Friday, September 3, 2010

Macfusion revisited - mount a Cygwin SSHD drive in OSX

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WDTV Live review and troubleshooting

I got bored yesterday and bought a Western Digital TV Live network media player, to replace my weird Xbox360 bridged over a Squeeze Box media playing solution in my bedroom. To make it wireless I also had to get a Wifi dongle, namely a TP-Link 300Mbps TL-WN821N.

Problems so far:

  • HDMI -> DVI resolution issue (circumvented). My TV has DVI-in, so I used a HDMI to DVI cable to connect the WDTV box. The problem is that when I try to set the resolution (to 720p) the WDTV always fails and defaults back to 480p. So no HD...? This seems to be a known issue, but what's worse is that WD doesn't seem to want to fix it. My current solution is to use component output instead, which works fine at 720p.

  • The WDTV doesn't find my Network Share (solved). This took me all night to figure out... My Windows 2003 Server was just not showing up in the Network Share list on the WDTV box. It turned out that "NetBIOS over TCP/IP" was disabled on the Windows machine, so no fault of the WDTV. Enabling this made the server visible to the WDTV, and everything worked. For some reason this setting seems to be disabled by default in Win2k3, not sure why. To enable it, go to Network connection -> Status -> Properties -> TCP/IP Properties -> Advanced -> WINS -> Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.

  • The WDTV sometimes loose the wifi-signal (ongoing). Sometimes, for no apparent reason, the WDTV drops the wifi connection. To get it working again I have to go to network settings, and reconnect to the wlan network. Not sure how big a problem this is going to be.

So, well, it's working but I have to use component connection and it sometimes drops the wifi signal. So what's positive?

  • Generally seems to be working well. Completely quiet, very small, but still powerful.

  • Nice looking and fast GUI, though the remote is a bit plastic.

  • Can play anything I've tried, even Full HD high bitrate MKV files over a wireless connection! (My DLink DIR-655 router reports the connection speed is about 200 MBit/s, the TP-Link dongle is doing its job.)

  • YouTube playback works well.

Missing features:

  • Spotify interface (guess I'm one of the few Spotify Premium subscribers...)

  • I'd like some better way to quickly skip ahead while playing videos... "FF" button followed by "Next" skips ahead 10 minutes, but it's not very intuiative.

  • Shuffle playback mode for videos, anyone? (Works for music, but not for videos, why??)

Bottom line... Unless the dropped wifi becomes a more serious problem, I'm generally very satisfied with my purchase. I also considered the Xtreamer, and according to most accounts they seems to be very similar. What finally made me decide on the WDTV was the fact that it, unlike the Xtreamer,  can use HFS+ formatted drives (though I haven't tried yet). And also that it was slightly cheaper and available at my local retailer (I would have had to order the Xtreamer online).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Subscribable calendar/ical generator

There are lots of subscribable calenders out there, but somehow they always seem to be missing some more obscure but still important days. For example, you wouldn't want to miss the start of Daylight saving time, or valentines day.

So I've made my own calender generator (admittedly inspired by! For now it will be most accurate for Swedish and Swiss holidays, but more will be added later. Try the subscribable calendar/ical generator here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Native Unison Unicode support

As has been already mentioned in the comments to my last Unison Unicode post, native Unicode support is now available in the development version av Unison. Up until now however, I had been sticking with my home brewed version, in the spirit of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". But as problems with AppleDouble files started to surface, a bug has been fixed in later versions, it was time for to update.

Step 1, OSX binary: Couldn't find precompiled ones, but as I already had OCaml installed I just checked out the latest trunk and compiled with "make UISTYLE=text". If you want to avoid this hassle you can just get my binary here: (compiled under MacOSX 10.5.3, 568 kb).

Step 2, Win32 binary: Actually there are two options here. Initially I tried the precompiled binaries provided by Jérôme Vouillon, but the problem with the native win32-version is that it doesn't support symbolic links! Turns out I had lots of those, so that wasn't really an option. The other alternative is to run Unison from Cygwin (which I need for sshd on the Windows side anyway). That way symbolic links are supported (cygwin creates Windows style ".lnk" files, but Unison doesn't know this and assumes they are real symbolic links).

That means I have to compile Unison myself under Cygwin. Luckily this was surprisingly simple, just install Cygwin with packages "make" and "ocaml", check out the Unison trunk, and run "make UISTYLE=text" again! As before, if you want to avoid this hassle you can just get my binary here: (compiled under Cygwin 1.7.1/Win2k3 32bit SP2, 564 kb).

Step 3, update scripts and synchronize: Once this was done, I just modified my scripts to use the new binaries (note that I'm no longer using the unicode-hack for cygwin) and everything worked! Unicode support is completely automatic!

My thanks go out to all the developers of Unison!