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 8 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 3 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: ,