Installing LibreELEC Kodi in a VMware vSphere Virtual Machine

LibreELEC banner

I tried a couple of methods of installing LibreELEC in a VMware virtual machine before finding the solution. The first was to simply pass through a Jump drive with a bootable image to the virtual machine. This didn’t work as I discovered that vSphere virtual machines cannot boot from USB.

I also tried converting an image file to an .iso and booting from that – that also didn’t work.

I finally discovered the LibreELEC virtual appliance and simply deployed that to vSphere.

I would typically just post a link, but it appears that the LibreELEC mirrors seem to change so it is best to know how to get a link to the .ova file.

First head to the LibreELEC download page. What we are looking for is a link named info behind which is a mirror list.

libreelec mirror list
(info) link to LibreELEC mirror list.

On the mirror list page you can see that I have two mirrors available in the US:

LibreELEC Mirrors 2
LibreELEC mirrors with path to URL highlighted.

Notice that I have the first portion of the path to a LibreELEC image selected. This URL takes me to the full listing of available LibreELEC images on that mirror.

libreELEC ova
Mirror link to LibreELEC .ova highlighted.

Copy the link to the LibreELEC .ova file and then run the vSphere Client to start deploying the virtual appliance.

Click the File menu and then Deploy OVF Template.

Paste the LibreELEC .ova hyperlink and then click Next to continue through the rest of the deployment wizard.

virtual LibreELEC
LibreELEC installed in VMware vSphere 5.5.

Recursive Find and Replace using Git Bash on Windows 10

In my previous post I setup virtual TV Shows in Kodi for a couple of YouTube channels that I downloaded videos from.

I copy and pasted a template file to create multiple .nfo files,  but I made a mistake – all of the files have 2019 in one of the text fields instead of 2018!

Fortunately I found a nice quick solution that used Git Bash on Windows 10.

I simply mapped my file share as network drive Y, opened Git Bash,  and issued a couple of commands:

$ cd Y:
$ find . -type f -name "*.nfo" -exec sed -i'' -e 's/2019/2018/g' {} +

Done!

A quick run-down of the commands:

  • change directory to Y: (cd Y:)
  • find
  • file (-type f)
  • named *.nfo
  • run sed (-exec sed)
  • edit in-place (-i)
  • add script (-e ‘)
  • substitute 2019 (s/2019)
  • for 2018 globally (2018/g)

Very nice to be able to use bash inside Windows 10!

 

Asus Chromebox – OpenELEC to LibreELEC Kodi Update

A few years ago I wrote a blog post detailing how to install the OpenELEC Kodi media center on an Asus Chromebox.

Recently though The Movie Database plug-in on my OpenELEC installation has become broken and will no longer retrieve movie metadata, posters and fanart.

After troubleshooting the issue a little and waiting to see if it would be fixed I decided to move on and discovered LibreELEC – a fork of OpenELEC.

Kodi-17-Krypton-b

While I always liked OpenELEC I have to say that LibreELEC has already impressed me more since installing it. In my opinion the GUI and menus are much improved – everything is visually appealing and better organized.

I have encountered two minor issues though:

  • Close to 200 of the movies that were scraped upon adding their sources have the incorrect year of 1969 as their date. This can be fixed manually by refreshing the meta-data but is still a little annoying.
  • I created a 2nd profile for kids content and could not see the add network location option when selecting a content source. The fix for me was to toggle the unlock sources switch to on under the view settings.

Installing LibreELEC was very straightforward. While I believe that you can update an existing OpenELEC installation to LibreELEC I opted to simply install LibreELEC over it. If you are starting from scratch with a new Chromebox please refer to the first half of my original blog post here. Otherwise I would recommend an Intel NUC over the Chromebox because of the ease of installation. A NUC can much more easily be re-purposed should the need arise.

To install LibreELEC visit the download page and grab the USB-SD Creator for your PC, Mac or Linux box.

LibreELEC USB-SD Creator

For a Chromebox installation:

  • Select Generic AMD/Intel/NVIDIA (x86) from the select version drop down menu.
  • Click the Download button.
  • Select your USB drive from the drop down menu and then click the Write button.

This will erase your USB drive and create a bootable LibreELEC installation.

From here simply put your USB drive in your Chromebox and boot from USB. To do this press the Escape key on your keyboard while your Chromebox boots and then select option 2 to boot from USB.

Follow the prompts and LibreELEC will very soon be up and running!

Remove your USB drive once LibreELEC is installed.

 

 

Outlook.com – Windows 10 Shared Calendar Time Out

Windows-Dev

So I have been having a couple of issues with shared calendars on Outlook.com using Windows 10.

The first issue is the regular reminders I get telling me that  I need to ‘fix my account’ settings for my wife’s shared calendar. When I try to fix this, and provide her password and PIN, I am told that the PIN is incorrect – despite resetting her PIN.

The second issue is that (all of a sudden) my wife can no longer see my shared calendar – so time to fix this!

Simply sharing my calendar again did not work – I just got a spinning circle next to the “Adding calendar …” status and nothing happened.

To resolve the issue I had to remove my wife’s PIN from all of her computers. After rebooting them I re-shared my calendar and it worked.

Refer to the steps below to see how to reset your PIN and share your Calendar.

How to reset your PIN

 

To remove your PIN click Start, then type Settings and open the Settings app. Navigate to Accounts, Sign-in options and then under the PIN heading click the Remove button.

Win10-Remove-PIN

How to Share your Calendar

First access your Calendar here: https://outlook.live.com/owa/

Click Share from the toolbar and then select the calendar you want to share.

Share Calendar

Note: If you are already sharing this calendar with the intended recipient click the trash can icon next to their name to revoke their permissions.

Next, enter the email address of the person you want to share your calendar with then click the Share button and then Done.

Share Calendar 2

Hope that this helps someone else out there!

My Favourite Settings for the LG G6

I got an LG G6 a few months ago and found some interesting tweaks on YouTube last night – these are my favorites, so far:

1. Speed up transition animations.

Transition animations take place when you navigate the User Interface on your phone. Shortening these transitions will make this experience feel more responsive. For example, the app drawer will open more quickly.

  • Tap Settings, scroll down to the System heading at the bottom of the list. Tap About phone and then Software Information.
  • Tap Build number until you see the pop-up message, You are now a developer!
  • Go back to the Settings page and then tap Developer options. You will see the following message:

Warning! Turning on developer options might result in irregular behavior on your device. These options are recommended only for advanced users.

If you are comfortable with this then proceed as follows:

  • Scroll down to the Drawing section of the page and change the Window animation scale, Transition animation scale and Animator duration scale values from 1x to .5x.

You will now find navigating around your phone much snappier.

2. Turn off Bluetooth scanning.

Turing off Bluetooth scanning will improve battery life:

  • Tap Settings and then scroll down to the Personal heading.
  • Tap Location, and then tap the more options menu (the three vertical dots at the top right) and then tap the scanning pop-up.
  • Set Bluetooth scanning to off.

3. Turn on Low power localization estimation.

Turning on this feature will improve location performance while conserving battery.

  • Tap Settings and then scroll down to the Personal heading.
  • Tap Location, and then check that Low power localization estimation is turned on.

4. Customize lock screen application shortcuts.

Customizing lock screen application shortcuts allows you to get to a frequently used app straight from the lock screen:

  • Tap Settings, Lock screen, and then Shortcuts and then select the five applications that you want to appear on your lock screen.

5. Double tap the screen to turn it on or off.

This feature allows you to glance at your lock screen simply by double-tapping the screen to turn it on and off:

  • Tap Settings then Display and scroll down to the bottom and check that KnockON is set to On.

Sources:

The YouTube Tech Guy: How To Make Your LG G6 Faster & Improve Your Battery Life

Droid Life: 20+ LG G6 Tips and Tricks!

Moving from Windows 10 Mobile to Android – Tip 3 – Transferring Text Messages

The need for a new phone, the lack of Windows 10 Mobile hardware on any carriers, and the need to switch carriers saw me waving goodbye to Windows 10 Mobile yesterday. And so, I found myself in the position of needing to move my data from Microsoft services to Android / Google.

To backup my SMS messages from my Microsoft Account I used the WP Message Backup app from the Windows Store on my Windows 10 PC. The app will backup 100 messages for free. I did not check the cost of backing up 10,000 messages (as I had more than that) and so I opted for unlimited which cost $5.49.

The app is easy to use – select Windows Phone 8.x or Windows Phone 10 and then sign in to your Microsoft Account. If you have a lot of messages it will take quite some time to populate.

When the app has finished loading your message click the List button.

Click the Select All button (if you want to export all messages) otherwise manually check messages in the list and then click the Save button.

Click the Android (xml) radio button. Before you export you will need to review the number of messages you need to export vs the free and paid options that the app offers. I paid for unlimited message export. Click the Export button and then save your .xml file to your PC.

WP Message Backup did throw up an error message at the end of my export and notified me that 288 messages could not be saved. I wasn’t too worried about it – I still had over 11,000 messages successfully exported.

I transferred the .xml file to my phone using USB – you could use cloud storage if you prefer.

On my phone I installed SMS Back & Restore to import my messages. It took a little while, and the Messaging app was a little flaky while I went through and weeded out all the junk. All things considered the migration was a success!