Gary Rinsem

by Gary Rinsem

I got a TV tuner card for my PC in the early 90s. It was crude and barely worked, but nobody else had one. It was the "TOO COOL" thing to have. In late 96 I replaced it with an ATI All In Wonder video card. It had a catastrophic problem. The ATI TV app wouldn't run more than five minutes without forcing a reboot. Within days I gave up on watching TV with it. There was no fix available. I wasn't willing to be screwed out of TV on my PC, so after a month or so I looked for solutions. ATI was pretending there was no problem while thousands of people were complaining on the internet. I wrote a program to spy on the ATI TV software and the drivers for the card. Running the ATI TV app, my little program managed to provide enough information about the interaction between app and drivers, to let me start on my own TV software. I soon had a bullet proof TV app that I could make work any way I wanted. I put GR TV on my website as freeware, and posted it as the solution in every place I could find people complaining about the All In Wonder card. It immediately got downloaded thousands of times and the email address I set up for it was flooded with appreciation. GR TV did auto scan to find channels and configure the app, long before I saw that feature on regular TVs. Within a few months, GR TV had every feature imaginable. After about six months I got an email from a woman who worked in an office at ATI. She told me every PC at ATI that had the AIW video card, was running GR TV. I soon got an email from a software company offering to buy the program. They claimed to be analyzing internet traffic and their algorithms indicated that GR TV had 60,000 users. I still suspect they hacked the analytics for my web site to get that number from the GR TV download counter. It turned out it was a software house in Phoenix. I was offered an incredible job that I turned down because I wasn't really qualified. They didn't understand that I didn't have the knowledge or experience to keep up with them. So... what's all this rambling mean? Not a damned thing. I'm just bored. GR TV was a very successful program that thousands of people thanked me for. I even wrote a control panel applet to run the program as a screen saver. I used the code from GR TV in the Apollo cell phone fab and many people I knew bought AIW cards so they could run my TV app. I wrote AIW functionality into my video capture software, so it could do far more than the "Video For Windows" API allowed. The capture program took off when GR TV users found out about it. Just remembered the remote control I wrote on a request from a user. No matter what program was using the tuner, my remote allowed users to apply GR TV functionality to it. They could use their favorite capture app, and still change the channels or inputs or volume, all the things Video For Windows didn't do. I got goofball requests too. One that I got numerous times, asked for the ability to embed GV TV into a Microsoft Word document, so they could review a TV program and include the TV program in the document. I'm laughing hard as I write about it even 24 years later, because I don't see any improvement in people's understanding of computers. I wrote this BS because I have to turn my head 45 degrees to the left to see the giant screen TV next to my computer desk. It's been gone over ten years and I still miss GR TV. Every little thing you could want to do with a TV, was a quick keyboard operation, new channel, or volume, or run the cruise function and automatically scan through your chosen channel list... Alright, I'm done, nobody will EVER read this ramble.