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Avoid “S to Skip” Message Ubuntu

After following the steps in my XBMC Live Drives Mounted as Odd IDs article, wherein the user modifies the label of the drive and sets it to be recognized as part of the fstab process, I found myself occasionally seeing the message that indicates that Ubuntu can’t find the drive. I found it frustrating that I would occasionally reboot my XBMC setup and the Seagate USB harddrives would have issues until I power cycled them.

With a bit of quick research, I found that there is an option as part of the fstab setup called nobootwait which lets the operating system continue to boot up even if the drive isn’t present. In order to add this option, take the following steps.

Open the fstab file in your favorite editor:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Modify the line for your hard drive to add the nobootwait parameter:

UUID=1234-5678           /media/SeagateHDD              ntfs-3g defaults,umask=002,gid=users,nobootwait               0 0

That’s all it should take. Next time you reboot, the system should skip past the waiting screen (“S to Skip”).

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XBMC Remote – Windows Phone 7

It’s here! I’ve finally published my first Windows Phone 7 App. If you’re a previous reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I’m avid XBMC supporter. I run XBMC on several machines in my house including a Linux based HTPC and on Apple TV devices throughout my house. My company recently started piloting Windows Phone 7 devices and I wasn’t happy with the XBMC remotes that were on the market (or their price!) so I decided to write my own.

The first version of XBMC Remote for Windows Phone 7 includes the core capabilities for browsing your library and controlling your XBMC box. If you have any suggestions, comments, or problems using the app, please contact me at [email protected]

Check out XBMC Remote on the Marketplace (the one by BoshDirect). The app includes a fully-functional 15 day trial and is the lowest priced XBMC remote on the market at $1.49

  • View and search movie library and select for playback
  • View and search albums and artists and select songs
  • View and select TV shows, seasons, and episodes
  • Remote control your XBMC
  • View movie, tv, and music artwork (fanart, posters, album covers)

*Sorry for the low-framerate video – I need to re-record it on a better computer.

Note that XBMC Remote is a libary browser and remote control. It does not stream videos or music to your phone.

V1.0 (“Taco”):

  • Requires XBMC Dharma (10.0).
  • Tested with Pre 11 (Eden) — subject to change
  • Movies, Albums, Artists, and TV shows are cached to device for fast viewing and searching
  • Initial movie, music, and TV viewing and remote control functionality
  • Panorama view for movies
  • TV Show Wide Banner view
  • Artwork cached to device for fast viewing (on second load)
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Tech

XBMC Dharma Confluence Location

After upgrading my XBMC installation to Dharma Beta 1, I wanted to modify the menu of Confluence to add a button directly for Last.fm to make things easier for my wife. It was driving me crazy that I couldn’t figure out where the Confluence folder was, but after searching through some of the XBMC logs, I found the location. I figured I would post it to the internet in case anyone else is looking for it:

/usr/share/xbmc/addons/skin.confluence/

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Tech

How to Install NewzBook on XBMC Live

NewzBook is an application I wrote to centrally manage my downloads and media. It has integration points with various indexing sites, SABnzbd, media management, etc. I originally designed the application for the Popcorn Hour, but I am now using XBMC again. I personally use the XBMC Live variant, so I’ve written up some instructions so other XBMC Live users could also use my NewzBook app.If you haven’t heard of NewzBook before, I would recommend checking out this thread on the NMT forums which describes what it does… I’ve also attached a few screenshots after the jump below.

2009-11-29_202539

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Tech

Set XBMC to Automount Drives

Whenever I install XBMC, one of the first settings I change is I enable auto mounting of drives. It’s a relatively simple change, but requires you modify a file on the filesystem.

For Ubuntu Lucid 10.04:

I’ve noticed that it’s not necessary to manually remove the nodiskmount option on 10.04 (grub2). The modifications that I used to make in /boot/grub/menu.lst on Ubuntu Karmic, I now have to make in /etc/default/grub on Ubuntu Lucid.. When I removed the nodiskmount on Ubuntu Lucid I started having some issues with the disks being mounted in odd ways (eg. my NTFS drive being mounted directly to /media). What I found is that instead of removing nodiskmount, if I just properly labeled my partitions, they would automatically show up properly — you can label your partitions using the e2label command.

As I noted in the comments below, you may still need to remove nodiskmount in Ubuntu Lucid to get your eSATA drive to mount (especially true for people who followed my Revo 1600 guide). What I found is that because the internal drive on the Revo 1600 is NTFS, it will cause the weird issues I mentioned above. If you happen to fall into this case, I would highly recommend you check out my article on Drives Being Mounted with Odd IDs. The article explains how to find the unique identifier (UUID) for your drive and manually create an FSTAB entry to mount your drive with your specifications each time the system loads. Now that I’ve wrapped my head around how FSTAB works, I prefer to use this method as it lets me set my own unique name, path, and other settings for how the drive is mounted.

However, if you’d still like to modify the grub parameters for other reasons, I’ve included the details below…

Open the file /etc/default/grub:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Find the line for loading your system (usually starts with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUXDEFAULT) and make sure it’s not the commented out line that often comes default at the top of the file. Modify this line so it no longer has the nodiskmount option in it.

Save the file and close it. Ctrl+O, Enter, Ctrl+X.

Run the following line to update grub and then reboot:

sudo update-grub sudo reboot

For Ubuntu Karmic:

If you are still booting from the XBMC-Live 9.11 Camelot USB stick directly, this will be in the syslinux.cfg file. If you have installed XBMC to disk, this is in the /boot/grub/menu.lst file. 

To remove this flag from the menu.lst file, telnet into the XBMC machine (use the instructions from the sabnzbd install post if you don’t know how), then open up the file with your favorite editor:

sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst (you may have to enter your root username and password — typically xbmc / xbmc)

Arrow down to the first line under “## ## End Default Options ##” near the bottom of the file and on the “kernel” line arrow to the right until you see the “nodiskmount” text. Delete this text then press Ctrl+O [enter] to save the file then Ctrl+X to exit. Reboot your box and you should now see some new items in your file manager usually named something like sdb1 or sda1.

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Tech

Send Command to XBMC to Start Music

You can use the following command to remotely start music playing on XBMC. The examples below were sent while I was SSH’ed into the XBMC machine. As you’ll notice from the music paths, I am using some of the ‘special’ paths which call up the LastFM tags of Rap and Alternative.

Start the LastFM Rap tag playing:

xbmc-send -a "PlayMedia(lastfm://globaltags/rap)"

Start the LastFM Alternative tag playing:

xbmc-send -a "PlayMedia(lastfm://globaltags/alternative)"

To play a tag that contains a space in it’s name, you must URL encode the space in your request (eg. replace all the spaces with %20). For example:

Start the LastFM ‘Classic Rock’ tag playing:

xbmc-send -a "PlayMedia(lastfm://globaltags/classic%20rock)"

I should note that each LastFM request is mutually exclusive of the other. Meaning each time you send a new PlayMedia request, the old genre/tag will stop playing and the new one will start playing.

I’ll add to this later when I start documenting some of the various URLs and functions that can be used to start playing music. A list of functions that can be sent can be found on the XBMC wiki.

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Tech

Upgrade XBMC Live to latest SVN

See below for some short instructions on how to upgrade your existing XBMC Live installation to the latest SVN version. These instructions should also work for regular XBMC Linux users as well. It is particularly important to update your XBMC to the latest SVN version if you plan on using some of the latest and greatest plugins and skins. For example, after I installed the Aeon65 skin I noticed that the skin would crash when I would go to certain views… many of the people on the forums recommended upgrading to the latest XBMC build so I did exactly that…

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Tech

Fix Revo NVIDIA Driver Error

After running an upgrade ‘sudo apt-get upgrade’ and ‘sudo apt-get install xbmc’ to get my system up to date (to the latest SVN) I started getting the following error:

XBMC needs hardware accelerated OpenGL rendering.
Install an appropriate graphics driver.

Please consult XBMC Wiki for supported hardware
http://xbmc.org/wiki/?title=Supported_hardware

The first time I had this happen to me, I spent a number of hours trying to figure out how to get my system back up… but by 3 am I gave up. The next day, I reran the XBMC Live installer and got my system back up. This time, I didn’t want to have to redo all the changes I made, so I wanted to fix things. I did a bit of research and this time I tried to directly install the nvidia drivers right away before mucking around with my configuration.

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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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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