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Messages - twodogs

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Installation issues / Re: NVIDIA proprietary driver
« on: January 07, 2011, 10:13:48 pm »
Great. I did run the wizard and xorg.conf shows "nvidia" as it should.


Installation issues / Re: NVIDIA proprietary driver
« on: January 07, 2011, 10:08:10 pm »
Thanks for the reply, Thom. Does that mean that MCE is using the proprietary driver, even though the Kubuntu hardware driver menu shows that it is not installed?

Installation issues / [SOLVED] NVIDIA proprietary driver
« on: January 07, 2011, 09:22:05 pm »
While digging around in the Kubuntu desktop, I looked at  "System/Hardware Drivers" and noticed that the NVIDIA proprietary driver was not in use. I have often read that this driver was better, enabling more desirable features than the standard Linux driver. There was a tempting "activate" button that I almost hit, but decided to check the forum and wiki beforehand. I didn't see much on the forums, but I found a section on display drivers in the tutorials.

This outlines a more complicated way of manually loading the driver. Should I use this procedure from the tutorial or is it outdated? Should I press the activate button on the Kubuntu desktop or will that break the system? Should I be messing with the proprietary driver at all?

As my signature shows, I have an ASUS P5N7A-VM with onboard GeForce 9300 chipset. Thanks in advance.


Users / Re: Yamaha RX-v1600 not being detected.
« on: January 03, 2011, 04:51:46 am »
Thank you guys for this. My Denon AVR3805 was not being detected. Tunebob, I followed your instructions in reply #18. It did not work until I rebooted and reran the wizard, probably because I temporarily ignored the serial device as it repeatedly tried to load. Now the receiver is properly detected. Fantastic.


Installation issues / Re: Ubuntu 8.10 end of life breaks installer
« on: December 31, 2010, 04:04:10 am »
Check out the big brain on Matt! That was exactly the problem.


Installation issues / Re: Ubuntu 8.10 end of life breaks installer
« on: December 31, 2010, 12:17:54 am »
I'm confused. Trying to install the latest snapshot and modifying the sources.list gives a stream of errors (attached) when I try to update. The old-releases don't seem to be available, yet the latest mention of this problem was on Dec 11. What snapshot should I use and what is the trick to installing it?

Users / Re: hdmi balun's
« on: March 29, 2010, 04:48:00 pm »
Connecting a DVD to a remote computer requires a USB extender, not a USB/cat5 balun. I got the best/fastest balun I could find (the Intelix, below, for $129). It was nowhere near fast enough to play a DVD. I then purchased a $20 USB extender from Coolgear that worked great.


Users / Re: Best Automation type to implement
« on: March 25, 2010, 08:29:44 pm »

I'm in the same boat as you, wondering what to purchase. I looked at three protocols:
  • Insteon: Dual-mesh network, using both radio frequency signals and the home's existing electrical wiring to talk to each other. Every message is confirmed as it is received, and if any errors are detected, the message is automatically resent.
  • Z-Wave: Wireless-mesh network. Confirms messages.
  • X10 - Powerline transmission only, no message confirmation.

Seems like Insteon would be more reliable since it is dual-mesh. Looking at the contacts section of the wiki shows that people are working on Insteon implementation ( Z-wave seems to be better supported in MCE as of now, and I don't hear of anyone complaining about wireless unreliability. X-10 seems outdated. I hope I'm not spreading disinformation - none of this is first hand knowledge.


Users / Re: Audio system options 101
« on: March 10, 2010, 05:32:32 pm »
Don't know if you are near a big city, but here in Denver I frequently find Denon AV receivers on Craigslist. I picked up an AVR3805 for $240. It only has component video though. I will eventually replace it with a receiver that has hdmi switching. Another consideration is how many audio zones your amp can support. The AVR3805 has separate volume and input controls for 2 zones. I've got a 5.1 setup for my TV, with the other zone powering ceiling speakers in my roof porch. The sound is faultless.


Users / Re: Dimming LED and CFL light bulbs?
« on: February 21, 2010, 04:02:17 am »
I'm with phenigma. I did a lot of research on this a while back and wrote it down for my green renovation blog. Maybe too much information, but...

Info on dimmers and lighting types:

A filament lightbulb works as electricity flows through a thin wire, causing it to heat up and glow. The hotter a wire gets, the more it resists the flow of electricity. So a cool light bulb draws a lot of current when you first throw the switch, then the current slows and stabilizes when the bulb reaches operating temperature. This initial current rush explains why bulbs typically burn out at the moment you hit the switch. Electronic dimmers like those used in home automation systems work by rapidly interrupting the flow of electricity. This reduces the current through the bulb and dims the light.

A fluorescent light is basically electric current flowing through a gas. Unlike a filament bulb, the gas initially presents high resistance to the flow of electricity, but the resistance goes down when the bulb lights. The decreased resistance allows more current to flow, and the increased current through the gas decreases resistance even more. To prevent a runaway condition that could trip your circuit breaker, a fluorescent light employs a “ballast” to regulate current flow. The ballast is essentially a transformer that uses coils of wire to establish a magnetic field. It takes energy to create the field, and that creates just enough resistance to establish the proper electrical flow through the light.

A low voltage light normally uses a transformer to reduce your 120V household current to 12V. As 60Hz alternating current flows through the primary coil of the transformer, it causes an alternating magnetic field. This fluctuating magnetic field induces electric current in the secondary coil of the transformer. The voltage is reduced to the desired level by using fewer windings in the secondary coil.

Electronic dimmers have difficulty driving inductive loads like ballasts and transformers. The problem is that ballasts and transformers are tuned to the smooth 60Hz alternating current found in your home. The dimmer,  by chopping up the flow of current, plays havoc with the magnetic field in a ballast or transformer. Insteon tech support told me their dimmers might work with some transformers, but others will cause dangerous overheating and/or potentially destroy the equipment.

Users / Re: External USB DVD not working
« on: February 20, 2010, 05:34:40 pm »
I finally got my external DVD player to work at a distance greater than the 16' max limit of a standard USB cable. It seems that a USB balun does not have enough throughput to play a DVD over cat5e at long distances (or short distances for that matter). I was confused because my USB balun advertised compatibility with USB2. When I researched the specifications I learned the following:

- USB2 supports a speed of 480Mbps
- DVD movies need about 160Mbps
- USB Baluns are limited to 12Mbps

So my balun would work with USB2 devices - just not at speeds greater than 12 Mbps! I needed a USB extender, not a balun. The extender I purchased has a 16' cable with a little single port USB hub on the end. I got a USBG-2U16 from USBGear with a chip by Genesis Logic. The chip buffers the information and retransmits it. I can attach another 16' cable to it for a distance of 32'. They can supposedly be daisy chained but I have not tried it.
So, I have a 16' USB extender connected to an 8' USB cable connected to a 4 port USB hub (with external power from a wall wart). My ASUS external DVD uses two of the ports in the hub in order to get the power it needs. Works great. I now have enough distance to put the DVD player upstairs next to the TV and leave the Hybrid in the basement.


Users / Re: External USB DVD not working
« on: January 24, 2010, 03:23:46 pm »
Somewhat embarrassing but I connected it incorrectly. The drive has a special usb Y cable in order to supply power from 2 ports to the DVD. I had left this wrapped in its baggy and just used one of my straight usb connectors. In my defense, the instructions are unreadable (printed on small page in 35 different languages).
I'm still not home though. This drive is to be connected through a USB balun and hub. The drive works when connected directly to the computer, and it works when connected to the hub. However, it stutters when connected via the hub and Intelix balun. I'll try upgrading to cat6 cable to see if that helps. Then I suppose I could try a different balun. I have searched and not found any info on a working DVD via usb balun - either no one is trying to do it, or perhaps they know it can't be done. I'll  post results.


Users / Re: External USB DVD not working
« on: January 22, 2010, 01:46:38 am »
I'm searching like crazy to figure this out. Its an Asus SDRW-08D1S-U that is supposed to be fully supported in Linux. The fact that it appears correctly before media is inserted seems to bear that out.

Users / [SOLVED] External USB DVD not working
« on: January 15, 2010, 10:45:46 pm »
I'm trying to install a new external ASUS USB DVD player so that I can relocate my hybrid to the basement and still play movies. The problem is that the new external drive is recognized, but not usable. The MCE install seemed to go just fine and the internal DVD (also ASUS) plays movies after installing libdvdcss2. Here are some of my symptoms.

- When I select "Media:Manage Drives" from the user interface I see 2 disk drives
- Hitting "eject" on the first drive opens the door on the external drive (the other eject button opens the door on the internal drive)
- When I insert a movie in the external drive a box appears in the upper left corner that continually alternates between enabling and disabling the device
- The external drive does not mount from the KDE desktop when I insert a data DVD
- The drive also doesn't work on my desktop with Ubuntu 910, but works great on my windows laptop.


Users / Re: Advice On New System
« on: December 28, 2009, 04:50:34 am »
I think there is a way forward. The TV and speakers are on the second floor directly above the main wiring closet in the basement - a distance of about 20 feet. I'll use the TV for video switching (it has an RS232 control port). I'll run a 30' DVI cable from the hybrid to the TV. I'll also run composite video from the DirecTV satellite box, using baluns and cat5e cable. The Denon also has an RS232 control port, so I can use that for audio switching. I believe that will get me up and running for now. When the HD-PVR driver is ready I'll integrate that into my system and simplify things.


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