Software Redux: Boxee

21 06 2010

Yes I’m using Boxee now.  The reason? I got ‘new’ hardware.  I inherited a used machine with a working onboard video card that was enough for Boxee to run.  So I installed Boxee and overall really like it.  It’s nice to be able to watch The Daily Show on Saturday morning when I don’t even have cable.  But I do have one major qualm with Boxee: the inability for it to sleep. My only annoyance with Boxee is that if I have my media sources set to a network share and set to scan daily… if that network share isn’t available it REMOVES all the media that previous was in there.  Not a big deal if the network share is always on but mine isn’t.  My eventual build has a WOL packet sent to my server every time windows logins in to prevent this but it was annoying at first.

Power Saving Boxee Box: Is it really this hard?

Goal: To have a media center box that goes to sleep while it’s not in use and comes back on quickly when needed.

Boxee doesn’t make that easy, or at least not that I can find.

Problems with Boxee and Power Savings:

1) It overrides Window’s Power Settings so you can’t just set the box to go to sleep after a period of Idle time.  This process worked fine for the old setup but not for Boxee.

2) It doesn’t include anyway to do this within Boxee. It does have a sleep mode but that only goes for the monitor it is attached to.

3) Boxee does NOT come out of sleep well.  In face it basically freezes and after a Ctrl+Alt+Del kill it will work again.

Solution:

1) Don’t use sleep; use shutdown instead.  I set the computer to auto login (with Tweak UI), wake the server, and auto start Boxee with each boot so its easy. It takes a little longer than sleep but not terribly long.

2) AMP WinOFF — I tried a few other shutdown apps to monitor on network traffic, etc but none of them seemed to really fit my needs.  I had to change directions and this one came up amazing. I set it to immediately start a 3 hour countdown to shutdown when the computer boots. I hide the window and when that 3 hours are up it pops a window with 2 options:

a) Restart Timer – It will start another 3 hour countdown from that point and repeat the cycle
b) Cancel Shutdown – This stops the timer and the computer will be on until you turn it off

If neither of those options are chosen it will shutdown.

For an apartment of 2 people it means AT MOST it will be on for 6 hours a day IF someone turns it on walks away and someone else is using it mid 3 hour point.  The likelihood of that happening with its usage is very small in my living situation. Most days it doesn’t get turned on and when it does 95% of the time it will turn itself off in 3 hours. Not a perfect energy-saving plan but better than the alternative of leaving it on all the time accidentally.

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