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Sunday, January 25, 2009

More on move

As I had mentioned in my earlier post about the re-organization of, some people noticed that my old blog location (directly at was still available, but just wasn't being updated with new posts.

Problem is that those pages have been referenced by the search engines as well as a multitude of links scattered around the internet. So for the time being I set up redirects to the equivalent pages on at the new location (

Anyways, the moral of the story is that the top level of is going to remain as a redirect for the next couple of weeks until the majority of the traffic that was hitting my blog, shifts to this new location.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pulseaudio Stereo Server

Ever since the speakers on my laptop decided to die, I have been looking for ways to get audio out of the machine.

There are a couple options:
  • Don't have sound
  • Use headphones, or a speaker connected to the headphone port
  • Use a network sound server
Given that I love the concept of tinkering around with weird technical thingamajigs, I decided to give the latter a try.

So here is what I want to do.

My mythtv frontend in the living room is connected to a very decent speaker system, also, there are other "always on" machines around the house which are hooked up to speakers.

I want my laptop to auto-detect the existence of the sound systems on these machines and connect to them at a push of a button, then route all of my computers audio through those speakers.

Anyways, I have not been able to get my laptops pulseaudio client to connect to a system wide instance running on the media server. If anyone has gotten a similar system running, I would love to hear about it.

Let me know.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Install mythtv on openSUSE 11.1

Last night I had one of those tinkering fits that occasionally over take me, and I updated my mythtv operating system to openSUSE 11.1. Since there aren't any really good instructions for this procedure (even the mythtv wiki is a bit stretched), I figured I'll post my instructions here.

My backend (and frontend) machine:
  • Pentium D 920
  • 1Gb Ram
  • Hauppauge PVR-350
  • 900 Gb hardware RAID 5 (4 x 300 Gb) with Areca ARC-1210 controller
  • Geforce 7300 GS
With the exception of the video, all the components in the machine here have good out of the box drivers.

Anyways, I chose the basic X11 installation from the DVD, since I wanted to avoid installing too much extraneous software.

The majority of the install is done from the command line so here goes (As best as I can remember):

zypper ar
zypper install mythtv-backend mythtv-doc myththemes mysql
rcmysql start && mysqladmin -u root password mysecretpassword

mysql -u root -p < /usr/share/doc/packages/mythtv-doc/database/mc.sql

mysql -u root -p mythconverg
grant all on mythconverg.* to mythtv@"%" identified by "mythtv";
flush privileges;

Then with a running X session run the setup program, and there is plenty of documentation available for this on the mythtv wiki


Next I created a user "myth", installed gdm, and configured the autologin, note that no password was set here for the user "myth"

useradd myth -m
zypper install gdm
sed s/DISPLAYMANAGER="xdm"/DISPLAYMANAGER="gdm" /etc/sysconfig/displaymanager
sed s/DISPLAYMANAGER_AUTOLOGIN=""/DISPLAYMANAGER_AUTOLOGIN="myth" /etc/sysconfig/displaymanager

Next I started yast and from the run level editor, I added both mythbackend and mysql to the start in run levels 3 and 5

Finally to get the frontend to display upon boot I edited the file /home/myth/.dmrc to read


Restarted the machine to test all was well, and I was up and running.

Not bad, as far as time goes either. In total the installation took me about an hour and half.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lappy on borrowed time

I have been using my Dell 700m laptop as my primary computer for the best part of a year now. And the machine is on borrowed time. I think.

Last year (2007, ack, that was two years ago.... anyways), I allowed the warranty to expire on the machine because I figured that since it had been so reliable in the past that I would probably be able to get away with it. Well, that streak is now wearing to its end.

And it's the little things that are starting to go. For instance, I am missing some of those little rubber feet on the bottom that prevent it from sliding around the desk. Also, the battery life is serious diminishing, and barely lasts 30 minutes at this point.

However, the most recent issue is that the speakers have cut out. Turns out the the speaker wire that runs up through the hinge area has slowly been rubbing away over the past 5 years and has now been severed due to general wear and tear. So no more speakers.

Dell doesn't sell the speaker individually either, they just come with an entire new lid (including monitor) for $550. So, I have removed the speakers and will attempt to repair them at some point in the future.

This is just indicative of what happens with laptops I suppose. They get exposed to all sorts of little bumps, wiggles and jiggles in their lifetimes, and eventually little things wear away.

As I mentioned before, Lappy is on borrowed time, and sooner or later something vital is going to break, and there is no warranty left to deal with it.

Anywho, the broken speakers thing got me interested in looking for a new machine, and the one I have come across seems to be fancy shmancy. The dell Latitude E4200 is what I would call an "ultra-mobile workstation". Functionally it is more or less the same at the 700m for day to day laptop use. The screen size is the same, graphics are still handled onboard, and the primary component manufacturer is still Intel (wooo, out of the box linux drivers). Unlike the 700m, the E4200 can be used with Dell's E-Series docking stations.

I have never used a laptop with a docking station, because, for the most part, I couldn't be bothered. Why not just use a desktop. But the new docks from dell support dual monitors, which is something that has really been missing for me. Actually to be honest, I have dual monitor set-up sitting in my workshop, but they aren't connected to a computer, they are just sitting there collecting dust.

So I am rather tempted to hand lappy off to a deserving person and move to a shiny new computer.

As I said, lappy is on borrowed time.

Now if I only had a spare $4k.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Changes to

Over the past several days, I have been working to rearrange how the domain is organized.

Originally, I purchased the domain as part of a web development business that I was running around 1999/2000, however, it sat at a pretty basic level for the majority of five years.

There are a couple sites running on this domain, and traditionally they have just been subdirectories such as /bike, /httperf and /resurgence. However, in pursuit of my new career as a freelance software engineer, I have restructured the domain.

  • My cross canada bike website is located at
  • My httperf portal is located at
  • This blog has moved to
  • Resurgence has been purged.
  • The root directory will be headquarters for the new business

A soon to be re-launched project about designing open source home theatres will be available at in the coming weeks.