Dec 03

Amazon Echo and Skills Project using SABNZBD and Sonarr

I am going to use this post as my worksheet of understanding and creating amazon echo skills.   I will update often as I learn new things and hopeful have this as a template as I move down.

What I would like to do:

  • Create a Amazon Echo skill that will tell me the last 5 things downloaded by Sabnzbd.
  • Create an Amazon Echo skill that allows me to interface with Sonar and Couch Potato.
  • Create an Amazon Echo skill that will allow me to pause and unpause Sabnzbd

Everything I create or use I will reference in this post.   feel free to make comments if I am missing the mark or there is a much easier way.

Click More for full article.

Continue reading

Sep 17

Amazon Fire TV 4k, Is it time to get excited about 4k?

Amazon Fire TV 4k

Amazon Fire TV 4k

Amazon has announced a new FireTV to be released on October 5th.   Lets take a closer look at the features and look to see if on paper the gaming addition could be the perfect emulator.   Is  there enough 4k content and applications available to justify the purchase?  This article is going to make the assumption you already own a 4k TV product is just a way to receive the content.  This document will be documented as more info is discovered on the FireTV.   Leave questions, comments and lists of 4k content in the comments section.

How to Pre-Order/Buy

Amazon will be releasing these two models on October 5th:

The Feature List:

All of the following is taking right from amazon’s site.  Use the links about to see the original and pre-order the Amazon FireTv 4k.

  • All-new Amazon Fire TV now supports 4K Ultra HD for true-to-life picture quality. Watch high-definition 1080p streams on Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu and more, even without a 4K TV.
  • Now with Alexa, use your Fire TV Voice Remote to check sports scores or the weather, play music, and more – instantly
  • The easiest way to enjoy over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, and Showtime Anytime, plus games, music, and apps
  • Cutting the cord? Watch the best of live TV on NBC News, NBA Gametime, and Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HDTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more.
  • Say it. Watch it. Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.
  • Now with 75% more processing power, a dedicated graphics engine, better Wi-Fi support, 2 GB of memory, 8 GB of storage and expandable storage of up to 128 GB
  • With over 800 games – the most games of any other streaming media player – there is something for the entire family, including Minecraft, Lego Star Wars, and Pac-Man 256
  • Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, including original programming like Transparent, plus over 1 million songs with Prime Music

The Fire TV Gamaing edition has all the above and:

  • Fire TV game controller
  • 32GB of SD
  • 2 Free games

4k Content

I have purchased a 4k tv and I am stuck with the 4k apps,  the fire TV would allow me to have more control over the current 4k apps.   What are my real 4k options?

 

Netflixnetflix

 

Netflix requires the Premium subscription which is 11.99 a month. It also requires a 20 mbs connection to the internet. 4k TV Shows: Better Call Saul, Bloodline, House of Cards, Daredevil, Chef’s Table, Narcos and many more see link below.
4k Movies: Not many, will add a list when I find one.   If you know one respond in comments and will add
Content List Links:
Netflix PR List
Amazonamazon

 

 $99 a year gets you access to the Prime Videos.  4k TV Shows: Bosch,Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, Alpha House, Gortimer Gibbons, Hand of God, Red Oaks,Orphan Black
4k Movies: Funny Girl,Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hitch, Philadelphia
 Content List Links:  respond with any list of links and I will add them.
YouTubeyoutube  YouTube is free.  Nothing additional is needed.  There appear to be 1000’s of videos.  Search for UHD or 4k

Use Case 1 – Replacement for TV apps

The TV apps that come on most modern Smart TVs are okay.   The main problem I have seen is they are slow and do not update very often.   I also hate that I run all my devices into an AV receiver then send just video to my TV.  I do not want to send audio back into that receiver.    I will also never get a good version of Kodi as a TV smart app.    Hopefully the Fire TV will update often with a wide varity of 4k content/content providers.

Use Case 2 – Emulator Box

The gaming edition of the FireTV comes with 32gb of additional storage and a xbox like controller.  Once I get this device I want to look at the possibility of making this an emulator box.   This has the perfect form factor, processor and controllers(up to 4) for a decent foundation.

I will test the following emulators:

  • epsxe – Playstation 1
  • GBA.emu – GBA 
  • NES.emu  – NES
  • SNES9x EX+ – SNES

If these work I will look into MAME, Sega and Atari.   Once that testing is done I will link the document here.

Use Case 3 – Plex and Kodi

These are my two favorite apps for content consumption on a TV.    I am hoping that we get to a point where both of these apps support 4k.  I feel like this is our best chance of getting there.

Use Case 4 – 4k Sports

After reading about the cable, Dish, and Directv 4k solutions I have lost faith in any traditional provider being able to deliver 4k sports anytime soon.    I am hoping that ESPN notices the same thing and releases 4k content through there app.   I am assuming if there is an app this device will make it available.

Other Reading

The following links are worth looking at.

Conclusion

After looking at the complete lack of content I cannot recommend chasing 4k at this point.   I think I am still going to buy the Amazon Fire TV Gaming edition for two reasons.  First I think we will see 4k sports on this device before any other device(I hope the people at ESPN are reading).  Second I think this box may be a better solution than any other emulator solution I have looked at.

Sep 10

tvOS, gen4 AppleTV and the Shaft

appletvYears ago I went out and purchased a Gen 3 AppleTV.    I had such high hopes.   This is going to be the device of the future!  Time  went by and I continued to wait for the AppleTV to be the next big thing.     As I waited, the Roku and FireTV got better and better.    I finally gave up and purchased multiple FireTVs for my house.    It has been a great product and I have been happy with it ever since.

I was not really paying attention when I noticed the press conference.   AppleTV update!     tvOS! A new appstore for TV stuff, gaming and Siri!    I am finally being rewarded for keeping  my generation 3 AppleTV.     But wait there’s more…….

Apple will not be releasing the new software features to the generation 3 AppleTV.   In fact if you purchased a gen 3 AppleTV just a couple weeks ago all you get is a giant middle finger.      If you want the new features you will have to purchase the 4th generation for $150.   I wonder if Apple is going to start dropping support for all their products that are just 1 generation old.

I will put the gen 3 Apple TV back in the drawer and go back to my FireTv.   At least I will  have an appstore,  voice search, games and it already supports all my two favorite apps plex and kodi.

Amazon FireTV
Plex
Kodi

Jan 25

Windows 10 and the Asus VivoTab Issue with Atom Drivers

I made the mistake of updating the chipset drivers from the ASUS site today.   They installed fine but when I rebooted I went into a nice blue screen loop.   I was able to get to the recovery screen and do a system restore after putting my bitlocker key in.  I am very happy it was stored in Onedrive.    The device has not been correct since.  The interface became unresponsive and froze several times.   Permissions on applications were not set and gave me no way to set them.

The first thing I did was in reapply the latest Windows 10 build over my current install.  I mounted the iso on the device and ran setup.  The process took about 45 minutes and did not help my situation.

The solution:

I did the following to resolve the interface, touch, permission and lockup issues

  • created a new local account
  • assigned that account local admin rights
  • log in as that account
  • delete the profile for my other account
  • create a new account
  • login again
  • redownload all my metro apps

The interface is working great.  Now I just need to figure out how to reset the modern app perms.

Jan 25

Windows 10 and the ASUS VivoTab Note 8 (M80TA)

The main tablet I use for commuting and sitting around the house is the ASUS VioTab Note8.  This has been a great 8 inch tablet for ~ $200.  After all the news about Windows 10 I wanted to load the 9926 tech preview and check out the new features.

I decided not to take a backup or go with a fresh install.  I did an in place upgrade from the 32 bit iso.    This process took about an hour but completed with out issue.   I did go out to ASUS’s site and update a few of the drivers but they were not needed.   So far the ASUS is running just as fast as it was with 8.1 and I have had no real issues.    I do need to relearn the interface,   I got used to the windows 8.1 interface pretty quick.    I will be posting up several posts on Win10 over the next couple weeks.

Process I used to upgrade my ASUS VivoTab Note to Windows 10

  • Download the Windows 10 32bit Tech Preview from Link
  • Right click and mount the ISO
  • Open the drive and run setup.exe
  • Wait about an hour
  • Logon

This is all I needed to do.   The interface is a bit buggy but I was warned when I downloaded the preview.  Leave feedback on MS site if you find any issues.