Playing videos on the XBox 360 through Media Center (My Movies) stored on an Ubuntu Samba Share (linux)

We watch movies and TV shows upstairs primarily streamed from a Windows 7 Media Center machine through an XBox 360.  When I we ran out of room on the Drobo, I moved the movies to an Ubuntu Server 12.04.1 (Linux) stored on a RAID5 array (samba share).

Since I’m using My Movies for media management, I updated the MYMOVIES database (SQL Server 2005) with the new location.  I used the host name of the Ubuntu server.  After verifying that the guest user on the Ubuntu server was set up correctly in the /etc/samba/smb.conf, I was able to watch the videos in local playback via Media Center. 

   path = /mnt/multimedia
   read only = no
   guest ok = yes
   writable = yes
   create mask = 0665
   directory mask = 0775
   write list = jason,tv
   read list = jason,tv,guest

What did not work was the XBox 360.

After a bit of trial and error, I was able to determine that the XBox 360 didn’t quite like the netbios broadcast from the Ubuntu server (samba).  Making it use a static ip made it work when I updated the nvcLocation from “ultra” to “” in the tblDiscs table (MYMOVIES database).  It should be noted direct manipulation of the tables is unsupported by the My Movies software but it worked just fine.

update dbo.tblDiscs set nvcLocation = replace(nvcLocation, 'Ultra', '')
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DROBO: Nice to see after moving 1TB of movies to an Ubuntu Server 12.04.1 RAID 5 Samba share :)

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Unable to edit your site using Sharepoint Designer 2007 or 2010 through Internet Explorer? SOLVED

Have you ever been working in your SharePoint site and need to edit a list or a document so you go to “Edit List in SharePoint Designer” and you get a pop up asking you to install SharePoint 2007 or 2010 but you already have it installed?   Did you reinstall it and it STILL asks you to install it?  There are two main causes of this:

  1. You recently ran a registry cleaner, such as the excellent CCleaner.
  2. The SharePoint OpenDocument Class ‘Add-On’ is disabled in Internet Explorer

Both of these are easily fixed.

  • For the registry issue, go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 (or 2007) -> Change -> Repair
  • If you need to enable the IE Add-On, go to IE -> Tools -> Manage Add-ons -> SharePoint OpenDocument Class -> Enable



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Linux Action Show s23e09: review of PC-BSD 9.0 and 9.1

Linux Action Show s23e09

Published on Sep 30, 2012 by – It’s our review of PC-BSD 9.0 and 9.1. Allan joins us and we cover everything from the end-user experience, to setting up a Linux Jail running on top of PC-BSD. Plus we discuss a few bumps in the road bumps we hit, who we think is the target audience for our open source cousin, and much more!

Plus: We run through a batch of release announcements, the good and the bad for Ubuntu + Amazon, your feedback, and so much more!

All this week on, The Linux Action Show!

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The GIMP: “A beautiful Russian friend of Mine” by Frank Kovalchek

Original photo by Frank Kovalcheck:

Just a little bit of tweaking in The Gimp

  1. increased the contrast on the model using the curve tool.
  2. Anisotropic smoothing of her body sans eyes with an amplitude of 230 and ansiotropy of 0.5 using GREYC’s Magic Image Converter (G’MIC) plugin
  3. increased the contrast on her eyes
  4. followed by unsharp mask with a radius of 5.0 amount 0.5 and threshold of 0 on her eyes

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My Wife (SWMBO) allowed me to install Ubuntu Linux 12.04 on to her Dell laptop

Rebecca Stoler Froebe let me install Ubuntu 12.04: Precise Pangolin on to her three year old laptop.

What was installed:
Ubuntu Linux 12.04 (32bit)
PlayOnLinux to run Windows applications and games (e.g. Microsoft Office and Civilization 4)

Dozens of Linux games 😉
Printer driver for our HP Printer/Scanner downstairs
VLC to play the Windows Media Center (WTV) recorded tv shows on the media server

Still to do: install a knitting font and Age of Mythology

She uses the laptop to sell hand dyed yarn at:
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HOWTO Mount a dd image of an entire harddrive (Windows and Linux)

So you made an image of a harddrive using dd or ddrescue with something like:

sudo ddrescue -v -b 512M /dev/sda r.img

Lo and behold, you can’t just mount the r.img file. You need to determine the offset of the partition you want to mount:

fdisk -u -l r.img
Disk r.img: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders, total 488397168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000ddd58

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
r.img1   *        2048      206847      102400    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
r.img2          206848   488394751   244093952    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT

If we want to mount the second partition, we need to multiply the Start (206848) by the Sector size (512):

expr 206848 \* 512

So, we just need to plug that in:

sudo mount -o ro,loop,offset=105906176 r.img mnt

It is now mounted 🙂

Simply use OSFMount by PassMark Software. It is free 🙂

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Compile FFMPEG for Ubuntu 12.04

Compile FFmpeg on Ubuntu

Sorry it is just a link to another site. More of a reminder to myself

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How to convert videos/movies for the VTech Innotab using FFMPEG (SOLVED)

The VTech Innotab is a young children’s tablet for learning. When I picked up two of them from the local Target, we installed the six free games but was rather disappointed with the video capabilities listed in the manual:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MJPEG
  • Video Bit rate: 2400kbps
  • Frame rate: 15fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

MJPEG is a very poor codec as it produces quite large files and tends to be very blocky with any type of motion. After a bit of research, I discovered that the Innotab would accept MPEG4 video but the audio still had to be PCM mono. So the MPEG4 video file specification:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MPEG4 with a video tag of “XVID”
  • Video Bit rate: variable or a maximum of 3000kbps
  • Frame rate: 29.997fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

I chose to use ffmpeg as it is available on all major platforms. There are a few steps that need to be performed to create a working video:

Convert the video. We use “-1” for the height as we want to keep the aspect of the original video

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec mpeg4 -vtag XVID -q:v 8 -vf "scale=480:-1" -an -y "video_out.mp4"

Extract the audio to mp3 format. This is necessary as the pcm_s16le codec is very finicky on the audio input

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vn -c:a libmp3lame -ar 22050 -ac 1 -ab 128k -y "audio_out.mp3"

Increase the volume (if necessary). Change the “10” if it is too loud or quiet

mp3gain -g 10 "audio_out.mp3"

Convert the mp3 to PCM and combine with the video to produce the avi file

ffmpeg -i "video_out.mp4" -i "audio_out.mp3" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec copy -map 0:0 -c:a pcm_s16le -ar 22050 -ac 1 -map 1:0 -y video_ready_for_innotab.avi

HINT: you get three free games for each Innotab device but the games, ebooks, etc are tied to the VTech account not to each device. This allows you to save $$ if you have more than one Innotab device.

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Running Ubuntu 12.04 with NVidia video and you’re either crashing or have blue ‘smurfs’ on YouTube? SOLVED

There is a bug in the NVidia drivers that can cause Xwindows (Xorg) to crash and people on YouTube to be shown with blue skin. There is an easy fix for this:

Create or update your /etc/adobe/mms.cfg file as root to fix the crashing issue:


Next we need to fix Adobe Flash by:

cd $( dirname $( locate ) )
sudo cp
sudo perl -pi.bak -e 's/libvdpau/lixvdpau/g'

That’s it!

Update: This is no longer an issue with Ubuntu 12.10

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