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Topics - skeptic

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Users / b5 or final anytime soon?
« on: April 03, 2008, 07:15:19 am »
I know I know, nobody knows for sure when it will be ready, but generally there are some people here that have a rough idea when the next release is expected.  I just received the hardware for my core/md today, or at least everything but the video card.  I'm downloading beta 4 now, but I'd hate to install it now if a new beta or the final is expected in the next week or so.

Users / sanity check and recommendations?
« on: March 26, 2008, 06:16:06 am »
It's time for me to build a Core/MD hybrid.  I'm looking for known working, plug an play parts.  As little fiddling as possible.  Of course, all this on a budget, but as long as I stick with known working stuff I should be fine right? I did search the Wiki, but that left more questions than answers.

case - As long as it's 300W+ I can't see how this matters beyond aesthetics and fan noise

motherboard - reading through the hardware wiki makes me nervous, way to many caveats and not 100% supported statements.  Anyone care to comment on  ASUS M2N-E AM2, ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2, or GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 AM2 boards?  No real reason I selected them other than sorting AM2 boards by best rating on newegg these were the top 3 in my price range and they have the features I want (PCIE, SATA, and plenty of audio out options for my unknown future audio system).  Well, the ASUS Deluxe is a bit higher than I want to spend, but it has dual onboard LAN for when/if the core is where I can run another network drop.

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+

Memory - 2G

Hard drive - I have a 500G SATA drive as well as a 750G external USB drive.

Video - Fanless nvidia 6200.  Beyond PCIE and onboard memory, is there anything I should look for?  Card brands to avoid?

PVR - PVR-150.  I'd go with the 500, but I have DirectTV so I'm limited to one per sat receiver and I don't want to stack receivers in my living room (where this will be for now).

remote/IR receiver - I have a snapstream that worked great with MythTV, but does nothing with LMCE (not sure how to config it the LMCE way).  I also have a cheap ebay remote/receiver, and I think it may have originally came with an HP media center if that helps ID it.  It seems to work as either a mouse or a very limited keyboard (just arrow keys and enter are all that seem recognized).  It sorta works with UI1, but none of the other buttons such as volume, play/pause, etc. do anything.  If there is an easy way to get either of these fully functioning as a remote I'd prefer to go that route.  Otherwise, recommend me something that is plug and play and under $50 or so.  The Fiire remote may be fantastic, but I'm not ready to drop $150 for a remote just yet.

IR blaster - completely clueless.  Perhaps there is a good IR blaster/reciever remote that is plug and play??  Is USB-UIRT the only option?

Home automation to come later, for now I just want a solid media center setup.  Anything I'm forgetting?  Anything I should change (the core will be a hybrid for now, not changing that)?

Users / Booting from local disk
« on: March 01, 2008, 02:27:02 am »
Background in case it matters - skip to next paragraph for just the question.
I finally figured out why my HP laptop wouldn't boot from the net, some kind of problem with the nvidia drivers or the xorg.conf.  I decided to go another route and installed LMCE on the local drive.  It simply will not boot from DVD so I installed Kubuntu 7.10 from CD, then linuxMCE 0710.  Still no love with nvidia, but changing it back to the default xorg.conf from the Kubuntu install got the screen to come up and work ok.  Apparently it is supposed to detect an existing core and do a MD only install, but it didn't, it installed it as a core/md.  Fine, whatever, I booted off the net and from a text screen I logged in, mounted my internal drive, and copied the working xorg.conf which allowed me to go through the setup wizard and get a working (UI1) MD with full access to the media on the core.  Finally, the almost to the bare basic functionality that I need in order to actually use LMCE for now.  In trying to get my streamzap remote working (why is such a common remote not supported by default???), I rebooted the laptop.  No joy in Mudville, the laptop starts to boot off the net, PXE messages and such, then comes up with "booting from local disk" and proceeds to boot from the hard drive into a core/md setup with no access or connection to the real core or the media on it.  I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure I rebooted it at least once after going through the wizard and it came up clean with a connection to the core and access to all the media.

Question -
Why is my laptop that WAS booting a MD and connecting to my core now switching to booting off the local disk after it starts booting off the net?  More important, how can I get it to boot off the net like it was before?

Users / Anyone happily using a mostly-pc setup?
« on: February 27, 2008, 08:58:01 pm »
I'm finding the (perceived) lack of control I have over linuxMCE to be very frustrating.  This is mainly for the extra drives, if I can get to them via OS, trying to keep lmce out of all but one directory structure, etc.  The fear of "breaking" my box by adding other software is another issue, and quite frankly I don't want to run dhcp on this desktop (web admin stuff is also buggy if you don't stick to the default subnets).  Not to mention my old MythTV client has yet to successfully boot to a fully functioning MD.

I've all but given up on the idea of running linuxMCE in a mostly-pc config (I even have it set to boot to a kde login and linuxMCE seems to start fine in the background).  If I do give up and go back to straight Myth, I may build a couple cheap boxes and setup a dedicated core and dedicated mds after the official 0710 is out.  In my limited experience with lmce it really comes off as something that needs to be completely dedicated, not dual purpose.  It appears to have a ton of potential, but the Mac-like "I control everything the way I want, you users don't need to worry about the details" stuff is killing me.  I strongly feel the wiki faq for "I'm a Linux user already. Should I use LinuxMCE's distribution" needs updated with warnings and such.  Much like the demo video, it paints a rosey picture but should really be more of a "you can do it, but there are a lot of gotchas and you can't treat it like a standard linux desktop" answer.

Before I jump ship, is anyone successfully using this the way I want to, as a desktop, web/e-mail/dns server, and hybrid core/md?  Any words of encouragement?  Am I giving up too soon?

Users /
« on: February 26, 2008, 06:48:07 pm »
Why is this running every 3 minutes, and other than creating an e-mail status of drives does it actually do anything?

Users / Installing additional software packages...
« on: February 25, 2008, 11:58:37 pm »
Perhaps I'm going blind or braindead, but I can't find the answer to this.  I have read that linuxMCE uses special repositories for apt-get and that mixing packages from other sources can mess linuxMCE up.  I also saw a message during install that linuxMCE modified the repositories or some such thing to protect against this.  I need to install additional packages so I did an apt-get of synaptic (I'm new to ubuntu/kubuntu/linuxMCE).  Before I screw things up, am I safe to install whatever I want as long as I don't manually edit anything in /etc/apt?  I took a quick look at sources.list and it appears that along with there are a number of generic ubuntu sources listed:

deb file:/usr/pluto/deb-cache/ ./
deb feisty  main restricted multiverse universe
deb feisty-security  main restricted multiverse universe
deb feisty-updates  main restricted multiverse universe
deb ./
deb feisty  multiverse

Users / Is this a bad idea?
« on: February 25, 2008, 05:50:41 pm »
I've decided to use what I have instead of jumping in with both feet and committing to linuxMCE with all new hardware. 

Desktop:HP Pavilion AMD64 3700+ with 1G ram, nvidia 6600, 200G internal, 500G internal, and 750G usb external drives. 
Current mythtv client: HP Pavilioin zd7000 with nvidia go5600 video, dead screen but s-video out works fine
Extra: Thinkpad T21, S3 Inc. Savage/IX8 video adapter, dead hard drive, I THINK it supports PXE.

Here are my thoughts, please tell me if I'm being stupid or if I don't understand something correctly.  I still need to use my desktop as a desktop as well as the minor amount of internet server stuff it does (web server, e-mail, dns, etc).  I also want to minimize the number of re-installs I do.  This leads me to believe I should install Kubuntu 7.04 then using the 2CD version, install linuxMCE 0704.  Going with a DVD install means less options for things like setting it up to mostly use it as a desktop.  Going with 0710 beta means there is a decent chance that I'll have to completely re-install.  LinuxMCE 0704 will upgrade to 0710 without issue (if it works as designed). 

A couple things I'm not clear on, will the upgrade from 0704 to 0710 also upgrade my system to AMD64 binaries?  Will the upgrade include net boot images for AMD64 as well as 32bit images?  Am I setting myself up for a load of extra work and just need to suck it up and wait for 0710 to come out "someday?"

Users / nvidia 7050
« on: February 08, 2008, 07:48:49 pm »
I'm sourcing components for a linuxMCE setup and I'm not sure the way to go for video.  The performance numbers for the 6150 and 7050 look fairly close, but any little bit could help.  I've also seen that the 7050 PV contains more HDTV features (purevideo), all of which may not be in the linux drivers yet.  However, I have also seen a number of posts that refer to instability of the driver.  Has the instability been fixed, or is it expected to be in 0710?  I intend to wait for the official 0710 before I jump in and install linuxMCE.

I have also read a number of threads about video tearing with UI2 and alpha blending.  Is this something that can be fixed with a dedicated nvidia video card?  What I've read is fuzzy on this. 

For now, this will go on my ooooold 480p HDTV with component/s-video inputs only, but may quickly be moved to my 720p HDTV with HDMI inputs.  Testing has shown that component input is much better than s-video on my 480p TV, so I need component inputs.  I have read some conflicting info that says an nvidia 7050 with s-video out is actually a mini-din that supports either s-video or with a break-out cable YPrPb component.  I know s-video is a 4 pin connector, and  ones I'm seeing on the MBs are 7 pin connectors.  Actual YPbPr connectors seem few and far between, and after looking through dozens of MBs trying to figure out which is best for me I don't even remember if there were any 7050pv boards with actual YPbPr connectors, but there are 7050PV boards with s-video.

This isn't yet another "which MB should I buy" post, although I'm open to suggestions.  I'm just trying to figure out what features I need, then I'm going to try to find a board that best meets my needs.  Once it's all done and tested I will make an entry on the hardware wiki 'cause that's what people here keep talking about even though it seems a bit pointless to me.  Having a repository of good info like this sounds like a good idea, but MBs change so often that listing by MB just doesn't seem to be working well.  Having the Mainboard section broke down by component (ie 7050PV onboard video) with MB examples and specific MB notes as needed would be MUCH more useful as it's the components/features that what most questions seem to relate to.  But I digress, I want to help linuxMCE succeed so I'll play ball and list my equipment once I have a working setup.

Ultimately I will be building at least 6 MDs, possibly more, so going as cheap as possible and as consistent as possible is the goal.   At least 5 will be connected to various SD, 480P, and 720P devices via various connections, and a more powerful MD will be connected to a 1080p HDTV.

Sorry for the long winded post, as a recap:

Does a MB with onboard nvidia 7050pv graphics and s-video connection support component YPbPr through a simple cable or do I need a board with dedicated YPbPr connections (possibly only with 6150)?

Is the driver for nVidia 7050PV stable or expected to be stable with linuxMCE 0710?

What is required to avoid tearing when running 480p/720p, faster CPU, more memory, current drivers, dedicated video card?

Users / Current state of LinuxMCE...
« on: February 02, 2008, 09:54:08 pm »
A while back when I first heard about LinuxMCE and watched the original video of it in action (not sure if new vids have come out), I was VERY impressed.  However, after a bit of googling around I came to the conclusion it was not ready for prime time.  Very limited hardware support, lots of problems, etc.  Due to a hardware failure, I moved all my server functions to my desktop (yuck) and I'm looking at server options.  At the same time, I want to evaluate various server OS options as well.  The things I am looking for are:

Ease of install, ease of upgrades, and good stability.  I'm not new to Linux, but I'd rather spend my time on other things, not fighting with an install/setup.

Ease of use.  If family, friends, my boys (8 and 4), and most important of all my Fiancee can't sit down, grab a remote, and use it with ease it's completely pointless.

Various server functions.  Postfix, apache/drupal, DNS server, etc.  This server will double as my internet server for the near future. 

MythTV.  Currently used only as a music and DVD library, but eventually I'd like to use all the functions including live TV (DirectTV, so it's a hassle and I haven't integrated it yet), PVR, web browsing, games, etc.  I'm also currently setup with separate front end/back ends, but I'm leaning towards using this new server as a fe/be in a soon to be finished media room.

Home automation.  Absolutely nothing done yet, but it's a long term goal.

Games.  Unless I change my mind stay with separate back end server in a wiring closet, I will want to be able to play games via wine.

HDTV out only.  The intent is to build a server attached to a 1080p HDTV.  This is likely more of a hardware issue than software, but in case there are issues I thought I should throw it out.

Hardware.  Pretty much wide open so I'm hoping it will not be an issue, but I'm aiming for HDTV output, quiet operation, a nice HTPC case, wireless remotes, etc. 

Like most things in life, the ads for LinuxMCE are great, but I'm looking for real world experiences from actual users.

edit:  One last thing I forgot to mention.  How is the blu-ray support, both watching and ripping, in LinuxMCE?  I haven't really been following the blu-ray/hd-dvd stuff very closely, but I did find this:

For the record, I'm not interested in pirating anything.  I buy all my movies and music and I'm only interested in FairUse stuff (putting my own movies on my own server to watch in my own house, and not giving the ripped movies to others).

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