Build and Set Up XBMC on a Raspberry Pi Computer

This is a quick tutorial on how to assemble the Raspberry Pi and where to buy some of the parts.  Take a look and let me know if you have any questions.

Lets Prepare a card for running RASPBMC (XBMC on a Raspberry PI)

Now that you have put it together lets download some repositories

Finally Set up XBMC on a Raspberry PI…this is long…

Configure your SD card to run Raspbmc on your Raspberry Pi

Hi guys.  I wanted to link my video tutorial that I have recently uploaded to help those who are trying to install Raspbmc on to their SD card to run the XBMC program on a Raspberry Pi.  It can be a little confusing so I made an easy to follow video.

If you are confused by what the heck I just said in the paragraph above don’t worry I will break it down.  The raspberry pi is a micro computer that many are using as a mini home theater PC.  The Raspberry Pi runs Linux, or other variants of operating systems.  Two that are popular (because they run the the XBMC interface) are RaspBMC made by a guy named Nazarko and Raspbian made by some other guy (forgive me I don’t know the developer).  I have only installed RaspBMC.

The RaspBMC operating system needs to be installed over the web with a live internet connection.  The SD card must first be prepped so when you first plug in your Raspberry device it will know what to do.  Think of the card as self booting and self installing.  Once you follow my video and install the RaspBMC software then you install the SD card into the Raspberry device, plug it in and it takes it from there and finishes the software install.  Believe me, its a lot easier than it sounds.

Check it out.

Canon T2i, Still a valid player for photographers and videographers

Canon Pic

Ever since Vincent LaForet rocked the world with Reverie, the video and DSLR camera world has never been the same.  Vincent picked up the Canon 5D MKII and made a quick film that showed everyone that the DSLR format was perfect for the indie film maker and hobbyists.  It also proved that you no longer had to spend $10k-$20k for the cinematic quality and look.

The only problem was that even the 5D MKII was too much money for me to justify.  The Canon T2i was the answer that guys like me were waiting for.  The T2i was less than $1,000 and had many of the same attributes that the 5D possessed.  Large sensor (not the same but still large compared to camcorders), good in low light, ability for great out of focus background and artistic bokeh.  Although it was a shaved down version it was enough to satisfy at 1/3 of the 5D’s price.  In fact, with regards to visual quality it was identical to the Canon 7D because it shared the same exact sensor.  The 7D was and still is one of the most popular sports cameras on the planet.

The Canon T2i is now like an old friend.  Its reliable, easy to use and still cranks out a great image.  I have purchased a couple of new camcorders for convenience and easier operation but have not been able to decide on my next camera for an upgrade.  I am not even sure I need one.  I like the looks of the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera at $1,000 due to the raw capabilities and the built in ProRes codec but it seems a little bit of a step backwards with regards to general operation.  The 5D MKIII is an option but $3,200 bucks is a lot of money.  Recently the 70D has come on to the seen, although not as strong as the 5D with its image it does have an excellent auto focus system.  So after much debate I end up going back to the T2i and remember what I have heard over and over by the Pros…”don’t worry about the tool, just go shoot something.  The more time you spend getting into the gear the less time you have to make great movies and capture moments.”  So, for now I stay with the T2i.  Its reliable, capable and oh yeah…its paid for.

A great resource for learning tips and techniques for the T2i is Dave Dugdale’s site  This guy has logged his adventure from the day he unboxed his first T2i and years later still shares his moments of discovery with the world.  I bet he didn’t expect to become such a hit with the pro-sumers and amateurs but he is a “go to” when you need a quick answer.  He literally has hundreds of videos to help you along.

If you haven’t gotten into DSLR video and feel like trying something new…I would highly recommend a Canon DSLR as a first step.  Whether its a used T2i or a new T3i, T4i, T5i, 60D, 70D…Ok, yes I’m being funny!  There are endless choices but what I am trying demonstrate is no matter what choice you make they are all going to serve you well.  Its important to just get recording!  Happy Filming.

Remembering the Albums…

After giving my daughter her record player that she requested for her birthday I was drawn in while testing it out. Everyone was out of the house and I listened to an entire side of a Gordon Lightfoot album. It really brought back memories of easier times.

There is a tangible physical nature that’s hard to explain.  You held music in your hands.  Watched it spin and respectfully would not lift the needle to rush to the next track.  You would actually listen giving the song it’s due.  That’s what the artist wanted.  That went away somewhere along the line.  It was born of a slower time when we could spare the hours to share an experience never to be interrupted by the beep of a text or a ring of the phone.  I was young but do miss it a little.  Fire in the fall, thanksgiving dinners and easy times.  You only communicated with the ones you were physically with.  Engaged.  Not distracted.  Enjoying just being there, right then.  It was more NOW and less EVERYTHING ALWAYS.

Connect Your Camera and Pictures to your iPad

One complaint that I often hear about the iPad is that there are no ports or card reader slots. One device that helps with this is the Camera Connection Kit. The camera connection kit allows you to import pictures from either your Camera (via PTP protocol) or straight from the SD card. The USB adapter in the kit also allows you to connect other devices like a USB microphone. It is also possible to transfer photos from your iPhone to your iPad using the USB adapter and your iPhone charger cable.  Importing your pics couldn’t be easier. Just plug in an SD card or connect a device with the USB adapter and then connect it to the iPad.  The iPad then auto detects the photos and gives you the choice of importing all or just the ones you select. Once you’ve imported it also gives you the option to delete the pics from the card or device. If you decide not to delete the original pics from the card or device, during the next import the iPad automatically detects pictures that have already been imported and will not duplicate their import saving space.

** Special Note – You can also (if formatted correctly) import a video from an external card to your iPad and delete it once your are finished viewing it. Taking several videos on a card for a trip or vacation just got easy!!**

Priced at $25 this is an easy choice. Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (MC531ZM/A)


Insert card into adapter then the adapter into your iPad:image

The iPad auto detects the photos:image

Once the photos are detected, you choose the ones you want to keep or delete:image

One trick that people have discovered is to use the USB adapter to connect a microphone and other audio devices that can be used with Garage Band and audio recording software. This opens a whole new world of potential especially for podcasters on the go.

You can buy the camera connection kit here

Micro Media Center – Raspberry Pi and we’re not talking desert

An in depth video series explaining how you can make your own Micro HTPC is coming SOON!

raspberryIf you’re like me (your typical guy) then you love watching movies. Bluray is great and there is nothing like watching a hi def movie on an HD television or projector. When you need to move from one viewing location to another then the problems begin. You need multiple bluray players and you need to physically drag the movie around with you. With home networking now being fairly easy to set up, a good media streaming player will make it possible to view your movies at any location in the house. Now, almost all DVD players and TV’s have some sort of media playback solution integrated right into their circuitry. The problem is that some work well and some don’t. That’s why having an independent media player/streamer can make life a lot easier.

There are many players on the market…Roku, Apple TV, Boxee Box to name a few. While all of these have their strengths it seems like none of them can do everything. The Raspberry Pi comes close and at a size and price that is hard to believe…around $40, wow!

You can buy the latest Raspberry Pi release here: Raspberry Pi Model B Revision 2.0 (512MB)

The Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer that was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK for educational purposes. This small computer with some slick software called Raspbmc enables you to run a full fledged home theater with the XBMC interface. I know if you are unfamiliar with some of these terms I just mentioned then your eyes may be rolling back right now but truly it’s so easy to set up its silly. I am going to provide a multi-video, step by step tutorial on exactly what you need to do to build a really cool home theater device.

This Kit contains the Raspberry board, the case, SD Card and Power Supply. A complete kit that you will need to follow along with my upcoming video tutorials.

Bluetooth Audio – The BOP is music to my ears…and my wallet (with sound sample)

Sometimes the smallest and least expensive toys can be the most satisfying. Enter the “BOP”.


I was at my friends lake house not long ago when he brought out this little blue rubber gadget and said “lets listen to some music”. At first I wanted to laugh seeing how small it was I really expected it to sound terrible like most devices this size often do. To my surprise it had a pretty decent sound. I was impressed but when he showed me how it would stay suctioned to his forehead…I was SOLD!

The BOP is available in multiple colors. It is comprised of a speaker, some sort of small amplifier (built in) and a rubber housing. The rubber housing doubles as a suction cup and will stick to almost any flat surface making it very flexible for placement. It communicates with any bluetooth device and will play music or audio from that device. The price is only $30 which I think is a great buy.

Bop Bluetooth Speaker


Set up of the BOP was a cinch. Turn it on and it immediately showed up on my iPhone as an available bluetooth device. I selected “bop” on my bluetooth device page and it connected in seconds. Once connected it will reconnect when the two devices see one another again. If there are several devices nearby that have been connected to the BOP prior the BOP will randomly select any device to connect to which can be a little bit of a nuisance. This is not unlike other bluetooth devices though.


The controls for the BOP are simple. There are three buttons. The center switch is the play/pause button while the two buttons on the outside change tracks if clicked once or act as volume control if you hold the buttons down. Once the BOP reaches its loudest volume an indicator beeps to let you know its maxed. There is also a pinhole mic on the upper rim but my experience is that the device needs to be fairly close to your mouth to be truly useful. The BOP charges via a micro usb port and will last more than 4 hours on a single charge playing music. Along side the micro usb port is the on/off switch.


The sound quality may surprise you and if you need a compact audio device this is a no brainer. Once the suction cup is tightened down to a surface the sound quality actually improves a little. It is only a mono sound source but compared to the iPhone speaker it is 10 times better and much louder. Camping, beach trips, boating there are just too many places that someone could use one of these.

You can buy a BOP here: