So far so good with the Roku

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A few weeks back I announced I was going to get a Roku Ultra as I’ve grown tired of the piece of crap Apple TV 4. Well I didn’t get a Roku Ultra, I instead got a Roku Premiere+, which is the step down from the Ultra. And I didn’t replace my 4th gen Apple TV…..yet. I decided to install the Roku on my bedroom TV and replace the aging 2nd gen Apple TV I’ve been using. I really do like Roku. It’s nice having Amazon Video has a choice. The remote control is superior over the Apple TV remote. And the fact that I can plug headphones in to the remote is a nice tough.

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And if you didn’t know, there is a Roku app for your smartphone (at least for ios, not sure about android) that allows you to control the player as well as making it way easier to type in text. And it also will pass through audio if you have headphones plugged in to your phone.

Another nice feature that I discovered by accident was that I could stream the Youtube video I was watching on my iPad to the Roku. Not sure if works with other media apps, but does work for Youtube.

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Hopefully soon I can replace the other 2 Apple TV’s in the house.

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Sponsored results in the Apple App Store??

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2016-11-08-06-49-26Be extra observant the next time you install an app on your ios device as the first listed choice probably won’t be what you want. This has to be fairly new as I just noticed it this morning. I’m no Apple fanboy, I simply use the tool that works best for me, and with phones, I prefer the Apple ecosystem hands down. But over the last few months, Apple is making decisions that seem to be taking their ecosystem in a direction that I’m not happy with.

Guess I have to see how this plays out. Android, IMHO, is still a steaming pile of garbage. Isn’t Microsoft giving up on the phone OS? That leaves what, Ubuntu Phone??

</rant over> Continue on with your day! :D

Ordering a Roku Ultra

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My media player of choice for years has been the Apple TV. I have a Gen 2, Gen 3, and a Gen 4 throughout the house. The combination of the Gen 2 & 3 along with iTunes has been a pretty solid combination for my household. I was pretty psyched for the Gen 4, because all it was missing was apps. I bought the 32GB Apple TV 4 right when it was released and I’ve just never been happy with it. The interface is crap, the remote is crap, and I constantly have to restart it to get it working properly again. I was really hoping that the tvOS update that came last month would have brought tremendous improvements, but it brought nothing that improved my user experience with it.

At this point, I’m ready to try a different media player. One thing that has kept me tied to the Apple stuff was that all my media has been kept in iTunes. I’ve since setup a Plex server and moved all my media over to it and it’s been a pretty impressive experience. Being on a new media server allows me to look at other media players. So I’ve pre-ordered one of the new Roku Ultra‘s.

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The new Roku’s officially release October 7th, so I won’t have it until early next week. I will report back once it’s setup with my first impressions.

New Windows 10 Computer Build

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In addition to the Linux computer I’m building, I also ordered another whole set of parts to replace my current main workstation. My current main rig runs Windows 8.1 (which I truly hate (but Classic Shell makes it tolerable)), and I’m ready to make the jump to Windows 10. My Windows 8 install has some odd issues that show up once in awhile, so I will not upgrade it. It must be a fresh install. And since I don’t want to wipe my current machine without a fully functional Windows 10 machine, a new build is in order.

Below is the parts list that has been ordered. Should be a very decent machine for the total cost.

ComponentPart NameCost
CaseRosewill Micro-ATX Mini Tower LINE-M Black$47.22
Power SupplyThermaltake TR2 430$35.99
MotherboardGigabyte GA-B150M-DS3H$69.99
CPUIntel Core i3-6100 BX80662I36100$115.79
RAMKingston HyperX FURY Black 8GB Kit$37.99 x 2
Storage - SSDSamsung 850 PRO 512GB SSD$207.92
Storage - HDDWD Black 2TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive$122.99
Optical DriveAsus 24x DVD-RW DRW-24B1ST$22.94
Video CardEVGA GeForce GT 740 2GB 02G-P4-3747-KR$91.99
OSWindows 10 Professional$0.00 *
Total Cost$790.81

I really, really wanted to go with the Core i7, but that makes for a huge jump in cost, even the Core i5 was more than I add right now. Also I thought about going with a Blu-Ray drive, but settled on a standard, inexpensice DVD-RW drive. I may make these upgrade down the line at some point.

* Note: I have no cost associated with the Windows 10 Professional as I have licenses available to me as a Microsoft Partner with an active Action Pack subscription.

New Linux Computer Build In The Works

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I use a Windows computer in my day-to-day operations, but I’ve been using Linux on and off for many years. While I can’t switch completely to Linux, it’s time that I have a dedicated Linux workstation on my desk. Here is the hardware I’ve spec’d out for this build. It doesn’t need super mega high performance, or have ultimate graphics, so keep that in mind. My goal is a small footprint, and as inexpensive as possible while getting the most bang for my buck.

ComponentPart NameCost
CaseCooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX Tower$49.99
Power SupplyCorsair Semi-Modular ATX CX450M$59.99
MotherboardASRock - H170M-ITX/DL$84.99
CPUIntel Core i3-6100 BX80662I36100$115.94
RAMCorsair Vengeance LPX 16GB PC4-24000$69.99
StorageSamsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD$85.85
OSArch Linux$0.00
Total Cost$466.75

Overall this seems like a pretty solid hardware selection. I can’t wait to get started!

Setting a static IP Address on Ubuntu Server 14.04

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This process uses the command line to set a static IP address on Ubuntu Server 14.04.

Note: If you do this process from an SSH session, you will lose connection when you enter the final command. But if you did everything correct, you simply need to establish a new session using the static IP address you assigned.

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

This is what the default file will look like:

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

This similar to what should look like for a static IP. Of course, use addresses relevant to your network:

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
        address 10.5.1.33
        netmask 255.0.0.0
        gateway 10.5.1.254
	dns-nameservers 10.5.1.2 208.67.222.222 8.8.8.8

Lastly you need to reload networking:

sudo ifdown eth0 && sudo ifup eth0

Install Unifi Video (NVR) on Ubuntu 14.04

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This is a new post with basically the same instructions only not tied to a specific version. I will keep this post edited to reflect the current version.

I’m starting with a fresh, fully updated server install of Ubuntu Server 14.04 64bit.

Download the current Unifi Video deb package. 3.4.0 as of this edit (9/25/16)

wget http://dl.ubnt.com/firmwares/unifi-video/3.4.0/unifi-video_3.4.0~Ubuntu14.04_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i unifi-video_3.4.0~Ubuntu14.04_amd64.deb

At this point you will probably receive an error about missing dependencies. No worries, simply run the following.

sudo apt-get -f install

That command will install all the needed dependencies and finish installing the unifi video deb package. At this point, Unifi Video is installed and should be running. Open a web browser and point it to https://ipaddress:7443.

My VM server parts list

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Here is the list of components that I have ordered for this VM server build.

You may notice that there are no drives as part of my order. I’m going to install the server OS on either a USB flash drive or a small SSD that I currently have. As for VM storage, I will do a test install using an HDD that I have laying around, but in the end I’m going to see if I can get it connected to storage on my Synology NAS, which has ~6TB of storage capacity.

My total cost so far for these parts is: $523.78