Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekend review 6/28/14 - 6/29/14.

 Friday night we watched Frozen, but not to be confused with "You wanna build a snowman?" It had Iceman from X-Men in it. So it was a good movie, but a few things made me mad. First, they're skiing. They are bundled up in clothes, but the whole movie, you don't see them zip up the face part of their jackets or put their hands inside of their jackets and they never put their hoods on. Whatever, I get it's a movie and they can't cover their face cause of the microphone.

I had to mow the lawn and Melissa had a bachelorette party to go to that night. So I started installing Xbmcubuntu on the throw away computer. I had to drop Melissa off and when I got back I finished the install. Everything actually worked. I shared a couple movies from my regular computer to the throw away. The files played perfectly. I populated the DVD covers and it was all good. Here in lies the problem. I only have the 160 gig hard drive from the throw away computer. A 60 gig hard drive and my new internal hard drive in my computer now with all my media. I have another basic computer in another room that has a 500 gig hard drive in it. 

 So I'm having problem with how would I setup the throw away? Do I take the 500 gig and install xbmcubuntu on it? Do I take the 500 and install xbmcubuntu on that computer itself and not take the drive out for the throw away? The computer with the 500 gig is a fully working computer so I didn't really want to mess with it, but it's older so I don't think that xbmcubuntu would run well on it. The throw away is newer with more ram and a better processor. So I don't know what I'm going to do at this point and I can't mount a second hard drive in xbmcubuntu because I can't get to the desktop. In other media center news, I got some of my digital movies to play surround sound on my receiver. I will touch more on that on the midweek update

Melissa had a bridal shower to go to, so I just sat home popped in HOTD DVD and just relaxed. You might ask why I didn't stream HOTD. I will say, I have been messing with stream this, stream that and I wanted to just pop it in and watch it. That's about it for my weekend review. I hope you had a good weekend. Till next time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Midweek update.

 Last week I was going to have a nice midweek update about how I installed xbmc and started streaming my movies all over the house to all my devices. Well that didn't happen. You can check out my weekend review and my media center tribulations. On Tuesday morning 6/24/14, I fired up xbmc and tried streaming on my Xbox. It worked. It played m4v and mp4 files no problem. I did see a lot of artifacts in a couple TV series I tried. Oh well, I'm not going to go back and re make those files. For me m4v high profile works really good for TV shows and cartoon TV shows. For everything else I use android tablet mp4 and it works good for file size and resolution.

 I have been experimenting with ac3 pass through for surround sound. Like X2 X-Men United has stereo, Dolby digital and DTS. I want to be able to select those tracks if I'm streaming at home. The trade off is the file size is getting bigger. For X2 I first tried it just with stereo and it was 800 plus meg file size. With Dolby digital it was 1.4 something gigs. Still not bad. So now I want to try all three sound options and see what the file size is. I need to have smaller file sizes for tablets and you don't need surround sound for those either, so it's a trade off. 

 Transformers is like 1.7 gigs and that was before I even tried adding surround sound. So I figure two and a half gigs and below should be okay. This morning I finally got time to setup a test. I have a movie that has surround sound and DTS. I have one test with just stereo and subtitles. One test, I have with stereo, surround sound and subtitles. One test I have stereo, surround sound, DTS and subtitles. And the last test is stereo with just DTS and subtitles. Now I can have confirmation of file sizes for what audio track selected. I can't wait to test it. Just in case you were wondering, the Debian throw away computer is a no go. I'm going to try xbmcubuntu and see how that goes. 

I haven't found any new music lately. 

 Video games
I really haven't been playing any Rom's or games. Last Saturday I watched my nephew play some game on Xbox and it looked pretty hard. He kept dying numerous times. That's a pass for me. Ha ha.

I haven't had as many pictures for inspiration or motivation lately. I have found a couple pictures I liked though, so enjoy.

 Who doesn't love orangutans!!! Well I do so here ya go. I used to watch a show on Animal Planet called Orangutan Island. I loved it. It made me laugh and smile. So seeing these pictures from National Geographic, it took me back. Next time I will hopefully have updates on file sizes and xbmcubuntu. Don't wait with baited breath though. Ha ha. Till next 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Media center tribulations.

 6/17/14 Okay, where do I even begin? So last time I was talking about 7zip and unzipping ISOs. Well I have been doing some research and it looks like you can build a Linux based server with Debian. It actually looks relatively easy to do. So let me backup. I want to build a Raspberry Pi for my roms and emulators. Then I read that you can put xbmc media center on a Raspberry Pi to stream movies over your network.

 I found a retropie and xbmc os image I want to use. You can access xbmc from within emulation station. So I want to build my Pi'dOne with that. It would have a few of my roms on it, but mostly be a streaming box. On the GameCube I want that one to be the all in one portable emulator, that plays all of my roms. The GameCube is going to take a long time to build because I want it to be as perfect as possible. The PS1 won't take as long because I am only using it as a case for the Raspberry Pi. 

 Now back to the Debian server. I bought a 2 terabyte internal hard drive not too long ago for my movies, pictures, roms, emulators and music videos. I have been trying to share that drive on my network and it's proving to be a pain in my ass. I need a device that I can put my media on that can be accessed by my computers, Xbox, PS3, tablets, laptops and whatever else. So if I can't do that from my computer now, I need a different device. I did do research that said you could use a Raspberry Pi as the server. I want to experiment with Debian and xbmc first to see how I even like the program. 

 6/18/14 I downloaded the xbmc for windows, I installed it this morning and set it to find my movies. I configured a couple of settings then I had to leave for work so I don't even know if it works or if I can stream from my PS3? There's another program called PS media server. It does exactly what it says. It serves media from your computer to your PS3. There's a plug in for ps media server for xbmc. I want to see if my PS3 can see the xbmc install first before I try any plug ins. 

 6/18/14 I started trying to install Debian on a throw away computer that still worked. I got it going after a couple of re installs. I got xbmc loaded on it, but it was version 11 or 12. I transferred one of my movies to then debian desktop and xbmc wouldn't display it. It said it was playing, but there was no video. I googled how to install vlc media player. I opened vlc, selected the movie, after a stutter or two the movie played just fine. So what the hell!? I have tried Linux in the past and have had mixed results. I have tried puppy Linux, Ubuntu and now debian. I am capable, at least I thought. I don't know what I am going to do at this point for Linux 

 6/19/14 This morning I installed ps media server. Configured the shared drive. I put the plugin file into ps media players files. As I was sitting at the computer, ps media server found my Blu-ray player. I was shocked and I went to the bedroom where it was, turned it on, found ps media server and played a couple movies!!! Holy shit!!! It worked, it really worked. 

 6/23/14 I covered a lot of this on my weekend review, but I'm going to backtrack a little and go from there. This has been such a mess trying to figure all of this out.

 So yay, it works with the couple things I threw at it. I even got surround sound out of my movie files since I figured out the sound settings. So as I'm going back to shut down the ps3 I see this

 H-I folders are gone. Where did the letters for the folders go? The files themselves are still there but the lettering is gone.

 So I go to my computer and xbmc is running correctly. So what gives?

 I still haven't scraped data, cause I didn't want the scraper to change my file names again. I don't even know where to begin to search for letters on my ps3 files disappearing. I guess this post has turned into more than just a midweek update. It's spanning close to two weeks now. I will keep working on it. There is proof that my time and effort is worth it. I found another "setup guide" for sharing from Windows Media Player, so I will try that too. I will update the actual midweek update later. Till next time.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend review 6/21/14 - 6/22/14.

 Alright so Melissa had to go over to her brothers house for a couple days to house sit. Thursday we decided that I would just go home and come over to the brothers house Friday night after work. I was like sweet I get to mess around with xbmc and psmc. So I get home, turn on the computer and fire up both media centers. I wanted to see which one does which and go from there. I'm sitting in the living room and start up the ps3. I try xbmc and it's still not playing movies or even letting me find them. Okay, fine, I try psmc and it works. I'm streaming whatever I want. I fire up some High School Of The Dead and start eating dinner. I finish dinner and want to go to bed and watch another episode of HOTD. I turn on the Blu-ray player and select psmc. HOTD won't play. It's choppy and will not play.

 I look online real quick, can't find anything except Sony Blu-ray players can't stream m4v. I go back and try xbmc and it still won't work. I'm like fuck it I'm going to bed. Friday morning I reinstall xbmc and I don't let it scrape data for the movies. I feel there might be something to do with scraping data and issues I had. If I troubleshoot enough, I can scrape the data later. I don't have time to test it. After work, I get to Melissa's brothers house. We eat some dinner. I'm playing around with his TiVo and harmony remote with hi def tv. That remote is really damn cool by the way. We go in the hot tub and relax. 

After some really bad sleep in a strange lumpy ass bed, I stumble looking for coffee or something. Melissa made the waffle iron cinnamon rolls again. Amazing again. I'm drinking my coffee, still trying to wake up. After we get ready, I pull some of my stuff out of their storage so I can finally take it home. I unload my car and Melissa and I head out to the fair. Friday morning I had set out our chairs, so we wouldn't have to fight for seating. We had a some really good fair food. We were enjoying the beautiful day and each others company. We jumped in the car from the fair and headed to Albertsons. After Albertsons we walked over to Walgreen's, grabbed some snacks and headed to our seats. It was like 75 plus degrees and we had like a two and a half hour wait for the parade to start. We started getting fried in the sun. The parade started late again, this year. We were already tired of sitting when the parade started. The parade wasn't bad, but we were sitting towards the end of the route and all the people were really tired so they were barely performing. The parade ran long, so the fireworks started while we were still trying to get our seats packed up.

  We got a couple of good pictures of the fireworks.
Sunday, we had a baby shower to go to. This was going to be a long day, having to deal with crackheads and bullshit. Before we left, I fired up my computer, started xbmc, turned on my blu-ray player and tried some streaming. I tried HOTD because I knew it was a m4v file format. It did not work, which I figured. I tried an mp4 and it worked perfectly. So after my few minutes of testing, I had to shut down and leave for the baby shower. After a long day we were home. We had to wait for the Comcast guy to show up and install our new X1 dvr. We were paying for standard def triple play package. With this new deal we got the x1 for the same price, upgraded channel package with hd for the same amount of the standard def package. This is not a sales pitch by any means. After the installer left, we had to try and figure out this new dvr. The channel up and down buttons won't work. The dvr auto tunes to hd, which is fine, but it won't do the same for recordings, meaning we will have to relearn every single channel we regular use, to find the hd channel. This is gonna take awhile to get used to. I wanted to run a couple of cables in my entertainment center I never had a chance to when we moved in and the installer was an absolute no go. He didn't even want pull the tv down off the mount to plug in my hdmi cable. Really?! How in the hell, are supposed to hook up a dvr? I understand liabilities, but damn, c'mon. So again, I was not able to run the cables and wires they way I wanted to. And to top it off, the only available hdmi connection was on the side of the tv. What if my tv didn't come with 5 fucking hdmi connections! What were you gonna do then!? Not install my new dvr!? Rant over, but I'm still pissed. New tvs nowadays only have two or three hdmi connections to begin with. What are people supposed to do then?

 How do people hook up a dvr, game consoles, blu-ray players, Rokus, Chromecasts, Tivos, Ouyas and all that? even some receivers only come with four hdmi inputs and one outputs. Whatever. Monday morning, I turned on my computer and fire up xbmc again. I turned on the ps3 and started xbmc. I started streaming HOTD to try the m4v, there was no problems. I tried another mp4 and it worked. I will update more on the midweek update. Sunday night when I had a few minutes, I tried running some more files through my ps3.

 I got a few going and I even got some surround sound enabled files to actually output surround sound. it was very damn cool. I hope you had a good weekend. Till next time. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend review for 6/14/14 - 6/15/14.

 Friday night we watched Devils Knot about the West Memphis 3. It had some big name stars in it. It was a really good movie and it stayed true to what I have watched on all the different documentaries. Those 3 boys should have never been killed and those 3 teenagers at the time should have never been convicted. It's an injustice. Definitely check it out.

We didn't do much and it was nice. We had Ajs Burger and Fries for lunch. I mowed the lawn. And we just relaxed. I even fired up my slim PS2 and tried playing GTA San Andreas. That was very, very interesting. I hadn't fired my PS2 up in a long time. Saturday night we watched a zombie movie called The Returned. It was an awesome movie. It had a different premise on the zombie movies. What if you could save a person from becoming a zombie after they have been bit, would you? Next we watched 9/11: Stories In Fragments. This was a really good movie too. It was about artifacts from 9/11 given to the museum from people who were actually involved in that day. After that we started watching 16 Acres. This was about what people and business' had invested in the World Trade Center's location. We didn't get to finish it, but it looked good.

Melissa made a new find on Pinterest cinnamon roll cooking technique.

 These cinnamon rolls turned out amazing. I never knew that you could cook cinnamon rolls on the waffle iron. We are definitely doing this again very, very soon. We got to have another relaxing day. We have been going and going lately, so it was nice to just do nothing. I hope you had a good weekend. Till next time. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Midweek update.

 So recently I have been talking about roms and emulators. Over the weekend I finally tried my Logitech PS3 controller on my laptop and it worked. So now I want to try a GameCube rom I have from my collection. I had no idea how involved getting an ISO unpacked was. Normally you just have zip files and Windows can normally extract them and it's fine. I have downloaded roms in zip format and ha Windows extract it and it was fine. Jeez, cut to a GameCube zip. You have to get a special zip program. I read good things about 7zip from people that use it for their raspberry pi OS's. So I downloaded 7zip and started unzipping Animal Crossing ISO. The file size is 1. something gigs. The extracted file is like 2 plus gigs.

 Needless to say this endeavour is gonna take a little longer to try out. At least I have the pieces in place. I still have to install my Logitech controller on my desktop. I tried a new emulator for Super Nintendo roms. It has the cheat options which is nice BUT you can only enable one cheat at a time for the lite version. And you can save BUT you can't load the save without paying to unlock the full version. I am trying a lot of emulators for my roms so I can have everything I want and need from them. The cheat code I used for Jurassic Park was infinite lives and it didn't work. So I don't want to buy this emulator if everything doesn't work. 

 Windows and Android emulators are completely different and it hard getting use to Android emulators and then trying to configure a Windows one. First world problems right. Ha ha.

I have actually found another song for summer. Lana Del Ray - Summertime Blues Cedric Gervais Remix. Check it out. I think you'll like it. 

Below is a picture of my GameCube Animal Crossing running. I let 7zip do it's thing and fired up Dolphin. It was running at 60 fps. I need to figure out how to make the game screen bigger. 

 Well that's all for now. Till next time. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekend review for 6/7/14 - 6/8/14.

 This weekend was actually really busy, but had some fun parts. Friday night, we watched some Netflix. We watched some documentary on if all men are pedophiles. That was some crazy ass shit. I'm not even gonna put the IMDb  link like normal.

We had to do some shopping for a housewarming, first birthday, two other birthdays and a baby shower. Just thinking about all the events we had to buy for is overwhelming. So in order to buy me off make up for last weekends search for a GameCube. Melisa, said we could go to Value Village so I could look for a GameCube. 

 Well this time my hopes were not up. We got back to the electronics section and no GameCubes. Melissa said I should ask an employee if they had any in the back. I asked the first employee and they said they had one out in the morning, but that's it. I said okay and they said they would ask someone else. I waited for a little bit and out comes an employee with a GameCube and a bag with the a/v cable, power adapter and a controller for 15 bucks! Score! I said thank you and started walking away. I stopped and I had a moment of maybe I shouldn't do this. Maybe I shouldn't waste my money and time for this project. All in all it will be close to 160 bucks after everything is all said and bought. That's a lot for a gutted game console with a mini computer to play roms. 

 An Ouya console is 100 bucks and straight out of the gate, it can play my roms. So why would I spend so much more money, time and effort. Well, my answer to myself was, I have always been a tinkerer. I like building things, I like programming computers. And the biggest part of all, I am going to slowly piece this together and buy bits and pieces when I can. So my total investment so far is 20 bucks. That's for my PS1 and now the GameCube. I am still going to build my PS1 Raspberry Pi. That is going to be a XBMC player and small emulator functions. So I won't need a usb hub and stuff like that. The GameCube, I want as just exclusively as an emulation machine. I want to be able to pop sd cards in and out, possibly a hard drive, multiple controllers and add on usb accessories. The GameCube build will be highly detailed and involved.

 Saturday when we got home from shopping, i decided to try out the GameCube. It actually worked and played a few games on it, then I gutted it. 

I wasn't going to wait for a gamebit driver to show up. I decided to use the tool I had available.
And here's the little proprietary bastard. 
Obviously it worked. 
This GameCube was not shown any love for a long time. 
So I wanted to be able to place a game disc in to make it look as stock as possible, just like the PS1.
I gutted as much of the disc drive as I could and then used a couple screws to hold it in.
Finished project. You wouldn't be able to tell anything was up unless you looked for the laser and didn't see it.
So after I was finished with the delicate surgery, here's the finished product. 

 I wanted to be able to use the stock power button and reset switch. The Power cable goes into the cube then to a pcb board with two connectors. One for the fan and the other for the main power. What I want to do is, keep the power stock and bump the power down to 5 volts. I want to be able to use the whole assembly. So the stock power block, power switch, fan and have power leads for the Raspberry Pi. I didn't take a picture of the fan shroud that I cut apart to have the fan pull all the hot air out, not just down near the original heatsink.

I actually put the memory card doors back in. 
 The openings on the bottom of the case were for the add on stuff made for the GameCube, like the Game Boy player, serial port and network port. These openings will be beneficial for me later. I eventually want to get a broken Game Boy player, attach it to the cube and use it as a usb hub housing area. The holes will be able to fit usb cables coming up the Pi itself. Explaining it is harder than seeing it, but that's what's in my head. The openings on the back where the a/v and digital a/v will house the hdmi and usb hub power cords. But I might cut small holes in the back of the Game Boy player for them instead. I don't actually know until it happens.

 Saturday night:
After I was done working on my GameCube, I tried my Logitech PS3 controller on my laptop to see if it worked for my emulators. It did! Windows 7 is amazing and it installed the drivers itself and the Logitech controller was installed and ready to go. I tried a Windows version of the Super Nintendo emulator and fired up A Link To The Past. I configured the emulator to work with my Logitech and it worked. I had a couple of resolution selection issues but that was my fault. I was trying to go big balls straight out the gate. I got the resolution fixed and I was playing Zelda. I tried a Nintendo emulator, it worked. I was amazed. Now I have to find a DOS emulator or something and load up my Doom WAD file backups and play some Doom. After I was done in geek heaven, we decided to rent Lone Survivor. This was one of the most amazing movies I have seen in a long time. You felt every emotion watching it. If you haven't seen it, definitely do. This will be a buy for me.

We went to Melissa's cousin's house for a house warming/birthday parties. The drive was an hour and a half. It was all the way out near Black Diamond. We got there and it felt like we weren't really mean to be there. Family issues abound and it's hard to act like everything is fine and dandy. We got some food out of the deal and I talked to a guy who was going through a lawsuit for L&I and hospital negligence. It was interesting to hear another person's story about their lawsuit and pain management. I try not to complain about my stuff, but talking about that, brought up some old wounds (No pun intended.). After another hour and half drive home we got to relax and watch some shows. We did our house chores on Saturday, so that was a good thing. Well I feel like I have been writing for awhile, so that's it for now. I hope you had a good weekend. Till next time. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Midweek update.

 Midweek update starts right now. Video games: I have been playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4 Turtles In Time. Do you know how cheap that game is? And by cheap, I mean it's unfair at times and it's hard. I don't even know how people didn't rage quit back when this first came out. I remember playing it when I first got it and I couldn't pass the first level. Now, same thing. Whatever. It's still fun playing it. I got farther on Links Awakening Dx. I tried replaying Duck Tales 1 and 2. That's still as hard as I remember. I replayed Darkwing Duck. 

 I have been noticing some emulators will let you do some things and others won't. It's kinda annoying. I know they want to be paid for their time, but I want to make sure my roms work correctly, rant over. I recently picked up a PS1 to stuff a Raspberry Pi computer into it. This weekend, I got some progress done on the controller / memory card ports. I want to place the USB extension cords in the memory card slot, but have the memory card doors still close so it looks stock from the front. Well that is proving hard to do. I can stick the USB cords farther back, but I would have to push really hard to get whatever usb plug I'm plugging in to seat properly. And some of the peripherals I want to use later won't be small enough to stick in there. So I think I'm gonna have to have the USB extension connector flush with the front panel. It's gonna look funny but I didn't want to cut other holes in the front I didn't have to. And I'm trying to figure out how to use the stock power and reset buttons. 

The ports got kinda hacked, cause the plastic was so brittle.

 And something else I wanted to do was, keep the disc drive. Most people just remove the disc drive and keep the lid closed. I want to actually keep this so again, it looks stock as possible.

I trimmed as much of the disc drive as I could to save space on the inside. 
Well last time I said I was waiting for "summer" music. Well Melissa, won a free mp3 download from Dr. Pepper and she chose Summer by Calvin Harris. It's actually pretty good too.

I really haven't found anything post worthy lately, but I did find this:

 That's all I have for this midweek update. Till next time. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekend review 5/31 - 6/1/14.

 Friday night:
I watched Vampire Academy. It was totally not what I was thinking. Kinda really dumb and they didn't even take themselves seriously. The worst part, they actually left it open for a sequel. No thanks, that's a skip. 

We wanted to go yard/garage (sale-ing?). We hit quite a few houses didn't really find much we were looking for. I did find a Xbox original for 10 bucks, but those things are huge and I wouldn't want to take up all that room, just for a Raspberry Pi in a case. After the sales, we hit some thrift stores. Melissa said she had seen a couple of GameCubes the previous day. So we were on the hunt for the elusive Moby Dick. As we entered the first store, I was trying not to run back to the electronics section.

 We got there and my eyes bulged looking for the GameCubes. My eyes got smaller and my sad face took over. No GameCubes to be found. We left the store and tried the next one. This one never has consoles. I didn't have my hopes up and I wasn't disappointed when there were no consoles except an Xbox original. Are they trying to tell me something? Well I am not listening. No Xbox for me. After perusing, we decided to have a picnic at Jennings Park. We stopped by Subway and grabbed a couple sandwiches. We found some benches under some shade and enjoyed ourselves. Saturday night:
We watched 30 Minutes Or Less. There were some funny moments, but over all kinda dumb. 

I had to some yard work. Nothing special. I took my recent PS1 purchase apart and found the locations for the USB ports. No pictures yet, but some coming soon. I was too into it to stop and take pictures maybe for the midweek update. Well, I hope you had a good weekend. Till next time.