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Currently running LinuxMCE 7.10rc 32bit DVD install- Previously ran 64bit, but I decided to switch to 32 when I botched up the install attempting to upgrade Nvidia drivers. I was careful to follow the directions and spent several hours looking for a solution and experimenting- Not sure if this is an issue with this hardware, or somehow I screwed up... Core/Hybrid Install was easy. Almost every thing works OOB. Spdiff and optical audio do not work OOB with 64bit (not tested yet with 32bit).

  • Main System core/hybrid, dual boot Nlite vista:
    • Asus P6T deluxe i7
    • 6gb DDR3 (3x2gb sticks) Oz platinum @1800mghz
    • Intel Core i7 920 @2.66ghzX4
    • Patriot warp v2 32g SSD (root drive)
    • 3x WD 200gig hd's -xfs file system
    • 1.5TB segate sata drive -xfs
    • Light-on Blu-ray sata drive (rom) (blu-ray's do not play OOB, but will rip- dvd's rip/play fine.)
    • Generic 3.5 floppy
    • Nvidia GTX280 (not working... haven't put much time into trying to get going)
    • Nvidia 7800GTX (works OOB! -driver update attempt on 64bit failed)
    • Zailmen ZH 1000HP power supply
    • Silverstone TJ-07 case
    • Westinghouse 22" lcd monitor

  • Network:
    • Gbit D-Link DIR-655 router/wireless
    • 2wire 2701HG dsl/router/wireless
  • Orbiters:
    • Hp tx1000 tablet (Works well as an orbiter with vista "must install as administrator")
    • Sony clie peg th-55 pda? (I tried, but the old clie just couldn't handle it...)

This wiki page is intended to document my install experience in hopes that it may help others trying to work with similar hardware/experience level. This is the first LinuxMCE system I've set up, and in general I have very little experience with Linux. Linux Code/terminals scare me! (working on that) lol... So if I can set up this hardware, most anyone probably can do the same if they have the time and patience- advanced linux users will likely not find much in here that's a help as it will mostly be about my own mistakes and ignorance of how the system works. Unfortunately I had already purchased this hardware when I discovered LinuxMCE- I wouldn't have bought such high end equipment had I been thinking of the system I am now, I would have done much better to spread my money around on more components, but it will come together as time and money allow. Before starting I read allot on Linuxmce, probably spent 5-6hrs reading and searching, I recommend any new users do this as well as many many questions you have are likely answered in the wiki and user forums.

Right now I'm just testing things out and trying to get a feel for how everything works; I hope in the future to expand the system for house wide integration and make use of all the subsystem's functions. I'll update this wiki page as I progress- oh- this is the first wiki I've created, so forgive if it's not standard, learning this as well.

Install: Install of 64bit LinuxMCE went very smoothly overall. I first went into BIOS, turned off the raid and switched the drives to APCI (APIC?) mode. (edit- this is required as far as I can tell, and means no 'easy' dual boots w/ vista- must adjust bios) I also returned my over clock settings to factory settings for stability, and selected (edit: this is not required, and probably not the right way to do it) "non Plug and Play aware OS". -not sure if that was the right thing to do, but I felt that would ease the installation as the mother board would then handle more of the hardware. (I've since put this back to "plug and play aware OS" and installed that way- everything seams to be working.) The first attempt was with the GTX280 card- I really didn't expect it to work, so it was no surprise that it didn't; the first screen w/install options came up but after I picked install the screen went black and never came back. I turned off the system and put my old 7800GTX in- started installing, no problems. It may be possible to get the 280 working with a driver update, will save that for later. (edit: driver update failed to work with either card- ui1 only on 7800gtx worked @ <1080p, signifigantly decreased performance.)

I considered installing on a standard HD rather then one of the Patriot SSD's for the sake of simplicity but I thought, what the hell... I did notice that 3 of my 4 SSD's where not showing- this is likely because I previously had them raided, and their partition tables are still messed up. I'm sure it's not a big deal, seams like I've had to fix the same thing on standard drives before after separating an array- can't seam to remember the process though. The SSD doesn't seam to have any issues with the install. There are tweaks I need to look up for this- as I've heard Linux is less then optimal for the way it uses SSD drives in terms of long term drive life (something about too much/frequent hd activity). The system installed and I chose the most basic GUI settings to ensure it wouldn't muck up the install. (edit: second install revealed I can pick UI2 alpha without causing problems) The setup was easy since I didn't have much to configure, the sound worked as was immediately apparent from video of the attractive lady guiding me through the set up. it detected the one standard Hard drive in the system and I told it it could use it, it detected the dvd and said it was configured, detected the bluetooth and said it was configured- then it generates the scenarios and orbiters, and next thing I know I'm looking at the interface. I noticed my dsl lighting up as it downloads software- hey, I have internet! Wow- nice! Can't believe it was so easy! Now what?

Looking at the menus was slightly discouraging, they were rather bland, and of course- I don't have anything linuxmce can control, nor did I have any media cataloged. After fumbling around the interface a bit I found the KDE desktop, and entered it- from the launch manager I changed the interface to the UI2 w/ alpha blending, after a quick reload- wow, big difference, that's more like it. I popped in a DVD to see if my blu-ray drive was really configured- it said, 'blu-ray, hd dvd detected, would you like to rip it?'. I wasn't sure where it wanted to rip it, and didn't think there'd be enough space on the SSD (does riping BR's re-encode? nope) so I chose no; I waited, hoping it would play, but it didn't. Will have to look into that... (edit: 64bit 7.10 does not play blue rays unless they're ripped to disk, 32bit may?, ripping does not re-encode standard dvd's or blurays- they save in ISO formate, with the extention .dvd -standard DVD file size is up to 8.4GB, bluray up to 50GB.) I popped a regular dvd in, and was pleased when it did start playing after asking me if I wanted to rip, I also noticed it knew the title of the movie. I started the movie, and was rather disappointed with the quality- it was a bit grainy and just off. Something else I need to look into... (edit: have since played dvd's back to back vs windows- no difference, just was an older movie.)

I decided I wanted to watch an HD movie off the hard drive and see how that would look, so I plugged in my 1tb iomega usb drive, a min later it was configured, and I told it NOT to use it unless specifically told too. (didn't want to risk anything being overwritten, though that's hopefully not a realistic concern- edit: it's not, and I should have told it to use the drive...) then looking in the orbiter, hmm, no media listed... I figured maybe it needed time so I went away and came back in an hour- still nothing. So I went into the admin page, to try and fix things, only it wouldn't let me log in with the user/pass I'd created during set up. A quick search revealed that the correct User AND Pass is actually the first family member name you enter, NOT the user pass you set up- (edit: that's only used for sudo terminal commands) confusing, but ok whatever... got in admin and found the check box for 'use this drive', checked it, saved- went away, came back, still nothing... (edit: the box aperently doesn't work, lol.) At that point I shrugged it off and thought I'd try and get my network going- then maybe I could access it through the other com on the network. So I plugged in the router, and the two com's, and then curiosity got the better of me so I tried to netboot the second box. That didn't work... so I loaded up windows xp and logged into the (eth1 external- dlink) router, found two problems- #1 the router had it's own dhcp server going. #2 the access logs showed something about 'dcerouter' (the core) trying to access from the wrong subnet 'ip spoofing' it said.

So I turned off the dlink's dhcp server and changed it's subnet to (the same subnet as the core- I remember reading somewhere that this address was hard coded in certain areas of linuxmce and that changing it (on the core) would cause problems.) I restarted the router, Tried to netboot again, still nothing... oh well- back on track, back into XP, this time to see if the network was working- dcerouter showed up, but no user/pass seamed to work. hmm... I went back to the linuxmce box, XP wasn't even showing up. It was at this point I realized, I'd disabled file sharing services, and basically butchered and streamlined this XP install to the point where it probably wasn't going to be remotely easy to get networked- this has always been a single machine, no need for networking beyond internet access. I do have an additional full XP install on this machine, but working with it consistently leaves a bad taste in my mouth... So, back to the netbooting task... (yes... I do have a bit of ADD :P )

I Started searching the wiki and discovered that on 710 the core has to be told and prepare itself before you can netboot an MD- ahh ok- so I followed the instructions on how to do that and tried again- Viola! the MD netbooted successfully and installed; I couldn't see the video of the pretty lady- it said 'file not found'- but that's a small gripe, everything else worked... It detected and configured all the drives attached to the MD, though again I told it not to use any of them. Again I waited to see if the media would be detected- at this point it had access to about 1.2tb of media (yes, it's all legal by current 'fair use' standards- I've got racks of retail cds/dvds to prove it)- it didn't seam to be doing anything with it... So some more searching revealed you have to use 'synchronize media' in the admin panel. (edit: not if it's set up right. ie: tell it to use the drive, use the pluto folder structure, and then move your media into the correct folders)

At this point I decided I was over complicating things by trying to make it stream through the network, so I just moved the two usb hard drives and plugged them directly into the core. K.I.S.S. EDIT: Please tell me your not using this as any sort of step by step instructions- if you are, you probably shouldn't be, and you should know what I did next I now suspect screwed up my database So I found the 'synchronize media' in the admin panel and found what appeared to be one of the hard drives in the menu- hit synchronize and... nothing... it seamed to synchronize a file that had the same name as the hard drive- this file appeared in the orbiter... A bit more poking around revealed that I was in the wrong menu (on the left- home/public/data... edit: That IS the right menu/folder), and the menu I was looking for was a bit hidden- to get there I had to click switch to mnt/upnp and then click 'up one level' and then devices, and then click the hard drives/folders I wanted to synchronize- the hard drives where listed under numbers that I remembered seeing when they where first detected/configured during install. That worked! It started the process of cataloging. (edit: incorrectly... exactly how I told it too)

The movies which is the bulk of my media went quite quickly- the mp3's took a long time (due to tags and album art/lyrics etc). So I go back into the orbiter, and finally- I've got media! But what a disorganized mess! I've got allot of work to do on my tagging... the movies especially (none of them where tagged- I've always just browsed my organized folders and loaded them through windows explorer)- the mp3's I've been much better about tagging and keeping organized, but if a file is missing a particular field (like genre for example, or far worse TV show) they don't show up with the search filters/organization; result: all my tv shows are mixed in with my movies- this won't do... need to find a solution, hopefully one that doesn't involved edited each file individually- I'm not sure I have the patience for that...

To be continued: Next- streaming through the netbooted media director.

...umm... Oh noes! linuxmce ate my baby! (edit: nope.)

I lol'd when I read that on the user forums- written by a dev I think, regarding peoples propensity to blame the OS for any and every problem they encounter. Honestly I don't know if linuxmce truely 'ate my baby' - it's probably a hardware failure (running a mem test as I type this.) , maybe it's something else- Whatever it is, it's most likely my fault... All I really know is 'my baby' seams to be dead today. 'My baby' being the nlight XP install on my MD system (not the core/hybrid); this is the system that's got my life on it... it is, of course, backed up. Still, there few things more frustrating then seeing a bsod on boot- That sinking feeling that your about to have to reinstall your OS and all your programs, fish numerous files out and move them back where they should be, all to get back to where you where before- And of course to be reminded, that you should really have figured out a better back up system by now, with all the options out there... I am kicking myself for not unplugging the HD that had the install on it- though who knows, it probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway. -I remember telling the MD setup NOT to use the drive that had my xp OS on it- so that couldn't be the problem, right? Oh well.. The bsod specifically said 'this system is not fully acpi compliant'; hmm, that's news to me- smells like a hardware failure. Still can't help worrying a bit that my other HD's could somehow be getting screwed up. For now, I've unplugged them (when the sys was shut down) just to be on the safe side.

So... what happened is, this morning I tried to netboot the MD, too my surprise it wouldn't boot- it appeared to be netbooting correctly but then hung on 37.673410 eth0: linkup . just stopped there, and didn't seam to be doing anything else, I waited 10 min and then restarted. same results. I tried to think what on earth was different... hmm..

  • I'd unplugged the MD (when it was running) from the back of the dsl modum (2wire dsl/wireless- previously both the MD and the core where plugged into it) because the modem was complaining (loading it's own little information page rather then opening the web pages I requested) about there being a router behind the router (multiple dhcp servers) that was conflicting, after unplugging the MD from the modem everything seamed to work, the MD still had internet access and no more complaints from the modem.
  • The media database had changed (it was empty when I'd last netbooted the MD)
  • I shutdown the MD to concentrate on getting my media to show up in the core/hybrid.
  • I got the media to show ((incorrectly) as described previously)
  • I'd made some playlists- watched a movie- and read several pdf's.
  • I changed the time format for the KDE desktop to 12hr (and discovered there is no option to do that in the orbiter).
  • Then the system (core/hybrid) was powered down last night -everything seamed normal when I booted it back up...
  • I'd moved the usb drives from the Core to the MD, and back again.

So- at this point, this definitely seams like a network problem . I suck at network stuff- there, I admitted it; I know it's mostly simple stuff, I think I've got the basic understanding that I should be able to work with it (and usually after fumbling a bit I can get it to work) but it's just like I've got a black cloud over my head when I try to get a network going. It either works and it's simple and easy, or it doesn't, and I feel lost as too why. Somehow, having this problem didn't surprise me at all- even though I'd followed the install directions to the letter. The surprise, was yesterday, when it seamed I'd fixed the problem so easily, and things where actually working. Now- this router behind a router message confused the hell out of me... Yes- I do have TWO networks, and two network interfaces (on board both motherboards) on both systems- My internal network (eth0) links the core/hybrid to D-link router which then links to the MD; My external network (eth1) links the core/hybrid to 2wire modem/router & MD to 2wire. I didn't actually intend to set it (the linuxmce network) up this way- if you recall, I first attempted to netboot on a whim, and the network was then set up to be separate from the core/hybrid- my xp OS needed a direct internet connection- I neglected to unplug the box from the modem when I did successfully netboot and install it as an MD. So now, the core/hybrid was seeing the MD on both the internal and external network (the 2wire modem also acts as a router). I've not seen a network schematic that shows this configuration, so I'm assuming it may be a problem (edit: now I have seen it set that way, so I think it should be ok that way if the routers are set up correctly) From what I understand this router behind a router the 2wire complained about is about their being two dhcp servers on the same network- both trying to dictate to the other devices on the network who they are (their ip's and the ip's of the other devices on the network)- so I think what was happening is that my 2wire was arguing with my core about who had the right to name the IP of my MD on the external network (eth1) (edit: nope, it was about internal eth0). The reason this is very confusing, is that as far as I know the core/hybrid isn't supposed to be running a dhcp server on the external network, rather it is supposed to listen for and accept the demands of the dhcp server it already expected to be on the network (the modem)- and since it had internet access, it must have been doing that successfully? How could it both be receiving and obeying commands, and trying to give them on the same network? I'm probably missing something here, but my thoughts at this point was that somehow, since the core is seeing the MD through both the internal AND external network, that it was getting mucked up and confused- something was looping and mixing up the networks- the simple solution seamed to be to unplug the MD from the 2wire, and instead let it access the internet through the Core/hybrid via the internal network- that's how I've always seen it in the linuxmce network schematics online. This worked- I think... (edit: seams coincidental, the modum just happened to reach it's nusence level at that point and gave up badering me with the router behind the router message.)

At this point I'm thinking- ok, so the MD was setup, with a direct connection to both the internal and external network when it was installed- I wonder if it will boot if I plug it back into the external network. (ie, maybe the networks physical layout isn't a problem and the system can adapt- it's just the modem that can't, I could turn off dhcp in the modem more easily then reinstalling the MD.) So I plug it back in and this time rather then hanging on 'link up', it goes farther, and then restarts itself; I let it cycle once more and get the same thing, so I turn it off. Ok then... what now? I decide to remove and reinstall the MD from the core/hybrid. I go through the process- delete device- add device- wait for it to install- setup diskless MD- quick reload router- try to net boot, same results. I start to load win XP to check the settings of both routers- and then- crap, Bsod on windows boot. I'm at a loss for what to do next, other then restoring my XP system, and having a close look at the admin configuration to see if anything pops out at me.

hmm- think I may have found something. -Desktop is labeled as a device in admin. 'Desktop' is the network name of my XP setup. -looks like the core might be trying to deal with two different machines, that are really one and the same- ie trying to set up a network share, and netboot a machine at the same time.

To be continued...

After deleting the 'Desktop' from the core/hybrid admin panel, the MD successfully netbooted and reinstalled- I'm typing from it right now. but somethings not right... it's pausing frequently, loading and doing things painfully slow. and 'Gasp' I don't have a spell checker working. weird. this can't be right. the network seams to be going almost constantly- though I'm not sure what it's doing... there's no feed back. -my two computers are having a private conversation- they're probably making fun of me :P Oddly the message from the modem saying router behind the router appeared again- this time I selected 'disable' (I assume that means disable the modems dchp- edit: no it doesn't, it means disable the warning and allow the other router (the core/hybrid) to handle the dhcp for the MD on eth0); this was the choice it said to pick if I wanted to continue to use the router behind the router. Why the router 'is' considered to be behind the modems router, I'm not sure I understand- time to look at the network settings again. seams like one of two things is happening- either the core is running a dhcp server on eth1 (edit: NO) OR the modem is some how sensing that it's running it on eth0 as it should be (edit: YES- because the MD was connecting through the core, the modem wasn't able to assign the MD an ip, ergo the core/hybrid dhcp server on the internal network IS behind the router on the external network from the perspective of the modem). I'm lost and confused... resisting the temptation to ask for help- maybe I can figure this out yet...

So- I've re-netbooted the MD and am typing from it again. Seams to be ok now- whatever that private discussion my MD and core/hybrid where having earlier, it must have been important. running smooth as silk now, and booted up very quickly- running diskless seams feasible again :). course- using my ssd's would probably be faster :D . Only bad thing I notice is I still don't have a spell checker- arrgg. Earlier I was trying to read my logs from the core- I'm wondering if they're broken, or I'm doing it wrong, or what- I clicked the logs tab on the launcher application- selected the dcerouter log (thought it'd be fun to have a look where all the action is -least where I assume it is from what I understand.) and selected 'view log'- it opened in a tiny window, with merely a dozen lines of text- mostly things repeated. The log file size would have made me think it should be a huge tomb of marvelous geeky code that I'd have little hope of understanding- but no- just this tiny window...

So- I've done a couple experiments now. First I tried to stream some media; hmm, no sound- yea, duh, the speakers are still plugged into the core! but hay, that shouldn't stop me being able to hear the music- just tell the core to play it! so I picked the room that the core was in, and told it to play Mark Knopflers 'trawler mans song'- viola! let there be music- it worked! kewl! My first network commanded media play. Next I wanted to stream video to the media director, so I picked the room that was in and selected American beauty in 1080p- '<home/public/data/hd name hd number/filename> File not found' hmmm...errggg.. ok- so that's a different path then I remember seeing in the admin panel when I synced my media- there it was mnt/device/hd number/folder/filename (I think)...

Ok, so back to the core- and a quick spell check ;) you'd thank me if you knew :P. anyway, lets see- is American beauty available at the core orbiter? No... no it's not. That's odd, I watched it last night on the core. hmm somethings fishy. So I open up the Dolphin file manager, and try to play movies from both HD's directly- no problems. It appears I have a database problem- for some reason the orbiter is not finding the correct location of the files. -another thing, there's duplicates for some files, that weren't there before. I'm at a loss as to why that would be. Unfortunately after ALLOT of searching- I'm still at a loss as to how to fix it. I could just resynchronize the media folders like I did last time- but based on what I've read, that would create duplicates of all the entries?- it's already far too messy to go and do something like that; not to mention it'd probably just break again. I think I've done something wrong here, somewhere. a bit more searching- then it's time to ask for help.

Starting Over...

I have to give a hearty thanks to TKmedia on the IRC chat for metaphorically holding my hand and walking me through the process of reseting the database- he showed great patients with my unfamiliarity with Kubunto/linuxmce and working in a terminal. I should note, I was told this is NOT a recommended procedure- I'm not sure why though. We did successfully get the database reset- I had saved the conversation, and was going to post it here for all to see, but in frustration I reinstalled without thinking to back up the file. Doh! A quick search on what code from it I do remember reveled this thread with instructions though: Surprised I didn't come across that before.

The bottom line was I'd screwed up the install too much by this point- for some reason the system was not re-cataloging my media- I was right back to where I was before I got the stuff to catalog by doing things the wrong way... after two hours there was nothing listed in the orbiter. and the media that had appeared before by searching, was now gone... wtf? enough of this- it'll be easier to start fresh, and it would help my sanity... Lets recap the mistakes I think I may have made so far, to emphasize why I decided to reinstall.

  • I was too impatient when first installing- biggest mistake here. I jumped right into netbooting an MD before I'd even got the core straightened out- then I didn't even let the MD finish whatever it was doing (it was probably trying to catalog the usb drives that where connected to it for one...) before turning it off and later moving the drives.
  • Installed with bios in 'non plug and play aware OS' mode. (I'm not sure exactly what effect this has, but might be important/better for the OS to have control- maybe the reason linuxmce was not adapting to me moving the drives, was because the bios was configuring them rather then letting the OS do it?)
  • Installed with the USB drives plugged in to the MD- and then moved them to the core before they synced, and then manually synced them.
  • Network was improperly configured- dhcp servers where running on both routers and the core when I started, the internal network was on a different subnet then the core, and both core/hybrid and the MD had direct access to the external network. (this may have cause a misconfiguration somehow? -edit: shouldn't have and actaully may have been the only reason the MD was able to boot- the marvel yukon eithernet is not well compatable with 64bit, needs a driver update or it drops out during net boot.)
  • Tried to network to a VERY hacked up XP install that was lacking many services required to network. This setup a netshare, and a MD for the same machine.
  • Created and deleted MD in the admin multiple times (it says 'not recommended' by delete no idea why- edit: actaully that's for the core/hybrid, was remembering wrong)

(edit: told the system not to use the drives my media was on, then tried to change the setting in admin panel (not supported), then manually synced them from /mnt...)

more to come when I think of them? To be continued...

K.I.S.S. it should really be a motto to live by... It seams I've been fighting this the whole way, trying to push, prod, and poke the system into doing what I want, getting impatient when I don't immediately get the results I'm looking for- being a windows power user has probably made me like this, I've come to expect being able to get results by doing quick searches, critical thinking, and all else fails just plain poking around and experimenting. Of course with windows- I know how things work, I know what to be careful with, and I usually know how fix things if I muck something up. With Linuxmce, I feel like I'm in a foreign country, trying to learn not just a new language, but a seemingly radically different culture and customs- one that seams to not be very forgiving of my silly foreign ways. In short, I haven't been going with the flow- I haven't taken time to insure every things right before starting things- I didn't give the OS time to do what it needed to do, cause it wasn't telling me what it was doing and I was frustrated with the lack of feedback. I've been expecting the OS to correct and adapt to my mistakes. If I really knew the system, I bet it would have been possible, maybe even simple to fix the mess I'd made of the install- but for now, I need to walk before I run...

The second install went like clockwork. This time I had the routers set correctly, I set the bios to 'plug and play aware', I had the usb drives plugged in to the core from the start, I told LMCE to use the drives and made them public, and probably most importantly I left it alone to do what it's supposed to do after install. What do you know- everything works, just like it's supposed to. My mangled micro-management and inpatients where the cause of all my woes. Within 30min after install my media was starting to show up- and several hours later (far longer then the manual sync took for some reason) it all seamed to be there.

Only one problem... 'Debbie does Dallas' is now right right under 'Delirious'- no no no... this really won't do, I don't need guests seeing my porn collection. This of course is not linuxmce's fault- it cataloged the media, just like it was supposed to- everything public. I just need to tag it properly and make the perverted stuff private. (edit: nope, not feasible with it setup like this.) Hopefully there's a way to do that without individually changing the attributes on each file. (edit: no, there's not.) For now, both machines are in my room, and only used by me, so it doesn't really matter.

I'd done a quick search before, trying to figure out the media tagging problem- I'd rather just deal with that later. I felt like doing something new/different. So I went about trying to get my orbiters going. I recall many years ago, picking up my Sony clie peg-th55 from circuit city, and being enthralled with the little device- what a wonder, a 300mghz processor (more then 10x faster then my first PC- lol), a beautiful high quality touch screen, built in camera, and a flip up screen protector that made it seam like some fancy new version of a star trek tricorder. It's been a faithful friend all these years, keeping my contacts and to-do lists organized, taking written and recorded notes, grainy cellphone style photos, being my ipod- before I actually had an ipod, and endless hours of mindless entertainment playing 'bedazzled' while I was stuck waiting for one thing or another... It's for the most part as good as the day I bought it, but it struggles with the modern internet, and much to my disappointment it utterly failed as a web orbiter. I did manage to set it up correctly (I think), got it to load the interface, changed the refresh rate- but it wouldn't acknowledge when I pressed the interface buttons- when I hit a button, it just refreshed the same page. It's possible there's some setting I missed that would make it work. but honestly, after successfully getting the web interface working on my laptop- I don't think it's worth using. It works, it just seams laggy and somewhat awkward and inconsistent, not enjoyable- it just doesn't live up to LMCE. Unless someone makes a Palm port of the orbiter software- I don't think my pda will be part of this system. bummer.

The orbiter windows software on the other hand- Nice!- this is more like it. It was a hassle free install on my vista laptop (hp tx1000 convertible tablet) once I figured out I had to be logged in as an administrator (god I hate vista/UAC) for it to update, and most everything seams to work in UI1- quick and responsive, as I'd hoped it would be. (edit: UI2 is not touch screen compatable) The only thing I've found that does not work, and this actually doesn't always work on the hybrid/core orbiter either, is the 'skip to letter' on the media browser. (edit: it works when media has at least one filter active) Also- if the Obiter interface resolution doesn't match Vista's resolution, the screen flip function won't work; This is important if you don't want the tablet breathing hot air on your arm- change the resolutions to match and you back in buisness.

To be continued...

Media Integration: (But first, a not so brief delay...)

Onward and upword- I'm still in the mood for new things, time to figure out tagging and organizing video's. linuxmce admin page>files and media>media file sync, select dive from list, select 'show contents', select subfolder- HEY! there's an option to edit attributes for all files in folder! I select it- but I'm in my 'books' folder none of my pdf's are showing up, only zips, hmm... (edit: pdf's do not show in the orbiter as documents OOB- looking for a fix to this.) lets try a TV show folder, that's the biggest tag problem atm. So I go up a level and select the 'TV shows' folder from the left panel- it says 'Files on disk, No files in physical directory'... pop into orbiter, search, load a show, it plays... hmm.. then I notice there's a box that says 'show files not on drive'- ahh that's probably it. I bet that's why my books didn't show. These are symlinks or something like that- home/public/data/other is on my root drive, the files themselves are on the usb drive... Do I modify the file attributes at the files physical location, or it's symlink on the root drive? last I tried messing with the /mnt folder on the menu I screwed up the database- so I'm not going to mess with that again unless I know what I'm doing. So I check the 'show files on drive' but again, nothing shows, unchecked the box- and my folders suddenly appear- hmm weird. (edit: Duh- they're folders not files...) Having a file on the root drive representing a folder on the usb drive makes sense I guess, but why wasn't it showing before? I check the box, everything disappears, uncheck it again, this time they don't come back. wtf? errgg. check it, uncheck it- they're back. Why do I feel like I'm screwing up my system just by trying to use it? paranoia I hope. ok, don't touch it again... Fingers crossed that I'm not about to ruin my database :/. I select 'Edit attributes for all files in directory'. it says 'No files in selected directory'. errgg.. WTF? back. The admin site is running painfully slow :(. select the usb drive symlink from the left (home/public/data/other/drive name), click 100 on the bottom (edit: I've since noticed a note, in admin that says this can slow things down, or even stall the admin site-probably best not to do it) (so it shows all the directories and I can select tv show directly rather then on the left- the page that comes up is different, as I somehow expected, but I don't understand why...) Now, I'm in the page I think I need to be in- It's got a pull down menu full of attributes one of them being 'TV shows' (edit: no, it was tv series, which is an attribute -used by myth-tv - not a media subtype like 'tv shows')- but if I give the file that attribute, is that giving the symlink file that represents the remote folder that attribute, or telling MCE that all the symlinks in the subfolders and files contained within should have that attribute- and if the symlinks have the attribute, does that mean the files do too? will this work? will it break my DB? I'm quite confused, and I'm not going to touch anything until I'm more sure of how this works. Seams like everything I've read on the forums says you have to set attributes/tag file by file- (edit: this is true for some attributes, not all- it is true for all media subtypes, and format) would be kinda stupid to assume I've found a way around that that doesn't involve coding- though I'd expect there would be a way around it already built in. Read. Read. Read.... most things I'm reading are just confusing me more. -Well that explains how I knew about the unintuitive left plane vs right plane pages, read it there. I wish that article was clear on whether the music files in question where symlinks to other locations, or actual files and if it makes a difference.

I've done so much since last writing on this, it'll be hard to remember it all, but here goes. I jumped on IRC and this time it was Tschak who helped me- A big thanks to him for that here. With the editing attributes vs editing the attributes of symlinks he commented that I was over-complicating it and thinking too much like a linux user. LOL.... that's not a good thing? no, don't think it was meant to be. Bottom line, if you edit the file attributes you see in /home/public/data...etc it will work, symlink or not. setting attributes for folders doesn't affect the files within symlink or not, and will screw things up.

The most important thing Tschak impressed on me was that once you chose 'make disk public'- and then the media is cataloged- there's no way to make files on that disk private again. If I want to have both private and public video's available through the system, I must use pluto's file structure. I'd screwed up big time. My assumption was that I have far more files I'd want public then private, so it'd have been easier to make the files I wanted private, private, then it would be to make the files I wanted public, public. It doesn't work that way... My reluctance to use the pluto file system when LMCE had first asked, was that I didn't know what it would then do... would it reformat the drive in ex2? would it move my files around? No, no it wouldn't do any of that, all it does is create a few folders on the root of the drive, in it's native format (ntfs in this case) (edit: and make an attribute file next to each video/photo file that you put into those folders)- but I didn't know that at the time, or the advantages of choosing that option. somehow with all I'd read, I'd missed that. I didn't want to risk losing my files, or change my long used familiar folder organisation system. I also wasn't thinking about how the database worked then- I assumed there was a way to change this, there's not, and had I thought it through more I really should have figured that out. (Edit: I'm not sure that the following is correct anymore- don't have the answers though.) From what I (think I) understand- the media database is 'one way' and doesn't adapt to changes in file path; so once something is cataloged it will not re-find a database entry file if you move it, it will only re-catalog it with a duplicate entry. So, if I moved all my private video's into a private folder- it'd just make all new db entries for the files- and make public db entries for the files I want private not work, it wouldn't remove them. I'd still think there's a way to remove them? But if there is Tschak didn't explain it to me. I assume that means if there is a way to remove them, it's too complicated, too time consuming, or it'd break something- probably the latter. I wish I understood better how the database/media sync works, I'd really like to have more control, and an understanding of how to fix things. -seams like it should be called 'build' rather then sync, if my understanding is correct...

Another thing Tschak explained is that setting folder attributes is non recursive- in short that means changing a folders attributes does NOT change the attributes of the files within. Some attributes can be set with the 'edit all attributes in folder' option in the admin panel- but NOT media subtype. He said they where working on that. 'Cover Art' can be used to automatically set many attributes at once, by searching amazon for the media in question- this has to be done manually for each file- still, far less difficult then setting all the attributes for every file manually. The 'tv series' attribute that can be set by 'edit attributes for all files in folder' is apparently something automatically used by Mythtv, I didn't get the impression it'd be any help, since the Media Subtype of the files would still not be TV shows, it wouldn't serve to re-categorise my tv shows, into the tv shows filter on the orbiters. This unfortunately means, I've got hundreds of files to re-categorise, and the only way to do it is one by one... errrggg. In truth, I've spent more time thinking about it, and how to get around it, then it may have taken me to do it the way I've known how (from reading the wiki) since I began. (edit: no no no... it took many many hours...) I assumed there had to be an easier way, and I wanted to know it- but I guess there's not, so I can't.

Alright- so now I had a clear course of action- move files into the pluto file structure so they could be public/private, reset the database and allow it to rebuild, and then take the time to manually set the TV show media subtype attribute to all my tv show files, and the movie subtype to all my movies. (edit: and the format for both.) Time to get to work... I wanted to make sure I understood how setting the tv show subtype worked first, even if it was the last thing I'd do- so I went into the admin panel, and tried to go through the process- media and files>media sync- the panel stalled and wouldn't load once I clicked into the /home/public/data/other/hd name/folders area. I think this may have had something to do with the number of files/folders it was displaying? I don't really know, never figured it out. Tschak said that should never happen- I've notice quit a few times it's happened on this machine though. He had me open 'top' from a terminal and read of the info- strange results that I honestly still don't understand. My load numbers seamed high (number of processes waiting for resource (cpu only?) time, as far as I understand), but the cpu use seamed extremely low, and the hard drive light on the case seamed very relaxed, hardly blinking at all. After I realised some of my assumptions about the numbers were false I started asking about what all the numbers and stats meant, and he explained some of them to me. He had also mention that usb drives aren't very good and that they incurred quite a bit of overhead in use... At this point Tschak must have went back to doing whatever he was doing when he wasn't helping me in IRC- Maybe he decided I was hopeless- lol- no hard feelings even if that where the case, I'm grateful for the time he did spend helping me with some of my newbie issues and questions, and I hate the thought that I'm taking time away from the actual coding of the project to solve my problems and learn. Wish there was someone less central in the project around to help a newbie like me... I waited awhile to see if Tschak would come back to it, but oh well...

A new visual information tool maybe isn't the best thing to leave a bold new linux user like myself with :P. (I'm glad he did though) I watch my load numbers in 'top' steadily climbing, vaguely understanding what it means. Seams like this couldn't be right... I reloaded the router, but that only made it worse. then I restarted the system- that made it MUCH worse. Of course it would though- everythings now reloading and setting back up after the restart; hopefully it will calm back down in a bit. Between the modern MB and CPU, 6gigs of ram and the OS being on an SSD drive, how could I possibly have a resource bottleneck greater then what's considered normal? I suspect the MB's power saving/scaling features may have something to do with this, idk. To my surprise, after the restart the media sync in the admin site worked fine now though- faster then it'd ever been. Bizarre... seams there could be a problem here, but I have absolutely no idea where to begin diagnosing it, and that of course doesn't matter cause even if I knew what it was I probably couldn't figure out how to fix it... I miss windows...

So I get back to it, and set the media subtype attribute to one of my tv show files and checked in the orbiter- low and behold, there it is. kewl. I still have NO clue what all this load stuff was about, and why my admin panel stalled in the media sync area- maybe it was to do with the number of files I had it set to display, but I'm pretty sure at that point I'd set that back down. anyway... I'd taken enough of Tschak's time, I didn't want to badger him with this- since he went off, it probably wasn't that important. I'm already expecting to have to reinstall at this point, just from what I've read on reseting the database, and my former experience with that not working... there's probably some mundane setting or process you have to go through afterwords that I'm woefully ignorant of, or maybe it just doesn't work with symlinked files, or with ntsf formated usb drives, or... bah... enough thinking- onward. I need to move my files into the pluto file structure. (as Tschak had explained how to do earlier)

Admin panel- device tree- select hard drives- select the check box for 'use pluto file system' on each drive- restart router- resist temptation to take a look at 'top'... open dolphin to start moving the files- the drives aren't there, no wait, now they are, click, now there gone again. wtf? errggg... I asked about it in IRC. As I had suspected, the green arrow on the drive icons that kept flicking on and off represents whether a drive is mounted or not; I'd thought that meant there was a problem with my drives, but apparently USB (edit: All drives except root actually) drives are constantly mounted and unmounted by LMCE in order to keep them hot swappable- and apparently dolphin can't stop that process, which essentially means LMCE has no working file manager for usb drives. That sucks ass... (edit: no, no, no dumbass... it doesn't mean that- just means I dont' know how to use it= always go in through /home folder, forget about symlinks, and it seams to work fine- do not manually mount drives. going in through /mnt may mount drives in a way that screws up the system?)

Tschak posted one line on how to deal with it- I think it was something like 'sudo dolphin and then you can access via //dcerouter'. That unfortunately was over my head. I opened a terminal and typed sudo dolphin, entered my pass- it showed a few errors (can't remember what they where), and dolphin opened. I know //dcerouter means log in via network. The only other system I had going at the time was my laptop. I asked if this could be done wirelessly, with no response. Had it not been for the errors sudo dolphin gave, I would have just tried it... I waited awhile and finally decided I was likely going to have to reinstall anyway- if moving the files with windows didn't break it, then resetting the database probably would- lol. I'm gonna break it anyway... might as well just get the files where they need to be, the way I already know how (windows explorer). (edit: after playing with the dolphin view settings, and laying off the over-thinking with the symlinks- I absolutely prefer dolphin to explorer!)

After a brief fight with my laptops vista over it's asinine explorer interface (it kept trying to take away the navigation panel/folder tree- have I mentioned how much I hate vista?) I proceeded to sort through my media files and get them into the proper folders. no problem. I then decided to do a duplicate file search, since I've shuffled my media around a bit throughout my drives over the years- this took quite awhile but I'm glad I did this, there was allot of duplicates that I ended up deleting, that will save space and make for much cleaner media browsing on the orbiters. So with that done, I went back to lmce and proceeded to reset the database- restarted the system- done! so now, it should re catalog everything properly. 5hrs later I came back- nothing in orbiter. yea well, I didn't expect that to work anyway- just wish I understood why it didn't work...

While in IRC I'd had a brief chat with another user about usb drives, and he mentioned he was going to take his apart and use it as a sata drive. you can do that? yes, yes you can... I really should have kept things simple, and just worked with one problem at a time, but I thought maybe having a better/direct connection to the drives would make it easyier on the system, and free up a couple power plugs at the same time (the snake nest behind my desk is absurd...) So I went about taking apart my usb drives- low and behold, they contained standard 3.5 drives; one sata, one IDE. I plugged them into the MB and connected everything up, and proceeded to reinstall. all went smoothly, and it seamed to recognise the drives and configure them, this time I chose the pluto folder structure (which the files where now organised into on the drives), and left it alone to do it's thing. next morning, there where only an odd handful of media files categorised. Maybe this usb drive conversion wasn't such a smart idea... I opened up dolphin and saw neither of the drives was mounted. I went to /home/public/data.. and saw the symlinks to the drives. no idea why they weren't mounted, (edit: they wern't visable on the desktop is what I meant to say here. standard drives aren't supposed to be... only usb) but I wasn't going to mess with it. So- into admin, media and files> media sync, home/pub... , resynchronise. I watch and wait as it goes through the files doing it's thing each time I tell it to sync a folder. surely this will work. no... no it didn't. still nothing in the orbiter, and I don't have a clue as too why. AAAARRRRRRGGGGG. I'm getting sick of this... but I'm still determined.

It's not a problem- it's an opportunity... This perspective helped a bit- take the opportunity to change the setup around to something more logical... I started out with 4 SSD's in the Core/Hybrid 3 of which weren't being used, and one 200gb sata drive. Raid isn't a newbie friendly option from what I understand for lmce, (edit: actually, it is, just not on the root drive.) and a single 32gig SSD won't even hold a raw blu-ray. My MD had 3 200gb sata drives and one 160gig- though it has the bays and space (barely)- this HTPC cases cooling is just not up to the task of 4 standard HD's, a GTX card (it's a miracle this fits- barely- don't buy GTX if you have this case, unless you can live without a dvd drive in it), and a 130W processor. So I put the 3 ssd's into the HTPC case, moved the 3 200gigs into the core/hybrid, and reassembled my usb drives. I was worried I'd just somehow ruined them- I plugged them into my laptop to make sure I hadn't just killed my entire media collection- it was fine... Ok- It's REALLY stupid to have all this stuff not backed up... my excuse was that I didn't have enough storage to back it all up- time to fix that... so I went to best (worst) buy and fixed that- brand new 1.5TB sata drive. Now- this hardware layout makes more sense, now I'll reinstall my XP onto the SSD raid in the MD, and eliminate the last hot/loud standard drive in the MD. Just one problem- like an idiot I overwrote my raid drivers for this motherboard when I installed the raid on my new P6T- and the ones I had backed up, are for the other controller on the A8N32. I have a HELL of a time finding the Nvidia Nforce raid drivers, and when I finally think I have, they don't work... I swear, I must be cursed... oh well... screw it. deal with it later. -oh yea... forgot to mention earlier; my XP install 'baby', wasn't dead; I found a setting in the bios (disable apm management) that allowed it boot up again. Not sure how that got screwy.

To be continued...

Somewhat ironic that I said that, and then shortly after my XPbaby died again, and resurrected, and died once again- I checked the connections, I reset the cooler with new thermal past, checked for dust and grounds, looked in bios to double check that I'd really reset the overclock when I put it in the case as I remembered doing, then I swapped out the ram though it'd passed the tests... Really thought that had fixed it, until it died again on the next restart. Not sure what's going on here, don't have any test cards, and right now I don't much feel like spending more time on it. Everything I read about this board and that error in my search say's it's common, not readily explainable, it only happens at boot, and boards frequently go out (or people give up return them) when this happens. Changing that setting in the bios back and forth seams to temporarily fix whatever it is- but for now I'm counting on this motherboard/cpu to be on it's last legs. This machine has had a rough life though- on nearly 24/7 since the day I built it, it's done an amazing amount of work for distributed computing projects, and been by my side as I wasted far to many hours of my life playing FPS's- and then I went and stuffed it in this little hptc case with too many drives and not enough cooling (even with the lid off...)- after living in the massive 8 fan tower case for so long, it was probably far more insult then she could take- lol.. Anyway- so now I'm trying to minimise my restarts, and all else fails, I have a backup board I can use for an MD if I need it, until I can afford to replace this one. Knock on wood, it's still going though. I'm copying my media over to the core on it as I type this. ...but I'll get back to that. Some other earlier stuff to recap first.

Remember that dark cloud that forms over me when I mess with networks- yea, it came back on my fresh lmce install... This time though- it wasn't my fault, LMCE just failed to make the connection and then of course I spent far to much time trying to figure out what was wrong (nothing.). it worked fine once restarted, I hadn't changed a thing. (I thought that was a proprietary M$ nuance?) So- setting the core back up with the new hardware layout. I want to get it right this time- no more ntfs formated drives. ext3 is the only way to go. I format my core/hybrid drives with partition magic- cause I still haven't gotten over my fear of terminals- dumb dumb dumb dumb (in the tones of the dragnet theme :D ) 10 min ea for the 200gb drives, 3 instant resets trying to do a single 1500gb partition- and then I give up and split it into 3 ~500gb partitions that then take over an hour each to format. Later in IRC, 'Jhammond' helped me out and made the night feel absolutely productive and successful for once- man I needed that too. Jhammond taught me to do the same formating in linux, in some ~10 min- and as you've probably guessed, I needed to. Partition magic botched the job, big time. Adding up all the wasted space- between the 5% automatically reserved for root and PM's sloppy format work, there was 365GB!!! missing from my 1500GB drive - oh, and 3 of the seven .ext3 formated partitions I'd created with PM had fatal errors in the tables. The PM disk took a ride to the dump this mourning in my trash.

Formating drives in linux is so simple I'm going to repeat the commands entirely from memory : - ' 'surely anyone having read this astonishing expose of linux ignorance I've written up already, is not going to go typing my exact commands into a terminal, right? even I wouldn't be that dumb...' ' so memory should be ok. goggle cfdisk and fdisk if you want guaranteed directions.

open terminal sudo cfdisk /dev/sba (for the first drive- sdb for the second, sdc on, so forth.) p (print table- shows partition table of selected drive so you can check them out and figure out which is which) then go through menu's to do what you want- delete, create, label, flag, write...etc Up/down selects the partition, left right moves in the menu. Then, when your done, use write on the menu to make your changes- just like that partitions done. Repeat for as many drives as you need to but WATCH OUT that you don't mess up you root partition, cause that of course could ruin your install. Ask me how I know- Nahh! kidding for once... at one point I did think I had though... How can you tell what your root is (sda? sdb? sdc?) if you don't know? if your root is a different size then the rest of your drives- or has a different number of partitions, it will stick out fairly well when you hit the 'p' command to list partitions. No changes are made until you click 'write' so that's the danger button- make sure you know what drive your doing what too. IIRC lmce has 3 partitions which will be in .ext3 format, with one labeled swap- the other two are / , and /home or /usr or maybe it's 4 partitions? anyway..

If cfdisk wont show the partition list, like it wouldn't in the case of my three botched partitions, use: sudo fdisk /dev/sd(a)(b)(c)(whatever) and do it from there. fdisk works much the same was as chdisk, except it's more powerful, and the command to view partitions tables is -l (L not 1) rather then p as in cfdisk sudo cfdisk and enter p when your done to check that your partitions are correct and now showing.

Time to format: (read disclaimer above incase you forgot :P newbie here...)

mkfs.ext3 -m 0 /dev/sd(a,b,c,whatever)# the '-m 0' tells the format not to reserve space (0%) for root (this isn't a root drive...), the number at the end is the partition number of the drive you want to format, for example 'mkfs.ext3 -m 1 /dev/sda1' would create an ext3 partition on the first partition of the first drive with 1% reserved for root. mkfs can also do other file systems, such as .ext2, or .xfs (with the proper libraries- not included in lmce) Tschak helped me do this to create .xfs file systems on all my drives. It was a simple 'apt-get' command from terminal to get the libraries, but I can't recall exactly what. Tschak also explained that with the way linuxmce runs, and this is not true of other linux distro's if I understood correctly, the %reserved for root is still assessable for user use/activities- however if the drive fills up, what ever is going on in the area will be dumped to make room for root activities. Not a root drive, so I don't think it matters.

Wha'la! now I've got 3x 200gb and 1x 1.5TB drives perfectly formated in .xfs- and it really did only take about 10min once I had it down. -useing the up/down keyboard buttons to scroll through command history is great for repeating simalar commands in terminal. type in mkfs.ext3 -m 0 /dev/sd(a,b,c,whatever)# or fdisk/cfdisk /dev/sd(a)(b)(c)(whatever) only once, and then hit up untill you see it again when you need to do a different drive; all you have to do is change the drive letter and/or partition number to adapt the command to what you want it to do.

There was talk in the IRC chat that there's actually an easyier way- leave the drives (formated in .ex3, or even unformated?) alone and let the raid control in the admin panel do the work for you- it's apparently newbie proof enough for Tschak to recommend it to me; and I think he knows when it comes to linux I seam to be able to screw up anything :P. (or maybe that's why he was recommending it- I could put the fool in fool-proof lol.) It was definitely tempting. But it doesn't support .xfs yet (which he'd allready talked me into useing on my drives) and he mentioned LMCE will eventually be ported over to that; also raid is always a bit of a compromise- disk space traded for redundancy and multi-threaded synchronous file transfer if you mirror (this would make my 3x200gb drives a 300gb array), or data resiliency and responsiveness (seek time) traded for the flat out throughput of raid 0 on large files. He recommended against raid 5 which is alleged to be a compromise of the two- but that was the only one I was really interested in trying, since I haven't before. Probably better to keep it simple anyway- things are working finally! my drives are recognised, quickly, configured quickly- it's late, but I'm energised and have an ear to ear grin. Nice to enjoy such a simple thing.

Ok so- time to move my media on to the drives. I sudo dolphin and then jump on my xp machine (on my bloated slow full feature install that I almost never use- it's network sharing actually works though...) enter \\dcerouter in windows explorer, enter my pass- and just like that I can see the routers file system. Nice! I copy a HD '21 grams' mkv over to the /home/public/data/videos folder. I look in the obiter, and it's there, and it plays- Nice again! Before I moved the file, I'd noticed there was another first tier network folder called 'public' and others for each user name, within these folders where the same folders you could get to through the home folder. In other words there where multiple paths to get the files where I think they need to go... hmm. I'm pretty sure this has something to do with symlinks, but I find it a bit confusing... the file I just copied through the /home path to the location, is now visible in both the /home and the /public folders- both say it's on the correct hard drive, but when I look in dolphin at the space left on the root drive, seams like there's an awful lot less then I remember. So- an experiment: I copy another HD movie to the same /home folder, one which I know is larger then can fit on the root drive- and sure enough the transfer doesn't go all the way through and I get a message saying there isn't enough space. This is rather counter intuitive since I was telling to to store on an empty 1.5TB drive; But I think I understand why this is happening. Next I try to copy the file to the other location- /public/data/videos/drive_name. This time, it goes through. Ahha, I was right!

If I understand correctly, here's what's happening: When you go in through the /home folder, your telling it to put the files on the root drive, selecting a path to a drive from the /home directory (ie /home/public/data/videos/drive_name) only tells it to make a symlink at that location to the location of the file on the / drive. So in the case of the first movie I'd transfered, even though it showed up on the correct drive, it was actually stored on the root drive, and symlinked to the drive I wanted it on. I deleted it, and noticed the space was back on my root drive- I took note of that amount, and then copied the file again, this time through the /public/data/video/drive_name path- it copied, and again was visible through both paths, and was available in the orbiter. Kewl, think I'm getting the hang of this.

So- onward. copying all my data to the drive took the better part of a day, especially the music, which had quite a few file names that lmce didn't like (too long, special characters...), but finally, it was done- and this time 'debbie does dallas' and the rest of my small stash of naughty flicks where stored properly in the private user_1 folder. Had I thought about it more carefully, I would have put the porn under a separate account all together, as I have quite a few files that aren't skin flicks, but are otherwise unsuitable for what I want in the public folder- I'd rather have these under my user account, and the skin flick's separate from those- just cause I want to show someone a strange documentary on a bizzare subject, doesn't mean I want to show them all my less educational material :P . I tried to do this later, by moving the files to another user account but the permissions got screwed up and they all where removed from the orbiter no matter the account- I doubt it's a big deal to fix, but I haven't gotten around to it.

A week has past since I last wrote on this, and boy what a week... The MD/xp system is still running :) though I haven't shut it down... I've discovered that ripping movies into LMCE is almost effortless, quick (5min for standard dvd), and 95% of the time it gets everything (all the attributes) just right- once it's there, it's just like having a DVD in your drive, menu's and all. The downside is that it doesn't set media subtype, or format, and it sucks up a ton (4-8.5gb per standard dvd movie, 30+gb for bluray) of harddrive space. LMCE has no utilities for editing/re-encoding that I found... That sucks big time... from my experience a standard def movie can be edited/re-encoded in h264/mp4 to take up about 1-2gb, a 720p in 6-8gb, and 10-14gb for a 1080- all without any quality loss visible to my particular eyes. I hate the thought of wasting so much HD space, almost as must a I hate being forced to look at that FBI warning, and skip past the previews, and wait for the stupid menu's that some movies have- I just want to hit play, and watch the damn movie. I paid for it, that's my perogative by my view. I also paid for my storage space- and I don't want it clogged up with things I'll never use, like extra soundtracks, foreign language subtitles, previews, most dvd extras... So I need to figure out a solution to do this in LMCE, there must be a way- some software I can download and install, till then I guess I'm stuck with working in windows to get this done.

Properly tagging/cataloging my movies and tv shows, one by one, was incredibly tedious and took the better part of 9 hr's- it was however, entirely worth it! Now all the filters work just as expected, and it's awesome to be able to quickly browse by movie, tv show, genre, title, actor, director, studio, high definition...etc One great thing is my previous folder organisation from my windows setup did actually come in handy- not as much as it could if LMCE where designed a bit better in this area, but it helped none the less. Prior to moving the files into the pluto folder structure, they where organised into folders by type/genre- I had a top level folder for TV shows, with subfolders for all the different shows, and more subfolders for seasons- I also had a top level folder for movies, with subfolders by genre/HD content, and subfolders in those for the individual movies. When I moved the folders into the pluto structure, I kept this organisation- ie: the movies/TV folder and all their subfolders went into /public/data/video/drive_name.... This helped the work flow of tagging by making otherwise cryptic filenames identifiable by their folder names, genres/media subtype grouped together, and also allowed me too keep cover photo's separate alongside their content without renaming them (firefox by default saves .jpg's with a number). Doing it this way also allowed me to consolidate setting some attribute tags, for example: with TV shows, I could search amazon on the first episode of a season (search for the entire season) and then keep the attributes on that one file so it still shows up in filter search and I'll remember that the entire season has a particular actor/director, if not the whole show, or that show/season is Sci-fi, or HD content.... The consolidation that saves the most time is saving the amazon cover .jpg for the season and then using 'edit attributes for all files in folder' to apply the photo to all the episodes. As well, you can add a genre attribute like this. I seriously wish you could set the media subtype and format via 'edit attributes for all files' -that would have saved me many many hours of tedious work. But it's done now- and I'm happy! The only way to set media subtype and format is individually, file by file- the key attributes in my case being 'tv show, and movie; standard definition, and high definition'- there's really no short cuts here. The only tip I have is if you get a folder with more then one page of files in it, once in the second page, hit the backspace button on your browser rather then the 'back' button in the admin panel- that will save you having to reload the second folder page since the 'back' button in admin takes you back to the first page of the folder.

What's next? attempting to set the MD back up, after a back up, and attempting to get the silverstone IMON remote and display working- then actually connecting it to a TV. -if the system doesn't die that is... (still haven't figured out what that bsod was about) I've got my laptop ready to take over daily chores if it does.

To be continued...

Ack- here it is 6mo later; what happened? well, my life got a bit complicated and I had to put allot of the computer/media stuff on the back burner for awhile, I didn't put it away completely but my time has become far more limited, and my priorities have shifted. I no longer have a lmce setup, I went on to learn more about general opensource OS's, and the philosophy behind them, and I got rid of my old faithful XP in favor of ubuntu. With lmce 8.10 out now, and numerous software and wiki documentation improvements, it seams this ad-nausium lengthy blog-style write up is only serving to spam the search engine, so after this edit I'm going to erase it, and leave a note pointing to the history for anyone who'd be interested. (edit) opps- just relised the wiki search setup has been changed, and it no longer spams. so I guess I'll leave it. I make a lousy wiki editor- lol. (/edit) Another thing that happened is I read up more on Fair Use, and the DCMA- they seam to conflict, and honestly it seams a confusing mess to make sense of- Am I allowed to rip and re-encode movies I have legally purchased? Fair use seams to say yes, DMCA says NO but it also specifies that it doesn't interfere with other rights granted by law- the movie/music industry has been vicious towards people and then there's that nasty piracy warning- this whole IP debate seams more then I want mess with at this point; it was painful to do, after all the work I'd put into it, but I decided it'd be best to delete my IP-saddled digitized collection of movies and tv shows, and give myself an overall digital audit- relying on encryption to cover up my movies/tv shows would be just plain dumb and might be far worse then having them around unencrypted from a legal standpoint. I want to live intelligently, and this seamed simply the right thing to do, I'm too old and too dumb to take such risks. Maybe it was paranoia, but regardless, it seams the things that might happen over a silly movie being on a computer are just NOT worth it. I'm sure the laws will become more clear with time, till then, I'm going to be sure to stay on the right side of them. The bright side, is that I've found more then enough non-IP saddled content to cover my entertainment needs (miroTV is fantastic!), and there's always tevo, and dvd juke boxes if I ever want to setup another lmce system- which I probably will someday. Anyway- I see 350~ people read this page at the time of this writing- hopefully it helped some people figure some things out.