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Topics - jamo

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Users / HP Proliant Microserver Gen 8 as core
« on: January 16, 2015, 11:28:25 am »

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this?

My core got taken out by a lightning strike recently and as I wait, hoping for a positive insurance assessment, I'm happily planning its replacement.

Since my core is headless and runs in the server closet this seems like a great little machine. The primary issue is that it has practically no expansion slots.... however I don't plan on adding any tv-tuners or other cards. I still use my system mostly for media and if I do get into the automation side I imagine I'll work via networked adapters.

What seems to be nice about this machine-

  • Compact Size - basically 24cm x 24cm x 24cm
  • Dual onboard network cards
  • Onboard intel HD graphics - intel graphics seems to be working ok with LMCE at the moment and really it's just needed while setting up before making it headless
  • Low power proc - the G1610T celeron processor has TDP of only 35w which is great for a server running 24/7
  • 4 SATA bays - for your media drives
  • Optical bay for blu-ray / dvd drive

Any thoughts on this would be most welcome. I'll post more if I buy the sucker.

I'd love to put an SSD in as the O/S drive to speed up boots of media directors but that's a bit of a scene apparently because the 4 SATA bays require a special adapter for 2.5" drives to align the connectors and if you plug into the ODD instead, apparently the BIOS won't let you boot from there. Some have added a PCI SATA controller to get around this.

Installation issues / 1204 snapshot 28804 - so far so good
« on: March 14, 2014, 08:53:34 am »

Have installed on my core/hybrid very smoothly and fast. Slowest part was all the user/room setup admin.

Have setup my z-box (Zotac AD04) media director with only minor issues. A few hiccups but I'm at UI2 medium and it seems to be going ok.

Will report on any further oddities and, at some stage, see how my Intel GPU HP Notebook MD works....

Installation issues / 12.04 Snapshot 28755: As far as I got
« on: February 25, 2014, 05:47:34 pm »
Afraid my core has finally given up its motherboard or PSU.... sadly in the middle of testing the latest snapshot of 1204. so until I get those sorted, I can't be of further help.

However, just to report back--

It may be just me, but I had the issue again of no internet during install. Right at the beginning when the system checks if there is sufficient hard drive space and internet. Again, I quit the installation and allowed the desktop to come up and then checked for the problem.

This time it wasn't DNS (like last time) but was rather that the interfaces (NICs) weren't configured at all. ifconfig only showed l0 interface.

ifconfig -a showed all 3 so I edit /etc/network/interfaces and added a line for eth0 and then brought eth0 up. Thereafter I was able to run the install from the desktop and, as far as I got, things all looked good.
Code: [Select]
lines added to /etc/network/interfaces:
iface eth0
auto eth0 inet dhcp

bring eth0 up:
ifup eth0

Hope this helps someone if it wasn't a problem restricted to my hardware.

Going through DVDs at a rate of knots with my 12.04 attempts so I finally bit the bullet and found out how to install from thumb drive (usb flash drive).

This may be old hat to everyone else but I couldn't easily find info in the forum or wiki so I wikified how I did it below in the hope someone else will benefit.

Yay, no more DVDs... which are a real PITA.

Installation issues / "No internet connection" 12.04 installer (solved)
« on: February 21, 2014, 07:43:28 am »
Hopefully not premature, but if anyone else hits this gotcha, here's how I fixed it.

The problem: Right in the beginning of the installer, just after language selection, the installer checks requirements and reports on two things- The disk space (8.6Gb required) and the internet connection.

When the screen comes up, my internet connectinons is initially ticked (ie passes the test) and then it turns to a no-entry sign - ie fails the test and then the option to download updates while installing is also disabled.

I traced and resolved the problem as follows:
- "quitting" the installation which took me to an Ubuntu live desktop session
- opened a terminal to check network
- ping worked but no dns -> ie ping failed but pinging the IP for passed.
- modified /etc/resolv.conf: deleted the existing nameservers and replaced with the address of my local modem-router ( which, I presume, forwards DNS requests to my ISP's nameservers.
- thereafter I was able to ping successfully.
- Then re-ran the LinuxMCE12.04 installation from the desktop icon

This time, when I got to requirements, internet connection stayed clicked and I was able to proceed with installation.

I traced the problem to DNS. For some reason the nameservers specified in /etc/resolv.conf do not work for me so I just replaced them with a pointer to my local adsl-modem-router address ( and that fixed it.

Is anyone else experiencing this behaviour?

I must say, there have been a few aspects of MD setup that have been really slow - part of the AVWizard as I mentioned in another thread, but this too-

I can ssh into the media director from the core but it takes a long time - say a minute - before the login completes.

But on the MD itself, I try to go to a terminal (ctrl-alt-f2) and login and it just hangs after I put in my username... don't even get to password. When I say it hangs, the thing is still running, but that terminal is unresponsive.

Weird.... when I ssh in to the same MD (eventually) I run "top" and the thing is just ticking over at idle... anyone else finding this?

Note- MD worked fine under 10.04.

Installation issues / 12.04 - video config (AVWizard)
« on: February 13, 2014, 03:15:27 pm »
I'm setting up an MD I had basically working in 10.04.

It is an old HP6410b compaq laptop with an intel video card (GM965/GL960) that can do 1280x1024 UI2 without alpha blending (at least on 10.04).

When AvWizard came up in 12.04, I had a couple of issues-

  • Firstly, when selecting an option from the initial screen resolution, connector, frequency page and pressing next (or enter), it can take a really long time to show the screen where you have to confirm. Like 8 minutes! Any idea what's going on there? That's, of course, tricky, because you tend to be doing something else so catching the "yes it's ok" bit in 10 seconds is tricky.

  • Secondly - 1280x1024 doesn't seem to work any more. I select it because it's definitely what I had previously, but
    when it "tests" it, the screen is oversized - ie  lots of the buttons are offscreen. I went through with it anyway, because
    I figure maybe there's something quirky about avwiz and I could guess my way through blindly having done
    it so often ;-) But then when I finally get to a running system it's the same problem - the menu bar is offscreen.
    And when I check the monitor it says it's receiving 1024x768, not 1280x1024 which I chose.

    I can confirm that in webadmin the media director video settings are 1280 1024/60.

    I can't see any Xorg.conf file. Do we use one anymore? How to troubleshoot?

  • And then finally, just a question - Does the frequency still matter in the AVWiz screen setup? Especially for LCD screens? Is there a default? I'm assumig 50 or 60 Hz? Will it make much difference? Should one experiment with these?

Thanks in advance


Bushtech had a bit of a problem yesterday which we seem to have resolved with a bit of hacking. Thought I'd post the details here in case it helps anyone else or... if anyone can shed light on why it occurred.

Firstly, due to him running out of space on his root file system, his core froze and after a lot of messing about, he decided to re-install.

He did a clean install from iso image. First reboot brought black screen with cursor hanging (I think) at which point he dropped into command line and did an apt-get update; apt-get upgrade; reboot.
This time it came up with "Failed to start X". messages seemed to indicate that the correct nvidia drivers and alsa backports had been successfully installed.

We tried a lot of stuff- many deletes of xorg.conf and reboots with no luck. In the end, we tried a direct "startx" from the command line. This produced the following:
Code: [Select]
creating new authority file /root/.Xauthority
X.Org X Server 1.7.6
Release Date: 2010-03-17
X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0
Build Operating System: Linux 2.6.42-37-generic i686 Ubuntu
Current Operating System: Linux dcerouter 2.6.32-45-generic #104-Ubuntu SMP Tue Feb 19 21:21:41 UTC 2013 i686
Kernel command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-45-generic root=UUID=6f5b3d7b-8d58-421b-9580-c6fc8418acbf ro vmalloc=256m quiet uvesafb mode_option=1024x768-24 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap
Build Date: 11 April 2013  01:18:49PM
xorg-server 2:1.7.6-2ubuntu7.12 (For technical support please see
Current version of pixman: 0.16.4
Markers: (--) probed, (**) from config file, (==) default setting,
(==) Using config file: "/etc/X11/xorg.conf" (==) Log file: "/var/log/Xorg.0.log", Time: Wed Oct  2 Using config directory: "/usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d" 14:58:18 2013
(EE) XKB: Couldn't open rules file /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/evdev
XKB: Failed to compile keymap
Keyboard initialization failed. This could be a missing or incorrect setup of xkeyboard-config.
Fatal server error:
Failed to activate core devices.
giving up.
xinit:  No such file or directory (errno 2):  unable to connect to X server
xinit:  No such process (errno 3):  Server error.

We focussed on the critical error - couldn't open rules file /usr/share/X11/kxb/rules/evdev. Confirmed that the folder(s) file(s) didn't exist at all and managed to track down the package that provides them- xkb-data. Package was already installed but folders/files not there so we did a

Code: [Select]
apt-get install --reinstall xkb-data
After which the folders were created, startx worked and took him to kde... a reboot brought up avwiz with badly sized but usable screen.

Not sure what happened but hope this helps someone else who hits the same issue or is trying to figure out the problems.

bushtech - can you post your nvidia card details?


Users / HDPVR 1212 Settop box capture and streaming
« on: September 19, 2013, 09:01:37 am »
Branched this off the FIOS thread to prevent from going off topic. In there, Thom gave some nice pointers regarding using the HDPVR to capture the video stream from a settop box for TV viewing or redirect to other MDs.,13316.msg97433.html#msg97433

Just wanted to follow up that I finally got this working (more or less) on my setup which I'm pretty pleased about.

Some pointers that I will wikify once I am more confident-

I flashed the HDPVR to the latest firmware. You have to do this on a windows machine so you need to suspend your conscience and principles temporarily. Basically I had the HDPVR plugged in (usb) to the windows laptop and I downloaded and installed the latest driver from Hauppauge (circa March 2012) on the laptop. I think this process updates the firmware of the plugged-in HDPVR while it's going.

HDPVR was recognised and installed as device automagically by LMCE (prior to this but I assume it would be unaffected by firmware upgrade) but I just needed to go back to Sarah and sort out the AV connections. This was a bit of a black art which I'll go through again and try to document but basically you need -
- Device Template for your Settop box with the outputs you want to connect to the HDPVR (in my case composite video and L,R analog audio)
- HDPVR device detected/installed.
Then in AV setup wiz, you ensure you add the Settop box device and then you somehow indicate that the appropriate input of the HDPVR is connected to the appropriate output of the Settop box.
As Thom says above, this creates a media scenario that basically plays the captured stream from the HDPVR and then puts your orbiter in control of the stb (however you are controlling that).

So you can use this scenario on any MD which is pretty cool. I have the HDPVR connected to one of my MDs in the TV room where the STB is and I can now watch TV on that MD (nicely wrapped in LMCE so any notifications etc still come through and I don't have to switch source on the TV) or on any other MD.

Glitches and issues -
1. Latest firmware of HDPVR has nasty colour saturation bug
Resolvable by running the following command on the MD/Core where the HDPVR is connected-
Code: [Select]
sudo /usr/bin/v4l2-ctl --verbose -d /dev/video0 --set-ctrl brightness=0x80 --set-ctrl contrast=0x40 --set-ctrl hue=0xf --set-ctrl saturation=0x40 --set-ctrl sharpness=0x80
Replace /dev/video0 with the node created for your HDPVR.
Need to work out how to stick this in as a default... possibly in the HDPVR code somewhere. Shouldn't cause problems with older firmware.
2. Long latency (5-7 seconds) delay between capture and view. Which is fine once you're viewing but you have to wait this long for any command to the STB to reflect on screen. Ouch. I think this may be due to the MD doing the capture/display battling a bit with resources. Strangely, when I stream to another MD and just use this MD for capture the delay is shorter. Haven't measured but possibly half as long.... almost usable. Which may support the resource issue-  playing a stream and capturing one might just be too much for the little fella.
3. Occasional x-server crash on capture MD. Caused when I tried to play a normal video on Capture MD while capturing and streaming TV from STB to another MD. Possibly related to resources as alluded to above.

Note that my capture MD is a Zotac AD04. 2Gb memory dual core AMD-E450 proc. Radeon ATI video. Not a heavy-weight and the X-server is not fantastic with this and displays some other issues.

Still, I'm pretty pleased with this progress and I hope this info helps someone else.

Next steps- 
  • probably need to swap out this MD with a more potent machine with properly supported Nvidia card to see if that helps with the issues.
  • Try the whole lot on a 12.04 experimental server - still to setup
  • Get my settop box IR code blasting working. Not sure why, but I can record codes from the remote but the STB ignores them when blasted back. Works with my TV but STB not interested
  • Sort out the colour saturation thing as code that runs with HDPVR device start

Users / CEC - Anyone (for Denon AVR 1909)
« on: September 17, 2013, 02:37:48 pm »
Hi all...

Been looking out for a bargain AV receiver for a while and there's a pretty good deal on a Denon AVR 1909. I know it's not the newest model out there and doesn't sadly, have IP or RS232 control, but I think in all other areas it will do the job I require -
  • upscale from analog video - for my old cable box input
  • 3 hdmi inputs should be plenty
My only concern is on the control side. I see it is supposed to work with CEC so I was thinking of getting one of those pulse-eight injectors to turn it on and off, switch inputs and change volume.

Has anyone had any luck with those?

I really want all my hardware to be controllable via my orbiters/remotes. TV just needs to go on and off which I can do with IR blasting. But volume and input switching needs to happen on the amp so I need those functions...

thoughts, advice, criticism?

Users / Android Touch Orbiter UI questions
« on: August 24, 2013, 09:50:43 am »
Just installed the Android Touch Orbiter on my wife's S4 and she's quite enjoying using it.... a few WAF points gained there. Will obviously upgrade to Qorbiter when we get that going 100%.

Quick question on Android Touch Orbiter - Is the UI essentially the same as that of the Web Orbiter 2.0? As it appears to me it is very similar in look and feel, but a lot more responsive. Is that correct? Initially, when building my touch orbiters, I chose the 16:9 UIs and they didn't seem to work. They look similar to UI2 with the menu options across the bottom ... I'm presuming this UI doesn't work and we must stick with the standard but just set the size appropriate to the device?

Users / Screensaver - can't exit if it kicks in while using firefox
« on: August 16, 2013, 03:06:22 pm »
I wonder if anyone else has this problem?

I've added a web link to my zoneminder server so I can put the camera montage up on the screen. It's quite a nice way of popping the cameras up on the TV when you want to keep an eye on things. Anyway, if I leave it for long enough the screensaver kicks in.... which is fine.... except that then I can't seem to exit. If I press the keyboard or mouse buttons I get a pointer (which moves) but no matter what I click or press the screensaver stays on.

The only way to get rid of it at this point is to either do a quick-reload of the router (from another orbiter obviously) or ctrl-alt-f2 to drop to a terminal and then ctrl-alt-f7 to go back to the X session. That more or less sorts it out.

I must confess, I haven't tried with any other websites since this is the only one I leave on the screen unattended for long enough to have the screensaver kick in. Will test and check.

But, in the meantime, does anyone else experience the same behaviour? Does anyone have any suggestions as to a fix? And... is there anywhere you can set the idle time before the screensaver kicks in? Or turn it off temporarily? Obviously it is disabled for some applications like movies but doesn't make sense to have it generally disabled for web browsing unless you specifically request it for a particular link. I don't use the youtube much via firefox because it doesn't work very well with my z-box (I think it's the radeon graphics card) but I imagine if people are watching long videos on you tube without touching the controls the same could occur.

Any thoughts?

As promised, opening a new thread since I got the template up and running and autodetecting in the following thread:,13309.0.html

Now the problem is getting the multimedia keys working... which is why I need a template in the first place since the rest of the keyboard works otb.

Hi Everyone

Have been trying to build a device template for my Rii mini i8 wireless keyboard. This is a brilliant little remote that works so well out of the box - can basically do everything required and I haven't charged the thing since I bought it so it hardly uses any battery.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to build a device template was to try to use the special "media" keys. There is a pause/play, skip forward/back, vol up, vol down and mute button that would be really useful when playing media. Of course I can use the UI2 on-screen gyro-type controls by using the touch-pad pointer but single-buttons are bit more controllable and would be great to be able to use them.

So I built the template according to some wiki instructions but it hasn't been auto-detected and added to my Orbiter yet. I used "lsusb" to get the vendor/id and put this in the pNp part of the template but still, nothing seems to be detected either on boot/reboot/reload or anything like that. Odd. Not at my machine at the moment, will post the template later as a screenshot, but I was wondering how to go about troubleshooting the plug and play detection. Is it the HAL device? Should I look through those logs or others?

Any suggestions? (specifically for USB - devices).


Users / Security camera musings
« on: June 14, 2013, 03:34:48 pm »
Hi Everyone

Been quiet for a while... blasted work....

But I have been slowly tinkering with my security camera setup and thought I'd share some observations and my current thinking on this, specifically in the area of motion detection and specifically with IP cameras.

I tinkered with motion wrapper a bit and I have to say it works pretty well for simple needs - wrap your and camera with motion wrapper and voila - you have motion events which you can use to trigger LMCE commands and also automatic snapshots being recorded and even a video being created of the motion event for later review. Nice.
Shortcomings, though, are:
  • Advanced configuration: This is what you want to do if you want to eliminate most of the false events... so if you're wanting to use it like a perimiter alarm for instance. In short, motion has limited configuration options and even those are tricky because under LMCE advanced config is done at the motion wrapper level which means all your cameras shared by the same motion wrapper will have the same config. And it seems that you need only one motion wrapper device although I have not tested this yet
  • Network overhead: It's not huge, but if you've got motion detection running, you're basically sucking as many frames as you can off your cameras per second down your NIC 24/7. As you add to your number of cameras that can become a bit of a bottleneck.

An alternative to this would be to use the advanced IP camera template which, if I'm not mistaken, uses the camera's built-in motion detection alarms to trigger LMCE events rather than using your server to "watch" the cams and do motion detection (correct me if I'm wrong). I haven't tried this, and I think it does make a lot of sense and addresses many of the issues I've mentioned above. My primary concerns, though, are firstly that it relies on the camera's routines and intricacies which could make for a lot of tinkering with the various differences between different cameras' motion detection notification methods and secondly, that it is only as good as the cam's routines.

Enter zoneminder.

If you're looking for something a little more powerful this is pretty impressive. It runs on most flavours of Linux and Windows, I gather, and allows some pretty advanced motion detection configuration.

So I installed it on my LMCE server and have been running it for a while with no problems. Of course it's not *integrated* with LMCE, but runs on the same machine and shares the same web server quite happily. My plan was, after a while, to start to work on integrating it into LMCE.

However, I've just taken the next logical step... and that is to have a dedicated zoneminder server.

The reason I've done this is similar to the problems outlined with "motion". Apart from the disk and CPU overhead of zoneminder, there is always going to be constant network traffic between the CAMs and the zoneminder server as the server basically "watches" the cameras constantly, which means grabbing as many frames as it can, all the time. So, it seems to me, it makes a lot more sense to separate this out so you don't burden your LMCE server's NICs with ZM traffic. Rather have a separate ZM box just for that.

As far as integration goes, my first step would be to setup a script that allows the ZM box to fire off messages on the LMCE server for certain events. A simple option would be to configure all your cams just as plain cams (not motion-wrapped) on LMCE and then have ZM "pop them up" on your media director when motion is detected. Or fire some other event that can cause a scenario to be executed. I guess the next step would then be to write a device template for the ZM box and see it as a LinuxMCE device? Possible, I don't know.

Anyway, I think the bottom line of all this is that, in my humble opinion, zoneminder is a pretty good way to go if you want to get serious about motion detection and monitoring of CAMs and I think it makes sense to have it on a dedicated device. Having done that, it would be great to integrate it at a device level into LMCE. I think it would make a very nice partnership.

Just thought I'd share this in case anyone else is investigating this at all.

Have a good weekend, all....


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