This weekend I worked out a few long-standing and nagging computer issues. First, XBMC wasn't using DXVA DirectX Video Acceleration to display video. When I originally installed XBMC, I told Windows to run it in compatibility mode for XP SP3. It seems that throws off XBMC's video detection logic, so I cleared that setting and DXVA now works very well. Second, I upgraded the original Pentium 960 processor ($65) chip with a Core i3-2105 ($135) processor. It provides quite a bit more CPU power for about twice the cost of the Pentium 960 chip. Third, I wrote a short VB
.net program to initialize the COM1: serial port for the NCD Pulsar lighting controller. It seemed every time Windows rebooted, the VBscript scenes program that drives the controller wouldn't work. Now it's working 100% of the time, regardless of hard or soft reboots. Fourth (and most importantly!) I wired another external IR emitter to the USB-UIRT for the Outlaw 990 pre-amp. The 990's IR remote is a "one-shot" type of device, and the USB-UIRT couldn't learn it correctly.
I wrote to Outlaw Audio's support people last week, asking for the hex IR codes, but they still haven't responded. Fortunately, I have a Harmony remote that's capable of emulating the Outlaw 990 remote. When I loaded the Harmony and used it, it worked easily and the USB-UIRT immediately picked up the code. After a few small tweaks in the EventGhost definitions, the XBMC remote now raises and lowers the volume perfectly.
I should mention the spouse's reaction to watching some scenes from the Bass Demo disc, after wiring and dialing in the Aura bass shakers. At first she thought the entire room was shaking, and I was worried she wouldn't like it. Well, it turns out she was thrilled to see, hear, and FEEL the movie. Ya gotta love it when the WAF goes up like that.