You certainly raise some valid points. This is exactly why I put this proposal forth for feedback -- I'd rather not invest time in something that isn't of value to others.
As with any writing, I think it's important to figure out who the audience for this reference design is. I was assuming it would be most useful for complete newbies. By complete newbie, I mean someone who has only watched the video and not invested much time reading the wiki and forums. I was a complete newbie about 3 weeks ago, so my experience is still fresh in my mind.
After watching the video I was so excited I wanted to get a LinuxMCE system set up right away. When I entered the world of the wiki and the forum I was confronted with page after page of discussion about what hardware doesn't work, what tweaks have to be made to get certain components to do certain things, etc. For a few days after I first ventured into the forums and wiki I honestly didn't believe the video was real. All I really wanted was sufficient details about the system in the video to be able to replicate at least part of what I saw.
isnt your proposal of giving an example of working hardware, by using the hardware utilized to make the video, the same as this...
Nowhere is there a complete description of an actual working useful LinuxMCE system.
but....isnt there? isnt that where you got your "design" from? how do you propose to make it better? you even say you are using whats in the video. are you going to use things that do not work "out of the box" and include simple instructions for getting these other parts to work also?
That's a valid point. For me, the Equipment_used_in_the_demo section was a starting point. I guess I was looking for more detail to give me confidence that I would be able to hook everything up without encountering problems that I couldn't justify spending the time to fix. Perhaps this is just semantics, but for me a the list of hardware in the Equipment_used_in_the_demo is not what I call a complete description.
For me a complete description includes at least the following:
1. Complete bills of materials: Cables, heatsinks, power supplies, remotes, etc. Every last part that went into the system and their model numbers. Whenever I have encountered unfamiliar systems, it has always been helpful to understand the parts make up the system.
2. A diagram showing how the components are connected. This should include ethernet, serial, infrared, and rf connections. Some of the system's interconnections could be deduced from the video, but many could not. For example, how exactly is the cable box connected?
3. Setup instructions describing any tweaks and workarounds. I had to take extra steps to get the PVR-150 working. I had to install dvd css manually despite that it was reported as installed already. These steps are necessary to get the system working but are definitely not shown in the video.
I would guess that the three items above are probably irrelevant to most initiated LinuxMCE users, but I personally would have found them extremely useful when I was first starting out.
also, the bill of materials part.....its relative. people may find things cheaper or not want the same materials as you. they arent held fast to purchase hardware from only a few vendors. so they can search for what they need and prefer. 40 dollars for a fanless cpu cooler? what if someone finds a perfectly good heat sink with a fan? thats just one part. many people will want atsc tv cards also, which that 150 wont do.
I don't understand the point you are trying to make here. I'm certainly not the right person to be dictating what parts users should obtain to build their system. Maybe there is a misunderstanding here: The bill-of-materials doesn't dictate what parts people have to use (we are still in the free world right?), but rather describes exactly what parts were used in a working system.
youve got the board on there from the video which isnt in production anymore....as you even say yourself. so, how do you propose people follow your design with equipment that is either very difficult to find or soon impossible to get at all?
A valid point. That mobo became near impossible to obtain about a week after I ordered mine. I'll probably get a more readily available mobo to include in this design. I suspect that the availability of fully compatible will be an ongoing issue for LinuxMCE for some time to come. A current example is the availability of suitable DVD jukeboxes.
anyway, its a good idea. i think you should be a little more dangerous though if you really are that into it. try some things from the forums that people get to work well. maybe even ask other people to help you contribute what they have that works. a single system built on specs that are obsolete, hard to get, or not practical for certain people wont be of much use to many at all. anyway.
Point well taken, in the future I will push the envelope with respect to the hardware I use for the reference design.
i think its a good idea, but it could use a little work still.
Thanks. This is just the beginning of this effort. Hopefully it will turn into something truly useful.
I think that is a good idea and I was planning on doing the same thing when I installed mine from scratch. Right now there is a lack of info on how to setup things like security systems/HVAC controllers/Cameras and I know I have questions that havn't been answered. That would save some time for people I am sure.
thats what we need. things that are extremely lacking in testing and documentation. try some of those out and make reference designs for those pieces to work next. after you get your basic system set up and stable. that would be extremely helpful.
Since I am a newbie, having sufficient documentation to get a basic system set up and stable is my priority. Personally I would rather support newbies to get their systems up and running with a minimum of frustration than to refine the more advanced features of the system.
Thanks for the feedback teedge77, I'm interested in your input. I suspect, however, that you are probably a much more advanced user than would find the reference design useful.