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Messages - mikester

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Users / Migrating from MythTV to LMCE
« on: June 24, 2008, 09:35:27 pm »
I played around with LMCE a few months ago, but didn't get far because I wasn't sure what I wanted, and I was very new to MythTV and Linux.  Now I am more comfortable, and I have a Mythbuntu 8.04 setup with a dedicated backend and 3 frontends about 90% complete.  All I need to do is run some network cabling to 2 of the rooms and figure out the modeline settings for the various TVs I'm connecting to (all are old and only have analog inputs :( ).

But now I have the LMCE bug again, and since 0710 is out of Beta, and I feel like I have a better grasp of what I want to accomplish, I'm ready to give it another go.

My main question is, will I lose any of the capabilities I have with Mythbuntu by moving to LMCE, or will I definitely be able to do everything I could do with MythTV and more?

Specifically, I want to make sure I can:

- PVR functions for up to 4 simultaneous streams (I have an HDHomerun and a PVR500 in the core)
- Ability to view live tv or recorded programs from any MD
- Ability to play other media - videos/dvds/photos/music (should be a given)
- Play slideshows from my own photos, not just flicker images

From my previous evaluation, I think this is all possible, but wanted to make sure.  For some reason I was thinking you had to have a local capture card on the MD to watch live TV, but I'm hoping that's not the case because that would probably be a deal breaker.

Users / Re: Do MD's have to be diskless?
« on: June 24, 2008, 09:22:32 pm »
I hope you're right, and I hope it's more mature than the Mythbuntu 8.04 implementation.  I guess it should be, since they just added diskless support to Myth, and LMCE has apparently had it from the beginning.

I was a little worried, because 2 of my MD's are based off Shuttle KPC systems.  I never could get those to boot diskless under Mythbuntu - it would get halfway through the boot, and then it couldn't find the network adapter.  Installing to a harddrive worked flawlessly.  Hopefully I won't have the same issue with LMCE.  I think I saw someone else post here that they're using the KPC with a Celeron 430 - my exact setup, so that's encouraging.

Users / Do MD's have to be diskless?
« on: June 24, 2008, 07:34:42 pm »
I played around with LMCE a few months ago and didn't get far, but I think part of the problem was my inexperience with Myth and Linux in general.  Now I'm really close to having a Mythbuntu 8.04 setup running, and I find myself missing some of the features LMCE would offer.

So I want to try out LMCE again, but one thing I found working with Mythbuntu was that diskless frontends were a major PITA.  I ended up buying 80GB SATA drives ($37 each :D ) for each frontend, and it was much easier to work with that setup.

I'll initially try the diskless method, but if I run into problems, is it possible to install LMCE to a harddrive on a MD, like I did with Myth?

Developers / Re: Are Java geeks welcome here?
« on: March 25, 2008, 07:14:58 am »
ps; Just out of interest mikester, what is the 20% (of your vision) that you think can't be done/supported by this project?

The main thing I would have done differently is use Java from the start, so that the core, orbiters, md's, everything would be cross-platform.  So if you wanted to setup a core on a Mac and have a mix of Windows and Linux media directors - no problem.  The other main difference is that I was focusing more on media handling and treating stuff like home automation as an afterthought, whereas LMCE is practically the opposite.  But that's good - I think Home Automation, Security, and Telecom are the harder problems to solve, whereas media handling has been done over and over.  IMO it would be easier to enhance a system like LMCE with more robust media handling than to retrofit a whole house control solution onto a primarily media-based front end.

Almost everything else LMCE does is eerily close to what I have been thinking of over the last year, which is really exciting to me because I've wanted a system like this for some time (to the point I was ready to start writing it myself) and all of a sudden I find that this system does exist and has a huge headstart over what I had been planning to do.

Developers / Re: March 29 - 12:00N EDT - HADesigner Workshop
« on: March 24, 2008, 03:27:50 pm »
Excellent!  I'm working late tonight, but I'll get that setup tomorrow night and play around with it the rest of this week and try to be up to speed for the conference.

Developers / Re: March 29 - 12:00N EDT - HADesigner Workshop
« on: March 24, 2008, 03:03:29 pm »
I am definitely going to try and attend this, since I am interested in possibly rewriting HADesigner in Java.

Does anyone know if the current version of HADesigner will run under VMWare?  I don't have a Windows machine at home at the moment, but I do have a copy of XP SP2 running on VMWare.

Developers / Re: Are Java geeks welcome here?
« on: March 22, 2008, 11:49:34 pm »
Good to hear!  As I get my system up and running, I'll start looking at the code and learning the architecture better so I can jump in.  I've already spent some time reading over the development docs, although I'm not sure how much of that is up to date.  But there's nothing like getting your hands dirty digging into source code to learn a system.  I figure building a development core and being able to compile the C code should be my first step, then I'll go from there.

BTW - an Android orbiter is a great idea.  I looked at the SDK a few months back when they first released it, and thought it would be fun to write an Android app, but never came up with a good idea.  It seems like the mobile phone app space has boiled down to half a dozen compelling apps, and a bunch of "me-too" apps, so there was nothing I saw that I could exploit.  But that was before LMCE...

Developers / Are Java geeks welcome here?
« on: March 22, 2008, 10:20:37 pm »
First of all, I love the concept of LinuxMCE, and props to all of you who have been putting in so much work to get this project off the ground.  There's still a long way to go, but I think this idea is worth pushing forward.  In fact, I've been envisioning writing my own HTPC software for the last 6 months because I haven't been happy with anything out there.  Then I found LMCE and guess what - there's about an 80% overlap between your vision and mine.  So count me in for helping out with this project after I get my system up and running (currently in progress).

There is just one small detail.  Even though I've been a professional developer for almost 20 years, it has been about 8 years since I used C/C++ regularly (although that is all I used the previous 12 years).  In fact, I loathe the idea of having to use C again, and the few times I have to use it at my job, it makes me wish I was getting a root canal instead. (just kidding  ;) ).  I am a Java developer through and through, and specifically I have a lot of experience with Eclipse plugins, RCP applications, and the SWT toolkit.  Before you C guys roll your eyes and start throwing out all the same old arguments - I defy you to look at a good SWT application and tell the difference between a native Windows/OSx/GTK application.  It's that good, both in performance and host OS integration.

OK, so that being said, I really want to be able to help out with this project, and if push came to shove I would probably be willing to dust off my C++ skills for short and specific tasks.  But I feel I have a lot to offer with my Java/RCP/SWT skills, particularly in the 2 areas where I see that LMCE needs the most help - media management and UI customization.  Now maybe work is already underway in these areas, and I certainly don't want to step on anyone's toes, but if not, I would love to look into either rewriting the GUI editor (forgot the name, but I know everyone complains about it) or adding a nice media library frontend with IMDB and TVDB integration, etc.  I promise you I could write nice apps using Java that would make even the Windoze MCE people drool.

I just wanted to get some feedback on this idea before I get my hopes up.

Users / Re: USB-UIRT - How many av devices?
« on: March 20, 2008, 07:38:59 pm »
I haven't received my USBUIRT yet, but I have a lot of experience with infrared distribution, as that is how I currently handle distributing/controlling my media from a single location to all rooms of the house.

You have several options for controlling multiple components.  The first and easiest would be to just put the USBUIRT in a location where the blasters could hit all your components.  This would be very easy in a media closet or small rooms, and might even work well in larger rooms if the blaster is strong enough.

The next option would be to use the external port, which can power a dual-emitter.  These are the little "bugs" that you stick directly onto the IR window on your devices.  Now if you need more than 2, you can plug that port into a connecting block like this: That's a big model that is amplified and has 10 ports, and you can chain them together for an unlimited number of devices.  They also make smaller 4 and 6 port models.

Another option that won't be as common, is a hybrid solution, which is exactly what I plan to do.  Since I already have my infrared distribution system setup, and all of my devices are already "bugged" with emitters, I'll simply point the USBUIRT at one of my existing IR recievers.

If you want to learn more about infrared distribution and all of the cool things you can do with it, a good place to look is the Xantech catalog - .  They have several different scenarios and examples in there that show how their components can be used.  Not all of them will be applicable to LMCE, but you might think of other ways to apply them to complement your setup.  And if you get into this stuff, definitely stick with the Xantech equipment.  I've been doing this as a hobby for 10 years, and I've never had a piece of Xantech equipment fail. 

Users / Re: Suggestions for a good remote other then Fiire Cheif
« on: March 20, 2008, 01:27:19 am »
I ordered one of those Gyration remotes from Circuit City the other day and went to pick it up tonight, and the lady informed me that the price had dropped $20 and gave me a refund for that amount.

So I picked up 2 more and cleaned them out.  At $49.96 each, these seem like a real bargain, and I just so happen to have 3 rooms I want to put MDs in.  ;D

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: OK, No CableCard what about....?
« on: March 19, 2008, 04:11:35 pm »
I think the whole HTPC world is waiting on the new Hauppauge card.  I've got my $250 set aside just waiting to order it when available.  Hopefully someone will come up with Linux drivers quickly so this thing can get integrated into Myth/LMCE.

Users / Re: Why I left LinuxMCE for MythBuntu
« on: March 18, 2008, 04:42:44 pm »
I have been using 704 for many months and only a few problems, mostly created by me. I have not tried 710 because I need something that works. 710 is still beta and problems are still surfacing every day. Its a very large and complex beast and won't easily rev to new versions. (Look how long it takes the 1000's of programmers to just fix the released version of Vista, and then realize that there are less than 20 real programmers actually working on Linuxmce and what they have already accomplished.)

The point being that for someone to try LMCE but use the beta instead of the known working version and then complain that its a beta and not usable seems a little naive.

This is a good point, and I would be interested in hearing other people's experiences of the stability of 0704 final vs. the 0710 betas.  I am certainly willing to install the older version and wait for the new version to get out of beta, if the stability is significantly better.

One problem a lot of us noobs probably are facing is that the beta versions are prominently linked to from the main page, which leads most newcomers into jumping right in with beta softare.  In fact, I had to search around for a few minutes to even find the torrents for the 0704 download.

Maybe a helpful improvement to the site would be to change to download page to list the latest stable build (0704) and the newest build separately.  This is how other open source projects do things (I'm thinking Eclipse, which I'm very familiar with), so you always know if you are downloading the stable version or the "bleeding edge" version.

Users / Re: Dedicated core with RAID5 or Hybrid core with NAS?
« on: March 17, 2008, 08:44:51 pm »
Thanks for the reply.

I had planned on using the harddrive from the media pc (80GB) to install LMCE to.  I know I won't have a recovery path that way, but I have no desire to go back to Windows MCE, so if LMCE doesn't work for me, I'll be installing something different anyway.

Physical layout should not be a problem, as everything currently is in a single room with all the needed connections.  At least as far as the core is concerned - there might be a small issue with the location of the media director for our main living room TV, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Users / Dedicated core with RAID5 or Hybrid core with NAS?
« on: March 17, 2008, 04:25:02 pm »
My current setup is Windows MCE with an UnRaid NAS server holding all my media.  While planning the expansion of our HTPC into other rooms, I came across LMCE and I am intrigued, so we are going to give it a go.  I'm trying to do all this with as much existing hardware as possible, at least until we prove it will work for us.

With that in mind, I'm trying to figure out the best way to utilize our existing HTPC computers with LMCE.  It looks like I have basically 2 options, so I would like to get feedback on which would be better:

Option 1 - Convert my Unraid server into a dedicated core, and set up a huge local RAID 5 array for all the storage.  Then use the existing HTPC as our first MD.  This has the advantage of only running 1 machine 24/7, and having all the storage locally (not sure if it makes much difference vs. using a NAS).  But I lose the storage flexibility that UnRaid gives me (i.e. I know how to expand an array in Linux, but it's not nearly as painless as in Unraid).

Option 2 - Keep the Unraid server as-is, and turn our existing HTPC into a hybrid core/MD for the first room.  The HTPC machine is an AMD 3700+ w/ 1 GB running on an NVidia 6150 chipset, using the integrated graphics.  I also have an X2 3800+ I could swap in from another machine, if having dual-core in a hybrid core would be more useful than a single faster proc.

I guess I just thought of a third option - a hybrid core WITH RAID 5, then I could use the exiting HTPC in a second room.  I guess in that case I would definitely want the dual core processor, but I'm still not sure if that would be too much for 1 machine to handle?

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