Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Media Center in the Living Room: Part 3 "One Step Back"

This week, I'm trying to fix the non-critical issues I mentioned in the last post.
  • I need to re-enter the wifi password whenever I reboot the system
  • Haven't figured out how to turn off the video signal so the monitor will "sleep"
  • vnc is slow. With no keyboard/mouse attached, I need good vnc performance
  • Volume level on the analog audio is lower than other components on the stereo
  • Need to auto-launch XMBC
Wifi
Researching the wifi issue led me to Widc. Widc appears to be a greatly improved Network Manager and is, in fact, included in the next version of Ubuntu.
I added the Widc repository, installed the package, and my system became unbootable.
There's plenty of room for error here, but I was very careful.
When setting the repository, they provide the example "deb http://apt.wicd.net hardy extras" but you need to manually change "hardy" to your distribution. "intrepid" in my case.
The line for setting the key is very nice:
wget -q http://apt.wicd.net/wicd.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -
Everything I read about this makes it sound like the way to go. Unfortunately for me, it meant booting from CD and reinstalling.

Now the good news here is that the next release of Ubuntu ("Jaunty Jackelope") is scheduled for late April. But if you're reading this, you probably want answers now!

vnc
After reinstalling, I installed the "tightvnc" package to try and improve the vnc performance. I did not see a GUI configuration tool, and I have not been able to connect via vnc since the "upgrade."

audio
This board has a S/PDIF header, but doesn't have a connector on the back plane.
So, I stopped by my favorite spot for computer parts, General Nanosystems, to pick up a S/PDIF bracket for the case and a DVD drive. Looks like I'll have to order the S/PDIF connector online.
I got the DVD drive installed but haven't been able to test it yet.

Stay tuned for more exciting action!
Part 2: "Local and Remote"Part 4: "DVD"


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