Monday, October 22, 2007

SIGMATEK XS-700 Pro DVD Player

SIGMATEK XS-700 Pro DVD Player
I've recently purchased a SIGMATEK XS-700 Pro DVD Player to replace my now nonfunctional Wharfedale DVD3210DVX DVD Player which only lasted me 7 months before giving up the ghost.

Firstly I'll admit that it isn't the prettiest device to ever sit in an AV rack or under a TV but once we get past that my other initial impressions are quite good. [Mine doesn't have those ugly grey port covers either, they are black] The SIGMATEK has a plethora of connectivity options around the back, S-Video output, HDMI output, Composite video output & Progressive Scan video output (YUV and RGB) which is nice, although I only need the SCART socket.

The image quality of playback is very good, and the player supports up-scaling as well should you need it. I don't have a HD ready TV but it does upscale content to 576p which is handy in some instances like when playing region 1 DVDs.

Another plus is the USB port on the front which can be used to play music and movies in a variety of formats. A neat benefit of the up-scaling is that DivX movies are up-scaled to use the full potential of the screen. The quality of the up-scaling of this content is quite good but of course depends on the quality of the original recording.

Playback from USB is prone to an occasional loss of sync which doesn't happen when playing the same file from CD or DVD so I'll assume it is because the USB port is actually a USB 1.1 device (or slower).

So would I recommend one? Well if you are in the market for a cheap well featured DVD player with up-scaling and support for a range of formats then yes.


Monday, October 15, 2007

The importance of being !important

I recently came across an interesting rendering bug which made me require the !important rule in CSS.

The problem was that although the style worked properly in all current versions of all of the major browsers, Internet Explorer 7, FireFox 2.0 & Safari 3.0.3, there was a border displaying in Internet Explorer 6 that should not have been there.

The style sheet clearly said that the border on the element should have been transparent, but it wasn't.
The solution was to declare the border twice;

border:solid 1px transparent !important;
border:solid 1px white;
/* required for IE6 to display correctly */
All of the modern browsers recognise the !important rule and use it in preference of the second declaration whilst Internet Explorer 6 simply uses the second declaration. A pain in the arse, but it works and hopefully this will save someone else the hassle of figuring it out.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mrs. McGrath

"Oh, Mrs. McGrath," the sergeant said
"Would you like a soldier of your son Ted
With a scarlett coat and a big cocked hat
Oh, Mrs. McGrath, wouldn't you like that?"

With your too-ri-a, fol-di-diddle-da, too-ri, oor-ri, oor-ri-a
With your too-ri-a, fol-di-diddle-da, too-ri, oor-ri, oor-ri-a

Now, Mrs. McGrath lived on the shore
And after seven years or more
She spied a ship coming into the bay
With her son from far away"

"Oh captain dear, where have you been
You´ve been sailing the Mediterranean
Have you news of my son Ted
Is he living or is he dead?"


Up came Ted without any legs
And in their place, two wooden pegs.
She kissed him a dozen times or two
And said "My god, Ted is it you"

"Now were you drunk or were you blind
When you left your two fine legs behind
Or was it walking upon the sea
That wore your two fine legs away?"


"No, I wasn't drunk and I wasn't blind
When I left my two fine legs behind
A cannon ball on the fifth of May
Tore my two fine legs away"

"My Teddyboy," the widow cried
"Your two fine legs were your mothers pride
Stumps of a tree won't do at all
Why didn't you run from the cannon ball?"


"All foreign wars I do proclaim
live on the blood and the mothers pain
I'd rather have my son as he used to be
Than the King of America and his whole navy"

Chorus - Irish folk song as sung by Bruce Springsteen

The lyrics don't really do it justice, the performance on the Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band: Live In Dublin DVD is fantastic!

I first saw (and recorded it) on BBC Four but do yourself a favour and buy yourself the DVD or CD (or both as the audio quality is better).

The entire set is fantastic! Yes some tracks are better than other but that is a matter of personal preference, the entire concert is of such a high standard that you have to (see and) hear it to believe it. I'll defy yuo to not find two of three songs that really like and not to be humming one or two for a few days after you first hear it. It really is that good!

Labels: , ,