I do what I can

Random thoughts from Mauricio Teixeira…

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My home streaming solution with MediaTomb + Popcorn Hour + BubbleUPnP

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For a few years now I have been extremely satisfied with my Popcorn Hour (which I will from now on call PCH, for short): I can stream any kind of media from my Fedora desktop to my TV (I don’t have one of those smart TVs yet), it serves as a nice torrent server, and never gave me any headaches. A few days ago I decided it was time to “revamp” my setup, and try something new, so I came up with today’s solution.

I can use my Android phone not only to stream audio and video from my desktop, but also to control what is currently being played on my PCH.

Actually this all started when I decided it was time to use UPnP to play my music files, instead of direct NFS mounting (like I have been doing on the PCH since the beginning). NFS has been working just fine, but for music it’s incomplete: you can only see music the way the files are lay down on the hard drive. Using UPnP you can browse by artist, albuns, genres, etc. It’s a whole new experience.

Since I recently gave up on using Rhythmbox (which has an internal UPnP server) in favor of Banshee (which doesn’t), I had to use an alternative solution. After some quick consideration, given past experiences, I decided going with MediaTomb. Honestly I bet whatever I describe here applies to any UPnP server, but this is what I am using now.

During the course of setting up MediaTomb, I was tired of walking back and forth to the PCH (they’re not on the same room), so I decided to try an Android UPnP client. I didn’t browse the market for too long, and just installed whatever seemed reasonable. So far I’m satisfied with what BubbleUPnP does. Like with the UPnP server, I guess most (not all) of the UPnP clients will do what I describe here.

I set up MediaTomb by just reading pieces and bits of the documentation. Should not be too hard, but if comments in this post requests, I can write a small tutorial.

I like to say that UPnP is some kind magic protocol that make stuff work without hassle. So once MediaTomb was finally correctly configured I could see it from my Android phone, and I was able to play some music.

Then I notice something interesting: BubbleUPnP allows me to select a library (where the data comes from) and a renderer (where the data is “played”). When I saw the list of available libraries and renderers I notice the magic: I could select MediaTomb as library, and PCH as rendered. “Oh, what does it do?”

MAGIC. Now I can select files on my phone, hit play, and it will start playing on the PCH connected to my big TV and a great sound system (actually a 2.1, but it does sound great). The nicest thing about all of that is being able to browse through my files directly from my phone, then select what I want and play. It fixes one of the biggest PCH’s shortcomings while playing music: you can’t browse your library during playback.

Now you can think: if I have access to the remote control, why going through all this hassle? Actually it not only helps with the media selection problem I described before, but also I can select the next music from anywhere I am while walking around in my apartment. Also it totally integrates all my media players: I can see all files I have stored on the desktop, phone, PCH, PlayStation, whatever. It’s so fun.

Before you ask: I do intend to have a NAS at some point, and concentrate all my media files in one place. However there are some files that need to live separately on either one of my devices due to how they’re stored or what do with them. I won’t bother you with the details.

Next: I’m going to try to stream my music over internet (no music services, just plain old dynamic DNS + ssh).

Oh, please let me know about your home streaming solutions. I’m curious about how you guys do it. Just remember: no Mac or Windows. 🙂

Well, anyway, this is fun, so let me go back and play. 😀

Written by netmask

dezembro 27, 2011 at 19:43

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Limpando o Twitter / Twitter clean up

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— pt_BR

Fiquei um tempo sem usar o Twitter, e agora que voltei a usar percebi que está uma zona. Decidi fazer uma limpeza.

A partir de hoje vou dar unfollow no Twitter de todos os contatos que também tem perfil no Facebook. Os que sobrarem, vou procurar seus perfis.

Motivo: muitos utilizam a aplicação do Twitter para Facebook, que replica os posts. Isso faz com que eu tenha muitas mensagens duplicadas no Tweetdeck, ou que eu leia muita coisa repetida se estiver lendo nos aplicativos/sites nativos.

Vou manter o Twitter o mais limpo possível, provavelmente segurei apenas empresas e sites de notícias, pois é mais fácil/interessante gerenciar via Twitter do que feed RSS.

— en

I have not been using Twitter for a while, and now that I am back using it I notice it’s a mess. I decided to clean it up a little bit.

Starting today I will unfollow on Twitter all contacts that also have a Facebook profile. The remaining ones, I will look for their profiles.

Reason: many use the Twitter for Facebook app, that replicates all posts. It creates a lot of duplicate messages on Tweetdeck, or forces me to read many messages twice if I’m browsing on the native apps/web sites.

I’m going to keep Twitter as clean as possible, probably will use it only to follow companies and news web sites, because it seems easier/more interesting to manage them via Twitter than RSS feeds.

Written by netmask

dezembro 21, 2011 at 10:55

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Tilt-shift video using Bash

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I like to play with tilt-shift videos every once in a while, and usually it needs very complex tools to make. So this time I decided to use the simplest tool ever: a Bash script.

You can see the final result here. Continue reading to know how I did it:

Oh, by the way, this is a very nerdy way of doing it. Not a 1-2-3 method. I did this while bored, but didn’t worry about details. Sorry.

Honestly, I’m using a series of pictures to create a video. In this case I used the Time Lapse application on my Nokia N900. I took a total of 644 shots, one every second.

With all the shots ready, I Google around a little bit, found this interesting web site with very useful hints, and created the following Bash script: tilt_shift_video.sh

The Time Lapse application creates a series of files named FileX.jpg, where X is a number from 0 to the number of pics you have taken. So if you want to use the same script, but did not use the same application to take the pictures, you need to edit the script to suit your file naming (or rename your files).

The tilt-shift effect is actually a blur mask applied to all of the pictures, like this:

So if you want to use the same script, but you want to blur a different position on the picture, you need to edit line 12, and modify the parameters for “sparse-color“. Of course there are a number of other options you can change, so you might want to read the docs to understand.

After the script finishes processing all of the pictures, it will then finally compose all of them together to form the video.

Well, I hope this is somewhat useful for anyone.

If you have any hints, please share on the comments.

Written by netmask

julho 2, 2011 at 17:10

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Eu, o Facebook e o Twitter

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Em um passado negro da minha vida já tive Orkut. Um dia conheci o Facebook, me inscrevi e fiquei nos dois. Depois cometi orkuticídio e fiquei só no Facebook.

Daí veio um tal de Twitter, febre mundial. Quem não tivesse Twitter não era nada. Fui lá, encarei o negócio, e comecei a usar fervorosamente através de qualquer dispositivo que eu tivesse disponível (desktop, laptop, celular, e os cambaus). O Facebook ficou abandonado às traças.

Depois não sei que bicho me mordeu, voltei a usar Facebook. FB pra lá, FB pra cá, esqueci do Twitter.

Agora, repensando em tudo isso, começo a pensar em twitticício. O Twitter é legal pra mensagens rápidas, mas é não é uma experiência “completa”. Sempre parece que falta alguma coisa. O Facebook cobre as lacunas de multimídia, interatividade, e integração. O Twitter é one way, você manda mensagem e lê a dos outros, mas relacionar o seu comentário ao comentário de alguém, principalmente se você não conhece esse alguém, é simplesmente um parto. Isso te faz perder um monte de conversas interessantes ou não, mas no mínimo te faz perder a interatividade com “os amigos dos amigos”.

E qual o objetivo desse post aqui no meu blog? Nenhum específico. Eu só estava pensando nesse assunto, e resolvi escrever, compartilhar meu ponto de vista, e explicar porque ando sumido do Twitter.

Alguém pensa parecido?

Written by netmask

maio 18, 2011 at 20:15

Google Reader é decepcionante

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Rant mode: ON

Antigamente eu rodava um scriptzinho chamado rss2email, que executava a cada 30 minutos no meu desktop de casa, lia meus feeds RSS e enviava as novidades no meu email. Depois de alguns anos assim bateu a consciência ecológica e achei que estava gastando muita eletricidade pra pouca coisa, então resolvi desligar o desktop e passar a usar o Google Reader (os downloads automáticos de torrent ficam no Popcorn Hour).

Depois de muito lutar contra o infame “1000+” cheguei à conclusão que o Google Reader ao invés de me ajudar, está me atrapalhando.

A ferramenta é boa, admito, mas eu sou um cara muito acomodado, e gosto quando as coisa vêm até mim, e eu não tenho que ficar correndo atrás delas. Por isso eu odeio fórum via web, e prefiro sempre uma mailing list. O Echofon mata a pau minha passividade perante o Twitter. E o esquema de RSS via email estava funcionando muito bem. Agora, como eu pouco consulto o GReader (ou porque esqueço, ou por pura inércia), não é raro entrar lá e ver o danado dos “1000+” no topo, e ter que escolher alguns feeds menos importantes e marcar todos como lido.

Pelo que eu tenho visto aí no Twitter, esse problema não é uma exclusividade minha. Outras pessoas também o tem.

Certa vez já tentei RSS readers de desktop, mas não encontrei um que sincronize entre o que eu leio no escritório e o que leio em casa, então eu acabava lendo várias coisas duas vezes. Já pensei em usar o reader do N900, mas a tela é muito pequena pra textos longos.

Bom, assim sendo, dear lazy web, estou aceitando sugestões. Obrigado.

Update: é, eu tinha esquecido de mencionar que alguns sites fornecem updates das suas últimas novidades pelo Twitter. Esses eu estou desinscrevendo do Reader.

Written by netmask

setembro 30, 2010 at 01:09

Comemorando o aniversário em 3 dias

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Pois é. Passei 3 dias comemorando meus 32 anos. Vamos ao resumão?

Sexta, 27 de Agosto

Sábado, 28 de Agosto

Domingo, 29 de Agosto

Melhor dormir cedo hoje. 🙂

Written by netmask

agosto 29, 2010 at 21:43

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MAG invisible machine gun glitch

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I stumble upon this interesting glitch where the machine gun goes invisible. Unfortunately I am unable to reproduce.

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julho 22, 2010 at 11:51

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