Sunday 31 August 2008

Data destruction

After cleaning my home office I was left with some old hard drives to dispose of, this got me thinking about data destruction. In the past I cleared my drives with a couple of passes of random data using dd, but is this thorough enough?

This time round I have used a free bootable CD called CopyWipe (great utility, BootIt NG is also worth a mention). Each drive was given 5 passes, and then taken to with a hammer just to be sure. I've linked a picture to the "after" shot.

I can see data destruction being a larger problem as time goes on. I'd be interested to know the techniques others use for this problem.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Archiving files from my Topfield PVR

I've had a Topfield PVR for quite a few years now. The unit is great, I can't fault it really. Until recently I did however have one ongoing problem; I kept running out of space! To help combat the space problem I upgraded to a Samsung 400GB drive but this was only a short term band-aid.

The next solution was commissioning a Linksys NSLU2 running uNSLUng and ftpd-topfield to allow FTP access to the unit (my computer isn't anywhere near the TV and the Topfield only has a USB port). So the space problem on the Topfield was fixed, but I had loads of transport stream files sitting on my computer. It was just too expensive (time-wise) to edit out all the ads, convert to MPEG-2 and burn to DVD or DivX. So last weekend I scripted it:
  • Create ad removal cutpoints with comskip
  • Feed the cutpoints into ProjectX then demux
  • Combine the audio and video into an MPEG-2 file with mplex
  • Encode with Dr. DivX OSS
Seems to work quite nicely, the ad detection works fairly well but it's not 100% perfect. One thing I had to do to get comskip working was rename the file extension from REC to TS.

The whole thing was fairly trivial after reading the CLI documentation for each program, but if you need a hand feel free to contact me.