Or: make your MCE remote work properly again on Kodi after upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04. No LIRC required.
Ever since I upgraded my Kodi box to Ubuntu 18.04, I’ve been having issues with my beloved remote control, the MCE remote from Microsoft. (I’ve had it for years, I have perfect muscle memory for all the buttons. All the most important buttons are within thumb reach.)
First, it wouldn’t work at all, and after some frustrating hours of problem shooting I got it sort-of, kind-of working, but it started repeating button presses, ignoring some buttons and generally being pretty useless. I eventually gave up on using the original IR receiver, and found that if I used a third party IR receiver acting like a HID device, I could tweak the keyboard bindings in Kodi to make it more or less feature complete.
That only left me with one annoyance: some buttons would register double presses. Worse, the all important «OK» button was one of them. Whenever I was navigating through my media, the double click would randomly start a movie I didn’t mean to, go to a season I didn’t intend etc. Changing options was also a big hassle, whenever I tried to toggle subtitles, they would generally un-toggle immediately.
For the last few months I’ve been slowly building out my home automation system, based on Home Assistant. I have a couple of basic requirements for anything I add to it: It shouldn’t break the bank, and I don’t want any cloud features. For one thing, I don’t want my devices to suddenly stop working because of service disruptions, bankruptcy or outright planned obsolescence, but more importantly: I want to control my personal data.
I have a couple of other guiding principles as well: devices and systems based on open source is preferred, and whenever that is impractical, the stuff I buy should at least be based on industry standards. No walled gardens, please!
For instance I ended up with IKEA Trådfri for my lights, partly because of this short review by Matthew Garrett. I’ve successfully mixed and matched light bulbs from IKEA and Philips. I’ve also invested in a USB stick for Z-Wave integration.
So when I started looking for ways to add some cameras to the system, I quickly realized that «reasonably priced» and «no cloud» don’t mix. There are some awesome networked cameras out there, especially the Xiaomi Xiaofang/Wyzecam devices have impressive specs and are surprisingly affordable. Too bad that they also come with those pesky clouds (though there are ways to turn that stuff off). I could have gone with more traditional surveillance cameras from companies like Axis or Planet, but they are much pricier, and would generally require a wired connection.
So I gave up looking for my dream camera, partly because I finally had an excuse to start messing around with Raspberry Pi and its Camera Module V2!