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Setup Samba/Windows Shares on XBMC Live

It’s relatively easy to setup samba shares on XBMC Live, but it does require bashing out some commands on the shell. First, you’ll need to install samba using apt-get:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install samba

Then, you’ll want to configure your shares by editing the the file named smb.conf, placed in the /etc/samba/ directory. For example, I added the user folder and media folders to be available shares by running the following command:

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

Scroll down all the way to the bottom of the file, then paste in the following (use right click in Putty to paste something from your clipboard):

[xbmc]  path = /home/xbmc  public = yes  guest only = yes  writable = yes  browseable = yes  force user = xbmc  inherit permissions = yes  [media]  path = /media  public = yes  guest only = yes  writable = yes  browseable = yes  force user = xbmc  inherit permissions = yes

After that, restart the samba server using:

sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

Update: It looks like this has changed in the more recent versions of Ubuntu that the XBMC Live distribution is packaged with (10.04). You can restart the samba service using the old method:

sudo service smbd restart sudo service nmbd restart

Note: I updated the samba configuration above to include the ‘force user’ and ‘inherit permissions’ features as I was having trouble with newly created files not getting the right permissions and logging into samba.

Also, when accessing the shares from Windows, if you left the default security options you can use the account ‘guest’ with no password to access the shares. Otherwise, you can play with the settings to force a local linux account to be used in order to access the shares.

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Tech

How to Install GIT on XBMC Live

It’s relatively easy to install GIT on XBMC Live, but I didn’t find it well documented anywhere. Login to your XBMC machine console — either via SSH / Putty or directly from the machine (Ctrl+Alt+F2). After you are logged in, run the following command which will install the git utility:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install git-core

You may need to enter your root password (default password is ‘xbmc’). The system will likely prompt you to install some other required resources. Press ‘Y’ to install those resources.

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Tech

Restart XBMC Live from SSH (Bash Shell)

As an update for XBMCbuntu, you can run the following command to start/stop XBMC:

sudo service lightdm [start|stop|restart]

Original Post:

I always forget the command for restarting XBMC Live from the shell, so I figured I would post it to my blog. It’s a really simple, one-line command:

sudo /etc/init.d/xbmc-live restart

Then enter the password for the root account (typically ‘xbmc’).

Just to be clear, the benefit of running this command instead of a full reboot (sudo reboot) is the above command only restarts the XBMC Live application. This means if you have any other services or apps running (like SABnzbd+), you can keep those apps running.

The only reason I’ve ever really needed the xbmc-live restart command is when something gets locked up on XBMC… and that usually only happens when I’m trying out new skins or plugins.

I should also note that on occasion this command will not restart XBMC live. The alternative is to stop, then start XBMC again using the following commands:

sudo /etc/init.d/xbmc-live stop
sudo /etc/init.d/xbmc-live start 
Categories
Tech

Set XBMC to Auto Update Library

After getting XBMC Live installed on my Revo and getting my library setup, I couldn’t find a simple option to have XBMC watch my video folder and automatically update my library. In place of this missing functionality, I figured I would setup a simple timed job to automatically update my library for me every hour.

Before I get started, I should note that there is an option to automatically update the library when the box is booted up which may work for some people. You can find this under System > Video > Update Library on Startup. This option wouldn’t work for me though as I leave my box on 24/7 or at most just put it in a standby state.

See below for the details on how to setup a timed job (cron) to update your video or music library. This consists of installing the xbmc-send application and setting up a cron job (and enabling the EventServer).

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Tech

How To Reduce Size of WinSXS

I’ve read all about WinSXS (Side by Side) and how it tries to solve the DLL Hell problems that have plagued Windows for ages, but I thought it was ridiculous that this folder was taking up over 10 gigs of precious space on my 64 GB solid state drive. A few months back, I replaced my laptop’s optical drive with a 500 gig HDD to try to move some of my media and documents over. However, when I went to install the latest service pack to Visual Studio today, I noticed I didn’t have enough space to install it. I used a simple tool called TreeSize Free to analyze the disk space and see what was taking up all the room. A quick drill down of the largest item showed that the WinSXS folder was talking up 10.2 GB of space.

2010-01-04_103841

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Tech

How to Install SABnzbd on XBMC Live

Installing applications on XBMC Live is actually much easier than you might think. It does require bashing out some code on a shell prompt, but it’s relatively easy. You can access the shell via two methods: directly from the XBMC-live machine or remotely via SSH. See below for the details on both methods.

Before I start the instructions on how to install, I’d like to give a plug for two other applications which pair up perfectly with SABnzbd: NewzBook and SickBeard. NewzBook is an application I wrote for managing my downloads and files remotely. (install instructions | info) NewzBook includes a mobile friendly website that allows you to search for content and start downloading it remotely — it also includes a web based media player and file manager. SickBeard is an amazing PVR app written by someone else and it heavily simplifies my life. (install instructions | info) Simply tell SickBeard what shows you want to watch and it will automatically go out and search the major indexers and download new versions of the TV shows as they come out. SickBeard can also index all your content locally so it can then download updated / better versions as they come available — for example, you might have a few episodes in SD quality and you can have SickBeard automatically check for HD versions.

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Tech

XBMC Revo Audio Crossfade Fix

After installing the latest version of XBMC (9.11 repack), I noticed a lot of the small issues I was having with previous builds were fixed in this version. Pretty much everything could be handled via the configuration interface, but I found that I couldn’t keep the crossfade option enabled, otherwise I would get a ‘failed to initialize audio device’ when trying to stream the audio via HDMI and moving from track to track.

I quickly googled the issue and found a recommended solution on an XBMC.org thread, but the blog post they linked to was having a database connection error. I found a google-cached version of the website and figured I would post a copy on my blog as well in case other people are looking for the solution.

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Tech

XBMC for Windows IR Fix

If you are having trouble getting XBMC to read the IR commands from your remote from within Windows, I would highly recommend trying IR Server Suite which required little to no setup and got my XBMC setup reading IR signals from my MCE remote in no time.

The remote control (IR system) I purchased was the following:

AVS Gear HA-IR01SV Infrared Certified MCE VISTA Remote Control

I noticed that the traffic coming from search results for ‘IR Server’ were starting to increase on my other blog post about ‘Cheap HTPC with XBMC and IR‘, so I figured I would add a few more details to this post.

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Tech

Cheap HTPC with XBMC and IR

While browsing newegg the other day, I saw a nifty little gadget called a ‘nettop’ by the name of ‘Revo’. A nettop is essentially the desktop version of it’s cousin, the netbook. Similar to the netbook, the nettop is designed with lower power consumption, small footprint, and low cost in mind. Surprisingly, the Revo nettop (or Acer Aspire Revo AR-1600 as it’s formally known as) makes a decent Home Theater PC (HTPC).

revo_horizontal

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Tech

Sharepoint URLs

Often times when modifying applications or building themes for applications, it may be necessary (or at least part of the requirements) to remove objects that contain links to important parts of a page that you would normally use. For example, you may not want login links displayed on a site that is primarily a read-only site, but you’ll still need some way to login to the site.

Because I often need access to certain parts of a sharepoint page which have the links removed, I’m going to start building a short-list of links I commonly need to manually use.

Action URL
Login /_layouts/Authenticate.aspx?Source={sourceURL}
Logout /_layouts/SignOut.aspx
Site Settings /_layouts/settings.aspx
Change Masterpage /_Layouts/ChangeSiteMasterPage.aspx
Masterpage Gallery /_catalogs/masterpage/Forms/AllItems.aspx
View All Site Content /_layouts/viewlsts.aspx