Monday, July 21, 2008

Get MPlayer to play your favorite video files

The standard video player in Aspire One is MPlayer - the Media Master is just another GUI to use mplayer.

But the MPlayer that cames standard in this Linux can't play some of the most common video codecs used on the internet video files (like DivX, XviD, H.264, etc) I don't know if it's a bug in libvacodec (used by MPlayer) or some sort of patent protection to avoid some codec licensing problems on some countries.

Anyway, if you want to play a more "uncommon" codec video file, you can "install" the video codecs available in official MPlayer site for download:
(get binary codec package for linux x86, decompress it somewhere and put the files (mostly dll's) in "/usr/lib/codecs/")

If you don't know how to do this, open the file manager, and in file menu you can open a terminal to type command lines.

Whenever a password is needed, it's the password you entered in the factory wizard of the first time you started the computer.

So if you downloaded a file say "essential-20071007.tar.bz2" you should do something like this:

tar xvfj Downloads/essential-20071007.tar.bz2

sudo mv essential-20071007/* /usr/lib/codecs/

or in case you want a more complete codec package:

get the file from:

and accordingly:

tar xvfj Downloads/all-20071007.tar.bz2

sudo mv all-20071007/* /usr/lib/codecs/

now your MPlayer sould be able to play some more ccodec types, but unfortunately not the most common ones, so here you can get a new version of MPlayer that can play almost everyting (somewhat like VLC) files needed:

They are RPM packages made for Fedora Core 8 so you can install them on your One's Linux - you should follow by that order.

And to conclude some more command lines:

cd /usr/share/mplayer/

sudo ln -s Skin skins

cd Skin

sudo ln -s bluecurve default

And U'll have a new fully functional version of MPlayer with dozens of new skins available.

Right click on any of MPlayer's window and select skin browser to try them.

PS: If MPlayer starts complaining about a missing font (at the begining of playback), go to it's preferences (right click menu of MPlayer) and select this font:


Good MPlaying ;)

Welcome to the world of low cost UMPC Aspire One.

For those who still don't know the machine, it's one of the successor clones of Asus Eee PC, but it's using latest generation hardware with a price comparable to first gen EeePC 701
Main point differing it from first gen Eee are:
- Intel Atom CPU @ 1.6Ghz (hyper-treaded means Linux sees 2 CPU's);
- 8.9" (1024x600) glossy screen, backlight is LED based and it can go from very low backlight (in a dark room it's enough and some TFT's can't dim this low) to prety bright backlight (might help in outside to minimize reflexes) with a decent contrast ratio (seen somewhere about 700:1 - I agree) and it has a reasonable vertical viewing angle (I would say about 90deg) and a decent horizontal viewing angle for normal software gui working (I would say 170deg with a bit of color changing, but when watching videos or pictures blacks tend to get grey when watching at about 30deg or more - this will give it about 60deg of horizontal viewing when watching movies or photographs).
- 8GB of storage space (like a hard disk, but since it's solid state it's much faster on startup;
- Keyboard is almost standard size, and when I press central keys, keyboard doesn't bend.
- A standard SDHC card slot (that add's to internal 8GB storage) and a second slot for multi 5in1 card reader.

Compared to other "normal" laptops:
- Much lighter (slightly less than 1Kg);
- Much smaller (means real portability);
- Also very small AC/DC power adapter (as it doesn't require much power to run and charge);

Although there are a few negative items:
- Glossy screen (on a computer this size it's more likely you're gona use it outside) so a glossy screen attracts light reflexes and forces you to increase backlight to compensate.
- Fan noise - I thought a very low power CPU (Intel Atom) would not require a fan or could use a very silent fan, maybe there is a compromise with aluminum heat think weight - so there is a permanent sound somewhat like a bee. (although you might not notice it unless you are in a quiet environment). UPDATE: (It looks like some people are reporting they have deadly silent fans, so there might be 2 types of fans out there)
- Mousepad keys are too hard to press (their position on left and right of the pad itself, I might get used to even though they should have different colors so you won't try to press mouse pad thinking it's a mouse buton, but they should be much lighter buttons (and should make less noise when clicking) - I bet it's using old button mouse technology. (well for left mouse pressing you can tap on pad like other laptops, and you can always plug an external USB mouse :)

The best:
- Not forcing you to pay M$ TAX - Actually I've been waiting for this chance long ago.
- GNU/Linux - This means there is a lot of software applications instaled and ready to play (including the famous Firefox and OpenOffice suite), and a lot more of other applications for free waiting for you.
- Portability (it fits in my daily bag and nobody knows I'm carrying a laptop - not even me - unless I think about it :)
- Price - Now it's possible for some more people to have a useful and portable computer.

Well, a lot more could be said about this little wonder, but lets keep something for tomorrow...