The Master of Geeks

Review: Onkyo TX-NR838

By Craig Whitmore, in , posted: 8-Jul-2014 19:26

I've had Onkyo AMP for a couple of years and I decided to upgrade my 2012 Onkyo TX-NR818 to a new 2014 TX-NR838 last week. I have been waiting for a while for it to be available in NZ so when they came down I ran (drove) down to Avalon (The Distributors in NZ) and bought the first one in New Zealand.

Vaughan (The owner) and Steve where great to talk to and I got some new Main Front Speakers as well (Onkyo D509's) and moved my KEF T305's around to get 7.1. I'll probably go back to 5.1 and get my 2+3 zones plugged in when I get time and bi-amp the Main Front Speakers to make it sound better.

From the outside there isn't much difference to see (my wife said it looks exactly the same as my old one - and it does ) but there are new features which come with the 838.

The Main Differences are:

 - HDMI 2.0 on all Ports
 - HDCP 2.2 on output and one of the inputs
 - Built in WIFI and Bluetooth
 - Not as deep as the 818 so fits better in cabinets
 - Dolby Atmos Capable (

Onkyo also make some lower end models and some higher end models ( like the NR3030 up to 11.2 sound but they won't be available for a few months more in NZ)

My TV (Sony 4K) has HDMI 2.0/HDCP2.2 input but at the moment there is nothing in the market which has HDMI 2.0 output as of yet but I expect in the next few months (or longer) - These will be media players and Blureay Players (When they decide on a 4K Standard) most likely as I don't expect Sky or anyone else to do 4K for a LONG time.

The Wifi I don't use at all but the Bluetooth is a great feature as I don't have to play music (via airplay from my iPhone) to my AppleTV which is plugged into the AMP and now can play directly to the AMP.

At the moment the 838 at the moment doesn't have Atmos but they have promised support soon via Firmware upgrade. Atmos is a new Dolby system which quite a few manufacturers as going with which allows more of 3D sound engineering system with sound above you thus things sound better but we'll have to see when bluray's with Atmos Dolby sound comes and then I might be impressed.

The set up of the 838 was just as easy as the 818 but remember to remove the little black stoppers in the posts so the banana plugs fit in (why do they put them in in the first place?). Make sure all the speakers are plugged in and it will find all the speakers itself with the automated set up and your away). If people have used Onkyo's in the past they will find it the same mostly as the others. There are lots of other features such as renaming inputs/output, using HDMI Control/ARC etc and most people will want to turn those on as well.

Website Advertising - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

By Craig Whitmore, in , posted: 22-Jul-2010 11:37

I've used website advertising on all my websites for years and have decided to give people some hints and tips on getting the best out of their advertising on your website (IMHO). This only took a short while to write and probably has lots of mistakes in it.

The first thing to remember is without anyone going to your website, you will make no money at all and website traffic is the most important thing in the world. The more people who go to your website, the more money you will make.

Sources of Adverts?

There are many sources of Advertising and types of advertising on the internet. The one that most people go to is Google Adsense. They are the biggest and work well and pay well and thats why you see them everywhere on the Internet.

Most sources of adverts will pay a CPC (Cost per Click) these days with a little CPM (Cost per 1000 impressions)

But there are many others out there. Some need you to be big, some will accept anyone. Some pay well, and some pay hardly anything.

Examples are: - One of the larger NZ advertising companies but you have to be biggish to use them. - Overseas Company who accepts anyone - Not used much at all but didn't pay well - Used by the SMS Spammers to advertise their services and has a VERY low payout for adverts. - Trying them for a while
+ many others.

I've used myself I've used alot of advertising systems to name and most just fail in the income you get from them.

There are also Affiliate Websites who will pay for you advertising them and you make a profit on anything they sell via your referer. I've never had luck with these types of website (I've tried and made nothing from them even with thousands of impressions).

Examples are:
+ another 150+ based in NZ I've found in NZ. and there are 10000's overseas one.

You could go go directly to companies to ask them to advertise on your website so sometimes its just easier to go to the advert brokers.

So how do you run the adverts?

Simply you just place the adverts on your website and hope someone clicks on them. As I said before the more people that go to yuor website the more income you will make. Percentage wise only say 1% of people will click on the adverts and you may make 5c per click (These numbers are not real). Placement is important but we'll get to that a little later. On your website you will have saved some space to place the adverts and you usually insert the code given by the advert company in those places and the adverts will show.

Placement of Adverts

Where you put adverts on your website is quite important. A person will not scroll down to the bottom of your webpage normally and click on the advert down the bottom. They will normally click adverts up the top of website or adverts which are on the left above middle.

A good explaination of placement is:

Promotion of your website

One of the first things I said was that traffic is the most important thing in making money from your advertisements. But how do you get people going to your website.


If People are searching for something they will look most likely at Google first and if you are not there, they won't find your website to go to. And how to get on Google? Nationally you will get on Google slowly but better is to go to Google Webmasters ( This website will allow you to see if your website is in google and its stats etc.

SEO? (Search Engine Optimisation)

You will find 100000+ companies who will help with your promotion (SEO) of your website on the internet and most of them are related to getting higher on Google. I cannot recommend any as I have never used them and done it all by myself.

What to Stay away from?

"Pay us $199 to get on 10000 search engines. As 95% of your traffic will come from google. the other search engines won't make much of a difference at all as no one uses them)
"Putting on your website. "Click on my ads". This is against all Advertising T&C's I've seen and will quickly get your Adsense and other accounts closed .
Autosurfing Websites. They get people to yuor website but the people won't look at your content or click on your adverts at all.
Guarenteed being on the 1st page on google with your selected keywords
Put a link on your website and I'll put a link on mysite. Normally these are complete scams

Seach (on google) for SEO scams and you can find all about them.

About me...

I personally run a number of small websites.. ALL with advertising or advertising related.
A number of them are below.. Most don'' need any input after they are set up at all. - Website Adverts and mobile Adverts for the iPhone - Video CMS with Adverts and Adverts on the Videos - Webstats for Websites - A Start of a simple Banner Exchange - I did say that getting people to your website is the most important thing ??? - This used to be ranked ~#50 for NZ visitors for a short while in NZ a number of years ago - Set up a Game CMS and then just leave it and people will come. - Another Video CMS which just runs itself with adverts all over it. - Yet Another Video CMS which just runs itself with adverts - Yet ANOTHER video CMS which just runs itself with adverts

+ I have lots of others. I still have a day time job Working at an ISP.

Final Word...

Don't expect to be a millionaire on day 2.. Adverts are passive income. Set them up see how they word and change things around to see what makes you the most income from them.

It takes time to work out advertising. You must have something on your website that people want to go to it first before you even think about adverts. 100 people per day going to your website is not going to make any money. 10000+ you might start to see some kind of good income but remember adverts are no the reason people go to your website. You must have some proper content to attract people to go to your website in the first place.

D945GSEJT Motherboard for Small HTPC

By Craig Whitmore, in , posted: 8-Mar-2010 09:22

A few months ago I decided to renew my HTPC with something new. I had a look around and I thought about getting something small. I was thinking about the Zotac Ion motherboard with the same case but I like to be cutting edge and this motherboard with the Video Accelerator Card was best to get and used alot less power compared to the Ion motherboards.

I found it very hard (impossible) to find any of this hardware in New Zealand so I had to buy it from overseas. Motherboard and Case from and other equipment from various places on ebay. It takes a while for some parts via ebay but there sometimes isn't any other way (when you can't get them locally)

I am running Linux/xbmc at the moment and in the future looking into running mythtv on it when the crystalHD (BCM70012) drivers are available for it. I could also to run it under windows as the crystalHD drivers with this as well.

The amazing thing about it is the amount of power it actually takes to run. With no moving parts in it I have it running on a 12V 1.5A power brick and it runs fine. I am still waiting on the Z-U130 Card and have a 2.5" 80G HDD in it at the moment and the 1.5A power is still fine for running it.

When I get it all going I will give some stats from video playing. I still have some issues (like the latest SVN xbmc runs at 100% CPU for some reason) but I think its a bug in the new Xorg Intel driver which I have reported and hopefully getting fixed soon.

The motherboard doesn't by default come with digital Audio on the back out so I have added a SPDIF socket a the back of the case via the jumpers on the motherboard for it.


- D945GSEJT Fanless, UltraFlat mini-ITX motherboard + Atom 270 @ 1 x 1.6Ghz
- Intel Atom 270 @ 1x 1.60GHz
- 3 rear USB, 4 on-board
- VGA, DVI and LVDSl
- 1 x SODIMM (DDR2), up to 2Gb
- 1 x 1x 10/100/1000 Mbit LAN
- Realtek High Definition Audio
- miniPCI-E
- Power: 12V on-board
- Standard I/O shield included
- RoHS compliant


M350 Enclosure. Fanless Small Case designed for Ultra-ATX Motherboards. It is one of the smallest cases around and will also allow me to fit a PCI card in with this motherboard as well. Most other MicroATX motherboards such as the Aton Ion Boards will also fit well well in these. (but without the ability for a PCI Card in the same box)


4G Z-U130 eUSB Card.
This will be used for the boot drive and all media will be played via the network via uPNP or alike. Its only 4G in size but is a good size to fix linux or even
windows for a frontend machine.

HP Mini 1000 110 BroadCom BCM70010 BCM70012 HD Decoder

BCM 70012 Video Accelerator Card.
This Card takes in VC1/H264/MPEG2 and spits out raw video so your CPU doesn't have to decode the data and reduces the CPU needed to play the video . With this card and the motherboard it should be fine displaying 1080i videos via the Atom 270 Chip. This same card can go into an Intel Mac Mini running MacOSX and also allow them to offload to this card the video processing.

26/3/10 - Got the working BCM 970012 Card today and placed it in Motherboard. All good. Installed CrystalHD drivers and recompiled XBMC to use the Card. Played my DVB-T Tests.. Fail.. Seems XBMC and crystalhd won't play these properly as of yet but its being worked on. I tried another couple of h264 files including the 1080p BigBuckBunny movie and it plays fine.

I'm still having trouble getting a number of BT adapters working under Linux. 2 different ones from ebay @ $3.95 each including postage don't seem to work correctly.. One advertised as working under linux and one which said it doens't work under linux, but they where exactly the same hardware (and MAC Address) so be aware as it seems alot of  cheap ones have the same mac adddress! no problems unless you want to talk to another one :-). Anyway if anyone has suggestions for a working BT adapter that works under linux let me know. Ordered a USB IR receiever/remote from ebay for $9.95 to use instead at the moment.

Ordered a PCIe to MiniPCIe Adapter and will get another BCM970012 Card Later so I can do more development on my desktop machine for the rystalhd stuff as the BCM970015 Cards arn't available as of yet. (BCM970015 are PCIe versions of the PCIe 970012)

- Upgraded Power Supply to a 12V 3.3A Power Supply. 1.5A was a little small to run the box after I placed a USB flash drive into the box so it would reboot whenever it tried to use lots of power.. the 3.3A (40W) Power Supply seems to have fixed this completelty.

13/3/10 - Received the Z-U130 yesterday and placed it in. Reinstalled Linux on the Box and found with SSD a few "changes" had to be made as SSD drives are fast read and slow write.


This reduces the amount of swap the machine does but my machine never uses swap anyway...

add elevator=noop in the kernel line so it does no recaching of data from the SSD

add noatime so it doesn't need to update (write) the access time everytime you read a file>

I don't know which one did the biggest change but before these changes the filesystem would have mini freezes whilst accessing data.

12/3/10 - Just a few stats. With the Z-U130 drive and hdparm speed.
hdparm -Tt
Timing cached reads: 1084 MB in 2.00 seconds = 542.18 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 66 MB in 3.03 seconds = 21.75 MB/sec

The (IPv6) Internet is for Porn

By Craig Whitmore, in , posted: 13-Apr-2007 20:04

There has been a little talk of IPv6 around the internet in the last week about if/when etc it will take off, and it is a chicken and egg problem. No content so why enable it, and why enable it when there is no content.

A website decided to do something about it, by offering a large amount of Porn via IPv6.

I have done the same and you can get Internet Porn for free if you have an IPv6 connection.

You can see it by going to If you don't have a IPv6 connection it will link to information via IPv4 for you to get it/enable it etc.

The Original Idea is taken from which will have content via IPv6, but only later in the year.

- Lennon


SEO, PR,Popularity,alexa,... what is it all about?

By Craig Whitmore, in , posted: 25-Sep-2006 23:29

So.. you have a website, spent months writing it and no one goes to it and it doesn't pay for itself. So what is the problem?

You haven't promoted it.. Ah you say. ok.. lets just buy 100,000 email addresses and email them to visit your website.. BIIIZZT WRONG..apart from being wrong it is illegal in alot of countries and its against the T&C of most ISPs and will get you kicked off whatever ISP you are on.

This is the problem I had a year ago. I had a website, but no one went to it. So what are some suggestions to get more people to your site and make $$ from it. So here are a few suggestions.

- How do people know you exist?
- Why would people go to your website?
- Why would people continue to go to your website?
- So you have the people.. start making $$ of them

All these questions + more will be answered as time goes on.

Come to my Site

By Craig Whitmore, in , posted: 25-Sep-2006 21:22

Hi Folks

If you have not been there before visit
It is New Zealand's Largest Broadband Information Site including
speedtests, Forum and more

Thousands of New Zealanders visit this site per day..

- Craig