Monthly Archives: August 2012

Time Warner TiVo Tuning Adapter Fix

Tivo HD plus Cisco STA-1520

I have had a huge headache getting my TiVo HD’s to work with the Time Warner SDV tuning adaptors and thought I would post a few things I’ve learned that might help others.

1st: The tuning adaptors, once connected to your account, don’t need to initialize.  They may pull down firmware, and probably need to receive some hits from the providers to get them out of the “8 blink brick mode,” but they don’t need to register with the TiVo like the cable cards do.

2nd: The adaptor is stupid picky about inbound signal strength.  The valid range they will accept is -7db to +7db, no more, no less.  Our line in the family room was getting +10db, so it wasn’t getting any hits and certainly wasn’t going to start working.  This useful bit came from Gabe at the tuning adaptor phone line.  All the techs who had been to the house always reported a good signal while trouble shooting (too good I guess.)  I suppose this proves the whole “too much of a good thing” adage.

Many thanks to our Time Warner tech Eric who sorted all this out and got us up and running this morning.

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How-To: Colorize Lines

Colorize Lines

Here’s a quick how-to on colorizing lines.  I don’t do this very often, but have on occasion, and it definitely softens the look of drawing.  I drew this doodle in MyPaint with all my lines on a separate layer from the color flats, then saved them off as separate PNG files.  Then I opened the bottom layer PNG in The Gimp and add the other PNG’s as layers on top of that.

Now the colorizing is done with the layer containing your lines, just click on that layer in the Layer dialogue and select Add Layer Mask, then “Transfer layer’s alpha channel.”  (If your lines are not on a transparent layer, you should choose “Gray-scale copy of layer” and click the “Invert Mask” box.)  Now you simply paint colors on your lines layer over your lines (no need to due a neat job, the layer mask takes care of that) normally selecting a darker shade of the flat colors below.  Maybe I should just make a video, that was sort of confusing?

black lines

messy coloring for the layer mask lines

color lines end result

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Binder Cover: Battlefront Scholar Sketch

battlefront scholar

This binder cover was for our oldest son’s english binder, which he ended up not actually needing, so I never really finished it.  He asked for a stormtrooper just like on the Star Wars Battlefront game.  I asked if he should really have a cover with a dude pointing a gun and suggested using that pose with a book a quill pen.  He thought that would be pretty funny so that’s what I roughed out.

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Binder Cover: Math

math binder cover

A few years back I did a series of book covers for our oldest, to include “Math Monkey.”  For his binder this year he wanted a cover with all the math symbols and specifically Pi, so I came up with this which should be much more middle-school friendly then the monkey.

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Binder Cover: Texas History

texas history binder cover

More Binder covers for the new school year.  Our middle-schooler asked me to draw him a binder cover with the outline of Texas, the Alamo, and a long horn steer so here it is.  Do all states teach their own specific history in middle school?  My wife says so, but I don’t remember.  I think Iowa history must just be that awesome!

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LEGO Mosaic

LEGO Mosaic

Every few months, I want to do a LEGO mosaic, I dig out a ton of pieces, and then realize I don’t have nearly enough to create anything with any true detail.  Normally that’s the point that I give up but this time I thought I’d try a little chunk of a mosaic.  This is my attempt to produce the eyes and nose of the picture below in 48×48 with just black and white (and gray too).

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Cup O’ Doodle – Odd-ball Snowman

Odd-Ball Snowman final

There’s this really cool blog by Don Flores called Cup O’ Doodle that puts up these crazy squigglies that you use to inspire a sketch or illustration.  I’ve been a fan for some time, but I’ll probably never get invited to join, so I thought I’d just post one here.

Odd-Ball Snowman squiggle

Odd-Ball Snowman preview



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Binder Cover: LEGO Galen Marek

Galen Marek

I’ve made it a habit in the past to draw stuff for my boys to put in the slip covers of their school binders.  This year my 8 year old asked my to draw a LEGO version of the protagonist from “The Force Unleashed” game, about 2 hours before we had to go drop all his supplies off.  So I sat down and quickly doodled this up.

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Baby Rattler

baby rattler

We have a little competition going at work between two different snakes teams, our opponents being the Rattlers.  I thought I’d do a little friendly mocking by giving a rattle snake a baby rattle for a tail and other assorted baby items.  Turns out, this is not as original an idea as I may have originally thought.

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Color Speckles

speckle test

This is just adding on to my last post, using a layer mask on a flat color layer to add a speckled texture.
Doodled in MyPaint, layer masks for shading and texture in the Gimp.

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