Webconverger Customisations

I need to write up the top of this post about Webconverger, but have been busy figuring out all the useful options for it. In simple terms, its a locked down bootable kiosk. Very clever, works on 486 and 686-pae machines. Also here so I can browse this whilst booted into webconverger 😉

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Automating Framebuffer Digital Photo Frame

dpf6We have seen in my previous post how I setup the DPF to work against the framebuffer. Now it was time to automate things a bit.

Task List:

  • Autologin on Startup
  • Start gnu screen on Boot
  • Uploading New Images
  • Screen On/Off Timer
  • Reboot Timer
  • Shutdown Timer
  • Unique names/shuffle for file list
  • Cycle Colour Change for Clock ?

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Digital Picture Frame & Clock on the Framebuffer!

dpfBeen wanting to have a go at this for a long time, and finally found some time to sit down and hack my way through it. Everyone else on the web seems to have used X to do this, but encouraged by all the work done on the cli and framebuffer by KMandla I felt this could be done. Now I’ve done all the hard work, I am happy to share it with you!

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Meld – saved me from myself!

Meld is a file/directory differencing programming (with GUI). (in the repos)

I was under orders to put together a new website for my work, and didn’t want to pay out for web designers, so I turned to Drupal 7 for the first time and had a play. Over the last couple of months, in bits of spare time, I tinkered and fiddled, setting up home pages, news pages, forums, sidebars and menus, getting the theme right. Lots of good help from the community, but ignoring all guidance about not fiddling with the “core”.

Anyway I got to a position where I could go “live”, so reorganised the domain forwardings, adjusted a few absolute link references and we were off. At this point my sysadmin brain kicked in (it’s very small :)). Back it up? What if Drupal updates overwrite all my work so far?

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Am I Open Source or What? (on a Windows 7 PC ?)

It’s list time again:

Because so much good open source software has been ported to Windows, its possible to do just about everything on Windows with the open source programs I use regularly on my main Xubuntu 9.10 system:

Open Source:

Open Office
Gnumeric (a bit buggy)
ProjectX (java)
HJSplit (java)
Frostwire (java)
FireFTP (firefox extension)
Firefox (of course!)
Mplayer & SMplayer

This list will grow. Keep up the good work guys 🙂

Plus, some notable “freeware” applications:

AVGFree 9
Shark007 Codecs Pack
Windows Movie Maker 2.6
JellyBean Key Finder
Google Chrome
DeFraggler (Piritin)
Free Screen To Video (Koyote Software)
Winamp (with iAmp skin)
WizMouse (scroll without focus)
Powerpoint Presentation Viewer
RocketDock (just like my wbar!)
Adobe Reader 9
Scanner Application that comes with my Brother Network Printer (Brother very good at drivers and support for Windows and Linux)

[EDIT 12/2010 add DVD Flick to your list of freewares, encodes / authors / burns ]

Shareware I just can’t live without:


[EDIT 12/2010 – now found I can, try Izarc, copes with just about everything ]


Also done a few registry hacks to sort out the awful unintuitive default behaviour of Windows Explorer. These are easily found on any Windows 7 sites.

Remove Libraries from Explorer
Remove Favourites from Explorer
Remove HomeGroups from Explorer
Adding Directories “I want” to the SendTo drop down
Removing “Drives” from SendTo
Adding Copy To folder and Move To Folder to Right Click
Adding Open Command Prompt to Right Click

Nearly got my Windows PC behaving and looking just like “Linux”  😀

Firefox 3.5.7 Update killed / crashed / broke Firefox on Windows 7

This is more of a news bulletin than anything else.

My new PC has Windows 7 by default, so I am playing with it every now and then when not booting into Xubuntu 9.10. Yesterday Firefox went after an update for itself, from 3.5.6 to 3.5.7. The update went OK, but then firefox flatly refused to start. Not even showing up in Processes or Applications in the Task Manager. A reboot didn’t help either.

The resolution was to download and install Firefox 3.6 (I tried to uninstall first but Windows Control Panel told me that Firefox was already uninstalled! (go figure). Anyway all working good now.

get_iplayer – Command Line Downloader for BBC iplayer


My favourite program of the moment which exceeds the delivery of the iPlayer on Windows in just about every way!

To get the best out of it, download the latest version (and everything else you need) from here, and also make sure you have the following installed to make the most of the features available:


(If you must install on Windows, there is an installer which takes care of everything for you)

flvstreamer is especially useful for getting higher quality versions of programmes, but you may have to fiddle about with the location of the file and its permissions to get things working correctly.

Ok, here are the commands I use the most:

(this gathers a full index of programmes available)

get_iplayer keyword
(gathers index but also finds matches for “keyword” of your choice, e.g. Dr Who or Casualty)

Running the two above will show you the index number for the programme. Use this as follows:

get_iplayer –info 123
(will provide detailed info about the programme, including the various versions and qualities available)

get_iplayer -get 123
(will download the default version, usually iPhone – mov quality)

get_iplayer -get 123 modes=flashhigh flvstreamer=’/usr/bin/flvstreamer’
(will download a higher quality version in mp4 format using flvstreamer, my binary is located in /usr/bin/)


get_iplayer –update
(simply checks for any updates to get_iplayer and installs them)

Further commands, help and information here

Set Firefox mailto links to GMail/Googlemail

Nice easy tip this one.

Open Firefox, and open up  GMail/Googlemail.

Paste this command into the address bar with the GMail/Googlemail page on view

javascript:window.navigator.registerProtocolHandler(“mailto”,”https://mail.google.com/mail/?extsrc=mailto&url=%s“,”GMail”)      << all one line

and click on green arrow

Firefox will ask if you want to add the application, to which you say yes.

Now click on a mailto link, and Firefox will ask you which email client you wish to use. Select Googlemail and also tick the box to allow this to persist.

Job done 🙂

ts to avi using projectx and mencoder + ffmpeg

I am feeling pretty pleased with myself tonight, having resolved another issue with my encoding of dvb-t streams to avi.

Having sorted out the crashing problem, I was now having a/v sync issues. This is easy enough to deal with by using the +/- keys to adjust a/v sync with mplayer, but annoying for other users.

I have solved the problem by demuxing the stream to its component video and audio parts, using Projectx, Mencoder and ffmpeg.

Projectx is a great java tool that allows you to crop and cut a dvb or mpeg stream and then output either to a ts/ps/m2p a/v stream or to demux the stream. By demuxing you end up with a video m2v file and an audio mp2 file.

It is easy enough to then encode the video using mencoder, then to use ffmpeg to encode the audio, and finally to use mencoder again to mux the video and audio encodes back together, which gives a perfect a/v sync. I put together a script that will encode all m2v/mp2 collections in a directory, so I can leave it running overnight if I have more than one encode to do. Here it is: Mencoder Batch Mux Script

I am using default mencoder libraries and encoders with a two pass approach, but will give h264 a crack later to see if I get better quality for the time and cpu cycles taken. The current script produces eminently watchable video on my 42″ LCD using GeeXBoX so I’m a happy bunny 🙂

If you get stuck or need help, give me a shout….