Finally the trouble with my HVR-1300 under Linux and mythtv seem to be over

I got my mythtv backend running for years now, but since mythtv switched to S2-API, the mythtv backend failed to lock to channels. Some other DVB applications had these problems, too, like kaffeine. I quickly found which patch had to be reverted to get it working again. Without knowing what i did, but it did work, so it was ok for me. Darron Broad was a big help at that time for getting everything in a good shape.

A few weeks ago i bought a dvb-t stick as i was tired of recompiling. A Terratec Cynergy T-Stick RC (MKIII) (Device ID:0097) as i thought it should work out of the box … well that was a mistake. The first i bought was defect. I switched it for a new one, it works some time and then stops working until you switch your PC off and on again. It is known, but no fix in sight. So it was from pest to cholera.

Now finally Devin Heitmueller found the real bug for the HVR-1300, HVR-3000 and HVR-4000 (as far as i can judge this, he seems to know what he is doing in contradiction to me). If that patch gets into the kernel i finally do not need to recompile the kernel after every update. Thanks Devin for that finding. I dont mind the DVB penstick if the HVR patch gets into the kernel.
The “pest” seems to be cured, i now still have my “cholera” lying around, but maybe sometimes someone finds a cure for that, too. I also got a Pinnacle 7010iX lying around here that is known to have no linux support at this time. Maybe i can use it in 10 Years when there is no more DVB-T ­čśë

A Final thought:
Although you hear a lot of “linux supports more hardware than windows” you see that “supports” does not mean “does work” in every case. Its not the linux developers fault in most cases, its just the manufacturer that dont help in driver development. But searching the web before buying not always leads to the correct hardware. I bought the Terratec as they seem to support linux a little bit, at least, and after years with my HVR-1300 and patching the kernel everytime was unhappy about hauppauge not helping in getting that card to work.

*edit*
Now the patch is in the kernel since version 3.0. In ubuntu oneiric (11.10) i can now run a stock kernel as of linux-image-3.0-7. Thanks,thanks, thanks.

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It works! HP Laserjet 1000 + Windows 7 = driver problem, virtualbox + ubuntu + cups = the solution

Recently my sister bought a new laptop as her old PC with Win 2k on it gets ready for a museum.
She asked me to find drivers for her HP Laserjet 1000 for Win7 because she did not find a way to get it working. I neither had success with finding drivers. There are some people saying the Vista driver works for them and others saying the XP driver work, but i did not find a confirmation and can not confirm it myself.
She prints only seldom so a new printer would not make much sense as the Laserjet is fully functional. And my sister is fine if printing is not as comfortable because of this seldom usage, so i had the idea to make the Laserjet working by an indirection over CUPS and i can tell you: It works.

Here are the shortened steps:

  • Get Virtualbox from: www.virtualbox.org
  • Install Virtualbox on your Windows 7 machine
  • Add a new Virtual Machine in Virtualbox for your Ubuntu installation
  • Add an USB Filter in Virtualbox for your printer to this Virtual Machine
  • Install Ubuntu Server 10.04 in a virtual machine (I had chosen Ubuntu 11.04*1 Server, but there is some script missing so i would suggest 10.04) . Install it with “CUPS” in the software selection.
  • Install “foo2zjs”. This is needed for the Laserjet 1000. on the ubuntu command line its a simple sudo apt-get install foo2zjs
  • Make remote configuration of CUPS possible with sudo cupsctl --remote-admin
  • Configure CUPS through the webinterface now reachable from your Windows browser on port 631. URL for your browser should look something like http://YOURVIRTUALMACHINE:631
  • As driver for your Laserjet choose the foomatic foo2zjs driver
  • Now if you are able to get your first test page printed from the web interface you are ready on the linux side
  • Add a new Printer in Windows, choose “Network Printer”, URL for the printer should look like http://YOURVIRTUALMACHINE:631/printers/HP_Laserjet_1000 You can copy the url from your Webinterface. If you copy and paste it, be sure you copy the http link not the https one
  • As Printer Driver choose “generic->MS Publisher Imagesetter”
  • Print a test page from your windows machine.

Additional notes:
My sister has to start the VM before she switches on/connects the printer. If you have an idea about that, leave me a comment.
Its no big problem cause starting the VM is just a double click on the VM image. You may start it headless if you dont like to get a window or even start it on system boot. I leave this as an exercise for you ­čśë

*1:
I had some problems in Ubuntu 11.04 to install the printer driver for the Laserjet 1000 and tested some things, but dont know which one was the necessary step, so i list them here in random order:

These two come from http://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/HP_Laserjet_10xx The getweb command did not work for me as described in the wiki, and i copied some files to other places, but do not know if this helped, or was just needless.

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Quick find: firessh, ssh client as firefox plugin

I found a nice firefox plugin, that is a ssh client for firefox written in javascript.
Firessh
Really nice. I now dont need to install putty on some of the windows computers.

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Flash video fullscreen always in background. Found a solution for KDE.

On a blog post I found a solution for Adobe flash opening fullscreen video always in background behind Firefox.
Finding the window properties as described in the blog post did not work, but entering them manually as described in the comments was the way to go. So here i try to explain what to do in my own words (german in braces, so its easier for german readers ) :

In KDE 4.6 go to System-Settings (Systemeinstellungen), Window Behavior (Fensterverhalten), Window Rules (Fensterregeln).
Press “New”, and enter the following Values:

in tab Window (Fenster) ->
-> Description (Beschreibung): Flash fullscreen workaround (or some other usefull description)
-> Class (Fensterklasse): <unknown> <unknown>
(mention the space between the two <unknown>? Its mandatory. No spaces at the beginning or end)
-> exact match (Exakte ├╝bereinstimmung)
-> Match whole window class (├ťbereinstimmung mit gesamter Fensterklasse): checked

in tab Window extras (Fenster-Besonderheit) ->
-> Types (Fenster-Typen): select only normal window
-> Title (Fenstertitel): <unknown>
-> exact match (Exakte ├╝bereinstimmung)

in tab Workarounds (Provisorien) ->
-> Focus stealing prevention (Vorbeugung gegen ├ťbernahme der Aktivierung) : force (erzwingen)

Thats it.
Now save that settings by pressing ok and apply, and now flash should open its fullscreen on top again.

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The problem with choice

Tried to find a HTML to PDF generator for PHP the last few days … not easy.
I first found much about TCPDF. From the results it looked quite promising.
As it turns out it was not so easy to just put in your HTML like on the webpage, and get a good looking PDF.
After some testing i searched for alternatives and found DOMPDF. The render results for my page were much better than before with tcpdf. But as i tried a newer version it broke my layout completely (To be exact, somewhere between r305 and r309 of dompdf).
That lead me to submit a bug report. On the reported bugs i found someone pointing to another html2pdf php library: MPDF
mpdf does render my HTML good, too. It also prints some textboxes in the documents that dompdf did not. It has some other oddies, but seems quite nice till now.

The conclusion:
I yet not know which engine to choose. Till now dompdf and mpdf did the best job for me. dompdf produces a pdf with size of 6kb whereas mpdf uses 69kb. YMMV with different HTML, so you are on your own.
There are so many HTML to PDF engines out there, that it is not easy to choose. Thats only 3 i tested, and there are some more out there like fpdf, pdflib …
One of them is better on some tags, the other is better with some other. I keep wondering why not some of the engines could unite. More developers could mean better results. Lets assume there are 10 engines out inventing 10 wheels at the same time … what a waste of time.

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APC cache twice as fast as memcached if run on only one server

Ok, as i told yesterday i would try the cache wrapper today.
In my case APC with the wrapper is twice as fast as memcached, as i am running only one server. The wrapper gives very little overhead, but its worth it, because you can change the cache easily. Of course if you run more than one server memcached could be the one you want as it can distribute the cache over all machines.

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PHP wrapper class for cache engines | Neo22s

PHP wrapper class for cache engines | Neo22s.

Good to know this class called wrappercache. Within the next days  i will try this wrapper and will check the performance of my scripts that now use memcached.

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