Hello OpenElec, Good-bye Arch Linux.

I was previously using my Raspberry Pi Model B+ (512MB RAM, 700MHz processor) as a server, running Arch Linux. I had tried to use it as a WordPress server, but the performance was never satisfactory, even with all the performance enhancing tweeks I tried (running off USB stick, using Quick Cache, etc.). It just didn't quite have the specs for a good general purpose Linux server.

I now have an Odroid U3 running as a web server. It is perfect,with a quad-core processor, plus 2GB RAM. I also have a Odroid C1 running as a weather station data collector, pulling data off of my WMR88A weather station. I also hacked together a simple circuit to interface between the Odroid C1 and my MilliVolt system wall furnace thermostat. It works great - I also wrote a pythonscript on my iPad (using the Pythonista App) to control the thermostat (it has a simple GUI too). I run Arch Linux on the Odroid U3 web server, and Ubuntu on the weather station/thermostat controlling Odroid C1.

That is a short summary of the projects I have been working on. I have been very happy with my Odroid computers. With all these projects, and the web server transferred to an Odroid, my Raspberry Pi was now under-utilized (read: not used for anything :0P). What to do with my Raspberry Pi?

So far, I have purchased two entertainment type USB dongles: the Chromecast, and the Amazon Fire Stick. I was very unhappy with the Chromecast - every time I wanted to watch something, it took 15-20 minutes to set up. It would need to be restarted, or some other odd buggy thing would happen. I have been much happier with the Fire Stick - it just works, out of the box. There is, however, one area that I found both of these to be deficient in: simply, streaming a movie from my computer to the TV. The Chrome was buggy (using VideoStream), and the best App for Fire Stick, Plex cost $4.99/Month! Enter the Raspberry Pi - admittedly, when it first came out everyone was using it as an entertainment center. I wanted to use it as a Web server, but having now found something else for that purpose, I decided to try it as everyone else was at the beginning. I installed OpenElec, and found that it "just worked." It is great for playing movies, and it also gets a lot of other typical web content (YouTube, etc.). Another big plus is that it gets the HGTV channel (sadly absent from our current cable subscription).

In terms of performance, OpenElec (running Kodi) is pretty quick. It is a tiny bit laggy at times, but not so much as to be irritating. Another big plus is that there is a free app to make your iPhone into a remote for Kodi. It also has a weather channel (user-configured), can display photos, play music, etc. Overall, setup for OpenElec was ridiculously easy. The user-interface is mostly intuitive, and easy to use.

My next order of business is to try and get an NES/SNES emulator running on Kodi. It looks like it has been done...

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