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My wireless keyboard/mouse/remote setup

 

 

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ylee at pobox

Dec 31, 2005, 8:04 PM

Post #1 of 4 (7280 views)
Permalink
My wireless keyboard/mouse/remote setup

Larry's Club Cars <larrysclubcars [at] yahoo> says:
> With a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse
> in the frontend, do I really need a remote control?

I too have a wireless keyboard, but still bought myself a learning
remote. A keyboard is nice for many MythTV-related tasks, and very
efficient in many ways, but it just can't replace the convenience of
sitting back on a comfortable chair navigating the frontend with one
thumb. At the same time, a remote can't replace the convenience of a
keyboard in simple things like entering letters and words. I made sure
to get an IR keyboard/mouse so I could teach the codes to my remote;
this way I haven't had to bother with lirc.

I bought an ACK-581 (<URL:http://www.directron.com/ack581.html>).

Positives include:

* The keyboard and integrated mouse thumbpad work well, and at the end
of the day that's what counts. Two PS/2 cables snake out of the IR
receiver, so no compatibility worries about USB keyboards under
Linux, as the KnoppMyth people warn against (although I'm using
Fedora Core 4).
* The black color goes well with the rest of my entertainment setup
(although, naturally, the big-screen flat panel I've ordered only
comes in silver). Beige is also available.
* LinEAK's xosd plugin givss me nice-looking on-screen feedback for
the multimedia keys.

Negatives include:

* Since seemingly few have heard of this model before, it's not
supported out-of-the-box by LinEAK. It's not hard to add support
with some perusing of LinEAK's documentation, but still an annoyance
considering just how many keyboards LinEAK *does* support.
* Not all the multimedia keys generate xev-visible keycodes out of the
box; I had to write a little shell script to generate them with
setkeycodes after figuring out the proper ones with the LinEAK
documentation. (Mysteriously, following said steps, the Mute and
Volume Up keys generated the same keycodes, meaning I had to
reassign Volume Up to a vacant keycode.) Sometimes, for some reason
I can't figure out, the new keycodes disappear and I have to rerun
the shell script. I thus set up a cron entry to regenerate them
regularly.
* If an IR signal gets cut off or garbled mid-keystroke (if, say, the
line of sight gets interrupted while typing), the last-typed key is
liable to continue to repeat endlessly until I push another key. I'm
not sure if this is a quirk of this keyboard or the way the x86
keyboard signaling architecture in general is designed.

My learning remote is the fabled URC MX-500. Its price has come down a
*lot* recently; mine was only $80 or so from Amazon.com.

Positives include:

* Enormous flexibility. I won't go into the remote's many virtues in
detail; see the lengty review at
<URL:http://www.remotecentral.com/mx500/> for more detail. Let's
just say the remote can do pretty much anything you'd ever want an
IR-based remote to do (with a couple of caveats that I'll get to),
all with surprising ease of use, and that there's a reason it's been
the king of super-programmable (yet still somewhat mass-market)
remotes for years.

Negatives include:

* Size. It's big, even for a six-footer like me. Not a problem for me,
and the remote and its keys all *feel* great, but those with small
hands should be aware.
* I can't figure out how to get taught keys to auto-repeat. The manual
makes some vague mention of holding down the keys you teach to it on
the source (the keyboard, in my case) in order to get the MX-500 to
repeat, but for me that either does nothing or results in
endlessly-repeating keys (no doubt with an identical cause to the
similar issue I mentioned earlier regarding the keyboard). Why URC
didn't enable the remote's keys to repeat automatically, without
further effort, by holding keys down (or, perhaps, some setting to
enable or disable repeating per key) I won't ever know.
* I also can't figure out how to program keys with Shift-, Alt-, or
Control-modifications (attempts to do so result in the modifiers
often "sticking," again, no doubt related to the endless-repeating
issue), although I suspect this is probably an issue with training
any learning remote with a keyboard.

Let me close the subject of remotes and keyboards with a puzzle. With
the ATrpms MythTV packaging, I can't get the keystroke-editing
function in Mythweb to work with the global keys section; any keys I
put in there don't stick. Suggestions?

--
Yeechang Lee <ylee [at] pobox> | +1 650 776 7763 | San Francisco CA US


mike at acaciaclose

Jan 1, 2006, 2:15 AM

Post #2 of 4 (7054 views)
Permalink
Re: My wireless keyboard/mouse/remote setup [In reply to]

Yeechang Lee wrote:
> Larry's Club Cars <larrysclubcars [at] yahoo> says:
>
>> With a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse
>> in the frontend, do I really need a remote control?
>>
>
> I too have a wireless keyboard, but still bought myself a learning
> remote. A keyboard is nice for many MythTV-related tasks, and very
> efficient in many ways, but it just can't replace the convenience of
> sitting back on a comfortable chair navigating the frontend with one
> thumb. At the same time, a remote can't replace the convenience of a
> keyboard in simple things like entering letters and words. I made sure
> to get an IR keyboard/mouse so I could teach the codes to my remote;
> this way I haven't had to bother with lirc.
>
> I bought an ACK-581 (<URL:http://www.directron.com/ack581.html>).
>
> Positives include:
>
> * The keyboard and integrated mouse thumbpad work well, and at the end
> of the day that's what counts. Two PS/2 cables snake out of the IR
> receiver, so no compatibility worries about USB keyboards under
> Linux, as the KnoppMyth people warn against (although I'm using
> Fedora Core 4).
> * The black color goes well with the rest of my entertainment setup
> (although, naturally, the big-screen flat panel I've ordered only
> comes in silver). Beige is also available.
> * LinEAK's xosd plugin givss me nice-looking on-screen feedback for
> the multimedia keys.
>
> Negatives include:
>
> * Since seemingly few have heard of this model before, it's not
> supported out-of-the-box by LinEAK. It's not hard to add support
> with some perusing of LinEAK's documentation, but still an annoyance
> considering just how many keyboards LinEAK *does* support.
> * Not all the multimedia keys generate xev-visible keycodes out of the
> box; I had to write a little shell script to generate them with
> setkeycodes after figuring out the proper ones with the LinEAK
> documentation. (Mysteriously, following said steps, the Mute and
> Volume Up keys generated the same keycodes, meaning I had to
> reassign Volume Up to a vacant keycode.) Sometimes, for some reason
> I can't figure out, the new keycodes disappear and I have to rerun
> the shell script. I thus set up a cron entry to regenerate them
> regularly.
> * If an IR signal gets cut off or garbled mid-keystroke (if, say, the
> line of sight gets interrupted while typing), the last-typed key is
> liable to continue to repeat endlessly until I push another key. I'm
> not sure if this is a quirk of this keyboard or the way the x86
> keyboard signaling architecture in general is designed.
>
> My learning remote is the fabled URC MX-500. Its price has come down a
> *lot* recently; mine was only $80 or so from Amazon.com.
>
> Positives include:
>
> * Enormous flexibility. I won't go into the remote's many virtues in
> detail; see the lengty review at
> <URL:http://www.remotecentral.com/mx500/> for more detail. Let's
> just say the remote can do pretty much anything you'd ever want an
> IR-based remote to do (with a couple of caveats that I'll get to),
> all with surprising ease of use, and that there's a reason it's been
> the king of super-programmable (yet still somewhat mass-market)
> remotes for years.
>
> Negatives include:
>
> * Size. It's big, even for a six-footer like me. Not a problem for me,
> and the remote and its keys all *feel* great, but those with small
> hands should be aware.
> * I can't figure out how to get taught keys to auto-repeat. The manual
> makes some vague mention of holding down the keys you teach to it on
> the source (the keyboard, in my case) in order to get the MX-500 to
> repeat, but for me that either does nothing or results in
> endlessly-repeating keys (no doubt with an identical cause to the
> similar issue I mentioned earlier regarding the keyboard). Why URC
> didn't enable the remote's keys to repeat automatically, without
> further effort, by holding keys down (or, perhaps, some setting to
> enable or disable repeating per key) I won't ever know.
> * I also can't figure out how to program keys with Shift-, Alt-, or
> Control-modifications (attempts to do so result in the modifiers
> often "sticking," again, no doubt related to the endless-repeating
> issue), although I suspect this is probably an issue with training
> any learning remote with a keyboard.
>
> Let me close the subject of remotes and keyboards with a puzzle. With
> the ATrpms MythTV packaging, I can't get the keystroke-editing
> function in Mythweb to work with the global keys section; any keys I
> put in there don't stick. Suggestions?
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users [at] mythtv
> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
>
Yeechang
Great writeup, I have gone for a similar route. I have several learning
remotes, and all of them really struggle to learn the key board, it can
take 8 or 9 times for it to learn each key.
Also have you tried the KDE keyboard customisation

http://www.acaciaclose.co.uk/31338/37429.html

Mike C

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ylee at pobox

Jan 1, 2006, 4:27 AM

Post #3 of 4 (7057 views)
Permalink
Re: My wireless keyboard/mouse/remote setup [In reply to]

mike choy <mike [at] acaciaclose> says:
> I have several learning remotes, and all of them really struggle to
> learn the key board, it can take 8 or 9 times for it to learn each
> key.

I can't speak for other learning remote, but I've never had any
trouble teaching the MX-500 keystrokes *unless it needs a
modifier*. Then I've never had it work right, but then I haven't tried
eight or nine times per key.

> Also have you tried the KDE keyboard customisation
>
> http://www.acaciaclose.co.uk/31338/37429.html

Yes, I've used KHotKeys. Note that it still needs keycodes generated
for keys that don't already have them assigned. I prefer to use
LinEAK because of a) the xosd plugin and b) the fact that it works
regardless of whether KDE is running or not.

Although I haven't tried it xhkeys might be preferable, if only
because it leverages the preexisting X11-based keystrings instead of
using its own unique keystrings the way LinEAK does.

--
Yeechang Lee <ylee [at] pobox> | +1 650 776 7763 | San Francisco CA US


stevehodge at gmail

Jan 1, 2006, 1:10 PM

Post #4 of 4 (7079 views)
Permalink
Re: My wireless keyboard/mouse/remote setup [In reply to]

On 1/1/06, Yeechang Lee <ylee [at] pobox> wrote:
> I made sure
> to get an IR keyboard/mouse so I could teach the codes to my remote;
> this way I haven't had to bother with lirc.

That's a benefit I hadn't thought of. Does it work ok?

> I bought an ACK-581 (<URL:http://www.directron.com/ack581.html>).

I went the RF route, with a BTC 9019URF
(http://www.btc.com.tw/english/2-7-21keyboard.htm#9019urf). The
advantages of this one are:
* Good range for RF. The specs state 10ft/3m, but I've no problem
exceeding that.
* Compact and easy to handle. The handles on the sides are
particularly good for passing the keyboard around.
* Joystick works as either a mouse or a joystick. I have had it
working with MAME, though it's not really a good enough joystick for
games. It works well in MythTV as a joystick though.

It's become our controller of choice. I've got a lirc setup as well
but the keyboard is just so much more reliable and convenient that we
don't bother with the remote at all.

Steve
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