Tuesday, April 28, 2009

xPLGamePort2 Released

I've released xPLGamePort2 which doesn't require DirectX to be installed. Can't wait to try it out on the thin client, which is due to arrive Friday. It's identical in functionality to the original version. More details here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Working on New xPLGameport App

With the HP T5700 thin client on the way, I decided to rewrite my xPLGameport app to better fit into the compact memory requirements. My current version requires DirectX and that may or may not installable on the T5700 with 256MB of flash. So I've put together a version that uses the joystick hooks in winmm.dll and it's currently running. I've got a few days to test it before the thin client arrives.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not Much Going On

I haven't been doing a whole lot lately. Part of that is a little HA burnout from my manic March. Part of that is a little disappointment over SageTV and the smushed screen. That's been finally resolved after beta updates of the server and the HD Theater firmware.

I did make the decision to turn off HAL Deluxe. It's always been a resource pig occasionally prone to 100% CPU attacks. The lack of voice mail functionality due to it crapping itself after a Windows update didn't help. And my failed experiment with microphone VR put another nail in the coffin.

Of course, turning off HAL comes with great benefits - lots of free memory and more stability. My two HALi apps also get turned off as well. The extra resources is letting me play with SageTV on my HA server. I moved the 1.5TB disk from the DVR machine to the HA server, migrated my SageTV settings over and have been running for a couple days. It's not a CPU pig but it is as fat as HAL. I've seen it well over 200MB and that has me thinking of bumping the HA server memory from 2GB to 4GB. The DVR machine will probably move over to our other house as the machines there are a little slow.

Finally, I snagged an HP T5700 (256MB RAM & flash) thin client off eBay 60 bucks (less 14% Live cashback and 1% FatCash). I'm going to see if I can use these as little xPL boxes. I want to distribute them around the house where I don't have enough wiring to support all the inputs I want to add to the system. For example, I want to move 3 current switches from DS10a's to a gameport (and add a few more contact closures). I don't have enough wiring there to get those outputs to the wiring closet nor is there enough wiring to put a gameport there using Cat-5 USB extenders. I thought about USB over IP devices but they cost twice as much as a thin client and obviously have much less functionality.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

xPL EG Plugin Update

Did some code clean up on the plugin a week ago. The sendxPL task now only takes 1 argument for the xPL command. Latest plugin here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

To Cacti or Not To Cacti

I spent a few hours Saturday playing around with Cacti. It's a front end to RRDTool, which I already use to generate charts. It was easy to get up & running as I'm already using PHP, MySQL and Apache on my server. After only a few hours adding devices and setting up graphs, I decided it wasn't for me. I'm already very comfortable writing my own Perl scripts and using Net-SNMP to extract the statistics and build the graphs I want. Cacti adds a couple layers on top of that, and to me, the interface takes too many clicks to get what I want. Plus, I don't plan on using it to graph my 1Wire temps or SpeedFan stats - it'd just be yet another interface to go through.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Use OpenDNS to Thwart Conficker

You should have heard about Conficker by now. One way to help mitigate its effects is to use OpenDNS for your DNS servers. I've been a big fan of OpenDNS for years and this is yet another reason to use it.