Author Topic: Teething issues  (Read 2131 times)

Robert_M

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Teething issues
« on: January 22, 2010, 06:25:36 pm »
Finally managed to get linuxmce installed on my server... Now I have the following questions:-

1) I don't currently have any way of watching live tv\controlling lights\controlling security and I have no intention of setting up the server for voip.  Is there anyway of removing the items that I don't currently want to use from the main screen?

2) I have a quite large amount of downloaded and self encoded video files and audio files spread across several internal hard disks.  In the past (and with XBMC which is what I had installed before) I wrote a script that just created a directory with all the video files static linked to.  I then pointed xbmc at that directory and told it that was my video files or music.  How do I do the equivalent with linuxmce??  How do I then tell linuxmce to not scan my other internal disks for other files (but still scan say a friends usb disk if I plug it in)?  So far linuxmce has picked up random video files and has failed to find any of my actual organised media.  

3) Due to issues with installing linuxmce (due to kubuntu not setting up my network so it worked on reboot), I installed with two NIC's in my machine (I read somewhere that it could cause problems with install if not).  The setup I actually want is to have the linuxmce server doing DHCP only and connected to my internal network (I don't want the server running linuxmce to be a single point of failure for my internet connection).  How do I go about changing linuxmce to just use one network card without reinstalling?

4) I plan to develop some iphone software to control linuxmce, what documentation is there to help people develop new orbiters?  

Thanks for any assistance on any of the above...
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 06:42:28 pm by Robert_M »

jimbodude

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Re: Teething issues
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 07:08:34 pm »
1) Web Admin --> Wizard --> Scenarios --> {Each Type}.  Uncheck whatever you don't want to see, or use the sort option to rearrange them appropriately.

2) LinuxMCE does not require you to do any work to centralize your files.  Start here: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/FAQ#How_are_media_files_organized.3F Also, search the wiki for articles about adding, removing, and ignoring storage devices.  Once you have all the devices and media in the DB, you should update the metadata and coverart.  There are screencasts on how to do this and what the benefits are if you search the forums.

3) You are on your own in this space, and will get very little support - in fact, I'm a bit surprised you haven't been flamed yet.  "Unsupported network configurations" is a touchy subject for some.  Although it is technically possible to do what you want, it is probably not worth the effort, and things may not work as expected due to auto-generated configuration files.  You're better off setting up a segmented network, which would separate "internet/LAN only" computers from the LinuxMCE network's "failure point" (Something like this: Internet --> [WAN] router [LAN] <-- [external NIC] Core  [internal NIC] --> Switch/hub <-- MDs, storage devices, etc).  I put "failure point" in quotes because, In my experience, the Core is much more reliable than my router.  I like to have the flexibility to take the Core down without disrupting the network connection of a few other key systems - this is a perfect case for a segmented network.  http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/FAQ#Why_do_I_need_two_network_cards_in_my_Core.3F

4) search the forums - iPhone development is underway by someone, the thread was updated in the last couple days.  See also http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Developers_Guide (this link is from the front page of the wiki...) - there is quite a bit of information there.  Start by understanding DCE, and how it binds all these unrelated devices and applications together.

skeptic

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Re: Teething issues
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 11:34:12 pm »
I will second jimbodude's comment on reliability of lmce as a router.  I have far more issues with my router than the core (basically none).  An easy way to get around using lmce as your router is to use wifi with a wap on the external side.  No wiring worries, laptops all have wifi, desktop cards are dirt cheap, and wifi is going to be faster than your internet so no speed issues.

Robert_M

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Re: Teething issues
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 09:33:04 pm »
Hi Jimbodude,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.  I've now sorted out some of my issues....

1) Web Admin --> Wizard --> Scenarios --> {Each Type}.  Uncheck whatever you don't want to see, or use the sort option to rearrange them appropriately.

I went to each of the different scenarios I didn't want under the wizard section and most of them didn't have checkboxes.  I looked in the admin some more, and worked out how to disable the devices (under the devices tree).  However the orbitor still shows climate/security/telecom etc.  I take it there is currently no way to turn this off (maybe a skin for the orbitor that doesn't show them or something).  

2) LinuxMCE does not require you to do any work to centralize your files.  Start here: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/FAQ#How_are_media_files_organized.3F Also, search the wiki for articles about adding, removing, and ignoring storage devices.  Once you have all the devices and media in the DB, you should update the metadata and coverart.  There are screencasts on how to do this and what the benefits are if you search the forums.

Ok, I've worked out how to disable storage devices that linuxmce has recognised, and have stopped it from scanning one of my disks (that has no media on it anyhows) which was the only one of the 4 hard disks in the machine that I had plugged in.  Given it hadn't picked up any of my other disks at all (the only difference between that and the other disks that I can think of offhand are that the other disks are all formatted FAT32 and the disk it picked up was formatted reiserfs).  I then created a bunch of links in /home/public/data and used the web admin to update.   This works and gives me a nice browsable list of files as long as I choose filename under the sort section.  However:-

a) It seems to default to Title every time I load it up.  This is not very much use when you have a lot of files, how do I set it to default to browsing by filename?

b) If I want to add a new file from another machine on the network and copy it onto the server so that I can play it (say into one of my users home/data/video directories), the only way to do so seems to be to login to the web server and tell it to update that directory.  Is there any way while viewing by filename to tell the core to refresh the directory?  Or any way to browse the filesystem to choose a file to play? (either without adding the file to the linuxmce directory or by automatically adding it when the file is played).  


3) You are on your own in this space, and will get very little support - in fact, I'm a bit surprised you haven't been flamed yet.  "Unsupported network configurations" is a touchy subject for some.  Although it is technically possible to do what you want, it is probably not worth the effort, and things may not work as expected due to auto-generated configuration files.  You're better off setting up a segmented network, which would separate "internet/LAN only" computers from the LinuxMCE network's "failure point" (Something like this: Internet --> [WAN] router [LAN] <-- [external NIC] Core  [internal NIC] --> Switch/hub <-- MDs, storage devices, etc).  I put "failure point" in quotes because, In my experience, the Core is much more reliable than my router.  I like to have the flexibility to take the Core down without disrupting the network connection of a few other key systems - this is a perfect case for a segmented network.  http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/FAQ#Why_do_I_need_two_network_cards_in_my_Core.3F

The only issue I have with this is that my ADSL router currently also provides my wireless, so if I want to have a MD connected up wirelessly to the core then I will need to go buy another wireless access point and run two seperate wireless networks (one for my devices that I don't want to be dependent on the core being on or working to access the internet and another for any MD I want to connect to the core).  Given I'm currently still just trying out linuxmce I don't really want to be purchasing new equipment at the moment that I have no use for if I decide not to use it. 

4) search the forums - iPhone development is underway by someone, the thread was updated in the last couple days.  See also http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Developers_Guide (this link is from the front page of the wiki...) - there is quite a bit of information there.  Start by understanding DCE, and how it binds all these unrelated devices and applications together.

Whoops - missed that....   Haven't had a chance to read this yet, less inclined to do so if iphone development is coming along nicely (last time I looked at that thread it looked like nobody was actively working on iphone development at all).  
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 09:35:32 pm by Robert_M »

jimbodude

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Re: Teething issues
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 09:57:03 pm »
I went to each of the different scenarios I didn't want under the wizard section and most of them didn't have checkboxes.  I looked in the admin some more, and worked out how to disable the devices (under the devices tree).  However the orbitor still shows climate/security/telecom etc.  I take it there is currently no way to turn this off (maybe a skin for the orbitor that doesn't show them or something).

No, there is no way to alter the appearance of the category icons at this time without creating new skins.

I then created a bunch of links in /home/public/data and used the web admin to update.

This is the exact opposite of the approach I suggested... These links will probably be deleted on a router reload.  Stop thinking like a Linux hacker... Go add the devices to the device tree properly, reload the router, and the links will be created automatically, and the media database will be kept up to date properly.

a) It seems to default to Title every time I load it up.  This is not very much use when you have a lot of files, how do I set it to default to browsing by filename?

There is not currently a way to set default filters.  It may be possible to look at what commands are being sent (DCERouter.log) and simulate them with a custom scenario.  I tried this earlier and had no success.

b) If I want to add a new file from another machine on the network and copy it onto the server so that I can play it (say into one of my users home/data/video directories), the only way to do so seems to be to login to the web server and tell it to update that directory.  Is there any way while viewing by filename to tell the core to refresh the directory?  Or any way to browse the filesystem to choose a file to play? (either without adding the file to the linuxmce directory or by automatically adding it when the file is played). 

All the data grids are built from what exists in the media directory, which must be synchronized to what exists on the storage devices.  This happens automatically periodically.  If it is too slow, for instance if you just added the file a moment ago, you can trigger the refresh manually from the web admin, as you have.

You're thinking like a Linux hacker again... The point of all this stuff is to never see the filesystem and to not care where anything is stored.  The user should be presented with a single unified media library.  If your media is properly tagged, there are advanced search features that should completely replace any reliance you have on the physical location of your media.  Search for tschak's screen casts on media tagging - the possibilities are quite impressive.

The only issue I have with this is that my ADSL router currently also provides my wireless, so if I want to have a MD connected up wirelessly to the core then I will need to go buy another wireless access point and run two seperate wireless networks (one for my devices that I don't want to be dependent on the core being on or working to access the internet and another for any MD I want to connect to the core).  Given I'm currently still just trying out linuxmce I don't really want to be purchasing new equipment at the moment that I have no use for if I decide not to use it. 

You will not successfully connect an MD to the core wirelessly and have it run well.  MDs pull their boot image directly from the core and all file work is done over the network since MDs don't have hard drives.  A wireless link is not reliable enough to do this.  Media playback is also hindered by the low reliability of wireless networks, which causes very low throughput and high packet receive error rates.  Yes, I know it's theoretically possible to do all this with wireless bridges and whatever other lovely network stuff you can think up.  I know this because I didn't believe that it couldn't work when I tried it.  Guess what - it doesn't work in the real world.  You can search up plenty of instances of people trying this this.  You're welcome to try it on your own, but I can save you a lot of time by telling you what you'll find: if you're able to get the MD to boot, it will take a ridiculously long time, and then the user experience will be poor and unreliable at best.  Not to mention the complexity of the setup is quite high.  You will be much better off saving the money, time, and frustration by running some CAT5.

If you are talking about using other media playback devices (like somebody's laptop), you simply need to open the proper ports on the firewall to allow them to connect from the "external" network.  Of course, the reliability of the network will still be a major factor in the quality of your playback.