I’ve been playing with XBMC on an Asus Eee 1008H for a few months, but never bothered to set it up as the main player in the house. This weekend, I attended a demonstration of XBMC at a local computer security meeting and was impressed. Very Impressed. Below are some tips that I learned setting up XBMC on my home network.
Sometimes companies do slimy things. It is usually because they didn’t think through the decision and I suspect Canonical simply didn’t think thru this decision before doing it.
Think again, Canonical.
BTW, Canonical puts together and markets the Ubuntu distribution of the Linux operating system. I have 15+ Ubuntu systems running here – most are servers. Ubuntu is based on FLOSS superheros Debian and Gnome and thousands of other FLOSS project teams, like Banshee. I don’t want to downplay what Canonical has done for Linux and usability, but the Debian guys do a tremendous amount of completely free work that is the base of Ubuntu and many other Linux distributions.
Banshee is a popular audio player on Linux. Banshee has an Amazon MP3 Music affiliate key embedded in their program so MP3 purchases made by users through that interface give them a little finders’ fee. This is common practice in open source software. Firefox earned millions of dollars last year from Google doing this.
Think again, Canonical.
Banshee earned less than $3100 last year from this affiliate program. Further, the Banshee developers give all that money to the Gnome foundation – another critical FLOSS software project that almost every Linux distribution makes use of. Canonical decided to change that affiliate code in the Banshee version released with Ubuntu so that Canonical keeps 75% of the money and passes on 25% to Banshee. Uh … sorry … Canonical. Didn’t your mother teach you that stealing is wrong?
Think again, Canonical.
Ask and Negotiate First
Canonical, if you had contacted the Banshee guys and worked out an agreement, I bet that some win-win solution could be found. Sure, your distribution of Banshee as the default music player will certainly increase the number of users and probably increase the amount of cash the affiliate program makes.
Canonical. You are acting like Facebook and Apple and Microsoft. Stop it.
With the new Debian Squeeze release and Mint-Linux, Ubuntu users have viable alternatives. I hope that Canonical/Ubuntu rethinks this stealing and comes up with a published revenue sharing model that works for all FLOSS projects they distribute. Hummmmm. That has me thinking …
If you are in IT, you hear Open Source Software – OSS – all the time. This is better than Closed Source_, but alone it still doesn’t mean you can modify the code or install it on 2,000 machines for no added costs. Wikipedia article on Free Software Licenseslicence .
- OSS – Open Source Software
- FOSS – Free Open Source Software
- FLOSS – Free Libre Open Source Software
have vastly different meaning today.
10 yrs ago, OSS was enough. Then commercial software started being released with the source code, but still contained the same proprietary restrictions. Many companies had source code licenses to C++ libraries from Rogue Wave Software. We could see how everything was implemented, but were not allowed to modify the code or the libraries to our needs. Often OSS is still commercial and requires payment for use.
FOSS goes another step. It adds free, as in cost, to the software. You can use it for free and you can have the code, but you may be restricted from modifying, distributing, or the number of systems where you run it. Lots of newer open core software projects use this loophole. They advertise FOSS everywhere, but retain significant restrictions.
FLOSS adds Libre, the Spanish term for Freedom to the discussion. This is what I prefer my software. Zero, or very low, cost. You are free to modify (or pay someone else to modify it). You have the source code and you can give it away and/or run it on 2,000 machines without any cost.
There are lots of different Open Source License Agreements for software. I’m not a lawyer, but I have read most of the agreements and think that I understand them. Always read the agreement and/or get legal advice on each license agreement yourself.
Summary of Popular Software License Agreements
Big, centralized, services like Facebook and Twitter are great when all your friends are there … until there is an outage. If you update or tweet constantly, you can notice when those tools are down. There are alternatives that are not centralized.
Identi.ca, A Twitter Alternative
The guys over at status.net have a free micro-blogging site (i.e. twitter clone) that is both centralized, but also supports federation. Federated services work like email does. Lots and lots of servers communicating using a standard protocol. If any single server goes down, that doesn’t matter, the exchange of ideas keep flowing.
Federation Is Good for Freedom
Had to reflash my Nokia N800 last week due to some sort of error. That fixed everything, however, it meant that I needed to reload all the applications – which is fine. It never hurts to reload the apps and wipe the trial’ed software off.
- Map Sources
- GPS Routes
- POI DBs
- Turn by Turn Voice Prompts
Maemo Mapper Sources
Anyway, the main app on this portable to me is Maemo Mapper a GPS tool. Previously, it was pre-configured to provide VE Maps, OpenStreet Maps, Yahoo! and Google Maps for street, satellite and hybrid maps. This time, only OpenStreet Maps was provided. I need to find how to add these other views.
- OpenStreetMap – Traditional “Mapnik” “http://tile.openstreetmap.org/%0d/%d/%d.png”
- Google Maps (street) “http://mt.google.com/vt/v=w2.95&x=%d&y=%d&zoom=%d”
I hear that Google changes this from time to time.
Layers are maps which have transparency so they can overlay the map you are using and add additional information. For example to add Road and city names on Google Satellite or Google Terrain maps.
- Google Traffic “http://mt.google.com/mapstt?zoom=%0d&x=%d&y=%d”
- Google Labels “http://mt.google.com/mt?v=w2t.88&&z=%0d&x=%d&y=%d” (use with Google Satellite or Google Terrain for labels for cities, roads, etc., i.e. “Hybrid” maps.)
Download GPS Routes
There is good news. In my search to find those old map sources, I uncovered a fix to the routing by address. I never had this working before. It is really simple .
Maemo Mapper configuration as follows: Menu → Route → Download… and change the domain portion of the Source URL to http://gpx.geotags.com/ Leave the cgi-bin/gpx.cgi?saddr=%s&daddr=%s portion remains the same. It was good to see it work. Very nice.
Over the years, I’ve added a few Points Of Interest databases to the device. Chains of cheaper gasoline stations, my preferred fast food chains and Walmarts. You never know when you’ll need to buy something at a Walmart on a trip. I also have a list of over 1,000 waterfall locations. If I’m near a waterfall, it is nice to know it and stop when in the area. I need to build a list of hiking trailheads and parking areas.
Turn by Turn
flite is needed for a Synthesized Voice telling you to turn left. There are lots of dependencies that may not be easily achieved.
- 9/10 President of Microsoft’s Business division leaves to become Nokia’s CEO
- 9/14 Nokia World doesn’t mention MeeGo at all
- Nokia Leaves MeeGo Alliance
- 2/10 Nokia and Microsoft form a partnership to push Windows Mobile7 on Nokia phones
A few links
We all know that Microsoft doesn’t like Linux. It is afraid and it should be. Microsoft owns the desktop, but not much else. The millions and millions of uncounted Linux servers and Android cell phones is cleaning Microsoft out of those markets. All that Cloud Computing stuff runs on Linux. For IT professionals, Linux is a joy to use and saves over $100/month in added costs required for a Microsoft solution.
To be fair, Maemo (which I have 3 yrs experience with) wasn’t ever going to be a mainstream mobile platform. It wasn’t sexy and was missing some critical software – the contact manager was a joke. I can’t really blame Nokia for wanted to back out from a business perspective. Most GUI designers, fewer engineeers would have helped.
If this wasn’t carefully planned, I’d be surprised. It was an easy and cheap way to effectively kill Linux at Nokia and turn a competitor into a pawn. Nice job Microsoft. As a stock holder, I’m encouraged. OTOH, I really need to sell those MSFT shares.
Seems the other news media caught on to this.
Sometimes you don’t need the best quality or performance from a device, you just need it to work good enough for a purpose. I wanted a cheap NAS for my home network that supported 2 USB connected storage devices. No high performance needed, just easy access to disks over the network. No RAID.
Usually that would mean going online and looking for a PogoPlug or some other cheap device. Then I realized that I already had the device I needed. Western Digital TV Live HD Media Player
Western Digital TV Live HD Media Player as a NAS
Network Attached Storage is NAS.
Most people buy a WD HD TV Live (or the newer Netflix enabled “plus” version) to playback media to an HDTV. It does that fairly well over HDMI at 1080p. Not bad for $50 (or $90 for the plus version). Because it runs Linux inside, it probably does other things well too. It is completely silent, so having this device connected to the bedroom TV is acceptable. Having it in your living room also works.
Sometimes having some information is good. Sometimes it is frustrating. For me, the Certified Ubuntu Hardware Catalog is the later. None of the video cards I own is on this list. Zero. It isn’t like I’ve purchases non-mainstream cards. I guess they don’t want to bother with official support for cards costing less than $100?
What are these cards that aren’t worth support?
- nVidia 220
- nVidia GeForce 7300 SE
- nVidia GeForce 7600 GS
I retired the Diamond 128MB adapters and the nVidia Ti4400s a few years ago.
Also the VirtualBox Graphics adapter isn’t listed either, but since it is a virtual graphics adapter, I suppose that is to be expected.
At least this list of supported hardware isn’t as short as the list from VMware for their ESX and ESXi product lines. Also known as the HCL – Hardware Compatibility List