Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Linux to Xbox 360 Media Sharing

Like most people I have a couple TVs in my house. One of the TVs has the MythBox on it and the other has the Xbox 360. Now I keep all my movies on the MythBox (all legal backups of course). I wanted to play these on my Xbox on the other TV. I noticed that after the Xbox 360 dashboard update the Xbox saw my shared drive and I could browse to my media directories. When I tried to Play one of these I got some cryptic Microsoft error code. So I did a little research and found out that Xbox media streaming uses the DLNA protocol to receive content from a peer on a network. Great, does Linux have a DLNA protocol server, YES, it is called uShare.

Here are the easy steps to set it up.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ushare

Configuration

Once finished, you’ll have uShare installed and ready for configuration. Out of the box, it won’t work for our purpose. You’ll need to edit /etc/ushare.conf to enable Xbox compatibility as well as define the standard port - 49200. Open /etc/ushare.conf as root and change the following lines:

USHARE_PORT=49200
USHARE_DIR=/path/to/your/media
ENABLE_XBOX=YES

Before these changes will take effect, you’ll need to restart ushare using its init script. However, an issue I’ve noticed is that the last line (’ENABLE_XBOX=YES’) does not always work. So before we restart uShare, we’ll need to make a small change to the init script that resides under /etc/init.d/ to force Xbox compatibility:

sudo vi /etc/init.d/ushare

and add the following line at the beginning of the script:

USHARE_OPTIONS=-x

This tells uShare to start with Xbox compatibility. Now restart uShare using the init script:

invoke-rc.d ushare restart

Now you are finished. You may need to restart the Xbox. Now navigate to ‘My Xbox’ and then select ‘Videos’ and finally you should see ‘uShare’ at the bottom (computer icon). Selecting that will connect to your Linux box and you’ll be able to browse your media just as you would on your PC.

When I tried to play a xvid file it said I needed a download to play this file. I sure it was the codec, but it was free and worked great. Now I have another TV with a HD feed that can Play all the movies on my MythBox .

I love technology!

Blind Valet Tournament Clock and Linux

Like I said before I like to play poker online or play real games. When we play real tournaments it is always hard to set up the blind structure, when the blinds go up and how much they go up. We never know how long the tourney is going to last. It becomes almost a full time job just managing the tournaments, you don't have time to play or at least to play well. So I went out looking for a tool to help. My requirements:
  1. Takes care of the blind structure.
  2. Keeps track of time and when the blinds go up.
  3. Runs on Linux ( the only real desktop OS).
  4. FREE!

I did find "The Tournament Director", which seems to do everything I need, but it does not run on Linux and you have to pay for it. Also, I tried creating a couple structures with it's blind structure creator and they were awful. Completely unusable. There were a couple of others that I saw. Mostly clocks and blind structure generators. Then I found one that fits all my needs, Blind Valet. This is a Flash Application that runs in your Browser (tested on Firefox 3.0 and Ubuntu). It does everything. You can set up your blind Structures change them and play around with the time of the tourney. You can also set up re-buys and configure the colors and sounds. Then it launches the clock and away you go. During the tourney you tell it when a player is out by clicking down the number of people and it makes all the calculations to figure out average stack. This little tool does everything and it is FREE!

Setting up the Structure.


The Clock Running


Here is the customized clock. That is what makes this clock great.


Now this is a must for any home Tourney! Works great on Linux and I even have used it on my Blackjack 2 Cell using the Skyfire Browser.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fedora Core 10 Review, Part 1 - The Install

Fedora 10 (codename Cambridge), released 25 November 2008 has been hyped to be as good as Fedora 6. Now I loved Fedora 6 and used it as my primary desktop for a long time. Then I "upgraded" to 8, that was a huge disappointment. I skipped even trying 9 after the headaches with 8. When I heard all the talk about Fedora 10 I thought I should give it a try.

I downloaded the DVD ISO and burned it. It is available at http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora.
Put the disk in and booted from it. Here is the first screen.

The Fist thing I thought was "great no stupid balloons" The install
screen looked good. No surprises on the options, pretty standard for a Fedora distro, or any distro of Linux for that matter.
Hit enter and away I went.

This was new, not very flashy but functional, at least you know it is
doing something. Although not sure why they didn't go with a a nice
splash screen? Then I got the familiar Anaconda screen.

Anaconda 11.4.1.62 to be exact. No surprise here. It seems to be quick to load although I did not put a clock on it.

The new theme looked great on the installer. Looked fresh and new. I
just went through the standard steps to install Fedora. I will just
give you some screen shots so you can get the feel of it.



The whole install took about 27 minutes start to finish. Everything
went smooth with no issues. The anaconda installer performed as
expected, and I really liked the new theme. What can you really say about a Fedora/Anaconda install, if it doesn't fail it did its job. Looking forward to working with Fedora Core 10.

In Part 2 I will get into the real meat of the Review. Thanks.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Linux and Online Poker

I am a poker player, not a great one, but a poker player. I am also a Linux user. This causes a small problem. Most of the online poker places are windows only. I spent a little time trying to find some good online poker sites that are linux friendly. I used to play a lot at Pokerroom.com, until they changed the laws and I was forced to cash out ( my $26.56). So the on went the search. Now if you don't mind using Wine then that opens up some more sites for you. If you just want to stay away from windows all together stick to Java or Flash sites. Here is my short list of Linux friendly poker sites.

These are also some of the sites you can play with real money. After all whats the point playing for points?


Pokerstars.com

This one runs with Wine.

FEATURES:
- Largest Poker Room on the Internet
- Deposit Bonuses
- Excellent VIP program!
- Great Freerolls (Free Tournaments with Real Money Prizes)

INSTRUCTIONS (how to get started):
1. Go to PokerStars.com
2. Download software
3. Install & run software (use WINE)
4. Sign up (takes 1-2 minutes)
5. Start playing...

AbsolutePoker.com
JAVA

FEATURES:
- Deposit Bonuses
- Nice Graphics!
- Good Customer Service

INSTRUCTIONS (how to get started):
1. Go to AbsolutePoker.com
2. Click the "No-Download - NEW Feature!" link (left side)
3. Now click the "Check out Instant Play" button
4. In the pop-up window that opens, go to "New User"
5. Sign up (takes 2-3 minutes)
6. Start playing...


Just as a note here is an online Casino for more than just poker.

ClubUSACasino.com
Flash based

INSTRUCTIONS (how to get started):
1. Go to ClubUSACasino.com
2. Click the green "Insant Play" button
3. Register by clicking "New Account"
4. Begin playing...

Enjoy and Good luck!

Atari 2600 Games on the Blackjack

I am old school, I love the Atari 2600 games. I know that Stella is a good EMU for Linux, I was happy to find that they have a version for Windows Mobile.
Go to the Stella site and download the version for Windows Mobile. Then unzip it in your phone. and copy over your roms. If you don't have any Atari 2600 games do a Bittorrent search and you will find some.

Then start the program and Enjoy.

Here is a little movie of my Blackjack.

video

Here is some more info on BlackJack II must have software.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

BlackJack II must have software




I recently got myself a Samsung Blackjack II (AT&T). I love the phone, but noticed right away that it needed more. So I started finding all the software that worked well. I tested a lot of crappy programs, hope it saves you some time. I have a nice little list of software that makes this phone much nicer. Hope it helps.

  1. The Explorer that comes with Windows mobile 6 sucks. Get yourself the Skyfire Browser. the Skyfire browser is currently in Beta but seems to work great. WIth Skyfire you can watch any video (yes including http://www.youtube.com), listen to any music, socialize on any network and browse whatever you want. It is the best browser I have found for the moble platform. Get it at http://www.skyfire.com/.
  2. Get yourself a big micro SD card. 2 gig or better. 4 gig is a nice price point. The phone allows you to use it as a USB drive also.
  3. Get a the Divx player for the mobile platform. This allows you to play all those divx movies you have at home on your computer. I don't even bother making the files smaller, thats why I said go with the bigger card. It is a free download http://www.divx.com/mobile/
  4. Dowload Google Maps, it might just keep you from getting lost.
  5. GPS, here is the fun part. Now AT&T would have you think that you can only use the GPS on the phone if you pay an extra $9.99 a month. Not true! Here is how you unlock your Samsung Blackjack II GPS.
  6. You also may want a better GPS app. Check out Noni GPS Plot.
While I set up this stuff on the Blackjack II, most of it will work with any Windows Mobile device. You can also set up some games, I installed Atari 2600 Games on the Blackjack.
You can read more at http://www.crackednoodle.com

Currently working on my Reveiw of Fedora Core 10

I am currently writing a review of Fedora Core 10. After a reading a couple of the other reviews I had to spin a copy and load it, and review it for myself. Let's see if it lives up to the Hype.

My review will be a little deeper then the guys who just tell you how it looks, or that that color scheme is better than the last one.

Look for Cracked Noodle: Fedora Core 10 Review, Part 1 - The Install in the next couple of days.

Thanks,
Brad