April 2014
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HDR_Duck220101231_13072220110112_08394320110619_140035The same donkey20110401_151454

Never Say Die

People going nowhere, taken for a ride
Looking for the answers that they know inside
Searching for a reason, looking for a rhyme
Snow White’s mirror said “partners in crime!”

Don’t they ever have to worry?
Don’t you ever wonder why?
It’s a part of me that tells you
Oh, don’t you ever, don’t ever say die
Never, never, never say die again

Sunday’s satisfaction, Monday’s home and dry
Truth is on the doorstep, welcome in the lie
All dressed up in sorrow, got no place to go
Hold back, `till it’s ready, taking it slow

Don’t they ever have to worry?
Don’t you ever wonder why?
It’s a part of me that tells you
Oh, don’t you ever, don’t ever say die
Never, never, never say die again

Don’t you ever say die
Don’t you ever say die
Never say die

Panic, silver lining, writing’s on the wall
Children get together, you can save us all
Future’s on the corner, throwing us a die
Slow down, turn around, everything’s fine

There’s no need to have a reason
There’s no need to wonder why
It’s a part of me that tells you
Oh, don’t you ever, don’t ever say die
Never, never, never say die again



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Riding on two wheels

Our youngest (Emma) has finally managed to ditch the training wheels and start (fully) riding on her own. She wasn’t too keen on riding but as soon as she realised “she could do it” she didn’t want to stop.  “When are we riding next?” has been the most frequently asked question over the last two days.   :-)



Christmas time…

“A time for giving, a time for getting,
A time for forgiving and for forgetting.
Christmas is love, Christmas is peace,
A time for hating and fighting to cease.


Christmas time, Mistletoe and Wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see”

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Lovely life until the end

My heart shall never mend

Joy and love she brought always with me

Forever Full of Spirit; remember: our TOPSY


1993 – 9/7/2013 R.I.P. Kitty you will be missed. Another huge void in my heart.

X annis




MKV with 10bit video and 5.1 Flac on a Popcorn Hour A110

Years ago we bought a Popcorn Hour A110 (Network Media Tank NMT) to play back high definition video files (mostly in MKV format) on the TV and not have to hook the PC up to the TV to watch videos in MKV.

The NMT has been and continues to be great (touch wood :)   ). It plays nearly any video format thrown at it. The only problem is recently some MKV video files have been encoded in 10bit which the NMT cannot play. Previously all video files had been 8bit which were okay. Files have also included the audio track in 5.1 FLAC (not the usual AC3 or DTS tracks) – the NMT cannot play multi-channel FLAC.

After much reading, searching and a little trial and error I finally managed to convert a 10bit 5.1 FLAC file to an 8bit 5.1 DTS file and have it play back flawlessly.

Here’s what I did.

1. Get MKVExtractGUI-2 and load the MKV file into it. Select the Video Track (usually “Track 1″) and the FLAC track (usually “Track 2″) plus any subtitle tracks you wish to keep. Make sure “Use source dir for output” is checked (keep your files together!  :-)  ) and then click on “Extract” wait until finished.

2. When MKVExtractGUI-2 has finished go to the directory / folder where your MKV file is and you should see your original file along with a .h264 file and a .flac file. The h264 is the video and the FLAC is the audio.

3. Next, you want to convert the 10bit video (h264) to 8 bit. Get x264 encoder (32bit or 64 bit depending on your system). Save the .exe (I’m assuming Windows) in the same directory you have your video file. Create a new text file and paste the following in “x264 –preset veryfast –tune animation –crf 12 -o %1.8bit.mkv %1″.  Save as encode.bat (Many thanks for the guide I found at commiesubs for this part).

4. Drag and drop your extracted .h264 file onto your encode.bat file. A DOS window should open and the x264 encoder should start reencoding the 10bit file to an 8bit file. The finished file will be the same file with “.8bit.mkv” for the extension.  (if the finished file is too big change the –crf value to something larger – in my tests I found a crf value of 18 gave me a video bitrate 2 Mbps (smaller file) while a crf value of 8 gave me a video bitrate of 18.0 Mbps (larger file)

5. Once you have your 8 bit video file you have to convert the audio. Load the .flac file (from step 2) in FLAC Frontend (you need both the frontend and FLAC codec) – click “Add Files” and browse to where the .flac file is located, double click .flac file and click on “Decode”. When the .flac has been decoded you should have a .wav file (same name) in the directory. This .wav file will be much bigger than the .flac and it will contain all 6 channels.

6. Next we have to separate the multi-channel .wav file into individual (mono) .wav files. Using Audiomuxer click Tools menu and Select Audio button, browse to where the the 6 channel .wav file is located and load it into Audiomuxer, next click Mono Wavs button. When Audiomuxer has finished you should have six .wav files, one for (L)eft, (R)ight, (C)entre, (Ls)Left Surround, LFE sub-woofer etc.

7. Using Surcode DVD-DTS encoder load the six mono .wav files (from step 6) into their respective channels, make sure your destination is the same directory where your mono files are located and your output file has a .dts extension – click “Encode”. When finished you should have a 5.1 DTS audio file in your folder.

8. Now time to put it all together.  :)  Using mkvmerge GUI (mmg.exe) from MKVToolNix click “add” and browse to where the .8bit.mkv video file is located (step 4) and double click. The video file should now be loaded, click “add” again and browser to and double click the .dts audio file (steps 5 -7), that too should now be loaded into mkvmerge, if you extracted any subtitles (step 1) add them too, make sure you give your Output filename (located at the bottom of the mmg window) a meaningful name and make sure the file is in the same directory as the original files. Click Start muxing. Once finished you should have a new MKV file with 8bit video and a 5.1 DTS audio track.

9. Copy new file to NMT and watch.    :-)

This is what worked for me.


What I’ve learnt

Learnt this week to hold my tongue and keep my mouth shut.   :-)



W,X,Y and Z

W is for “Water”.

X is for “Xylophone”.

Y is for “Y” (written in the sand). :-)

Z is for “Zebra Crossing”.