Sunday, December 28, 2008


MythTV is a bear to install and setup but it is well worth the hassle. I chose to use the "Add to Ubuntu" option of Mythbuntu on the frontend and backend. I tried the full Mythbuntu distribution but didn't like that as well as the "Add to Ubuntu" option.

I'm using my Dell M140 laptop as the front end. I plan to look for a suitable front end in a few weeks. I want something small, quiet, and compatible with my Samsung TVs (models LN-T4661F and LN-32A330J1D). I have a single Hauppauge HVR-1600 dual tuner video capture card in the backend. The analog tuner is connected to my Comcast cable TV service and the digital tuner is receiving over-the-air ATSC HD. I've used my PS3 as a front end too using the UPnP option. The PS3 works well as a frontend but it is not as nice as the Myth frontend interface.

The Myth TV configuration options and variations are many. It is overwhelming at first. Getting the capture card recognized and setup is tricky. Getting the frontend to talk with the backend took some time for me to figure out. All and all it is just a matter of getting your hands dirty with allot of trial and error. After hours and hours of reading and configuration it all starts to click. Wireshark the packet sniffer was helpful in understanding the communications between the frontend and backend.

Give MythTV a try. Tivo, your days may be numbered in my house.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Here are my main podcast subscriptions.

Java Posse
Commentary and news on Java. The Posse members are: Tor Norbye (Sun Microsystems), Carl Quinn (Google), Dick Wall (Navigenics), Joe Nuxoll (Navigenics)

Google Developer Podcast
Google related software developer topics. Published infrequently.

Linux Action Show
News and reviews on Linux.

Linux Outlaws
News and information on Linux with some Microsoft bashing. Hosts are Fabian Scherschel and Dan Lynch. The duo have a fun chemistry.

Software Engineering Radio
Software engineering discussions and interviews.

Ubuntu UK
Ubuntu Linux discussions. "Sounds like a fun packed show."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Post Ubuntu Installation Setup

After installing Ubuntu I customize my setup.

Install Microsoft True Type Core Fonts
sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

Install TN5250
sudo apt-get install tn5250

Keyboard shortcuts setup
1) Run gconf-editor
2) Find Apps -> Metacity -> Keybinding Commands
3) Click on command_1 -or any empty one upto- command_12
4) In "value" type the command you want to run
5) Move upto "global_keybindings"
6) Click on "run_command_x (x corresponds to the value at 3)

Some of my keyboard shortcuts
<Control><Shift>g - firefox
<Control><Shift>e - firefox
<Control><Shift>p - gedit
<Control><Shift>o - gnome-terminal
<Control><Shift>x - gnome-terminal -x tn5250 env.TERM=IBM-3477-FC

Download and install Google Earth

Download and install Sun's Java JDK

Download and install Netbeans IDE

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Google Calendar Views Application

Google Calendar Views logoAs of this writing I have over 90 Google calendars that I view several times a day. I found myself spending more time than I prefer toggling calendars. To save time I wrote a Java Webstart application called Google Calendar Views. With this application, you can create, save and apply views of like calendars. You can specify whether each calendar is hidden, selected, and its color. Once you add your Google accounts and setup your views you can quickly swap views. All account and calendar information is written locally to an encrypted embedded JavaDB (Derby) database on your computer. Read more about it, or view the YouTube video below and then give it a try.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sun Ray Thin Client Comparison

I've used 3 Sun Ray thin clients. They are Accutech Gobi 8, General Dynamics Tadpole M1400 and Sun Ray 2. All of the clients work well. Of the two notebooks I prefer the Tadpole M1400 over the Gobi 8. The M1400 has a much better configuration UI and the screen resolution is higher. I wish the M1400 could do without the internal fan. It kicks in every few minutes. See the Google spreadsheet below.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sun Ray 2 Wireless Improved

A few weeks ago I wrote about connecting my Sun Ray 2 wirelessly to my home network. I used a Linksys WAP54G which was really bulky and required a power brick. I ran across someone in the Sun Ray Users mailing list using a D-Link DWL-G730AP. So I ordered one. It is smaller than a pack of playing cards and is USB powered. This really makes for a much better solution. I was going to velcro it to the side of the Sun Ray but I thought better of it. There are some air vents that would have been blocked. The D-Link fits nicely under the Sun Ray power cord in the back.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sun xVM VirtualBox

The Sun xVM VirtualBox Open Source Software works as advertised. Below are screen-scrapes of

  1. Windows PC running Ubuntu in a VirtualBox
  2. Ubuntu laptop running XP in a VirtualBox
  3. Ubuntu AMD 64 PC running OpenSolaris in a VirtualBox
  4. Ubuntu AMD 64 PC running Windows XP in a VirtualBox

VirtualBox is the only free personal/SMB virtualization product that runs on all the major computing platforms - Windows, Linux, Mac, and Solaris.


Ubuntu VirtualBox on XP


XP VirtualBox on Ubuntu



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hello Says Goodbye

Although I didn't use it much, I'm sorry to see Hello go. It was a quick and easy method for sending full resolution photos to friends and family. I wonder why Google is pulling the plug?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sun Ray 2 Wireless

I have configured a Sun Ray 2 in my bedroom without running any CAT5 Ethernet cable in my walls.

I used a Linksys model WAP54G wireless access point configured in AP Client mode. It talks wirelessly to my Linksys WRT54GS router which is connected to my AT&T DSL Internet connection. I am using the Sun Ray's built-in VPN client to talk to the corporate firewall at work.

Samsung LCD TV with a HDMI/DVI cable to Sun Ray 2
Sun Ray 2 with built-in VPN
Linksys WAP54G wireless access point
Linksys WRT54GS wireless router
AT&T Netopia DSL Modem
Cisco PIX Firewall

Of course the Sun Ray 2 is silent so it makes a good sleeping partner. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sun Ray 2 Multihead

This is my Sun Ray 2 multihead setup. With the multihead feature, you can have up to 16 Sun Rays controlled by one keyboard and mouse.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Silence of the Sun Ray 2 Thin Client

You never realize how noisy something is until you turn it off. I'm using a Sun Ray 2 thin client at home over a VPN connection. I never realized how loud my PC disk drives and fans were until I started using a Sun Ray thin client. The silence is welcomed and appreciated. Now I have to replace my LCD monitor. It has a low buzz that I never detected before.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Working Comfortably

PS3, Ubuntu, and Samsung. A great combination for a graying, balding, eyesight weakening old fart like myself. Happy computing.