MythTV – One problem solved

This one didn’t take too long to figure out. A little time with Google and I found the solution. There’s a little perl script that came with MythTV that will create an XML file that mythfilldatabase can use to put the icon information into the DB. It ended up just being two commands, though there are a few holes (mostly local stations). Anyway, here’s what I had to do (because I installed from an RPM my contrib is at the path below):

$ perl /usr/share/doc/mythtv-0.18.1/contrib/
Answer the questions
$ mythfilldatabase --import-icon-map iconmap.xml --update-icon-map

And just wait for it to run!

MythTV — Like TiVO w/no subscription!

I had heard about this thing called MythTV a couple of times when looking at posts on Slashdot, mostly when issues regarding TiVO came up, but I had never looked into it until recently. Then my wife mentioned that she kinda wanted a TiVO and that got me started with a more in depth look. From what I could tell, the easiest thing to do was through a Hauppauge WinTV PVR 350 into a semi-decent computer, install linux, then install MythTV. Easy, right?

So I used Froogle to find the cheapest price on a WinTV 350 card that I could. Once it arrived, I followed Jarod Wilson’s giude to installing MythTV on Fedora Core 4. Over the course of the next two days (a lot of the time was spent on waiting for installs and downloads) I got MythTV 90% of the way there. I couldn’t seem to get the sound to work. So I emailed the MythTV users list and discovered that I missed an option in the setup to use the PVR 350 for video out and for sound. Oops.

So now I have a working MythTV installation that allows me to pause live TV and time-shift my viewing. I also have it set up so I can log in from anywhere on the Internet and set the box to record a show. So if I’m at my parent’s house and realize that if I stay any longer I’m gonna miss some show I’ve been wanting to watch, I can just log into my Myth box and set it to record!

I still have a couple of little issues with Myth, but overall I love it. My current issues are (off the top of my head):

  • Channel changing is really slow
  • The fonts in the on screen guide are so small they’re pretty much useless
  • I still need to figure out how to make channel icons work – solved
  • My wireless network card is unreliable (it’s an older 802.11b card that sometimes loses connection)
  • The On Screen Display and the setup menus often place things off the screen where they aren’t really visible
  • The sound output from the PVR 350 can only be used for TV sound. Other things that require sound (such as MP3 playback, games, etc) don’t work without a real sound card
  • I only have a 20GB drive for my /video mount so that limits how much stuff I can record
  • It may be that I just haven’t found the module for it, but there’s an FM tuner in the PVR 350 that I don’t seem to have any support for in MythTV

Some of these are obviously thing I have to solve while others are issues with MythTV and/or the ivtv drivers.

UPDATE 26-Nov-2005: Solved the first problem – got my channel icons!

Recently discovered Hylafax….

I recently discovered Hylafax, a piece of software that lets you turn a linux box and a fax modem into a fax server. It’s really slick, supporting things like fax printing from windows machines (with a windows client), scheduling, caller id and distintive ring (for incoming calls if your modem supports it). These last two are the ones that have been causing me all the problems. I have a seperate number with a distinctive ring (it comes with the package) and figured I might as well put that to use as a fax number. So I found an old modem that supports both those features (a US Robotics 5686)… at least the box says it does. It took me quite a while to get it to support the distinctive ring. I finally discovered that I had to turn it on (ATS41 = 1) and then save the setting (AT&W0). Once I did that, the modem reported “RING A” for the main number and “RING B” for the second one. Perfect. After that it was easy to tell Hylafax to only answer the second number. What seems to be giving me great fits is the caller ID setting. I found out how to turn it on, but not how to save that setting:

AT#CID = 1


DATE = 1018
TIME = 2021



It just goes away as soon as an ATZ gets sent. I’m not sure how to solve that, but I made a newsgroup post hoping that maybe somebody else out there has an answer :).

Free Certificates!!

I recently discovered, a group that will give free certifactes not only for email (like Thawte) but also for servers! It’s even possible to get a code signing certificate and have them sign your PGP key. The downside is that there really aren’t any major browsers that have their root certificate listed as trusted by default. There are a few linux distributions and a couple of smaller browsers, but nothing mainstream. Even still, it does provide some value over doing everything self signed because anybody who’s ever added the cacert root certificate to their browser’s store will automatically be able to see that my certificate is valid. This would not be the case if my certificate was simply self-signed. So, because it’s free (well, other than the notery fees and postage) I went ahead and used the Trusted Third Party method of getting assured. I’m now the second listed assurer in the state of Michigan! At some point I need to set up a page with my public keys on it in addition to information about meetings for getting other people assured (and doing PGP key signing).

Fedora Core 4 is here at last

I finally figured out how to get Fedora Core 4 to install on my machine. When I last posted on this topic, I thought the problem was that Anaconda didn’t like my software mirroring. As it turns out, the problem was the fact that I had two swap partitions. Once I removed one of the swap partitions (both physically and via /etc/fstab), Fedora Core sucessfully installed on my machine. I updated my bug at RedHat with this new information. The only hitch I’ve noticed so far is that Cyrus didn’t want to start because of database incompatibilities. The solution I ended up using, which was one of the ones I found on FedoraForum, was simply deleting the database files. Other than that, it seems to be working fine.

Made the Switch

The SPAM finally got to me. I don’t know if WordPress will be any better at handling SPAM or not, but I can dream :). The design is still very much off the shelf, so I’ll have to play with that in the months to come and, of course, I still have to learn about how to use this software. But I’m hoping that it will be much better than MoveableType was. In my brief playing while evaluating and setting it up, I think I like it better. MoveableType 3.0 may have been much better, but I didn’t wanna have to pay for it.

So, if you’re curious, read on to find out how I set it up. It really was quite simple. I first downloaded and installed WordPress using their 5 minute install guide. After that, I followed the instructions for importing from MoveableType. The most difficult part was making sure my permalinks from MovableType (like the archives) still worked. To do that, I created an .htaccess file to leaverage mod_rewrite. It looks like this:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^archives/0*(\d+).html /~jake/blog/index.php?p=$1
RewriteRule index.rdf /~jake/blog/index.php?feed=rdf
RewriteRule index.xml /~jake/blog/index.php?feed=rss2

So, we’ll have to see how well this really works for me, but at this point I’d have to say that I’ve already committed to it.

Fedora Core 4… Not yet :(

For reasons I don’t entirely understand, I have been unable to try out Fedora Core 4. I have downloaded it and successfully made the install disks and I can boot off disk one with no problem. The problem arises when I select which installation to upgrade. My setup isn’t entirely normal. I have two 120GB disks running off an ATA100 controller (so they are NOT hda and hdb) that are mirrored using software mirroring. So my root device is /dev/md0. That shows up as an option and has Fedora Core 3 detected on it, but when I click next, I get a dialog that looks similar to:

|                   Duplicate Labels                  |
|                                                     |
|  (*) Multiple devices on your system are labelled   |
|                                                     |
|                                       [ Reboot ]    |

In the above ASCII art, (*) represents a symbol that looks like a critical fail icon.

What really confuses me about this dialog is that it doesn’t tell me what label is duplicated. I’m guessing this is some kind of bug because I have two physical disks that are identical in every way, but I’m not sure. I open bug 160622 on Redhat’s Bugzilla, but it got closed telling me that my RAID disks can not be labelled and suggesting that I remove the label. As far as I can tell, I have no labels of any sort, so I think I’m gonna have to reopen this bug. I’ve been poking around on the ‘net trying to find a solution, but having no luck. So for the time being, I’m unable to use Fedora Core 4… unless, of course, I install it on another machine.

UPDATE: 29-Sep-2005 – It’s installed and working!

Are Spammers Retarded?

It seems that the average spammer must have the IQ of a 1st grader. Nevermind the fact that they constantly are trying to get around people’s spam filters in email, an action that only serves to upset those from whom they want money, I’m not even gonna go there right now. What’s got me upset is the constant fact that they keep hitting me with trackback spam. I never used to get that. I used to get my share of comment spam, but every since I installed the SCode plugin, I’ve been hit with a constant deluge of trackback spams. My guess is that their script noticed the error message when they tried to post a comment spam and switched over to trackback instead. What’s really kinda strange, however, is that when I just had comments off, that didn’t happen. It was only after I took the step of installing SCode and turning old comments back on that this happened. Now, the idiocy comes in because I also have the Bayesian filtering plugin installed and it marks all these trackback pings as spam as soon as they’re posted (In fact, it has a tendency to mark things as spam even when their not… probably because my spam corpus is so much larger than my non-spam). Not one single time has one of these trackback spams actually appeared visible on my site. Not once. You’d think they’d kinda want that to happen in order for it to even be worth their time in constantly spamming me. But what do I know, I’m just a lowly consumer.

Road to Bugzilla 2.18 is now paved.

2 1/2 years after Bugzilla 2.16 was released, we’re very pleased to announce the release of Bugzilla 2.18. I told you we were a week ago, and now we’re there. Hop on over to and check out the new version. While your there, you may also wish to read the latest status update. Of note is the fact that the 2.20 feature freeze has been lifted and that freeze will now occur in March.