Pages: 1 ... 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 22 ... 141

05/08/11

  06:10:13 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1575 words  
Categories: Stuff, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Android, Nintendo 3DS

Woot, I got a Viewsonic gTablet!

Many years ago, I got my first eBook reader device. It was an REB1200 (RCA, Gemstar, TVGuide, something, something something). It seemed like the thing to get. It had color and it could connect to the net without requiring a computer. And, it had a compactflash slot for expansion. And, Barnes & Noble was going to sell content for it.

However, Barnes & Noble never materialized for it, content was expensive...especially magazines. If you buy a magazine subscription online, its cheap...really cheap, and they send you a magazine that you can do just about anything with. But, the eBook version was the raw undiscounted price (like lots of subscriptions will tell you your getting a special deal...instead of somewhere around $120, you're getting a super discount rate of like $12....does anybody actually pay the $120 rate? Apparently they thought DRM laden eBook readers would....)

There was hope though, when Gemstar merged with TV Guide....perhaps they would bring TV Guide to the eBook reader. Sadly they didn't.

Originally there was no way to put personal content on the REB1200, but eventually ways were found and before Gemstar pulled the plug on it....they opened it up. Somewhere after that I sold my REB1200.

More recently, I picked up the Amazon Kindle...I had waited for the 2 to come out, being somewhat more cautious this time around. And, it didn't look like a color version was going to materialize anytime soon. I guess it'll be a while before eInk displays get to good color. The kindle is nice, but its magazine content is just the text content. The pricing at least was reasonable. And, it was possible to put own content onto the Kindle and at it was self contained (not computer dependent), etc. But, I like magazines because they have pictures. Especially important for a gadgetaholic....also the pretty advertising was missed. In some magazines, the advertising is more important than the content....at least in finding out about gadgets.

Meanwhile over at Barnes & Noble, they have the Nook...and they came out with a color version. And, reports are that magazines are real and complete on there.

Though, most Kindles and all the Nooks have one flaw...they are small. It is okay for reading a novel...where it is the right size for that, but not so much for reading magazines. (Also not so good for PDF content, particularly ones that can't be reflowed/reformatted). Kindle does have a DX model, but its pretty expensive, monochrome and still limited to the same kind of content of other Kindles. But, both companies do offer software to access its content on iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android devices. Though I wish I had done more research into those options first....but I had assumed that everything that I could buy for the device was also available through these options, just not as convenient as the purpose built eReader.

Full story »

Pages: 1· 2

05/06/11

  04:31:38 pm, by The Dreamer   , 3581 words  
Categories: General, Appliances, Healthcare

I had a Spinal Tap

...though I don't know why, but hope that I'm not in the 11.5%

This all started when I had a January 13, 2011 appointment following my PSG/MSLT of December 2&3, 2010. The finding of the MSLT was 'normal', and there was no room for discussion or questions on it with my sleep doctor. But, while I was waiting on the MSLT results, I got a letter dated December 14, 2010 from Stanford saying had the DQB1*0602 subtype.

After the appointment, I was to get a referral to somewhere like Stanford and maybe I should see a Neurologist because maybe I'm actually have seizures and not EDS + sleep attacks. When I asked what 'somewhere like Stanford' might be, the doc said Stanford is the only place he knows so that's where. So, why did he say 'somewhere like Stanford' if he doesn't know any such place.

But, the whole Stanford thing seemed to stall after I was told that I needed to call my insurance and tell them if it would be covered...and not just let me tell them there that it would be covered. Somehow leaving and then saying that I had called my insurance was better than just saying it? :??: Anyways, I called, and found out that it would they would be covered as an in-network provider (so even better than I had thought).... But, when I called back, the doc said that he had been thinking and probably wouldn't do the referral now.

The following week, I got a call from his office saying they had called the number of Stanford...and it was not in service, and wanted me to find out the correct number. I provided them with the number that was on their website, the URL being part of the letter that they had gotten the number they had called from. Though later it occurred to me, that Monday, January 17th was President's Day. Which was a University holiday for me, and likely was a University holiday for Stanford....and I found out that it was, and they were closed that day.

And, then I heard nothing..... I contacted Stanford a few times after this, and they average about 3 calls from medical professional each day but they don't recall having gotten any phone call from mime.

After a couple months, I decided to take it upon myself to do the second thing....and found a nearby neurologist that I wanted to see. I had first appointment with him, on March 28, 2011, during which he said he wanted to see the MSLT data for himself since it looked borderline and I finally got something for my RLS and he wanted to run a bunch of other tests, such as MRI and then he would see me in about a month and after he get's back from vacation.

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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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03/28/11

  01:43:48 pm, by The Dreamer   , 837 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Storage

Worked on Orac yesterday

Yesterday, I decided that I should poke around Orac in preparation for building that new 5x2TB RAID5 array. My backuppc pool keeps filling up, and deleting old backups isn't freeing up enough space anymore (5x1.5TB RAID6 array.)

At first it was just going to be a simple procedure to add two eSata cables from the computer to the Sans Digital MS2T+B, and then shutdown and move the two 1TB drives in RAID 1 from the bottoms slots of my TR5M-B (upper 3 are unoccupied). But, as I was pushing on the cables the bracket popped in...so I had to open the case to put it back in place.

While I was in, I decided to see what kind of fan is on the drive cage. A couple of weeks earlier, I had gotten a SMART alert of high temperature and cacti showed that there was a rise for a few hours in the late evening. It had been warm that day, warm enough that I touched the AC briefly in the earlier part of the evening. Guess I needed it to stay on the rest of the evening.... But, there was no fan...though there were mount holes for a fan, and there's supposed to be a fan connector on the motherboard for it. Though not all models had one, so evidently not the GT5635E. Though wonder if I should, maybe the addition of the second internal drive makes it desirable (so far I've had to replace the second drive twice....the current one is now a newer generation than the original drives, and runs cooler.)

Since there wasn't a fan, I didn't take the cage out....so I didn't measure what size fan might go in the spot. Though I have a rough guess as what size it is, so perhaps later on I'll pick up a fan to put there. I should probably see about a new rear fan....perhaps a faster one might help.

But, I put things back together and moved the drives, started things back up.

Of course, the first problem is now all my drive letters are different....which messed things up like cacti (hddtemp recording), gkrellm and rc.local (where I changed the i/o schedule for the RAID6 array drives to noop). There was also the complication that the filesystem on the drives I just moved hadn't been fsck'd in over 6 months. So, it needed to fsck them. root also needed be fsck'd. It took a long time to boot, but eventually did. Though the filesystem on the moved RAID1 array hadn't finished checking...had set 'nobootwait' on filesystem. I'll probably remove those now...since they have fixed Bug #563916. But, after fixing rc.local (and before fixing cacti) I rebooted....so it still needed to do the fsck.

Later I still had to reboot again, because two services that reference the filesystem....weren't happy...well, one was really unhappy and the other wasn't reporting valid information for it and needed a restart to make it work (I couldn't probably have fixed the issue without a reboot, but I wanted to make sure it rebooted right after another change I had made. There's still something odd going on, affecting a different RAID1 array....will look into that later (or I could opt to move the filesystem to the RAID6 array)....since it could use a grow.

Full story »

03/27/11

  06:33:39 pm, by The Dreamer   , 817 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Momitsu V880N, Networking, BOINC, Storage

worked on lhaven, kind of

It might be time I upgraded/replaced 'lhaven'.

This is the only computer in my home network that is only 10/100BaseT, everything else being gigabit. I did picked up a gigabit NIC, but couldn't get it to work in this computer. Seems to not get along with something integrated hardware-wise.

The other thing is there have been lots of errors coming from ata1.00 for sometime. This is also the remaining computer that uses PATA drives. 'lhaven' has 3 300GB PATA drives in it. The primary master (ST3300622A) and secondary master (6B300R0) were in RAID1 configuration, and the primary slave (WD3000JB) is just a single disk. secondary slave is the CD drive...forget what it is exactly.

It wasn't dire that I replace the failing primary master, though it had failed out once before....system booted off the secondary master and ran degraded. But, I added the disk back in and it quickly got happy again (have internal bitmaps enabled).

I had looked around and there isn't much in PATA drives available these days...and nothing in 300GB. Choices I found were 80, 320 or 500. I suppose I could've gone with a 320...but what I did instead of score a 300GB off of eBay.

Replacing it didn't go though. Failed out the disk, booted up on secondary, and tried to put in new disk. First cloning partition table over to new disk. Wouldn't work...new disk is smaller than the secondary master.

As it turned, out the two primary drives were the same size, but the secondary was slightly bigger. I had partitioned the drive using all the space, though it was never using all of it. Probably should've partitioned it the same size as the primary drives. But, I didn't recall this at midnight...figuring it was would go quick and let it resync while I slept....

So found details on shrinking things so that I could add the new disk. Then things got weird.

grub got messed up, and the new disk wouldn't come back correctly into raid. There seemed to be CHS issues, maybe the BIOS in 'lhaven' is too old for such a new drive (ST3300820A)...had seen messages about it, but was more stumped by why it kept changing the md1 slice from sda2 to sda...leading to nasty things as it tried to rebuild itself.

Also noticed that it did different things if it booted from the primary versus the secondary. Apparently the md0/md1 didn't show up soon enough so it used the partition directly.... and the sda1/sda2 paritions were kind of messed up. In fact the /home filesystem on one got seriously hosed, so I reformatted it. But, when I rebooted later..../home was back and working.

During this process grub got messed up, so I had to download a livecd to reinstall grub. Eventually, it all seemed to mostly be working. Except that I could only boot from the secondary master, it would come up wrong from the primary. And, the errors I was seeing that prompted this were still happening.

So, likely not a drive problem...but something else wrong with 'lhaven'. So, I decided to put the old primary drive back and resync that and put everything mostly back the way it was before.

It wasn't without some challenge...like how to make it not see the secondary master and get confused by it. I tried removing power to it, but computer wouldn't power up. I tried removing just IDE cable from it, BIOS halted because just a secondary slave wasn't kosher. It started things degraded, but used sdc1 as root (instead of md0 which should be sda1, with sdc1 out...zero'd it superblock) it was also weird on vg00. md1 wouldn't activate, but vg00 was using it some how. And, when I did activate it...I couldn't get sdc2 to add to it.

But, eventually it all got back to the way things were before.

So, I guess its time to see about replacing 'lhaven'. Its old enough. Though not sure what, besides case and powersupply are original from the computer I purchased in August 2002.

Hard to say what I'll replace it with though...since not much out there fits into where it is (perhaps its time to get a new KVM), and I'm going to want a pretty souped up system to speed up BOINC work....even though that's pretty much all it does these days. Since, everything is being handled on 'box'/'orac' now. And, the secondary services that do run on 'lhaven' don't call for anything beefy (DNS, NTP)....though I do want to redo my Linux media server setup.

My Momitsu V880N is probably going to get replaced sometime later this year... only had mmc running on 'tardis' and 'lhaven'. mmc doesn't work on vista/Win7, and 'tardis' is off in the corner to die. Could probably get mmc working on some other linux box if I needed, but its probably time to come up with something DLNA.... and have my Roku take over.

03/15/11

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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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