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Topics - colinjones

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Users / Replacement for FiireChief remote
« on: December 18, 2009, 09:09:34 pm »
Its a real shame that Fiire remote users have been left behind in the switch from 0710 to 0810, there must be a lot of us out there....

That being said, I am sick of being stuck on 0710 because I am so dependent on that remote, and I can see now that LMCE is never going to be upgraded to allow its use.

Can people make some good suggestions for a replacement that works well with LMCE 0810? I am looking for a gyro equivalent, wireless of course, must have functional volume up/down/mute, ff/rew, track forward/back, play/pause/stop, rec, ideally "colour" buttons, and a good gyro action that is easy to use without having to break your wrist to get to some places on the screen! Also, it would be very nice if the wireless range was more than ~6m!

Users / Controlling TV power on/off through HDMI
« on: September 03, 2009, 12:03:34 am »
Has anybody managed to control a TV's power (sleep/suspend) through an HDMI cable in the same way you can a VGA display using the xset commands? I would like to create a device to turn on and off my HDMI TV, but don't seem to be able to find even a command line that will do it. It doesn't seem that xset makes any translation for HDMI is that is what is connected, however I have seen a friend's VMC turn his (identical) TV on and off using an HDMI connection so it must be possible!

Users / Who is currently using the Fiire gyro remote?? Please vote
« on: August 14, 2009, 01:04:46 am »
The Fiire Chief gyro remote (the ugly brown thing!) worked brilliantly under 0710, however due to changes in the Linux kernel Human Interface Device subsystem in later versions, this remote no longer works properly in Kubuntu versions 0804 and later. This means the remote becomes useless for LMCE 0810 and onwards.

It requires significant recoding to provide support for this device - and it would be good to know how many people out there have one, are using it, and want to be able to continue using it now that 0710 is no longer supported and 0810 is almost here.

Users / Mobile "callback" or "call routing" application with Asterisk...
« on: August 08, 2009, 01:33:53 am »
Was just wondering if anybody had ever come across a mobile phone application (say Java), that would allow you to intercept calls placed on the mobile phone, and route them all to a specific landline number. Then on the Asterisk PABX at that number, receive the call, and route it back out based on the real number that the mobile app sends to it.

The idea being to be able to place all your mobile calls through Asterisk and benefit from cheap VoIP plans to make these calls rather than more expensive mobile plans. Would require the app to intercept the call, place a new call, and then communicate with Asterisk the actual call destination. And for something in Asterisk to be able to understand the number communicated to it from the app - maybe an extension to IVR? DTMF tones?

Or even just a callback, perhaps where the phone app sends an SMS to Asterisk? Then Asterisk places a call to your mobile and the destination and conferences them?

Just some idle thought!


Wondered if anybody could give me some pointers on this one, as I really do not want to have to rebuild my system. A couple of days aog I installed dkms and a couple of test v4l debs - all of which should be compatible with both 0710 (which I am using) and 0810. Unfortunately, it killed my machine. After a reboot, X will not start.

I tried removing all three components and rebooted... same issue. So I thought something must have screwed up the nVidia driver (its failing at the point it tried to load the nVidia module). So I have tried reinstalling the drivers (180.06 and the latest 185 versions), but it always fails as it tried to make the kernel interfaces between kernel and module.

Code: [Select]
Kernel module load error: insmod: error inserting './usr/src/nv/nvidia.ko':
   -1 File exists


   [ 1193.364000] NVRM: API mismatch: the client has the version 169.12, but
   [ 1193.364000] NVRM: this kernel module has the version 180.06.  Please
   [ 1193.364000] NVRM: make sure that this kernel module and all NVIDIA driver
   [ 1193.364000] NVRM: components have the same version.
   [ 1200.096000] Linux agpgart interface v0.102 (c) Dave Jones
   [ 1200.400000] PCI: Setting latency timer of device 0000:00:12.0 to 64
   [ 1200.400000] PCI: Setting latency timer of device 0000:02:00.0 to 64
   [ 1200.404000] NVRM: loading NVIDIA UNIX x86 Kernel Module  180.06  Sat Nov
   8 12:13:58 PST 2008

In the install log and similar messages in dmesg. I understand that the nVidia drivers use dkms in some way to build the kernel interfaces, so I can only assume that installing that in someway is now preventing the driver install from doing this properly.

Has any body any idea how I can fix this up??

Users / ALSA resampling....
« on: July 06, 2009, 03:10:05 am »
OK, I have been looking into ALSA's resampling system configuration. When you connect your hybrid/MD to an AMP using a digital connection such as SPDIF or HDMI, these have fixed/static sample rates, usually 48kHz for SPDIF and 96kHz for HDMI. If your source is DD, DTS or BluRay's HD audio, then the sample rate of the source will match the link speed ... ie it is native, and can just pump down the link with no modification. Even mp3 files with sample rates matching the link speed should be fine.

However, if the sample rate does not match, as is the case for most CD rips (usually 44.1kHz), then a sample rate conversion (SRC) needs to be done to upconvert or downconvert the sample rate to match the link speed. Otherwise, for instance, a CD ripped mp3 file, which only has 44100 samples/sec will replay those samples at 48000 samples per second making it play back significantly faster, and pitch bend the sound upwards.

Resampling, like this, can cause alsorts of harmonic distortions depending on the rate, and inaccuracies due to the interpolation algorithm used. LMCE uses the default settings of ALSA, but it is far from clear which resampler algorithm or rate this is, either under the ALSA supplied with 0710 or 0810. Certainly in the past, it used the fastest and lowest quality resampler, but I cannot determine for sure which one it uses now. In any case, I thought I would experiment with the options as ALSA has a "samplerate_best" option, that whilst it uses much more CPU (its a software resampler), apparently it results in a far better result.

I am using the udial.wav test sample (which I recently read can damage your tweaters if played at anything other than low volume... wish I had known that before!) which creates some dialing type touch tones, but has high frequencies that when distorted by resampling become an obvious siren-like overlay. So far I haven't really heard much difference between the default option and the higher quality one (ie I can still hear the siren in both tests), but I thought I would document what I have done so far, just in case it gives anybody else some ideas.

Essentially, the system-wide config is in /etc/asound.conf. As I understand it, any application (such as Xine_wrapper or just Amarok on the KDE desktop) that uses ALSA will read this file at each start up. There is also a user specific file, but that doesn't seem to exist in 0710, so I concentrated on the system-wide one.

By default on 0710, this is the content:

Code: [Select]
pcm_slave.convert48k {
        pcm "spdif"
        rate 48000

pcm.spdif_playback {
        type plug
        slave convert48k

pcm.asym_spdif {
        type asym
        playback.pcm "spdif_playback"
        capture.pcm "plughw:0"

pcm.asym_analog {
        type asym
        playback.pcm "plug:dmix"
        capture.pcm "plughw:0"
pcm.!default asym_spdif

The "plug" PCM plugin apparently can handle sample rate conversion, so you do not need to use the "rate" plugin to do this, however the keyword for "plug" is "rate_converter" whereas it is "converter" for the "rate" plugin.

So you should just have to change the above to this:

Code: [Select]
pcm_slave.convert48k {
        pcm "spdif"
        rate 48000

pcm.spdif_playback {
        type plug
        slave convert48k
        rate_converter "samplerate_best"

pcm.asym_spdif {
        type asym
        playback.pcm "spdif_playback"
        capture.pcm "plughw:0"

pcm.asym_analog {
        type asym
        playback.pcm "plug:dmix"
        capture.pcm "plughw:0"
pcm.!default asym_spdif

The outstanding things are to work out whether this config is actually changing what ALSA does, as I cannot find any log files that say anything one way or the other. ALSA is mentioned but even when I made an error in the conf file, there were no errors/warnings in the logs... Whether ALSA still uses the low-quality/fast resampler by default.... Whether reloading the router constitutes the restart the "application" needs to re-read the /etc/asound.conf file in (because Xine_wrapper restarts).... what the test sound actually should sound like! ... and whether any of this is really going to make a meaningful difference...

suggestions, advice, tips?

Users / Bluetooth detection for new devices... where is the code?
« on: July 02, 2009, 11:57:53 pm »
Does anybody know where the code is that detects new BlueTooth devices and sends the necessary pnp events to add the device? Is it Bluetooth Dongle? I am curious as to how hard it would be to add a configurable delay to the detection before it triggers the pnp.

Shortly after 5pm each work day, people start walking home to their houses, and as they walk past my place, if their Bluetooth is turned on my core keeps detecting them! Its annoying :) I thought that adding a delay of, say, 30 seconds that the device had to be in range for before triggering pnp might ease this problem :)

Just putting some thought to garnering more users and exposure for LMCE through a kind of LMCE 0810 "Relaunch". (only once the "release" version of 0810 is out).

I am trying to think of the most efficient way of collecting a list of as many Home Entertainment/Consumer Electronics/Media/Home Automation online "e-zine" type sites, as possible. We can write a/some articles for them and blast them. Getting exposure through these mags would bring a new influx of users, and with them, hopefully, many more potential devs. 0810 seems the perfect punctuation point to do this.

I have browsed around the Open Directory project in Google, and found some stuff, but no where near enough. Does anyone else have any suggestions for getting together such a list? We want a broad spectrum of sites, but most importantly, across geographies. Doing this in one country should be easy enough, but realistically we want diversity, and when possible multilingual (all you speakers of languages other than English, stand by for translation mode!)

International media peak bodies? Other suggestions?

Does anybody think it would be a good idea to include artwork and assignments to particular attributes in a standard base install for 0810 so that the media grids are a little more interesting/colourful, out of the box?

I was thinking at least the Genre attribute could have a range of nice artwork to represent most of the common audio and video genre types, so that as long as audio and video at least have a genre attribute set, they will get some artwork even if none has been assigned to the individual files. With large databases of media, this could make the browsing experience more interesting right out of the box. Also, perhaps some nicely rendered artwork for the Track and Chapter attributes for numbers at least 1 thru 30. If there is album attribute art set already or art directly assigned to the tracks, then this will still take priority over the "track" pictures.

Found some interesting possible sources, this one is quite neutral...

Users / Assigning artwork to attributes....
« on: May 30, 2009, 04:45:39 am »
Has anybody assigned artwork to attributes, like Genre? So that if they have not assigned artwork to a particular media file, but that media file is tagged with a Genre attribute that matches the genre that you gave artwork to, the media grid displays that instead of the grey box with text on it?

I have just done this to a couple of genres, but in the media grid the image does not show unless I choose a media file, then in the Play screen I get the large artwork preview successfully.... is there any trick to this?

Software Developers are geeks!

Geeks like gadgets

LMCE is the ultimate gadget...

Then why, from this simple sylogism, do we not have a plethora of development resources on this project?

Problem: the LMCE development team is tiny, and this is now seriously hamstringing the progress of LMCE in bug fixes, releases, new features, etc.

However, there are many hundreds of non-developers active regularly on these forums....

Request: I would like everyone to have a good long think about everyone they know personally (friends, family and acquaintances) and professionally (colleagues, associates, historical and current), and try to come up with at least 5 developers you can think of that you could personally spend some time introducing them to LMCE and generally being a LMCE "evangelist". The objective is to get them interested at a personal level in LMCE for their own use, but also to try to entice them into thinking of it as a potential personal project they could contribute to.

Another approach is to post here suggestions of organisations, groups, teams, projects and contacts that might provide an angle for us to approach, and getting people we don't yet know involved in the project. For instance, someone has suggested the Google Summer of Code annual project. We need to access sources of FOSS programmers and encourage/entice... our most serious problem is exposure....

Come on guys, lets get innovative, find ways to network and hook into others that could help us out!!

Either way, please post here - how many people you thought of and whether you have approached them yet; any suggested entities/approaches to get introductions to other developers we do not yet have contact with; and other innovative ideas for raising the exposure of LMCE in a way that is likely to find new sources of development skill.

Remember the objectives of all these points are not to find new users, but to find new development resources.... if we were to lock down only 5 new pairs of hands, after the learning curve, in 3-6 months we will have at least doubled our development capacity.

This is a task for YOU, not the developers!! GO GO GO!

NEW THREAD: split from another thread on similar subject.... please can people comment on these ideas and add their own. I split this out because the other thread hasn't addressed these points directly. Please only post in this thread if your comments directly relate to these ideas. Anything else can go in the other thread!

I think that idea of a central Donate option/pool-of-funds is a good idea....

....that being said, there needs to be some governance around it before we jump into such a scheme. A Charter needs to be implemented to provide this governance, voted on by the community and implemented. We can't have the fund unaccountable to those that are contributing, and there needs to be some kind of consensus on how it is spent, and visibility.

Some suggested principles - please comment:

Any Paypal-type account should have several senior/long-term members with access to it. (ie no potential for lock out)

The vision for the fund should be for the furtherance of LinuxMCE generally, and where possible, to provide benefit to as many members as possible.

The fund should be directed to providing features/benefits/bug-fixes/shows/exposure that would otherwise not occur/not occur for a considerable period of time (expedition), rather than as a form of revenue for developers.

Any draw-down on the funds should be by general consensus only.  *

Any such paid projects should be published in a sticky, and on the main website (news section?)

A consolidated list of suggested projects/feature-requests/etc, should be maintained by the forum moderators in a sticky topic. This list can be reviewed by the developers in their regular steering committee meetings (a la jimbodude), prioritised, and the leading options put forward to a consensus vote in the forums  *

Non-dev forum members should have the option to advance other items in the consolidated list via consensus vote in the forums - these items/projects will be considered for funding after the steering committee's list.

None of the above should prevent any forum member(s) from directly reaching an agreement with a dev to perform specific work-for-cash outside this funding arrangement.

* - we need to derive how "general consensus" / "consensus vote" is defined. I feel that those who have contributed should have priority, perhaps even in proportion to their contributions (ie, $1 = 1 vote), and my feeling is that those who have not contributed to the fund, should not really have a say. But to achieve greater fairness, systems such as Preferencial Voting and Proportional Representation should also be considered, rather than simple majorities/first-past-the-post approaches.... discuss...

For all those people that are interested in the Gyration remote option (particularly now that the Fiire remotes are effectively unavailable), you may have noticed some discussions going on in another thread. The bottom line is that the Gyration remote requires more than the ordinary control path to provide all-button functionality. Some considerable development work needs to be undertaken.

On a positive note, TSCHAK/Thom is prepared to devote some of his paid development time to this development effort. I would like to say that I think this is a very good idea, will provide you with another full-feature, gryo-style remote option, and will ultimately leave an ongoing legacy to the project in which you can legitimately feel you have contributed something back.

I am going to gather the names of people interested in this effort, and then work with Thom to determine what the per-person contribution would need to be. NOTE: this is not a commitment at this stage, we just want to get a number of interested parties so that we can work out what the cost per-person would be. I will communicate that cost back to you all and ask if you are prepared to proceed on that basis.

So, if you are at all interested in this, are prepared to consider payment to assist, and in anyway feel that you would like to contribute back to a project which has already given you so much for free (there's the guilt trip!), please post in reply to this thread ASAP.

Users / Forum Charter - final, and now active.
« on: March 29, 2009, 12:13:55 am »
All - the Forum Charter is now active. Any commentary can be posted on the previous voting thread. Any requests or comments on specific actions taken, please PM bulek, colinjones and dlewis to discuss.


Light Touch - when in doubt, moderators will take no action. They are here to protect the tone and facility of the forums, not censor it. All attempts will be made to avoid applying personal, subjective standards.

Swearing - Swear words are acceptable, this is part of normal everyday discourse. There is no need to get upset over such behaviour. Swearing used to increase the impact of an abusive attack is not acceptable. It is the abuse that is being actioned - See Unnecessarily Abusive Posts.

Free Speech - The forum is not an extension of any putative right to free speech. Cordial behaviour is expected and the charter should be respected. Abuses will be actioned when appropriate.

Discrimination/"isms" - Using the forum to communicate negative stereotypes and concepts relating to race, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or other group-identification is not acceptable. - Comments need to be assessed in context, but if found to be inappropriate, will be removed.

General Activities:

Spiralling Forum Thread - Continual posts and reposts, not related to the original subject or any related subjects, without any new posts on the original or related subjects, that are of an adversarial/argumentative/negative nature - Lock the thread.

Unnecessarily Abusive Posts - Repeated, personal, abusive posts that add no information to the original subject or related subjects - Remove the posts, if it continues, lock the thread.

Argumentative Thread - Repeated disagreement, no attempt to find common ground, thus no assistance to other forum members, setting the wrong tone. Should be taken offline - Temporarily lock thread for cool-down.

Trolls - Repeated posts across many threads over a period of time, where the nature of the comments appear to be to be willfully contradictary and contrary irrespective of subject - Warning via PM, if continues, lock the account.


Blatant, unrelated commercial posts - Posts/threads that seek to advertise or raise sales for product or service completely unrelated to LMCE. This includes hardware that is not known or suspected of being compatible with the system, particularly from unknown/untrusted posters - Delete thread

Spam - UCE, UBE - delete, lock account.

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