Raspberry Pi goodness

Turns out that Raspberry Pi is pretty sweet! Not only is the little-computer-that-could a great project with some really laudable intentions re: education, it’s also a great platform for XBMC!

Just wanted to record some of the tips and tricks and learnings as I go through the process of learning another platform:

  1. When setting up passwordless access via SSH (i.e. using keys), the .ssh folder needs to be chmod 700, the authorized_keys and authorized_keys2 files both need to be there with chmod 600, and the key needs to be a DSA key indicated by ssh-dss in the authorized_keys file(s).
  2. Yeah, I’m not proud of this workaround (okay, maybe a little), but when you have a large video library (600+ titles), the Pi struggles a bit with reading back from the cache. So, in the short-term, I’ve installed incrontab and I’m watching the temp folder with the following line entered via incrontab -e: /home/pi/.xbmc/temp/ IN_CLOSE,IN_CLOSE_WRITE,IN_CLOSE_NOWRITE rm /home/pi/.xbmc/temp/vdb-17492a19.fi. In short, the moment that file is written, it’s deleted again. Saves about 10-15 seconds off the load time, but it’s still slow. 😦
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Remote notification

I have been playing around with a way to get my Ubuntu box (that is running VLC on startup to stream our satellite TV across the network) to notify other boxes that it is awake and broadcasting. This is so that my wife can start the box up from a WOL script on the kitchen PC and then, once it is booted up, turn on the modded Xbox and run XBMC to connect to the stream and pick up TV downstairs.

Nice enough. 🙂

I managed to get it working using the following steps.

  1. On the PC that broadcasts TV, I added passwordless SSH (via this link) for the user that the kitchen PC runs under.
  2. On the kitchen PC, I created a script in the /usr/bin called notifier that has the following in it:
    export DISPLAY=:0 && export XAUTHORITY=/home/[KITCHEN COMPUTER USERNAME]/.Xauthority && sudo -u [KITCHEN COMPUTER USERNAME] /usr/bin/notify-send "TV is now broadcasting" 2>&1.

    Most of this is via this page.

  3. After adding the same user to the TV PC, I have a line in the TV PC /etc/rc.local that says
    su [KITCHEN COMPUTER USERNAME] -c notifyKitchen
    The notifyKitchen is a /usr/bin script that simply says
    ssh [KITCHEN COMPUTER USERNAME]@[KITCHEN COMPUTER] 'notifier'.

Done and done. When the TV PC boots, it calls this command and the Kitchen PC gets a pop-up notification that TV is running.