Lothar's Build Log R0.2.5

Nov 07 2008

Welcome to another addition of "Let's see how long it takes Lothar to put together a working Mythtv box".  In today's episode we will be focusing on a few of the leftover cleanup tasks.

Since I finally got the video drivers working pretty smoothly under Linux a few weeks ago, I decided that it was finally time to move my development computer out of the livingroom and back onto my desk.  I had left it out there, ready to use at a moments notice, in case we ran into any show-stopping challenges while trying to watch a show.  Word of advice, WAF falls off quickly if the system stops working in the middle of a TV show...  Cry  But after a few weeks of using the system, it feels very stable overall.  I haven't had Mythtv crash on me at all yet.  The only video related issue I see is a little tearing every now and then while watching HD shows.  I think that there are still a few more configuration options that can be tweaked to fix this.

So, now that this new system has gone mainstream, I found a couple minor things that still needed to be worked out.  All of them were related to my remote.  When I did the initial LIRC configuration I did it as my everyday user, not the mythtv user that automatically logs in.  What that means is that my everyday user had all of the necessary configuration files to use the remote but my mythtv user did not.  The result was that the remote didn't work when the mythtv user automatically logged in and started Mythtv when I turn on the system.  This ended up being fairly simple to fix.  First, I had to copy over the config files that were generated when LIRC was installed:

sudo -u mythtv mkdir /home/mythtv/.lirc
sudo -u mythtv cp /home/<everyday user>/.lirc/* /home/mythtv/.lirc/*
sudo -u mythtv cp /home/<everyday user>/.lircrc /home/mythtv/.lircrc
sudo -u mythtv ln -s /home/mythtv/.lircrc /home/mythtv/.mythtv/lircrc 

So here's what those commands do.  The first line creates a new directory for my mythtv user to store the LIRC configuration files in.  The second line copies those configuration files from the everyday user to the mythtv user.  These configuration files map remote button presses with Mythtv actions.  The third line copies the overall LIRC configuration file from the everyday user to the mythtv user directory.  The last line creates a link between the configuration file and the .mythtv directory so that Mythtv can use the files.  Depending on how you have LIRC set up, you may only need to issue the last two commands if you were in need of doing something similar yourself.

The next thing I had to do was make irexec automatically start so that I could use the remote control to launch mythtv when logged in as my everyday user.  irexec is an application that allows you to run scripts from the remote.  In order to make it auto-launch I did the following:   Under Gnome I selected the System menu -> Administration -> Session.  Then I added irexec to the list of applications that are automatically started.  The command line that I used was /usr/bin/irexec.  It was that easy.  Now when I login as my everyday user irexec is already running and I no longer need a keyboard to launch Mythtv.  It's all very nice.

The final thing I did today was completely unrelated to my new frontend configuration.  I had to reconfigure my remote a bit.  Somewhere along the line my configuration got messed up so that when I select a device, the LCD screen lists all of the buttons in alphabetical order.  I had had it setup so that, for example when I selected the TV device, the screen displayed useful buttons like Power Toggle and Next Input.  I also tried to setup the Watch Mythtv activity to one of the discrete activity buttons at the top of the remote but for whatever reason it won't stick.  I can only find that activity under More Activities and select it via the LCD screen.  I had this setup as a discrete button at one point.  I'm not sure what happened.  Oh well.  I guess I can live with it.

So I think that at this point the only feature that my frontend is really missing that I would like to get working sooner rather than later is the suspend feature.  Right now I have the system set up to shutdown completely.   It's a nicety more than anything I guess but I had the feature working on the old system and I'd like to get it working again.

That's it for now.  Feel free to drop me a line.

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