Blog Archives

Announcement: Some updates to UbuntuHTPC git repo

Just a small update before I finish up a nice Blu-ray how to today.  The Ubuntu HTPC git repo was updated with new mappings and a line change to allow hot pluggable udev events, rather than a specific event.  Also added is the command for an “easy setup” under xboxdrv.  New mappings are:

  • LS (move): move mouse cursor
  • RS (move): mouse scroll
  • D-Pad: up/down/left/right
  • Back Button: keyboard backspace
  • Start Button: Shutdown/Restart Menu
  • LB: “Back” in Firefox, using this add-on.  Locked F4 to LB in .ini file
  • LT: Volume Down, mapped using Ubuntu keyboard shortcut F7, Locked F7 to LT in .ini file
  • RB: “Forward” in Firefox, using this add-on.  Locked F5 to LB in .ini file
  • RT: Volume Up, mapped using Ubuntu keyboard shortcut F8, Locked F8 to RT in .ini file
  • Y: keyboard space
  • A: keyboard enter
  • B: mouse right-click
  • X: mouse left-click
  • Xbox Center Button – call up onboard keyboard.  Ubuntu keyboard shortcut, custom set to onboard/F6, locked F6 to center button in .ini file

As always, the article will be updated if I add anything else.  Also of note, is under the software folder on the Ubuntu HTPC git repo, is a “launh_steam” script which seemlessly unloads xboxdrv (full HTPC control), loads xpad (standard xbox config Steam uses), and when done, returns the Xbox controller config to xboxdrv’s original control.  That way, you can launch steam out of XBMC without a hitch.


How To – Making a Media Center Using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

ccdf6dc794fd35c2a702751c7732b2324b66586216aee7bcad8017dd8ab508f3For quite some time I have been away from the HTPC scene (~2 years), having resigned to using a Roku Player with the Plexapp channel for home media purposes.  I recently took another look last week at the HTPC option for my home.  Safe to say, I found I could safely get 80 percent of what I wanted for a media box out of the experience.  The Dell GX755 PC slim desktop is now tucked safely into the TV stand, and it works beautifully.  How did I do it it? Why? Read on for more.  Read the rest of this entry

30 Days of GNU\Linux: Day 8

Credit: Comedy Central

As I sit here watching Tosh.0, trying to concentrate on writing, I can’t help but be at least very happy at my progress using only Linux at home.  As of this, I have installed Chromium Browser, which as of today as well, is using the VP9 open codec under the WebM project by Google.  Dang, did my online videos  speed up!  The once herky-jerky video that sometimes buffered even on my 8 year old HTPC (Core 2 Duo / ATI SFF 5400 series GPU), are now fluid and at least 720p quality now.  I am very impressed with this Open Codec. So, now that my online browser experience is nice and smooth what is left?  TONS!

I made good progress determining the proper Handbrake settings so that XBMC on my ancient Linux HTPC runs smoothly.  Aside from minor scan lines on some scenes, things are progressing well.  I at least got everything playing smoothly, and know the program well.  For those who don’t know, you must break the Blu Ray encryption first with MakeMKV.  Both of these are in the software section of this site.  The settings I had the most luck with, is 1280×720 (720p), MP4 format, H.264 codec, default decomb/deinterlace.  I made those changes after starting with the Apple TV preset for 720p.  Try different settings and see what happens!

Still searching for solutions to Amazon Instant Video, and if Linux teaches you anything, it’s DON’T GIVE UP!   Oh, yes Hulu and other online services play very smoothly now under Chromium Browser:

 sudo apt-get update 
 sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Happy father’s day folks!

Be on the lookout for my present findings on Blu Ray playback tonight, as well as some other nice tidbits.  Thoughts as well on cutting the cord under Linux and how to customize your Linux htpc.  Hopefully all of of that if time allows!

30 Days of GNU/Linux: Day 4, 5

Late post, yea yea yea.  I have a TON of information coming later on tonight or tomorrow regarding many of the media capabilities of Linux, in particular Linux Mint.  Of most interesting is my Blu Ray playback support findings, including ripping and encoding…as well as streaming!  Many of those things are in the early stages and I will go into detail on what is involved with each.

Coming your way as well, is details on what programs can make your Linux HTPC experience fly on the Debian/Mint/Ubunutu side of things.  I will also go over what is involved with sharing networked drives, as well as mounting them from startup.  Just keep your eyes peeled in the coming days.

Well, it’s back to watching American Gangster, on Blu Ray, streaming, on LINUX… 🙂

Till next time