Posts Tagged ‘geek’

Geek Christmas

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Since I had some time off over Christmas and we didn’t have any major plans so I decided to tackle some outstanding IT project in the house.

The first thing was to clean out all the computer that used to live close to the litter box in HY’s old appartment. That was the most icky of the projects, vacuuming out the layer of the cat litter dust, stripping out all the drives, and wiping down everything. I also needed to wipe down all the stuff I dumped in the basement after moving for similar reasons.

I ran nine cat 5 cables, 2 to the TV in basement, 2 to the TV in living room and 4 to basement room with all the computers and one to the phone demark. I still need to find out if I can easily pull some cables up into the attic and over to HY’s office.

I rebuilt the asterisk server with PBX in a flash and hooked the Sipura 2002 into the house telephone lines so we can use normal cordless phones for making calls. I also signed up for axvoice to get 200 minutes of US/Canada minutes. The international rates also appear to be good.

I also needed to centralize all my mp3/acc files on one computer, over the years the files have spead out over a number of computers. I also borked my raid array on the file server a couple years back and had a lot of MP3’s that didn’t play all the way through. So I wrote a script that copies all the mp3 from my laptop to the file sever. If it was already on the fileserver then it would over write the file, if it didn’t then it added the song to a ‘new’ folder. After after a month or so and a couple iterations fixing dumb things like ; and ‘ in the song names I had all the files in one location which are being sharing out via iTunes on the mac mini.

I also backed up all my files on my laptop and installed Leopard (macos 10.5). Apple makes it really hard to accidentally wipe your computer so took me few goes to work out how to do a full wipe. The first time I missed the small “options button” in the install that gives you the non idiot upgrader. The second time i selected to do a fresh install, but preserve user applications and files in a separate folder option. I didn’t realize it was going to copy in all saved files and applications back into the normal folders after installing. So the third time I did the nuke and destroy option to wipe the computer then install. After all that I now have a fresh install with just the applications I want. It runs nice and fast now.

I am really like 10.5, the time machine option is nice and easy for backing up the computer. The Screen Sharing App is the best way to remotely control another Mac, very very fast compared to Chicken of VNC or Vine. I had some issues with X11 doing control click for pasting till I found the developers site where I could install an unofficial update. I am not impressed with the new version of Front Row. Apple synced Front Row to match the version that comes with the AppleTV’s. It seems slower especially when viewing media on another mac. They also removed the extra level between selecting a TV Season and the episodes so you it now goes straight from TV Show to all the episodes. This sucks if you have 4 or 5 seasons of a show and only want to watch season 3.

The final thing on my geek list was to upgrade the file server to something less ancient than Suse 9.3. Ubuntu has been my Linux distro of choice for over a year now, but it doesn’t have a nice gui for setting up LVM and RAID partitions so I wanted to see what open suse 10.3 was like. I tried out the live cd on another computer and wasn’t hugely impressed with the newer version of KDE. I didn’t like the equivalent of the start menu, the final decision was made when I couldn’t get the live cd to boot on file server, so ubuntu it was. After installing I had some issues with the raid drives. I wasted most of Sunday trying different things, but both raid arrays are now online and keep working even after rebooting. I had a number of issues, first the partitions on two of the disks wouldn’t show up in /dev till I removed the entry in /etc/ I then had to build the raid mirror with just one drive, then wipe the super block on the other drive, reboot, then add the second drive back in. The only thing I can think of is that the drive had the superblock in both the /dev/sdd and /dev/sdd1 which was confusing it.

I still have to install vmware server, setup samba and some other junk on the file server but nfs is up and running and the macmini can see all the media.

Oh and I got a Garmin GPS Bike computer from Hongying that allows my to track my heart rate and the path I took.

So thats my Christmas geek fest.

What did everyone else do?

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

I am torturing my self again with MythTV. I picked up a Compact Flash to IDE converter last week and managed to get miniMyth installed on my mini-itx box. MiniMyth can be booted from a compact flash card or PXE boot server. After much pulling of teeth I managed to build a minimyth.conf file and get it in the correct place on the flash card for everything to boot.

Now that I have it up and running it, I can finally use the mini-itx box for watching tv from my myth backend server. This is all good but I have a nice tivo that does all that for me already, so what I was really want is a DVD juke box. MythTV has a DVD ripping module built in but I lost some more hair before working out that the miniMyth box needed a large hunk of disk for saving the temporary files before the backed mtd (myth transcoding daemon) would start. I exported a nfs share from my file server to the miniMyth box and I managed to rip a DVD for testing. Since miniMyth is designed to be used with the via EPIA motherboard with hardware mpeg2 decoding it doesn’t include include the transcoder app for converting to Divx. This also means that only options for ripping dvds are perfect or iso. Never of them seem to play back very well on the box so it looks like I may be retiring it for good and buying myself a mac mini to use as a media server.

I have been using the mac port of mythfront end for a while but I still haven’t worked out how to get it to rip dvd’s yet. My file server also seems to have a funky usb controller that doesn’t work well with linux so I can’t use that for ripping dvds from my external dvd drive. So the next plan of action is to move the firewire card to my file server and hook the external dvd drive using that.

Oh and to top it all one of the fans on my file servers power supply has died so the the machine powered off and beeped very loudly a couple times over the weekend so i need to look into getting it replaced.

So over all a successful geek weekend.

One crappy iPod

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

This was posted on Cnet and bit the girl was just annoyed that she lost her ipod

Friday, May 12th, 2006

I just upgraded the CPU in my file server. This is the one I pulled out. Looks like I wasn’t runnning it at full speed. I blew a motherboard a few months back and had to buy a new one. Since i assumed that the motherboard would run the CPU at the correct speed I left it set at a FSB of 100. Which gave me a speed of 1Ghz. I could have been running it at FSB 133 which would have given me its proper speed of 1.4 Ghz.

So after looking up the info on the CPU I got the following 27016 is an athalon thunderbird
A=Athlon desktop power consumption
1400= 1400 Mhz speed
A= PGA/CPGA M = 1.75 core voltage
S = 95’C die temperature
3 = 256 k L2 cache
C = FsB of 266 (x2 multiplier)
Board speed is 133 Mhz (x2)
AYHJA = athalon Padmino Core ??
01 = 2001
36 = week 36

I should have taken a photo of the new chip but that didn’t occur to me till after putting it in the socket, themeral compound and the heat sink.

From New egg it should be a

AMD Sempron 2800+
Model SDA2800DUT3D
Frequency = 2000Mhz
FSB = 333 Mhz (2x)
Board Speed 166Mhz (x2)
L1 Cache 64KB+64KB
L2 Cache 256kB
Processor Type = 130 nm
Voltage 1.6

Friday, May 5th, 2006

For shits and giggle I thought I would would teach my self dhtml/javascript. Here is what I came up with

Friday, April 21st, 2006

This is s a good link for setting up SPF and Grey listing on postfix

Thursday, April 6th, 2006

Geek night last night. I installed the Adaptec ANA-62044 4 port ethernet card I bought on ebay in my firewall. The intention is to split up the dmz and wireless traffic into separate zones. This also gives me an excuse to by a gigabit switch.

I also decided to try resolving my issues with my EPIA M motherboard. The machine has been sitting on a shelf unused for year or more because the box hangs after a period of time. The variables of the problem, bad motherboard, bad OS, bad memory, bad hard disk, bad power supply. At the top of my list was a bad power supply/overheating. The board sat in a small form factor box so I thought that was a real possibility. I have a spare case that isn’t being used. I was happy to find out that a mini itx board fits perfectly in the box after moving a couple mounting points. So the motherboard now has a proper 200W power supply to run on and a large amount of air to cool in. It has an old 6 gig hard disk that appears to be fine and a 256 Meg sick of ram.

I got up this morning and the box was frozen so it seems it is not related to the powersupply/case.

The next thing to try is disabling the longhaul (cpu freq throttling) module in linux. It is currently running and has been for 2 hours.

I think this machine is going to be call fugly while i testing it. Since it looks F… Ugly

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

I discovered why my vmware server virtual machines were running so slow. In Vitual Machine Settings, options, advanced there is a little ticket box that says run with debugging. I missed this since you can only change it when the VM is not running. Now my Asterisk and Windows XP VMs are running super fast.

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

I have been using vmware player for a few months now and was very impressed so I tried the free vmware server at work and now at home. The is server version is the one I really want to use. It allows you to run multiple instances and have them bootup and shutdown with the host computer. I have been noticing some serious hard disk slowness on the server at work. I was originally putting it down to a slow raid driver on linux but after whiching asterisk from vmware player to server this week I am going to blame vmware server. Asterisk was running very well with vmplayer but with server the cpu is sitting at a load of 2-3. Anything above 1 is bad news in linux land. I just created a new instance using asterisk@home 2.7 to see if anything has changed, otherwise I am flipping it back to vmware player till server comes outof beta. I have heard that the debug code in the beta server is to blame for a large chunk of the slowness.

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

Geek weekend. I finally bit the bullet and hacked my hr10-250. Not exactly what I would call easy. First need to find a kernel that cna be hacked. The one that comes with 3.1.5f doesn’t work. I ended up buying a iso that had the hacked kernel on it. Installed the kernel then loaded some kernel modules to support the linksys usb100M Rev 2. This all took about 7 attempts and much gnashing of teeth. I finally got the network card to light up and now I have tivoweb, telnet and ftp running on the machine.