On the Couch: TravisTX

On the Couch: TravisTX

#3 (11/20/11)

On the couch with us today is TravisTX, or Travis Collins to those of you who are still plugged in. He will be shining some light into how and why he has helped MediaPortal itself, as well as it's community. Most of you are already familiar with him from his work on Moving Pictures, Pandora Music Box as well as follw.it. Let's see if we can get to know him better.

Now some of you might have noticed that I myself am from Texas, and this will be 2 out of the first three people I have put on the couch are also from Texas. I assure you, this was not by design. It is not part of our evil plan for Texas to take over the world. Let's face it... we are just not that clever to have added this in advance. We just got lucky.

 

Go, Texas MediaPortal!

 

A Forum User's Lament

Our MediaPortal forums are famous for the level of support they provide from 'expert' users and even MediaPortal developers. However, we often hear from users having trouble finding the information they need, or asking the same questions again and again because they can't find it.

Now that our new wiki is becoming more useful, and usage continues to increase, how can we get our forums and wiki to work together to improve support and make our forums even more effective?

The following questions and answers are extracted from discussions I had recently with a MediaPortal user rogerleifert about the relationship between our forums and wiki.

What do you think? Express yourself by posting in the comments on this Blog.

What Sayeth You?: MP-TVSeries

*********Note From Author*********

First off, want to say sorry for not putting someone on the couch this past Monday. The original guest could not get around to it, and I had planned to put myself on the couch, but to be honest I was not ready to spill my secrets yet. ZealotSix will be on the couch this Monday so be looking for that soon!

I would like to take a moment and explain our "What Sayeth You?" blog. The concept and rules are very simple. A skin, plugin or base MP feature will be detailed in the blog, and the community throws in their "two cents". At the bottom of the blog is a section for you to place your comments and we ask that you follow a very simple pattern. We do not believe in tearing something down, without building it up first so please follow the formula of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". Please use this formula to let us know what you like (the good), how it could function better (the bad) and how it might look better (the ugly). At the end of the blog I will place my comments as an example.

Some of you are saying "That is what the forum threads are for!" or "If they want more they need to raise an issue!". These statements, albeit true, can be a turn off. Not everyone wants to post in a thread with 50 pages of posts, and not everyone understand how raising an issue works. Here we are offering and easy solution for you to say what you want without jumping through hoops. I would like to point out that this blog is a courtesy, and if you are serious about your issues, you should raise them in the proper place and not wait for the feature, plugin or skin to be in the "What Sayeth You?" blog.

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While You Were Sleeping: Skins #1

While You Were Sleeping: Skins #1

 

*************Note from the Author***************

Here is our first WYWS: Skins blog. First off I want to apologize for being tardy in getting this blog out, but work got in the way (don't you hate that?). I had a hard time figuring out how to best write the blogs on skins. WYWS: Plugins just lists the plugins that are new or updated, but I can't to that for skins as there would be a good chance of a monthly skin blog containing the following info:

"We have skins. No, really, we do."

And that will not cut it, so I will just wing it until WYWS: Skins finds its own natural flow and style. As for which skins and why, it's simple: I will be covering skins that the designer has take time to get with me and let me know what is going on with said skin. I will talk about them in alphabetical order. So here we go...


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aMPed -


Dadeo has been hard at work making this skin better in all aspects. Currently a beta version for aMPed 3.3 has been out for over a month and has a revision number of 1636. It contains pretty up to date xmls for almost every plugin and looks beautiful doing it. What you might want to know is that aMPed SVN has a pretty handy MPEI maker and you can currently update aMPed to revision 1674, offering up to the minute support for plugins, even those hidden gems like IMDb+ and mvCentral. A final version of aMPed 3.3 is right around the corner as Migue is working on some Basic Home editor improvements.

 

Avalon -


With is soft cool blue colors ncoH has made a very nice skin. Recent changes have brought about support for many popular plugins as well as a rework of the hidden menu for playlists.

 

Mustayaluca -


As a new comer to MediaPortal's selection of skins, Mustayaluca is gaining a fierce crowd of followers. It's light color tones I find to be pretty soothing and easy on the eyes. Psycho Reptile has been making many changes and updates. Way too many to list here, so you will have to take my word for it. Please keep in mind for those of you who wish to check it out, it is in beta format, so you might find a bug or two.

 

StreamedMP -


ltfearme and Trevor's little and unknown project named StreamedMP, that is S -t-r-e-a-m-e-d-M-P for those who have never heard of it, has also had a few minor updates. A new release is but a few hours away. It will have updated support for many plugins and some minor bug fixes. It will also make pancakes, bathe your dog (cats are in a future release as it is MUCH harder to bathe a cat) and produce a VERY annoying sound whenever the in laws come to visit.


Sorry for such a short blog this week, everyone. I URGE skinners and developers to drop me a PM, let me know what you have done. Just one PM once a month (hopefully the Monday prior to the blog your project would be included in).

{jfusion_discuss 102542}

On the Couch: fforde

On the Couch: fforde

#2 (11/7/2011)

This week we have John Conrad (fforde) on the couch. Most of you already know him, or his awesome work on the Moving Pictures plugin, but today we get a chance to take a closer peek at Mr. Conrad.

How did you become interested in HTPCs?

I have been interested in computers since I was about 8 to 10 years old and even back then I found media that lived on the PC fascinating. In the early 90s I remember downloading some MIDI files and playing a song by Fine Young Cannibals in synthesized glory. The midi synthesizer was terrible, it sounded exceptionally bad on my tiny computer speakers and the lyrics were replaced with what sounded like an 8-bit choir. But it was in stereo! And it was amazing! Years later in high school it was 128kbps MP3s of The Offspring. In college I had moved on to low quality episodes of The Simpsons. This was the beginning for me. For a long time media on the PC was more of a novelty than anything but around the turn of the century it was becoming more practical. At least for someone a bit computer savy like me.

Once I learned how to rip my DVDs so that I could have all my movies in one place, it was just a matter of time before I started seeking out a nice interface to browse them.

How did you first find MediaPortal?

For a long time I just managed and watched my movie collection via Windows Explorer. I always felt like there had to be a better way but I had a hard time finding anything practical. The most recommended HTPC applications at the time either ran on Xbox hardware or Linux. I had no console to sacrifice and I was not really ready to make the jump to Linux.

Team Update Blog #1

Team Update Blog #1

 

Hello, my friendly MePo fans! Your Team members have been hard at work trying new things, overcoming roadblocks and perfecting the awesomeness that is MediaPortal; and we wish to share them with our loyal and lovable community (i.e. you). We will be breaking down our updates into three sections: Development, Documents and Public Relations/Promotions. There are, of course, other areas of our Team (administrators, moderators, testers...) and you will learn more about them soon in a feature blog called “Unsung Heroes”; but for now…. Onward and upward!

 

Development


MediaPortal 1

While some things have been slated for 1.3, others are still trying to make the cut. Doing the “Dance of the Forum Threads” can glean you an abundance of information, but let’s try to slim-line it for you:

Videos – A lot of work was done with MediaPortal’s video playback and MyVideos plugin for 1.2, but the work has not stopped there. Here is a link describing what changes are forthcoming as well as screen shots and comments. Be on the lookout for MediaPortal to handle your BD Discs/Rips/ISOs like a champ, along with VC1 & VC-1i codec support comparable to H.264 and extended CC/Post Processing support. Also… don’t let anyone know it was me that told you, but configuration settings could also be riding shotgun soon. No, sir (ma’am?), no more ‘back seat’ driving needed to control your database and shares as these settings will be offered in the MediaPortal GUI.

TV – We are hard at work with trying to come up with a few improvements to our TV-Server. A new setup wizard for a simple, flawless configuration is being worked up, as well as fixing many issues with ATSC/US providers for television and increased hardware support for TV cards. Everyone is very excited about these changes and many are hanging on every word, but the truth is, if we want better support for US cable and ATSC then we could use some more US developers to help. For more information on TV updates, keep an eye for threads like:

Multichannel decryption improvements

Digital Devices: cascaded CAM support

And others that will appear in the general development section of the forum.

Codecs – I will not go into what a codec is and why you need it, but suffice it to say that previous versions of MediaPortal, while having support for a lot of your videos, have been lacking in codec support. Well, my friends, I happy to announce that LAV filters are being considered for the next release. Will it happen? I cannot say. But… you can. Try out the new filters here and let us know what you think.

 

MediaPortal 2

Development of MP2 has come a long way, with tons of steps forward already been completed. As everyone knows, the demand for development of MP1 is ever growing and it hampers the resources for MP2. We need more testers for MP2… plain and simple. With some good testing issues can get identified and corrected much easier. The developers working on MP2 need our help, and I will address that issue a bit later in this blog. For now, let’s move on to what our Docs guys have been up to.

 

Documentation

 

Our Docs group has made some improvements lately and through the grapevine I hear a ‘tell-all’ blog is forthcoming. Should be chock full of juicy gossip! I have been given the Okay to give you all a bit of a teaser though, so let’s start out with the new guys. Wonkyd, Vuego, and Rogerleifert have all been added to the Docs group and they have been a great deal of help with the home page and downloads repository, Wiki and IRC. Additions/Corrections have already been made in guides for:

They are also currently working on an improved process for adding, viewing and tracking changes to each release of MediaPortal and have already begun updating pages to version 1.2.x. Remember you can use the ‘Recent Changes’ option on the Wiki menu to see all of the latest changes to the Wiki.

 

Public Relations/Promotions

 

We are about to have some fun! With the addition of new blogs, we are also rolling out some more ways to get the community more active. Contests with prizes, MediaPortal T-Shirts, Trade Shows and more are all headed your way. Our number one goal to promote MediaPortal is not for money, no sir. You can make a donation if you wish, of course, what we want the most from our community is to tell your friends and family. Our wants and needs are different, though. What we need is for a few good testers and developers to step up and lend a hand with making MP1 better and, maybe more importantly, getting MP2 ready to go. MediaPortal is open source, so you can make a difference. The team at MediaPortal is not an exclusive club. We welcome new members on a regular basis, and we would love to welcome you as well. Take a moment and think if there is any way you can help make MediaPortal better. I bet you can find at least one!

 

Well, I hope this has helped you to understand what we have forthcoming and we are excited for everyone to start using our future releases. We feel truly appreciative that you enjoy using MediaPortal! Thanks, everyone.

 

FACT: You do not need a parachute to sky dive. You only need a parachute if you plan to sky dive more than once!

{jfusion_discuss 102276}

On the Couch: Dadeo

******************************Note From The Blogger*******************************

On the Couch will be a weekly blog, each week featuring a different member of the Team/Community. They have a list of questions they can select to answer and a brief section at the end, named Speak Out!, where they can ramble on needlessly if they wish. This blog will be published each Monday (Yes, I am late for the first one, my apologies)

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On the Couch: Dadeo

#1 (10/31/2011)

 

How did you first find MediaPortal?

Google - looking to replace my VCR and no DVR was available here at the time.

About The Project

The vision of the MediaPortal project is to create a free open source media centre application, which supports all advanced media centre functions, and is accessible to all Windows users.

In reaching this goal we are working every day to make sure our software is one of the best.

         

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