RAWR-Designs

Some people may recognise me as the rejetto forum admin TSG, or from the official HFS facebook page that I created.

hfs-logo8 years ago I was introduced to HTTP File Server by flynsarmy. HFS is a simple open source server application for Windows. I found the application to be a useful tool for practicing web design and programming. HFS still finds a place on my hard drive to this day. It is one of the easiest ways to share and access your files remotely.

After submitting a couple of templates, I began working with Giant Eagle. Richard was a fellow template builder on the HFS forum. Together we formed RAWR-Designs. Our goal was to create better quality applications and templates for HFS.

Projects

  • Thunderchicken of Glory template
  • Terayon template
  • RAWR-Template
  • RAWR-Player
  • Live 3 template
  • and our very own Thumbnail and Preview Generator.

rawr-logo-fancy

We purchased a domain and hosted our own website to help support a growing forum community. 3 years have passed since active development, but there is still demand for our templates on the rejetto forum. Giant Eagle missed a renewal, the host has taken ownership of the domain. I’ve decided to add a mirror of the files on my personal website.

Hopefully people continue to enjoy HFS, and the templates we create for it.

Adventures with XBMC

My Smart TV and PS3 both struggle to support certain codecs. They both fail as a complete digital media player. I decided to have a play with XBMC to create a networked media device that would play anything I throw at it. The main storage source is currently a Windows 7 PC on a gigabit network.

A basic HTPC does not require a very powerful computer. I am going to attempt this with some old computer parts that I had laying around. The new Intel NUC is a popular choice. Some people like the Raspberry Pi or Android based devices.

TV/Monitor
Samsung Series 6 LED/LCD 40″ Full-HD TV
Audio Equipment
Logitech Z5500 (via COAX)
Case + Power Supply
ATX/mATX case with Antec EarthWatts 380w
Motherboard
GA-945GCM-S2L
Memory
2GB DDR2 @ 800Mhz
Processor
Pentium Dual Core E2180 @ 2GHz
Hard Drive
500GB
Video Card
Nvidia 9600GT 512MB (sound on HDMI via SPDIF, if needed)
Infrared Receiver
HP USB IR Receiver (RC6 / eHome compatible, purchased on eBay)
Remote
Logitech Harmony 700

htpc-setup-guide

Make it Work

I’ve tried three separate XBMC setups on this computer. XBMC on Windows 7, XBMCbuntu and OpenELEC. Long story short, Windows 7 and XBMCbuntu did not perform well. I ran into almost constant issues with freezing and poor performance – started to think the old components were to blame. After hours of frustration, I stumbled on OpenELEC.

OpenELEC is a standalone Linux distribution for XBMC. The installation is tiny, and it runs on my old computer perfectly. I chose the Generic image of OpenELEC for this computer, as it is Intel based with an Nvidia video card. To my surprise, everything worked out of the box. There was no performance issues at all.

I did have some issues installing OpenELEC. The motherboard was unable to read the Live USB. PLOP Boot Manager on a CD-ROM was required to force USB 1.1 and the flash memory had to be smaller than 2GB for it to successfully boot.

htpc-setup-guide

The Harmony remote worked out of the box using the Windows Media Center preset provided. I have made some small customisations that I wont go into here. If you don’t have a remote or IR receiver, XBMC has an Andriod and iOS App that works over Wi-Fi. The computer goes into an S3 sleep state, and runs only the bare essentials to reduce noise and power consumption. The possibilities are endless. I would like to move the computer into a slimline HTPC case one day.

For more information about how to configure OpenELEC see the Wiki. One note to avoid confusion, you will need to SSH (I used Putty) to access restricted terminal functionality over your home network. If you want to get under the hood.

Don’t Forget to Check WP_DEBUG

Timely plugin for WordPress is a fantastic Event Calendar plugin. Everything that uses the SQL query for the Agenda Views suddenly stopped working this week.

Updating the Plugin, WordPress, and trying to disable other plugins, did not fix this issue. The other calendar displays all worked fine, they use a different query. I wasted hours debugging this issue. You should use WP_DEBUG to reveal suppressed errors.

It turned out to be a database error. The host was able to fix the internal error overnight. I was notified that the bug was caused by recent server maintenance.

WordPress 3.6, Read More Links Broken

My WordPress sites updated to 3.6 pretty smoothly.

Read More links for post excerpts are not being output by functions.php.

The fix is simple. Just change … to … in the filter.

Automatic Related Products for LemonStand

Online stores can be overwhelming to maintain. LemonStand Cart requires that you set related products on each of your products. Clients with large numbers of products prefer automation where possible.

lemonstand-featured

If the client does not specify related products, the below partial code will show related products from the database. The script grabs products from parent categories to ensure that the output remains relevant.

Partial Code

The partial is formatted for a theme based on Foundation 3 responsive framework. You may have to tweak the output to work for your LemonStand site.