Kranz Korner

Random bits from a FLOSS geek

Archive for December 2012

Spare Parts TV Set

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I don’t like watching videos sitting in front of a computer, I usually store them into a USB key to plug into my Samsung LE37 TV set. It’s not an easy task, though, as I have to fight with other components of my family who usually like watching something completely different than DebConf videos 😉 I could have invested 200 € to buy a new one, but I tried a different approach first.

Recycling a netbook

I received a Tweety device as Christmas gift, and I tried to connect it to my netbook to see how it worked. I was quite impressed by the good quality of the sound (if compared to the really poor quality of the netbook speakers), and I realized I could have recycled the netbook as a brand new TV set with some little adjustments. I plugged my SyncMaster 920n PC monitor into the netbook VGA port, switched Totem to fullscreen mode, and here it is my TV set!

Remote control

OK, that was quite straightforward to accomplish. A real TV set has a remote control too, but my netbook is not equipped with an IrDA port, so I had to think about a different solution. My BlackBerry is equipped with a cool app called BBSSH, which allows you to connect to any SSH server, this could be a good starting point to implement a remote control device. Then, I had to write an interface to Totem using Python and DBus binding to allow my “SSH remote control” to issue commands to start and pause the player. I published a first working implementation: at the moment the only supported operations are play, pause, stop and volume adjustments, but there are a lot of opportunities by implementing full MPRIS specification. Just to avoid typing a long command each time, I finally created a set of bash aliases, one for each command, so I just have to type one letter to have the desired function, as much as a real remote control 🙂

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Written by Luca Falavigna

30/12/2012 at 14:18