The time we got

Time – Nullius in verba

10^2 years
On conservative concepts

10^9 years
On Earth, in it’s current orbit

10^13 years
On infra red light from red dwarfs

10^83 years
On Hawking Radiation from super massive black holes


To put that into perspective, past times:

10^2.6 years
Existence of modern science

10^4 years
Existence of human agriculture

10^6.5 years
Existence of Anatomically modern humans

10^9.6 years
Age of Life on Earth

10^9.7 years
Age of our solar system

10^10 years
Age of the universe


For clarification, when I estimate that we got 100 years left if we stick to conservative ideas (doing stuff as we do, because we always did it that way), I don’t mean we can continue like that and start rethinking our ways then. That probably won’t work.

We need to use those 100 years to come up with a more sustainable life style. Otherwise at least our global civilization will cease to exist, and with some bad luck all human life with it.

Videograbber Bestek Model 8701, usb-id: eb1a:2863

I’m using Linux Mint Debian Edition and I’ve dug out my long not used video grabber once more to record some video signal. So I can remember I used it previously on vlc, but maybe that was with Windows.

So this is the output of dmesg. does look quite promising to me. I get a /dev/video1 device, and it also says something about audio down there:

[29700.104079] usb 2-1: new high-speed USB device number 14 using ehci_hcd
[29700.236518] usb 2-1: New USB device found, idVendor=eb1a, idProduct=2863
[29700.236529] usb 2-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=0, SerialNumber=0
[29700.238028] em28xx: New device @ 480 Mbps (eb1a:2863, interface 0, class 0)
[29700.238036] em28xx: Audio Vendor Class interface 0 found
[29700.238205] em28xx #0: chip ID is em2860
[29700.328571] em28xx #0: board has no eeprom
[29700.433582] em28xx #0: found i2c device @ 0xb8 [tvp5150a]
[29700.445831] em28xx #0: Your board has no unique USB ID.
[29700.445835] em28xx #0: A hint were successfully done, based on i2c devicelist hash.
[29700.445837] em28xx #0: This method is not 100% failproof.
[29700.445839] em28xx #0: If the board were missdetected, please email this log to:
[29700.445841] em28xx #0: V4L Mailing List <>
[29700.445843] em28xx #0: Board detected as EM2860/TVP5150 Reference Design
[29700.524044] em28xx #0: Identified as EM2860/TVP5150 Reference Design (card=29)
[29700.544046] tvp5150 3-005c: chip found @ 0xb8 (em28xx #0)
[29700.664523] tvp5150 3-005c: tvp5150am1 detected.
[29700.724731] em28xx #0: Config register raw data: 0x10
[29700.748256] em28xx #0: AC97 vendor ID = 0x83847650
[29700.760235] em28xx #0: AC97 features = 0x6a90
[29700.760242] em28xx #0: Sigmatel audio processor detected(stac 9750)
[29703.412239] em28xx #0: v4l2 driver version 0.1.3
[29704.420177] em28xx #0: V4L2 video device registered as video1
[29704.420180] em28xx #0: V4L2 VBI device registered as vbi0
[29704.420185] em28xx-audio.c: probing for em28xx Audio Vendor Class
[29704.420187] em28xx-audio.c: Copyright (C) 2006 Markus Rechberger
[29704.420189] em28xx-audio.c: Copyright (C) 2007-2011 Mauro Carvalho Chehab

So for testing purposes I used the video output signal of my Wii (PAL). I found the following options for displaying the Wii video signal with my videograbber & VLC media player 2.0.1 Twoflower (revision 2.0.1-0-gf432547) <– packaged version from LMDE.

  1. having the correct colors, but a picture that has been cut in half and the top beeing displayed on the bottom:
    cvlc v4l2:///dev/video1 :v4l2-standard=PAL :v4l2-width=788 :v4l2-height=576 :v4l2-fps=29.97 :v4l2-aspect-ratio=4\:3

  2. having the picture not cut in half, but with wrong colors:
    cvlc v4l2:///dev/video1 :v4l2-standard=PAL_60 :v4l2-width=788 :v4l2-height=576 :v4l2-fps=29.97 :v4l2-aspect-ratio=4\:3 :v4l2-use-libv4l2 :v4l2-controls-reset :v4l2-brightness-auto=1 :v4l2-hue-auto=1 :v4l2-auto-white-balance=1 :v4l2-autogain=1

    (all those extra options here make the colors half way watchables again, by removing lines and making it a bit smoother, the pic is without the extra options)

I also posted my problem in the vlc forum, but have not recieved any response as of the time of writing.

Next problem: Audio. Somehow, it seems to me as if all the (modern desktop) linux distribution only care about pulse audio, and all the applications only care about alsa. Not nice. So VLC offers me with two choices: hw:0,0 which gives me my mic, and hw:1,0 which I guess would be my line-in of my internal soundcard since it only gives me only silence.

pavucontrol shows me an inputdevice called video grabber analog stereo, but I was not able to record from it, using any software. When I use audacity and while recordig switching the inputstream with pavucontrol makes audacity pause the recording until I switch it back to the mic, or line in.

UPDATE: In audacity there are 4 dropdown boxes that let you select the recording source. When selecting pulse in the second box, then the third box offers the choice Em28xx Audio: Empia 28xx Capture (hw:1,0) –> therefore I now know that hw:1,0 is the correct device. But it still only gives silence..

UPDATE2: With different video-signal sources (I tried two different very old VCRs) it looks better, but still no sound from the Bestek stick. I solved it by using the line-in of my soundcard instead




WordPress modifications

Okey, so for documentational purposes, to be able to reconstruct this wordpress setup:

  1. download and unpack
  2. browse to it and complete the setup, entering the mysql details
  3. remove the wordpress link from wp-includes/default-widgets.php line 299 (this is the last entry from meta widget, one could of course rebuild the linklist another way, but I wanted it just like that only without the link to easier in my eyes)
  4. remove the “powered by” div from wp-content/themes/twentyeleven/footer.php lines 25-28
  5. there’s a little bug in the twentyeleven design: for normal desktop-sized browsers this wordpress theme shows the search-box besides the menu, for which the menue must be told to end where the search-box starts. But for smaller browser-widths it moves the search bar into the logo, therefore the menu could take all the space. However only the search-box “top” rule is conditional and the padding of the menu is non-conditional, this looks stupid on small browser-windows. therefore search this rule and make it conditional as shown:
    @media (min-width: 650px) {
     #branding .only-search + #access div {
      padding-right: 205px;
  6. Write this stuff up 😉 and adept the settings in the wp-admin interface to your likings