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Nov. 24th, 2012

tt-rss ftw

I've been slowly migrating away from externally hosted solutions, and as another step in that I've abandoned Google Reader for RSS reading.

Today I have finally fully moved to Tiny Tiny RSS (source available from http://tt-rss.org) due to the web version being similar to Google Reader in many ways (and improved in the ways I care about), and having a decent Android client.  I was using their hosted solution temporarily to make sure that it would work for me, and when that stopped working recently it was the impetus I needed to install a server locally.

It strikes me that having a service like this running should be something that almost anyone could do, but the setup & administration is a bit onerous.  I wonder how difficult it would be to bundle up services such as these so that regular users could install them on their home computers with only needing to change a few settings for their particular situation.  It seems that other services like Skype, bittorrent, pagekite, etc, focus on making it easy for everyone to run services locally but available globally, even across annoyances such as NAT translation and ISPs with draconian filters. Perhaps a project to enable users to quickly setup their own XMPP, RSS, and WebDAV server would be useful and rewarding.
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Aug. 12th, 2012

Root on a ASUS Transformer

It seems that ASUS has yet to release a bootloader unlocking tool for the Transformer (tf101), though pleasantly they've released one for the Transformer Prime (tf201). The lack of an official tool for the tf101 means that users have to go through backflips to get there, which is rather annoying.


After several failed attempts, the method that worked for me (with a tf101, B4O serial, build 9.2.1.27) was to use the Debugfs method. I use linux so I just read through the

RootDebugfs.bat
and executed the commands manually. And, this is just the first (17) steps of a longer process to actually be able to load software on the device, something we take for granted on any normal computer.


All of this was so that I can use a more open firmware, Cyanogenmod for now. I've found that manufacturers tend to abandon their devices after a while or at least slow the rate of updates, which is reasonable given that such support is a fairly substantial ongoing cost for no revenue. However, when they stop they really should provide better tools to allow users to manage their devices from then on (ideally from the beginning) with the support of the community which has proven it will actively continue to develop software for the older devices.


An issue, even when using the "official" unlock tool, is that ASUS is claiming that unlocking the bootloader will void the owner's warranty. This is becoming unfortunately common, where hardware manufacturers will wash their hands of their responsibilities based on the user's software choices. It wouldn't stand in the server or desktop computer realm; installing Linux on a Dell won't mean that they can avoid their obligations to fix their own defects. Somehow when it comes to tablets, manufacturers seem to feel justified in doing so.


This is to say that from now on, I'll have to consider more carefully the openness of a piece of hardware before purchasing it. ASUS used to be much better about this with great tools for their motherboards and good support for free software on their eee pcs (my 701 is still going strong). That had lulled me into complacency to believe it would be the same when it came to their tablets, but unfortunately that's not the case.

May. 9th, 2012

Android devices in Ubuntu

I was struggling with getting an android device (the Fujitsu F-12C) to be detected in Ubuntu. If it showed up at all, it would show up as:
$ adb devices
List of devices attached
????????????	no permissions

Fixing this required changing the /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules entry from:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="04c5", MODE="0666"

to:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="04c5", MODE="0666"

An Ubuntu upgrade from 11.10 to 12.04 seemed to break this, and it had to be redone (and I couldn't find the solution written down anywhere, so I've put it here for posterity).


A quick restart of udev, then an adb kill-server/start-server, and I was back in business.

Jan. 10th, 2010

WinTV HVR-850 again not working

I tried signing up for schedulesdirect.org and in the process of doing so had to rejig the MythTV setup to use these new listings.  While doing so, MythTV had me rescan for channels which now no longer appear.

I'm getting "Timed out, no signal" on channels that (rightfully) have no signal, but "Timed out, no channels" on those that previously worked.  I tried upping the timeouts to 10 & 12 seconds, but to no avail.  The machine hasn't been restarted, nor the device removed since it was working last.  There's no reason that I can see for MythTV to no longer be able to acquire these channels.

This is frustrating.  If you haven't already, DO NOT purchase the HVR-850 (or HVR-950 variant).  Get an HDHomeRun or similar and be happier.

Jan. 9th, 2010

WinTV HVR-850 finally working in Linux

 That was more painful than it needed to be.

The key to getting the HVR-850 (or HVR-950q, seem to be the same hardware) to work moderately well was placing the following in /etc/modprobe.d/xc5000.conf :

options xc5000 no_poweroff=1

This seems to allow the HVR-850 to do work without reloading itself randomly.  I'm using a stock Debian 2.6.32-4 kernel (from unstable at the moment) and the dvb-fe-xc5000-1.6.114.fw firmware file.  This loads the "xc5000" kernel module at startup and picks up the firmware from /lib/firmware without issue.

Another useful bit of information is that MythTV won't scan the ATSC channels properly unless the timeout was set to be 6 seconds or so (where the DVB card is configured in MythTV there's 2 places enter these timeouts as 6000 ms... set them large or Myth won't work in the Scan step).

Now that this has been done, I'm pleasantly surprised at how much info comes over EIT (the list of upcoming programs) ... so much so that I may not bother with schedulesdirect.org (though CityTV and OMNI really should start putting some usable info in their streams; I'm curious why they wouldn't).  I'm unhappily surprised at how much worse the tuner is than the Digiwave/Electronic Master DTV-5000 set top box I have.  It doesn't bring in nearly as many channels and the weaker of those it does seem intermittent.  I've been considering using an HDHomeRun as an alternative.  Doing so would also likely avoid the hassles I had with USB (not every USB 2.0 card likes the HVR-850) and also allow me to pick up more channels (as it seems the tuner in the HDHomeRun is much better than the WinTV tuners), and more channels simultaneously (since it has two tuners built-in).

I'm watching the results of these recordings on an HDX-1000 (through component video to my older Toshiba 34" CRT which still works well) as none of the computers I have are fast enough to decode & display the HD mpg stream.  They do seem to display well, in the end.

Oct. 18th, 2009

OTA HDTV

Finally got around to hooking up the outdoor antenna. Without any adjustment, the following come in clear:

2.1 2.2 2.3
4.1
5.1
7.1
9.1
11.1
17.1 17.2 17.3
23.1
25.1
29.1 29.2
36.1
41.1
44.1
49.1 49.2
57.1
64.1
66.1

Channel 49 is actually a little flaky and drops out. Perhaps turning the antenna a bit (tricky in the current setup) would help with this.

Next step: attempt to get the WinTV HVR 850 working with the MythTV setup.
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Apr. 22nd, 2009

Playing with console LJ client

Playing with a new (to me) console based posting client: charm.

If this works out well, I may actually get back to posting on this blog.

One of the annoyances when setting this up was the hashing of the password required a manual python run, during which the ljcharm.py could not be found. This was fixed with a setting of PYTHONPATH before the invocation.

Sep. 14th, 2007

git

I'm now attempting to work more seriously with git. Unfortunately, I have to interact with a CVS server at the same time (for final commits, etc). I still haven't found a really good way of doing this (initially with ideas from a blog entry). git-cvsimport works fine for pulling things down from CVS into the local git repository, but going in the other direction seems to require a separately checked-out tree and some annoying steps. I also tried an alternate approach where it's all in one directory, but that makes the git history much less useful and there's still weird conflicts after committing.


If anyone has a good way of working with a remote CVS server and local git repositories, I'm all ears.

Sep. 13th, 2007

Linux Wireless

Saw reference to this page:

http://linux-wless.passys.nl/

Which will come in handy the next time I need a wireless NIC that will be supported under Linux.

Jun. 16th, 2007

Banana Bread

This banana bread recipe worked well:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_9722,00.html

Uses a large portion of shortening, but is quite tasty.

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