Silverlight 5 nightmare…

I subscribe to LoveFilm and I have to say was pretty disappointed when they switched from Flash to Silverlight. Mainly because I can no longer stream movies with Linux, but also because I have had problems with Silverlight before. I wasn’t surprised therefore that when they made the switch my media computer stopped streaming films. I tried all the normal stuff, turned off the firewall, added * to the trusted website in the control panel. Uninstalled, reinstalled. Tried different browsers, cleared browser cache. Everything. Nothing worked. I even contacted LoveFilm support who asked me to do all that again and then pretty much gave up.

I then noticed that it was only DRM content that wasn’t working! Annoying, as I should have spotted that before. So some more digging and I found that the DRM licenses used by MS software are stored in “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds”. So I renamed it. Bingo, DRM content including LoveFilm streaming now works! Doing this will mean you loose all existing DRM licenses, for me that wasn’t an issue as I didn’t have any. Frustrating! At least I can stream films now. Well, just need to encourage my ADSL modem to find enough bandwidth, it over heats poor thing and gets all slow and rubbish.

Text Message Alerts

I have long been interested in setting up my computer so that it is possible for it to tell me what is going on via sms messaging. This would be useful for both my day job and also to alert me to interesting things that it might detect. So I finally got round to setting it up.

Using an old Huawie E220 GSM modem and the linux package called gammu-smsd all of my software can now send me texts. I used to use the modem for mobile broadband but I upgraded to MiFi so I got an ordinary pay as you go sim card for the modem and set it up. These modems are perfectly capable of sending texts. I chose the gammu-smsd because it has the option of using a mysql backend. One tip is that the mysql tables are provided in a file which is included in the distributed source code. Also I ran tail on /var/log/messages (Opensuse – do the same for your version of linux) to see which device the modem is attached too. You can force it use the same one if you like. I might end up doing this if it causes a problem.

Using mysql is handy because you can send a message by directly writing the messsage details in the the outbox table in the database. Easy. I wrote a very simple Java interface to the mysql database that all of my programs can connect to. Any program can use the Java library to inject a message into the database and then it is promptly sent. The computer set up to send the sms messages doesn’t even have to be the computer that is running the simulation. One machine with an accessible database can provide a messaging service for any number of computers. There are alternative approaches but this seemed the easiest to set up quickly.

This is helpful because often simulations take a long time to run and it is useful to be able to leave them to it knowing that I will be notified when the task has completed, or if the task failed for some reason (there is nothing more annoying than finding out that a simulation stopped for some reason the minute you turned your back). I can then log back into the machine and either start the next simulation or whatever. I can also set it to alert me to interesting market events.