Justblair's Modified Version of ngRC

Eee RC - My hacked version of ngRC

ngrc_eee_home_001ngRC, short for Next Generation Remote Control is a fantastic piece of software that you can install on your Windows Media Center.  The software allows you to control aspects of your Media Center across a WiFi network using any device that is able to run a web browser.

Recently i purchased a pair of Eee PC 901 ultra mobile portable computers, one for myself and one for my partner.  So far I have already modified both Eee PCs to add touch sensitive screens to them.  ngRC seemed by its description to be an ideal application for us.  I was particularly interested in being able to select and play music from my hard drive without having to switch on the TV.  However there was still some work to do to make it perfect.

ngRC proved very easy to install on my Windows Vista driven media centre.  The only issue that I experienced was with the windows firewall.  However changing a few settings allowed my Eee PC 901 to access the ngRC web interface simply by typing in "", i.e. the ip and port address of the Media Centre.

ngRC works basically using tomcat (web server software).  Using the Eee PC 901, ngRC proved to be, straight out the box very responsive when controlling the Media Centre.  Delays between pressing the screen on the Eee PC 901 and the Media Center responding would make the system unusable, but I am very pleased to say that the response time is well within usable limits.  Considering that this software is still in it's early versions, the Author has achieved a lot with the package.

The only limitation that I had with the software is that the design of the web interface of ngRC has been optimised for the Apple i-phone or Sony Playstation Portable.  These are very popular portable devices and make an obvious choice as the controllers of choice for the software.  The author on hiss website promises that a guide will become available eventually that will describe how to re-skin the web interface for use on other devices.

Impatient as I am I could not wait this long, so I had a poke around the  software to see how the web interface is made up.  I have to admit that I am very new to HTML coding, and newer still (hadn't even looked before this weekend) to Java Script Pages.  It's fair to compare my abilities in programming HTML of Java Script Pages to my command of the French Language.  I can read way better than I can produce either spoken French or written code.

{include_content_item 45}Despite my limitations in writing code, re-skinning ngRC proved not to be too difficult a challenge for me mentally and over the course of this weekend I have managed to manipulate ngRC's graphics and code to produce a re-sized version of the original web interface.  I am very pleased with the results.

I may consider writing a guide detailing the work that I did in producing this re-sized version of the ngRC if other people are interested in producing their  own  templates, however the original designer of the package has perhaps in a better position to inform here.  I suspect that my ham fist-ed hacking of the code has not been the most eloquent.  What I will do is supply my hacked files to anyone who requests them if you want to have a go at improving on my perhaps inelegant designs.

In the gallery below I have included images of both the original ngRC web interface and my own hacked versions of the same.  Hopefully this will whet your appetites into producing better interfaces than I have managed.

ngrc_eee_filter ngrc_eee_music_album ngrc_eee_keyboard ngrc_eee_music ngrc_iphone_music_album ngrc_iphone_queue ngrc_iphone_music ngrc_eee_noww_playing ngrc_eee_home ngrc_eee_music_title ngrc_iphone_filter ngrc_eee_music_artist ngrc_eee_queue ngrc_iphone_keyboard ngrc_eee_settings ngrc_iphone_home ngrc_iphone_now_playing ng1 ngrc_iphone_settings ngrc_eee_music_title_f11

Want to try out Eee RC?

First of all you will need to install a copy of the ngRC program on your Media Centre.

Click here to visit the ngRC Site

Download either my modified zip or rar file here

(for security reasons this requires registration to my site, but I promise you no spam)

Locate the installed ngrc files on your media pc and then follow the structure untill you find ngrc\tomcat\webapps\ngrc  The files that you need to replace are from here down the file structure.  I am working on a more easily instalable package, this is very much version 1.   If you find it difficult to work out please bear with me,  will help you if I have time, but I am working on an easier install for the reskin.  No guarantees are offered or implied.

If you do try this out, please give me any feedback, it all helps.