Raspberry media player redone

As reported in my previous post, a few weeks ago I finally got to set up my pi3 as a media player, I set it up using the noobs thing simply because it was easier. I chose Openlec in the menu, I had tried installing kody before but that hasn’t gone according to plan, this did. It worked great and I was happy, apart from one or two issues with the way that I had the files set up.

After a while I realised that no updates had come through so I did a bit of checking and all I find were suggestions for manual updates. I really didn’t have time for that at the time so left it. About three weeks ago I stumbled on the reason why nothing was happening with Openlec. It had been abandoned! Why this hasn’t been made more public is downright rude. Apparently the developers had simply stopped what they were doing. A bit more checking and I found that a large portion ( not sure how many) had forked the project and started to do what they thought was right. Straight away I saw that they had done the right thing.

The name of the fork is libreElec which seems to be making great progress. When I came to do the install I tried their installer which failed. Yes I followed the instructions but due to a command error it didn’t happen. This was done with an older version nd a couple of updates have come out so things may have changed. Plan b, noobs from the raspberry pi website was used, I noticed that libreelec was now in place of its now dead origin so the installation was painless and simple. This also coincided with the arrival of a raspberry pi 3. Within a short while all was good and things were running. I also fixed the issue with the photos taking the tiff files out of the folders because there caused the device to freeze up. Music was still left to be dealt with, very untidy the way they were done in terms of use with kodi.

The system is slowly changing and improving as I discover better ways of doing things and new features as well. Searching the wiki when I think of improvements as given lots of answers of how to do things corrrectly, if I haven’t worked it out or fudged it first. Currently I have got it working direct with an external hardrive so that I don’t have to add the tracks each time I turn it on. I have also got it working fine with my pebbletime. The app of choice is opus, the other two have either had no updates for over a year or couldn’t connect. When seeing this up make sure to put the port number at the end so you have for example 453.675.1.###:8080 (number made up, didn’t think I’d put my real number did you?)

On the phone I can control the system with yatse, works better than the dedicated app for kodi with far more features. It’s with paying for this app because several more features are unlocked but I haven’t got around to seeing them up yet. Simple to set and use as well.



Things come and go

As I write this I realise that I haven’t said what has been going on with the various technologies that I use or play with for while and this post was started a few weeks ago. Recently has seen a few changes with things that I use or used to. For example, I used to use Skype to keep in touch with friends over seas and family but as I have written before its no longer an option for various reasons, mostly its now Microsoft and they have ruined it. The sound quality now sucks even more than it did and the android version was good at crashing and I thought it was just me but a a recent chat with the a windows user confirmed it was a wide spread problem. The linux version was also a problem in that it hadn’t been updated fora long time and was often not working, etc. In the past couple of months they have announced a new version of the linux application, however I feel that this is mostly aimed at the chrome people because it seems more of a web app than a desk top app. Off course they would do this because they see that system as a possible cash cow. In my opinion Microsoft still don’t like linux, just look at their patent record. Will I give it a try? No, because I don’t use it often enough and won’t give microsoft money. What is really needed is a cross platform video calling system that is independent of all the major companies so that they cannot favour their system and chase trouble for others.
Other changes in progress is the phone. My phone contract is up for renewal in a few weeks and it will not be renewed! EE have been fobbing me off for two years with their so called high speed 4g service, I cannot get it at home instead I have to rely on  Wi-Fi booster box which actually has become down right unreliable. Last week I tested a giffgaff card which worked perfect straight off with 4g in my home. Perfect but I still have to wait for the contract to run out. With the new company I can change what I pay each month depending on my situation and it’s half the price. My current phone still works fine but I expect I may change it before the end of the year to another unlocked phone which I can root and make my own. I am off the option that this is the best way to go and will go as far to say that contracts and locked phones need to be phased out, even banned to give the user a lot more freedom and control. I expect this will never happen due to the large companies having to much control in the world. About time time users went to a better deal like giffgaff  in the UK or possibly ring in USA, not sure about else where.

I have also got my raspberry pi2 working as a media player, kodi but installed it using one of the preconfigured systems. Its not perfect and is a work in progress, certain things are causing problems but these can be ironed out. As I move forward with this I am learning more of what it can do, dealing with tiff files isn’t one of them so I am having to go through all of my photos and remove the tiff photos (on a seperate harddrive to the main storage). Not a bad thing though as it means that I have been able to find pictures in the wrong place as well as a lot duplicates.

That darn raspberry

The past few months have been pretty grotty with with lots of rain and coldness (someone said it called Winter) So I have taken the chance to play with something new. The raspberry pi that I bought myself for Christmas (yeah, right,  any excuse) was got out of the box with a view to setting up owncloud. All I  can say is that there seems to be no set way of doing this. I followed one set of instructions to find problems because there issues with packages no longer used or out of date and no updates forth coming. Other sets of instructions said something else,  come on people,  keep your instructions up to date and at least correspond with others. It would be nice to have one central place where the most up to date information on this kind of thing was kept and if anyone found alterations or improvements in any part of the setup needed making then they should be able to add these to update the information.

So, I decided to put the wordpress project on hold for a while and set up the pi as normal following the instructions on the website and it works like a dream. I am going to use it for messing around and learning to code. Which I think was the origin intention before makers got their grubby hands on it and came up with lots of good useful stuff. I did have a little trouble on start up at first.

One point that I found needed to be made aware of is that there is a little switch on the SD card holder on the board itself that makes it read only and you can only read the card and able to run the system. That was found in a little article after wasting 4 hours trying to reset up the device (had worked first time). My initial try had gone so badly wrong that I decided to redo the card but the switch may have been in the wrong position (its really hard to find).

Expect more on this in the future!


Update with a view of going forward

Looking back over this year I realize that my posts have been few and far between and mostly to do with little more than what has been voiced else where unless I have been thinking about expanding on something with my thoughts. Once or twice I have commented on new stuff if it has interested me. I have also not done much tinkering and trying to get stuff changed to what I wanted. Well that is going to change over the next few weeks.

I plan on a post about my experience with kubuntu 15.10 and then on to a couple of current projects. The first project has come about due to recent data attacks on big companies. This largely involves going through my passwords,  etc and changing them but a password manger is involved as well. I have also signed up for a mooc course on internet security. The start of this project has been covered already with the KeePass post.

The second main project has an off shoot or three. This is the centred around a home server and a personal network (the first off shoot). This project has encouraged me to get my grubby hands on a raspberry pi, what inspired this is the recent announcement by ownCloud regarding its community project to use Raspberry pi’s and digital data hard drives to bring the possibility of personal home servers to the masses. Me, being me think this is great and a way to save some money and to set a challenge to set up a home server and get something done that I have been wanted for a long time. The good thing about this project is that it will encourage me get off my butt and learn to code (the other off shoot). It may also encourage me to get a second raspberry pi and and build a media centre (the other off shoot). Why ? Although pretty darn good I am finding two things wrong with the Roku, the first is that I feel some channels are missing and I feel a little restricted in what is available. The second is that I have had it with the Roku people changing my theme to a seasonal one when they feel like it which gives me a feeling that I am not in control of MY device.

Well, that’s the next few weeks taken care off and expect some posts with updates covering the progress on how I accomplish these including mistakes and how various problems are over come. It is likely that other things will come up that I need to cover…like home automation and true smart phone functions on my phone.