Filed under Misc

VicRoads and “Pseudo AMG”

Recently I was attempting to import some data sourced from VicRoads, but had a huge struggle trying to find the correct coordinate system to plot it in. The data had columns labelled amg_x and amg_y, so naturally I assumed this referred to either AMG66 zone 54 or 55. Neither of these fit though – the points were plotting about 200km out from their correct location.

It turns out VicRoads “helpfully” uses their own coordinate system, Pseudo AMG (described on pages 18 & 19 in this document). If you’re trying to import this data into a modern GIS, this coordinate system can be described by the proj string:

+proj=tmerc +lat_0=0 +lon_0=145 +k=1 +x_0=500000 +y_0=10000000 +ellps=WGS84
+towgs84=-117.808,-51.536,137.784,0.303,0.446,0.234,-0.29 +units=m +no_defs

With any luck this may save someone else the time I spent trying to mangle this data into shape. Thanks VicRoads… ThicRoads.

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Bluray Ripping Workflow

My workflow for ripping bluray discs. Works for me, and meets all my needs (HD playback via XBMC, SD copies compatible with both iOS and Android). I’m recording it here because it’s about the third time I’ve had to re-work this out…

  1. Rip to mkv using MakeMKV
    • If only DD5.1 track, select it
    • If both DTS & DD5.1 track, select both
    • Select english subtitles, and option for forced subtitles for each subtitle track
  2. Check resultant MKV
    • Make sure DD track is proper movie audio, not commentary
    • Find out if foreign language subtitle track exists
    • Switch on each subtitle track in turn, if english track or closed caption then ignore
    • Rip subtitle track from MKV using MKVtoolnix with MKVExtractGUI2 (windows) to .SUP file
    • If unsure, use Subtitle Edit (windows) to check subtitle track content.
  3. If foreign language subtitles found
    • Convert from SUP to SUB/IDX using BDSup2Sub
    • Insert IDX back into MKV using MKVtoolnix
    • Add original MKV and .idx file. This step converts the subtitles into a format Handbrake can work with (subtitle now in SSA format)
  4. Convert MKV using Handbrake
    • If no DD audio, convert to MKV with DTS audio
    • If DD audio, convert to MP4. Create additional downmixed stereo track
    • RF 18, no downsize
    • Standard def copy: 576p high, RF 20. Only downmixed audio. MP4 format
  5. Use Subler (OSX) to add metadata to mp4 files

“An American Werewolf in Glasgow”

Recently I found out that a band I’ve been keeping my eye on, Voice of the Mysterons, had released their debut album.

Blaster The Rocketman - The Monster Who Ate JesusTo give a bit of background, one of my all-time favourite albums is “The Monster who Ate Jesus”, the last release from underground punk champions Blaster the Rocketman. There’s so much about this album I love, from the playful cowpunk style music to the post-graduate-essay-in-a-song lyrics. It draws on stacks of things that resonate with me; the lyrics are all heavily inspired by werewolves, vampires, bizarre scientific experiments, CS Lewis’ cosmic trilogy, and all manor of B-Grade sci-fi horror. I’d love to have been able to see these guys live – apparently it was an awesome spectacle, with the fans dressing up as all manner of bizarre creatures.

Voice of the Mysterons debut albumAfter the demise of Blaster, the lead singer and lyricist Otto Bot moved to Scotland, and founded a new band “Voice of the Mysterons”. I found out recently that they’ve released their debut album, “They Have Pulled Down Deep Heaven on their Heads,…” and I’m happy to say that it’s a mighty fine effort.

The band has a much darker tone then Blaster, and both the music & Otto’s lyrics reflect this. It’s definitely an album you need to be reading the lyrics alongside while you listen – the songs are all dripping with hidden meanings that would be impossible to discern from just a casual listen. Listening to Deep Heaven is almost like discovering some ancient crusty book in a forgotten corner of a dusty library. When you listen to it, it fills your head with swirling visions and fleeting thoughts that are impossible to grasp individually, but somehow convey a hugely grandiose message anyway.

Lyrically, it’s all monsters and slimy crawling creatures. There’s much fewer CS Lewis references then Blaster had, but traces of the cosmic trilogy still show their head occasionally. Musically, the Mysterons are much more experimental than Blaster ever was. I was pleasantly suprised with the quality of the recording too, from the liner notes I gather it was a mostly home-made effort. It’s got a really warm feel to the sound, and generally seems to be well mixed & mastered.

Anyway, I’d suggest checking out a couple of songs online before tracking down the album. It’s not the kind of music that appeals to many people! But keep in mind when you do, that without a pair of good headphones and the liner notes for guidance, you’ll miss most of what makes Voice of the Mysterons so special.

(You can buy this album online direct from their label – boot to head)

How to fix Pioneer surround receiver not powering up

Mental note to self in case this happens again…
  • Switch on power to the unit
  • Hold down the enter button and the advanced surround button on the front panel for a few seconds
  • The unit should reset itself and switch back on
  • Magic!