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.

 

 

Ubuntu Server: Adding A USB Hard Drive

Update: As per gourgi’s comment you can simply install a package called usbmount and this will automatically mount usb drives for you after boot.

sudo apt-get install usbmount

Never-the-less the remainder of this blog post might still be useful to you if you experience formatting or permission issues.

Today I needed to add an external USB hard drive to an Ubuntu Server virtual machine (VM) in VMware vSphere 4.1.

The process of passing through a USB device from vSphere to a VM is quite straightforward (as long as the device is supported) and is previously discussed here.

Once the drive was connected the Ubuntu terminal was kind enough to give me some information about my USB hard drive:

[...] sd 3:0:0:0:0: [sbd] ...

This was helpful because now I knew that my drive was located at /dev/sdb. Otherwise this command will list mounted and un-mounted drives:

sudo fdisk -l

I formatted the drive with the following command:

sudo  mkfs -t ext3 /dev/sdb

Note: I chose ext3 under the assumption that should be able to remove the drive and read the contents on a Windows 7 computer without too much difficulty.

If your drive has existing partitions Ubuntu will warn you and prompt you to continue:

/dev/sdb is an entire device not just one partition! Proceed anyway? (y,n)

I found that mkfs did not format the drive though – maybe because I had existing partitions on the drive?

Disk /dev/sdb doesn't contain a valid partition table

I proceeded to mount the drive and look for a work-around to the issue (here username refers to the username that you are logged in with):

sudo mkdir /media/sdb
su username
sudo mount /dev/sdb /media/sdb
sudo chown -R username /dev/sdb
sudo chown -R username /media/sdb

Now that the drive was mounted I used cfdisk to format the drive:

sudo cfdisk /dev/sdb

I accepted the defaults presented to me and the disk was now successfully formated.

All that was left for me to do was create a folder and set the permissions that I needed for my server application to access the drive:

cd /media/sdb
sudo mkdir shared
sudo chmod 777 shared

I could now point my server application to /media/sdb/shared to get things going!

Because this is a USB device I decided not to auto mount it during boot – I just created a simple script mount-usb-drive.sh that I could run when I needed:

#!/bin/bash
sudo mount /dev/sdb /media/sdb

Use chmod +x mount-usb-drive.sh to make the script executable and run the script as follows: ./mount-usb-drive.sh.

Sources:

http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-575230.html

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=283131

VMware vSphere 4.1 – USB Pass-through

USB pass-through has been part of the likes of VMware Workstation for quite some time, but is new to vSphere with the 4.1 release (July 13th 2010).

To connect a USB device to a virtual machine (VM) in vSphere you need to first add a USB Controller to the VM.

Select the virtual machine in the vSphere inventory, then right click it and click Edit Settings.

Click the Add button and then select USB Controller from the list. (You can only add a single USB Controller to a VM).

Now you can connect a USB device – but if the device does not show up then it not supported.

Click Edit Settings again and then click the Add button and then select USB Device.

Select the USB device that you want to connect to the VM from the available device(s). Here you can see that I already have one device connected to a VM already.

I didn’t have a whole range of USB devices to test, and not all of them were detected by vSphere. I did not have any issues with jump drives or even my Logitech webcam being detected but my USB DVD Writer was not detected at all.

Hopefully this feature will only improve with subsequent releases.

Update: My Canon Lide 20 scanner also works 🙂