20 May 2008, 01:05 by mark hoekstra

fading buttons, switching and slow encryption

my first project still going strong
click to go to the corresponding pic on flickr

There are times to come, there are times to stay and work and there are times to leave…

(no no no! i’m not quitting! ^_^)

I’m talking about Windows Media Center… Since April 2004 I’ve been using Windows Media Center, first as a beta tester (well, sort of… it got me to Munich one time, which was nice), later on as a user, partly work related. It was the latter which drove me to also check out/use Vista and well… I haven’t been positive about that and my experience only got worse.

Somehow the faded green button corresponds quite nicely to the faded solution this whole MCE is (well, to me at least)
click to enlarge

Fan boys will probably say I should’ve tried it on new hardware but even though my Media Center is old, I don’t see why I would need new hardware for doing the same thing (which imho is Vista’s problem all along “buy a new machine with a new OS” “for what exactly?”). Anyway, I’ve actually been doing one thing less and less, partly because of my media center, throughout the years and that’s watching television to the point where I am now, and that’s nothing at all. I should really cancel my cable because when I calculate what I pay for it, that one program in three months I do watch is truly expensive!

I’ve been reluctant before to switch, but when I figured I don’t need television, oh my, I figured I can take ages to make this switch work, so then the decision was easy… download Ubuntu and off we go! And so I did, finally! If my SoundStorm doesn’t work for a while, I still got my
Indy and/or two channel sound. Watching movies? Well, in stereo that’s not so bad either. So, in some spare time (you don’t want to know how much time you’ve got once you put out that silly television!) I’ll configure it right where it should be. With SoundStorm (I think this should work) and MythTV (front- and backend into one). And when I have it all finished, some people will probably say “you’ve got too much time on your hands!”. Well, the truth is, not at all, I’ve got two jobs and my own little company, but the thing is, I don’t watch television! ^_^

(a nice read on this subject: Gin, Television, and Social Surplus)

update the configuration of ubuntu on my media center went very well, so i’ve now got soundstorm (hardware dolby digital encoding!) on linux (and a Mac SE all of a sudden displaying its goods on 1024×768 ^_^)

click to go to the corresponding pic on flickr

And then some… This last weekend I’ve been busy with my encrypted file server. A little while ago I switched motherboards (so I could use the Opteron board which was in there in my video editing machine). That switch went perfectly well, the OpenBSD-installation on there didn’t need any changes (OpenBSD/amd64), but since I was also hitting some barriers in terms of storage, not only because of my personal needs, but also because I upped the amount of replications and backups and such. Anyway, to continue on that path, I bought some Seagate 750GB SATA-disks (7200.10, they were cheap) and this weekend I thought “ah well, let’s just put those in and that’s that”.

slow encryption or not, torrentflux is happy
click to enlarge

Well… that is not exactly how it went. I won’t go into all the nitty gritty details, but since I was busy, I thought I’d update OpenBSD as well and so now, in the end, it’s an OpenBSD/amd64 machine again, release 4.3, with a 80GB IDE bootdisk, 2× 750GB data disks (encrypted) and 2× 320GB data disks (at this time also encrypted). But, I’ve been having some issues, mainly these but I’ve got some pointers where to go from here and I’ll experiment with that. It’ll probably end up in a how-to sooner or later. In the mean time I’m stuck with looooots of encrypted storage, raid-i-fied and all, it’s only a little slow (5MB/sec) ;-)

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  1. Juozapas @ 20 May 2008, 09:53 :

    did you try torrentflux-b4rt ? I use it and i think it’s much better than torrentflux.

  2. `ariel @ 20 May 2008, 18:52 :

    Nice !! i like that case! how much RAM you got on the server ? About the MCE/Vista, i`m using GB-PVR for MediaCenter and PVR works very well, and as Juozapas says.. give it a try to tf-b4rt is a TorrentFlux with steroids.

  3. mark hoekstra @ 21 May 2008, 01:40 :

    oh, i will give tf-b4rt a try for sure. Since you asked, I’ve got 2GB on this motherboard right now, an Asus P5CR-VM semi server board, it’s quite a nice little board actually. And oh, that case, I do have the skins around it in my closet... ^_^

  4. Ben @ 21 May 2008, 05:44 :

    My video server of choice is Elisa.


  5. Michael @ 25 June 2008, 14:56 :

    Hey mark,

    1.5 tb .. amazing capacity! Apart from Mythtv, Freevo could also be an option as mediacenter. It based on Python – focussed less on tv capture.

    I have not installed anything myself yet. My plan is torrentflux plus a mediacenter box. Are you aware of a mediacenter that has similar playback capabilities as Foobar2000. (eg. playlist reflects directory structure.).

    ps. relaxe site man trouwens. – respctm

As mentioned in the Message from Mark's family this site has been made static. This means that it will be no longer possible to comment on his ideas and projects, but that we all can continue to cherish his creativity.

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