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Topics - freymann

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Users / Adding a drive after the fact to the core
« on: March 08, 2008, 12:26:45 am »
While moving things around and getting ready to have all this fun with LinuxMCE, I had an external I/O Magic 500GB USB Drive that has worked fine, but after I powered it down, moved it 4 feet, and powered it back up, it just sat there with the pretty blue light on the front blinking. Today I thought I would figure out what to do with that drive as it had all our photos, music and movies on it.

By asking "the google" I found others had similar problems. The drive either started working again magically or was toast. Fun.

I decided to remove the drive completely from it's "box" and connect it directly to an old machine via IDE cables, boot up into Puppy Linux off CD and see if the drive was alive.

And what a stroke of good luck, it was! Yippie! So I used a samba client and mounted the public directory on the core and proceeded to copy my photos and music and a few videos to the core.

Now that I've rescued what I need off the drive (all my other movies are backed up to DVD) I'm wondering where to put it, and I'm thinking, put it in the core!

The "core" has a 250GB Sata Drive and Sata DVD-Burner.

If I take the 500GB IDE drive, format it as EXT3, can I plug that into the core and use it? Will kubuntu automatically detect it or do I need to just mount it manually (which I'm capable of doing and adding add an entry to fstab).

I was going to put it into my HP Pavilllion but there's no room for it, so the core sounds like a good place.

I have another idea of which machine to put the drive in, but I'll ask that in a different post.

Users / My afternoon with 0710 Beta 4
« on: March 08, 2008, 12:20:27 am »
I have posted a couple items in the installation forums, but for the most part, the rest of my comments are general so I'm posting them in the User's forum.

After installing LinuxMCE for the 4th time (and somewhat successfully) I was able to copy all our photos and music to the core into the public directory, and a few divx tv shows and movies. Slowly but surely they are starting to show up. For the movies, using the web admin interface, I managed to manually add them so I could finally see some HD 720p video output (not bad either).

My MCE IRD remote and blaster arrived today and that installed easily. That's another job for me, to figure out how to make it change the dish channels and shut off the TV, but since I'm no where near that (mythtv doesn't work) that will wait.

But I continued to make notes about the system throughout the afternoon. The developers may find these observations interesting (well, that's why I'm posting all my info in the first place).

-the dhcpd.conf file seems to be messed with. I had it configured and then my notebook would no longer get an IP from the wireless NIC, so I went back to look and it was back to what I would call the "defaults" and there were lines at the bottom that recognized my HP Pavillion desktop and the Dell notebook (I had to correct the Dell IP # and the usual router and assigned IP's).

At 3:29pm I had no keyboard or mouse response. The Gyro Mouse and MCE Remote worked. I rebooted the core using the web admin panel as I was unable to do any keyboard commands on the core. It rebuilt the orbiter stuff again. I powered off the notebook and logged out of samba as I was now finished copying my media over (and the core was busy cataloging my shared folders on the dell).

I started playback of an hour long divx tv show (ok, with commercials cut out is about 43 mins). I put it on pause a couple times, and while on pause for the 2nd or 3rd time (I was able to press Pause on the MCE remote, kewl) I went upstairs to spend time with my better half before she headed out to work a few hours.

When I came back downstairs, the core is once again ignoring keyboard and mouse commands. Even the gyro and MCE remotes were unresponsive.

Before I had headed back to the basement, I fired up one of my D-Link Media Lounges to see if it would find the core, etc. Couldn't get an IP address, so I gave up, went downstairs and found the core unresponsive as noted above.

So I had no choice but to hit the RESET button on the core (ouch). At 4:46pm it reboots, wants to rebuild the orbiter stuff AGAIN.

Now all my video output is off the screen on all four sides, just like what it's like inside KDE. Nice.

I went upstairs and set my other DLink to Static IP and it found a uPNP media server (the core) but there was no media available. Went back downstairs to find lots of odd messages on the tv screen, like:

EXT3-fx error (device sda1) ext3-find-entry: reading directory # 539037 offset 0
ata2.00 - exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x2 frozen

and stuff like that. Oh boy, so I have to hit RESET again! (ouch!)

It reboots, looks fine.

However, I boot up another machine in my office (hard wired) and nothing. Go back and check the dhcpd.conf file and it's overwritten again. I make the same changes I've done before at least 3 times, restart dhcp, now my machine gets an IP address fine.

Oh boy.

And I've yet to tackle MythTV, which still doesn't work.

When playing music, is it just me or do you have to play each song individually? That's rather lame. You should be able to pick a genre, an album, or the entire collection and say Play or Random Play or something. I thought I had seen something about Random but now that my screen is cut off on the left I can't see the pop-up commands when playing music. I'm glad the MCE remote has a STOP button.

Now I have another issue with a drive which I will talk about in another post.

As mentioned in this wiki page:

#2  If you have a PVR capture card, such as the PVR250/350 supported by IVTV, or the newer Blackbird cards (cx88), you will need to install the firmware before proceeding. You can get this from the card manufacturer. Or, you can do an internet search on '' 'firmware' to find users that may have posted the firmware for your card. Install the firmware before proceeding with Myth setup.

I'm researching what I need to do in order to get MythTV working on the core. Is that wiki page valid?

I also didn't know this was available to me either:

But I really don't know what I can do there yet.

More reading up on MythTV for me. ;-)

Users / Where do you copy public media files to?
« on: March 07, 2008, 06:55:49 pm »
My external USB 500GB drive has failed, but after tearing it out of the case and connecting it directly via IDE on a barebones box, and booting with Puppy Linux, I'm able to 'mount' the drive in read-only mode and see all my media that I thought we had just lost. I'm able to either FTP this data out or use a Samba Share client.

My question is, where do I copy the music, photos, and movies on the LinuxMCE core? and what username should I use.


Started over this morning. Spent the last couple hours rebuilding my core. Seemed to go somewhat better this time for unknown reasons, but I suspect simply not having the Gyro remote USB dongle in place until things were up and running may have helped (I have read many comments about problems and a repeated question about: did you have anything connected in usb?).

Like yesterday, I made notes as I went along.

I'm using a single NIC configuration. See my previous post for exact hardware details.

The start of the installation appeared on the VGA output only.

After the reboot, I got the Kubuntu splash screen on vga output, it did a bunch of config, logged itself in and went right to the AV Wizard. I note that some of the prompts and speech say to press enter but there's an OK button on the screen, not enter.

I choose OpenGL with Alpha Blending, Component output, 720p and then video output appeared on my TV.

I would note that the LinuxMCE screen displays perfectly, it's the correct size and the flickr pictures are very good lookin, but anything in Kubuntu suffers from all four edges of the screen running offline and out of sight, which makes navigation tough at times.

The AV Wizard said she couldn't find anything for MythTV and I'd have to run that myself.

There were no additional software packages displayed in the box. No problem.

I went to the KDE desktop, fired up firefox, went to localhost and logged into the Admin page. I updated the Network Settings and reloaded router from the Linux KDE Launch Manager. Went back to check the changes stuck (these are changes to use 1 NIC). Had to adjust NIC 2 again. Saved, reloaded router, checked, looks fine.

I then went to edit /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf.
-quesiton: under (subnet) should the "option domain-name-servers" remain as 2? (the core ip?) or should be (my LinkSys Router?)
-I changed "next-server" to Is that correct? 101-199 being set aside for LinuxMCE devices
-under (group) I changed "next-server" to Is that correct?

I then restarted dhcp and there were no errors.

I looked at /etc/network/interfaces (as I had to manually adjust that yesterday). I get:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

auto eth0:0
iface eth0 inet static
(no gateway line)

Is that correct?

At this point I can ping internal and external IP's and domain names.

I disabled the firewall, my LinkSys router has one.

Reloaded router.

Now it noticed by Dell laptop. I told it it was a server, and it was located in the downstairs office. Something flashed about "failed to get IVTV device" and then a message installed software done. So I clicked the quick reload button.

Somewhere around here the flickr images start appearing on the screen.

I shared my "Music" and "Photos" folders off the Dell notebook.

I then went to MythTV Config.

 Same thing as yesterday. Screen runs off the edges. No mouse. How do you make the drop-down selectors work?
 I entered my SchedulesDirect.Org username and password and managed to select "Retreive Lineups"
 Somewhere I got to scan channels. First it failed to open card, but later it appeared to scan channels.
 I was told to run mythfilldatabase but I don't know how you do that?

 So now I'm back at the main interface, wiggle over to media -> tv and a nice blank screen, no sound. A window asks if I want to reset the mythtv backend. Sure. Eventually I got the MythTV screen. Selected WatchTV. repeat above. Nice.

 So then I figure I'd uncheck asterisk as we don't use VOIP. For whatever reason I get a few screens about "something cannot register with the router" so I decided heck, check it back on.

 Couldn't get out of that loop so I clicked on restart from my Dell admin screen.

 Hmm, upon restart I'm taken to the AV Wizard on the VGA output again. Fine, walk through all that and it rebuilts all the orbiter stuff.

 Now it finds my shares on my HPPavillion desktop in the office. Walk through all that. Do a quick reload at the end.

 I awake my Dell from sleep mode and it tells me I have limited or no connectivity. Try Repair. Nothing. Reboot. Nothing. So now my Dell notebook can't get an IP wirelessly. Ok, I guess I'll go back and have a look at the DHCP configs.

 And that's where I'm at so far.

 I still can't watch tv with the PVR150MCE.

 Am i supposed to go learn how MythTV works now? Maybe I can run the AV Wizard, set it to VGA output only, and then actually be able to see the screen in proper size and set it up. Suggestion? From watching the demo video, I thought all this was automatic.

 My results are better than yesterday, and I assume my issues at this point are with MythTV? and perhaps a little double check of the dhcp configs.

Installation issues / DVD 710 Beta 4 Experience
« on: March 07, 2008, 02:15:31 am »
After reading and making plans to try out LinuxMCE for the last month, I was able to spend the last 4 hours working on the installation on a new "core" system.

For this particular post, I'm not going to ask any questions (those are coming in separate posts) but rather give an outline of how the installation process went for me.

I bought some new equipment early Dec/07 which has been working super with Ubuntu 7.10.

-2 pieces crucial 1024MB PC5400 DDR2 667 Mhz Memory
-1 Intel Pentium D 925 Processor 3.0Ghz 4MB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Socket 775 Processor
-1 EVGA nForce 650i Ultra (T1 Version) Sockt 775 ATX Motherboard with Audio/PCI Express/Gigabit Lan/USB 2.0/Serial ATA
-1 EVGA GeForce 8400 GS Video Card, 256MB DDR2, PCI Express, DVI, VGA, TV Out Video Card
-1 Samsung SH-S183L SATA LightScribe Burner
-1 Seagate 250GB Serial ATA w/NCQ 7200/8MB/SATA-3G
Just a cheap case and 400 watt power supply, CPU fan.

To get ready for LinuxMCE I purchased a Gyro mouse and a Hauppage PVR-150-MCE. The Remote and blaster is coming. I purchased a second PVR 150 with remote and blaster for use in a machine upstairs.

I thought it would be good to have all the hardware installed before starting the install, so I installed the PVR-150 PCI card and I connected the Gyro mouse USB dongle. Powered up, inserted the DVD and off we went.

I'm using the component output cables and video appeared on my cheap wal-mart 26" LCD HD TV screen just fine. I had a VGA monitor connected up as well.

Try #1. First trip through everything was fine. I got to the reboot part, and after the reboot, some stuff on the screen and then a blank screen for a very long time. I'm using only 1 network card and I hadn't flipped off the DHCP server in my router yet, so I thought, heck, go with try #2.

Try #2. I've disabled DHCP in the router. Same thing. Get to the reboot thing, it reboots, some stuff flashes by on the screen, blank screen for a very long time.

Try #3. I decided to install a second PCI network card. I turned the router's DHCP server back on. I removed the Gyro Mouse USB Dongle. Fired it up. Interesting, this time the video is only to the VGA output. It reboots and after a while I get the setup wizard.

I walked through the wizard the best I could. When I was adding rooms it jumped ahead of me as if I was done so a few rooms were left out. I couldn't figure out how to activate the PVR-150 card or pretty well anything else. I did connect the Gyro mouse USB dongle and that was recognized fine. I was able to send the video out the component cables and am getting 720p  1280x720.

So now it's working, I pull out my Single NIC & Existing DHCPd text from the wiki and set about to make the necessary changes. After saving the changes to the network interfaces, things just appeared to freeze up so I powered down, removed the 2nd PCI NIC, rebooted. I believe the network stuff stuck, so I was off to edit /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf. The wiki instructions didn't match the text I was seeing so I winged it. Reset the core.

Went back and checked /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf and my changes were gone and I believe there were more lines in there before and my changes were gone again? (can't remember). So I edited it again and rebooted.

This was going better... but I can't ping outside and my DHCP clients are getting the wrong gateway. I do an ifconfig -a on the core and notice there's no gateway there either. I think re-editing /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf *again* corrected the DHCP clients. But there was one last file to edit manually on the core, and that was /etc/network/interfaces. I had to update the gateway IP number. Restart again.

Now I have external web access, my DHCP clients are working, and all is well.

So I go to the wiki and I read the section on manually adding the PVR-150-MCE. When the MythTV setup program loads, the edges of the screen all around are off the edges. Anything outside of the main LinuxMCE screen runs off the edges and makes it very difficult to navigate.

However, even worse, is the fact that the mouse (either one, the gyro or ps/2 mouse) doesn't work in the Myth screen. I can't make any drop-down selector do anything and most times it just 'finishes' without letting me do much of anything. I'm completely unable to watch TV through the PVR-150-MCE at all at this point.

LinuxMCE is finding some network shares and asking me about them while all this is going on too. That's no problem either. However, one thing is bugging me is my I/O Magic 500GB external USB drive, that was fully loaded with all my media, just sits there blinking after I powered it off, moved it 4 feet, and reconnected. That's a bummer as it gives me nothing to experiment with on LinuxMCE at the moment.

I signed up at schedules direct, activated. I entered my username and password into mythtv but I have no idea what that is doing for me since the mouse isn't working on the MythTV screens and keyboard control is tricky at best.

I inserted a DVD and it played the copyright stuff for a minute and then nothing. Hmmm.

So 4 hours later I have a working box with the LinuxMCE interface. No idea what UI it is set on. I have no TV. No DVD movie playback. And no way to configure MythTV.

I think that's all I'll be doing today. Tomorrow I have made free so I can continue to play, and Sat and Sun is open too. That's my initial experience. I'll post some specific questions later.

Users / Moving from DLink DSM320 Media Lounges to LinuxMCE and MD's?
« on: March 01, 2008, 12:37:06 am »
I'm waiting for a few more parts to arrive (hopefully next week so I can start playing next weekend!)... to build my LinuxMCE core. Right now I have a small network of computers with smb shares. One computer in particular (ug, a Vista box) has a 500GB USB external drive with music/movies/photos.

At the moment, I have two tv systems, downstairs and upstairs (both with a bell dish for tv) that access my media using DLink DSM320 Media Lounges. I have nothing High Definition (well, the downstairs TV is an LCD HDTV), but none of my sources are HD. That is fine for us. Playback through the Media Lounges are pretty good (everything is hard wired). Mind you downstairs, even using the component video outputs from the DSM320 to the HD TV doesn't create any awe inspiring images on the LCD TV. In fact, I think it's the same resolution? (480i) as anything else.

I'm hoping that LinuxMCE will give me 720p or even 1080i/p? output to the LCD TV. My desired new core computer is only a few months old and meets all the requirements to run ubuntu just fine (2GB Ram, Intel Pentium D 925, GeForce 8400 GS video card, etc). It's running ubuntu 7.10 perfectly at the moment. The core will also have its own Hauppage 150 MCE PCI card to access the output of the Bell dish.

I intend to build a Media Director computer with a Hauppage 150 MCE PCI card for use upstairs. It'll be connected to a big 32" CRT TV via SVideo and since it also has one of our Bell Dish's at that location, I figure I can utilize the feed through the Hauppage. Correct?

I'd like to build another MD for playback only and put it in the master bedroom. And am I correct in thinking if we network boot either one of our laptops they will become a MD too?

The downstairs will be the main core and MD attached to the 26" LCD HD TV, with the capture card and dish.

While I get around to building the other MD's... can I play back video/photo/music from the LinuxMCE core on the Dlink DSM320's? They support uPnP... or do I have to hurry up and create a couple MD machines?

I "guess" I could just continue doing things the way I am. Heck, it works just fine.. but I like to tinker and experiment and LinuxMCE looks like a great fit for me!

Thanks for any comments you may have..


Users / 1" Rack Mount servers as MD?
« on: February 29, 2008, 04:00:51 pm »
Has anyone tried to use a 1" Rack Mount Server (plenty available on ebay) as a Media Director? If it supports the network boot, you wouldn't need any hard drives so you could yank the scsi controller and likely insert a good nVidia PCI video card with the proper outputs to your TV. There are a ton of them available right now that are lowly P3's. Some dual P3's. Given their size and price, would this be doable?

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