My Boxee Home Media Center

posted in: Free Software, Linux, Technology | 0

Boxee on Linux screenshot

Currently, I do not actually have a home media center, so that title might be a little confusing. I have an old HTPC that is so ancient, it cannot even handle Boxee (which actually has pretty low system requirements). I also don’t have the money to run out and get a Boxee box or upgrade my current system.

What I do have, however, is an Eee PC netbook with a dual core Atom 330 and an Nvidia Ion graphics chip. Boxee runs beautifully on it, and the little 12-inch workhorse can churn out 1080p video without any problem using VDPAU hardware accelerated video playback.

The problem, of course, is that it is portable. My solution was to get a 25-foot HDMI cable and hook it up to my TV whenever I need it. The dilemma then was making each connect as painless and simple as possible.

I wrote two articles that cover the two areas of concern I had: 1. easily and quickly change display settings in Linux on the fly when using an Nvidia driver and 2. getting HDMI audio to work in Linux (to be published next week). I solved both and now have an ideal solution that only cost me $9.

QtCurve faster than the rest?

posted in: Free Software, Technology | 0

I have an EeePC 1201n that has a pretty descent graphics processor (Nvidia Ion), but I was still noticing a little bit of sluggishness with KDE’s KWin desktop effects enabled.  Things like minimizing or switching desktops produced minor little hiccups.  Overall, it was still fast, but it was enough to make me try some different settings.

I happened to like QtCurve (style and window decorator) anyway, so I compiled the latest version and installed it.  As soon as I started using the window decorator, replacing the default Oxygen one, poof, instant speed.  The response time is excellent with absolutely no hiccups at all.  Is QtCurve just that much faster than Oxygen, or did building it from source specifically for this hardware make enough of a difference to increase the speed?

Either way, it is smooth sailing from here on out.