MythTV is an excellent PVR, but on occasions thing can go wrong and it is useful to have a ready arsenal of utilities which you can run when things might go wrong!
Before your begin:
If you are not confident that a script won’t damage your database, it’s recommended you backup your database using the Backup and Restore feature in the Mythbuntu Control Centre
MythTV maintenance scripts are located in /usr/share/doc/mythtv-backend/contrib/maintenance
This a perl script to run MYSQL utilities Repair and Optimize on each table in your MythTV database. Whilst it is recommended to run this regularly from a Cron job (scheduled task), I prefer to run this manually so I can see what is happening.
From terminal, cd to the maintenance scripts directory and enter:
The script will analyise and repair/ optimise any damaged database tables.
This is a Python script which shows recordings with missing files or files with missing recordings. This is very useful if you are access your MythTV backend vis a DLNA enabled device like a TV as it will show all recordings listed in the database even if the files are no longer present on the MythTV backend. You can then use the script to clean things up.
By default it is not in the MythTV maintenance directory, but it can be easily added by creating a file of the same name in the maintenance directory and pasting in the code from the wiki.
To make the script executable enter:
chmod 755 Find_orphans.py
Now run the script by entering:
Below is an example of what you may see
At the bottom of the screen you will be given a menu of options:
Note: The menu will only display relevant options dependent on the problems it detects so may not look exactly like the screen shot.
In the above example I have orphaned recording entries, so I will select option 1 to delete the entries.
The script then lists the entries which will be deleted and then asks for confirmation (yes or no) before proceeding. Whilst the process appears to happen quickly, you will probably find that the orphaned entries are still being listed. This is because the listings are still being deleted in the background. Eventually they will disappear from the list.
Once finished press Ctrl-c to exit.
Once completed, I run the optimize_mythdv.pl script to make sure the database is optimised.
In my opinion this is a fantastic script and should be included by default in MythTV. In fact I would go further and say that it should be accessible from the Mythbuntu Control Centre menu, or MythTV Backend Setup.
MythTV Version Updates
Whilst not a command line utility, the Mythbuntu Control Centre is a very useful way for ensuring that your system us protected through backups, configured correctly and MythTV is up to date.
With Mythbuntu 12.04 being a LTS release there are by default no updates to MythTV 0.25 which ships with it. However, should you wish to receive the latest MythTV updates and fixes you can enable later MythTV repositories through the control centre.
Before you start the upgrade, make sure that /etc/mythtv/config.xml is not empty!
If it is your upgrade will fail and MythTV will be left in an unusable state. This is a know bug.
The contents of the file should look something like the example below:
Set the <LocalHostName> hostname override below only if you want to use
something other than the machine’s real hostname for identifying settings
in the database. This is useful if your hostname changes often, as
otherwise you’ll need to reconfigure mythtv every time.
NO TWO HOSTS MAY USE THE SAME VALUE
and should match the contents in /etc/mythtv/mysql.txt.
If empty this file will need to be corrected before proceeding with the upgrade.
Access the Mythbuntu Control Centre by selecting Applications> System > Mythbuntu Control Centre and select Repositories from the menu.
Check the box called Activate MythTV Updates repository
and select which version of MythTV you wish to upgrade to e.g. 0.27. If the version is not listed, press the Refresh button to the right of the version number.
Also check the box Activate Mythbuntu Update repositories.
Click Apply and then Quit the Mythbuntu Control Centre.
From Terminal (or from update manager) update Mythbuntu by entering:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
confirming that you wish to upgrade.
Once the upgrade has completed MythTV will be on the new version.
When Twitter switched off API 1.0 back on the 11th June, the tweets went dark for Choquk users as the application had not been updated in time to support API 1.1. This was due to the original developer Mehrdad Momeny not having time to maintain Choqok himself and on an appeal to the Linux community. Daniel Kreuter has stepped in and had developed Choqok 1.3.1 which supports the API 1.1.
For Debian users of KDE 4.10, a patch has been compiled and is available in Launchpad. Just download and run.
If you are using version 0.13 of the excellent Griffith Movie Database in Linux (also available for Windows and OSX) and you use IMDB as the source for movie info and posters, then you may have noticed that searching for a movie returns no results even though it is listed on the IMDB website!
The problem has been caused (once again) by IMDB and the way data on their their site is accessed. The latest python plug-ins for Griffith are located at http://svn.berlios.de/svnroot/repos/griffith/trunk/lib/plugins/movie/.
Right-click on the plug-in you require and save it to /usr/share/griffith/lib/plugins/movie/
Note: you will need to have SU permissions so I would suggest you first save the plug-ins to your Home directory and then as SU copy/ move them to the above directory.
Repeat for all IMDB plug-ins.
Then delete all IMDB plug-ins ending in .pyc, if you don’t your new plug-ins will not take effect.
Run Griffith and you will find the IMDB source now works.
Whether it’s Firefox, Chromium or whatever flavour of web browser you chose to use in Linux, the ability to play back the ever prevalent Flash video content in Linux is at best an unreliable experience.
Adobe stopped developing Flash Player for Linux (now stuck on 11.2) over a year ago and advised everyone to use Google Chrome in Linux or forget Flash.
Nice idea, but the latest 64-bit version of Google Chrome fails to install in Ubuntu 13.04 (64-bit) with a dependency error [Note: 16/05/13 workaround can be found here at OMG Ubuntu]and it’s not open source.
To install Google Chrome for Linux go here.
The open source version of Chrome (Chromium) suffers from the same Flash Player crashes as Firefox. Furthermore, Chromium in order to play Adobe Flash utilises NPAPI plugins which is not considered to be very secure!
However, all is not lost and it is possible to open Flash content within a web browser using the “Swiss Army Knife” of all things video, VLC.
If you do not have VLC installed on your PC, then this can be either installed from your software centre or from the command line. For Debian distributions like Ubuntu you would enter sudo apt-get install vlc from Terminal.
One small VLC tip – set it to Allow Only One Instance, this will prevent multiple copies of VLC trying to play at once. To set this, from VLC select Tools > Interface and check the box as per the screenshot.
If you also wish to queue up one video after another, also check the box Enqueue files in one instance mode.
Playing Flash Web Content in VLC
To be able to play Flash Player content displayed in your web browser through an external program like VLC, you will need to add-in an extension:
Go to Tools > Add-Ons and search for Open With (current version is 5.3.1), select it and click Install
Now click on Extensions and select Preferences for Open With, the options screen will be displayed.
Change all options as per the screen-shot below and then click on Add.
This will open a new window in USR\Share\Applications, scroll down until you find VLC, select it and then click Open. It will now be added to Open With.
Now, go to a website which hosts flash Video, YouTube is a good starting point right click on a video and select the new menu option Open Link with VLC media player.
VLC will launch and the video will play.
What about playing Flash in Chromium?
Unfortunately, if you use Chromium Open With does not exist in the Chrome Web Store which is a shame as it works pretty well in Firefox.
There is an App called Open with Other Apps, unfortunately this only works with OSX, it appears to work in a similar way to Open With, but I’ve not been able to get it to work in Linux. The developer of Open With on his website FAQ says:
Will you make a version for Chrome/Safari/XYZ browser? No. I would like to but their extension system isn’t currently capable of the things Open With needs to work.
You can use the app VLC for YouTube, but as the name suggests this only works with YouTube.
In Ubuntu 12.04LTS (and variants) gPodder v2.20 was shipped and as with all previous versions of this podcast catcher software, it was relatively free of any major bugs as all good software should be if properly tested.
So it was with a degree of horror on upgrading Lubuntu 12.04 to 12.10 that I discovered all of my podcasts (10Gb worth) had apparently disappeared off my hard disk along with the subscription lists.
It a pity that not enough consideration had been given to how to transparently migrate from the SQLLite2 database in gPodder 2.x to the SQLLite3 database in 3.x this could have been avioded. It’s hardly surprising that with these sorts of problems, the year of the Linux desktop remains a distant hope for the community. If stuff worked in the previous version, it should remain working in the new version and if it does not then the software should be held back until fixed as with open source there is no commercial pressure to get software out of the door at any cost other than that self imposed by the developers.
After a bit of searching on the internet I found an ubuntuforums.org post from gds which is reproduced below:
Re: gPodder subscription list gone after upgrade to 12.10
I had the same problem. Ubuntu 12.10 now ships gpodder 3 which uses a new and incompatible database format. They don’t appear to have supplied any conversion tool nor any warning that your old config wouldn’t be converted (thanks!). However – it seems gpodder3 keeps it’s configuration in a gPodder directory in your home dir, while gpodder 2 was keeping it’s configuration in .congfig/gpodder. So I was able to recovery my subscriptions.
Here’s what I did: from the gpodder download site I downloaded the last release of version 2 (I used this one). Unpack the files somewhere (we don’t need to actually install it, just run it once. I put them in /tmp). Make sure gpodder 3 isn’t running.
Then from a terminal I ran
Now you can export your subscriptions to an OPML file that gpodder 3 can import (it’s on the subscriptions menu). Once you’ve done it you can quit and run gpodder3. Skip past the initial dialog offering you default subscrptions and you can import the OPML file you created in the last step.
I had an extra problem, because even after this gpodder3 didn’t recognize any of my previously downloaded podcasts (it wanted to pull down 3Gb of new shows!). This might be unique to me because I was using a non-standard location for my downloads, but I solved this by the brute-force technique of doing one last sync to my player from gpodder 2 and then telling gpodder3 to consider all the subscriptions up to date. I’m sure we could do better but this was enough for me.
Changing the Downloads Folder Location
With my subscriptions back, the next step was to find out where my previously recorded podcasts had gone.
Now I suspect I’m not too unusual in downloading a lot of podcasts both video and audio. becaue of the formers size, I do not store them in the default download folder location dictated by gPodder but store it on a separate data drive so if my filesystem partitions runs out fo disk space (as that is where my Home directory is located) I will not crash the system! I’ve been there before so I’ve learnt the hard way.
Up until version 3, gPodder allowed you to change the downloads folder location and in the Wiki this is still possible if you run Windows, Linux/ Unix/ OS X and MeeGo. If you run a varient of Ubuntu Linux, then as far as version 3 of gPodder goes you are stuffed as this feature does not work due to a software bug.
Whilst the Wiki does suggest making “session-wide changes on Ubuntu Linux”, it does not really explain how to do it and how to test that the change has been applied and gives up in providing proper instructions by pointing distressed users to the Ubuntu community documentation on Persistent Environmental Variables, which isn’t great in itself.
Whilst a bug has been raised about this probelm and Thomas Perl has tried to provided some assistance to my question about how to see if the variables have been set, I’ve decided to take a different approach and redirect the gpodder downloads folder residing in my Home drive to another folder on a different drive. Whilst useful for resolving this particular gPodder problem, it also has other users like redirecting the contents of your Documents folder to another folder on the same or different drive.
The one thing I really hate in Linux is the GRUB boot loader, it’s fine when it works but when it goes wrong it can be a complete pain to fix and in this respect GRUB 2 is worse than the original version of GRUB.
So after upgrading one of my Dual boot PCs to Windows 8 Pro from Windows XP, I was not surprised to find that I could not boot into GRUB. On this occasion not the fault of GRUB but of Windows which has always obliterated any GRUB (or for those who can remember that far back) / LILO instance.
The way to restore the GRUB menu is to use a tool called Boot-Repair, the only problem is that it is not included by default* in Ubuntu 12.04.
According to Help Ubuntu two options are available:
- Use the Ubuntu-Secure-Remix CD or the Live Boot-Repair iso CD
- Or just boot of an Ubuntu live CD and install it.
As I have plenty of Linux Format DVDs stuffed with all sorts of Live distros so I booted up Ubuntu 12.04 LXF remix live CD, opened terminal and added the repository using the following command:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update I then entered sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair to install boot-repair and then run Boot-Repair from Terminal After that I just followed the on screen prompts.
Since first using it to fix the above problem, I’ve now used it on a number of occasions for different problems and it has yet to let me down.
*Apparently, this is due to change in a future Ubuntu release.
I’ve never been a fan of Unity, I prefer Gnome 3 so when I found that I was unable to login to Gnome 3 in Ubuntu 12.10 after upgrading from 12.04 and could only login to Unity, I decided that enough was enough and Unity was going to go as it just adds another layer of complication when diagnosing bugs in Ubuntu.
In this particular instance, the blooming useless LightDM display manager was the cause of the problem and after reverting back to GDM I could then login to Gnome 3 and not Unity.
I found this blog post which walked me through what turned out to be a simple task in removing all of the Unity mischief from Ubunti 12.10.