Tags: box

Pages: 1

07/24/11

  07:40:35 pm, by The Dreamer   , 57 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, BOINC

Switch to Widescreen display, and Orac loses a brain.

Well, thought it was going to be another quick project....ended up taking the whole afternoon and then some.

I had gotten some speaker options using Amazon Prime, so that I could swap out the old 17" LCD monitor with built-in speakers for the Vison 21.6" MW22E-BAD monitor that had been bumped from Zen recently.

I decided I wanted something <$25 and USB powered, and I bought two choices...figuring that the other would go on Orac, since I've been wanting sound on there too for a while. I went a Coby Portable MP3 Speaker System CSMP48, Black and an Altec Lansing iML237USB ORBIT Ultra Portable USB-Powered Speaker.

I decided that I got with connecting the Coby to Gumby and putting it below the monitor...turned out it was the only one for the situation. The Coby has a 3.5mm jack to connect to the output and a mini USB jack with cable to power it. While the Altec only has the USB cord...it isn't just powered by USB, but it does its own sound. While that would work on either computer, it wasn't really what I had in mind for Gumby....or Orac. So, the Coby went in place and then I went to work on swapping the Vison 21.6" monitor into place.

Things looked weird on all computers, since I had to tell each computer about the change in display.

Gumby, Windows XP was a problem...in that it wouldn't let me set 1680x1050 at first. Eventually, I uninstalled the driver, rebooted and now it shows tons of modes that I'm not interested in. I set it to 1680x1050 and 60Hz and triggered an autoconf and done. I didn't decide on 60Hz right away, but that's where I settled. The other choices were 70Hz and 75Hz.

Then, BOX....I used the Monitor app to change things and it saw that the monitor was different and settled on 1680x1050 and 70Hz (again not first choice, but where I settled). Why...when they were all 75Hz...the had slightly different ideas on where the image was centered, so I went with 3 different verticals so the monitor would have the desktop properly positioned for all 3. Wonder what I'll do when I get LHAVEN going? &#58;&#104;&#109;&#109;&#58;

Then ORAC, which was harder....the Monitor app wouldn't see that resolution, and reconfigure has apparently gone away. Eventually, I discovered xrandr and cvt and got it working. As 1680x1050 and 75Hz.

Mostly.....

Full story »

07/23/11

  02:19:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1350 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Windows

The Gumby Torture has ended

That is Gumby was torturing me!

It all started around May 13, 2010....and could ended around...sometime back in April, 2011...but had to let it drag on to today...July 23, 2011.

Gumby had been torturing me more and more lately....largely because when I upgraded it in May 13, 2010...it became my second fastest system at home, and my fastest Windows XP box. Ole TARDIS was only a Pentium 4 3.2GHz w/HT. While new Gumby is a Pentium D 3.4GHz.

Though while TARDIS was still my main Windows XP system, I largely kept Gumby's role the same...though it did pick up a few things the ole Gumby didn't do, due to it having more juice and being less cluttered in its registry and driver hell. Like a new DVD burner, or running a few more CPU and/or memory intensive apps (things that didn't work to well on P3-933MHz and/or only a max of 512MB...)

But, the problem with new Gumby was that its a legacy free box. No PS/2 mouse or keyboard ports (though it's strange that I can still buy new systems that have one or two PS/2 ports, something about the reliability of PS/2 mouse and/or keyboard over USB probably... this KVM switch was kind of holding up whether or not I would be requiring PS/2 ports on whatever mobo I decide to build the new LHAVEN around.)

I had gotten USB PS/2 adapters to keep using my old keyboard/mouse and KVM setup on Gumby (though the keyboard and mouse have upgraded a few times since the Trendnet TK-408) Also, I think the mouse has always been a USB kind with a PS/2 adapter. Originally a ball type, now an optical type....some day I'll get some laser mice here and there...

Problem was that the USB PS/2 adapter was less than reliable or usable. I was still using the Kingwin one that I got to start with new Gumby. Which worked the best, except that every now and the the mouse would stop responding. I could have to stop using the mouse for a while, and it had to be absolutely still during the stop....and then something would reset and it would work again. I had tried a TrendNet, thinking it would go with the KVM....but switching away and then back on the KVM would cause the scrollwheel functionality to go away, and that required me to unplug/replug the USB adapter to get scrollwheel working again.

I also tried a PCI PS/2 card, but found that internally was just another USB PS/2 adapter...just in a slot consuming form, plus it didn't get along with the other PCI card (firewire, and I use firewire external storage on Gumby)...also it exhibited the same problem that the TrendNet USB PS/2 adapter did, except that its a little harder to unplug the card to reset it at will...

So, I stayed with the KingWin and set my sight on a KVM.

Full story »

05/30/11

  09:48:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 892 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, BOINC, Roku XDS, Ubuntu, Other Linux

LHAVEN is dead, long live LHAVEN?

Well, I was getting really annoyed with it complaining and kicking out the replaced disk in LHAVEN. So, I shutdown the system and took out the disk, figuring it should just continue to run fine degraded until I get around to replacing it.

Well, it wouldn't power on after that. I went through everything, no joy. It had done this a while back when I tried adding something to it. It could just be the power supply has flaked out, but I don't have a tester or multimeter handy...so I can't really test it. Could buy a new PS...and I may do that.

But, I kind of suspected the drive issues weren't actually the drive but possibly some deeper hardware problem. So, I had been planning to replace LHAVEN at some point. It has done quite well, being circa 2002. Started out as a 64MB Duron 800MHz machine, eventually peaked at 2GB Athlon XP 3000+. It had replaced a Cyrix PR233 box that had gone up in smoke during a hot summer day in 2002, when the transformer outside blew....the computer survived the brownout and then blackout, but the fans didn't spin back up when power returned...so it burned itself up. Later I found one problem with this new system. It wouldn't resume after losing power. No BIOS setting to alter this behavior and I did try to see if there was alternate BIOS updates for it. It was kind of a painful machine to manage, because for some time kernels didn't have built-in support for all the SIS chipset stuff in it....so an update would roll out, and NIC was usually one of the things to definitely go missing. Which made for fun to rebuild a custom kernel upgrade for it. Eventually it got stable.

But, needing essentials like DNS, DHCP to be available after an extended outage...I moved these to another server (originally an old Pentium 75, which has evolved into what is known as 'box' today). For the longest time it was RedHat 7.2, and then RedHat 7.3 when fedora legacy switched to only supporting 7.3 and 9 releases. It continued after fedoralegacy stopped supporting it, I was building some of the packages for it by hand...like bind (in response to the Kaminsky exploit). There were parts of my network that wouldn't function without LHAVEN...like an old Windows 2000 box that was barely functioning...(old Gumby).

I nearly lost it during the Icepocalyse....but I tracked down motherboard replacement for it from geeks.com. It was a slighty newer mobo, but equivalent chipset. It did have some things the old mobo didn't, like USB 2.0 support (I didn't use USB and still don't), support for 2GB of RAM instead of 1GB...so I upped it for better BOINC'ng. And, faster CPUs....so I upped from 2200 to 3000.

At one time, I had turned it off to do some upgrades...which didn't pan out. Tried to slap a gigabit card into it...didn't work. Wouldn't get along with the on board stuff, and the BIOS didn't have ways to get things out of the way enough. It also never fixed the resume after power loss issue. But, during this process it failed to power on....but after a couple days, it came back and I decided to upgrade its UPS and hopefully it would make one last outage. Well, there were several others since then where it came back afterwards. But, looks like this is the last time for it.

Pages: 1· 2

07/03/10

  04:52:53 pm, by The Dreamer   , 840 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, BOINC

lhaven upgraded

AKA the end of RedHat 7.3.

For sometime, I have thought that it was time to upgrade 'lhaven' to a more modern release of Linux.

For the longest time, 'lhaven' has been running RedHat 7.3 (it was 7.2, but then I discovered Fedora Legacy...and they were providing patches for RedHat 7.3) And, there are still some production servers running this release, but I no longer have to support them...as I no longer work there.

The problem was that I had compiled a lot of custom apps over the years, that would be difficult to upgrade to newer distro/release of Linux. Since they were done without though to going to a different distro. 'lhaven' did used to run older versions of RedHat, and had been upgraded to where it stopped. But, to go to another distro would require a major effort. And, some of the apps were hard enough to get working to begin with. And, were some what fragile.

'lhaven' has also gone through some hardware iterations. The first major was when the Cyrix 233 that it was one burned up (a transformer had blown a phase, causing really low voltage before it went out....) though more likely it was its return after the outage with none of its fan able to spin. It was working for a while...but then there was smoke, and it all ended.

Got a Duron 800Mhz machine, which grew to an Athlon 2000....and had its motherboard replaced after the icepocalypse. The icepocalpyse was the first time I had to seriously look at upgrading from the old RedHat 7.3....but later I found a compatible motherboard and got the system to boot. The machine I bought at that time became 'orac'.

Later my use of ReplayTVs dropped off, and the one of the main apps that used datadirect for guide data was never successfully updated to support the newer schedules direct service. And, that was one of the things I didn't want to touch. But, now it is gone.

More recently, I started moving some of the other things that ran on 'lhaven' to 'box'. Namely, MRTG and cacti. I also updated all my linux servers to be able to handle mail for my home network, with the local mailboxes on 'box'. Also moved secondary DNS to 'orac' (someday I plan to get fallback DHCP on 'orac', but that'll probably come later.....) During the icepocalypse I had moved DHCP and primary NTP and DNS to 'box'....'lhaven' came back as secondary, because the old 'gumby' was sufficiently broken that I couldn't get it to not require 'lhaven' to function.

So, what I did was install ubuntu-10.04-alternate-i386 to become the new 'lhaven'. Which was the suggested to do RAID at the start, it had been a long time since I had done it, but the last time I had...it was a server install. But ubuntu no longer supports 32-bit hardware as servers, but both 'lhaven' and 'box' are 32-bit machines.

Took some figuring out, but its all done now. Yes, there's a desktop on all my Linux boxes, though 'lhaven' doesn't seem to be really up to the task. The video seems pretty poor and fuzzy compared to the other Linux servers. Perhaps I'll see about replacing its integrated video with an NVidia card of some sort...what that does CUDA, though it'll have to be a PCI card.

Anyways....after the install was done, I installed a few basics...like boinc and called it a night.

Full story »

05/18/10

  08:29:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 703 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Networking, BOINC, Ubuntu

'Accidentally' Upgraded 'box' to Lucid

Last night I wasn't thinking....running into the fact that my boinc-client package is broken on 'box', I thought..."why isn't it running the boinc-client from Lucid?" And, I proceeded to fix it with "apt-get"...and then realized that I'm still running karmic and unbreaking it wasn't. The boinc-client pre-Lucid is too old for a project I'm in, and it is annoying how ubuntu doesn't update packages within releases (which get's really annoying with LTS.)

Anyways....I decided the way to resolve the mess I had now made by downgrading my boinc-client, was to upgrade to Lucid Lynx 10.04LTS. It was my plan to upgrade both my Ubuntu servers to 10.04LTS (the other being 'orac' which is currently 8.04LTS)....but I was going to put it off to when I had more time and allow time for the release to stabilize (given all the issues I had when I first started running box on fresh Karmic).

So, it started....things got a little annoying, in that the upgrade requires attention....and I didn't want to spend my whole evening watching it upgrade. So, I'd check it now and then, and sometimes find it stuck waiting for me to make a decision for it, though the first one where it wants to restart stuff after a pam upgrade...that's annoying. Just do it okay, stuff it restarted weren't working right along the way anyways. Namely I found that I couldn't access websites...at first I thought the squid had become dorked, and I couldn't restart it because invoking /etc/init.d/squid said it was now a service...but using service didn't find it. Though later I realized it wasn't working because DNS was broke ('box' is my primary DNS server)... I was able to restart that in the usual manner.

Partly because of the pauses, and a bit due to slow download....it wasn't looking like I would finish before 'bedtime'....but it seemed that it would be close enough.... It wasn't, but I ended up staying up to the bitter end. So, that I could reboot and do a quick check that all was clean.

Namely, I checked that named, dhcpd, ntpd and squid were running (since these were some key services of this server, and were ones that often failed to start after boot in karmic...especially named. Manual start always worked...at one time I was restarting these services in rc.local where it always worked rather than at the 'normal' time).

Then I went to fill in the missing icons in my launcher panel....there were two holes, there also seemed to be a hole in the tray area. The missing icons were Evolution (which I right-clicked to make reappear), and boxee (which I installed the latest of). I then called it a night.

The next morning, I continued to poke around some more....adjust appearance, add some chat/broadcast accounts...and look into my ubuntuone issue....first the tray thing was missing, apparently its by design...but, I don't remember that. I poked around some more and some more....then I looked at 'ulkc' and saw that it also didn't have the tray applet anymore, and I just didn't miss it... So, I then went to check that it was connected to my account and sync'd. Actually, it really was syncing, etc. When I was at Penguicon, I had put a copy of the pictures I had taken into my cloud...expecting to see them later on 'box' when I got home. But, it would never appear. Upgrading 'ulkc' didn't help things.

During the poking around, I disconnected 'box' and reconnected...and that apparently fixed whatever was wrong, as it started syncing...and soon the folders appeared.

While this was going on, I thought that maybe I would need to finish things up by remote....so sadly I discovered that remote desktop still doesn't work in Lucid. Turning it on, consumes 50% of my CPU. My 8.04LTS (orac) doesn't suffer from this problem. But, I want to bring both servers in sync eventually, so I can see about getting failover for dhcp working between the two.

Oh well....at least it seems more successful than when I had upgraded 'box' to Karmic. And, now I'm at an LTS where it can stay for the next 2 years.... We'll see what happens when I upgrade from 8.04LTS to 10.04LTS next month....

04/02/10

  08:16:22 am, by The Dreamer   , 300 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, BOINC

box now has 2GB

A couple of days ago, I got a second stick of 1GB PC3200 DDR memory...and last night I finally got around to upgrading 'box' to 2GB. I had previously throwing a 1GB stick into a geeks.com order to bring 'box' to 1.5GB.

Nothing special of note happened with either upgrade. Just that I now have the maximum for this system, and it should allow it to better run BOINC work.

Though the current RNA World work assignments are calling for memory that I only have one machine that has at least that much memory....but it has 4 cores, so it can't run more than one RNA World at a time...and if I mix in other work with RNA World....the RNA World jobs always miss their deadline, because the estimation perpetually wrong.

Anyways....after I had done this...it occurred to me that I had done something odd....my main desktop (known as 'tardis') is suffering with low memory (firefox keeps consuming more and more memory...sometimes its consuming over 800MB....not to mention all my CPU....and then I made that mistake of upgrading to Thunderbird 3....plus Tweetdeck is pretty big too) Why am I not upgrading the memory in there....it has 4 slots, currently filled with 512MB PC3200 DDR memory. And, I should be able to change two of the slots for 1GB PC3200 DDR memory and everything should work. Could do 4GB, but don't think it'll see it all.

Though that computer was pretty temperamental on what kind of PC3200 memory it got....though when I do get around to finally replacing that computer, the 1GB sticks would probably go well in to 'box'....had I thought about this process better &#58;&#108;&#97;&#108;&#97;&#108;&#97;&#58;

Wonder if there'll be hardware upgrades to my main desktop between now and when I finally get around to replacing it. Think the machine turns 7 soon.

01/01/10

  05:22:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 839 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Networking, Storage, Ubuntu

Converted box to use RAID1

Link: http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Convert_a_single_drive_system_to_RAID

box is such an important server to my home network, while the last time it failed wasn't due to drive failure...there had been times in its past where it was.

And, since I was playing around with RAID a lot on orac, I decided that it was probably time that I convert box to do RAID.

It doesn't need a lot of storage....it has always been a 40GB harddrive of some sort. That had come either as stock in the off-lease system I built it around or from a ReplayTV. The latest incarnation of 'box', a Thinkcentre S51, used SATA drives, so spare drives wasn't something I had a pile of for it.

Now being a Thinkcentre S51, there wasn't much in the way of internal options of doing RAID, but there was a second SATA port on the motherboard. And, it did have USB ports...so at first I was looking at creating RAID using an external harddrive. Either USB or SATA. Leaning towards SATA (had purchased a SATA bracket).

But, I was looking for a pair of small SATA drives....at first one the same size as the current, but then a pair of small/same would do....and more procrastination.

But, then the K-State Student Union computer store had a clearance table out...and on it where various sizes of 2.5" SATA drives. And, I recalled seeing an adapter that would allow me to mount a pair of 2.5" SATA drives in a 3.5" drive bay. There was even a version that had on board RAID (and could do USB)....similar to one of the RAID enclosures connected to orac. Though I wanted to go with mdadm managing my raid in software, since it was a little bit better known to me in its setup, management and recovery. The latter is kind of important, since at work we've had fun in trying to recover systems using hardware RAID after a card/board swap or having it tell us its status by some mean other than wondering if a light shouldn't be on or something while passing by it in the data center.

But, the table had come out before I was going on my winter holidays...so I wasn't in a position to figure things out and buy it. Later when I came back from holidays, I saw that some of the 2.5" drives were still available...and had been marked down even further. The big ones were gone, and a co-worker mentioned that he had gotten a pair of 250G for just such a use. There was a single 80G and 3 120G left. So, either I could get a single enclosure and go with the old external mount of drive plan....or get a pair of 120G drives and explore the 2x2.5 to 3.5 bay adapter route. I ended up buying all 3 of the 120G drives, figuring that I'd have a cold spare for down the road.

I then checked eBay for the adapter....and bought the one that wasn't RAID or anything. I chose a seller that shipped USPS, and it just made it in on New Year's Eve.

During the thinking and research phase, I found the linked to details on how to do what I wanted.... And, I pretty much used it (with minor adjustments to suit my needs, like the differences of my ubuntu release, or that I was going to swtich to having /home on /dev/md1. Or that I wasn't going to reuse the old drive in the conversion, etc.

Pages: 1· 2

11/07/09

  06:30:40 pm, by The Dreamer   , 175 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Networking

Another problem with karmic upgrade of box

Found another problem with my karmic upgrade of 'box'. The clocks on everything were starting to drift....well 'box' is my NTP server.

I check the ntp.conf, and it was still correct. Then I realized ntp started while bind wasn't....so it omitted a time server to sync with. (and nothing for the initial sync).

So, that's another thing to bounce in /etc/rc.local on boot.

I did find a posting somewhere that suggested apparmor was the causing problems, so I tried removing that....but that didn't solve the problem, though putting it back it did work once....but rebooting again to see if it was a fluke, seemed to say that it was. So, stick with /etc/rc.local as the more reliable way to make sure these things are running..... &#58;&#42;&#42;&#58;

Wonder if there'll be a time where I remove this kluge to see if things are fixed...or not. &#58;&#63;&#63;&#58;

OTOH, with box on a PowerSource 400, I kind of hope that it'll never go down during typical power outages. Of course, who knows if there'll be another extreme one, like the icepocalypse.

  02:53:14 pm, by The Dreamer   , 219 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Networking

Upgrading box to karmic

With a couple hours to kill this morning, I decided to see about upgrading 'box' to karmic. Ideally it should've been LTS, but that's another story....

It gave an estimate of one hour to download. Well, it ended up taking those couple of hours. And, then a couple hours more to actually install the updates.

The upgrade was pretty straight forward...I didn't realize that server kernels were gone now, so at first it caught me off guard, guess I didn't pay attention when I upgraded the server at work.

The only problem during the upgrade was the it stopped named, and left things in a state where it could not be restarted. So, things were a bit quirky on my network without DNS, and the box had some issues...not being able to resolve its own name. For some reason during the original install, it had created /etc/hosts with my FQDN but no entry for just the hostname.

Then things went strange....rebooting the box, no DNS running. 'sudo /etc/init.d/bind9 start' and it would start fine. Reboot again....again no DNS.

So, remove and reinstall the package....reboot again, still no DNS. It starts fine by hand after things have booted, but not during boot for some reason. Well, add a line to /etc/rc.local to start DNS. Guess that does it for now.

10/31/09

  01:36:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 568 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, BOINC, Ubuntu

upgrading to Karmic Koala

I hadn't intended to start upgrading systems to Karmic Koala so soon...since the servers are kind of pegged with other people downloading and upgrading. But, playing around with do-release-upgrade on my Ubuntu server at work....at first (on Thursday) it didn't show the release and the later it did.

Since its running as a Guest on my Solaris 10 x86 desktop, in VirtualBox, I could take a snapshot and let it go. Plus its a pretty minimal server...its just to run BOINC. It estimated that it would take about 4 hours to download what it needed. Guess it doesn't take advantage of the I2, or things were pretty saturated....

When I came in yesterday, it was still going...was kind of hard with it blanking the screen and stopping waiting for input...but it kept chugging along and eventually upgraded and all seemed good.

So, last night I decided to pull the trigger and upgrade my notebook (ulkc). It warned about a lot more stuff that was unsupported and would be removed, and lots of warnings about all the 3rdparty stuff. But it gave an estimate of 10 hours to download and asked if I wanted to continue.

Sure &#58;&#108;&#97;&#108;&#97;&#108;&#97;&#58;

When I got up the next morning it was waiting to ask about differences in my mod blacklist, it wanted to add pcspkr but it wasn't going to keep the modules I had blacklisted...and no option to merge or stuff....so I told it to keep my blacklist. Wonder what'll happen when I do box, since there's nothing connected to its sound card....so its only way to make noise is through its pc speaker.

After it was done and rebooted, two things didn't work. The firefox button on the panel, since default had changed from firefox 3.0 to firefox 3.5 (though I've been using 3.5 since it came out, just replace /usr/bin/firefox with a new symlink)....easy enough to replace. And, virtualbox.

I reinstated the 3rdparty sources for apt, and checked for updates. Guess there's no Karmic repository for Boxee yet. The only thing that did upgrade was dropbox.

So, I uninstalled virtualbox (it was 2.2) and reinstalled it (3.0 from the karmic repo). And, then I tested it.

It worked.

Full story »

1

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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