Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Upgrading to Helios

I use Eclipse as my primary IDE (cue the IntelliJ fan bois). Over the years my personal install of Eclipse has become bloated and cluttered, so with Helios I thought I'd start afresh.

A pleasant experience. To go with simplicity I chose Eclipse Classic, and have added in all the features I need, rather than have a bloated monstrosity. I have enjoyed the Eclipse Marketplace having a "one stop shop" for those needed plugins.

The result, a clean easy to boot, lean on the memory IDE.

Friday, July 23, 2010

100% Nonsense

Meanwhile in totalitarian land the government has gone completely bonkers.

If Labor wants to boost it's chances of getting reelected it should dump the filter. If they can orchestrate a coup in a night, why can't they dump the stupid thing?!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

g-Cpan is my shepherd

The electronic TV guide for MythTV sucks! At least for Australia. I got put onto a little perl program called Shepherd. Basically "Shepherd provides reliable, high-quality Australian TV guide data by employing a flock of independent data sources." This is the good stuff! I read on about how Shepherd works and I was impressed enough to try it. The install instructions were pretty easy to follow. I installed version 1.4.0 Your mileage may vary with another version. If you're a Gentoo user you'll need the following mandatory packages installed for shepherd:

  • dev-lang/perl

  • dev-perl/libwww-perl

  • media-tv/xmltv

  • perl-core/IO-Compress

  • dev-perl/DateManip

  • dev-perl/Algorithm-Diff

  • dev-perl/Digest-SHA1

  • dev-perl/File-Find-Rule

The optional dependencies are listed on the Installation page, under Non-Distribution Specific They correspond to the following Gentoo packages.

  • dev-perl/Archive-Zip

  • dev-perl/DateTime-Format-Strptime

  • dev-perl/Crypt-SSLeay

  • dev-perl/GD

  • dev-perl/HTTP-Cache-Transparent

  • dev-perl/HTML-Parser

  • dev-perl/HTML-Tree

  • dev-perl/IO-String

  • dev-perl/XML-DOM

  • dev-perl/XML-Simple

  • perl-core/Digest-MD5

  • perl-core/Storable

However a mandatory dependency, List::Compare doesn't have a portage ebuild. The Shepherd page linked to a tool I'd never heard of before, g-cpan. g-cpan sits on top of CPAN, but builds ebuilds in your overlay, and installs the perl module in a Gentoo-esque way. If no overlay is present in your /etc/make.conf, the overlay will go into /var/tmp/g-cpan. My overlay is set to /usr/local/portage because I don't like the thought of ebuilds ending up in a temp directory. Running
$ g-cpan -i List::Compare
installed the needed perl module. Very nice. I couldn't find an ebuild for the optional module, so I used g-cpan for that as well.

Note for the install make sure that you setup up spidermonkey in the right way, otherwise the module wont install properly.

$ emerge spidermonkey
$ mkdir /usr/lib/MozillaFirefox/
$ ln -s /usr/include/ /usr/lib/MozillaFirefox/

While running the Shepherd install, I encountered a few errors.

  1. No mysql.txt Not sure how this file is created. I think it's a mythfrontend config file to specify how to connect to the backend. It's contents looks like:

    My suspicion is that since I'm using XBMC, this never got created. I created one in ~/.mythtv for the user that I run XMBC (and shepherd) with, and reran shepherd.

  2. Creation of the tv_grab_au symlink. If your user doesn't have sudo rights - which is a valid security situation, this will fail. Not hard to do yourself, but I wonder if Shepherd should assume sudo rights.

  3. Addition of Shepherd cron job to crontab. Failed due to lack of sudo rights. To do yourself (as root)
    $ crontab -e
    [Add crontab entry and save file]
    If you didn't get the crontab output from Shepherd, I put
    56 * * * * nice /usr/bin/mythfilldatabase 
    --graboptions '--daily'
    into my file (all as one line).

If you ran shepherd without installing the optional modules, you can rerun the install process using:
$ ~/.shepherd/shepherd --configure
Shepherd hasn't run yet, (the --history flag tells me so), I'll wait for an hour or so. Overall I'm pretty impressed with Shepherd so far. It's well documented, the installation process is easy, and provides good information to make decisions. Keep up the good work Shepherd dev(s).

Friday, July 2, 2010

MythBox is the key - not Asia

Apologies to any readers who don't play Risk for the post title.

I'm up to the stage where I need to get the recording functionality working. That was the major selling point to my wife. So I bought an Aver Media DVB-T 777 second hand from eBay on the recommendation of a mate. The reason he has it, and that he suggested it to me, was that it plays nicely with Linux as the Phillips SAA7134 chipset is well supported in the Linux kernel. I'm currently using version 2.6.31-gentoo-r6, with this config

Device Drivers
--> Multimedia Support
<*> Video For Linux
<*> DVB for Linux
[*] Video capture adapters -->
<*> Phillips SAA7134 support
<*> Phillips SAA7134 DMA audio support
<*> DVB/ATSC Support for saa7134 based TV cards

Compile, reboot, and done. TV card supported.

I emerged media-tv/mythtv-0.22_p23069 and followed the instructions on the MythTV wiki for configuring the backend.

When running mythtv-setup, if all you have is a keyboard, the left and right arrows allow you select options from combo boxes, the up and down arrows select combo boxes, buttons, text fields, etc and ENTER/RETURN selects whatever is highlighted. You'll get the hang of it.

When selecting your capture card, make sure that you select the DVB under the card type. In the case of my card, because I had multiple inputs (there's an S-Video adapter) I didn't change the card type, so I spent a lot of time figuring out what I couldn't scan for channels. The DVB "section" of your card is the antenna port.

Once you quit mythtv-setup and run mythfilldatabase, if you get an error about not being able to create a QObject/widget start your backend again. This is a weird error with not much information to go on, and took me a lot of googling to figure out. It's because the backend can't be connected to, so starting it solves the problem.

Once I got MythTV configured, it was time to check out how to integrate it with XBMC. The inbuilt stuff to connect to a MythTV backend is buggy, causes XBMC to lock up, and isn't very feature rich.

However MythBox is the saviour of this piece. Has everything the wife would want. So I'm testing the recording abilities now, and can watch live tv. Once I do some more tweaking I should have a decent PVR in the HTPC.

I really do need to get a new HD though.