pc engine – pfsense as router / firewall

download (1)Just built a pfsense router on  a pc engine to replace my aging 7390 fritzbox…. Very very awesome and fast!

Perfect for UFB (ultra fast broadband) here in New Zealand – FTTH has arrived :)


I’m currently running these services on it (2 x 1GHZ cpu, 4GB RAM, 16GB msata SSD);

  • dhcpd – DHCP server
  • miniupnpd – UPnP server
  • ntpd – NTP server
  • squid – Transparent Proxy & Reverse Proxy
  • snort – IDS (Intrusion Detection System) / IPS (Intrusion Prevention System)
  • ssd – SSH server
  • unbound – DNS Server
  • ipsec – IPsec VPN (site to site VPN)
  • openvpn – Open VPN (client VPN)

Check these links for some great advise…




Grab hardware here – http://www.pcengines.ch/apu.htm


MediaPortal – Codecs

SAF seems to be one of the best option out there, the author has a nice post here : http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/codecs-external-players-55/saf-v4-00rc1-standalone-filters-dxva-ready-mpeg2-h-264-vc-1-a-44614/

I was previously using the mega codec pack, but found lately there was some issues with it jerk zooming? – in dark scenes it was jumping in and out. I’ve gone through all the filter settings and ensured everything was disabled, but still the problem comes up. Installing SAF has removed these problems.

There is another codec pack to grab if your decoding HD tv – google – HD Pack 2.2

Updated : 26/11/2009

I’ve started to use windows 7 since it has some really good builtin drivers for my tv card. Media center seems to be alot more responsive than mediaportal has ever been. Also more stable. Hopefully things change as it matures.

PC Build – May be time to upgrade my rig soon

This is my current gaming machine which i built earlier this year – i decided to have had a play with water cooling before i put anything too expensive into the case. :)

Its a Intel E8400 running at 4.14Ghz, i’ve only got 2Gb of ram and 2 x 120Gb HDD’s in raid 0

I’ll keep the case and water cooling setup when i move to i7. Probably just grab a 1366 mount kit for my fusion v2 waterblock.

Since these pics I’ve put anti-cink slinkys on all of the tubes (when the water was getting warm the tube was kinking).

I’ll probably drop the chipset cooling with i7 as well – keeping the cooling specifically for the CPU.

Encoding Vids – Atomic advice on mencoder

One of the writers for Atomic mag spent some time upscalling his dvd collection to 720p. This is the commandline he used in the end to get a great clear result.

commandline ;

mencoder -sws 9 -vf scale=1280:720,hqdn3d=6:5:8,unsharp=17×5:1,pp=ha:128:7/va/dr/al – ovc x264 -x264encopts subq=9:b_pyramid:weight_b:8x8dct:me=umh:cabac:partitions=all:trellis=2:mixed_refs:direct_pred=auto:psy-rd=1.0,0.2:qp=16:threads=2:nodct_decimate:nofast_pskip:bframes=6:frameref=6 -oac copy dvd://1 -o output.avi

Of course it may change depending on what you are encoding, but its a good place to start. Check the atomic fourms (au) for more detail etc…

Gaming – Starcraft 2 says bye bye to LAN networking

imagesA few days ago the NDA’s were lifted on Star Craft 2. One of the most shocking features was that there is NO LAN option for multi player? (i’m ignoring the split into 3 games thing – as i don’t really mind that too much)

Was just a bit worrying to me, since myself and quite a few of my friends still continue with the dying tradition of LAN parties. I can under stand blizzards move from a business perspective, as rumour has it they wish to get a piece of the pie when it comes to large competitive gaming events.

But for me it was sad to see this option removed for a few reasons…

Firstly WAN based multilayer requires a stable internet connection (even in this day and age), i can sometimes get my internet connection dropped. There is nothing worse than playing for 30 mins then someone dropping out mid game.

Secondly, is there any potential bandwidth issues here? – unsure how exactly multiple local connections will take place (i.e. NAT loopback?) but with connections in NZ the upload bandwidth is still quite limited. What type of connection will we need to host 8 players locally?

I cant comment on how well battle.net 2 will work with multiple local connections. But typically any additional network setup (i.e. ensuring port forwarding / uPNP etc) adds delays and configuration issues that could potentially drag out the “setup” time during a LANs.

Thirdly i’m concerned with the social aspect. I think PC gaming is aligning its self with console (one person sitting on couch) casual market / business model.

It most probably is a business decision to beat piracy? i.e. connect into a server and everything is managed / controlled (chat / messages / matchmaking). WoW style – control all content and make the user pay per play. It is Blizzard after all.

The WAN type gaming that is used on 360 / ps3 in some ways limits our social contact with others. I absolutely love the screams and laughter i hear during LAN events, even watching people screw up their faces is a joy Wink Yeah, the 360 and ps3 has some great social networking apps, but they are nothing to being there next to the players.