Tag Archive for XBMC

Updates suck ass

We’ve all been there. We get a notification “oh updates available, coo” and blindly allow it. Then BANG, something that worked this morning is new perma-broke. Every platform imaginable falls victim to it. Some is by accident, a big “whoops” by developers pushing features forward accidentally breaking other things in the process. Others, are by design.

My particular case today was a simple update of the Ubuntu system which runs my XBMC media pc. Figured that’s kinda safe. I ran it and suddenly XBMC wouldn’t open. What? Now it complains that it requires 3D acceleration. But but but, it has a bloody radeon card in it. It worked this morning! Bastard. So, after some poking I discover it has installed the newest Catalyst drivers which OBSOLETED the card in my girlfriend’s old laptop. Thanks.

Rather than leaving it alone in its WORKING state, it chose to overwrite it with some new garbage that doesn’t work. Thanks a bunch, douche.

In desperation I tried out the Gallium open source drivers and they did work. I was much relieved. A small, but thoroughly annoying problem is my frame rate seems to have been reduced by at least 50%. Choppy and horrid on something that I usually show off to other people not only as an example of Ubuntu’s prowess, but XBMC’s clear superiority in the field of media centre software.

Not wanting to leave it alone, I pursue the issue. Apparently, I can grab some legacy drivers, fantastic! Installed and it worked as before.

Here’s how, open the terminal and:

  • sudo apt-get remove –purge fglrx*
  • sudo reboot
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:makson96/fglrx
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get upgrade
  • sudo apt-get install fglrx-legacy
  • sudo reboot

With any luck, you should be restored to former usefulness as I was. If not, you can always revert by:

  • sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
  • sudo ppa-purge ppa:makson96/fglrx
  • sudo reboot

I probably missed the obvious method of rolling back the package (if that was possible, check first) but this worked a treat.

The moral of the story, which I DID know but in temporary insanity forgot, is: if it ‘aint broke don’t fix it. Or in this case, DON’T UPDATE EVER. It’s a sad case that manufacturers deliberately obsolete their products this way, it would have cost them nothing to leave the working driver in there. Thank christ I got it working again just in time for some movies tonight.

XBMC Youtube fixed, finally

Last night I thought I’d take a poke at trying to fix XBMC’s youtube plugin which has been broken for me since the summer. This was most annoying. I could still use youtube on it, but I’d have to search for videos I wanted rather than just pop into my favourites and play the damn thing. I’m quite sure I lost some hair fiddling with the script and trying various login techniques.

The root of the problem is, of course, Google. In their wisdom (read: folly), they decided to force users into G+ sideways which mucked up 3rd party attempts to use youtube in any useful way. Those who know me know I loathe social networking. I have zero desire to plaster my personal thoughts, feelings and actions across the internet especially in light of recent (though obvious) revelations that our information is not only posted, but permanently posted, used, abused, analyzed, and made to turn a profit while providing a handy information source for american spooks. Not my idea of a fun time. I will not digress into a lengthy political discussion, I refuse to waste my life.

Getting back to XBMC, one chappy posted near christmas on the open ticket I had on the YouTubeXBMC bug tracker. The entire thing can be found here. What came to light through the last post is the following:

  • it is now impossible to separate G+ from YouTube, Google has forced it down our throats
  • XBMC was logging in successfully, but it was looking for videos in the new channel created when G+ was created not the old channel as expected

The last part proved key. I was perplexed that it was logging in and finding nothing for favourites, subscriptions and history. It turns out I had two youtube channels now, one under my real name and the other being my old one. Though ostensibly connected to one another, they are separate and one could not point to, or exchange information with, the other. Annoying.

After fiddling for some time to get it to read from my old youtube account, I gave up (as probably Google intended) and just shifted everything over to the new account. Bang, it works. Finally.

The one catch here is as I mentioned above, two channels cannot exchange subscriptions and favourites. Bummer! Yes, I had to manually do it all over again. Some odd 100 faves and 30 subscriptions. Though modest by YouTube standards, it took some time and was tedious as hell. So now I’m my real name on youtube but that matters little since I only use it to save videos for playback on XBMC. I create none myself.

Really though, the kind of modifications Google is making lately are terrible. Apart from forcing us both to use our real names and G+ they have made the experience annoying. I’ve used handles to post comments since before the internet existed and I prefer it that way. I also have no use for the piece of garbage that G+ is. Hell, I have no interest in social networking at all. If I am forced to have a G+ account, I simply won’t use it and won’t give it any information. None of their business.

This is peanuts compared to what they’ve done to content creators, now they are having a hard time getting to their comments and analytics and it’s also messing with their monetization settings.Seriously – don’t stab yourself in the foot there. Remember these are the folks that make you money and make people want to use youtube. Don’t fuck with that.

In brief, Google you bungled this one, and I haven’t seen a single person out there who likes your “improvements”. Stop being evil and listen to your user base.

Netflix uses HTML5 streams

But only for ARM devices and Chromebooks. Stumbled on this article from Slashdot:

HTML5 Brings Netflix to Samsung’s ARM Chromebook

Could this mean that someday, in this universe, Linux may take its place among the platforms served by Netflix? Better be fuckers. I’m so tired of hooking my laptop up just to use Netflix, when I have a lovely media pc that runs XBMC over Ubuntu. No, installing windows is NOT an option :) .

So Netflix, support Linux already! You are out of excuses. Oh and drop Silverlight, its buggy and annoying.