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More VIA Eden Fun!

2003-07-31 14:53:39.019112+00 by ebradway 19 comments

CompGeeks just got more of their 4-inch NTSC LCD Displays in stock. I'm going to hook one up to a VIA Eden system for semi-permanent use in Portia. Looking at distros, I found a link to Freepia over at linITX.org. It's a pared-down Linux distro compiled for the Eden C3 processor with just enough goodies to play MP3s and DiVX movies. I may couple it with a FIC Falcon so it can play DVD movies without putting Windows on it. Anybody have luck with the Linux based DVD playback programs?

[ related topics: Free Software Music Movies Open Source Embedded Devices - Via Eden ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-07-31 15:58:20.49731+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

You bastard. That 4-inch NTSC LCD display is $66. Now I have to get another Via Eden[Wiki] board to build that livingroom console thingie. Speaking of which, what are you using for a power supply? The one that came with the iDot case?

And, the links are hosed, it'd be worth waiting 'til tomorrow, but have did you see today's /. article about a lightweight 2.4GHz video transmitter?

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-07-31 16:01:47.141967+00 by: Shawn

I don't know how applicable it is to your situation, since I'm a desktop user, but I've found the Xine player to generally be smoother/faster than PowerDVD (which I've been told is pretty much "the standard" for Windows DVD playback). I'll actually boot into Linux for the express purpose of watching a DVD.

Now if I could just find a Linux e-mail client I like...

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-07-31 16:12:59.803751+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shawn, what are you looking for in an e-mail client?

I don't know too much about the state of DVD playback, but I remember hearing that the 500MHz Eden machines are just a little bit too slow and really need the hardware acceleration, but none of the Linux folks had yet reverse engineered that. There was supposedly a commercial player that got that part right, though.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-01 04:22:45.414141+00 by: ebradway

I bought one of the Casetronic cases. It was the same price as just the 55W 12V/110AC power supply at iDot and the case came with the 12V regulator and external power brick. I'll probably yank that out of the case for the aerial photography project.

If you get the FIC Falcon, it comes with a case and runs the C3 at just under 1Ghz. The case has the external power brick.

And the 500Mhz C3 doesn't have any hardware acceleration to assist DVD playback. I believe it also uses 3Dnow instead of MMX2 and I bet the Linux DVD decoder isn't optimized for 3Dnow. It pretty much won't work.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-01 14:17:09.742286+00 by: ebradway

The power supply is essentially the same as the DC/ATX converter and external AC power supply that iDot sells for $58. I gave $70 for the case (iDot's price is $78).

All of the wireless video transmitters in my price range are NTSC quality at best. There are alot of aerial photography projects out there that use a wireless video feed and an RC solenoid to control the shutter on a film camera.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-01 16:33:09.385844+00 by: Dan Lyke

So given that I've turned my 500 MHz box into my server, what would you recommend as the cheapest option to get another one (with no fan) to run in the living room? Does that FIC Falcon have a fan? And I can't tell how to order it from the First International Computer America web site.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-01 18:18:16.966326+00 by: Shawn

>what are you looking for in an e-mail client?

In a nutshell, as close to PMMail (http://www.pmmail2000.com) as I can get. GUI. Account/folder based - I can't stand having everything dumped into the same Inbox by default. The right mix of customizability. Mostly it boils down to the finer details.

I've tried just about every Linux [GUI] e-mail client I can find, but there's something that bugs me about each one of them. I really like the look-and feel of KMail (http://kmail.kde.org/) but the address book is nowhere near robust enough for my desires. I've tried Evolution (http://www.ximian.com/products/evolution/) although I've never really liked the Outlook look-and-feel. In addition to that, there were just too many little things that didn't behave the way I thought they should - like clicking the 'next' arrow in the message window doesn't close it if we're at the end of the list.

Sylpheed-Claws (http://sylpheed-claws.sourceforge.net/) comes the closest so far, but it's still not quite there. Setting up multiple accounts is unintuitive and cumbersome (including that dump-everything-in-one-inbox theme again). I can't permanently disable the 'preview pane'. Too many global settings and not enough of the same on a per-account basis (like when to empty trash). Filtering doesn't seem to be working properly.

It does have some of the features I've been looking for, though. I like the ability to apply a sig from the stdout of an executable. And I'm experimenting with JPilot (http://www.jpilot.org/) - had problems with GnomePilot's synchronization for Evolution also - for a unified address book.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-01 18:22:04.964464+00 by: Shawn

My comments about Xine/Linux working more smoothly than Windows were made in regards to an AMD K6-2/500Mhz box. (Isn't 3DNow an AMD technology?)

Yes, 500Mhz is too slow for DVD playback. That said, of the two, my experience is that Linux (specifically, RH9) does a better job.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-01 19:05:32.557962+00 by: Dan Lyke

So I assume you've checked out the Mozilla email client? I don't know about the address book, but the rest was similar enough to Pegasus Mail (which I think is closely related to PMMail, in fact it might be the same thing, it was a while since I downloaded that) that Charlene didn't have any questions when I switched her across.

It handles multiple accounts fairly sanely, has its own filtering (although it's also easy to use with procmail), lets you choke down HTML so that it won't try to fetch external documents. I use it for a few things, but mainly low load mail at work, so I really can't say "yeah, it rocks as much as vm, but it doesn't actively piss me off, which is pretty good for email software.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-02 16:59:35.743737+00 by: ebradway

Dan: If you look on Pricewatch, you can find a couple suppliers for the FIC Falcon. I'm pretty certain is uses a fan. It seems all of the C3s over 800Mhz use a fan. But I've also seen sites here people have played with better heatsinks and Peltier coolers. Of course, you lose some of your power savings with a Peltier... I'm going to look over at LinITX to see what experience folks are having with DVD under Linux on the C3.

Shawn: I use SquirrelMail almost exclusively for email. You have to have web server setup to use it, but if you have a publicly accessible webserver, you can get to your email from anywhere. Through plugins, it supports multiple accounts and has great filtering.

Occasionally, when I'm on a dial-up line and I haven't checked my email for a few days, I get enough spam in my inbox that the spam filters cause a timeout in Apache. Then, I ssh into my server and use Pine to clean out the inbox.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-02 17:30:00.83779+00 by: ebradway

I just ended up at Livid's Site. Seems to be plenty of development going on. Even if you are using a 500Mz C3, you can pickup a Creative Labs DXR2 card for under $10 off eBay. That would be the way to go if you don't have another card eating your PCI slot. I used to have a bunch of the DXR2 cards when I was doing DVD-ROM development for games - back when high-end CPUs were 300Mhz. There are other issues with the DXR2 (it overlays video in the VGA output - literally overlaying the signal - not using the VGA feature connector) and it has it's own NTSC connector. It may take some finegling to get it working comfortably.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-02 21:40:41.657784+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Dan; Yep, I tried Mozilla Mail before giving Evolution another try. I don't remember the details, but I recall that a number of behavior issues had me routinely beating on my keyboard in frustration. Pegasus and PMMail are separate products, by separate people. Back in the day I used both. Functionally, I didn't find them to be alike although both were better than Outlook or Eudora, IMO. Let me see if I can be a little more definitive about what I want:

Eric; I forgot to mention that I absolutely abhor web-based solutions as a replacement for applications. I use Squirrelmail when I'm away from home (it's usable in a pinch), but when I'm at my desk I want to use something more tailored to the task at hand and that better meets my power-user needs.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-02 23:42:01.062758+00 by: ebradway

SquirrelMail actually meets all of your criteria. I don't know if it remembers sorting preferences, but I'm sure it's not hard to change the default.

I used it hate web-based applications too and only used web-based email when I absolutely had to. Then I ended up needing access to my email from more than one machine and managed to get used to it. Some things are a little slower, but having my email at home, work, school, visiting friends, etc. Erases any inconveniences.

And I laugh anytime I hear people going on about email viruses. Squirrel is impervious. I do with it had a better address book, though. But I guess you get what you pay for...

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-03 00:09:18.78378+00 by: Shawn

Squirrelmail is great for a basic e-mail client when I'm away but it certainly doesn't meet my needs/wants. When I say 'GUI' I'm referring to a whole host of windowing functionality. With Squirrelmail: I can't select multiple messages and then drag/move them into a folder. I can't view all accounts at once (the version I have access to, at least, requires that I log out and log in to change mailboxes). Creating/moving/renaming folders requires going through a cumbersome interface.

And speed is a significant issue for me. I'm already puttering along at only 500Mhz. Adding a refresh wait for almost every significant action is just too much. I agree it's a good product, but it doesn't really provide me the interface I want/need in a desktop client.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-03 00:42:16.202256+00 by: dexev


By 'preview pane', do you mean the message pane? I use sylpheed, and can resize the message pane to be invisible, and keep this setting across restarts. double-click brings up the message in a new window.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-03 01:55:34.612625+00 by: John Anderson

If that's what you mean by 'GUI', then Gnus might actually fit your needs. You won't be able to do those things by clicking and dragging, but you can do them from the keyboard just as well. Plus, you should be okay on the slower machine, I think -- startup time will be an issue, but if you shift to the start-up-and-leave-it-up usage mode, that shouldn't be a problem.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-03 03:44:11.314023+00 by: ebradway

I'll stop beating the dead horse... but I can select multple messages and move then to another folder en mass. I use forwarding on my accounts so they all come to one address and haven't played with the plugins to pop into other accounts. I agree the folder interface is cumbersome, but you must create/rename/delete folders much more often than I do... And I won't bother commenting on the speed issue...

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-08-03 20:49:32.80673+00 by: Shawn

dexev; Yes, that's what I mean. I'll experiment with resizing the pane. I typically just hit the hide button. But it keeps popping open when certain events occur (I haven't had a chance to pop into Linux for the last several weeks and I don't remember the specifics of what causes this).

John; Clicking, dragging, resizing, etc. all fall under "windowing functionality" for me.

#Comment Re: More VIA Eden Fun! made: 2003-09-06 04:12:38.801288+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

I just got one of the CompGeeks 4" LCD Displays and their little Koss DVD/MP3 player The display is very bright but almost too small. But for things like MP3 players and such, it'll make a great display. I got the setup to watch movies in the bus while travelling (both came with 12V power supplies). Right now I have it sitting next to the keyboard playing The Life of David Gale. The only feature the player lacks is progressive scan - but on an LCD it's a moot point.