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Remotely Wake up your Computers with Wake On Lan

Remotely Wake up your Computers with Wake On Lan
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Wake On Lan, the Ethernet standard for waking up (switching them ON) network enabled devices remotely, has (again) gained popularity, especially under NAS/Server users, who use their server or NAS only a few hours a day. Wether it’s to save on your Power bill, reduce your Carbon-Footprint, or to spare your equipment, Wake On Lan is here to stay …

Now come these question though,… how do I enable Wake On Lan on my network enabled device, and how do I send a “wake up” call to my device?

In this article, I’ll try to cover as much as I can – since it can be a pretty hairy process to setup Wake On Lan. It very strongly depends on the hardware and software capabilities of your device. Even though I cannot every device on the planet, I sure will try to help you get started with Wake On Lan.

miniWOL – Tiny Wake On LAN tool for Windows and MacOS X

miniWOL – Tiny Wake On LAN tool for Windows and MacOS X
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I had not used the good old Wake On LAN option in a while, until my brother-in-law (Jean-Pierre) was looking for something like that to wake up his NAS.

Most of the Wake On LAN applications I found for him were just too extensive, too complicated, or not free. I wanted just a simple menu in the System Tray (Windows: next to the clock, lower-left corner of your screen) or Menu-bar (MacOS X – top of your screen). Well, after quite a bit of searching I could not find anything suitable or to my liking and I decided to just write something myself.

Timing couldn’t be better, since I just wanted to implemented Wake On LAN in another application – ConnectMeNow (for MacOS X).
Reusing the code, making it suitable for Windows and MacOS X, and wrapping it in a small application was done relatively quickly.

This application has been tested under MacOS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and Windows 10 and it’s FREE.

The last Boblight Config Maker …

The last Boblight Config Maker …
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After many iterations of Boblight Config Maker, I’ve decided to finally release v2 … keep in mind that I have the feeling it’s not quite finished yet, so it’s released as a beta, by request of many v1 users.

V2 has been rebuild complete from scratch, and (in my opinion) is not been quite perfect yet, but some will see benefit in this version as it adds a lot of new features.

Since building and maintaining this application is simply taking way too much time, this will, unfortunately, most likely be the last version as well. As with many free or open source projects, this project is taking just too much time, and unfortunately, I do have to make a living as well.

Note that for now the source will not be made public.

UPDATE: For Windows and MacOS X I have fixed several bugs, a new version (beta 3) is available.

XBMC – Install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV (FireStarter)

XBMC – Install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV (FireStarter)
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I have written a pretty extensive article before, on “How to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV“. It’s still an article worth reading, but a better “trick” has become available.

In the previous article, we used an application called IkonoTV as a “front” for Kodi/XBMC. This method works well, but has it’s limitations. The new method is easier to install, doesn’t need an application like IkonoTV and … the home button on the remote brings you to a screen that just works easier.

Another important feature is that this new method is supposed to work with the newer Amazon Fire TV models – unfortunately, I do not own the newer model, so I could not test and confirm that.

QNAP – Automatic TV-Series download with Sonarr (NZBDrone)

QNAP – Automatic TV-Series download with Sonarr (NZBDrone)
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Tools like Sonarr have always fascinated me – it’s a good indicator that our way of watching TV has changed from fixed schedule to on demand, or: watch what we want, when we want.

I have played with SickBeard, which works very well. After that, I tried SickRage, which is a fork of SickBeard, but offers just a few of those nifty little additional features SickBeard was lacking, making it even better (and that’s just my opinion).

Over time another alternative appeared: Sonarr, also know as NZBDrone.

I’ll admit, it took me a long time to give that one a try, and I have to say … I’m regretting having not done this earlier, it looks and works pretty slick. Don’t get me wrong though: SickBeard and SickRage are great! I just favor Sonarr a little bit more at this moment.

In this article I’ll show you why I like Sonarr better and how to install it on your QNAP NAS.

Note : This article is in no way meant to promote pirating! Verify what the legal limitations are in your country before proceeding!

Mac OS X SMB Fix, or How to install SMBUp

Mac OS X SMB Fix, or How to install SMBUp
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If you’re a Mac user, and you’re enjoying the newer MacOS X versions, then you might have noticed that Apple’s own implementation of SMB simply sucks … it just doesn’t work and for a company like Apple to just leave it this way is beyond me.

SMB is a network protocol, commonly know as “Microsoft Windows Network” or Samba, which allows sharing of files and devices over a network. Most of us use this on our Windows computers and theoretically (it seems) MacOS X should support this as well.

For me it’s to share files with family, friends, or to share media files with my XBMC/Kodi setup.

In this article, I’ll show you how to quickly get started with a working Samba implementation, instead of using Apple’s broken implementation – for this we will make use of SMBUp.

How to remove HDCP from HDMI signal …

How to remove HDCP from HDMI signal …
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I’ve been playing with ambient light for my TV for a while now, as you can see in the “Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs“, to make colorful lights (LEDs) light up matching the video you’re seeing on your TV.

The downside of that project is that it only works for a dedicated HTPC running for example Kodi (XBMC).

But what if I’d like to see this with video from my XBox 360, XBox One, Wii, or … Blu-ray player or cable box?
Besides the fact that we need to grab this video, and all it’s technical complications, we will be running into a copy protection issue called HDCP, a HDMI feature nobody really asked for.

Please note that I’m not writing this article to promote pirating content! This article is solely aimed at using non-HDCP compliant equipment with equipment that seems to require HDCP. So I’m looking at older HDMI LCD/LED/Plasma TV’s, HDMI Projectors, Game Recording (PS3), taking screenshots for documentation and/or articles, and of course my own little project to generate ambient light behind my TV! Please keep this in mind.

XBMC – How to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV

XBMC – How to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV
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I’ve always loved Kodi, formerly known as XBMC. I’ve installed it on regular PC’s and Mac’s, tiny PC’s, AppleTV’s (1st and 2nd generation), Boxee Box, etc.  With the arrival of Amazon’s Fire TV, it was just a matter of time when I’d buy one.

I did look at numerous Android based devices before, just for the purpose of running Kodi (XBMC), but so far all the horror stories have kept me from doing so. Amazon’s Fire TV however has been reviewed and always seemed to score high when it comes to performance.u

However, … one downside of Amazon’s Android based devices is that Amazon feels the need to force their rules, their app-store and their interface on you and will not allow you to tinker with non-Amazon approved apps – like Kodi (XBMC).

So in this article I’ll show you how easy it is to install Kodi on Amazon’s Fire TV, and some additional Tips & Tricks.
It’s quick, it’s easy and the end result is awesome.

UnoTelly – Watching regional locked content anywhere …

UnoTelly – Watching regional locked content anywhere …
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This week was an interesting week – I travel quite often between my home in the USA and family and friends in Europe. With a world that has become smaller due to the Internet, you’d expect that services you’re used to are still available when traveling … well that’s not the case. I guess the movie industry still hasn’t gotten the message that region limitations is simply ridiculous. So my NetFlix suddenly got neutered and forced to the Dutch version.

I didn’t ask for this, and I most certainly did not pay for this … why not simply link content to your account, which has an address and therefor determines where you reside? Or even better: Just drop the nonsense with regions entirely … I’m sure it will reduce piracy as well.

Anyhow, long story short: to get to my real account (US) I could spoof my location by using well known VPN service like Astrill. Works great, looks a little suspicious, slows down your connection due to encryption and it’s not always “cheap” or easy to use.

Along comes UnoTelly (and I’m sure there are other services like that) offering to try their DNS service for free (8 day trial). This article is about my findings with their services (DNS and VPN) … in short: it’s worth it!

QNAP – Automatic TV-Series download with SickRage

QNAP – Automatic TV-Series download with SickRage
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SickRage is a tool that allows you to automatically download TV-Series and it can run on several systems, including QNAP NAS devices.

For those that have used SickBeard, SickRage (or: SickBeard-TVRage) is derived from SickBeard. Both allow automatic download of TV-Series and are pretty good at it. SickRage however adds some really cool features that SickBeard (with all respect) is lacking. For example better support for Torrents and support for subtitles, dating episode filenames to the air date, etc.

I’ve written this article after migrating from SickBeard to SickRage on an Intel based QNAP. Having SickBeard installed is not required though and experience with SickBeard, although helpful, is not required either.

Restore AppleTV OS after erasing disk (Offline Method)

Restore AppleTV OS after erasing disk (Offline Method)
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So you erased the internal disk of your AppleTV and want to restore AppleTV OS?

It happened to me; playing with a 1st generation AppleTV, installing (and thus wiping) a AppleTV suitable Ubuntu version. Only to find out that I goofed up and had to go back to the original OS to change some video settings. Yes I was playing with CrystalBuntu and OpenElec … (highly recommend both!)

In a previous article I described a method that uses a Windows tool from StmLabs, which needs Windows and a network connection.

In this article however I will show you how to do it without a network connection, for Windows, Linux and MacOS X.

FourCC Changer for Windows, Linux and MacOS X

FourCC Changer for Windows, Linux and MacOS X
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For the veterans amongst us, we all know FourCC Changer from fourcc.org, a small utility which allows you to change the video stream Four Character Code that identifies the codec used to compress/store the video stream.

If you’ve used it before, then you will know that it’s a nifty little Windows program that can be used as a last resort when AVI files do not playback. Since FourCC Changer only exists for the Windows platform: here a free version for Windows, Linux (32 and 64bit) and MacOS X (intel).

This application also support batches, offers a backup function and is very fast even for files in network shares.

Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs

Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs
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Back in the day, when the first LED TV’s appeared, Philips came with a great feature: Ambient TV lighting.

Ambient TV lighting consisted out of lights that would project to the wall behind your TV, one or more colors matching the content on your TV. So if the majority of the screen would be red, then the light emitted would be red, if the majority of the screen is green, then green light would be emitted, etc.

Over the years this has been refined to multiple colors, matching small parts of the screen. Unfortunately though, this wonderful feature is not something you can simply add to your TV. You will have to buy a Philips TV with this feature, …

Until now though, and only for XBMC (Kobi) users. Some smart guy(s) created Boblight, which is opensource and can run (for example) on your XBMC computer. The computer analyzes the video content and “converts” it to signals for LED strands, so you can attach these strands behind your TV and have a DYI Ambient TV lighting effect.

Note : This will only work for content played through your XBMC Media player (I used OpenElec)! So your regular TV shows, your XBox or PlayStation, none of these will have an influence on the “Ambient TV lighting” we will be discussing in this article.

Boblight Config Maker for Windows, MacOS X and Linux

Boblight Config Maker for Windows, MacOS X and Linux
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When I started building my own “AmbiLight” project, based on OpenElec (XBMC) and Boblight, the first problem I ran into is finding a tool to create a Boblight config files for use under MacOS X. Naturally, there are quite a few great tools out there that do a good job, but it’s either a script, web-based or limited to Windows users (Boblight Config Tool), and again … not for MacOS X …

Creating a config file for Boblight can be quite tedious when you have a large amount of LEDs (I had 290 LEDs), when you mix up the orientation of your LEDs (pretty common issue), or when you do not have your LEDs spread out evenly.

So here is my tool, for Windows, MacOS X and Linux, written in Lazarus Pascal – enjoy!
UPDATE: Another minor bug fixed, added test video and Boblight Config Maker can now also be found at Alternativeto.net.

How to run XBMC on Boxee Box

How to run XBMC on Boxee Box
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Boxee Box, a Linux box from D-Link that runs a fork of XBMC called Boxee, is dead … maybe we will see some of it return in a re-incarnation with Samsung, but I wouldn’t hold my breath … I’m sure others agree with me that Boxee went the wrong direction and I’m sure quite a few of us Boxee owners have returned to XBMC, or a XBMC variation like OpenElec.

So what are we doing with the old Boxee Box? Trying to sell it, toss it in the garbage, or … run XBMC on Boxee Box as if it’s a regular HTPC …? I gave the later a try and to my surprise it works pretty well …

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