Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
RhodesRunner
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Newbie Observations and Questions...

Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:38 am

Random Thoughts…
I read much of the forum before deciding on the PB for my new system. Having an extensible platform, and people who are willing to devote some time to app development was a HUGE factor for me.

Thanks to all of you who have written apps to breathe life into this box of potential. It’s a mystery to me why Roku hasn’t done more with this box. From what I’ve seen, it’s the only game in town to deliver everything you’ve been able to implement thus far, and everything I’m sure you’ve got in the hopper for the future. My hat’s definitely off to you all! Thank you all so much for your efforts, and your willingness to help us stabilize and extend our PBs, and your apps running on them.

After reading lots of postings, I get the impression that much of what’s been implemented for SoundBridge either has or will(??) apply to the PB. Any thoughts or insights on this? Do you think there’s a chance that PB will see some further Roku-side development once SB has reached some point of critical mass?

I’m anxious to figure out the best way to stabilize my installation. Right now I feel like I’m fighting more and enjoying it less, but I’m guessing I may have caused some of my problems with some of my equipment choices. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

While I’m fairly competent with PC/Windows networking, LINUX is a completely new animal for me. And now I’ve got not one, but two of these beasts to consider. :? Guess I'm leaping, and hoping the net will appear!

Current Environment…
- HD1000 Rev B running 2.0.3.6
- Dynamic IP (but appears to come up with the same IP each time I reboot)
- Hardwired Ethernet 100M connection
- D-LINK DGL-4100 Gigabit Gaming Router
- NSLU2 (out of the box) with 2 Western Digital USB drives attached (250 & 300G - both NTFS) (static IP on this).
Started off with D-Link DSM-G600 which seemed to work a little better, but was WAY too noisy for our home office.
- All MP3 and a few WAV files stored on WD drives
- Some video mpgs on WD drive
- Currently using SD Ultra 512M CF

Current Experience…
- Network shares seem to come and go on the PB, for no apparent reason. Sometimes they show up on reboot, sometimes not. Sometimes when I try to access them through the remote, they disappear. Sometimes they’ll work fine. Other times they’ll disappear after I’ve hit the drive.
- When network shares are there, can’t always find the files/apps on them.
- PB seems to ‘hang’ on a regular (but inconsistent) basis. Can’t pinpoint a specific reason that it’s hanging. Just seems to lock up sometimes.
- PB seems more stable overall when I enable a 64M swap file on CF card, even though posts seem to indicate that I shouldn’t really need to use one on a Rev B box.
- If screensaver kicks in before starting an app, can’t get out of screensaver. Have to reload the OS to ‘recover’. Some apps won’t let me get out of screensaver either.
HexRadio seems to be the exception here, having never failed to let me get back from the screensaver successfully.
- LiveSpy runs great from CF
- WeatherSix runs great from CF
- Sonica works intermittently (share problem?) but won’t get back from screensaver. I’ve had the video disappear completely but Sonica keeps going through the library with no problem.
- Jukebox will sometimes complete a scan and let me play music, and other times will not. It’s been pretty inconsistent so far.
- Mplay & Mplay DVD – have been able to run mpg files shot with digital camera pretty consistently, but haven’t really done too much here yet. So far, so good.
- In spite of my apparent frustration level, I’m overwhelmed by the prospect of getting this thing to a point where it is stable and predictable. I can’t believe all the great stuff you’re wringing out of one device! It’s AWESOME!

Questions…
- What basics should I get out of the way first?
- Should I go back to 2.0.3.4? What (if anything) would I be giving up?
- Best way to stabilize/access network shares?
- Once the drives/shares are stabilized, would there be anything else preventing the existing files and apps being found?
- To swap file or not to swap file?? Rev B unit, but seems to work better with CF-based 64M swap file.
- NSLU2
....- Is ‘unslung’ the way to go here? Any particular version? Some other solution?
....- Is it worth implementing the hack to restore the full clock speed?
...... Any risk that my WD USB Drives won’t be accessible afterwards?
- Audio Applications
.... - Sonica works sometimes, but not consistently. So far, this seems to be the best overall, and I like the interface. Would be nice to be able to let it running on exit to run slideshow.
.... - Haven’t tried SlimServer yet. Would rather not rely on a server but I’ll consider anything that will work well consistently.
...... – Any recommendations getting started here? A stable version perhaps?
.... - HexRadio – Awesome, and I can always get back to the app from the screensaver

If you've read this far, thank you thank you thank you for any help you're able to provide. This newbie stands in your debt. ;-)

Mark
 
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TheEndless
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Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:22 am

I would have to say that the absolute first thing you need to do is set the PB up with a static IP. Doing so should make the share availability considerably more stable. Once you've done that, we can move on to any other issues you're having. Check out the unofficial FAQ (http://www.rokulabs.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6259) for a script that soaif wrote to make setting the IP easier.

Good luck!
TheEndless
My Channels: http://roku.permanence.com - Twitter: @TheEndlessDev
Instant Watch Browser (NetflixIWB), Aquarium Screensaver (AQUARIUM), Clever Clocks Screensaver (CLEVERCLOCKS), iTunes Podcasts (ITPC), My Channels (MYCHANNELS)
 
RhodesRunner
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Static IP Implemented...

Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:52 am

Feeling closer to nirvana already.
 
bpwwer
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Re: Newbie Observations and Questions...

Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:43 pm

RhodesRunner wrote:
- Network shares seem to come and go on the PB, for no apparent reason. Sometimes they show up on reboot, sometimes not. Sometimes when I try to access them through the remote, they disappear. Sometimes they’ll work fine. Other times they’ll disappear after I’ve hit the drive.

If the static IP helps, then you're making progress. This seems like it is your biggest problem. I use a DHCP address on my Rev B, and don't have any network connectivity problems. The only time I have problems is when the PB reboots and my DHCP server is down, then I have to reboot the PB after the DHCP server is up. The PB will "lose shares" for a while if an application crashes. There is a process that runs every 10 minutes (I think it's 10) that checks the shares and re-mounts them if there is a problem. I gave up with SMB shares very quickly since while I was developing Sonica, it would crash all the time. I now use NFS only.

RhodesRunner wrote:
- PB seems more stable overall when I enable a 64M swap file on CF card, even though posts seem to indicate that I shouldn’t really need to use one on a Rev B box.

I too use a swap file with my Rev B. Sonica can use a lot of memory if it is indexing a lot of songs. I think it can do ~10,000 without a swap file but have never tried to find the limit.

RhodesRunner wrote:
- If screensaver kicks in before starting an app, can’t get out of screensaver. Have to reload the OS to ‘recover’. Some apps won’t let me get out of screensaver either.

If no apps are running you should always be able to exit the screensaver. I have no idea what would cause this.

RhodesRunner wrote:
- Sonica works intermittently (share problem?) but won’t get back from screensaver. I’ve had the video disappear completely but Sonica keeps going through the library with no problem.

I think the screen saver problem is independent of Sonica. Sonica does work with screen savers. Video disappearing can be caused by a low memory, at least that is when I've seen it happen. I can help with Sonica problems, but first I think you need to get the system a bit more stable.

RhodesRunner wrote:
- NSLU2
....- Is ‘unslung’ the way to go here? Any particular version? Some other solution?
....- Is it worth implementing the hack to restore the full clock speed?
...... Any risk that my WD USB Drives won’t be accessible afterwards?

I have 3 NSLU2's running Unslung. All three have the resistor removed to increase the clock speed. This change won't effect anything on the disks.

I run Unslung 1.12 (very early version) on the NSLU2 that has all my media. I added NFS and TwonkyVision UPNP server to it. The only reason I haven't upgraded the Unslung version is because it's been so darn stable. It has been rebooted once in the past 450 days and that was to remove the resistor. My other two NSLU2's run OpenSlug and they have been just as stable.

RhodesRunner wrote:
- Audio Applications
.... - Sonica works sometimes, but not consistently. So far, this seems to be the best overall, and I like the interface. Would be nice to be able to let it running on exit to run slideshow.


Thanks! I've played around a bit with trying to background the program so that other applications could take over the display but don't have it working.
-- Bob --
[url]http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYai/[/url]
 
RhodesRunner
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Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:04 pm

OK. I've changed to static IP, and it's clear this is going to be a process.

Maybe I'll try rebooting a 2nd time to see if it clears some of the 'hangs' I seem to be having.

For example, it saw the 2 WD drives as network shares, and they came up right away. However PB locked up shortly thereafter.

Rebooted, tried defining network shares directly...
192.168.0.1/HDD_1_1_1, 192.168.0.1/HDD_2_1_1 ...

At first on saving, got message "Share Access Problem"
"User/Pass OK but read permission denied"

Then was able to save both. Not exactly sure what I've got now. :?

==========
Just checked and found PB screensaver locked up.

Rebooted, and this time turned swap on, screensaver off, and started Livespy from CF just to keep things working on something. Figured maybe that would give the shares time to settle in / inventory media, or whatever they're doing after bootup. I'll be happy if it doesn't hang on something. Time will tell.

=======
4:59 PM
Network shares show up, but show no media. Apparently the manually-specified shares connected with no read access. I'm guessing this would have to be corrected at the NSLU2, since I don't see any Share controls under Win Explorer Properties.

Decided to revert to the default shares that PB found to see if they'll come up with access to the drives.
 
RhodesRunner
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File Scanning on shares....

Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:24 pm

Does PB automatically scan all shares for files?

It seems to be seeing files when using the shares that PB finds on its own. However after being up for 20-30 minutes (pointed to the CF card), I checked the network shares and only a few files had been identified. As soon as clicked on the drive and left it there for a few seconds, it started actively scanning the drive for content.

Is this normal, or should it scan the shares automatically without my having to click into each one?

Thanks!
Mark
 
RhodesRunner
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Using Static IP more stable, highlights other issues...

Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:03 pm

I have to say PB seems happier with the static IP.

While I was waiting, downloaded and installed SlimRoku and SlimServer 6.2.1. Thank you, TheEndless, for SlimRoku! What a great application! The only thing I would have changed would be the option of making the Hide icon transparent - not sure if continued use during a screen show could be a problem...

Of course, what would progress be without a step back. I noticed that SlimRoku would stop on certain files. Seems to play CBR files, but not VBR files. Also, in looking at the SlimServer console, it's telling me I don't have LAME support installed, with a FAQ reference. I read through it, but can't figure out how (or where) to add this. Maybe there's something posted here, but I've yet to find it....

Also saw some references to transcoding, but not sure how / if that would relate to this issue.

EDIT
Could this be part of my problem with Sonica?

Bob, thanks for your reply. Noticed you're using NFS ipo SMB shares. Sounds like something I may want to pursue. Also, I'll probably convert the slug and disconnect the resistor. I'm trying not to do too much at once so I know what's making things work better. Just very excited to see it start to come together.

And thanks to SOAIF for writing the static IP script.

I'm in awe of what all of you have created to turn the PB into a chameleon. :)
 
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TheEndless
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Re: Using Static IP more stable, highlights other issues...

Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:29 pm

RhodesRunner wrote:
The only thing I would have changed would be the option of making the Hide icon transparent - not sure if continued use during a screen show could be a problem...

There's a command-line option for that (-NoInfoOnHide). Check out the website for more information.

RhodesRunner wrote:
Of course, what would progress be without a step back. I noticed that SlimRoku would stop on certain files. Seems to play CBR files, but not VBR files. Also, in looking at the SlimServer console, it's telling me I don't have LAME support installed, with a FAQ reference. I read through it, but can't figure out how (or where) to add this. Maybe there's something posted here, but I've yet to find it....
RhodesRunner wrote:
Also saw some references to transcoding, but not sure how / if that would relate to this issue.

These are related. LAME is required to transcode to MP3. What type of files are you trying to play that won't? Take a look at this thread for further details on that: http://www.rokulabs.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4106

TheEndless
My Channels: http://roku.permanence.com - Twitter: @TheEndlessDev
Instant Watch Browser (NetflixIWB), Aquarium Screensaver (AQUARIUM), Clever Clocks Screensaver (CLEVERCLOCKS), iTunes Podcasts (ITPC), My Channels (MYCHANNELS)
 
RhodesRunner
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NSLU2 Unslung, Not seeing USB Drives

Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:37 pm

Next step....

Today I Turbo'd the NSLU2, and applied Unslung 5.5. According to the help file, the operation was a success except...

Can't see the USB drives any more. (depends how you define success, I guess). ;)

Anyway, still searching the unslung wiki.

Both drives are formatted NTFS drives, and were previously visible (though not consistently available), and contain lots of data, so I really don't want to have to reformat them.

I've tried rebooting it a couple of times, based on comments I've read, but no change. Any thoughts on next steps?

I know some of you have been this route already, and I'm all for standing on the shoulders of giants!
Thanks!
Mark
 
jor
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Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:25 am

as should be documented, unslung 5.5 doesn't do NTFS.

The R63 (?) firmware from linksys did support it to some degree.
If you don't intend to hook these drives into PCs again, do the copy and reformat dance. Even if not, NTFS is a moving target that has been very difficult, and rather unstable, on linux. I don't think it's wise.
 
bpwwer
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Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:26 am

I think the drives are formatted ext3, that's the only filesystem the NSLU2 firmware from Linksys knows about.

Your best bet is to get help from the wiki and/or the two yahoo groups. I've changed firmware on my NSLU2's a number of times, in all cases I make a backup of the data before hand. Some firmware changes require re-formatting the drive, some don't.

A first step would be to boot the NSLU2 without any drives attached, telnet into it, attached the main drive and see if it can be mounted. If so, you know the drive and data are ok and it's just something in the configuration.
-- Bob --
[url]http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYai/[/url]
 
RhodesRunner
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NSLU2 Drive Support...

Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:56 pm

I can do the dance again if I have to. (grumble grumble) ;)

Question though - If I format them as EXT, will I be able to access them from Windows PCs? Or just from another linux box (a/k/a PB)? I really want to maintain the drive's use with both platforms. If not, I've read here and there that FAT32 works... Anyone using this?

BTW, picked up a new 40G USB drive to hang on it today (USB1), and a USB hub that I'll probably put on USB2. Planned to have format the 40G ext anyway. Looks like I have more work to do though.
 
bpwwer
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Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:17 pm

The NSLU2 stock firmware and I think the UnSlung firmware require that the drives are formated with an ext3 file system. There are drivers for Windows that will let a windows box read/write an ext3 formated drive.

With the OpenSlug firmware, I think you can configure the NSLU2 to work with drives formatted with other file systems.

In general, you probably don't want to unsling to a drive on the NSLU2 and then try and use that drive on other computers. The whole point of having the NSLU2 is to then access the data on the drive over the network.

Secondary drives wouldn't be a problem and FAT32 is probably the best filesystem for compatability among different computers.
-- Bob --
[url]http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYai/[/url]
 
RhodesRunner
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FAT32 Drives...

Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:42 pm

Turns out that when attached to the NSLU2, the 2 drives reported that they were NTFS. Now that I've re-attached them to a PC, turns out that they are FAT32, which means I may have a little less work before I'm done.

I'm offloading the data from one of them so I'll have one to play with. Just thought it was interesting that the pre-unslung status was NTFS...

Never trust computer equipment. :)

I've found info on mounting FAT32 drives with earlier uNSLUng versions (3.18 beta).

http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/HowTo/A ... attedDrive

I'm debating as to whether I may be better off reflashing with the standard firmware, but if there's a shot at getting this to work with 5.5 I'd rather pursue it. Now that it's turbo'd, the temptation to load SlimServer on the slug is tremendous. I could shut my laptop off once in awhile.

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