My media player ? the Popcorn Hour A-100 ? died about 6 weeks ago. I ended up requesting an RMA as it was under warranty and it just cam back, as good as ? well ? ?can be expected?. In the interim, I was using my backup, the MViX 780. There were a few things about the MViX I liked but it?s older chipset means it didn?t like a number of the encodings used by my videos. One notable example was the H.264 files that I download each night with the NBC Nightly news from their podcast servers.
Before I get too far into this, I should not that the Popcorn Hour (PCH) is yet another ?Network Media Tank? (NMT) so it shares a lot of its hardware and capabilities with a bunch of other media players. Also, the A-110 is now available and I would bet there will be a whole new crop over the next 12 months.
With the my PCH back, I decided to make it a bit more functional. I moved the nightly news download from the ReadyNas to the media player. I also added a more esthetic UI ?skin?. I had to make some changes to the cron jobs (scheduled program execution). The PCH has three default schedules ? hourly (at 30 minutes past the hour), daily (at 4AM), and weekly (on Sunday morning). I added my fetching of the NBC podcast into the daily schedule. Finally, I wanted to remove the PCH watermark that shows on on all screens but it appears that image file gets loaded before I have a chance to replace it.
The challenge with making any changes to the system files is that they get restored every time the PCH is rebooted. I had to find the a place that did not get reset and then find some file that was executed and add commands to reapply my changes to the system files. With a hard disk installed in the PCH, it persists between reboots and there is a ?start up? file called start_app.sh file in the root of the hard disk. So, I store all of my customized files (cron.hourly, cron.daily, and cron.weekly) in a directory I called ?SystemFiles? in the root of the internal hard disk and then added the following line to the start_app.sh file ?
cp /opt/sybhttpd/localhost.drives/HARD_DISK/SystemFiles/cron.* /etc
Note: If you are on Windows and you create files for the PCH, you will have bad CRLF in your text files. You will need to find a way to create/edit files to be UNIX friendly and only have LF.