Open Source is good for meMy plan is to tell some stories about my experiences with XBMC in 2011. Many of these stories aren’t going to be about XBMC developments. They are going to be about the life of a FLOSS Project Manager/Community Manager and the people behind XBMC. Consider yourself warned.

2011 started off quickly and with much enthusiasm. On December 18th (2010), XBMC 10: Dharma had been released. To the outside world, we all behaved as if we were terribly excited about Dharma. Behind closed doors however, Davilla had been hard at work preparing for XBMC for iOS. The entire team was intensely excited about this release and waited anxiously as Davilla and gimli and amet worked tirelessly to turn all the A4 line of iOS devices into XBMC powerhouses.

My contribution to these proceedings was Continue reading


Wait, who are we talking about again?

What follows are entirely my own views and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Team XBMC, any members of Team XBMC, or any partners and affliates of Team XBMC.

A few months ago I wrote a post describing my understanding of the differences between Plex and XBMC. Today I’ll probably do the same thing with Boxee, but first I’d like to say a few words.

To begin with, the relationship between Boxee and XBMC has always been a pretty good one. Continue reading

zappy-santaEight minutes after midnight on December 23rd, theuni (Cory) made a general announcement that final additions had been plugged into the XBMC Eden branch. At that time, he asked that Davilla (for OSX and iOS) and Wiso and CrystalP (for Windows) sign off on the code for their respective systems.

At 3:21AM, Wiso gave the all clear.

At 11:49AM, Davilla added his agreement.

And finally, at 7PM, CrystalP gave the remaining thumbs up.

Unfortunately, in the seven hours between Wiso’s go-ahead and Davilla’s approval, developer Olympia threw a giant wrench into the operation. Continue reading

Well, I got a positive enough reaction last time that I figure I’ll write another journal entry. If you guys keep reading, I’ll try to write yet another on Saturday. Or not. Christmas Eve may be calling then. Have you given the gift of XBMC yet? Apple TV‘s are only $94 at Amazon right now. Or, if you wanted to spend a few more bucks, you could give your relatives the gift of some real powerhouses (plus your tech skills to make it all work).

communication-canAnyway, last time I provided a few stories about some of the difficult issues the Team has run into in the push for Eden. Today, I’d like to go another way entirely and talk about Team XBMC’s ability to communicate with the users. Or, more accurately, our ability to do a decidedly so-so job at communicating with the users.

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A year or two ago, a user was absolutely furious at the XBMC Foundation because he believed the organization was shady. The issue was that the Foundation was “staffed” by developers who spent pretty much the entirety of their time writing awesome code for XBMC and an absolute bare minimum of time authoring legal statements about the Foundation.

At least, that was obviously what the situation was from within the Team. Outside the team, Continue reading

Behind the XBMC CurtainI’ve decided to start up a mini-blog within my personal blog where I keep track of XBMC developments from within the team. As a warning, if you like surprises, I highly recommend avoiding these entries. The goal here is to talk about what it’s like behind the scenes at XBMC, and by definition that means talking about a lot of things we tend to avoid being very public about, because, honestly, people appear to make it their job to misconstrue reality as much as possible. For that reason, note that all opinions are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone on Team XBMC. Furthermore, any stories that you don’t like or like for the wrong reasons are entirely fictional and should just be attributed to a bad fever dream (or to my intense desire to replace my five year old laptop with a Macbook Air). Anyway, here are some stories.

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It doesn’t seem that long ago, but we began gearing up for the release of Eden on August 30th. At least, that was the day one of our developers, Scott Davilla, posted the internal forum message suggesting that we begin gearing up.

This has been a very different release for the Team, as compared to past schedules, because the entire release has been operating without Jonathan Marshall, whose real life has forced XBMC to take a backseat for at least a while. Continue reading

You know how sometimes you find yourself doing a job for free, but you don’t mind because you love the job, you love the ideas behind the job, and you love the community associated with the job?

I spent three years at law school, and the only time I ever felt happy doing work during those years was when I was working entirely for free on something that had absolutely nothing to do with being a lawyer.

A Brief History

In 2005/6, I visited my friend Paul’s house.  He had “modded” his xbox so that it could play movies.  Being something of a geek myself, I thought this was awesome, and I resolved to do it immediately.  Being something of a not-very-awesome geek, I discovered that modding an Xbox required soldering tools, which sounded like WAY too much work.

The Unbearable Nerdiness of Being

A year or two passed, and the idea of turning an Xbox into an entire home Media Center became ever more increasingly irresistible. I stayed up late at night, reading xb0x scene, scanning lifehacker stories, and doing all sorts of intensely irresponsible things, when I probably should have been studying law.

Finally, I took matters into my own hands. I knew I would never willingly use a soldering iron myself on an Xbox.  Certainly, I wouldn’t on my very first attempt at using a soldering iron, so I found a person in the KC community that did Xbox modification, not because he got paid to do it (he didn’t), but because he really liked soldering. These were back in the bad old days when it was possibly illegal to modify Xboxes. Microsoft didn’t especially care, but there was still an element of danger. These days, the fear is mostly gone thanks to an opinion put out by the Library of Congress, but it’s still pretty exciting to think back on the crazy times of those days.

So I got my Xbox modded, loaded up Xbox Media Center, and was happy as a clam.

For nearly 2 minutes. Continue reading

In the early 1960s, the United States invaded Cuba in what later came to be known as the Bay of Pigs Fiasco. This was intensely embarrassing for the United States, and, worse, it led to one of the most terrifying moments in the history of the planet Earth.

Russia decided to send nuclear missiles to Cuba so that Cuba would be better equipped to defend itself against future U.S. military strikes (which is to say, so it could prevent all future military strikes by threatening to blow us the hell up).  The U.S. set up a naval blockade to prevent these missiles from reaching Cuba. Russia threatened to launch an all out nuclear attack on the U.S. And the U.S. prepared for the worst case scenario of Mutually Assured Destruction.  The world was about to be eradicated, leaving only cockroaches and mutated fish behind.

In 2008, XBMC suffered a near cataclysmic event in its development history. Continue reading