Myth 3

Going to give it another go this evening whilst watching back-to-back episodes of Wire in the Blood. It seems that Jeremy Teale, the guy behind, has updated the MythTV packages to fix some issues, and (hurrah!) enabled the XvMC compilation options! Must remember to send him a thankyou note if it works tonight…

Still can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem was with the last install – why it all went pear-shaped. I think this time around, I’ll do a full ubuntu install and let it install all the updates it wants before experimenting further with rebuilding the kernel (yawn…).

I wonder if it’s worth giving DistCC a crack? Probably not worth the pain…but kernel compiles on a Celery1200 take…um…about 2 hours.

Mythtv, continued

So last weekend I migrated Lou’s files to her “new” machine (a pants-wettingly fast PIII 1GHz) and repurposed the old machine (a Dell PIII-500 upgraded to a Celeron 1200) as a temporary Mythbox for testing the new hardware.

Initially all went well. The ubuntu install did take ages…but that’s probably because I stupidly left the CD in the drive after the first reboot and I think it installed the packages from the CD rather than the cached HD versions – doh! Following Martin Smith’s MythTV DVB guide and pinching the aerial/booster combo from the bedroom telly meant I was able to view some random footage of the Commonwealth Games remarkably quickly.

At this point I installed MythTV via apt from the repository (v0.19-3) and referred to Garry Parker’s guide to setting up Myth with Ubuntu…and bluffed a bit too. I was able to watch and record live TV from all the channels MythTV had found when I’d scanned the frequencies using one card. The other appeared to be working, but as I didn’t have a cable to hand to daisychain the aerials, it had no signal and complained appropriately.

Incidentally, why does’s deb versions of Myth default to the GANT theme? I just don’t like it! A quick install of the Retro theme and things were looking much more appealing.

I then tried the Hauppauge remote control, and that’s when I hit my first snag. The new breed of remote control isn’t fully supported by the kernel yet, so not all of the buttons generate events which lirc can catch. Also, the debs from are compiled without XvMC support, so the Nvidia card I’d bought especially was a bit wasted. I decided to recompile the kernel, and MythTV.

To cut a long story short, this didn’t exactly work. I briefly had a working system with the remote more-or-less fully functional, but minus the XvMC support. Then I fiddled some more and before I even got to recompiling Myth, it all went wrong. The nVidia drivers stopped working and I had to switch back to the nv drivers in xorg.conf. Then Myth failed, segfaulting mythfrontend, mythbackend and mythtv-setup. Great, says I. So I tried compiling Myth, but still got the segfault problem. I then tried a complete Ubuntu reinstall, compiled a kernel, updated the system, and installed Myth only to *still* have it segfault!

I think the problem the second time was that I forgot to add to my sources.list, and so firstly installed v0.18 from the Ubuntu default sources before realising what was going on.

Still. I know it pretty much works. When I next have some time (probably in about 5 or 6 weeks) I’ll devote a full weekend to getting it working, complete with TV out. That’ll do for a start.

The eventual plan will be to switch to VGA output once I get a new TV. That won’t happen until I move house though, in about 8 weeks. Then, once all is rosy and I’ve recovered from spending the best part of a thousand quid on a TV, I’ll *finally* do my long-awaited PC rebuild, and the old machine will become the new mythbox.

It’s a myth

Design changes soon to come for…but first, I’ve bitten the bullet and started buying parts for a Mythbox. I’ll probably use an older machine to start with, but the plan is to recycle my current desktop machine (Athlon XP1700) to give it a bit more power for transcoding and playback of non-MPEG2 content. With that in mind, I’ve ordered a couple of DVB-T cards (the Hauppage Nova-T’s which seem to be fairly well supported by Mythtv) and an AGP Geforce FX5200.

Why the 5200? Well, irritatingly the 9600XT which I have in my desktop machine doesn’t do motion compensation in hardware under linux, where the nvidia cards do. Plus, the 5200 doesn’t have a fan so it’s one less noisemaker next to the tv. I’ll need to figure out how to cut down on noise from the rest of the system – I’m thinking a Zalman heatsink to replace the northbridge fan, and probably a new case with 120mm fans…maybe even a 92mm fan converter on the processor HS.

More on this subject later…

Comment spam

Weird. I’m getting comment spam.

What’s weird about it is

a) this site doesn’t use WordPress, Blogger, or any of the usual weblog systems – it’s a super-amateurish POS I part stole, part wrote when first learning ASP then hacked bits onto

b) There’s only been about 20 posts in the last year or so…and visitor figures kind of match 🙁

c) The comment spam isn’t proper comment spam, but instead looks like it’s supposed to exploit a formmail-type vulnerability…which is odd, as I’ve never coded any “send me an email” stuff for the site, even though at one time I thought about it.

It also exposes the fact that the comment tracking isn’t very dynamic, and comment counts are updated manually when comments are submitted *blush*.