guitar hero, but I feel bad for him, because he can’t play any of his music games on the beat with his TV. He says he thinks of it like conducting, where you make the motion ahead of the music, but as a drummer it makes me insane trying to play ahead of the notes.

After we were done playing games, we watched a movie, and I noticed that the movie sync was off with the sound as well. I didn’t bother mentioning it to him – he probably has never noticed and I didn’t want him to feel any worse about his expensive equipment.

I did find a website here about HTDV Lag – although after his tests, the author actually recommends a LG model. It must be a different one than my friend had.

Anyway, buyer beware, an HTDV may look great but you may not notice until after your warranty has expired that the display can have a huge lag. You’re not going crazy and that might be the reason you suck at guitar hero.

Leaving this as unsolved unless someone can tell me how to fix my friend’s LG HDTV.

Too bad you’re here probably because you’ve already bought a laggy HDTV and are searching for a solution.

I did find more info on AVS forum about the problem, which suggests to try to send signal to the HDTV that is in its native resolution so that it doesn’t have to rescale. I will ask my friend if he’s using the wii component cables and 480p which might help a little, but wii owners may be particularly out of luck as the wii does not produce full HD signal.

The article also suggests this device that will solve the problem, but at $2000 you’re better off selling your TV and buying a new one, unless your crazy TV cost way more than that.

Use ActiveSync with Windows XP in Parallels (solved)

When you try and run activesync in Windows XP inside parallels, it always fails after a couple minutes and never completes a sync.
I don’t know who these people are or what they did to solve the problem, but the nice folks at Aspecto Software made a free app that you run before you sync and it works perfectly. You also have to run your device in serial mode, which for me (in windows mobile 6) meant going to settings > connections > usb to pc > Enable advanced network functionality. More info in this thread, app available here.

Manage Programs on Windows Mobile 6 [solved]

Google Maps with My Location is amazing, but it has one bug…Whether you tell it to install to the internal memory or to the storage card, it always installs to the internal memory. Even though I’ve overclocked my T-mobile wing and changed its pagepool size, it’s still so slow that sometimes it doesn’t even let me answer calls, which is really frustrating. It’s important to have as much internal free memory as possible – even though its internal RAM and internal storage are separate, it still seems to run faster with more internal storage free.

The windows file explorer and start menu interface is cripplingly stupid — the Start Menu is controlled by the menus setting but has all sorts of arbitrary limits such as some items that you can’t delete (such as T-zones) and an 8-item custom program limit. The file explorer is even worse, hiding file extensions, files and whole directories from you, with no ‘advanced view’ setting that I’m aware of. For instance, the programs in the programs folder and the shortcuts in the start menu are stored in \windows\start menu\programs and \windows\start menu\ respectively, but you are not allowed to access those directories from the file explorer.

When I moved google maps from the internal storage to the storage card (edit>cut and edit>paste in file explorer), the shortcut remained in the start menu. Even worse, in the settings menu, when I would uncheck the old shortcut, Windows would give me the error “this shortcut cannot be removed” and check the box again for me. Thanks.

Luckily a solution is available – get Total Commander for Pocket PC. This is an enhanced file explorer that actually shows you file extensions and all directories. You can also get the cab from this useful page, though never install Silent Boot from that page onto your wing.

Anyway, to create a shortcut, use the regular file explorer, click and hold on the exe and choose copy, and then choose “paste as shortcut” somewhere arbitrary. Then, open up total commander and move that shortcut.lnk file that you created into the \windows\start menu\programs directory. You can also put it in \windows\start menu\. Voila, it will show up in your start menu and programs folder.

Vine Server Security Exploit and Leopard Incompatibility [unsolved]

I’m not happy with Leopard’s built in VNC server – no clients can seem to connect to it. Some clients can connect if you set the color settings to full color or automatic color, but then it’s slow and unresponsive.
So I was surfing around for free OS X VNC servers and tried vine server:
OS X Vine Server (formerly osxvnc)
When you launch the app, the server starts immediately with no password protection. I did set a password, and it worked decently. Then I tried launching the server as a system service, and the application crashed. It would neither force quit nor respond so I just left it alone.
Then, this morning, I saw someone connect and move my mouse around. The computer would “wake up” when they connected and they tried to go to the address bar in safari and double clicked. I immediately unplugged the ethernet and rebooted, and then uninstalled the program.
I wrote about the bug here:
Vine Server Security Exploit
I’m not sure if this is a bug similar to RealVNC’s authentication vulnerability or if the combination leopard incompatibility / default blank password bug was the problem, but in any case I recommend NOT using this program until this is fixed.

This is the second time I’ve personally been hacked via VNC. The first was in a different part of the country, two years ago, on a PC using the RealVNC exploit. Clearly people have VNC scanners and search for open computers. I recommend NOT using the default port 5900, and testing your computer thoroughly for security.

I’m still looking for a good free remote desktop app for OS X. I like timbuktu but hate having to install the client everywhere. They should really make a web based client for it.