Nov 17 2017

Guide - Who's Home

I love home automation (HA) because it allows me to make mundane tasks happen without any sustained intervention. Just setup a scene, and let the magic happen. Generally, this works great whether it is a scheduled event or something that is trigger driven. But, every so often I have a scene that requires more intelligence than is available out of the box.

Sep 19 2017

Guide - Use a Letsencyrpt certificate with Unifi Controller and Unifi Video on Microsoft Windows

I do not mind Linux, but if I am completely honest Windows is more my thing. It is just more comfortable. So generally when there is a Windows option I go for it, instead of spinning up a Linux VM. Usually this pays off in setup time, but occasionally has the pain where I later have to figure out how to do something that is well documented/scripted/supported in Linux.

Having recently setup a Unifi network and video system at my house, the self-signed certificates the services use started to grate on me after a while. Chrome will not save credentials for self-signed sites, and Unifi Video does not work properly in FireFox, so last night I got fed up and decided to figure out how to install letsencrypt certificates to both services. The following steps are how it is done.

Sep 17 2017

Guide - Ecobee + electrical box = problem

Having recently moved into a new[ish] house, the process of installing some “smart” gadgets has begun. The list is long, but with a couple decidedly unsmart thermostats present it was important to get that sorted ASAP. There are a few smart thermostats available; each with their own plus/minus. For me the most important feature was a strong multi-sensor approach to temperature management. Which is the main reason I ended up going with a couple Ecobee 3s. As expected in a modern house, the basic installation was really quick. Although I did go off-script after discovering that while the original thermostats didn’t use the “C”, the low voltage wire bundle had a free wire, so it was really easy to use it and skip their power extender kit. Unfortunately I hit a major snag when it was time to close everything up – with the Ecobee lacking any sort of electrical box mount.

Oct 15 2016

Guide - FLIR ONE + USB-C mobile solution

Like an increasing number of people my mobile uses a USB-C connector, so my FLIR ONE won't work without an adapter. Having tired of pulling my old phone out of storage everytime I want to use the thermal camera, I contacted FLIR ONE support this week. Unfortunately, they were no help at all. Seemingly unaware that the world has moved on from Micro USB, and unable (unwilling) to provide any guidence on a specific adapter, or what I would need to look for in one.

Oct 15 2016

Guide - Run ha-bridge on startup on Ubuntu

I recently installed ha-bridge to expose my custom switches and those from my Harmony and Vera systems to the Amazon Echo. One of the challenges I ran across was that the Linux (VM) system that I want to host the app on is Ubuntu, and the installation instructions didn’t cover that. Now, this isn’t a complex task, but there was a bit of trick to it so I thought it worth documented. Save others some time and provide a reference the next time I need to set it up Smile.

Oct 03 2016

Guide - DIY 433MHz "Smart" Wi-Fi switches with Amazon Echo and Vera Control support

I’m not sure exactly why my wife came home with a cheap (£10-15) set of 433MHz remote controlled switches. While I gave her some grief initially, I’m glad she did. Because for a few £ more we now have four “smart” IP switches that can be controlled from a home automation controller (HAC). And since we have an Amazon Echo, voice as well.

May 05 2016

Guide - Install Pulse-Eight internal HDMI-CEC adapter in Intel Skylake NUC (NUC6i5SYK)


As you all know, one of the major disappointment with the Intel Broadwell NUCs was that Intel made it much harder than is should have been to leverage the HTPC’s HDMI CEC header. So when the Intel NUC6i5SYK (Skylake NUC) review unit arrived, one of the first things I did was crack the case to see if Intel had done anything to make it easier to use a Pulse-Eight internal CEC adapter, or if a soldering iron would still be a critical part of the install. What I found was a fantastic improvement.

Jan 26 2016

Guide - Block Google DNS per device

"Domain name space". Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -
Domain name space. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Some apps, like Netflix, have recently started hard coding Google's DNS servers into them to combat the use of VPNs and Smart DNS services. Most of the guides I've seen have indicated that the best way to combat this is via "static routes to nowhere". While this is an approach, I don't think it's the best, or most reliable way to get it done. In my opinion IP filtering is a much better option.

Dec 12 2015

Guide - How-to enable Emby mobile photo backups

I’ve been really impressed with the pace of improvement with the Emby media server and companion apps, but there was one thing that really stopped me from embracing the suite – automated mobile photo backup. As it turns out, the problem was ignorance instead of a feature gap versus competitive software like Plex.

Dec 05 2015

Guide - Using full disk encryption to cleanup data on old storage drives before discarding/recycling

If you have been computing long enough, eventually you will end up with a pile of old hard drives (HDD) and USB drives that are not useful anymore, but still work. The problem of course is that at one point they held potentially sensitive data, so while you could just format them and hope for the best it really is important to ensure that any data that was on the drive can no longer be retrieved before recycling or handing them off to someone else who will use them – and why not, just because you have moved on it does not mean someone out there cannot get more value out of it.

In the past those looking for a secure mechanism to remove data were told to overwrite the disk a large number of times, which can be very time consuming. Personally, unless you have been selling secrets to a foreign power, I think there is a better, and quicker approach to solving this dilemma – full disk encryption.

Jan 18 2013

Guide - Display Rendering Stats in MPC-HC

Every so often I see a question about how we generated the detailed display information used in our HTPC reviews. It's not hard to setup, but I figured that it was time to document the process in a single, easy to find place. Let's get started.

Sep 11 2012

Guide - New and Returning TV Calendars for sharing, downloading, and it updates - ALL CHANNELS

Missing Remote is proud to have many writers that are avid television watchers. Watch ShowsWhen we were looking around for a list of shows and their start dates we found just those--list after list, so we have done the hard work for you and compiled these lists into shareable Google calendar with internet view or you can download and use it. Make sure you subscribe or come back, as we will be updating these all season. If you are like us and prefer to schedule only when it shows up on the guide, you will be watching this list daily when you can add your new shows up to 14 days in advance. We have made HTML links to look at the Google Calendar links and you can subscribe through that link, or ICS which is read by many of the popular desktop calendar applications, and you can subscribe to them through there.

(UPDATED 9/13/2012)
Fixed some of the length of shows. ABC has been redone to fix some date and time slot issues..

Jun 27 2012

Guide - Backup, Migrate or Share SiliconDust HDHomeRun (HDHR) Digital Cable (QAM) Lineup

SiliconDust HDHR Dual

I picked up a SiliconDust HDHomeRun (HDHR) recently and after setting it up I was looking for an easy way to export the configuration to another HTPC which would share the device. Unfortunately this functionality isn’t built in to the setup utility, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible, or easy, and it has the benefit as acting as a backup should the system drive fail as well.


Feb 06 2012

Guide - Guide - MythTV Quick Tip - Reset the Painter

I recently wrote about my experiences installing MythTV on my Windows laptop.  While it's been working great, I recently ran into a problem and wanted to share the solution.

While playing with some settings in the various menus - sometimes I just can't help myself - I got myself into a pickle that I just couldn't fix.  As it turns out, MythTV 0.24.1 doesn't like using the OpenGL painter to draw the various screens.  After changing the MythTV painter setting, the frontend application restarted itself but upon launching again all I got was a white screen.  The only thing to do was force-quit the application.

Well, it turns out that there is a solution to this little problem.  There are many settings that can be forced at the command line.  In this case, the painter setting can be overridden by adding "-O ThemePainter=qt -O UIPainter=qt" to the mythfrontend command.  This will allow the frontend to startup using the Qt painter.  

Once it is up, the setting can be permanently changed to using the Qt painter.  The setting can be found under Setup -> Appearance.  After this change has been made, the frontend should launch normally without needing to append the above options to the frontend command.

Dec 28 2011

Guide - Recording Hulu, Netflix or Anything via the Hauppauge Colossus

So we've all probably experienced the case where, for some reason, our DVR misses an episode and we have to find it via another mechanism.  Sure, you can watch it on Hulu or Amazon VOD, but you want to add it to your collection without the DRM (exactly how the DVR would have done), and it came over the air/cable for free (or you paid your cable bill) - so why should you have to pay for it again?!   Maybe you've had one too many nasty-grams from Comcast about your bit-torrent downloads so you don't want to go that route.

Nov 28 2011

Guide - Migrate Away from Windows Home Server Drive Extender

Windows Home Server LogoAs previously noted, I'm working on upgrading the server in my house, which currently runs Windows Home Server (v1).  While I don't plan to use Windows Home Server 2011 for anything but backups, this guide should assist others who are thinking about how to upgrade WHS to WHS 2011, particularly migrating all your data out of the drive pool.  This process will also work if you intend to move to any alternative "drive pool" solutions, such as FlexRAID, unRAID, FreeNAS, or the couple of 3rd party add-ins for WHS 2011.  To prepare for the move away from the WHS Drive Extender (DE) technology, since it was so unceremoniously ripped out of WHS 2011, the very first step I needed to take was to discontinue the use of DE for, at least, SageTV.  The rest of the data, such as music, photos, and other documents take up but a fraction of the space, so the bulk of the work will be getting all my SageTV recordings and ripped videos out of DE and into individual folders/drives.

Due to how DE works, the removal of a drive from WHS v1 (from this point forward, I'll simply refer to it as WHS) can take a very long time, depending on the amount of data being removed, as well as the drive's speed.  I would recommend planning to do only one or two drives per day--in order to minimize downtime--and expect nothing to be able to access the drive pool during removal.  This means SageTV will not be able to record additional TV to the pool, which is actually a good thing, considering the goal here is to stop everything from utilizing the drive pool entirely.  Once the drives are removed, we'll create some shares for the individual drives, set permissions, and get back to recording!

Let's get started...

Nov 24 2011

Guide - Digitizing VHS with the Hauppauge Colossus

So my primary reason for purchasing the Hauppauge Colossus was to digitize a small VCR library.   Some purchased movie titles others non-professional and non-purchasable.    It seems my wife's Dad bought almost every Disney movie on VCR during the limited release cycle.   Since my 4yr old isn't going to complain about simulated surround vs TrueHD, I figured capturing the upscaled image after it's piped through my receiver's video processor would be good enough for her.    Of course, little did I know I'd end up spending more money than the recently released BDs would cost me through the Disney Movie Club, but that's beside the point right?! Smile

Nov 02 2011

Guide - MythTV on Windows?!

MythTV is complicated to setup.  MythTV only runs under Linux.  MythTV is only for people who like to tweak their setups all the time…These are some of the stereotypes surrounding MythTV.  While this may have been true at one point things have gotten much easier lately.  One of the things that has gotten a lot of recent attention is building and running MythTV on Windows.

For a number of years there have been ways to access MythTV recordings from Windows.  MythTV has a DLNA server built into it so any DLNA client can access the recordings.  The problem with this is that there is no way to access LiveTV, no automatic commercial skipping, no scheduling recordings, and other features are missing as well.  More recently, someone developed the MythTv Player which is able to talk to the MythTV backend using the MythTV protocol.  This brought along automatic commercial skipping, and in later releases, LiveTV capabilities.  Still, there was no program guide for scheduling recordings and no access to videos or music.

Most recently, a handful of real MythTV developers have taken it upon themselves to get the native MythTV frontend application working under Windows.  There have been a number of challenges along the way; not all of the features are functional yet and there are still some bugs to work out but it is now possible to run the MythTV frontend application natively in Windows.

There are a couple of reasons that having MythTV available on Windows is important.  First, I know that there are a lot of people who use MythTV under Linux (myself included) and have at least one system at their disposal that is running Windows.  It would be nice to be able to watch recordings on those systems from time to time.  The second reason is that, let's face it, there are a large number of Windows users out there who, until now, have not had access to MythTV.  MythTV is a great Home Theater PC software package that should be available to as many people as possible.

So now the big question is, how do you do it?  Well, there are two options.  While MythTV does not distribute precompiled binaries, it is possible for third parties to do exactly that.  All of my use of MythTV under Linux has been by way of third party packages ( is what I use for Fedora/CentOS installs).  Similar work has been done for Windows and you can pick up an installer here or here.

The other option, and the one that I’m going to describe in more detail for you, is to build MythTV from source.  I do not want to duplicate all of the instructions that have already been written on the subject - links will be provided shortly.  Instead I want to augment those instructions with the modifications that I needed to make in order to get things to install on my computer.  You can build it from Linux, Mac OS, or Windows but this guide will detail only building from Windows.  To get started, there is a Wiki page on that describes pretty much how to do everything.  However, another MythTV user has helped us out by putting together a nice script that does pretty much all of the work for you and it can be found here.  In order to run this script there are two things that you will need: MSys and mingw32.  Both of these applications are linked to from the script’s website on the page Building MythTV on Windows.  What they will give you is an environment similar to the Linux command prompt, which you can use to build MythTV.

Oct 20 2011

Guide - Migrating the MythTV Database Between Installations

For years now I’ve been running the same Linux installation and the same MythTV installation on the same hardware.  From time to time I would upgrade the MythTV installation or the OS to the latest revision but it was always an upgrade from the previous and not a clean install.  However, earlier this summer I was faced with a hardware failure in my server.  All of the data was okay but I figured that as long as I had the system down I might as well bring it up-to-date as well (the setup had been stable for me for a couple of years now so I hadn’t touched it – it if ain’t broke, don’t fix it).  In the past, this would have involved some command line kung fu dumping the MySQL database and then restoring it on the other system.  Now days it is much easier.  

Oct 18 2011

Guide - Using the Native Video and Picture Library

Using the Native Video and Picture Library

Recently we created a guide on how to use the Movie Library within Microsoft Windows 7 Media Center (“7MC”). Today we are going to look at adding files to the native Video and Pictures Library. This guide will cover:

1. How to add files to the library

2. What types of files can be added to each library

Adding Files to the Library

In order to add videos and pictures to the library, you will need to tell Windows 7 Media Center which folders it should “watch” for new files. First, on the home screen, navigate to the “Settings” menu.


Once in the settings menu, navigate to the “Media Libraries” option. This launches the media library wizard. From here, you can add folders for all five libraries that 7MC uses: Music, Pictures, Videos, Recorded TV, and Movies. The process to add and remove folders to each library is identical; today we are looking at pictures and videos, so select which file you would like to add and press next.

 Media Library Page 1

Depending on whether you already have folders added to the library you will either have the option to both add and remove folders; or, if this is your first time, you will only have the option to add folders to the library.

No folders Present

No Folders Present 

Folders Present

Sep 08 2011

Guide - CableCARD Tuner Essentials

Technology of CableCARD; How long it’s been around? Why’s it important?
For the full nitty gritty details of CableCARD check out the Wikipedia entry which is fairly thorough. At a higher level, the technology was developed to protect consumers from being forced into having to rent set top boxes (STB) at increasing fees from cable companies (or MSOs) without an alternative. From a home theater PC (HTPC) perspective, it meant the ability to natively tune high definition programming from a cable provider (previously the options were only analog cable, or digital over the air broadcasts).

Originally, the exposure for HTPCs was minimal as there was a single tuner from ATI which required special Windows Vista activation from only a few OEM PC manufacturers; so if you wanted to have CableCARD it required purchasing an entire PC, leaving DIYers out. When Windows 7 was introduced, this requirement was removed and any customers were allowed to purchase ATI tuners and activate them.  Until recently, CableCARD recordings were subject to fairly restrictive DRM, so even after the OEM requirements were relaxed, the technology was not viable for enthusiasts who wanted to placeshift the recordings.

Sep 02 2011

Guide - Methods to Resolve and Diagnose Sleep Problems with Windows 7

While getting sleep to work reliably with windows 7 is much easier than it was in the days of windows XP, it still can take a little bit of work to get the settings rights. One thing that makes it easier is knowing when the computer went to sleep and then when, and what woke it up. There are several methods to accomplish this task. I will be covering three in this guide. The first is to run powercfg -lastwake from a comand prompt, second is to create a custom view in event viewer and the last method is to use StandbyTracker, a tool created by Andrew Van Til, which will log the sleep events as well as log the results of powercfg -lastwake on each resume. This guide will cover each in that order.  First up is using the command prompt...

Command Prompt

Aug 18 2011

Guide - Using the Native 7MC Movie Library

 While there are certainly a number of options when it comes to movie management within Microsoft Windows 7 Media Center (7MC) such as My Movies, Media Browser, etc., one of the simplest is the included native movie library. This guide will cover the following:
  1. What types of files can be added to the library
  2. How to add files to the library.
  3. Ways to get metadata for your movies.
What types of files can be added
Out of the box, the 7MC Movie Library will display the default file types that it can play. (Link to microsoft article about default file types) In addition to the files on the this list, the movie library will also display movies that are ripped from DVDs and stored in video_ts and audio_ts folders. In order to have other file types displayed (such as MKV and .iso) which are not natively supported by 7MC, you will need to enable this file type via a “hack” or workaround. For example, with .mkv files this type is enabled when a splitter such as Haali media splitter is installed. Head to the forums if you are having issues with a specific file type being displayed in Media Center. Below is a list of common formats and their native (out of the box) support within 7MC.

Aug 10 2011

Guide - Creating an HTPC Activity on Logitech Harmony One

Last Christmas my wife, reprising her role as Santa Claus, climbed down the chimney and left the Logitech Harmony One universal remote under the tree. It was gleaming in the early morning sunshine--I got a little misty-eyed. After fulfilling my familial obligations (I love watching my son open presents) I scurried upstairs and began tinkering.
I had two objectives in mind when I selected the Logitech Harmony One. We needed a means of relegating our collection of remotes to the closet and I wanted to make simple tasks like watching TV and listening to music easier for my wife and son. In order to accomplish these tasks I needed to find a way to control my WMC-based HTPC. With a huge assist from two articles written by Stuart Harrison at, I was able to do just that. What follows are the steps I used to create an HTPC activity on my Logitech Harmony One remote.

  • Windows Media Center based HTPC
  • IR Remote for WMC (I use the one that came with XP MCE)
  • Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote
  • Logitech Harmony Software (download here)


  • Install Logitech Software

Just click on the link above and download the version of the software appropriate for your OS. There’s nothing about the installation that requires any direction. Once installed it will open the software automatically, bringing you to a log in screen. This software requires an online profile, so create one and enter the required fields. Once that’s done it will prompt you to connect the remote to your computer via the supplied USB cable.

Aug 04 2011

Guide - Beginners Guide to installing Windows 7

Have you wanted to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7 or just do a fresh install and don't know where to start? Running Windows 7 can be a huge time saver, and, in many cases, will run much faster on the computer you already own, with not much required. Maybe a memory upgrade to give your computer a little more speed. The computer may not be the fastest one on the block, for more speed you need at least two GB of RAM for basic computing.

What is needed before beginning:
* At least 1GB of RAM (Recommended 2GB or more)
* 32-bit or 64-bit machine and your choice of version of Windows 7 (microsoft link), all disc come with 64 or 32 versions (FYI OEM are specific to one type)
* 7GB of hard drive space just for the Operating System (80GB or more recommended)

An external video card is not required, but you will most likely not get the cool Windows Aero effects if you don’t have anything besides on-board graphics processing unit (GPU) on older machines. Any newer on-board or integrated GPUs can handle Aero as well as discrete GPUs.

Microsoft offers a Windows 7 Update Advisor which can be run on a Windows XP SP2 or Vista machine to help identify your PC’s compatibility with drivers or software and Windows 7. This will help you to determine what might not work when you do the upgrade or what new piece of hardware you are going to need before you do the install.

I always recommend you back up all of your data before you do a custom install. There are ways around this, but lets just keep it simple for now.

Lets get started with the actual installation!

There are two options to install Microsoft Windows 7:

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