Apple Hardware

I really like Apple hardware. ….most of the time. I have an Apple keyboard and it’s amazing. I also have two mighty mouse and they’re pretty good (until the scroll ball gets dirty and stops working). Anyway, I’ve been annoyed by mice in general lately and figured I’d give the new Apple Magic Trackpad a shot. Apart from the incredibly stupid name, I really like the form factor.  Right now I have two main grips with it:

  1. I wish there was a wired, USB version. I don’t like messing with batteries.
  2. No Linux support. I know they’re never really “support” Linux, but it would be nice if they would throw us a bone every once in a while. Especially considering how much they “borrow” from the open-source community, they need to give back a little more.

So after screwing with this for three hours it only sort-of works in Fedora 13. Basic mouse functionality worked out of the box, but I need things like scrolling and tap-to-click. Things that are typical for touchpads. I’m a bit disappointed at this point.

Myth .22 upgrade

I couldn’t be happier w/ the new MythTV setup here at the house. The new version is a major improvement over the last release. I’m also really enjoying the mythbuntu theme.

KDE Rocks

Over the past four years I’ve used both KDE & Gnome, but I’ve typically gravitated towards Gnome. ……that is until I played w/ the controversial Gnome Shell. Get me out of here! Watch the screencasts

Of course I didn’t really like KDE 4 when it first came out either. ….maybe it’s my “inner old-man” coming through that makes me resistant to change. I’ll admit that it’s entirely possible that I’ll warm up to the concept, but right now Gnome Shell looks and feels pretty awkward. I really hope they make it an option that can be disabled.

Enter KDE:

Anyway, I’ve been curious about giving KDE another shot recently so after my Karmic upgrade was running terrible, I decided to give Kubuntu a shot. It is AWESOME. What a beautiful desktop; I was really blown away.

Here are the issues I have w/ the current state of KDE:

  • Network Manager sucks – I couldn’t connect to my hidden WPA2 wireless network @ home. Also the openvpn component had problems w/ Kwallet. I ended up running gnome’s network manager.
  • No native SOCKs proxy – I believe this was included w/ KDE 3.X (not 100%) hopefully this will be added sooner than later.
  • Odd keyboard shortcuts – I qualify this by saying odd= I’m not used to it. Luckily everything is tweakable (which is often one of the main criticisms of KDE) so I was able to set it back to a Gnome-ish feel.
  • Korganize lacks simple Google Calendar setup. :(

At any rate, I have moved almost all of my boxes to Fedora 12 now, and one of the things I really like about their KDE distro is it defaults to gnome’s network manager. I’m going to stick w/ Gnome on my laptop for now because of the SOCKs issue, but for the time being I consider my self a KDE man and I’m loving my office PC.

My MythTV Setup

I’ve been an avid MythTV user for the last 2 -3 years. It all started when I got fed up w/ Tivo’s service. My wife and I loved our old Tivo, but it drove me nuts that the hardware & feature set was locked down depending on the subscription plan. I won’t go into too much detail on how my setup evolved the way it has, this is more of a venue to document my current setup. Basically this setup allows me to record, or watch, three five HD shows simultaneously. The commercials are flagged and automatically skipped over while watching the shows. Not only are both our TVs tied into this setup, but both our office PCs and laptops run MythTV as well. Myth also has preliminary support for streaming TV shows over the web interface like a slingbox. Anyway, there are many, many more features but most importantly my recurring costs for this are $20 a year for the listing data (…and electricity). You’ll notice that none of this hardware is expensive or high-end. It’s pretty basic stuff really.

Master Backend Server Hardware:
(The silver case on the bottom right)

  • Case: Antec P180 –  This case is AWESOME. I highly recommend it. ….it’s expensive though.
  • Motherboard: Abit AB9 Pro – I choose this one for the 10x SATA ports!
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Dou E4500 @ 2.20 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Hard drive(s): 2x WD 750 GB RAID 1 for OS, music, pictures, & home movies. 4x 500 GB for TV & Movies. 1x 1 TB drive for backups and misc storage.
  • Tuners: Tichnisat AirStar HD-5000, 2x Silicondust HDHomeRun
  • Misc: 2x NICs
  • OS: Fedora x86_64

Living Room Frontend:

  • TV: Samsung 56′” DLP
  • Case: Silverstone LC17 –  This case is really nice, but it’s large and too expensive.
  • Motherboard: Abit NF-M2S
  • CPU: AMD Athon 64 X2 5600+ 2.8 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Video: Nvidia GeForce 9500 GT w/ VDPAU (fanless, DVI –> HDMI)
  • Hard drive(s): 1x Hitachi 160 GB
  • Remote: Humax Tivo D800 Remote (the Peanut)
  • OS: Fedora x86_64

Bedroom Frontend Hardware:

  • TV: Old Samsung 27″ CRT P.O.S.
  • Case: Antec Minuet 350
  • Motherboard: ECS GeForce6100PM-M2
  • CPU: AMD Athon 64 3200+ 2.0 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Video: Nvidia 7200 (fanless, Composite)
  • Hard drive(s): 1x 4 GB USB Thumb Drive. Cheap & silent.
  • Remote: StreamZap
  • OS: Fedora x86_64

Here are some helpful links for anyone interested in learning more about MythTV:

AB9RPO