Hacks and tweaks

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The different versions/builds of Slice's software

The FiveNinjas have evolved three types of 'build'. These contain all the software (OS) needed to run Slice, including the latest stable builds of OpenELEC and Kodi:

Stable - a fully-tested build. (As of 18/10/15, contains OpenELEC 6.0 and Kodi 15.2 Isengard).

Nightly - a build containing new functionality and/or updates that is being tested - similar to Beta software.

Bloody - a newer build which may be unstable and therefore should only be installed by Kodi 'power users' - similar to Alpha.


NOTE - a log of changes/additions to the Stable build is available here: [1]

How to update Slice's software

NOTE - if the user has installed a stable build after October 19th 2015, then updates to the stable build will be installed automatically from that date onwards.


IMPORTANT - backup your libraries and settings first!


IMPORTANT - At the NOOBS recovery screen, if you see:

WTF -  Where's the other installations?  Visit forums.fiveninjas.com for more info

Then you need to update Slice's NOOBS: see NOOBS (New Out Of The Box Software) update procedure below. After the update, the 'WTF' line will disappear and the Nightly and Bloody builds will be available.


Backup procedure

Goto: Setup -> OpenElec Settings -> System

Select <Create system and Kodi backup>

This will create a tar (zipped) file in Slice's /storage/backup folder.

The user will need to access using SSH - guide here:[2].

Copy the tar file onto a pc or other storage device.

Reboot Slice.


NOOBS (New Out Of The Box Software) update procedure

During boot-up or re-boot, at the Slice screen, press the Ninja button (top right) on the remote to get to the NOOBS recovery system screen.

Hit the <Fast Forward> key and follow the prompts hitting 'Yes' and/or 'OK'.

Slice will reboot.


Slice OS update procedure (or to install different OS build)

During boot-up or re-boot, at the Slice screen, press the Ninja button (top right) on the remote to get to the NOOBS recovery system screen.

Unselect Slice's installed build by pressing the <Play> button.

Select the desired build (Stable, Nightly, or Bloody) by pressing <Play>.

Press <Install> (top left 'flip' button)

A warning will appear. Move the pointer over to Yes and select OK.

A progress screen will appear. DO NOT touch anything!

A 'successful installation' popup will appear.

Select <OK>.

Slice will reboot.


How to change Slice's skin font/change the character set

The default Campton font used by Slice does not include any other language character sets such as Greek or Cyrillic. At the time of writing (July 2015) it is not possible in Slice to change the font to one that does support sets, such as Arial. However, an add-on has been developed by Slice Forum member tsonix [3] which allows the font to be changed to Arial, thus allowing other character sets.

The zip file can be downloaded here [4]. NOTE - it contains a complete (amended) skin directory, and so is 44MB in size.

Copy the zip file (as is) onto a usb thumb drive.

Goto: Setup -> Addons -> Add-on manager

Select <install from zip file>

Navigate to the thumb drive and then select the file 'skin.sliceu-0.9.4.zip'

Wait a few seconds for it to load

Click <Yes> to <Would you like to switch skin?>

The new font will appear

Goto: Setup -> XBMC Settings -> Appearance

The amended skin is titled 'Sliceu'

Both the skin and theme can be freely changed in this menu.


How to install a timed spin-down of the hard drive

This requires the use of SSH - see Transferring media and networking guide#How to access Slice from another device.

For Windows users, WinSCP [5] is strongly recommended for its ease of use.

In WinSCP or an SSH terminal, type (NOTE the dot which indicates a hidden folder):

/storage/.config/autostart.sh

In a text editor, open autostart.sh and insert the following line:

hdparm -S24 /dev/sda

This command involves using a multiplier of 5, ie. 24*5 = 120 seconds - the time can thus be adjusted to any figure. NOTE - some warn against making the time too short, as this may affect the life of the drive.

The hdparm command does not work with all drives. It has been tested to work on the 1TB drive supplied in certain Slice models.


How to update to latest Kodi and OpenELEC versions (unofficial)

Thanks to the work of forum member MikeBuzz [6], it is now possible to update Slice to the very latest builds of Kodi and OpenELEC.

WARNING - these updates are NOT supported by FiveNinjas and are for use AT YOUR OWN RISK!

The update will REPLACE your current software - it DOES NOT enable dual-boot.

A wiki page describing the update process is available here: [7]

The update files are available for download here: [8]

The current master build is at the bottom, in a tar (zipped) file.

For completeness, MikeBuzz has included all his updates in the Archive folder. He also keeps a detailed record of changes in his Github, located here [9].

Update procedure

Using Windows network, copy the tar file (as it is) into the \\Slice\update folder (which should be empty).

Reboot Slice - the OS will recognise the new package in the update folder and load that instead.

A second reboot will start automatically.

Red LEDs on power-down tweak (unofficial)

MikeBuzz has kindly provided a useful little utility that lets the user know when it is safe to remove the psu from Slice. On selecting <Power down> in the Slice menu, the red LEDs will light up and remain lit until the system is completely shut down. This utility can be downloaded here [10].

From the compressed file you downloaded, extract the 2 files (off.png and shutdown.sh) and copy them into the /storage/.config directory using SSH [11], or use the network to copy the 2 files to \\Slice\Configfiles.

Reboot Slice.


How to configure an IR remote to control Slice

(thanks to forum member tsonix for his work on this, and to Bleep for additional info)

As stated elsewhere in the wiki [12] the remote included with slice is RF rather than the more usual IR (infrared) model. However, Slice also includes an IR sensor, enabling almost any IR remote to be configured for use.

IMPORTANT - ensure that you have installed a build version dated AFTER mid-August 2015. To upgrade your build, see the procedure at the top of this page.


Connection check (optional)

To check that the remote will work with Slice:

SSH into Slice (info here:) [13]

Type

killall lircd
mode2 -d /dev/lirc0

Start pressing random buttons on the remote.

If you see lines with numbers, then the connection is working.

Press Ctrl+C, and choose either to record the keys or load an existing codefile (see below).

Troubleshooting - Slice does not respond...

Check the remote itself - does it work with another device? Are the batteries OK?

Check line-of-sight between Slice and the remote - is there a big stuffed animal toy in the way? Are you in a different room?


Key recording

Type

killall lircd
irrecord .config/lircd.conf

The <irrecord> program asks the user to begin hitting keys in an attempt to learn. If successful, the user will then be prompted to map out each key press - the list of available key commands is here [14].

NOTE - The Ninja key is KEY_CONTEXT_MENU, and the top-left Flip key is KEY_ANGLE.

Reboot Slice.


Example keymap

If the user wished to replicate the Slice remote control's commands, it would be:

Flip menu (top left) - KEY_ANGLE
Ninja 'context' (top right) - KEY_CONTEXT_MENU
Up/down/left/right - KEY_UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT
OK - KEY_OK
Back button - KEY_BACK
Stop play - KEY_STOP
Play/Pause - KEY_PLAYPAUSE
Scroll back - KEY_REWIND
Scroll forward - KEY_FORWARD

Additional useful commands (if buttons available on IR remote):

Shut down Slice - KEY_POWER
Slice volume up - KEY_VOLUMEUP
Slice volume down - KEY_VOLUMEDOWN
Slice mute - KEY_MUTE
Return to main screen - KEY_HOME

Troubleshooting - if the above does not work...

(Thanks to forum member Smittytone for this section)

OPTIONAL - if the procedure shown above does not trigger the correct Kodi actions for the two special buttons (the 'Ninja' and the 'Flip' key), do the following:

SSH [15] into Slice and type:

cd /usr/share/kodi/system
cp lircmap.xml /storage/.kodi/userdata
cd keymaps
cp remote.xml /storage/.kodi/userdata/keymaps
cd /storage/.kodi/userdata

NOTE - <cd> to <change directory> and <cp> for <copy>.

Now edit the lircmap.xml file:

Scroll down to the devinput section (<remote device="devinput">)

Find the list of <title>. . . </title> entries and add the lines:

<title>KEY_C</title>.
<enter>KEY_TAB</enter>

Comment out the other <title>. . . </title> entries (this may not be necessary)

Save the file.

Reboot Slice.


Using an existing LIRC codefile

There is also a comprehensive database of remotes available here [16]. Rename the selected file 'lircd.conf' (without quotes) and copy using SSH into the /storage/.config folder (note the dot).

Reboot Slice.


Modded skin allowing movie plot autoscroll and favourites option

Forum member cerebro has modded the Slice skin so that longer film descriptions will now autoscroll. He has also added a <Favourites> option to the <Power> menu.

NOTE:To initialise the autoscroll feature the user will need to first load the 'Confluence' skin: goto Skin settings -> General and tick the option to enable autoscroll. While there is not an option to do this in the Slice skin, enabling it in 'Confluence' turns on the option across Kodi.

Then switch back to the new 'Sliced' skin and the autoscroll of longer film plots will be enabled by default.

The zip file (named skin.sliced.zip) can be downloaded here [17] and loaded in the usual way.