1390226400 – sometime it can’t come soon enough.

Days like today and most of last week.

CM10: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

And while back I noticed that there were some nightly CM10 builds out for my cappy (Samsung Captivate) and I’ve given them a try a couple times to see what Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x) was like, more specifically to experience Google Now. Well given the title of this post I might as well say the good is that the ROM actually flashes fairly painlessly. You do have to reinstall apps and setup accounts which is to be expected given using another release of Android. So far the bad is that something is broken in the media scanner services as after the setup none of my media such as pictures, music, and videos show up in apps such as gallery, Google Music, etc… There are several posts indicating this was some sort of ROM Manager issue with .nomedia files but the solutions to resolve those issues were not applicable to my scenario. What it appears to be the issue is that media scanner is somehow dying and not scanning the SD card correctly. I’ve formatted the SD card and copied some files back to the SD, cleared data in the Media Storage app and rebooted. Yet no luck so I’ve reverted back to CM9.1 for sanity. For the ugly, I suppose the bad is partially the ugly since it’s annoying. Thankfully restoring from the nandroid backup makes it fairly easy to get back to stable, well until you start formatting the SD card of course ;).

It’s only been a couple of weeks since nightlies started so hopefully in the next month or so the issue is resolved. It appears that some are not experiencing the issue so perhaps certain device specific type of issue. I’m just amazed the CM team is still supporting this two year old device and surprised how well CM9 runs on it considering the older hardware.

Update: The issue has been resolved by deleting files created by Camera 360 (C360*.*). Once those files were removed all the media on my device is showing up. I posted this to the following forum and it has helped others as well.

http://forum.cyanogenmod.org/topic/58336-cm10-media-scanner-fails-to-show-existing-media-on-the-phone

 

Plex

So… Finally got around to trying out Plex Media Server. First impressions, it’s pretty cool and probably the most complete media server I’ve experimented with so far. I had been using a simple DLNA server (minidlna) on Linux to make files available to devices on the home network but after a recent upgrade on the tablet I noticed that AllShare no longer could play files due to a generic error “Unsupported file format” the app returned. I know previously AllShare worked but on the ICS build it would report the file format of */* and no file size. The AllShare app on my phone worked for the most part (it’s also a bit buggy but at least works after a couple of tries). Regardless I have always thought I needed to find an alternative to AllShare since I don’t like to depend upon manufacture specific apps on mobile devices.

So while looking for alternatives I recall seeing something about Plex Media Server being available for Linux (more specifically Ubuntu) and starting looking for a possible version that would work on Debian. I found at http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/32852-plex-media-server-debian-repository/ and was able to get 0.9.6.7 installed and running. Surprisingly adding my media locations to the web based console was easy and it’s pretty cool how it pulls all the meta data in from the internet. I’d say nearly 90% of the files were identified correctly. A few I just need to rename in a specific way to help the scanner and finally a few I just used the web UI and selected the correct information.

One huge advantage of using Plex is that we can stream media to the iPad regardless of the source file format since transcoding automagically takes place. The price of the app is surely worth the $5 as it looks wonderful and is by far the best media app I’ve seen as far as usability and  experience.

The only negative I see at the time is dealing with the Plex Media Server files on the Linux side due to many paths / files having spaces within the name. Not really a big deal since I hope not to spend much time on the backend other than the occasional apt-get update. In hind-sight it probably would have been better to throw this on a VM rather than the bare metal hardware but we’ll take care of that after Wheezy is released and I rebuild things in a more streamline fashion. Corrected (2012-08-25). Plex is now running in a standalone DomU. For anyone interested the migration was as easy as copying the contents of /var/lib/plexmediaserver to the new server.

 

Yeah, wtf eh?

Yeah, server has been up and down throughout the weekend. Even some have noticed the outage 😉  anyway here is hoping it doesn’t lock up again now that I have removed a chatty drive. (unfortunately out of warranty 8 months ago…)

If all else fails I throw the Web server in a VM on my desktop PC.

Update: still fighting issues but am planning on a new install and rebuild from there. I’m really starting to wonder why I don’t move some of this to a micro instance on Amazon. Reserved pricing looks nice but would need to determine storage cost, etc…

R.I.P. Mr. John Bedard

 

It’s been a sad couple of days realizing one of my ultimate best friends has departed the earth entirely too early.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/old-357590-year-motorcycle.html

I worked with John at my first job out of college (mid 1998) for nearly four years. In the time between leaving Montana for Minnesota we have stayed in touch over various forms of social media and exchanged many of messages. John always put a smile on my face when I was feeling down through witty comments / postings. People that know him will agree he is a very unique guy in which frequented in many circles. As our friend Mike posted he was the glue to held all of us together. We’re so fortunate to have time to visit with John and other friends during our trip to Montana last Summer.

John, you will be missed immensely. I take pleasure in knowing you died doing what you enjoyed best rather that sitting in a cubical working for corporate America. Peace be with you until we meet again.

Bedard – From Mike Quinn

Family and friends of John. You are in our thoughts.

John’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/friarjohn

Site Maintenance

Server rebuild/consolidation taking place throughout the summer. Sites such as samdog.net and my wiki will be off line for a while. Hosted sites such as tapsgetaway.com has been migrated to another VM and won’t be affected. This site may be up and down a bit throughout the process.

So, now you know 🙂

Cheers!

A bit more meh these days

April sure has been a different month that is for sure. I’m just past two weeks out from surgery and so far feels slightly better though still quite swollen so less able to fully bend which makes stairs a special thing. On the work front am finally getting caught up on tasks and yet feel there is so much more to do. It’s been over six months now in the transition from dev to dev sys support but yet dev keeps me overloaded making it difficult to focus on sysdba tasks. I’m guessing at some point I’ll have to decide whether or not to call it quits and look for other opportunities internally or *gasp* outside. I know there’s one open position on a performance team which looks interesting but some of the tool requirements I’m lacking in.

Another interesting thing I have observed lately is a rather small disgust with Android updates. I know I voiced this in the past but as I see smaller companies like Acer and Archos releasing 4.0 to there tabs I question Samsung overall plan, do they really expect people to buy the newer tablet which is essentially the same specs (plus sd storage which should have existed in the first place) just to get the ICS update? I think not so it may be time to move on. My other two phone devices are finally to gingerbread and that process was entirely too slow. I never expected the Captivate to get the update since it was released with eclair but the Infuse really should be in line for ICS yet it took until just a week ago to get it to gingerbread. Fortunatly the custom mod community exists and I do see it is possible to run ICS on the Captivate. Plus there seems to be progress recently with some early CM9 Infuse builds, just not something I’ll try since the Infuse is my daily driver.

Have I griped enough? Hardly but in all serious I’m just getting this out off my head rather than posting in other social media locations. It’s not like there are many reading this anyway 😉

Hola!

Nothing new here. Had knee surgery on Tuesday, still recoverying and approached 2 miles today. Meh, a bit sore. Going to try to work a bit tomorrow so we’ll see how that goes.

My mind is all over the place these days but as I watch Top Gear (UK) I feel as I have flashed back to the 70s. Hmm

See ya next month ;.)

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (beta)

Installed, nothing really that much different so far, maybe Unity will be better behaved. All hardware works so far.

Time to break this box ಥ_ಥ

Silly things I decide to do…

I’m not sure what gets into my head at times but often I find something silly to work on to pass the time and this time around it was getting FreeBSD 9.0 installed running under Xen with full para-virtualization (PV). In the past (I think it was 8.0) I couldn’t even install FreeBSD as a HVM domU as there was some issue with the bootloader. I started seeing posts around the FreeBSD 8.2 release time frame with people getting FreeBSD running under a Linux Xen machine as domU both HVM and PV so I suppose this finally came up on my list of something to do? Anyway I sort of resolved this installation fix around FreeBSD 8.0 by creating a file based image on an existing FreeBSD system and compiling a FreeBSD XEN enabled kernel. Details for what I consider the old way can be found at the following location: HOWTO: Create a FreeBSD 8 i386 Xen PV domU

The new way I used today involves first installing FreeBSD as a HVM domU and transforming the domU from HVM to PV. The instructions were written for FreeBSD 8.2 and Xen 3.4 but I can confirm that they do work for FreeBSD 9.0 with a few small changes (mainly in block device name – it listed ad1s1a whereas I found I had to use ad1p2 as the main device) and using Xen 4.x. I’m going to read up on what’s new in 9.0 so perhaps devices are being renamed. The new instructions can be found at the following site: Xen FreeBSD 8.2 DomU (PV) — Step by Step Howto

Everything seems to be working and it’s nice to have something new to play around with, not sure how effective the installation will be as far as messing with ZFS goes. One thing I’m pretty sure I’ll run into issues with ZFS is the odd memory cap (850MB) the domU has. Last I heard things like dedup fail in low memory setups.

Until next time…