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My new Home Theater PC

September 27th, 2013 • LinuxNo Comments »

Hello interwebz,

My movie viewing experience has gone through several stages over the years and just recently I got a setup that I’m thoroughly enjoying more than any previous solution.

First, a few years ago I made a post that mentioned using the PS3 with Ps3MediaServer (PMS).  That worked for some time, but I like digital copies of my media and when Cinavia became a big thing, and the fact I only use free ripping software and not the pay windows software that were “Cinavia compatible”, it killed my new movies.

So from there I went to a local Best Buy and got an older WD TV Live Plus and put the B-Rad modified firmware on it.  I don’t believe they sell the models that work with this firmware anymore unfortunately, because it really worked great.  I mounted my Movie directories from my Desktop PC to the WD TV using NFS, and when I figured out how to use MovieSheets it was beautiful.  It was like browsing a netflix listing with plot, ratings, screenshots, etc. of all my movies.

The downside to the WD-TV was the MovieSheets were not automated; until SheetMaker added a cli version and I was able to Cron it but it still wasn’t perfect.  Also, because the movies were in my desktop there was a few times my family would be watching something and I would reboot which would cause obvious havoc.  So I decided I wanted an All-In-One solution that could house the movies, and work like the WD-TV, and also run any other media software I might want (such as SickBeard, etc.)

The end result was me building a fairly beefy HTPC:
Fractal Design Node 605
ASUS F2A85-M
Corsair 430W PSU
AMD A6-6400K
G.SKILL Ares 8GB DDR3
Cooler Master GeminII M4

2 years pass, am I still alive?

February 5th, 2013 • GeneralNo Comments »

Yes, in fact, I am.

The past couple years have actually been quite busy for me. Just not, unfortunately, in a technical/geek way. I started this blog because I tend to be the kind of guy that gets a fun idea for a computer or techie item and tries it out just because.

I like to mess with different linux distributions, install weird software, randomly change out my dedicated firewalls for our home, etc. I figured that if I documented some of these things that are never quite as easy as advertised, it might help out some other people.

According to my StatPress app, my N810/N800 work was by far my most successful – but that is years old now and I no longer use/have any Maemo devices after it’s demise. (Seriously, bad move Nokia.)

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a lot the past couple years that needed documenting and thus, my Blog died. That, and I got Facebook (ugh.), so I was able to express my ideas 1 paragraph at a time.

The majority of things that happened to me in the past couple years were personal, not technical. Here is a list of computer/geeky things I’ve done and missed a blog post:

  • Replaced my PS3 with a WDTV Live Plus, which I absolutely love, for my media streaming needs.  No longer use PS3 Media Server which was, I think, my last post.  I have an older model, put B-Rad’s WDLXTV on it, and it’s amazing.
  • I use ipFire for a firewall now.  Last update I was using pfSense.  I have since tried: Smoothwall, Untangle, Zentyal, and ClearOS.  I used Zentyal by far the longest.  All the others were lacking in some area or another that I wanted.  I need not only a firewall, but a proxy for my children, and not just any proxy but one that filters content as well as allows me time-based security measures to “disable” the childrens internet at specific times during the week (school nights) but leave the wife and mine unimpeded.  ipFire gives me all this, but certainly was not easy to configure properly.  I ran into issues with all the rest ranging from unusable, to minor inconvenience.
  • I found CouchPotato, SabNZBD, and SickBeard.  Awesome.
  • I got in on the Loadout Beta.  Have not yet gotten it to run on Linux, which sucks, but still a great game so far.

I think that about covers it.  As you can see, mostly uneventful for me on the technical front.  On the personal side, however, and the main reason I have been gone – my wife got pregnant.  Our son, now almost a year old, is our third – and was born with a Neuro-Muscular disorder.  Diagnosis is still pending, some form of SMA the most likely candidate but all tests negative so far, but he sure does require a lot of attention.  He will most likely never walk, or use his arms for very much.  My wife maintains a blog dedicated to him here.

So, anyway, as for this blog I’m at a loss.  What direction do you think I should go with it?  I can still do the occasional technical update, but those are few and far between now days.  I could do Movie reviews, but I’m probably a bad critic.  I could talk political – trust me, I have a LOT to say about the current Gun Control mess going on in my country – but I don’t know who would want to read it.  I’ve done a political rant or two previously.  Ubuntu Mobile Phones are coming out this year hopefully, will definitely have to try some of those out.

What do you guys think?  Leave a comment, what would you like to see me write about?

Keep your family safe, and your networks secure.

Remove black borders/bars in ps3mediaserver

December 27th, 2010 • General, Linux2 Comments »

Hey all, welcome back.

Recently I picked myself up a PS3 (Ok, so I bought it for the “kid” for “christmas” ;)), and wanted to serve my video files to my 42″ HDTV. Now, I think there are three kinds of people when it comes to watching videos on these HDTV’s. You’ve got those that want a film to be stretched to fit width-wise, maintaining it’s aspect ratio, and just adding the black borders to the top and bottom as filler. This preserves the “look” of the video so that nothing is misproportioned. Then you have those, like me, that don’t mind if people get a little taller and skinnier, but just can’t stand having half the screen be wasted black space. The third is those that don’t care. There’s always a group for those that don’t care :D. Read the rest of this entry »

Ubuntu 10.04 install with LVM on Raid 1 using Graphical LiveCD

September 2nd, 2010 • Linux1 Comment »

Hello World!

It’s been a few months since my last post.. I’ve definitely let my blog go by the wayside.  It just seems I’ve been running out of things to tinker with.  But, when I do get around to doing something that I can’t find much information on while googling I try and document it somewhere.

Read the rest of this entry »

Miss Me?

March 31st, 2010 • General, Linux, N810No Comments »

Hello World!

I know I’ve been missing lately; I have gotten myself pretty busy between WoW, setting up an HA/LB (High Availability/Load Balancing) web and database server(s) for a client and just time with the family.

If you haven’t seen it before, Ultra Monkey is quite a simple and nice set of tools to manage an HA/LB configuration – and it has several good example configurations to get you started.
Read the rest of this entry »

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