The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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me and my media
children of dune - leto 1
In celebration of three days--three entire days--of worklessness, I finally sat down with Watson the server and started my epic journey into actually using it for something other than about 3TB of extra storage and writing piles and piles of thirty page bash scripts and enjoying command line. After getting virtualbox functional, I was skimming through the mythbuntu recs and then hit a wall; I am very tired of creating bash scripts to reinvent how to move goddamn files without losing them (it happens) or renaming them all to fred (almost happened). And it is not a sign of weakness to use a goddamn gui anymore than we drive instead of walking over great distances.

Also, virtualbox let me play with ubuntu, kubuntu, and xubuntu desktops and dear God it was nice to move things with a click.

(seriously, my bash script for mass-moving is thirty pages long)

New-to-me-to-use software recs

Virtualbox - it has both a gui and a local web interface, both of which I recommend highly. There's a version for every OS. It's stupidly easy to create the basics, and the steep learning curve is when you get fancy. You install as bootable directly through the virtualbox interface and then open it up and use it like any OS. I haven't tried it on a windows machine yet, but from what I can tell, there's no difference. If you've wanted to check out other OSs but are enslaved to Windows, seriously, this is fantastic. Trust me when I say I did my best to make a mess of it, and it still didn't destroy the universe.

The web gui is phpVirtualBox; the only flaw is that while it walks you through creating the VM, the first-run wizard that loads and installs the OS isn't there, or at least, I can't find it. Easily fixed; before double clicking to start teh machine, go to settings, storage and mount the ISO file to the virtual dvd/cd like you would if you were installing any OS. The only other problem is I can't make the mouse function lock, so I have two mouse arrows and it's weird.

This really is the most ridiculously easy program to use. And here I was trying to use vmware like a sucker.

Mediatomb - I'm still on the fence on this one. I like it, but the gui is not as flexible without custom scripting as I'd hoped, since when it's done this is going to be for my family to use. But it's javascript based scripting, so it's not hard, either. VLC's current release also doesn't have a UPnP interface, which pisses me off, but the nightly builds do, so I'm staring blankly at the idea of building from windows with the binaries. Doing it in linux from command line is ridiculously easy and spoiled me a lot; windows builds on a windows machine are complicated. I'm beginning to get why programmers don't like Windows. Also, why I'm configuring Totem to play from there; what I don't know is how to do the transcoding for blurays; makemkv has a streamer that can do the decode, but writing up the procedure looks suspiciously like work.

Mediatomb also has the ability to find and play youtube, apple trailers, and a lot of flexibility on adding other web-based media if you write the transcoding.

Calibre - this isn't new to anyone, but I just started using the server aspect and that part is damn awesome. After staring the server, the web interface loads and it has nice organization. When you're away from home but you totes forgot to add the Wheel of Time series to your ereader, it used to be you'd have to cry into your ereader and curse the vagaries of technology, but now, you just login (if your computer happens to be on at home; wait, you left your computer at home?) and download it. I know all of us have had that moment.

Things That Are Annoying Me

I did say this is my Weekend of Slothful Indulgence, right? Right.

1.) I cannot find a decent apache gui. I get it's complicated. I even get that a web based gui can't (I do not believe this, but whatever) cover all complicated functionality. I do not get the idea that because command line and config files were good enough for the cavemen chipping out the code on stone punch cards we should all look askance at a goddamn working gui to take care of the basic functionality and make it easy to monitor. Coding is fun; drudgery-coding is not. I have written many stupid bash scripts in my time, but none have come close to the ones that I had to write to tell me periodically that my apache was still running correctly. Using Webmin is nice and all, but I want a dedicated goddamn gui.

2.) VLC does not have UPnP right now. Just. Why? Why why why.

By the way, has anyone used mythbuntu yet? I'm loading a copy into virtualbox to play with, but I was wondering what exactly I'm looking at. Is it just recording TV or is there more to it?

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I think Apache is like Oracle when it comes to GUIs - it's just so old and standard that most people don't want to bother, er, GUI-ing it up. LOL. I think the vast majority of users are probably connecting remotely to servers and don't want to have to use an x-server or whatnot to use a GUI, hence the lack of overall interest? I dunno! I haven't done a whole lot with Apache, but I do recall it being kind of a pain last time I needed it to do just a little. :-/

But you're definitely right! GUIs tend to be faster and less prone to error, especially if you haven't spent your whole life doing command line or something. And really, who would torture themselves like that? Tsk.

Calibre server?
I may have to send you cookies or something for that piece of information. Eeeeeheeeheehheee... SO PLEASED.

With a beautiful web interface. Never again the dark times of forgetting to add a book and no options!

It's pretty easy to set up, too, which is nice.

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