Category Archives: mac

Setting up a mac remotely

I want to be able to get to my wife’s mac, in another city. She is an unsophisticated user, and I’d like to be able to help her when she needs help, but I can’t ask her to do very much setup. I also want to be able to provide backup for her files.

The first step was to outfit her with one of the little gateway pis previously described. Once that was done, we managed, together, to enable me to get to her mac with ssh, by way of the pi tunnel. And we managed to set up an account on her mac under my name.

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Correcting Corrupted Kodi Database

I’ve had several cases where one of the Kodi sqlite3 databases becomes corrupted on Coriander. It has happened to Textures, Addons and EPG at different times.  The error that manifests in the Kodi log is The Database Disk Image is Malformed, and once it happens the log is full of this and transactions in the affected database don’t take place.

Did some reading, and discovered that usually you can dump the database, and the dump will be ok.  Try this:

echo '.dump' | sqlite3 fred | sqlite3 new_fred
mv fred bad_fred
mv new_fred fred

Caller Id in Kodi – Redux

I posted in this post about how I arranged to get caller-Id to show up in Kodi. At that time I was still using POTS, but since then I have switched to VoIP and set up Asterisk.

I did find another plugin that would connect to Asterisk and obtain information about incoming calls. But until now it was only half way working. I finally got around to paying attention to it. It was originally provided by “hmronline” and I found it at code.google.com. It was last worked on with Dharma, and I had to do some things to get it ready for Jarvis.

The source code is now in the tarragon svn repository, under the name KodiAsterisk. On coriander, where the production Kodi lives, there is a checked out directory under /Users/wmb called kodiasterisk. For Kodi to install it it has to be zipped, so the sequence is to svn update the directory, then zip the directory as script.service.dee-kodi-asterisk.zip. Then install it within Kodi.

It attaches to asterisk on cinnamon using the Asterisk manager interface.  Authentication on the manager interface uses files in /etc/asterisk/manager.d which has one file per authorized user, containing credentials.

The code has features to

  • give a notification of the caller id
  • put up a picture of the caller
  • pause a video if one is playing
  • redirect the call (within asterisk) if a video is playing
  • indicate whether there are voice mails

I have the notification running, the picture coming up, and the video being paused. I don’t use the redirect feature. Also, since my voice mail is not on Asterisk the features of voice mail aren’t being used.

I did put pictures into a folder within /Storage/Pictures/KodiPictures. The pictures here are named with the phone number, and contain a snapshot of the caller, in jpeg. If there is no picture in the folder for a particular number nothing is put up, but the notification and pausing still occur.

 

Kodi Keymap Files

Kodi control with the Harmony 1100

I have a Harmony 1100 Remote Control which I bought when I had nearly a dozen different devices that I wanted to control (cable boxes and several tivos, as well as tv, receiver, dvd player, vcr, etc). I don’t have most of this stuff anymore, since I dumped the cable and started using Kodi. So I could probably live without the Harmony Remote, but I paid a lot of money for it, so I want it to work correctly. A big part of this project, therefore, was figuring out how to get that remote to control Kodi properly. I also wanted to improve the handling of keyboards, and understand better how I could use the configuration capabilities in Kodi to get better control.

The Harmony remote software for the Harmony 1100 permits assigning to each hard button or touchscreen button, a “command”, and a “device” to which the command applies.

When a “device” is set up for control by the Harmony remote, one selects what type of device it is from the Harmony database. The database has various device types (tv, dvd player etc), including one called Media Center PC. Within each device type there are a number of specific “devices” with manufacturer (Sony, Samsung) and model number. For the device type Media Center PC, there is a manufacturer “Plex” and model “Plex Player”. There are other “manufacturers” in the database that look promising (like “kodi”), but they turn out not to have anything useful in them. The only one that has been useful for me is the one called “Plex”.

The database for a device, in this case “Plex”, has a set of what it calls “commands”, which to the user look like “Play”, “Pause”, “F3”, “Channel Up”, etc. When configuring the buttons on the remote, one can choose from that offered set of commands, and no others. For other devices with manufacturer supplied remote controls, one can create ones own “commands” by having the harmony app learn from the remote, but since there is no manufacturer supplied physical remote control for Kodi, the commands in the database are the only ones which can be assigned. One has to make do with the set of commands which are provided.
Continue reading Kodi Keymap Files

Notes on setup of HDHomeRun, tvheadend, kodi live tv

HDHomeRun provides a source of tv in htsp format. They provide an app for windows/linux/mac which enables watching the tv stream directly, and changing channels. They also provide a Kodi Add-on which allows watching the streamed material directly from there. However, this is just watching, and doesn’t enable the guide, PVR etc.

To use the built in features in Kodi for “live tv”, you have to have another piece of software, which Kodi calls the “backend”. There are apparently different backends supporting different hardware, but one of the backends is called “tvheadend”, and it supports HDHomeRun, and is supported by Kodi.

The tvheadend software has to be installed. apt-cache search tvheadend shows:
tvheadend – Tvheadend
tvheadend-dbg – Debug symbols for Tvheadend
kodi-pvr-tvheadend-hts – Kodi PVR Addon TvHeadend Hts – PVR API:1.9.2
kodi-pvr-hts – TVHeadEnd PVR for Kodi
kodi-pvr-hts-dbg – debugging symbols for TVHeadEnd PVR for Kodi

The “kodi-pvr” bits are kodi add-ons that have to be added to kodi (in linux only) in order to provide the api between kodi and the backend. Kodi for mac and windows has the pvr bits included, but they have to be added in linux.After the apt install, add-ons->my add-ons->PVR clients,  select TVHeadend HTSP Client and configure it, then Activate it.

Since the kodi I watch is on coriander (the mac mini), the pvr stuff is already installed with kodi. I only needed to install the tvheadend piece somewhere, and I put it on cinnamon where the large file media array is, so that PVR recorded material can be stored there too.
Continue reading Notes on setup of HDHomeRun, tvheadend, kodi live tv

XBMC Mac Mini Stuttering

During a marathon 12 day stint I upgraded the Raid 5 array to Raid 6. It took almost 12 days to reshape the array. Awful.

Almost immediately thereafter, playback on XBMC became unwatchable, jerking and stuttering. For 2 nights I have been able to watch nothing. Is this coincidence, or is this problem owing to the new Raid setup?

Well, it wasn’t the raid array, proving once again that coincidences actually do happen. I moved a movie to the local hard drive, and played it there – the raid array not involved. And it still has the issue.

After some diagnostics and some reading, I did two things together. I reset the SMC, and I cleaned the air intakes of dust. I should have done them separately, but I didn’t. I powered down, unplugged everything, took off the bottom, blew out the dust with a can of air, plugged it all back in. Having unplugged I have reset the SMC. Some reading suggests that the need to do SMC resets may be a harbinger of impending power supply failure. We will see. For now it works.

——————–

It worked for half a day, then began to fail again. In the end, the way I fixed this had to do with Boinc. I’ve always run Boinc, and never have had any problem with competition for resources. But this time, after a lot of attempts at a lot of different things, it turned out that if I stop Boinc the movies play, if I run Boinc they don’t. I changed the parameters on the mac mini so Boinc will only compete if the cpus are idle and have been idle for 3 minutes. Problem solved.