Inspiration: Arising your mind to special unusual activity or creativity

This is not a post preaching on how to get inspired :). Just though of making a written note of some nice websites that contains some great reference to Inspiration “the divine guidance” and make it public.

I came across a nice video on PENCIL (yes, you got it right, Pencil) while browsing Youtube. It contained a few statements regarding a Pencil and how closely we resemble them. How their motives and principles are applicable to us.

Don’t know if this video brings a big difference to my life, but it definitely attempts to encourage you towards a better life.

Below are some websites that are geared towards this noble intention ( you can find billions and billions of online references, just google it ) :

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Run Boxee on XBMC Live CD

Want to get best of both the Worlds ?

Yes, its quite easy to install and run Boxee Beta on the top of your desktop running XBMC Live CD.

You need the following:

  1. XBMC Live CD ( or XBMC Live installed on your harddisk / pendrive)
  2. Internet Connection (to download some packages including Boxee application, you anyways will need this to login into Boxee)

Make sure you have persistence enabled installation of XBMC Live on your pendrive or have XBMC installed on your harddrive, otherwise you will loose all your changes after the system reboot. But you are good if you don’t bother to have Boxee permanently installed and just want to try it out.

Follow these Steps to install Boxee:

  1. Boot into XBMC Live CD
  2. Install gdebi package (this is needed to automatically resolve all the package dependencies and download from the internet).
    sudo apt-get install gdebi
  3. Install a light weight browser that we will use to download Boxee application from Boxee website (you can ignore step 3 and 4 if you already have Boxee application downloaded from Boxee.tv website).
    sudo apt-get install seamonkey
  4. Once seamonkey is installed, you can open up Boxee.tv and download the Boxee application specific to your system architecture (32/64)
  5. Install Boxee Application (substitute x.y.z below with the appropriate Boxee version number/ complete file name of the deb Boxee package).
    sudo gdebi boxee.x.y.z
  6. Boxee gets installed to /opt/boxee/ location by default.
  7. Change directory to /opt/boxee/ and execute
    ./run-boxee-desktop

That’s it. Enjoy Boxee in its’ new form. Its really cool.

Note: If you are running XBMC from a Live CD, you will loose all your changes that you made above (all packages/ installations will be gone the moment you reboot your system. You will have to either install the XBMC either on your harddisk or pendrive (with persistence enabled). But yes, just to get a taste of Boxee on Linux, executing the above steps will be fine 🙂

Remotely Control Ubuntu using your IPhone (VNC Setup)

Step I: Setup VNC in Ubuntu:

VNC (Virtual Network Computer) can be setup in Ubuntu in the following four easy steps:

  1. Install VNC package using following command in terminal: sudo apt-get install x11vnc vnc-java
  2. Password Setup command in terminal: x11vnc -storepasswd
  3. Make sure ports 5800 and 5900 are open on your system firewall. You should not bother to do anything in this step however since Ubuntu by default does not firewall anything and once a service is set to listen on a port, there is no further configuration needed. Refer this post if you need further information about opening a port.
  4. Run below command in terminal to launch VNC:
  5. x11vnc -forever -usepw -httpdir /usr/share/vnc-java/ -httpport 5800

  6. Add it for auto-starting in future sessions. Go to System–> Preferences –> Startup Applications. Click on Add button and enter the command in Step 4. This will make sure you have the VNC service up and running after system restarts.

Step II: Setup VNC in IPhone (though the steps should be pretty much the same for any mobile/system):

  1. Install a VNC client from the Apple Store. I use “Mocha VNC Lite” because of its simplicity and ease of configuration.
  2. Run the IPhone application and follow the instructions to connect your IPhone VNC client with the Ubuntu VNC server. Use command ifconfig to get the VNC Server IP on Ubuntu machine. Use 5900 as the default port. Enter the same password as setup in Step 2 above while installing VNC server on Ubuntu machine.

That’s it. Enjoy controlling your Ubuntu system remotely through your smart phone. Below are some screenshots previewing the same.

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Custom Boxee Beta Live CD

Boxee is a solution for Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC) with a pinch of Social Networking. I am not going to give an introduction and features of Boxee in this post (there are thousands of posts on this, just google it).

What I am going to do is to introduce you to my custom Boxee Beta Live CD (that contains pre-configured Boxee application with all the libs and modules required to run it). I have also installed the IR module (lirc) which works just out of the box with many of the Microsoft Certified IR remotes.

Just like other Live distros, you just need to download the iso from here (around 830 MB), burn it on a CD and boot your system using the CD. Once up and running, you will find Boxee application under Sound and Video –> Boxee menu. Just click Boxee and it should be launched.

You will notice that the size of this Live CD is even more than the size of complete Ubuntu Desktop CD. This is because, I decided to leave the Ubuntu packages as is to provide more flexibility of hardware and configurability. You can anyways shave off the packages that you don’t need later. Also you are most welcome to create a minimal Boxee Live CD running just Boxee and nothing else as we have with XBMC Live :).

After you install Live CD on your harddrive/pendrive, you can configure your Ubuntu to auto-start Boxee when it boots. To do that, just go to SystemPreferencesStartup Applications. Click Add and enter Boxee for the name and for the command enter /opt/boxee/run-boxee-desktop.

The main reason I did this was to see how Boxee performs in Ubuntu and now I am using this as my main Media Center Solution (though I switch to XBMC sometimes).

Please let me know if you find any issues in running Boxee with this Live CD distro.

Boxee Live Distro Download Link (iso): http://www.zshare.net/download/7100323370074bb3/

Warning: Please use this distro at your own risk. The author does not take any responsibility for anything (good or bad) that results from my custom Distro CD. You’re following these instructions at your own risk. Make sure you get yourself well acquainted with how the Ubuntu Live CDs work without harming/modifying your current Hard disk installation.

Also note that this is a custom live distro created by me (on the top of latest Ubuntu distro (9.10, karmic Koala) with latest Boxee Beta from Boxee).

Preview of my desktop running Boxee Beta in Ubuntu: (Please excuse me for the poor quality of the below video, since I used my mobile to shoot it and upload on YouTube directly without any editing).

Your Roomba Also Needs Cleaning !

I am a proud owner of IRobot Roomba 410 (not sure but I think IRobot has made this model obsolete). Its smart, less noisy and self sufficient in its duty. Roomba has been cleaning my home since 8 months now and if I remember correctly it did not give me a chance ever to complain except last week when it weirdly stopped after running for a couple of minutes. After this it became its usual behavior. No matter how much I charge it, how much I clean it, it used to run for 3-5 minutes and then come to a halt.

Google came to my rescue then. I found that the designers of Roomba did a great job in providing a set of beep code feature in their IRobots (yes I did not refer the Roomba manual initially but googled first instead).

My Roomba used to beep 3 times (after the “uh-oh” alarm 🙂 as the Roomba manual refers it) which means the Vacuum is not running properly.

After some googling I arrived at this post of fixya.com. johnnyzero did a good job in explaining how to clean Roomba’s Vacuum pot to fix this particular issue, my Roomba was in a bigger trouble. The Vacuum fanin the Vacuum pot was jammed with dust and garbage and was stuck. That means though Roomba used to creep a few meters its Vacuum pump was not running at all. Below are some of the screenshots to provide a glimpse of the internals.

Roomba P1040043 P1040044 P1040045

After I cleaned the vacuum pot and cleared the spindle of the hair, I assembled the parts again and now my roomba is running almost like a new piece.