Use OpenElec on Raspberry Pi with Hyperion

Written on 20 September 2014, 07:35pm under Hardware ,Linux ,Raspberry Pi

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Ambilight with Hyperion on Raspbmc

I recently updated my Raspberry Pi in the living room. I used Rasbmc as an easy to use XBMC distribution. However, there will be no update for Rasbmc once XBMC is replaced by KODI. You are then forced to use OSMC. As I also use Hyperion as server for my WS2801 LED stripes behind the TV I’m not sure if Hyperion will work with OSMC. Therefore, it was time to look for an alternative.

This is where OpenElec comes into play. Its a Linux distribution optimised for use with XBMC and is not that easily customizable if you want your Rasbperry to serve other purposes as well. But that’s not my concern, as I just intend to use it as XBMC client.

There is already a nice tutorial available on the OpenElec Github page. However, I had some serious issues with Hyperion and I want it to document, should I ever reinstall again.

Hyperion tries to connect to the XBMC JSON RPC api to get information about the current status of XBMC. This includes the information for active screensavers or just idling in the main menu. If I just use the instructions from the Github page, I was not able to deactivate my background lights while I was in the XBMC main menu. I’ve found two issues in the Github Project but only one was really helpful:

You have to activate and deactivate the Remote and local control of XBMC, only then is Hyperion able to connect to XBMC and only then it will get the right status information. Now it finally obeys the configuration and disable the background lights when its in the main menu.

 

PS: Don’t let yourself be fooled by the colors from the attached picture. The white balance picked it wrong up and it was also to a time where I did not calibrated colors for Hyperion :) It looks much better in reality ;)

Sometimes my desktop computer does not recognize its attached devices on its USB 3.0 ports. This is especially annoying when you use these ports for your input devices and you are not able to login to your computer.

I’ve ran a few times into this problem, but never found a real working solution to fix this problem. You can still use the USB 2.0 ports for the input devices, so you are able to login again. When you look at your device manager, you will see an yellow exclamation mark on the

Intel USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller

and if you look at its device details you will see an error code 10. A research on the internet showed me that other people are also affected by this, especially in combination with Windows 8.1 (while Windows 7 and Linux pose no problem).

First of all, there is this official Microsoft page for troubleshooting and installation of USB 3.0 devices. IT gave me no new clues and was therefore useless. Then I was full of joy when I found this page in the MSDN blogs from one of the engineers at Microsoft responsible for the USB 3.0 stack in Windows 8. However, while providing much technical background and tips for debugging, it did not help me with my particular code 10 error. If you search the page for “code 10″ you will also find two people desperately looking for a solution, so I’m not alone with this problem. Another excellent technical resource was this page. While providing also a few ideas for what to look for, his ultimate idea was to install the Windows 8.1 update (which I already installed).

So nothing really helped me here. My earlier tries blamed the problem on the integrated USB 3.0 hub of my Dell U2713HM monitor, but it would not help to disconnect the hub and power for a clean reboot. I then thought I could find a better driver on the Asrock page for my Z77E-ITX board but that did not help either.

Only working solution I came up with was to uninstall the controller and to reboot the computer. After this reboot, the controller was reinstalled and worked again. I honestly don’t know what went wrong here, but it is a real annoying thing and I hope that coming Windows updates will fix this.

Synology DiskStation 5 – Mapping of external USB drives

Written on 13 März 2014, 11:26pm under NAS

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My Synology DS213+

The mapping of external USB drives in Synologys Diskstation 5 is a mystery to me. The order of connected drives does not seem to be of interest and keeps being the same even after a reboot. Especially after the latest update to DiskStation 5, my DiskStation 213+ assigned other than usual drive numbers to my external USB drives. This results in broken backup plans and network volumes.

A little Google research led me to this forum entry together with a suitable solution:

  • Unmount/Eject all connected external USB drives
  • Disconnect the drives from the DiskStation
  • Connect with telnet/ssh to your DiskStation and edit the file /usr/syno/etc/usbno_guid.map
  • The number gives you the name of the usbshareX mount point, while the guid behind the equal sign identifies your USB drive. The last entries will propably your connected drives as you can access them from their usbshareX mount points.
  • Remove unwanted entries and restore the number to their original position.
  • Reboot the DiskStation.
  • Reconnect your Devices, starting with the drive with the lowest number first.
  • All done.
Airport Configuration Logo

This is a follow up on my older blog post “How to configure Apple Airport Express 1st Generation on Mountain Lion“. The situation is the same: I’ve wanted to configure my fathers Airport Express 1st Generation. However, we both updated to Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9 and where unable to use the Airport configuration utility I’ve created in my aforementioned blog post.

Looking online for a solution to this problem, I’ve found this blog post which provides you with a running Configuration Utility. Corey did also an analysis why the older Utility was not running anymore: The Utility relies on a library which broke backward compatibility in Mavericks.

How to create a Fusion Drive on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks from scratch

Written on 19 Dezember 2013, 04:31pm under Apple

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ssd6

A few years ago I bought a SSD kit for my MacbookPro 5.5. At that time I had decided to use the Intel SSD 320 separately from my HDD as independent drives. This resulted in increased performance, but I had to decide by myself what I want to place on the faster or larger drive.

With Mac OS X 10.8 Apple introduced the Fusion Drive with the new iMacs. It is based upon the Core Storage Layer of Mac OS and combines a fast SSD with the larger but slower HDD into a logical unit. Mac OS X decides what files it wants to place on the SSD and what on the HDD.

The performance is a little slower compared to my solution with single drives. However, it is proven fast enough, so I’ve decided to use it under Mavericks. For Mavericks, I’ve created a bootable USB stick so that I can start with a fresh installation.

If you want to try it out, this is the way to proceed: First of all, create a bootable backup of your system using SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner. Now you should follow the steps from this blog. I’ll add my notes and tweaks.

We’ll follow option C. But instead of booting from the Recovery Partition, we want to boot from the USB stick which you should’ve created following my other blog article linked above. This way, we are completely independent of the existing content of either SSD or HDD.

Now delete all content from the SSD and the HDD. Repartition the HDD to use 1 partition. This partition will be used to install a fresh copy of Mavericks. As you’ve destroyed all partitions on both drives, you don’t have a recovery partition on either disk. But the Mavericks installer will create a new recovery partition on the drive on which you’ve decided to install Mavericks (in this case it’s the HDD). This is an important step, as this partition needs to be outside of the logical volume created for the fusion disk. This way you are still able to boot into recovery, in case something goes wrong (you could nevertheless boot from the USB stick, which will allow access to the same recovery tools).

You will now continue with the instructions from the blog and merge the drives to one unit. This unit is now empty and can be used in a new installation run of Mavericks. This way, you’ve created a bootable Fusion Drive with a fresh installation of Mavericks. It is now your choice, if you want to clone your old installation with one of the cloning tools mentioned before. But you could also start with a fresh copy or you can use the migration assistent.

I’ve chosen a fresh copy and started from scratch. This is a good start to clean up your Mac from any unwanted old stuff. You’ve now successfully created a fusion drive on Mavericks. Your Mac will now handle all the logic for you on where to place the files. You may now also activate FileVault 2 to encrypt your Fusion Drive. Beware that the usage of BootCamp requires a separate partition on either SSD or HDD, because Windows will otherwise not boot. If you want this configuration, you may look up the details in this blog.