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Topics - skeptic

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Users / WAF wins out.
« on: June 03, 2010, 10:42:09 pm »
Well guys, I hate to admit it but the wife has been somewhat unhappy with LMCE from the start.  She loves the idea of a central media center and various frontend MDs, as well as the potential for all the home automation stuff, integrated security and phone system, etc.  Unfortunately she hates the interface.  Ugly, non-intuitive, sometimes glitchy.  She wants to be able pick up a remote and have everything make sense, not need to learn where stuff is or how to do things. 

Since I had a spare 500G SATA drive in my closet, I went ahead and installed Mythbuntu for her to try.  The wife is happy with it, so it looks like I'll be stepping away from linuxmce for a while.  To be completely honest, I like it much better myself except for the lack of HA features.

I'll be keeping an eye on LinuxMCE.  After the orbiter re-write I hope to come back - there is so much potential functionality I want to use.  Unfortunately user friendliness is just not there.  LinuxMCE is also quite glitchy, but I've been using 810 BETA, it's expected.

Don't take this as a typical LinuxMCE sucks, I'm using something else type post.  If anything, think of it as a reminder of what is important to end users - the user experience.  I know some of the devs here get uptight and defensive when any criticism is given, but lets try to get past that.  I want LinuxMCE to succeed.  I think it has the potential to be great.  I know it's early in it's life and is trying to shake off the shackles of the commercial product that spawned it.  As an end user that has been using and following this project for more than 2 years let me throw out a few general suggestions:

*rip out, rewrite, or otherwise get away from any proprietary code.  LMCE needs FOSS programmers, some FOSS programmers may shy away from a project built from and still limited by non-free licensing, even if it's just some areas.
*stop chasing away potential users and developers.  Rude belittling posts do nothing but hurt the project. 
*listen to the users.  If a question or complaint comes up often, there is a reason. 
*more linux standard stuff, less wizardy stuff.  Think of how many people run into the "black screen, press 1, 2, 3, etc." on hardware where a standard linux install works fine. 
*If at all possible, get this to run on other distros.
*Do not force PXE booted MDs.  Net booting is nice, it's slick, but sometimes being able to boot a MD from a local HD is a better option.
*Put an end to the constand "need to reload router" and "need to regenerate orbiter" stuff. 

Of course these are all suggestions, nobody can demand or even expect the devs to work on anything they don't want to (unless they are being directly paid for specific items).  I'll still be lurking from time to time, I may even setup a test environment and continue to play around.

Users / need help after latest upgrade
« on: May 01, 2010, 09:23:05 pm »
This morning I did apt-get update ; apt-get upgrade on my 2 MDs and my core.  All seemed to go smoothly, but after rebooting them all I ran into these problems:

*smb issues - I thought I had edited the right stuff based on another thread ( ), but even after trying a couple things I had to downgrade back to an older version.  I guess it's not a huge deal, but I'd really like to be able to upgrade without going back to an older version of samba every time. 

*Core no longer boots to LinuxMCE, just a regular Kubuntu login. 

*My gyration remote no longer completely works in Myth.  No clue if it's specific to the remote or not, but at a minimum the back arrow no longer takes me back a menu.  Pretty much makes it impossible to do things like back out from recorded media and get to live TV or even just back out of what is playing without completely exiting Myth.  It does still make the linuxmce menu go away so it appears to be Myth specific.

Users / swap interfaces confirmation
« on: April 29, 2010, 10:00:47 pm »
My core has 2 nics, the on-board 1G nic setup for the WAN and a 100M card configured to the LAN.  Clearly not optimal and I want to swap them.  As I understand it, I should be able to simply click "swap interfaces" the advanced network settings in web admin, then physically swap the cables.  Before I do this, can someone confirm this works like I expect it to in 810?

Users / Getting 5.1 surround sound?
« on: April 16, 2010, 12:47:41 am »
I may be getting a bit off topic with this one, but I want a seamless LinuxMCE solution so I'm posting here.  :)

I believe I've found the TV I want (thanks for the suggestions in my other thread on TV suggestions), but it does not support surround sound in any way.  My intent is to use an ION based nettop as my MD, most of which only support surround sound via HDMI.  However, I want to keep the cost as low as possible and I do not want a big bulky receiver. 

One option is to buy a USB sound card and "high end" PC speakers like the Logitech Z5500 kit which pretty maxes out my budget.  Another option is to go with something like the Sony htss360 Blue Ray ready HTIB which gives me a slim receiver I have to look at and may or may not be controllable via LinuxMCE.  Even if I have to keep a second remote handy, there will not be any IR blasting in this setup.

I guess I'm just asking for suggestions on the least obtrusive and cheapest way to get 5.1 surround sound out of something like an Aspire Revo.

Users / TV suggestions?
« on: April 13, 2010, 06:11:54 pm »
I need some advice on a new TV.  Specifically, I want something that can be controlled via USB, or serial using a USB to serial adapter on the MD.  Plug and play would be best, but I can put in some non-programming work or perhaps even a bit of ruby (I don't know Ruby) to get it running if need be.  Based on my experiences with my current TV I don't want to use IR blasting to control the new TV if at all possible. 

Short of going into webadmin and pretending to add a device, is there a list of supported TVs or an easy way to generate a list?  Are there some manufacturers to avoid or that are recommended above others?  Is there some other site I should look on?

If it matters, I'm looking to buy a 60"-65" LCD in the sub $3k price range. 

Users / ION netbook MD install
« on: April 01, 2010, 07:11:15 pm »
I have a Dell Mini 311 ION netbook (2G ram Atom N270 cpu) that I installed as a MD.  Here are some observations:

The dreaded AVWizard black screen.  No amount of pressing number keys could get the AVWizard to appear on the laptop screen or a HDMI connected TV.  After hunting down a VGA cable I found the external VGA connector does work.  Even using the AVWizard I was unable to get a picture on the laptop screen or HDMI.  Ctrl-alt-f1 etc. gets me a text console on the laptop screen.  The two ways I would occasionally want to use this as a MD are stand-alone with it's own screen or via HDMI..   :'(

Sound - every time you run the AVWizard and choose the "no sound" option it resets the volume to 23% and unlike other the other options it does not give you the chance to adjust volume level before continuing.  A minor annoyance, but for consistency if nothing else it should bring up the volume level screen as it does for the other options.  Also, the first time I setup a MD I always need to go into the KDE desktop, open the mixer, and increase the volume on other things like headphone output or whatever other non-master volume options affect output.

VDPAU - I set the video card to GeForce and hardware acceleration to vdpau but I'm not sure it's working.  I tested both hulu, which plays almost perfectly in windows, and a HD channel in MythTV via HDHomeRun, which plays great in Windows using the HDHomeRun QuickTV app.  Neither one are watchable.  Hulu I understand, the hardware accelerated flash drivers are still in beta, and I'm not sure if they are installed in LMCE at all.  It's the MythTV performance that has me concerned.  I am under the impression that the current MythTV in LMCE supports vdpau and clearly ION netbooks can play full 1080p HD video using hardware acceleration.  Am I missing something?

Boot time - a bit slow but not all that bad.

Overall responsiveness - I'd say pretty good.  I haven't played with it much, but I didn't notice any issues.  Scrolling through a long list of videos it page flips smoothly (another ION thread lists jerky scrolling as a problem). 

I bought the netbook to use mainly as a netbook, as a MD occasionally.  It would be nice to use it as a small stand alone MD in my office, but if I can't get it to display on it's own screen then it's not really an option.  After testing it as a MD I'm having second thoughts about going with AcerRevo 1600's as MDs.  Hulu has always been a "probably not" item on an ION box, but HDHomeRun/MythTV/HD channels is important.

Users / finished adding .... pop-ups
« on: March 05, 2010, 06:35:07 pm »
Since switching from 710 to 810 b2 I'm getting occasional pop-ups saying one or the other of my external USB drives is finished being added.  Not sure the exact message, it's fairly quick and if I notice it it's because I'm watching something so I kinda tune out the pop-up.  I don't sit in front of the TV enough to get a a great idea of timing, but I'd guess maybe once or twice an hour.  Doesn't seem to matter what the box is doing, sitting idle, playing a video, mythtv, hulu...  The box has been up for days so it's certainly not the initial discovery/mount.

This is on my core/md hybrid.  I don't think it's happening on my dedicated md, but I've hardly used the md lately so I can't be sure.

Users / hulu use question
« on: February 26, 2010, 03:55:29 pm »
I just installed 810 b2 and the hulu plugin.  It works, but I cannot figure out how to back out of a video once it is playing full screen.  I'm using a MS remote and it seems like all I have to work with in hulu are the arrow keys and OK button.  I can stop hulu completely and get back to lmce, but I don't know how to stop what is playing in hulu and back out to the main hulu screen.

Installation issues / reinstall Q
« on: February 25, 2010, 07:31:42 pm »
After doing the DVD install which isn't working out, is it possible to just run the linuxmce install again or uninstall all the linuxmce stuff then run the linuxmce install?  Or is my only realistic option to boot from the DVD, format the drive, and install completely from scratch?

Installation issues / [SOLVED]810 b2 install - no menu items?
« on: February 24, 2010, 11:13:18 pm »
background:  I followed the 810 b2 wiki install instructions and installed from DVD, including MD setup.

problem:  The linuxmce menu comes up, but basically no entries.  On my UI1 MD I see the icons on the left side of the screen, the computing/sleeping menu/power/etc. menus across the bottom, and one blank button next to the media icon which does nothing.  No video/audio/tv/etc. buttons.  

The core/hybrid with ui2 is similar in that for the "lights" "media" and "climate" menus the only option is floorplan.  

On the core/hybrid using a MS Remote I can press "live tv" and it brings up Mythtv, or the "recorded tv" button which brings up all my movies.  I vaguely remember you can hide various menu options, but for the life of me I cannot find it.  This may not be an install problem per se, but it seems to be the way 810 b2 installed for me and I don't know how to resolve it.

Users / hope for blu-ray afterall..
« on: January 08, 2010, 12:10:49 am »
I just started looking into MakeMKV for blu-ray support.  My linux desktop is currently doing a dist-upgrade.  Once it's done and I have time I'm going to see what I can come up with.  At the moment it appears MakeMKV is able to stream blu-ray, including BD+, to a .mkv file or via network to a player capable of playing network streams (ie VLC, I believe mplayer, others).  One issue is there does not appear to be a CLI, only a gui interface, but when I get a chance to install it I'll look.

Users / Mythtv quirks in 710
« on: December 31, 2009, 05:06:07 am »
I realize 810 is in beta, and while I plan to wait until final this issue may get me to upgrade sooner.

I have 2 semi-annoying quirks with MythTV.  First, when I initially start mythtv I cannot immediately view the guide for live tv.  If I try it displays the tv guide, but for recording video.  The live tv stops, it doesn't show in the upper right corner of the screen, and if I select a tv program it sets it for recording instead of changing the channel and watching it.  If I wait 20 or 30 seconds, or I exit the recording guide/watch live tv/go to the on screen guide repeatedly it eventually shows on screen guide correctly.

The second quirk is also related to first starting Myth.  It always starts up on the analog tuner (which is fine), but the first time I try to tune a HDHomeRun channel the screen goes blank as if it's tuning it, then MythTV completely exits back to the LMCE menu.  If I immediately go back into MythTV (and wait 20 or 30 seconds so I can get the on screen guide), I can tune HDHR channels just fine.

Has anyone else experienced these quirks?  Any clue if this is something fixed in 810 (MythTV 0.20 vs 0.21)?  I'm not really sure if this is a purely MythTV thing or if LMCE plays any part in this.

Users / Can I use LMCE firewall to block the internet?
« on: November 17, 2009, 12:55:20 am »
I'd like to be able to block specific desktops (not MDs) from accessing the internet.  I realize I can do it on the desktop itself, but I'd really like to do it via LMCE.  I tried a couple things on the firewall page, and did a bit of searching that didn't turn up anything.  Is this possible?

Users / Comcastic...
« on: September 02, 2009, 03:51:05 am »
I've been Comcasted.  Apparently Comcast is in the process of moving channels around, a lot of them.  Not only are they changing things around, they have added new channels.  Mainly digital (HDHomeRun), but there are a couple new analog ones as well.

What is the best way to deal with this?  I know I need to do a channel scan from mythtv-setup, but I'm not sure what would be best for the "existing channel treatment" option.  I'm not really sure what "delete" or "minimal updates" or whatever the third option is actually do.  I tried google, but didn't find a good answer.  Some of the channels have moved to where other existing channels were, and I'm not sure how MythTV deals with that.  The scan seems to be doing a good job of picking up the call sign, but I don't know if MythTV can use that or if it will keep the old xmlid on existing channels that I painstakingly entered one by one.

I really don't want to delete everything and start over.  Just figuring out what channel goes with what xmlid is a big hassle.

Users / vbox + lmce 0810-alpha + ui2 = working
« on: August 21, 2009, 12:43:33 am »
As an offshoot from another thread, I wanted to see if I could get 810 alpha working in vbox with ui2 + overlay (opengl).  This isn't a detailed howto, but here are the steps I did.

  • install the latest virtualbox on your host OS.
  • download the kubuntu desktop for i386 iso
  • create a new vbox Machine making sure to enable the 3d accelleration
  • boot off the iso (if you don't mount it first it will prompt you), and install
  • from a terminal window in the new vm:
         aptitude update
         aptitude dist-upgrade
         install the vbox guest additions by mounting the iso from the vm menu, mounting the drive in kde, and running /media/cdrom/
  • reboot and verify it's working with the vboxvideo driver.   Easy way to tell, when X is up the mouse pointer isn't captured and "stuck" in the vm when you click in the vm window.
  • follow the directions here to install linuxmce 0810-alpha:
  • When you go through the AV wizard it will overwrite your xorg.conf file and appears to disable the vboxvideo driver.  It may be using vboxvideo though, my only testing was to see if the mouse pointer was stuck in the vm window.
  • Reboot (you may need to reset the vm from the vm menu), after the OS is up but before lmce boots go to a virtual terminal (hostkey-f2 for example), cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak /etc/X11/xorg.conf, then reboot. I first tried putting Driver "vboxvideo" in the xorg.conf the avwizard created, but either I put it in the wrong place in the file or something else is going on because that didn't work.  I'm not an xorg expert nor did I play around with it, so if someone has a better way please share it.  I'm not sure if removing all the extra stuff lmce puts in xorg.conf hurts anything, but in brief testing I seem to be fine.
  • The photo screen saver seems to mess stuff up, basically it appears to be in the foreground at all times, even when switching to a virtual terminal.  To avoid this, watch the boot up, and be ready to click advanced->KDE desktop from the lmce menu as soon as possible before the screensaver kicks on.  Once at a kde desktop, follow this:
The reason I did this was to get 810-alpha/ui2 working in vbox as I don't have a spare computer, but I hope to have time to work on a new skin idea.  I have not tried ui2+blending.

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