I’m working on installing raspbmc on my raspberry pi at the moment. You know, standard “oh, I have this…now what do I do with it?” kind of thing. I’ll keep this updated about how it goes!

At first I had NOOBs Raspbian Wheezy on it, and that was fun for a few minutes while it was novel. But then I essentially just had a tiny Linux box that I didn’t really have a need for. So I tried to have it install raspbmc itself through the boot menu that comes as part of the NOOBs package. That ended up looking like it would work really well, but then at the last minute, after it started trying to connect to the servers and update itself, then all I would get were kernel panics. I don’t think it had much to do with my power supply or my keyboard / mouse setup (which seems to be the “have you tried restarting it yet?” of the raspberry pi world) because it would at least get as far as connecting to the servers.

So now I’m trying out what’s on here: http://www.raspbmc.com/wiki/user/os-x-linux-installation/

Hope it works!

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I was quickly able to get it pretty far. Now it seems like the next step I need to do is to get it talking with the iMac that we have all of our media on, and it looks like I’ll need to install something on the iMac for that to work. Something about Samba or SMB or something. Man it’s amazing how computer illiterate I can be sometimes, even with a background in computer science. Need someone to explain some really complicated software engineering design patterns for you? I’ll do it! And you’ll even be able to understand them by the end. Need someone to describe how computers actually talk to each other and stream music? I can only give a half-assed answer.

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Colin and I just figured out how to get it connected to our TV Shows and movies on the iMac! Unfortunately it looks like the “built in” zeroconf browser on raspbmc doesn’t actually work, but we were able to use afp to get it all working just by typing in the connection directly to Colin’s iTunes media folders. Right now the pi is currently downloading supporting information for all of our shows, so that’s pretty exciting.

So far I can’t help but feel that if this is all we use it for (watching TV Shows and Movies off of our iMac) then we really would have been better off just getting another Apple TV, like we have in the other room. Aside from all the fun I’m having setting this up, I don’t see much of an advantage here.

We’ve been able to get it to play a few TV shows, but I get the strange feeling that it isn’t actually streaming from the iMac but trying to download the entire thing to the tiny pi before playing it! I’ll have to look into that some more.

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July 4: tried for a little bit today to figure out why it isn’t streaming but instead is downloading entire TV Shows or movies before actually playing them back for us. Installed SMBUp on the iMac, hoping that this would be a different way of accessing the media and allowing us to stream. So far haven’t been able to get it working.

It’s really hard to work on these kinds of projects when there are only a few minutes at a time when we can figure it out. I think to really get it working, I’m going to have to section off an entire day or a large chunk of a day, make myself lots of coffee (or maybe something that will relax me for when I get frustrated with all of the “connection timed out errors” that sometimes mean something and other times do not) and then just do the whole thing. I think that same philosophy might work for that 3D printer I’m supposed to be putting together…

raspbmc

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