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Archive for the ‘Stick it to the man’ Category

How to stream video to your XBox360 using Ubuntu + uShare

Posted by slayton on April 26, 2009

I’ve known for a while that the newest Xbox 360 software supports streaming video from a computer running Window Media Center. What I didn’t know is that when Microsoft added the media center capabilities they decided to use someone else’s media server standard; UPnP to be precise.

This is really exciting because this means that anybody who implements this standard can stream video to an Xbox over the network.

I run Ubuntu Linux and discovered that there are several programs you can install that will setup a UPnP Media Server, the one I picked to use is uShare.  To install ushare I opened a terminal and ran:

sudo apt-get install ushare

After that I had to edit the ushare configuration file saved under /etc/ushare.conf

If you don’t feel comfortable editing the file you can run to help you setup the configuration file.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure ushare

Here is how I setup my file (I’ve removed the comments from the file for readability):


USHARE_IFACE=eth0 (the name of which ethernet adapter you’ll send the data over)



USHARE_DIR=/home/slayton/Desktop/Shares (any dir will work just put your media there)



USHARE_ENABLE_XBOX=yes (the USHARE_ is missing in the file you need to add it)


uShare automatically starts a daemon upon boot, I don’t like this so I kill the daemon after boot with:

sudo /etc/init.d/ushare stop

Then I start uShare when I need it with:

ushare -x  (-x is for xbox compatible mode)

Start up your Xbox scroll the Video Library, select Ubuntu_Media_Server (or whatever name you picked) and begin the streaming goodness!


Posted in How To, Linux, Stick it to the man | Tagged: , , , , | 22 Comments »

How I got my Verizon Contract cut in half!

Posted by slayton on April 22, 2009

This is how I got my verizon contract cut down by one year!

I signed a new contract back in January so I was locked in with verizon for 24 months (until Jan 2011).  I get discounted service through my work so I called up verizon to apply the discount. To get the discount however, the contract needed to be in my name (it was previously under my wife’s name). It was an easy switch to make, I had to provide social security number and and verbally recognize that if the bill doesn’t get paid its my credit that gets hit.

Here’s the trick, because I made the change over the phone I wasn’t able to sign a paper contract, rather I agreed to a verbal contract.  Verizon will only sign a 1 year if done verbally. My 2 year agreement got cut down to a 1 year agreement! My contract that should have expired Jan 2011 now expire April 2010.   I don’t qualify for a free phone until Jan 2011 but my contract is up May 2010!

If you want to do the same its simple, get someone who trusts you to accept the contract in their name. If you have a family plan like i do just switch the primary account holder to another person on the family plan!

Posted in How To, Stick it to the man | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How I got around Comcast’s blockade of SSH

Posted by slayton on April 21, 2009

I have 2 computers a home computer and a work computer. I do a lot of work on both of them and being able to access files on one from the other is essential.  To do this securely I use SSH.  The only problem is that I can only SSH from my home computer to my work, but I can’t SSH in the other direction. I’ve done some reading around and it looks like comcast either blocks all incoming traffic that isn’t http related or actually has me sharing an IP with several people. Regardless, a lot of people have been having problems accepting incoming SSH connections with comcast.  I figured out how to get around this problem. All it takes is a little bit of reverse port forwarding, or reverse tunneling.

Here is how I did it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in How To, Linux, Stick it to the man | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »