Getting a Remote Running with Kodi under Ubuntu

I use kodi (formerly xbmc) as a home media system.  It was setup working nicely with a Harmony One remote control.  For a few reasons, I updated some packages on the Ubuntu 12.04 system and ended up on Ubuntu 14.10.  As part of this upgrade xbmc became kodi.

Unfortunately now, kodi recognizes only some of the remote commands.  Left, right, up and down and play work well.  Others (OK, Back, etc) don’t.  Debugging and resolving this has proven to be a much bigger challenge than it has been in the past, where i have worked things out without too many hoops.  Unfortunately both Linux and kodi have changed quite a bit over the years and a lot of the online documentation, blog posts and so on are out of date.

My modus operandi is less about hacking things heavily and more about the simplest path to get things working.  I’d rather remove a package than heavily configure and customize a set of files.   This is my way of looking at if I can get things to “Just Work”.

This blog post is intended to be both a narrative on how to get things going, but also serve as a current reference for people out there who run into this sort of problem.  Read on for more details on what I have done.  This post will carry a lot of questions as I resolve issues, and will be updated over time.

Out of the box, we have a remote that does up/down/left/right/pause work.   However the OK, back and other buttons don’t work.

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Finally – a Granted Patent – US 8838868

After many months, and many years – I finally have a patent credited to my name.  The patent is for an extension of the magnetic coupled connectors (such as magsafe connectors on Macs) to include diagnostic information through the magnets themselves.   Of course watching how the sausage is made has been eye opening on a number of fronts.  Read on for a quick review on the inspiration behind the patent and any interesting observations on how things went down.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 9.53.35 PM

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New #bymoonlight images

New images, with a supermoon sunrise.

Photos by Moonlight (#bymoonlight)

Recently I have become fascinated by photos #bymoonlight.  All of these images are captures direct from the camera, not pushing, processing or anything.  The moon provides sufficient light, ambient light, stars and the moonlight make for a very ethereal way.  Each full moon, I will be out taking photos.

Here are the first few that I am posting.

ROI for Engineers

Short form presentation of how engineers can easily make judgements on Return on Investment. Also on SlideShare

Gamifying the Workplace: Badges IRL with 3D Printing

Heartbleed BadgeWe’ve seen badges and gamificiation appear in everything from a core business plan (Foursquare & Gowalla) to navigation apps (Waze).  I’ve seen them on a user homepage at least two companies.  It helps get people engaged by bringing together groups of common interest and drive involvement in tasks that they might not otherwise be involved in.  You look up a colleagues and find they’ve done something similar to you.

The problem with the virtual badges is that they are too cheap to make (effectively free to create a new one) and only appear when you go to the employee’s homepage.  Having played with 3d printing, I realized that you could make these badges in real life and bring a bit of physical interest to the work place, applying the same rules.    With a few minutes on an online 3d modeling tool, online 3d printing services, and finally a magnet and some super glue,  you can easily end up with full color sandstone badge.

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3D Printing Board Game Pieces

For Christmas I bought Robot Turtles for the family. It’s a great game, and very easily customizable for different skill levels.

Although the cards are nice, I thought it would be fun to to go from the card playing pieces to 3D printing from ShapeWays.  I came across a turtle model on ShapeWays and contacted the designer asking if they could be extended to support the color schemes (and possibly the addition of lasers on the back.  A few weeks later a TMNT variant of the turtles appear on his shop.  Next ShapeWays purchase I included the little turtles in the request. Read on for pictures of the turtles.

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