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Experiences with my Wiimote controlled Unity Couch-Potato-PC


Hi folks,

as I read about this team at golem.de, I was really happy to find people who could be interested in some of my things I tested and did in the nearer past.

First I wanna tell you something about my couch-potato-PC with Ubuntu 11.10 Unity on it and controlled by a wiimote. My next thing is my little proof-of-concept of an android based remote-control which works over http: http://sourceforge.net/projects/lamusicarc/ . Finally I probably give another 2 cents about my vision of what ubuntu could go to ( Where could I if not here? ).

My Unity-Couch-Potato-PC:

Since the day I got a Wii in my home my wife, kids and me where astounded by the simplicity of controlling rich features with just a few buttons. The more happy I found out how easy it is to use it the same way in ubuntu.


   * My old Acer Notebook from 2005 Aspire 5100 with bluetooth, wlan,
     ati-graphics and a tendency to overheat ( near burning if playing
     flash from adobes web-flashplayer ;-) )
   * TV with VGA
   * Ubuntu 11.10
   * A Wiimote
   * A Sensor bar ( for Wiimote )
   * wminput
   * a little configuration ( Sorry that at this point only in German
     but I guess there are also similar pages how to configure a
     wiimote in ubuntu http://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/Wiimote )
   * Desktop configuration and programs

When I boot Ubuntu I can register my Wiimote by pressing 1+2 at once. From this point I configured the keys as the following (mostly standard)

A = Left click
B = Right click
Arrows = Arrows
Plus = Volume up
Minus = Volume down
Home =  LEFT_META (Dash)
1 = Compiz Scale (All windows)
2 = Onscreenkeyboard "Onboard"
Power = Doesn't seem to be configurable at the moment

Additionally you can use Easystroke to realize gestures, which actually works great except totem's full-screen-buttons reproducable only worked after switching the workspace and back. I tried gestures to swipe the desktops with left-right, up-down movements and a close gesture for sending strg-q. At this point it would be better to place the workspaces side-by-side so you could use the up & down gestures for scrolling, which is actually a little annoying issue in my current setup. I also customized fonts to be better readable on the tv screen and set some extensions for Firefox which allow me to switch the size of the page easily. Also having an extension that displays a gallery of my favorites as start page (finally nothing fancy).

Despite little annoying things like the sensivity of mouse which leads to clicking vs. drag&drop or scrolling in the dash, all in all unity can be controlled very easy by using a Wiimote without revolutionary changes in the concept. The more I'm happy that Alan Bells design is not too far from unity's root concept. The last the community needs is splitting more resources. In my opinion it would be best to simply switch unity to deskop/tv/tablet/phone mode.

The Android-VLC-Media-Remote-Control:
This peace of software should or shall be part of an high-end audio-system based on ubuntu due gstreamer/rhythmbox (clear and precise sound) and vlc ( Party-Sound ) performed much better than win7 with native driver on an absolute audio-high-end setup using ionic Acapella speakers and other crazy stuff my audiophile cousin loves ( http://www.superlabs.de/ ). He recognized a special soundcard running in a power-hungry ( which was intented ) tuned up computer. The only problem we had was an easy control of this audio-system. At this point i came into play. I should develop a proof of concept app, which allows to control vlc media as well as ripping audio-cds on android via http. Due we all were and are forced into earning money, family etc., the development rests at the moment, but the working proof-of-concept you can find at sourceforge ( Perhaps usefullsolving approaches; developed for 10.04 ) :

My ubuntu vision ( Short - talked enough and time is ticking ;-) ) :
Energy-saving open Ubuntu based combinable easy-to-use devices from security over watching tv to writing a doctoral thesis. And all for human beeings :-)

Kind Regards

André Gregor-Herrmann