August 1, 2009: Building a Media Server

I did a ton of writing on today’s post and, of course, lost it all when attempting to save it.  WordPress has a major deficiency in that when its login times out it does not ask you to log in and then save your work.  It asks you to log in and actively destroys any work that you had just submitted so that you have no means of recovering it.  Very frustrating.

My busy workload continued this morning.  Tons of Linux patching and system updates to do.  I started working as soon as I got up this morning and worked solidly into the afternoon.  I am pretty worn out after my really, really long day of work yesterday.

It has been so hot this week that we decided to fire up the dehumidifier in the basement to attempt to at least bring the humidity levels down in the house even if we cannot make it actually cool.  The air conditioning system is running around the clock just to keep the house at seventy-two during the day.  It is awful.  We need blinds for our big windows desperately.

This afternoon, once my work was finally done for the day, we went out to Pastel’s for dinner.  They love Liesl there and she loves visiting with everyone.  She loves sitting in her high chair in the middle of the restaurant where she can see everyone and flirt.  She was even watching the cooks in the kitchen and making eye contact and giggling at them.  She is so social.

After dinner we hit GameStop and spent all of my saved up GameStop gift cards on a fresh copy of Wii Sports Resort as well as a second controller.  Wii Sports Resort is just recently released and is the sequel to Wii Sports that shipped with the Nintendo Wii.  Resort is supposed to be very similar to the original but with more in-depth play as well as requiring that you have special, high-precision controller extensions that provide more data to the game.  The game itself ships with one of these units and we bought one additional so that we would have two total.

This evening we watched the worst movies that I have seen in years: Confessions of a Shopaholic. This was our bluray disc from Netflix that came today.  I can’t believe that Dominica was willing to sit through the entire thing.  This movie was truly atrocious.   Everything was bad about this movie.  Bad, low budget actors, bad directing, horribly pathetic story writing and even the underlying “moral” was totally crap – that it’s more or less okay, as long as you are cute and into fashion, to be a junkie.  The movie is about a junkie.  She buys clothes rather than taking drugs but it’s exactly the same.  And they make light of it the entire movie.  They make her look like a heroin addict and then act like being a heroin addict and ruining your own life and the lives of people around you is comedy.  Avoid this steaming pile of cinema at any cost.  If you want a movie about heroin addiction get Trainspotting. This attempt to bring serious movies like that to the sad world of fashionistas is just pathetic.

After that travesty we watched some Keeping Up Appearances before heading off to bed.  I love that show.  Classic.

Today’s major project was to get OpenFiler working as a UPNP / DLNA server so that we can use it to serve out media files to devices around the house – most notably the Sony PlayStation 3.  My first idea was to use the software ps3mediaserver from the Google Code project.  I spent most of the day working on that to no avail.  I installed it on my desktop and it worked just fine there which turned out good for testing purposes.  But installing on rPath Linux, on which OpenFiler is built, proved to be completely unreasonable.  There were loads of missing dependencies which do not exist for the rPath platform as well as the system needing the X Window System to be installed in order to handle its console.  X Windows, for a media center console?  Really?

After spending an exorbitant amount of the day struggling and struggling to make ps3mediaserver actually work – it would fire up but would attempt to transcode everything that I threw at it no matter what settings I used to disable this – I finally gave up sometime after midnight, attempted a few other products and finally settled on MediaTomb which was installed and running in, oh, about ten minutes.  Argh.  PS3MediaServer, Fail.  MediaTomb, Win.

So, as of one in the morning, after an entire day of struggling, we now have a working UPNP / DLNA Media Server in our house and the PS3 is receiving media from it.  Because the PS3 is still connected via the wireless connection it is still unable to stream anything because of our large file sizes but that will be fixed as soon as dad is able to help me run the CAT6 cable from the basement to the living room giving us GigE wired to the living room’s PS3 and XBOX 360!  We can’t wait for that.

The next step is transferring all of our existing media over to the new server.  This is going to be no small task.  Our media collection is truly massive – and we are just starting to put it online.  I expect that it will take several days before we can get everything moved over.  I can’t wait to get the small Netgear SC101 SAN device emptied out so that we can “decommission” that and pack it up for dad.  He will be happy to have an additional terabyte of storage on his network.  That is one of the last pieces remaining between us and being able to rebuild Dominica’s Vista 32 laptop as Windows 7 RC 64.

Pretty much a normal work day tomorrow.  I work all day as usual and have one server build that needs to be done during the day.  Other than that it should be a pretty light day.

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