Asshole car burglar

Yesterday morning we were woken by Ralph, one of our neighbors, at 6:45. foto 1
When he went to work, he saw that the side window of our 2003 Mitsubishi Spacestar was shattered.

Some asshole junky amateur burglar decided it was a good idea to pry open the door by putting a crowbar in between the window and the metal of the door…. Shattered glass all over the interior of our car was the result.

He searched our car for valuables it seems, couldn’t find any, and left.
Asshole burglar wrecked our car (2)

Amazing, as our 2 month old TomTom Go 5000 was in it – with all the accessories -, plus some CD’s, a perfectly okay 2012 car audio system and even some spare change for parking.

So, we didn’t lose anything, except for a day of work trying to sort out the trouble and the 150 euro policy excess.

Well, I hope he cut himself on the shattered glass. Asshole.

Upgrading my mediaplayer

In the last decade I’ve used several media player devices to watch movies on my TV; a DVD player with built-in DivX support (which overheated as soon as you watched a movie longer than 30 minutes), a laptop with a TV-out connection, or simply a laptop sitting on the coffee table. Since early 2010 I have been using the AC Ryan Playon HD Mini, a reasonably capable media player. It enabled me to clean up the DVDs from the livingroom, and storing them on my NAS in the attic.

However, the spartan interface and the under-specced decoding capabilities began to annoy me more and more. Also, it didn’t support Netflix, so I had to get a Chromecast for that purpose. Lately it wasn’t being used very much at all because of all the issues with it.

Raspberry Pi B+

Raspberry Pi B+
the Raspberry Pi B+, only € 32

Earlier this week I purchased a Raspberry Pi B+.
I had been wanting one for ages, just to tinker with it, but seeing that it was my birthday yesterday (my 12th primeday to be exact) I finally had an excuse.
I was amazed on how much this 32 euro minicomputer was capable of. For less than 60 euros all-in, I was able to play all my media from XMBC (in OpenELEC), and the Raspberry Pi was simply dangling from a HDMI wire behind my TV. It even supports HDMI CEC, so I can use my TV remote to control the Raspberry Pi.

Amazing! However, even though the hardware video decoder of the Pi is very capable (MPEG-2, VC-1, 1080p h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile), I noticed some issues: realtime conversion of DTS audio streams to stereo (my TV only accepts Dolby Digital 5.1 or stereo) is too much for the Pi, and playback of DVDs and Blu-Ray ISOs was not very stable. I cannot blame the Raspberry Pi to be honest, as it’s only a 700 MHz ARM CPU that has to do all the work. So, I’ll be replacing the Pi with a more capable system ; an Intel Next Unit of Computing, or NUC. (The Pi will be set up as a low power Peercoin mining rig, webserver, or something else alltogether )

Intel Next Unit of Computing

The 4x4 inch NUC.
The 4×4 inch Intel NUC

I didn’t really know the about NUCs before, but I have to admit, the idea behind them is brilliant. We all know the ultrabooks; small, sleek, lower power laptops with ultra low voltage CPUs.
The guys at Intel realized that if you remove the keyboard and the screen, the processing power of the ultrabook could be fit into a different form factor. The 4×4 inch Next Unit of Computing was conceived with that in mind. Simple, small, sleek desktop computers, incomparable to their bigger brothers, the old fashioned desktop PCs.

I decided to look online for a used NUC, and for € 185 I managed to get my hands on an Intel D34010WYK, a NUC with an i3 4010U CPU (dual core Haswell @ 1.7 GHz), 30 GB mSATA SSD and 4 GB of memory. This device is more than capable of running a mediacenter; in fact, it outperforms the full fledged desktop PC I’m currently using. It also includes built-in IR, so I should be able to use a Xbox Mediacenter remote control to turn it on and off, and to control the menu.

This afternoon it’ll arrive, and I’ll be tweaking, nerding, and messing with it for the next couple of weeks. I already know that I need to sort out something to enable HDMI CEC on the NUC, and I also have to decide whether or not I’ll stick with OpenELEC, or move to Windows 8.1 with XBMC. So, if you’re in the market for a new HTPC or media player, keep an eye out on this site for updates.

Oh, the doorbell! Who could that be.

The story continues

Only after closing a door, one can proceed to open a new door.

That’s exactly what I’m doing with Oxle.Screenshot of the old oxle

Since the start in November 2003 Oxle was the website I hosted here, a community platform we used to call a forum. It ran on Snitz Forums, an ASP driven open source forum package. I’ve learned a lot from working with ASP. With me being not a developer at all, the guys over at Snitz were all very patient with my ignorance and provided their time and knowledge to teach me a lot about ASP, SQL databases etc.. I’m very grateful to guys like HuwR, Ruirib, AnonJr, etcetera. who helped me out with the nitty-gritty code, and fixed my mistakes time after time again.

However, it was time for me to close down the forum. Forums, especially generic forums such as Oxle, are a thing of the past since the arrival of true Web 2.0 platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, Google+, Pinterest and Facebook.

However my urge to write and share cannot be suppressed, and I often need much more than 140 characters.

I need some space to put my rants on, to share my ideas, to let my creativity run freely. That’s where the new Oxle comes in.
Same name, same guy, different setup, new future.
That’s why the comma is so prominent in the new logo, because after the comma, the story continues.

For the sake of nostalgia, I’ll keep the old site online for a while longer. It is accessible via this link, but please don’t tell anyone.

I’ve already imported some posts from the old front page, and perhaps I’ll add some older ones later on. But for now, this is a new start, with new posts, new ideas and new rants.