XBMC on a CubieBoard?

The very first result that Google gave me when trying to find information on running XBMC on the CubieBoard (which is powered by the Allwinner A10), was this link.

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Android_hardware

This, in clear letters states…

Avoid hardware that uses the Allwinner series of chips (such as the Allwinner A10).  Development is not going well for these devices.”

Yes, “Avoid” really is written in bold.  This does not bode well.

I shall try, none-the-less.  After all, I have my backup img files for when things go horribly wrong.

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Cubian from the beginning…

This is one of those posts that’s purely here for my own reference documenting what I need to do in the event that I need to start all this over from scratch.

This isn’t necessarily the exact order in which I’ve done things this time, as it’s taking me longer to resolve some issues over others, and I’ve reordered things into the process I plan to use in the event that I do need to start over.

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CubieBoard WiFi Made Simple (TP-Link TL-WN725N)

Today I went out and picked up a MicroSD card.  After all of yesterday’s frustrations, I wanted to have more options, and I figured an 8GB card would be more than plenty to store an OS with both XBMC and a web development server.

Chances are, it’ll never actually be getting used as both at the same time.  If I’m watching TV, I’m probably not working on PHP code, and if I’m working on PHP code, I’m probably not interested in watching TV.

I’ve restored the NAND flash back to the latest Android (it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever really want to play with Android, but it’s not doing any harm, and it’ll give me something to do on those rare days when I just get curious), and I’ve installed Cubian (I’m using R7 for the A10) onto an 8GB MicroSD card.

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More CubieBoard Adventures

So, I’m going to identify a couple of initial issues I’ve discovered with the default Linaro/Lubuntu Server image on the CubieBoard, and document how I’m getting around them, mostly for my own personal future reference, just so that if I have to start from scratch again, I have a frame of reference.

So, problems?

  • HDMI Overscan is far too much.  I can’t see the top or bottom couple of lines of the console display, and I’d say there’s probably 4 characters to the left missing (so, presumably about 4 missing on the right, too).
  • It doesn’t detect my WiFi dongle.  I’m using a TP-Link TL-WN725N Version 2 which uses the RTL8188EU chipset.  This was actually detected just fine and worked perfectly in a couple of the Android images I’d tested.  This version of the dongle was so much of a bugger to try to get working on the Pi that I gave up and just used a Netgear dongle instead that was automatically detected.

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Adventures with CubieBoard

Oh boy, what a day.  Where to begin?  Well, how’s about the beginning?  I suppose that’s the usual order of things.

I’d been looking at the various CubieBoards that are available for a little while now, and have had my heart set on a CubieTruck (it satisfies a few hardware needs for something I want to do that I don’t think the Pi will be able to handle without a USB hub, a few extra gadgets & gizmos, a handful of extra USB batteries and a lot of faffing around).

Other than the one specific example mentioned above, the Pi can handle pretty much everything I would need such a device for, but there I was on Boxing Day, minding my own business, when I see an original CubieBoard (the CubieTruck is version 3 of the CubieBoard) for sale on eBay at an absolute steal of a price (even less than the cost of a Raspberry Pi, so how could I not?).

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Tiny computers are taking over

I’ve been using and working with x86 based PCs for a little over 21 years now.

I started off with MS-DOS 3.3 and Windows 3.0 on a 286.  The 40MB hard drive I had in there was so huge it had to be partitioned across two drive letters as the maximum partition size that MS-DOS 3.3 could see was a whopping 32MB.

I made the natural progression to MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows For Workgroups 3.11, then Windows 95, at which point I learned about networking, and sometime in 1996 I discovered Linux.

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Hello world!

Yes, that’s right, I’m leaving the default WordPress post here, and just editing the content.

I don’t know why I’m bothering to setup another blog.  I have a couple already for various things, but none of them are really for me.

So, that’s what this is for.  I’ll post a mix of all sorts.  Sometimes it’ll be about photography, sometimes about tech and gadgets, sometimes camping & outdoors type stuff, sometimes it’ll be personal, and sometimes it’ll be… I don’t know what.

That’s the joy of having your own blog.  Your blog, your rules.

I don’t know how regularly I may be posting, I’ll just post when I feel like I have something I have to say.

I’ll also be putting some things up on here just as a reminder and reference for myself, as I’m a forgetful sort.

I’ll probably forget to change the default WordPress theme for at least the next couple of months.

Anyway, here’s the blog, not that it’s much at the moment.