Tag Archives: Linux

Premier Smart TV Box


I stopped in the Plaza Terronal Premier store and found an Android Smart TV Box for $39.00. It included the remote (no batteries), an HDMI cable, and the actual box.

The Premier catalog had it listed for $29, but they said it was a misprint. Still for $39.00 including the HDMI cable that was a deal I could not pass up.

I will tell you that it is not plug and play. It required some configuration. Basically it is an Android Linux system and comes with a standard assortment of Android apps. One of those apps is XBMC, which I wrote up here.

It will run on your Wi-Fi network or you can also connect it to your router by ethernet. I didn’t have a free Ethernet port, so I just configured it to my Wi-Fi router. That took about 15 minutes using the remote.

Premier also gave a one page of instructions for adding TV channels to XBMC. Configuring using the remote is a challenge, but I got through it. I will try connecting a keyboard and mouse one of the days, but for today, I decided to see if I could do it with just the remote.

I followed the store’s instructions to add TV channels to XBMC. As with many add-ons to XBMC, not all worked, but a lot did.

XBMC showed that 1Channel, which is a video site, was installed, but it was not set up and would not activate. Since I had previously set up XBMC on an Apple MacMini, I decided to set up XBMC my way.

I basically followed the same video instructions on the Internet that I had used for the MacMini, except this time, I went the Android route.

It wasn’t hard, but having previous experience helped.

I have seen a local company selling an Android TV box configured with XBMC for over $200. With about an hour of work, I have the same for about $42 including tax.

That may not be completely accurate because I don’t know the processor size. It has 1 GB of memory and 4GB of storage.

I just watched the Lazarus Effect, that is currently showing in David, and the video quality was good and I had full surround here. What I watched did not have Spanish subtitles. It was equal to my setup on the Apple MacMini.

Out of an hour and seventeen minute movie, There were two times when it paused to buffer. Again for this price, it is a super deal.

It has the complete Android App Store on its menu, but I haven’t looked at it. I was told that NetFlix should be there, however at present, I have no need to search for it.

If you stop into Premier, tell them you read about the Smart TV box on Chiriquí Chatter.

Burning The Candle At Both Ends

Sometimes I just don’t know when to shut down. Last night was a good example. I didn’t go to bed before 3 :30 AM. It would not be a big deal if I were staying up for something worthwhile, but last night, after working on a technical project, I stayed up watching a movie to unwind.

Lilliam is usually my governor and keeps my days in order, but she is in Costa Rica and won’t return until next week. When she is not around, I forget what time it is. When I was young, I could go without sleep better than I can now, so I am sure that I will have to have a nap this afternoon.

So what has been going on? I have visited the stroke victim twice this week. The second visit, I spent several hours with him. His caretake’s father has been released from the hospital after they decided they could not remove a tumor. She needed time to visit him in a hospice he has moved to. I hope that she doesn’t give out with all the stress she is under.

I am not satisfied with the stroke victim’s progress, but I have no control over that. I am also not impressed with C&W’s telephone connection at his apartment. He has been without telephone for two weeks. I had to go by the C&W office and submit a second trouble ticket. If it is not up soon, I will have to make another trip to the office. They need to give him a refund for lack of service. Just another thing you put up with living in paradise.

I guess that has me under a little stress and when I get under stress, I tend to dive into technology to unwind. Continue reading Burning The Candle At Both Ends

Hard Drive Failure

I have had a major hard drive failure on my primary PC. It appears that the disk that contained the Microsoft OS Vista has died. Unfortunately, that disk contained the boot-loader for my Linux system and I am unable to boot into Linux.

I was able to boot up a live CD Linux system and backup all files, documents and photos off the Linux system, so now the problem will be determining the best approach to rebuild the Primary PC.

Currently, I have moved to my backup PC. Until I get the primary PC back on the air, there will be minimal posts.

UPDATE: Reinstalled boot loader and the system is back up. Takes for ever to come up, but I think that is the BIOS detecting the failed drive. It should speed up when I have a chance to remove that drive from the system.

Living With openSUSE 11.2

Nineteen days ago I downloaded openSUSE 11.2 Linux and installed it on my backup PC. I was so pleased that I decided to move it to my primary PC and replaced the RC version of Windows 7 and for the last eight days it has been my main system.

The layout of the desktop is very similar to Windows 7, so I lost nothing there. It boots much faster and for my tasks, it runs faster. So what programs am I using?

As you would expect, my needs are relatively simple. I need the Internet and a good browser. I have three.

Firefox is what I use the most and I just saved my bookmarks under Windows first and restored them in Linux.

Opera is the second and touted as being the most secure and standards complaint. When I get more time, I may try making it my default browser. It has a few features I prefer over Firefox, but in any case, I will not remove Firefox.

The last browser is Konqueror, which is the KDE’s native browser. It is a fully functional browser. I am currently using it as my file transfer program to move photos to my web-host. On Windows, I had used FileZilla and could use it on Linux, but just decided to keep things simple and now that I have tried it, I like it better than FileZilla. Continue reading Living With openSUSE 11.2

Replacing Windows 7 with openSUSE 11.2

The title is not exactly correct. What I have done is to replace Windows 7 RC (the last free down loadable Release Candidate of Windows 7) with openSUSE 11.2.

I had been running Windows 7 RC in a dual boot configuration with Windows Vista for a few months. Windows Vista with all of the latest upgrades is fine for me and I am tired of testing Windows 7. While Windows 7 improved some things, it does not look good enough to invest $$ to buy a commercial version. With Windows 8 expected in 2012, I will stick with Vista.

Also with the way that Linux is improving, by the time Windows 8 is ready, there won’t be any need of my considering it.

I have been running openSUSE 11.2 on my second PC since its release. The upgrade to the KDE 4.3 desktop has been a tremendous improvement. openSUSE is using the KDE desktop as its default desktop, but Gnome is offered as an option. I prefer KDE over Gnome, but I could use both and switch at log-in time. Continue reading Replacing Windows 7 with openSUSE 11.2

OpenSUSE 11.2 Installed

By the time you read this, openSUSE 11.2 should be released and available to everyone. Yesterday, I found a server in Spain that had already populated its libraries and downloaded the 64-bit KDE Live Cd and installed it on my backup PC,

SUSE’s implementation of KDE 4.3 it much better than the KUBUNTU version I downloaded. In fact the entire distribution has made tremendous improvements since I was last running KDE as my primary environment.

It never ceases to amaze me how fast the Linux community is improving its desktop software. It is easy to understand why Microsoft is considering entering the open source market with its own version of Linux. If you can’t beat them – join them. Continue reading OpenSUSE 11.2 Installed

Technology Update

It has been a while since I have written about my recent hardware upgrade. I have it pretty well setup like I like now. The purchase has been a great success. I could not have touched what I bought for less than $2,000 and I got it for less than half that including upgrading to 9 GB of memory, adding a 1TB hard drive and paying extra baggage expenses. My extreme thanks to the individual who brought it down for me ( you know who you are).

After adding the extra memory and HD, I did have a scare, which Micro Technology took care of. Since then it has been running like a charm. It is by far the nicest PC I have ever used.

I am currently running Microsoft Vista with SP2 installed. I have had zero problems and it has been the most stable Microsoft OS I have run. I like it much better than Windows XP. I am a late adopter, so that may explain why I have had no problems. Continue reading Technology Update

EasyPeasy Upgrade from Xandros

I recently purchased an external DVD reader because I wanted to have more flexibility to do things with my ASUS eee.

I was able to give the ASUS a good workout on the recent Royal Caribbean cruise I went on. One of the things I didn’t care for all that much was the Xandros OS system that ships with the ASUS. I kept having trouble with some of the upgrades and it was running a very old version of Firefox.

The first thing I did with the new DVD drive was to install EasyPeasy, a UBUNTU based version of Linux for Netbooks.

Continue reading EasyPeasy Upgrade from Xandros

openSUSE 11.1 and KDE 4.2 Update

After using the new openSUSE 11.1 and KDE 4.2 system for several days, I decided another update was in order. While KDE 4.2 has been officially released by the KDE org, it is available by openSUSE in what they call a factory library. Non the less, openSUSE considers if a stable environment.

I took a diversion path in resolving the original problems I had. I decided to try KUBUNTU’s KDE 4.2. This was a disaster for me. Maybe I have used openSUSE too long because the upgrade to KDE 4.2 with KUBUNTU was non trivial.

I went back to openSUSE and this time installed 11.1 in a more structured fashion, testing after each step. Then I used the one step click to install update to bring it up to the KDE 4.2 version. It went easily. Then I moved the appropriate files from the KDE3 backup files into the KDE4 files and I now had all of the Kontact information restored.

I am not sure why, but this release of openSUSE 11.1 is running much faster in my estimation, than 11.0 did.

Kontact is a much more elegant application and I like the presentation of appointments and email. This has been a great upgrade.

Kopete, my messenger application, is also nicer looking in KDE 4.2 than it was in KDE 3.

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I really could not be happier with this Linux release.