Helpful Software: MakeMKV

Hey everyone!

As I continue slowly working on my GameCube Media Centers, I thought I’d continue my series on helpful software. This is software I’ve found useful for one reason or another that you may find useful too. Let me know if you have any questions!

Today I’m going to talk about MakeMKV.

MakeMKV.png

MakeMKV is a free DVD/Bluray ripping software that allows the user to convert inserted DVD/Bluray into MKV format. It does not require you to understand complex file formatting or settings, which makes this a great tool for beginners. It also automatically splits the DVD/Bluray into multiple sections: one for the main movie and others for the various extras a movie may have. I also enjoy being able to select and deselect subtitles and audio tracks for the movie, since I don’t speak any foreign languages. šŸ˜‰

If you want to rip your movie collection, this is a great place to start!

Curtis RetroMaster

Helpful Software: Ember Media Manager

Hey everyone,

When it comes to the movies on my NES media center, I’m very particular: everything from fan-art, to box art, to title/sort title has to be hand-picked by me. I have themes (all Star Wars movies need similar art styles), self-imposed rules (The Fast and the Furious are together in order, even though they’re all over the road with name schemes) and really want to make my collection as crisp and individualized as possible.

One of the tools I use to help with this is Ember Media Manager.

Ember 1.png

After you install it, you simply direct it toward your movie collection. Then Ember scans and tracks what movies you have with a nice interface. Not only can it read local .csv meta-data files, it can cross reference movie file names with IMDB and create local .csv meta-data files with that information if none exists. It also allows you to select from a large collection of fan-art, box art and other supplemental art (like disk art!). When you want to update information manually, like movie rating, actors and taglines, you can change it by double clicking the movie from the list.

Ember 2.png

Ember not only allows you to better organize your movie collection, it also works for TV shows too. Want Season Art? You can get that too! šŸ™‚

Ember 3.png

Overall, this program has helped me tremendously. If you’re interested in going digital with your movie (and TV Show) collection, I really recommend checking this program out!

-Curtis RetroMaster

 

World 1-4 (part 2): How to install multiple OS’s on RPi

Hey everyone,

Yesterday we walked through how to install multiple Operating Systems on a Raspberry Pi. While that’s an easy and basic way of installing multiple Operating Systems at once, I actually prefer a way slightly more round-a-bout. This way certainly isn’t for everyone, but it is what I do, so I thought it was at least worth mentioning. šŸ™‚

First, I start with one of Steve’s MultiBoot NOOBS packages loaded directly onto my SD Micro card. The wonderful thing is that the most common Operating Systems are pre-loaded with his MultiBoot script, so they all seamlessly transition to one another at the beginning. The downside is that these versions of the Operating Systems are quite out of date.

Since I personally only want to install RetroPie and LibreElec, before I put my SD Micro card in my Pi, I go into the “os” folder and delete the non-RetroPie folders. Once NOOBS has booted up on the Pi, I log into my WiFi and select the latest version of LibreElec that becomes available, as well as the RetroPie version we started with. Click “Install” to begin installation.

NOOBS

NOOBS allows you to easily select and install Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi.

 

At this point we now have 1) the latest version of LibreElec, without Steve’s MultiBoot script installed and 2) the outdated version of RetroPie, with Steve’s MultiBoot script installed.Ā When NOOBS is finished, I boot into LibreElec.

The first thing I do is when LibreElec has loaded is download Steve’s MultiBoot scriptĀ so I can switch over to RetroPie on demand. I also configure the settings while I’m here, such as disabling the UI sounds (I personally prefer no audio). You may also notice that if you reset your Pi at this time, your screen will have a momentary square rainbow and it’ll take you back to the NOOBS “Select an OS to boot to” screen. However, will continue to auto-boot into LibreElec, and this selection screen will go away after we load RetroPie. šŸ™‚

Once we’ve installed that script, we now have 1) the latest version of LibreElec, with Steve’s MultiBoot script installed and 2) the outdated version of RetroPie, also with Steve’s MultiBoot script installed. From here, boot into RetroPie.

The first time you boot into RetroPie, it’ll ask you to configure a controller. Deceptively, it does not count an attached keyboard as a usable controller. However, if you hold down a button on the keyboard RetroPie will configure it correctly. After you configure your keyboard or controller, it’s time to configure some of the basic settings.

Here are some of the settings I use:

You may notice RetroPie has black bars along all 4 edges. Personally, I like the UI to take up the entire screen, so I update this by going to: Raspi-Config > 9. Advanced Options >Ā Overscan > No.

I also want my RetroPie to boot as quickly as possible. One way to save a little time is to go to Raspi-ConfigĀ > 4. Wait for Network at Boot > No.

If I turn off my pi while it is booted into RetroPie, I want it to reload into LibreElec every time. I usually use my media center for movies and music, so this saves me a few clicks. You can do it by clicking “Enable ‘Always Boot to Kodi'”.

I also want to get rid of my unused MultiBoot options. Because I didn’t install Rasplex, or Raspbian, I delete them by hitting Select > Edit Metadata > Delete > Yes. Unfortunately you have to reset your system every time you do this…

Finally, the last setting I want is “Auto-load a Game’s Savestate on Start” and “Autosave a Game’s Savestate on Exit” and I do this through SSH. I personally use WinSCP. Once loaded, go to “/opt/retropie/configs/all/”. You’ll want to edit “retroarch.cfg” and update the lines: “savestate_auto_save = true” and “savestate_auto_load = true“. I also delete the proceeding #, but I’m not actually sure if that’s necessary.

We’re fully configured! Now, let’s update RetroPie to the latest version. Just to on the safe side, though, I make a quick backup first usingĀ Win32DiskImager. However slim the chances, I don’t want to risk my hard work so far get ruined!

Win32 Disk Imager

This program allows you to quickly read from or write to an SD Micro card. Good for making backups and image copies!

To update RetroPie we go to RetroPie Setup > Update all installed packages. The software will walk you through the updating process. Updating takes about 20 minutes, since it is updating everything across the board, but luckily it doesn’t require any participation on our end. Now we wait…

Eventually, you’ll get a message that says “Installed packages have been updated.” Success! Again, just to be on the safe side, I recommend rebooting and saving another backup.

From here you’re free to load ROMs, install custom themes and splashscreens and just have fun playing with your new dual-booting system. There is one particular project I’m hoping to try out in the future. šŸ™‚

Enjoy!

-Curtis

World 1-3: How to Install an OS on a Raspberry Pi

Hello everyone,

Continuing from where we left off yesterday, today I am going to explain how to easily install a (single) Operating System onto a Raspberry Pi. We’ll cover dual-booting in another post.

Okay, you’ve probably read this a thousand times on the internet by now, but the Raspberry Pi is a cool little computer. It is small, adaptive and packs quite a punch. One of the cool things about this computer is that the operating system runs entirely off of an SD Micro card.

Kingston_2GB_Micro_SD_Card_with_Adaptera75Detail[1]

SD Card vs. SD Micro Card

Also, because the OS Ā runs entirely off of this card, you are actually able to swap out OS’s from different (compatible) Pi’s. This means if you break your hardware, you can simply re-enter the SD Micro card into a new Pi and continue like nothing happened. It also means you can easily save backups of your SD Micro card to a computer, in case anything ever goes wrong on the software side of things. I learned that lesson the hard way!

Anyway, there are actually multiple ways to install an OS on your new Raspberry Pi.

The easiest way is by using eitherĀ NOOBS or PINN. Ā Once the NOOBS or PINN files have been downloaded, you simply drop them onto the root of your SD Micro card and plug it into the Pi. Some Raspberry Pi starter sets come with an SD Micro card with NOOBS pre-installed. Once your Pi turns on, these programs will let you select which operating systems you would like to install.

NOOBS

NOOBS allows you to easily select and install Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi.

If you choose to use the Lite version of NOOBS or PINN, you’ll also need to connect to a WiFi network, so it can install the most up-to-date version of the operating system you choose. This can be done by clicking the WiFi networks (n) button at the top.

Once the new Operating System is installed, Ā NOOBS or PINN will let you know with a pop-up and then load the new Operating System for you. Then you are good to go!

Another option is to install theĀ Operating System yourself. CertainĀ Operating Systems, such as OpenElec and RetroPie, will have you download an image of their system that you then write onto your SD Micro card. I do this with a program called Win32 Disk Imager. After saving the respective file to your computer, open Win32 Disk Imager and find the file you saved. Then, after confirming you have the correct Device/drive letter, click “write”. This will erase everything currently on the SD Micro card and install a fresh version of the OS you want.

Win32 Disk Imager

This program allows you to quickly read from or write to an SD Micro card. Good for making backups and image copies!

Lastly, once an Operating System has been installed onto your SD card, your computer will not be able to accurately show you how much free space the card currently has. This is due to the way the space on the card has been allocated and is not an indicator that the card is broken. šŸ™‚

Anyway, let me know if you have any question! Until next time!