Archives for: April 2011

04/30/11

  07:44:41 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1325 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Networking, WiFi, Storage, Roku XDS

Getting local content to show on my Roku XDS

One of the things that helped me rationalize getting the Roku XDS, was the possibility of displaying media content on my HDTV. I used to be able to do this with my Momitsu V880N, but the mmc software doesn't work under Windows 7...and I guess I'm not ready to take the plunge on getting a Blu-Ray player....though it might happen later this year. And, when I do..the one I'm looking at would support DLNA sources on my home network.

Well, then I heard of Gabby, which will expose local content to my Roku...and I could access DLNA sources. And, that worked once. The software is currently beta, largely my experience is that it'll crash, or crash, or spin. Often I'd come home and find tons of error dialogs and its stuck, or it'll have gone away on its own, or my machine will be really slow and I'll find that the process is consuming all my memory (but there's 16G in there) or CPU....or both. But, it did work, so maybe someday it'll be usable.

And, then when it doesn't crash...its hit and miss on whether the selection will play completely or the Gabby software will crash at start or during play. But, I did play a few shows successfully.

But, last weekend, I got a file that I wanted to play on my Roku...and I could not get Gabby to work, even ran it through handbrake, even though it was already a format that would be playable via USB.

I ended up watching the file on my computer....

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04/20/11

  11:35:17 pm, by The Dreamer   , 3081 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, BOINC, Storage

Zen is back, with a little help from Acronis True Image Home 2011

.... kind of, though more not.

Three weeks ago today, Zen locked up. And, when it came back...it wasn't all there. It was bad....stuff wouldn't run, missing or corrupt system dlls, etc. Well, I did buy Acronis True Image Home 2011 the weekend before, and I had got nonstop backups going for a few days...and it seemed to show that it had replaced the old backup settings (image back only). And, trying to go into "Backup and Restore" launched Acronis True Image Home....

Guess I will restore the system to a previous time earlier that day. Seems the last time was about 6 hours back (and there were other weird gaps) later I read that non-stop isn't really non-stop...it'll pause if the machine is 'too busy'. Problem is it thinks BOINC is the machine being 'too busy'....didn't figure this out until later.

But, I went for it. After doing the restore, it rebooted...and...poof, I have nothing. Well, it went into HP's recovery partition instead. And, the only option enabled there is to restore the system to factory. After some cursing, I figured I'd go ahead, reinstall Acronis True Image Home and try again with an earlier time. While, that was happening, I had gotten onto another computer to do some surfing to see if there was some alternative way to invoke the restore, having not used the create restore cd option yet.

I found that I could download an iso from acronis, that was the same as what the software would've created and boot with that. So, instead of completing the initial setup screens of the freshing restored to factory...I booted from that. And, then tried looking for an earlier restore time.

Well, that interface is pretty bad. The worst part is that it sorts non-stop backup times alphabetically....so 1:59 is followed by 10:00, and then 11 and 12, before 2:00 shows....and AM & PM, those are at the end of the string...so PM times are interleaved into the AM times. Well, I remembered what time I had restored to previously, so I had a starting time to search for and try to guess backwards to a suitable restore time. There was a huge gap, now it was a busy 'vacation' day. I had a doctor appoint in the morning and then an MRI in the afternoon. The first restore attempt had been to a time shortly after returning from the MRI. The next backup times were for a period after I had returned from the doctor appointment. Might be okay....I would probably lose one Quicken transaction, but I could easily put that back (entering that I had paid co-pay)...I had read emails then as well as after the MRI, but I didn't recall anything too important that I had to get back having come in since my morning email check.

So, off it went....oh the first restore attempt took hours and I had gone to bed hoping to find Zen back in the morning. Now the next day, I was running a bit late for work...but I got it going, with it reformatting and updating partition settings first and I hoped to come home from work and be up and running again.

Well, that's not what I found. I was back at the HP Recovery Partition screen. So, I rebooted from the Acronis recovery disk, and this time I hit the search for backups option to see if it might find anything else. I figured it was worth a shot, while I mulled over the idea of starting over from scratch....at least I had the stuff in backuppc (sort of). Well, it did find something else...it found some image backups...odd. I had played around the option in Acronis True Image Home, but thought I had opted to go with non-stop backups and a fresh start with the external drive.

But, it seemed to be valid images and it was from the night before the crash. So, I used that to restore. I only made one mistake, where I marked the C: drive as active instead of the hidden system partition. Booting a GParted Live CD, I switched things back and that got me going again. Now while I was in the GParted Live CD, I noticed that it saw two internal drives...instead of the Intel Matrix RaidVol. I suppose that means the Intel ICH8R Matrix Raid is actually another FakeRAID, and after some searching around I found it to be true.

Hmmm, wonder if I shouldn't have bothered ordering the system as RAID1 then? Years ago, I had built a PC using FakeRAID...and it was kind of a mess after the motherboard failed (around the time where lots of motherboard makers were having trouble with counterfeit capacitors.) Yet, I'm considering building a machine from scratch again.... :hmm:

Wonder if it being FakeRAID is why after crashes it messes up the RAID, and has to initialize again (was scary seeing that the first time)...and then verify and fix errors.... wonder if this is going to happen every time Windows 7 fails to shutdown safely?

Oh well, try the boot....and success its all working again. I then look at the backup drive to see what I had restored from. Well, before I setup Acronis True Image Home 2011, I had been using Microsoft's image backup option, and scheduled it to run every Tuesday night. And, it usually runs on through to Wednesday night. Though it did seem to not take as much time lately....guess Zen also getting hit by backuppc at night was slowing the image backup down. I had looked at blocking out that night in backuppc, And, at this particular time...there was no hit from backuppc, because I had taken I was in the process of building a new array (I plan to write about that later) I was between backups.

Guess I'll leave Microsoft's image backup going...since it worked. Though it has one annoying negative. It removes the previous backup before creating the new backup, and if something goes wrong...no backups.

Meanwhile, I couldn't get non-stop backup to go again...probably a mismatch in state or something?

I then dig through the non-stop backup and restore a few files that had changed since the image backup.

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04/14/11

  07:57:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 1339 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Storage, Ubuntu

Worked on Orac last night

Back on March 28th, when I last wrote about working on Orac, I mentioned that I looked at the harddrive cage to see about the condition of the fan on there....only to find that there was no fan there.

Reviewing the manual on the Gateway website, I found that the cage is used in more than one model...and that some of those models have fans, while evidently mine did not. Browsing the parts list for some of the other Gateway models that used the same drive cage, I found reference to a 60mm x 10mm fan, which I deduced was probably the fan that I would need to get for this location. I did find that from the Gateway manual for my model, that the motherboard did have a front chassis fan connector.

So, after some thought and checking first amazon.com, it struck me that eBay might be the better place to go. So I found a seller on eBay that explicitly said he shipped by USPS and bought one, and from another seller I got fan screws (a bunch of them, because I've needed them in the past before and I'm sure I'll have need for them in the future....as it was I didn't actually need them this time though.)

Because I had recently built my new backuppc pool (should be posting about that adventure some day), I had been waiting for a moment when Orac was idle again and not busy refilling the pool with full backups of everything....It hadn't gotten any fulls of Zen yet, it didn't detect that Zen had gone away to apply the recent Microsoft patches during its recent attempt, so I had to step in and stop it. So that seemed like a good time to take Orac down.

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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