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I am an IT professional (doing Integration consulting) and have been for the last 15 years or so. I live in Sydney, Australia with my wife and two kids. Been involved with linuxMCE since early versions of PlutoHome 2 and go through stages of 'getting stuff working'. I have a development history and have done coding in C++ and Java.

LinuxMCE is used primarily for media in our house (Recorded TV, videos and music) but I love the design concept of eveything being a device that lives in a household heirarchy.



  • Summary: This is an old machine that sits under the house next to the networking gear. It is installed as a hybrid but is essentially used as a dedicated core
  • Mainboard: Need to check again, but it is an old P4 board
  • CPU: Intel P4 2.3
  • Memory: 1 GB
  • Case: A big black thing with heaps of fans that runs quite noisily
  • HDD: Two IDE disks one is 300GB and one is 250GB- hoping to switch to a NAS at some stage
  • NIC: Onboard 100M for external and a cheap Gigabit card for internal
  • Video: Low end NVidia Geforce 4 or something - keep in mind I don't watch anything on this machine
  • TV Cards: Two Winfast DTV1000T - these work great, have aerial pass through and havn't missed a beat
  • X100p card: generic card I bought off ebay ages ago that is in the machine but has never been used

This machine is nearly at end of life and if something significant breaks on it then it is gone. It doesn't have SATA which is a bit of a pain but am thinking of going to a NAS anyway. The machine just runs and I really only reboot it if I have been playing with things and needs to get it back to a steady state. I installed this from the DVD and it was quite pain free. It has been in use since running about Pluto 0.44 or something.

Lounge Media Director

  • Summary: This MD probably gets the most usage day to day for TV watching as it it conveniant. Have been having overheating problems so recently have taken it out of the TV cabinet which has improved things.
  • Mainboard: Asus M2NPV-VM
  • Processor: AMD 4000+
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Video: onboard NVidia 6150 - using the svideo port on the breakout board connected to 80cm Sony CRT (using PAL)
  • Sound: Onboard - plugged into TV
  • Other bits: Run a wireless keyboard which is the main control point. Also has a dongle for the Fiire chief but that is usually in another room. Bluetooth dongle.

I regularly need to change the MythTV settings to alter the Interlace algorithm from Bob 2X to Kernel (less motion blur). This is apparently a problem with SVideo and PAL. LinuxMCE overrides the settings with Bob 2X so this has to be done often. One day I will get around to changing the code to fix this but it keeps falling down the priority list as we have a workaround.

BackRoom Media Director

  • Summary: Acer Aspire RC500 that I picked up second hand from a computer market. This has been a pretty reliable MD and does its job reasonably well.
  • Mainboard: Acer proprietary board for this machine
  • Processor: 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Video: Bought a low profile Nvidia 600 series board for this when I got it and works fine, hooked up to Acer PD113 projector (720p)
  • Sound: Onboard - hooked up to Arcam AV50
  • Other bits: Fiire chief remote and dongle is the main source of control here. Bluetooth dongle.

This box pretty much runs faultlessly. I have a USB-UIRT that is meant to do the control of the projector and AMP but I keep stealing it for experimenting with other stuff.

Spa Media Director

  • Summary: This is the latest addition. We recently hot a new spa (hottub) and it came with a popup 15 inch LCD TV and popup speakers. I have added a small mini-itx PC into the case of the spa.
  • Mainboard: Foxconn 45CSX
  • Processor: Atom 330 Duel Core (onboard)
  • RAM: 1GB generic
  • Video: Onboard Intel connected to LCD via VGA
  • Sound: Onboard - hooked up to car amplifier to drive the popup speakers
  • Other bits: Still sorting out the control of this. It will have an IR remote control but I would like to have a waterproof RF based remote for it eventually - they currently would cost more than the MD itself.

The LCD screen is controlled on/off with DPMS over the VGA cable. The Car Amplifier is controlled on/off by a parallel port controlled relay kit. It has a basic GSD device that calls some a simple C program to switch a parallel data port on and off.

Main Bedroom Media Director

  • Summary: eeeBox mounted to the back of an Acer 17 inch widescreen LCD monitor.
  • Mainboard: Whatever is in the eeeBox
  • Processor: Intel Atom N270 at 1.6GHz
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Video: Onboard Intel connected to LCD via DVI
  • Sound: Onboard - hooked up to speakers on LCD
  • Other bits: Usually have a USB-UIRT on this, and usually have a USB keyboard and USB mouse for control

This is not yet in the bedroom as it is still on the workbench - not because it is not working but because I like having an MD on the workbench.

Mobile Orbiters

  • Nokia 770 - This does not get actively used much, it works but I keep forgetting to put it back on the charger
  • Webpad DT366 - Running the gamma image that thom prepared. Just got this running so still need to see how well this fits in, but like it so far and has been conveniant for testing the spa MD.


  • Using MyNetfone for VOIP and sort of have it hooked up through asterisk at the moment
  • OPEN Easychat 210. DECT base station with three additional handsets that has a SIP interface and PSTN, but this is proving to be unreliable
  • Netgear TA612V for ATA
  • Still struggling getting all this working the way I want

Home Automation


  • USB Controller
  • Crystal panel light switch (dual) in back room controlling two rows of halogen downlights
  • Have another dual dimming module that still hasn't been wired to anything. Plan is to hook it up to outside lights.

Other stuff

  • Have a Pinnacle Soundbridge that ideally would like on the back deck. It is only currently working as a Upnp client.
  • Have had iguanaIR modules working with linuxMCE and will eventually submit some code for these but they are currently gathering dust on the workbench
  • Wrote a C++ device for a Phidgets 8/8/8 interface card. This worked well but needs some polishing before the code can be submitted. Also have some arduino boards that I would like to hook up but other things keep taking priority :(

Plans / ToDo

  • Unfortunately some of this stuff has been on the list for a while but with a new baby in the house everything seems to take second priority;
  • Get the Telecom stuff working properly. (This is driving my wife insane)
  • Control mechanism for the spa. Probably serial based infrared to start with as I have all the bits.
  • Write the device templates for the backroom and get room better automated
  • Clean up the phidgets code and submit it
  • Fixup some of the PLC-BUS stuff so it is more reliable and maybe get some more hardware.
  • Setup a dev environment and get back into some development
  • Get some household sensors working - maybe with the phidgets platform or arduino.