Automount network shares on Mac OS for use in iTunes

I’ve moved my iTunes library from my Macbook’s SSD to my Synology NAS on a network share. This is quite easy and can be made inside the iTunes preferences pane. After you’ve changed the path for the iTunes Media, all iTunes managed media will be moved to the new location (assuming you let iTunes manage your files of course :)).

This allows you to have your iTunes library on your Macbook while all the large files are stored on the NAS. This is especially important for larger libraries as well as the newer Macbooks which only have a limited flash drive instead of larger harddisks.

However, there is one important problem with this solution: Once you’ve disconnected from this network share for whatever reasons and you try to start iTunes, you’ll have your iTunes Media folder reset to your user’s music folder on your boot disk. You’ll now need to reset the path to your files again, and this will again cause iTunes to check all files if they are on the right location and moves them if necessary.

I thought I’ve taken care of this problem with auto connecting to the network share with a Login Item. However, this didn’t help me much since I sometimes have disconnections to my network (e.g. when I’m on the road) and the network connection will only be created once during the login of your current user. So this doesn’t help me at all and caused me to look for another better solution.

So I’ve found this gist and modified it a little bit to my environment. Therefore here’s my short list of modifications for using autofs in combination with AFP volumes:

If you now start up iTunes again, it will try to locate the media files in the /Volumes/music folder, like I manually specified it. However, autofs will now automatically mount the network share for me and iTunes won’t complain about a missing volume. This way I won’t ever need to take care of manually updating the path once I forgot connecting to my NAS 🙂

Update:
Hm, it seems that the trick with /../Volumes does not work anymore on Mac OS 10.11.4 🙁 If I try to list the content of the mounted volume an error message is returned:

ls: : Unknown error: 118

So I need to mount the volume in a different folder and need to change the path in iTunes again.

Update 2:
I’m not able to mount afp volumes anymore so I’m using smbfs like it is described here. However, this will require a user and password in the configuration file 🙁

Migrate from OpenElec to OSMC

I recently upgraded my ambilight clone from 50 to 104 LEDs and I’ve also updated my OpenElec installation on my Raspberry Pi B+ to 6.0.0. However, the hyperiond wasn’t able to communicate properly with Kodi so that no ambilight information was send to the LEDs: The LEDs would always be black, if I want to watch something on the Raspberry Pi.

I’ve opened an issue on github but I didn’t get  a useable response so far. The configuration and installation worked fine when I’ve connected with the iOS app or from the command line.

Today I’ve tried to use OSMC as surrogate for OpenElec and I’m really impressed: it worked almost out of the box with my old configuration. So I want to share what’s necessary to migrate from OpenElec to OSMC:

  1. Create a backup from your OpenElec .kodi folder. You’ll find this folder on OpenElec in /storage/.kodi
  2. Backup your hyperion.config.json or create a new one with HyperCon according to your setup
  3. Install OSMC on a SD card
  4. Boot from this SD card and follow the initial configuration screen
  5. Connect via SSH to OSMC. default user/password are osmc/osmc.
  6. Install hyperion according to nadnerb’s instructions. The spi part is important, since OSMC has SPI disabled by default. You’ll also want to remove the lirc line since this blocks the pins necessary for the default installation of WS2801 LEDs.
  7. Copy your hyperion.config.json to /etc. Be sure that you’ve changed the path to your effects folder from /storage/hyperion/effects to /usr/hyperion/effects
  8. Copy your .kodi folder to OSMC’s /home/osmc folder and overwrite any file
  9. Reboot and enjoy your known settings 🙂

Heos by Denon – Bluetooth dongle

I’ve recently bought a Heos HomeCinema and a Heos 1. The Heos devices are created by Denon and offer a multi room wifi speaker setup, similar to Sonos. Since Sonos did not offer a DTS compatible speakerbar for my TV, I’ve decided to give the Heos devices a try.

Its absolutely amazing how easy these devices are setup. You install the power and install an Android or iOS App on your phone. You can start the Heos app and can configure a new speaker. The speaker will be configured over a regular stereo audio cable. After this configuration step, the speaker will be available to all devices running the Heos app on your local network.

Denon currently promotes the GoPack: A battery pack for the Heos 1 and a bluetooth dongle which adds support for bluetooth connections on all Heos devices. However, Denon only sells the bluetooth adapter in combination with the battery pack. Since I don’t require the battery pack, I was wondering what kind of bluetooth dongle is required.

I’ve searched for a few weeks but finally found on amazon.com a bluetooth dongle which was used by a fellow Heos user. At the same time I tried to contact the Denon chat support and they recommended me this Bluetooth dongle. Regardless which one you’ll select, you’ll need a bluetooth 4.0 dongle with BCM20702 chipset:

HeosBluetooth_4_8

Just put the stick into the USB port of the Heos speaker:

HeosBluetooth_3_8

You can now press and hold the connect button until the Heos starts to blink green:

HeosBluetooth_6_8

The Heos is now in discovery mode and can be easily paired with your bluetooth enabled device. This also works for the Heos HomeCinema soundbar:

HeosBluetooth_7_8 HeosBluetooth_8_8

How to remove Spotify’s notification badge from the Mac OS X dock

Are you also annoyed and tired by Spotify’s notification badge in the dock of Mac OS X? I totally was and found a simple list of instructions on apple.stackexchange.com and want to show you how to remove this „feature“.

If correctly used, notification badges are a cool thing. They notify you when an app wants your attention. Spotify abuses this feature and shows the number of pending notifications inside its app. That means: If you ever subscribed to somebodies playlist and this playlist is updated, you will be notified. Same goes for stuff like new tracks of your favorited artists. You have no control over these notifications and will always be notified. Other users are also annoyed by this misbehavior but nothing changes 🙁 Thats why my Spotify is mostly minimized to the background and when opened it shows this ugly notification badge in its UI:

Spotify in app notification badge

Its annoying and always tries to steal my attention. Same goes for the Mac OS X dock icon:

Spotify Dock Icon with 99 notifications

Normally, you can open the system preferences and can disable the notifications. However, Spotify isn’t listed (although it uses the notification APIs of Mac OS X).

The instructions from stackoverflow write this missing entry into the notification database, so that it shows up in the list. Only after that you are allowed to disable Dock notifications:

Disable Spotify Badge App Icon Here’s the code of Ryan Patterson’s stackoverflow entry, in case it ever gets deleted:

 

Fix Windows 10 error code 19 for CD/DVD drives

I recently tried to convert a CD to MP3 (as part of my private copy for cds without protection), since my car stereo doesn’t have any CD drive at all. Therefore I’ve installed CDEX. CDEX complained about a missing CD drive, which puzzled me since I know that I have a DVDRW drive installed in my desktop PC. Upon further investigation I’ve seen no drive letter assignment in the explorer or disk management of Windows 10.

A closer look in the device manager showed me a problem with my drive:

Windows 10 code 19 dvd drive

I’ve tweeted this and got some responses from the official Windows support account. While I like this unexpected help and its experience, their advise wasn’t really helpful 🙁

I took control and searched the web for the exact error message from the device manager:

Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19)


Beware: Take a backup of your registry before you edit and just follow instructions from the internet! I cannot be held responsible for damage/problems caused to your machine.


 

I only found instructions for older Windows versions. However, I’ve tried those instructions on my machine and found a LowerFilters entry in my machine’s registry:

Windows 10 fix for Code 19

 

I’ve deleted it from the registry and rebooted. After the reboot my drive was working as expected without the need for any new driver or firmware updates.