Category Archives: mac

Ubuntu Karmic – Mac Mini – MythTV

I gave up on OSX. I could not get the media center working the way I wanted. Plex and XBMC have their bugs, as previously posted, twice, preventing predictable functionality. MythTV for OSX simply is not as refined as its native Linux counterpart. It feels like running Windows applications via wine. I just scrapped OSX for Ubuntu Karmic. Out of the box, off of the cd, things work great. Audio works perfect. What didn’t work? The Mac Mini remote control. I tried for a day to get it to work the hard way. I saw that /dev/usb/hiddev1 was working and displaying data; shown with cat. But lirc would not bind to the device. Ultimately I removed the program, and ran a system update. Problem resolved; clearly a bug report was filed and a resolution provided.

Fanart and coverart work fine. The Linux based fronted is seamless compatible with the Linux based MythTV server. I didn’t even need to input the servers ip information manually. I did have to set the repeat feature, for each key in ~/.lirc/mythtv.

Now all I want is to have MythTV sleep the system and wake the system. I get it to sleep the system by making the halt script sudo pm-suspend. Adjust your /etc/sudoers files to allow passwordless sudo for /usr/sbin/pm-suspend. The halt script is configured in setup-general settings. Waking the computer is another thing that I have yet to get working.

MythTV Mac Mini – Fanart – Coverart

Ok, I was using OSX on my Mac Mini for a long time. MythTV, compiled for OSX, simply does not work with the fanart and coverart. I recently discovered jamu that installs with .22 on the server; the application conveniently scans your recordings and adds fanart and coverart. It looks great with basically all themes. Coverart will place an official looking cover as if it was an oldschool VHS wrapper, and the fanart will display a fullscreen image behind the description of the recording. Again, it looks great. On OSX it would not display. I actually went through the hassle of Samba mounting /var/lib/mythtv to try and get the fanart and coverart on the Mac Mini, but it still would not display. Currently I installed Ubuntu Karmic.

Fanart and coverart works right out of the box. The server is detected out of the box. Audio works out of the box. I just set the playback drivers to the mac hardware option, and HDTV playback works smoothly. The bottom grey bar is basically gone now, which is an improvement as compared to MythTV for OSX. There is currently only one thing lacking from my system. The nifty Mac Mini remote.

I currently am using one of the convenient iPod touch remotes that does indeed work. But it has no tactile feedback. I like it and will use it but I would like the mac mini remote to work as it did out of the box on OSX. I tried installing Mythbuntu control centre, but no go.

sudo apt-get install mythbuntu-control-centre

It allows you to install lirc graphically. It does setup /etc/lirc/lircd.conf and it does load the macmini IR driver. The driver works, and the /dev/usb/hiddev1 is created as expected, but lirc is non functional out of the box. Using irw I cannot get lirc to respond to button presses. I do cat /dev/usb/hiddev1 and there is output. I can use irrrecord to create a lircd.conf file. It appears to work. I apparent cannot get hardware.conf configured properly. Even with the custom lircd.conf file, irw still does not respond to button presses. Quite a frustrating experience. I don’t know what to do next. Irrecord is creating lircd.conf therefore I can only assume I have some sort of misconfiguration in hardware.conf. I will intestigate further. Everything is simply after irw starts responding; the mythbuntu-control-centre already has .lircrc configured which I can modify to suit the naming schemea I used during the creation of lircd.conf. I’m close but not there yet.

How Nice are Your Running Processes – Renice Them

The command to set the importance of a running process is called “nice”. The nice rating of a program determine how quicky and the priority in which running processes are handled by the CPU. If a process has a nice value of 19 it will essentially allow any other process to be handled by the CPU before itself. If a process has a nice value of -19 it will take control of the processor at any time. System processes mostly have a nice value of -5. Init and other processes are set at 0. User processeses are also given a 0. I set my virtual machine to the same as regular system processeses, -5. This is because the virtual machine is essential just as important as host system processeses and contain system processeses itself. For my MythTV server I set it at +10; I don’t want it getting in the way of my web server or the host system itself, in any way whatsoever. Even higher I set the Myth frontend to +19 and throw it on another viewport. I use the Myth frontend to schedule recording, not necessarily to watch videos; thats what my Mac mini is for connected to my HD TV 🙂 If you want to change the nice value of a process use renice. An example of this is: sudo renice -n 19 -p 16151 for -p you must put in the PID of the running process. You can use “ps” to determine the PID of a process. For example use: ps aux | grep mythfrontend.real You can also use “top”. Which gives you an updating realtime list of running processes.

XBMC – MythTV – What to Use for your Frontend – Backend

I have been using MythTV for some time now, and it covers all the bases. .21 works great, and I have no doubt .22 will be even better when it reaches stable. I use the backend to capture firewire in HD. It organizes, categorizes, schedules everything in an intuitive way. I used the frontend for some time locally and remotely, but I have come across a superior alternative. XBMC is simply superior. Albeit it is unstable at times, but so it the MythTV frontend. I bought a lowend mac mini a while back and had linux on it to run a remote MythTV frontend. I though “I have mac hardware, why no try and use a native mac application?”. I tried XBMC for mac, but I could not get it to actually load the movies. It would see and create a screenshot of the movies, but they would not play. I then looked into a forked version that actually worked as XMBC should have. OSXBMC worked out of the box; they call their fork Plex. It works with the mac mini remote out of the box. Set your box to sleep instead of shutdown, and you have an instant on low power PVR. Just add a video source: myth://mythtv:dbpassword@ Look up your mythtv database password in /etc/mythtv/mysql.txt. Its at the bottom of the file. It can be tricky at first to setup your MythTV backend to serve remote systems. You have to use mythtv-setup as well as bind mysql to the local ip of the computer rather than localhost. Configure mysql in /etc/mysql/my.cnf. Check out OSXBMC/Plex at:

Plex logo
Plex logo

Ubuntu – Mac Tiger – Windows XP – and MythTV on the Same Desktop

I have integrated Ubuntu Jaunty, Mac Tiger, Windows XP, and a MythTV PVR into my desktop environment using the default compiz in the Ubuntu repositories. Ubuntu is the host operating system, Mac Tiger is a VNC connection on the local network maximized to fullscreen, Windows XP is running in VirtualBox, and MythTV is capturing HD 720P via FireWire from my SA4250HD Optimum cablebox.

The cube also looks nice with these multiple screen, and with a powerful video card you can actually see MythtTV while on the cube. Open /usr/bin/mythtvfrontend and remove the line at the top that prevents it from opening multiple instances. Now you can open a MythTV frontend on each of the cubes viewports. You can actually watch different videos on each side of the cube.

Compiz Screen 4 Desktops - Ubuntu, Mac, Windows, MythTV
Compiz Screen 4 Desktops - Ubuntu, Mac, Windows, MythTV

VirtualBox No iPhone USB Support 1.5.6

VirtualBox LogoThe USB iPhone driver is not currently compatible with VirtualBox. It causes an error that does not allows iTunes to connect to the iPhone. Obviously this is incredibly frusterating for all Linux users that own an iPhone. Luckily I had Windows Vista installed on my laptop and was able to activate the iPhone completely. Then I backed up all my music and videos, installed Ubuntu, cloned by backed-up Windows XP guest OS, installed iTunes, and viola no iPhone support. You’ll get some message like 0xe8000001 or something of the sort when you plug your iPhone in. This is extremely frustrating. There is no Linux support by MAC, and VirtualBox is not resolving this issue in a timely manner. It seems that this has been an issue for some months now; this can easily be observed by the frustration in the VirtualBox forums and others.