Saturday, March 11, 2006

8th Week: The End, again

Well, it's about half past midnight as I write these words: term is officially over. The second of my Oxford life, Hilary Term seemed about three times as long and at least twice as hard as Michaelmas. The OICCU mission, "Love, Actually" (note the comma) was a whole month ago, and the last time I got to bed before 2am seems just as long (actually, it was Tuesday).

None of which has stopped me from playing around with the design of this blog, sharpening up my web skills for a project I have lined up for over Easter. Watch this space. Hope you like the new template.

So, what plans do I have for the immediate future? Aside from sleep, I'm staying in Oxford for a few days, as my parents can't pick me up until Thursday. I'm using this time to go and visit Andrea in Loughborough, as well as make sure all my notes are in order and present (and, perhaps, finally buy a folder for Logic and Proof...)

At the other end of the "vac" (shaken or otherwise), the OICCU Reps' Conference is in Ledbury. In case I've failed to mention it previously, I'm one of the two new CU reps (with Dave Howie) for St. John's College. It's going to be a big year... I've already been given moderator privileges to the mailing list, and of the two major E-mails I've sent out so far, both have contained at least one major reference to food.

So, sleep, end of term, pizza, Andrea, what else? Oh, yes, I've yet to conclude the ChoicesUK at War saga.

A long time ago, on a website far, far away...

It is a grave time for the ChoicesUK website. Rebel agents, striking from a hidden base, have won their first major battle against the suppliers.

During the battle, trade disruption led many users to order from other companies, such as the excellent CD-WOW. Angered by these defections, the ChoicesUK Emperor made an express effort to deliver the orders before such users could cancel them.

Now, with two copies of Empire at War on my desk, I must choose which one to send back, and return peace and order to the galaxy...

In fact, as the CD-WOW one was a) 2CD, rather than DVD, and b) £3 more expensive, that's the one that's going back. Plus the ChoicesUK one had a seven-day return window, rather than a thirty-day one. Useful, as it's been about two weeks already... Time flies when you're in that peculiar part of the Trousers of Time that is Oxford.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday, 8th Week: 1.27AM - Nova-T Linux Howto

As posted on the Hauppauge UK forums - but I thought I'd post it here, if only so that I can reference it in future. Nova-T Linux users, ever wanted to get your remote control working just like (in fact, better than) it does in Windows? Here's how.

OK, Linux-babble ahead.

The kernel recognises some of the buttons and generates keyboard events for them. However, the keymap in the kernel is incomplete for the Nova-T remote. Fortunately, the remote's events are also sent to /dev/input/eventx for some x.

Right, so how to go about getting the remote working?

The key is: lirc. This wonderful (if confusingly-documented and fiddly to set up) piece of software can listen to the /dev/input/eventx device, and turn them into keypresses.

I compiled from source, which in this case is probably easier (if you're comfortable with it). Download from the website at and follow the included instructions to compile - the important bit is to select "Linux input layer" as the driver when you run Find it in Driver Configuration -> Other. Then sudo make install.

Lucky for you, I'm able to save you the whole irrecord/getting a config file working trouble. I've attached my lircd.conf file - copy this to /etc, without the .txt extension. Once this file is in place, you can start lircd: but, there's a trick here.

$ cd /dev/event
$ cat input3
(you may need to use sudo)
Then press a button on your remote control. With any luck, you will get something like
Yup, rubbish, but it means that you've found the right device. If you just get a number, then Ctrl+C out and try a different number. REMEMBER THIS NUMBER.

You can now start lircd (again, you may need to be root).

$ lircd -H dev/input -d /dev/input/eventx

where x is that important number I said to remember.

Next, install IRKick - this is the interface between KDE and lircd. With lircd running (eg after you've run the above command), start IRKick, and it should (after perhaps a few seconds delay) give you a message that it's found the lircd server.

Now, the fun begins! You can right-click the IRKick icon in the system tray, and choose Configure. Then you can configure all sorts of fancy functions for your remote - have a play. Kaffeine is one of the apps it recognises and will let you configure especially.

Sorry for the slightly bizarre tone of this howto - it's the second night in a row I've been working until gone 1am, and it's starting to affect my sanity.


It's probably possible to automate the starting of lircd. However, I use Kubuntu, which has the habit of assigning everything in /dev/input different event numbers each time the computer loads. And so, occasionally, I put the wrong number in and lose control of the keyboard. I guess that playing with udev(?) may help, but I haven't fiddled yet.

I've got this working under Kubuntu 5.10, with kernel 2.6.12-9 and -10. I think the DVB support (or at least, Nova-T support) was broken in 2.6.10 and 2.6.11.

IRKick is a KDE program. I don't know if it'll run under Gnome, or if there's an equivalent available.