Remote control of XBMC, but not too much

Yesterday and today I have scripted a small web interface for remote control of XBMC using its HTTP API. (BTW, That API could really use a redesign!)

It’s actually just a page showing a screen shot and the name of the file that is currently playing, together with some commands to remote control XBMC.

Available commands are pause/resume, stop, play another file, and shutdown.

I also implemented support for showing notifications on the XBMC screen, which gave me an idea:

The Google Calendar can e-mail reminders for appointments. If XBMC is running, the reminder could be shown as a notification on the XBMC monitor.

I was just about to start implementing this calendar-reminder-in-XBMC when I reminded myself that there are many other small and big projects that would be more valuable for me. But instead of throwing this idea right down the trashcan I decided to blog about it first. Done!

Now I’ll spend some valuable time with my son!

Boot original Xbox directly into XBMC

I have some things left to say about installing XBMC on the original Xbox, in part because they are not done yet.

Today I finally made the Xbox boot directly into XBMC and not to EvoX.  Searching the web for instructions on how to do this may give some different answers, but the one that I decided to try and that worked perfectly came (unsurprisingly) from Using the Team XBMC Shortcut.xbe.

The file names used as examples were the same as for my installation: I replaced C:evoxdash.xbe and created C:evoxdash.cfg containing E:AppsXBMCdefault.xbe. I actually made sure that the .cfg file had CRLF line ending even though I created it in Ubuntu, but it probably doesn’t matter.

I changed the XBMC network settings to use DHCP instead of “system settings” to make sure that XBMC would still get an IP address on the network after rebooting.

The reboot went smooth and took me straight into XBMC. Isn’t it nice when things just work?

I found a compatible USB memory stick!

Yesterday I mananged to jailbreak the Xbox with a Splinter Cell save game found in a file called! I used a 2 GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro without U3 support. (USB vendor id and product id 0781:5151.)

Let’s see when I get time to install XBMC and connect a network cable between the Xbox and my file server.

I also upgraded my file server to FreeBSD 7.1-RELEASE yesterday, nice!

Problems connecting USB storage device to Xbox

I’ve been looking for a media center to get rid of the rising pile of DVD movies belonging to my 2.5 year old son. I was pretty close to buy a Popcorn Hour A-100 but a friend suggested XBMC Media Center and it sounded like a fun project.

On Monday I bought a used Xbox (449 SEK at GameStop, about €41) with SplinterCell (59 SEK) and on Tuesday I bought a soldering iron, two Xbox extension cables (one spare) and a USB extension cable in order to create an Xbox USB cable for connecting normal USB devices to the Xbox. I also bought a silent fan and a cheap Dremel clone for a future project: replace the noisy Xbox fan.

Unfortunately I have not been able to get any USB storage device working with my Xbox and home-made cable, but I will keep trying…