Saturday, March 28, 2020

Setting up Plex for Live TV & DVR recording on a Nvidia Shield TV Pro with an EXTERNAL USB DRIVE

Tips for setting up Plex for Live TV & DVR recording on a Nvidia Shield TV Pro with an EXTERNAL USB DRIVE.

These are random things I leaned when I set up Plex for Live TV & DVR on my Nvidia Shield TV Pro. Hopefully these will help others to set this up. 
These may not be perfect, as I am writing them up after doing everything... but I still think it will be a big help if you are doing this for the first time! 

Note the difference between the following locations where you will find different important settings:
  1. the Nvidia Shield settings: Go to the top right of the main shield screen on the TV and click on the gear icon.
  2. the Plex app settings on the Shield: Go to your username at the top left of the Plex menu on the Shield, select that and then Settings.
  3. the Plex Web app settings: Go to your compute and use the browser to reach the settings in the Plex Media server: http://server.local.ip.address:32400/web  (Use your actual Shield's IP address, not the text in this sample) 


1) You have to turn on "Plex Media Server" inside the Plex app on the Shield to enable the "Live TV and DVR" features. Go to your username at the top left of the Plex menu on the shield, select that and then Settings. Scroll down to "Plex Media Server" and turn it on. 
Note: About multiple Plex Servers on the Network. I already had a Plex server on my NAS for my personal video library. I wasn't sure what would happen when I added the Plex server, but it works fine. Actually both the Plex web app and the app on the Shield gracefully handle both servers. 
2) Use a PC to format the USB drive as NTFS (Supposedly exFAT is fine too, but I didn't try that.) My WD Elements 2TB drive came formatted this way. 

3) Use the Shield's "Removable storage" setting. When you plug the USB drive into the Shield, the Shield will see the drive and the Notification will prompt you to set it up. BUT, it will already show up as "Removable storage" in the Storage menu. (Settings/Device Preferences/Storage). Plex recommends (here: that you use the drive as "removable storage", so do NOT set the drive up as "Device storage". Ignore the Shield's suggestions to format the drive to add it as "Device storage". 

4) Only one directory on the USB drive works: "NVIDIA_SHIELD". 
In the Shield menu, find: Settings/Device Preferences/Storage
You can turn ON the switch for "Transfer files over the local network"
You can then set up directories for your libraries as you wish by using a computer to connect to the hard drive as described here:
NOTE!: There is only ONE place the Shield will allow Plex to write to the external USB drive! This is the folder called: "NVIDIA_SHIELD". You MUST put your directories and libraries there, or the libraries will not work! (This took me write a while to figure out. And no, changing the permissions doesn't let you place the files elsewhere.)
If you want a particular directory structure on the drive, set it up before creating libraries on Plex or doing anything else. Note that Plex DOES strongly recommend a particular directory structure: 

5) You need to set the Storage location for the Plex Media server to the external drive. Go to your username at the top left of the Plex menu on the Shield, select that and then Settings. Scroll down to "Plex Media Server" and use the Storage location setting. Set it to use your external drive. 

6) Make your libraries on Plex and name them correctly the first time.
This stuff must be done from the Web app from a computer, NOT on your Shield! Use this, with the actual IP address of your shield: http://server.local.ip.address:32400/web 

Basic (and inadequate) to set up Live TV and the DVR directions are here: 

Directions to set up libraries are here:

Changing library names IS possible, but it is a pain. And you want to place the libraries in the proper directories as suggested in item 4 above.  
Personally, I suggest naming the libraries something that makes it clear they are DVR recordings and not other movies or videos. I used "TV Shows DVR" and "Movies DVR".  
If you change stuff like library names, it helps to restart the Plex app on the Shield to get it to pick up the changes. You can do this by stopping and the opening the app in the settings on the Shield here: Settings/Apps/Plex 
Use "Force Stop" to stop Plex and the Open to restart it. Wait a minute and the changes should show up. 
Finally, Good Luck! The Live TV and DVR stuff on the Nvidia Shield appears to work great. But it did take a bit of digging around for me to find these details, so hopefully this will help others.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Counterfeit Superfeet Insoles - Are the inexpensive counterfeits the same as the genuine insoles?

Answer: NO.

I've been wearing Superfeet Green insoles in my shoes for many years. And I have also been rather annoyed at the high price! The darn things are about $50 a pair.
So I started to look around, and I found I could buy them on eBay for about $15 a pair!
What a savings!?

Well, the cheap ones are not the same, and when I emailed pictures to Superfeet support, they told me they were counterfeit! When I asked about the differences, they said:
You can see by looking at the pattern of the fabric. Ours goes toe to heel and the counterfeit one goes side to side. Also, if you feel the shape of the foam on the counterfeit insole, you’ll notice it is narrower and there is no shape in the arch area. Ours is a normal width and has a distinct shape and feel to it. If you compare two side by side, you’ll be able to easily see the difference. At a glance, I can see how they may look similar.
I looked closer, and sure enough they are correct. Here are the differences and problems I see with the counterfeit insoles:
  • much less arch support
  • less rounded heel
  • thinner foam
  • foam is too long and wide in the toe area
  • green pattern on top goes side to side instead of from toe to heel
In my opinion, the counterfeit insoles are not good. They lack the arch support of the genuine items and the heel cup is not as rounded. I'll be careful to buy the genuine ones in the future.

Some pictures follow.

On this picture of the green tops, you can see the counterfeit is actually a bit longer, and the lines in the green patter go from side to side, unlike the genuine one which has the pattern going toe to heel. It is hard to see in the picture, but the heel cup on the counterfeit insole has a bit of  flat bottom, unlike the well rounded genuine insole.

 The bottom hard plastic is slightly different on the counterfeit but is very similar to the genuine article. The foam part is definitely longer and a bit wider in the toe area.

The side view is very similar, but the counterfeit's foam is definitely thinner.

The arch support on the counterfeit is definitely lacking! You can also see how the foam is thinner.

The boxes were actually very similar. It would be very hard to tell them apart! I will just leave these photos here without comment.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Vespa LX and S seat lock cable broken - how to fix it!

Modern Vespa  a bunch of posts on this topic... but in my opinion, none have all the key info in one spot.

I'm not going to spell everything out, but if you are mechanically inclined this may be all the info you need.

Here is some of items you will need
- a special tool you make yourself to open the locked seat
- a replacement cable
- a staple gun and stainless steel staples to put the seat cover back on
- other normal tools

Step one: get the seat open.
The easiest way to do this is to make a tool from thin stiff plastic. I used a stiff plastic folder. Here are some pics.

For a temporary solution, you can attach a wire or string to the latch hook like this:

Step two: Get a replacement cable kit, like this one from Scooter West.
Step three: remove the latch cable end.
Remove the cover around the latch and remove the circlip and cable end. In this picture, the cable is broken at this end, so you can only see the cable end ring.

Step four: remove the plastic protectors by the grab rail /rack mounts.
These need to come off to remove the seat cover.

Step five: remove the cylinder lock.
You have to remove the lock before you can remove the seat cover. There is an R style wire retaining clip and two screws. Be sure to remember how these go back together!

Step six: remove the staples that hold the seat cover on and pull the seat cover back.
The seat pad is not glued down so this is fairly easy. I only removed the staples on the back half of the seat.

The rest of the steps:
I'm out going to spell these out as they are as expected!
- replace the cable.
- reassemble the cylinder lock
- staple the seat cover back in place.
- etc.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Veloce in the Garage

I love this picture of my GTV in the garage. I just drove it 170 miles (275 km) over Mount Laguna this morning; that's my regular run to exercise the car. I try to do that at least monthly.
I drive it with my earplugs in and the radio off. It's great to be out there with no distractions, just the steering wheel, the pedals and the road! Forza Alfa!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

"Fast" guys: Crossing the Center Line?

Oops, there is a car coming! In this still taken from a video, the driver has crossed the center line when an oncoming car appears. He does return to his lane, but his recovery appears to force him wide as he exits the corner.

I’ve recently seen a few driving videos where the driver crosses the double yellow center line. My reaction is always… WTF?

The idea seems to be that the driver can go faster by straightening the curve. This is a racing concept for a driver trying to go as fast as possible. (Of course, it isn't legal, but I won't get into that here.)

On public roads, I know some drivers think that if they can see ahead to the next corner and the road is clear, there is no harm in crossing the center line of the road. So they play at racing and cross the center line when they are trying to be “fast”.

But… I have always considered this to be bad form, less fun and dangerous for other drivers (or at least impolite). Please let me explain:

Style and form: 
On the street, no one is truly racing or on a time trial, so there is no real motivation to straighten the corners by crossing the center line. The goal isn’t to get to the destination the quickest, or the driver would take the straight superhighway instead of the curvy back road. On the curvy road, the fun is in cornering, and thus tight sharp corners are fun. Also, staying on the narrow path of your single lane is harder, as it is a greater constraint to the driver, and isn’t the challenge the fun part? I always thought that the more curvy the road, the more fun it is! 
Politeness to other drivers 
It may be true that when the driver can see far ahead, through 3 or more corners, that there may be little risk to crossing the center line for the first corner. But many cross the center line when they can only see the corner they are approaching and the next corner beyond… and this is a true problem for other oncoming drivers. An oncoming driver may come around a corner and find the violating driver across the center line. While there may be plenty of time and space for the violating driver to return to their lane, think of the oncoming driver! That driver doesn’t know what the violating driver will do and there is at least a moment of fear and confusion for them. And that fear and confusion can result in dangerous choices on their part.
Many times, I have come around a corner to find an oncoming car partially in my lane. A few times the oncoming car has been completely in my lane! It’s always a real scare and a concern. What will that driver do? Do they see me? Are they in control? Will they get out of my lane? Or are they going too fast to return to their lane? This experience of being the innocent and frightened oncoming driver has taught me to be polite myself. And thus my personal rule: I don’t cross the center line just to straighten a corner. I have the skill to stay in my own lane, and I can enjoy that challenge.

Another point, imagine two drivers heading toward each other are both crossing the center line. Now you have both drivers in a conundrum! If you are a "center line crosser", are you trusting that you are only driver doing this, and that you won’t encounter an oncoming driver doing the same?

Crossing the center line on public roads isn't an "advanced fast driver technique", it is cutting the course: a dangerous cheat.

Here is my advice: If you cross the center line when driving, try not doing it for a while. And ask yourself, why am I motivated to cross the center line? Is it truly “more fun” to drive that way? Or is it perhaps a lazy habit, because you don’t actually want to do the driving work to follow your designated lane completely through the corner? Or is “going faster”, just a daring exercise to see which driver can cut the corners more, effectively taking the shortest shortcut? What is your personal motivation to cut the corner by crossing the center line, and is it really more fun? I suspect if you stop doing it for a while, and concentrate on all your fun while still remaining in your lane, you may arrive at your destination a few seconds later, but you will have enjoyed the drive just as much and you can be satisfied you haven’t scared any other drivers in the process.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Oil Filter Cutter

Somehow I convinced myself to buy an expensive oil filter cutter.

The purpose of this thing is to see what's in your old filter after you swap in a new one. I also wanted to see inside two different manufacture's filters to compare their construction.

Looking around the web, I saw most liked the Longacre cutter... but I found one made by "Joes Racing Products" that seemed like a nice design to me.

It really is a nicely made tool.

Worked great!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Tar Topper

I always thought these Tar Topper battery covers seemed like a silly idea. I've always just bought a plain black battery and removed the stickers. And sometimes put a Magneti Marelli sticker on top for the fun of it.

But... I needed a new battery and bought a Tar Topper cover to go with it just to see. I picked the red tops to match my car.
The Tar Topper itself is just a really thin and cheesy piece of plastic.

But, it looks pretty good!