11/23/2022

Using a Matrox MXO2 Dock with Windows 7 32 bit Thunderbolt 3 laptop

I was quite surprised to find this was even possible.

I believe the Matrox MXO2 Thunderbolt 2 Dock came out in 2010 and was directly targeted for the Apple Mac OSX 10.6 market.

But after installing and activating Windows 7 x32 on an HP Folio G1 laptop with a USB3/Thunderbolt 3 port, and using an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.

At first the MXO2 Dock powered up green, but the OS could not see it.

So I had to install the HP sp85610.exe package - Intel Thunderbolt 3 Secure Connect Utility

It detected the Matrox MXO2 "knocking" on the PCI buses door, and I changed the answer from Block to Allow.. and suddenly PCI bridges and device drivers started installing.

When it was done the only device it couldn't find a driver for was the Broadcom Extreme Gigabit Ethernet port of the Dock.

I hunted around by PCI VEN and DEV to find the HP Broadcom 17 sp82011.exe package had that driver and installed it.. it was a universal installer so it brought along a lot of peripheral management software and installed a 32 device driver for the Ethernet port.. and it detected the network and setup the adapter.

So now its fully functional.

I tested both the USB 2 high speed ports.

I tested the USB3 super speed port.

I tested the HDMI port and could extend or replicate the Intel 515 display on an external monitor.

I tested the Ethernet port.

 All work as expected.

I'm really curious to see if the Matrox MXO2 capture devices like the mini, mini-max and LE can also be used through the proprietary PCI "host" port on this dock to avoid using the ugly little black host to Thunderbolt 2 boxes, or the PCIexpress card or the PCIe PC card.

It just seems a more future proof way of using the old capture devices on newer hardware.. even if it has to be with Windows 7 - Flashboot provides a way of installing Windows 7 even on newer hardware without a CSM compatibility bios extension with a UEFI shim to support ancient bios legacy calls for the startup screen and bsod windows.

I assume this will work for Windows 7 x64 but its a guess.. a 32 bit install was a little older and closer to what was more common at the dawn of the Vista and Win7 age.

11/04/2022

GPD P2Max Firefox right Click Crashes Browser

When running Windows 7 x64 on a GPD P2Max handbook computer. Right clicking on anything in a Firefox browser page of YouTube videos and sidebar links.

Resulted in a Blank White or Hollow Blank Black box about the size of a Context menu. It cannot be cancelled or removed and eventually the entire Browser crashes. Any currently playifeatureng videos continue to play but all other browser controls are unresponsive. A popup dialog box appears after crashing asking what to do close browser?

Solution: Disable the Firefox Hardware Acceleration feature.

Tools menu > Settings 

Use the Find Search box .. type Hardware

Under Performance "expand" and uncheck 



10/13/2022

iPhone 13 transfering photos to Win7 by USB cable

Problem: iphone 13 connected by USB cable to PC, installs device driver on PC, iphone prompts for Trust and Passcode, Portable Device MTP Folder does not show up.

Issue: iTunes installed and installs iTunes Mobile USB device driver under Device Manager - Universal Serial Bus controllers, does not support MTP Folder file transfers

Solution: Use Device Manager - Right Click Computer - Manage - Device Manager - [Select iphone Mobile Device Driver, and right click Update from Local Machine] - install the MTP USB device driver instead

Then unplug and replug, will autodetect that an MTP Portable device has been attached, prompt for Trust and Passcode on the Phone, Winodws Folder will have - Apple iPhone tablet/media player icon for the phone

Drill down - Internal Storage - DCIM

10/04/2022

ADS Tech - Pyro API-550 or API-557 Video Capture "Bridges"

The old Firewire Video Capture bridges from ADS Tech

Do work with Windows 7 x64 and other operating systems, but there are a Couple gotchas.

First and "foremost" the cable routing is (unusual) and tricky.

1. The Composite and S-Video (INPUTS) are on the front of the device (ONLY !! )

2. The Component (INPUTS and OUTPUTS) are bi-directional and on the back of the device (ONLY)

This has fooled me into thinking the devices are burnt out or damaged from IEEE1394 plug-in play more than once.

THEY ARE NOT DAMAGED!!

Check your cable connections and make sure any Composite or S-Video connections are made to the "front" of the device only.

It seems "intuitive" in the year 2022 for a device from 2002 to be either bi-directional or preferring to put the INPUTS on the back of the device.

This is simply "not true".

They come from an age when such standards had not been worked out yet and every iteration was an expensive investment.

These are almost unique in supporting Component (YPrPb) signal Inputs and Outputs.. but that adds to the confusion, since those are strictly addressed on the back of the device.

It kind of makes sense when you think of these for majorly being used to offload Camcorder tapes and Inputing them from the front, and "printing" or offloading back to VCR tape from the back.

Component Input more often came from Satellite or Cable boxes from the back and then Output for "printing" from the back.

But like I said.. today that is not the norm.

The SECOND major gotcha.. is the S-Video connectors are autoselect, they are used for Input when the Composite connector is not plugged in.. and They are "snug" and "deep" inside a plastic tunnel for the connector.

The THIRD major gotcha. Many S-Video plugs came with a hefty re-enforced collar, and if casually shoved into the tunnel.. they would "seem" to connect and stay put.. but they were .. very.. far from plugged in.

This resulted in the device not producing any output at all.. even if the front switch were thrown from digital input to analog and it "seemed" to be catching frames.

If Composite and S-Video are not plugged in.. it doesn't matter the audio cables are plugged in.. they will not be sampled until video capture frames are being caught.

The S-Video collar should be absolutely shoved.. very deep and "flush" against the plastic surface of the "front" of the box.

The FOURTH gotcha tip.. is if you do connect Inputs for Composite or S-Video on the back of the device.. you "may" catch some intermittent "black frames" with green or dark patterns reminiscent of space invaders. 

You won't get full video frames or audio samples.. but it can fake you out.. into thinking something is wrong with the box.. it is catching the signals routed to the wrong connectors.. "over the air" or parasitically from close traces on the circuit board.

Its catching some pseudo static interference patterns from the wrongly connected Inputs plugged into the back of the box from the front INPUTS, they are acting like antenna, just enough to let the box try to correct for the weak signal and produce a black frame. This is not the way its intended to work.. and its not a failure mode.. you've got the cables wired up wrong.

I don't know if plugging the signal cables wrongly into the "back" of the box will damage the output chips inside the of the box or not.. but probably.. just don't leave them this way for a long time.

Also, recovering from a bad wire routing path is not as easy as you might think.

The box or the operating system IEEE1394 drivers or the APT-55x / AV/C Tape device drivers can get "clogged up" with incomplete stream data.. the only way to completely "purge" this garbage is the following;

1. shutdown the computer, turn it off completely

2. shutoff the ADS Tech Pyro box

3. re-connect the Inputs to the front of the Box

4. make sure the Firewire cable and the power cable to the ADS Tech Pyro are connected

5. turn on the power to the ADS Tech Pyro box "first"

6. Very IMPORTANT! - wait a beat for the ADS Tech Pyro box to finish booting, go "Blue" then tap the D to A capture switch on the front of the box, wait for it to go analog "Red"

7. Then turn on the PC

Just because the operating mode of the ADS Tech Pyro is analog "Red" does not mean everything is alright, it tells you nothing of the status of the Input and Outputs, and it does not signify a status of the success or failure at capturing video frames and audio samples. - It (only) tells you the box understood it should (go into) analog capture mode, when a signal appears on the inputs.. this is "pre-operating mode" this is a command understood LED .. nothing more, it does  not "blink" or change for any other reason than if you tap the switch, or shut the power off and on again to reboot.

A lot of people over the years have "head canon" ascribe "meaning" where there is none.. it is a simple command acknowledged, status indicator for the command.. not the function of the box, not the currently running status. Its a state  indicator, nothing more. - Think of it a Flip-Flop circuit with an LED that holds a line high or low on the input of a DV capture chip. That's it.

Also, if you do not wait, it won't even acknowledge the tapping of the button, it will remain solid "Blue".. it only starts monitoring for a switch tap.. after it completes its startup cycle.. so if you tap "too soon" nothing will happen.. pressing harder.. does not help.. you have to wait for the complete reset/reboot cycle to complete. And on something this old.. it can seem like a long time. 20-30 seconds.



9/25/2022

Blackmagic Designs H.264 Pro recorder - getting it to Work on Windows 7

 

It works good, but.

Desktop Video 10.5.4 is the preferred version for the last of the Blackmagic Designs Desktop Video  Updates that will install without problems on  Windows 7.

After this time they stopped signing the drivers properly for installing to Windows 7 x64.

Overriding and attempting to use later versions of Desktop Video to install still results in Code 10 unable to start. It is (not) a "did you install all updates" problem. It is (not) a SHA2 (sha256) problem. Disabling Integrity Checks and Test Signing mode do not work. 

Stick with 10.5.4

H.264 Pro will (not) appear in the [ Blackmagic Desktop Video Utility ]. The Decklink or Shuttles devices will appear in the [ Blackmagic Desktop Video Utility ].

H.264 Pro (will) appear in Windows Device Manager, but will not appear as a device when opening "Media Express"

This is a symptom of the "firmware" on the H.264 Pro not matching that required for the Desktop Video 10.5.4 version .. and thus the firmware necessary for "Media Express" to "see" the device.

In later versions of "Desktop Video" the state of the firmware on the device will be automatically Updated to match that needed by the "Desktop Video" and the tools like "Media Express" that comes with it.

But not for "Desktop Video 10.5.4"

Instead you must manually open the following path in Windows Explorer;

C:\Program Files (x86)\Blackmagic Design\Blackmagic Desktop Video

And manually run "BMDStreamingServer.exe" by clicking on it.

An audible unplug and plug "sound" will take place, and then a dialog box will pop open and Ask for Permission to Update the firmware on this device, after allowing it to take place, it will then inform you the Update is complete and require you to unplug and plug the USB cable in again.

The device will re-install the windows device driver and appear in Device Manager as before.

The device "will (not)" appear in "Blackmagic Desktop Video Utility" - this is normal.

After the firmware update the device (will) appear under the available [Device] menu option in "Media Express" - it will be [greyed out] as long as "Media Express" is open to the default "Playback" tab, but it will be listed as [ H.264 Pro Recorder ], when clicking on the [Log and Capture] tab it will now be listed in a dark bold font as an available device under the [Devices] menu option.

The device use a (Special) [Media Express > Edit > Preferences > Quality] button to change the "Encoder" bit rate.

The device uses the same (Special)[Media Express > Edit >Preferences] dialog window to choose "Project Video Format"

While in "Media Express" the default tab is "Playback" - Live H.264 video will not appear in the Preview window... while the playback tab is selected.

Choosing the "Media Express" [Log and Capture] tab should start a Preview of the video being capture by the device even before the capture has begun.

While the "Media Express" application window does (not) have focus, Audio cannot be heard, even while Video is being played in the Preview. Simply "touch" the "Media Express" application window frame and you should be able to hear audio playback while the Video Preview is running. When the windows frame looses focus the audio will go silent.

The Audio Inputs to the H.264 Pro are not Consumer line levels, they are Professional, you may have to turn up the Volume to maximum to "hear" any Audio that is being captured, even while in Preview mode. 

A pro-level converting amplifier maybe needed to externally match the audio levels before submitting them to the H.264 Pro Recorder for capture, there are no audio boost or amplification features built into the device.

 





2/16/2022

Blackmagic Design - H.264 pro Recorder + MXTiny

The Blackmagic Designs H.264 was really an Analog or SDI or HDMI to h.264 hardware codec device that transferred an MPEG-4 Transport Stream file over USB 2.0 to the host file system.

Initially it was usable only with Media Express, but later an opensource program called MXTiny could access it and capture to the local file system.. but also spawn VLC - VideoLAN Client to "Postview" the recording stream during the capture, playing the file from the file system after it was stored there.


This has value since if the video stream were not streaming or there were something wrong with the audio levels, then the capture could be stopped and corrections made without investing a lot of time and restarting the capture later.

Its not quite what video capture was with a true Preview window.. but its a clever and innovative "meeting the conceptual method" half-way.

2/15/2022

Blackmagic Design - H.264 pro "corder"

 The H.264 Procorder comes from about 2011 its a lot different from many other Blackmagic devices, while sharing a similar metal box and BNC and TRS connectors.

The micro USB port is used for both configuring and downloading the compressed H.264 video.

Media express works with this much as it would with the "SDI/HDMI mini recorder" or other Blackmagic products, however it does not produce a "Preview" of the video being captured and compressed before or during capture.

I have not explored (if any) Blackmagic WDM device driver / Directshow filter options with third party software exists yet.

One thing it does with ease, is it offers an NTSC and NTSC (progressive) capture profile from the Media Express "Preferences" menu option after selecting the h.264 device for capture.

By "omission" this implied it captured in an h.264 "interlaced format" which is rather uncommon.

After a test capture this was indeed confirmed to be the case.

MediaInfo reported an h.264 interlaced file.

It played back in VLC and Windows Media Player without issue.. however much of the player software since that time have defaulted or preferred to playback "progressive" as with game capture footage.. since that also takes less time to reassemble than "interlaced".

"Oddly" the captured video does not playback from within Media Express.. and attempting to play it back crashed the program. This was addressed simply by using VLC or Windows Media Player.

 However "interlaced" capture format from an "interlaced" source preserves more of the image detail and avoids introducing inescapable "motion blur" when compressing interlaced into progressive formats.

The default bit rate for the NTSC "interlaced" profile is 19.6 Mbps, substantially higher than most people expect from a typical h.264 video capture device trying to preserve disk space. I do not know what options there are with regards to changing the capture rate. Several other profile choices are listed in the Media Express menu targeting various common playback devices from that time.

There does not appear to be a signal source input selector like there is for other Black magic devices.. which leads me to believe it will auto select which input to source the input video from.

The choices are BNC Composite / S-Video, HDMI, and SDI (input, not output!)

The only output being through the micro USB port.

The box does warm up during capture, and while simply idling.

More exploration of this box is planned,