Category Archives: Android

Raspberry Pi and OpenElec

Got myself a Raspberry Pi this week to replace our current media player.

Our previous media player could not connect to the home network and I had to keep copying media to an external hard drive which as you could expect an irritation to say the least. The technology world has changed quite a lot with the introduction of the Raspberry Pi. The Pi is a credit card sized computer that has HDMI, Audio, RCA, USB and LAN connections built-in to it.

Do a google search to see some of the amazing things people have done with the Raspberry Pi.

My goal was to replace the media player with the Pi and stream media from our Home Server to the CRT TV. I installed OpenElec on the SD card which is a great Linux distro if all you want is a media player with some extra functionality.

The Raspberry Pi boots straight into OpenElec XBMC without any of the normal desktop login screens etc.

I then use Yatse which is available from the Google Play Store to remotely control the media center from my Android phone and tablet.

Let’s have a look at some Pro’s and Cons before we get to the video of my OpenElec journey.

Pro’s:
1. The Raspberry Pi with the needed accessories (power supply, SD card and case) cost me less than the media player did.
2. It connects flawlessly to my home network and server. (I had to create a user account on the server for the Pi to connect and authenticate)
3. It’s small and can be hidden out of sight.
4. Boots straight into the Media Player interface.
5. It has HDMI, RCA, RJ45, 1x audio out and 2x USB connectors.
6. Anyone can set this up using the links at the end of the article and searching the net if they get stuck.

Cons:
1. WiFi worked but kept losing my network for some reason.
2. I noticed a definite speed reduction when using WiFi.
3. The Pi had some issues with DNS but after some “googling” it was actually quite an easy fix.

Links to get you up and running quickly:

OpenElec Official Website:
http://openelec.tv/
Images:
http://resources.pichimney.com/OpenELEC/official_images/?C=M;O=D
OpenElec Wiki:
http://wiki.openelec.tv/index.php?title=Installation
Win32DiskImager:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/?source=dlp


Sync your iTunes library with Synctunes for Android

Being a huge music fan I tried the cloud based service of Deezer.com to sync music from their cloud to my PC and Android phone. The selection of songs in the Metal genre is not as big as I hoped for. I then Deciding to cancel my Deezer subscription.

The problem comes in with carrying too many devices and keeping them all charged and safe. I use my iPod in the car and for the Shox pig when we have a braai with friends but other than that it pretty much stays in the car or at home.

I deciding to use my Android phone for playing music since it is smart and all that. Some research and testing different apps are always a pain but at the end of the rainbow is a treasure and I found Synctunes by Bit Studio.

Open the play store and search for Synctunes. You can then download the application to your phone (which comes in a free and paid for version). Run the application and it will ask you to enter the e-mail address of your PC that is running iTunes. Send the mail and open it on the PC running iTunes.

You will be able to wirelessly connect your phone to your PC after you have downloaded and installed the application for PC.

In short:

I bought the app as the free version comes with limitations of 100 songs synced to your phone etc.
You are able to sync playlists and any songs from your iTunes library.
You are able to view which tracks have been synced to your phone + many other features.

For an in-depth How to and more information got to the Synctunes website.

This is such a nice little app that I had to share it with everyone. I will be posting some video on the set-up and syncing later this week.


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