Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi, and SMB Shares

April 28th, 2015 No comments

    I recently acquired Amazon’s Fire TV stick because it was cheap and I seemed like I could use it to stream video content to my TV device. I took a look at Kodi (formerly XBMC) and Plex and even though I liked the nicely designed web interface of the latter I chose to go with Kodi – mostly due to two reasons: it appeared to be more popular and the free Plex app isn’t really usable in the free incarnation. I didn’t want to shell out money in the beginning so the choice was clear.

    Since I didn’t know anything about the AFTV stick, I went with a guide from Tweaking4All. A couple minutes later Kodi was up and running and I played around with a few setting. My troubles began when I tried to add media sources. I shared a folder on my PC with a dedicated newly created Kodi user and … I couldn’t access it. Every time I tried to a dialog popped up asking me to enter “lock preferences” for the SMB share I tried to access. Afterwards Kodi told me that it couldn’t access the chosen share and that maybe I wasn’t connected to the network. Bummer!

    Needless to say that I looked for a solution everywhere … and I came up blank. Lots of suggestions for similar problems though, ranging from selling your soul to a crossroads demon exactly 3 minutes after midnight to simply sharing your stuff with everyone by completely opening up your computer to the world. I mean, holy shit! The amount of misinformation on the internet never ceases to amaze me.

    Anyways, I was about to file a bug with Kodi’s bug tracker. I was in the process of trying to remember exactly what I did so that the team could reproduce the issue—when it hit me like a sledgehammer. All of a sudden everything made perfect sense to me. A couple of clicks later everything worked as fine as it is ever going to work via SMB and I was a happy man cursing my own stupidity. So, what the fuck happened?

    Having disabled the stupid Sharing Wizard a very long time ago, I conveniently forgot that setting up shares this way configures shares independently of NTFS permissions. I simply had to grant my newly created Kodi user permissions to access the folder I set up for sharing. Now everything works fine.

    This also serves as a reminder to at least try to troubleshoot issues yourself instead of turning to Google right away. If I had thought about the whole process again, I probably would have come up with the solution like two hours earlier. Serves me right, I guess …

    Samsung Galaxy S with ParanoidAndroid

    September 27th, 2013 2 comments

      Over three years ago I bought the Samsung Galaxy S. While I was happy with it for a while it’s flaws soon started to take a toll on me. I could never get it work with Kies. It was so horribly slow that it seemed crippled to me. Samsung’s service center told me in nice words to go fuck myself because they couldn’t find anything wrong with my mobile at all. At least they updated the firmware to the then latest version. It looked fine for a couple of days until my WiFi started to sporadically drop the connection. What a piece of crap.

      I finally decided to flash CyanogenMod and I was happy again. There were no problems at all, the procedure was painless if maybe a bit complicated for the not so technically versed. In fact, CM worked so fine I never tried other ROMs or kernels. Until the day before yesterday, that is. With each new version of CM my phone got just a tad slower. After a couple of minutes of research I decided to give ParanoidAndroid a go. Here are a few observations:

      • PA didn’t flash correctly the first time and I got stuck while booting. After reading the XDA thread I realized that in this case you have to flash it three times. Took some time but it worked.
      • PA performs better on the SGS than CM. Boot time is roughly he same but PA is way more smooth than CM. Maybe because of the kernel? I’ll have to try CM with Semaphore.
      • Miss a few CM options/settings/features. Probably can do without them.
      • PA’s Halo multitasking feature takes some time getting used to.
      • Like PA’s Hybrid feature!
      • My signal bars are always gray if WiFi and/or mobile data are disabled. Impossible to determine signal strength at one glance.

      I like ParanoidAndroid quite a bit but I will try CM again – this time with Semaphore kernel. I’ll probably also take a look at Mackay ROM. Even though I’ll buy a new phone sooner rather than later I’m going to keep the SGS for special occasions.

      Categories: mobile Tags: , ,

      Why Andromeda Never Was Successfull

      August 22nd, 2013 16 comments

        I recently received the Andromeda: Complete Series DVD box from Amazon and immediately started to get very intimate with it. I’ve never really watched the show on TV, just a couple of episodes here and there and I thought, “Hey, let’s check this out.” I’m a sucker for science fiction and I really like Farscape, Battlestar Galactica (the re-imagined version, of course), Firefly, Stargate, etc. – I’m sure you get the drift.

        I had high hopes for Andromeda because it didn’t start out too badly and actually even went uphill for a (very) short time. After having watched everything on the DVDs I found Andromeda wanting. Let’s be honest: it’s probably the worst sci-fi show I’ve ever seen. That a jewel like Farscape got canceled while Andromeda got a fifth – and absofuckalutely and undeniably bad – season is like Nitzschean bone blades in the chest: very painful and surely not good for your health. Let’s get into details. Read more…

        Categories: musings, TV Tags: , ,

        It’s So Damn Hard to Buy a Watch!

        July 27th, 2013 1 comment

          Recently on of my watches broke. It was a cheap Casio analog model, one I wasn’t wearing all too often anyway. Since my older Seiko Kinetic 5J22-0A10 Auto Relay is in great need of service I was left with my trusty old Timex Ironman T5B141 – an analog-digital combo. Unfortunately, the battery powering the analog movement was slowly fading. Looks like Murphy singled me out just to let me know he’s still alive and kicking. Not being concerned too much I just thought, “Let’s buy a new watch.”

          I wanted to buy something similar to my old Ironman, mainly another analog-digital combo for everyday use. Now, I don’t expect all that much from a wrist watch and I don’t want it to do everything. You know, I never cared too much about my watches as long as they did what I expected them to do. With the exception of my Seiko – which is just a ‘simple’ watch – every single one of my watches had at least a stopwatch feature. I’ve grown so used to these type of wrist watches, I simply can’t have one without this function. So, let’s take a look at my minimum requirements: Read more…

          Categories: musings Tags: ,

          Visual Basic 6 on Windows 7: DBGrid32.ocx Issues

          January 26th, 2012 7 comments

            Unfortunately, I’m one of those poor programmers who is forced to maintain some pretty old applications written in Visual Basic 6.  Thus, it was imperative to get the IDE working on Windows 7. When I looked into this issue two years ago, I found an informative post covering the basics over at FortyPoundHead. The installation guide works pretty well except you don’t need to turn off UAC first. So here’s a short summary on how to install VB6 on Windows 7.

            1. Create an empty file in your Windows directory called MSJAVA.DLL. This is to skip the install of this very old MS Java thingy which even requires a reboot.
            2. Run setup.exe as administrator and install the needed components
            3. Install the Service Pack 6
            4. Install the Visual Basic 6.0 Service Pack 6 Cumulative Update

            Step 4 is the culprit that breaks your DBGrid. It will cause your DBGrid controls to lose any information like data sources, layout settings, and so on. So before you proceed with step 4, make a backup of %windir%\system32\dbgrid32.ocx. After installing the SP6 Cumulative Update, replace the newly installed DBGrid32.ocx with the backup you’ve created earlier. Now register the OCX via regsvr32. Everything works fine again.

            Alright, this is a dirty hack. It’s definitely better to simply get rid of this control or even better yet – upgrade to a newer Version of Visual Basic. If you’re like me and you can’t migrate to a newer version though, it might help you get around this issue until you’ve replaced all the controls. Good luck!

            Add RegExp and CommentDoc Highlighting for JS to Programmer’s Notepad

            July 13th, 2011 2 comments

              For a couple of days now I’ve been using Programmer’s Notepad instead of Notepad++. It’s smaller, it’s faster, and its memory footprint is roughly one third of Notepad++. Yes, there are fewer plug-ins available and it’s not getting updated as often as its more famous competitor but guess what – it has everything I need. Today I tried to create a scheme for JavaScript syntax highlighting that appeals to me. It was very easy and there are only a few very small bugs to iron out.

              Anyway, I wasn’t able to style CommentDoc keywords and regular expressions. As usual, Google came to the rescue. After doing some research I found that I had to manually edit the cpp.scheme file in the schemes directory of Programmer’s Notepad. Look for the following part and add the highlighted lines to your file:

              <language base="cppbase" name="javascript" title="JavaScript" folding="true" foldcomments="true" foldelse="true" foldcompact="true">
                <comments line="//" streamStart="/*" streamEnd="*/" blockStart="/**" blockLine=" *" blockEnd=" */" />
                  <keyword key="0" name="Keywords" class="javascript"/>
                  <keyword key="1" name="Keywords 2" class="jsunsure"/>
                  <keyword key="2" name="CommentDoc Keywords" class="commentdockw"/>
                  <style name="Doc Comments" key="3" class="commentdoc"/>
                  <style name="Keywords 2" key="16" fore="b00040"/>
                  <style name="Comment Doc Keyword" key="17" fore="3060a0"/>
                  <style name="Unknown Comment Doc Keyword" key="18" fore="804020"/>
                  <style name="RegEx" key="14" fore="3f7f3f" back="e0f0ff" eolfilled="true"/>

              Now we only have to create the commentdockkw class we added in the code above (simply add the highlighted lines to your cpp.scheme at the appropriate position):

                <keyword-class name="jsunsure">
                <keyword-class name="commentdockw">
                  <!-- JsDoc tags -->
                  augments author borrows class constant constructor constructs default
                  deprecated description event example exports field fileOverview function
                  ignore inner lends link memberOf name namespace param private property
                  public requires returns see since static throws type version

              That’s it. Save the file and start Programmer’s Notepad. Now you’re able to apply custom styling to regular expressions and comment doc keywords. On the Keywords tab you can edit the keywords we defined above.

              Categories: computers Tags: ,