DIY

Raspberry Pi 2/3 (B+ Model) as an IPTV (Stalker) Client

Finally, after 2 days of fiddling around with this hardware, including testing with Raspbian (Wheezy), Raspbian (Jessie), and OpenELEC OS, I was able to successfully get Kodi 15.2 via OpenELEC 6.0.3 up and running.

I had absolutely no success with the Stalker PVR Client on Raspbian, so I opted for the unified media experience with OpenELEC. It's great. It automatically detects and installs drivers for my wireless network and keyboard / mouse receivers.

Pre-installation requirements:

  1. Raspberry Pi 2/3 - I bought mine on sale from Amazon for $36.
  2. HDMI capable display - I used my computer monitor and TV for testing.
  3. Internet connection - I used the EdiMax USB Wireless receiver from my starter kit.
  4. 8 GB or larger MicroSD Card - Mine was a Class 10 Kingston from my starter kit.
  5. Micro USB Charger - Mine was included from my starter kit, but I've seen 5-star recommendations of a 2 amp one.

Now that we have all of those in order, we are going to start by flashing the SD drive with the OpenELEC OS:

  1. Let's start by downloading the OpenELEC image from their downloads page. Select the "Diskimage" option.
  2. Unzip the image package you just downloaded.
  3. Write the disk image to your micro SD card. Use the instructions on this page for the platform you are using.
  4. Boom! You have now installed an entire powerful, open-source media center OS on your Raspberry Pi.

After a few splash screens and a short welcome tutorial, you should end up at the home screen, as such:

On a side note... Look how tiny that thing is compared to my 40" TV. Here are a few quick links to navigate the menus.

  • To setup wireless networking, go to System -> OpenELEC -> Connections and select the network and credentials to connect. It should "State: ready" when it is connected. OpenELEC will automatically connect to this network when it starts up.
  • To check for updates, go to [left arrow] -> Check for Updates. This will automatically update your add-ons and your repositories.
  • To install add-ons, go to System -> Settings -> Add-ons -> Install from repository -> [select repository] -> [select application] -> Install.
  • To launch add-ons, go to System -> Settings -> Add-ons -> My add-ons -> [select application] -> Launch.

To install the PVR Stalker Client (v0.8.4):

  1. Follow my install instructions to install the client from OpenELEC repository -> PVR Clients -> Stalker Client.
  2. Enable Stalker Client once you have configured it with your provided settings. (I cannot provide this for you - there are guides online for different services)
  3. Enable TV and Synchronise channel groups with backend(s) from System -> Settings -> TV -> General.
  4. This one is IMPORTANT. I experienced constant screen refreshes up until I did this one. Power off the machine and back on again. I used the power icon from Kodi.

Voila. You are all setup and running. Your TV option will be reloaded once channels are loaded - there will be a banner to indicate they are being loaded. Enjoy your cheap media center.

What are you waiting for? Cut the cable. Please comment or email me if you have any questions!

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DIY, Thoughts

2014: Year of Me

Short list of 2014 goals for me (no particular order).. because I love myself.

  • Bartender's license
  • Tattoo on upper shoulder
  • Pierce my left ear like Scotty Pippen
  • Finish 3 self-help books
  • Starbuck's Gold Card
  • No more Adderall
  • Volunteer at Animal Shelter
  • Learn the Ukulele
  • Origami
  • Longboarding: learn how to slide on switch comfortably
  • Keep track of my monthly charges
  • Work out like I did in Texas
  • Write my Twitter bot
  • Coachella Weekend 1
  • Low stakes Poker
  • Sports Analysis Blog
  • Photoshop/Design
  • Hip-hop/Trap Production via Fruity Loops
  • Data Mining
  • Putting myself as a top priority
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Design, DIY, Programming

The Rewards of Full Stack Web Development

This summer I took the road far less traveled.. Having worked for Texas Instruments as my previous summer's Software Internship, I reaped the benefits of having a full time job. Hell, I was making almost 50k as an intern in a state with no state tax -- gotta love Texas. Fully paid living, endless beer, and beautiful Dallas babes.. Why did I even leave??

I don't want to go in depth on what I did for the company because I have a feeling I wrote some seriously wrong database query methods that could very easily be SQL Injected, but it was my first exposure to web development: Microsoft Visual Studio (VB.NET). HTML/CSS/Javascript, I figured out the basics, and I learned how to make serious web scrapers. I thought I was one badass software intern, lol.

I really do thank Texas Instruments for providing me with the opportunity to get started in web development, but all the work I did there merely scratched the surface of what Web 2.0 could do. Last winter, I decided to give Ruby on Rails a shot (shout out to Michael Hartl for one of the best, free, online Rails tutorial). Rails is fucking tough man.. It really did baffle me why they would separate the Models, Views, and Controllers just to render a simple static page. By the end of that tutorial, I still had no idea where to begin, but I had a much better idea of how the MVC interacted, and I also had a glimpse of how easy it is to make Rails dynamic.

And then this summer came rolling along.. I'm currently working part time to pay rent and booze, while working overtime on my startup product. tessle.com Being the only coder on a full stack development project is both physically and mentally draining, but I can safely say that I have learned 50 times as much as I did working for Texas Instruments. So without further ado, here are the rewards of full stack web development: You..

  • Master relational databases
  • Become a master of your framework
  • Understand Javascript and Frontend Development for all of the web
  • Firebug/View source on everything that looks remotely cool
  • Understand how to debug any and all situations for your application
  • Contribute to open source -- stack overflow, railscasts
  • Learn why github and heroku are absolute necessities for making your life easier
  • Appreciate how damn hard development can be
  • Evolve into a coding badass
  • Have a coding baby, one that you have nurtured for the past 6 months which you can proudly call your own... :')

Give it a shot. Even if your baby doesn't grow into anything, you will learn way more than sitting at a desk pretending to do work.

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Design, DIY

Screw the MacBook Air

I don't know when I actually decided I wanted an Apple computer; I've been using Windows, Ubuntu, and Hackintosh computers for all my life.  I still distinctly recall using MS-DOS to switch to my floppy drive directory in order to play my computer games.

I guess the design of the MacBook Air captivated my technological hormones: 0.68" in height, 2.96 lbs, and 7 hours of battery life -- what's not to love.  After some preliminary research, the 13" MacBook Air runs for about $1500 for the options I want.  Even with the rumored retina screen (which would increase the price by another 200), I still don't think a piece of technology should be priced so damn high.  Call me old fashioned, but I'm still a firm believer in Microsoft products for productivity.

So check it out:  I rigged my Asus U30JC-A1 with some supercharged upgrades.  Although the specifications say that my laptop only supports 4GB RAM, the Intel i3 technology actually supports up to 8GB RAM.  Furthermore, I swapped out the ancient DVD Drive, which also duals as a paper weight, with an SSD caddy and a brand new Samsung 840 SSD.  Whoa, nerdgasm.

I doubt my Asus is running the SSD at SATA3 transfer rates, but damn this thing is fast.  It definitely feels like my computer is running at double the horsepower, but I only spent $200 for all the upgrades.  Here's hoping this laptop will run me through the end of college.

On a side note, I changed up a bit of the Ryu theme.  I really wasn't digging the widget buttons at the top, so I scattered those menus among my page.  I've yet to make all of the CSS updates I want, but this is a good start.. WordPress, success!

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