Categories: "Computer" or "Android" or "Chromebook" or "Hardware" or "Printers" or "Scanner" or "Storage" or "iPad Air 2" or "Networking" or "WiFi" or "Operating Systems" or "FreeBSD" or "Other Linux" or "Ubuntu" or "Windows" or "Software" or "b2evolution" or "BOINC" or "CFEngine" or "Quicken/TurboTax" or "Virtualization" or "VirtualBox"

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11/20/11

  12:49:06 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1764 words  
Categories: Stuff, WiFi, Furnishings, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Nintendo 3DS

Kindle Fire -- the first 72 hours

Well, it's been just a touch over 72 hours since I got my Amazon Kindle Fire.

I pre-ordered it shortly after it was announced, with an ETA for November 17th with free 2-day Amazon Prime shipping. I knew there was a chance that they should ship early, because they did that the last time I pre-ordered something (The Kindle 2 and the Nintendo 3DS). But, its been a busy week...and I tried my best to keep my calendar open to receive it....I had an appointment pre-Kindle Fire announcement on the 14th, and I was keeping the 15th open for something that was later scheduled in conflict to the 14th....and ended up having an appointment on the 16th. If I had some notice from Amazon just before they shipped to adjust its timing...I might've...since the 15th being open now...I could've gotten it then. Instead I had to wait for UPS to make a redelivery attempt and bring it to me on the originally scheduled day... November 17th.

I didn't open it immediately when UPS gave it to me, in fact I put it down first and then had to find it before I could open it. It was easy to open...no info with it, but I eventually found the power button and it eventually booted and walked me through setup...though complicated by the fact that I needed to know its MAC address to add it to my radius and dhcp server configs. Plus I hadn't decided on an IP for it yet. Fortunately with radius access controls, its easier to find the MAC address of new devices than before.

It came pre-activated, in fact I had seen it in my kindle account before they shipped it (but no serial number was associated with the registration yet)...but I changed its name to follow the naming scheme I had gone with (if you can call only one previous device the basis of a scheme)...though I am tempted to get a Kindle Touch 3G to succeed my Kindle 2....though wonder if they're going to come out with a DX version? What I liked was that my Kindle Fire's email address was my first Kindle's address with '42' added to the username. &#59;D Though there's a bunch of Kindle apps associated with my account that I don't recognize....wish the automatic naming was more descriptive. Suspect some are devices where I had to reinstall the system or have since be retired.

Though I wasn't crazy enough to buy content for it before receiving it...though I was tempted.

Anyways...what I was getting to, was once I got it working on my WiFi network, the next step would've been registration...and it flashed it briefly before telling me that it was registered and had the name I have given it earlier. And, then it was to update itself. So I found somewhere to plug it in and left it.

Big problem that is getting worse in my home now...so many things that need to get plugged in, and all the convenient outlets are already full and now I'm running out of inconvenient ones too. The Kindle Fire is using one of those inconvenient ones. I've been meaning to build myself some kind of charging center, similar to the kind of thing Cali Lewis was presented doing in a GeekBrief. Perhaps I'll have to step up plans to get around to 'building' it. Just haven't found that piece of furniture to buy to modify yet... Probably just a matter of time that I come across something reasonable on Amazon.com with Prime and get it though....

Full story »

11/13/11

  02:49:29 pm, by The Dreamer   , 930 words  
Categories: VoIP, Networking, Cox HSI, AT&T DSL, Broadband, RoadRunner

I guess it was time to replace my WRT54GS routers

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Buffalo-Technology-AirStation-Wireless-WHR-HP-GN/dp/B002WBV37Y/

For quite some time, I've been running WRT54GS routers....that I had hacked to run Sveasoft Alchemy...eventually reaching 1.0 release and then pretty much doing very little to.

Originally, I had gotten a WRT54GS v1.1 that I upgraded, and used with my Roadrunner Cablemodem service. Later word came out that newer WRT54GS had less memory than before, and were switching to non-replaceable OSs. So, I started keeping an eye out for older WRT54GS routers...to get as a spare. One day in a Wal-Mart, I was going through the WRT54GS's on a shelf...when way at the back behind the newer v5 stock, was a v2.0. Well, I had to buy it right then and there.

Later when I moved to Manhattan, KS...I was presented with the opportunity to go dual WAN. Well, wasn't my intent, but I was forced into it. So, not wanting to mess up my 'cable' configs. I set up the backup WRT54GS for DSL use.

And, things have been humming along pretty well, with the two WRT54GS routers and the running of both Cox and AT&T broadband.

That was until last September....I was trying transparent proxy and ended up bricking the WRT54GS for DSL. So, I started looking online for a new router to replace the WRT54GS that would be better than what I had now. One of the key features of Sveasoft is the better QoS...which was important since I was doing a lot of VoIP (having at the time both Lingo and Vonage, since neither had Manhattan, KS numbers...they have since gone away...and its just Broadvoice now. But, I've been thinking of getting another....) But, I had turned of QoS on the cable one, because I found that it was affecting my ability to see the speed improvements that Cox had been making to it. So, I had already started looking at what next after WRT54GS....but now with a bricked router, things were more urgent.

So, what I did was order a pair of Buffalo WHR-HP-GN (with dd-wrt) routers from Amazon, using Amazon Prime...on September 9, 2010.

Full story »

Pages: 1· 2

11/10/11

  04:11:52 pm, by The Dreamer   , 881 words  
Categories: General, Wireless/iPhone, VoIP, WiFi, Safety & Security, Cox HSI, AT&T DSL, Broadband, Amazon Kindle

Cox Cable was a no show today....

This afternoon's tale starts on Tuesday, November 8th.

At about 9:30am, I get an email from Cox about Wednesday's EAS test for 2pm EST....shouldn't be a problem, won't be home and nothing should be recording then...

Then at about 11:30am, I start getting pages that my Cox connection (among other things) has gone away. Well, the other things were because without Cox...there's no DNS or NTP...so things that tested or depend on that also failed. Though monitoring from work just showed Cox down.... At least I still have DSL....tweak some stuff back to being DSL centric, and bounce my cable modem a few times.... I had switched away from being DSL centric after a recent significant DSL outage.

Eventually cable service comes back, and I think all is good. Though I don't notice that not everything in nagios has cleared. And, when I come home...I find that I still have no Cox internet service.

I turn on the TV to see if I'm at least getting a signal....but I only checked the channel that was default...didn't check further. I then get on with Cox to find out why my service is down.

Strange that I often have trouble right around bill due time. But, I use EasyPay, so they automatically get paid. And, this month the auto-pay date is November 9th. New bill came out around October 27th (in fact later when I got confirmation that they had processed the payment, that's what it said). Always interesting that they allow so little time between sending the bill to when it needs to get paid. Its probably to keep us from dropping services between getting the bill and paying it. Like dropping Movie Pak....a while back they moved BBC America to the Movie Pak, so I had to add that to my service quickly....but sometime later they moved it back to the Variety Pak...so I should probably drop the Movie Pak...but I never seem to get around to it. I don't watch anything else in the Movie Pak (but at least I do from the Variety Pak.)

But, I check and account is current. I also got alert from bank of the pending charge too.

So, I get on with Cox support to find out what's up or not....and after they get my account information, come back saying a technician call is needed and say the earliest is Thursday between 1-3pm. Ok...then I'm asked if there's anything else, and I'm disconnected.

Seems like that's one way to avoid the National EAS test....

I had turned the cable modem on and off a few times, with longer off times, and checked connections and such...to no luck, but couldn't recall if I left it on or off overnight. When I get up...there's still no Cox Internet service. I restart the cable modem, and presto...I have service.

Pages: 1· 2

10/27/11

  06:56:53 pm, by The Dreamer   , 420 words  
Categories: Stuff, Software, Computer, DVDs / NetFlix, Boxee

I closed my Stamps.com account

I decided today is the day to close my Stamps.com account. It was triggered by something unrelated....

I had pretty much decided that it I was going to close my Stamps.com account around mid-year, but I kept thinking that I might need it still and then I kept forgetting to do it (before the automatically monthly charge around the 20th takes place.)

When I called, they noted that I had had my account since 1999....guess that's about right...also the year that I started NetFlix (another thing that I'm starting to wonder about.) For a while before than, I had been paying for a postage meter.... Stamps.com used to be a lot cheaper by the month than the rental of a postage meter, by quite a bit...though sometime ago the edge closed, but there were other advantages to having Stamps.com then. I also lived closer to a post office, and was active selling on half.com and ebay. Though proximity to a post office was important to being a seller....

But, when I upgraded my computer back in December....the end for Stamps.com came up. The Stamps.com-branded labelwriter that I could print single stamps on demand with wasn't supported beyond Windows XP. (wasted a sheet of NetStamps somewhere years ago....printed a whole sheet of first class postage, but only used one....figured I'd use it while computer was packed up for move, etc. But, don't know where it went to.) I may someday buy a new labelwriter (been thinking of a new label maker...though perhaps I'll just buy new labels for my current ones), but to keep my stamps.com account useful wasn't enough of a reason to do it now. But, I'm just about at the point where I'm going to pull the plug on the old computer (TARDIS)...and use the space for something else. Providing it doesn't end itself for me first. I've already replaced a drive in it since 'retiring' it. And, its making drives noises again...

Pages: 1· 2

08/31/11

  06:16:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 964 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Storage

Crashplan Evaluation Update

In the continuing evaluation of CrashPlan, I hit a snag last weekend. The servers were down...and everything stopped... not only could I test the online functionality that morning, local backups between my home computers also stopped. And, many of them required me to give the service a kick a time or two, before everything would work again. My laptop, the only computer I'm currently backing up to Crashplan hadn't backed up in nearly 48 hours....kept saying it was offline, but restarting the service finally got it to see that it wasn't. I had to reboot some of my Windows computers due to software upgrades, so I hadn't noticed this problem at first.

Wonder what the availability of the service is...does this thing happen often? Is there a notice somewhere, explanations, etc....or is my Enterprise IT background affecting my expectations?

Then last night I hit a new snag. In redoing the RAID5 on Zen, I went and recreated the old partition as a full 3TB...and its used for Windows Image Backups and Oops!backup. And, the remaining space ~1.1TB got made into a new partition that I set aside just for CrashPlan. Its a bit more than what they offer for their seed option.

I have a lot of media files that I've accumulated over the years...some organized, some not....but duplicated on different systems. And, some of those systems are getting old, and lately...I seem to spend more time/money on backups and maintaining... than replacing or migrating those systems. But, the main problem is the duplication of files among my different home computers.

Now I had originally looked at Crashplan (and other in the cloud solutions) as something to do backups of my laptop data, and not be tied to my home network, etc. And, then grew to being offsite backup for my important media collection, especially all those pictures and videos I've taken over the years (most of my traditional format is lost, water damage...someday I should sort through that)...and everything else as I become more and more digital. IE: when I did the closing on my mortgage....I signed lots and lots of papers for mortgage company, but my copy was just a CD-R. Seemed all the SA people I spoke to, said Crashplan was the one...though when I first raised the idea around the local IT crowd, Carbonite was mentioned. But, Crashplan supports Linux, and that's important...since I'm running a Linux laptop.... though cloud backup and my laptop was original more of an issue when I was thinking of getting a Windows 7 laptop (at the time Windows 7 had changed something that broke smbclient from talking to it, but smbclient has since updated to work again....so I can still do backuppc on my home network....)

So, initially I pointed Zen and 4 other computers to the 1.1TB Crashplan volume. Zen is just backing up my profile directory (default), which is less than what I have Oops!Backup protecting (since not everything crams into the My Documents/My Pictures/My Videos/My Music...and even those that do...aren't organized much and dumping them in with other unorganized data would just make things worse....but I had intended to get everything off of TARDIS onto Zen....though I don't know where I left off, and don't know how to get back.) So, obviously all of TARDIS is one of the other 4 computers. Figure I want lots of backups of that system for when it finally packs it in....plus I'm strongly considering a Mac to replace it. And, it likely won't have the kind of storage (initially) that TARDIS has now. I also pointed Gumby to it, it has a couple external drives...where I know there's duplicate files between them (I treat one drive as archive and the other as active media...and I haven't cleaned up the active drive in some time. And, I still make copies to a couple network shares....one of which is still from TARDIS. (one of the things that didn't make it to Zen, because the DVD media center app doesn't work beyond XP....even though the service part is Java) Someday I'll upgrade to Blu-Ray and retire the old DVD player....

And, then I pointed box to it (because it happened to throw up a SMART warning the other day, and I'm not ready to do anything about it) and a local for my laptop.

Well, last night I was checking the laptop's backup progress....it does take a long time to push out my home directory on the laptop to CrashPlan central. And, saw that the local backup had stopped because the destination was full. Hmmm. Didn't expected it. Thought the service did data deduplication? But, I stopped it. Only I clicked the button next to the destination, rather than the button much lower down on the dialog (which required me to expand the dialog to see it). This resulted in ~1.1TB of data going poof, and all the other computers to lose it as a destination. I only wanted my laptop to stop going to it. So, slowly...Zen, TARDIS, and Gumby are working on backing up to it again.

I then got to wondering that the data deduplication feature I thought Crashplan offered. I found out that its only deduplicating per computer, not per account. That's going to be a problem now....since I'm pretty sure given that my backuppc pool is ~4.1TB (of 5.5TB) right now..that a 1TB seed disk is going to help much...and its even worse since it hardly does any dedup...the kind that I need.

While I would backup less to Crashplan than backuppc, with the duplication of data between different home computers not getting deduped....I could end up needing more than 5.5TB to backup all my home computers to the cloud.

Guess I'm going to have to go back and figure out what I want in cloud backup....

08/23/11

  08:24:32 am, by The Dreamer   , 1100 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Storage

Oops!Backup, Crashplan and RAID5 OCE on Zen

I may have mentioned that I've been trialing Oops!Backup on Zen....the 30-day free trial period ended last week, and a few days before it ended. I went and bought a license. But, not the 20% off that I found an email for after I had gotten the license....wonder if the 120-day guarantee still applies.

Because on Saturday my system crashed....it was acting weird, and the desktop had gotten messed up...figured explorer had crashed on me, and not all my systray icons came back. So, I logged out to log back in. Except instead of the login screen after the black one....I watched the bios boot sequence :??: And, it got stuck. So, I had to powercycle to get it to try again.

Starting to question my decision to go with HP. Especially since they sold me an extended warranty that doesn't apply to the computer that I bought it with... :## At least Dell did good with its extended warranty service....they replaced my Dell monitor that died under the Dell system warranty, even though I bought the monitor after I got the computer + warranty. (The Dell 18" LCD was a step down from the 21" CRT that I had....but it's an LCD!)

Anyways....things eventually came back up and everything seemed fine....until the hour, Oops!Backup failed with "Oops!Backup encountered an error while versioning your files. Please try backing up again. (4043)". So, I tried it again. And, again.... I think the software needs some kind of self-repair?

It continued to not work for a while, so I tried looking online for an easy fix....found nothing. So, I fired off an email to support. Didn't really expect much, given that it was Saturday night. But, got an email on Sunday to download and run a tool to collect logs and send them the result. Almost the size of a typical explorer :>>

But, then I didn't hear anything until Tuesday morning. The explanation is that a particular metadata XML file has been corrupted or tampered with for some reason.

First I'm to make sure that I didn't tamper with it, and that I'm not continuing to tamper with it.... umm, sure blame me.

So, I'm to delete it, exclude it, backup, re-include, backup....and then what?

A backup takes a really long time....a lot of stuff has changed since Saturday night. Current attempt has been running for over 30 minutes....though the backup destination is busy with other things as well (more later).

No joy. :`(

It had said the metadata XML file that was corrupt was the one for the _gsdata_ under Documents. Digging around, I eventually found where the error logs are kept...and see that its now complaining about _gsdata_ under Pictures. Wonder if its more that there's a race every hour when GoodSync is running and sync'ng my Documents/Pictures/Music/Videos folders or it was just the crash that killed it. Or, if there's any need to have _gsdata_ backed up by Oops!Backup

17.17GB of changes with both _gsdata_'s excluded.... Another 70.75MB after including them back. Guess we'll see in 37 minutes if its all fine again.... U-(

Pages: 1· 2· 3

08/12/11

  07:50:08 am, by The Dreamer   , 216 words  
Categories: Hardware, Storage

ST31500341AS vs 0F12117

So, thinking about how the sync of the ST1500341AS to 0F12117 was slightly slower than the sync of 0F12117 to 0F12117, I wondered what specs about the new drive would edge out.

Specs for the ST31500341AS that I could track down include:

Formatted capacity               1500GB
Guaranteed sectors               2930277168
Heads                            8
Discs                            4
Bytes per sector                 512
CHS                              63/16/16383
Recording density                1462 kbits/in max
Track density                    190 ktracks/in avg
Areal density                    277 Gbits/in2 avg
Spindle Speed                    7200 RPM
Internal data transfer rate      1709Mbps max
Sustained data transfer rate OD  135 MBps max
I/O data-transfer rate           300 MBps max
Cache buffer                     32MB
Average Latency                  4.16 ms
Track-to-track seek time         <0.8ms read
                                 <1.0ms write
Average seek, read               <8.5ms
Average seek, write              <10.0ms

Specs for the 0F12117 that I could track down include:

Recording density                1443 Kbpi
Track density                    285 Ktpi
Max areal density                411 Gbits/in2
Data buffer                      32MB
Rotational Speed                 Coolspin (5940 RPM)
Media transfer rate              1366 Mbps max
Typ Sustained transfer rate      136 MBps max
Interface transfer rate          600 MBps max
Heads                            6
Discs                            3
Bytes per sector                 512
CHS                              63/16/16383
Total Logical Data Bytes         2000398934016 bytes
Number of sectors                3907029168
Track-to-track seek time         0.5ms typ 0.7ms max read
                                 0.6ms typ 0.8ms max write
Average seek, read               <8.5ms
Average seek, write              <10.0ms
Average Latency                  5.05 ms

Probably all comes down to recording density....the Hitachi 2TB having more data stored on in less area than the Seagate 1.5TB, makes the Hitachi faster than the Seagate....

08/11/11

  07:47:49 am, by The Dreamer   , 718 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Storage

The storage upgrades on Orac and Zen begin

Because one of the 1TB RAID1 drives was starting to fail...I was looking at options to replace it.

I original had a plan to upgraded one of my 1.5TB RAID1's to a pair of 2TB drives....freeing one of the 1.5TB drives to test out the OCE/ORLM feature of the RR622 & TR5M-BP on Zen...converting the current 2x1.5TB RAID0 to a 3x1.5TB RAID5 (or perhaps 4x1.5TB) Oops!Backup seems to be doing well and its filling up the space, I'm sure there's a setting to tell it not to, but not an issue at the moment. Guess I should buy it before the 30 day trial runs out.

At first I was looking at new 1TB drives....though for $20 more I could get 2TB drives, the same kind as the 6x2TB RAID10. The 1TB and 1.5TB drives have been 7200RPM (as were all previous drives)....the Hitachi's are the first of the greener drives....5940RPM. Given that I'm doing PM RAID in a first gen PCI Express box, I'm probably still not seeing the full potential of the greener drives.

Full story »

08/07/11

  06:43:59 pm, by The Dreamer   , 165 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Storage

Another Harddrive is biting the dust

Two years ago I bought a pair of 1TB drives from NewEgg.

This being first Sunday and all, mdadm checkarray ran on Orac for several of the arrays (the 3 arrays that share the 5-bay port multiplier enclosures are excluded, and get run individually later....since running at the same time is slow)

Anyways....1 of the 1TB drives spat lots of errors....and Orac is pausing now as it spits errors now and then. Guess I'll look to getting a new 1TB drive via Amazon Prime?

I was curious, and went to check warranty status on Seagate....nope. Really, went over to NewEgg to see when I had gotten the drives and what kind of warranty it had.... Only a 2 year warranty. Guess that's that.

Wonder if I should buy one new drive, two new drives....and if I go two new drives....should I get bigger ones? They don't fit the original expansion plan I had....plus my usage has grown to where the old plan doesn't work anymore....

hmmm.... &#58;&#104;&#109;&#109;&#58;

07/30/11

  10:08:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 2143 words  
Categories: Stuff, Hardware, Furnishings, Storage, Printers

Almost didn't make it to the UPS store today

So, when I got up this morning...the plan was to fully wake up and go down to the UPS store hopefully before it gets too hot.

But, I started in on various things for random reasons.... I was filling out some paperwork for an appointment I have on Monday. And, while I was doing that, I thought that now might be a good time to finally move my HP Photosmart 8450xi from by TARDIS to the new All-In-One Cart I had gotten from Staples. I had worked out yesterday where it was going to sit....but first I moved the TR5M-BP to a spot on the cart. Decided to go with the bottom shelf. Not sure why, but I moved it live. And, then I went to move my printer. After that was done, it occurred to me there was a CD that I wanted to burn, so I went to get a CD-R...and noticed that the DVD+R cakebox didn't have any labeling on it, and occurred that once I open the CD-R cakebox...it would also have no label. The discs don't have any marking on the fronts...though the color of the dye on the data side would be one way to tell them apart. But, I had just bought a Brother P-Touch PT-1090 Label Maker, so it was time to open it up and use it.

Noticed a tear strip on the pack, so it would be easy to open...I took it to the bedroom to work on it.

I had the bed stripped for laundry (mainly because I had gotten years of disgusting dust all over it from doing ReplayTV surgery on it.) When, I thought that while I have it this far apart, I should finally replace the bedframe. Old bedframe is over 25 years old....had noticed when I moved the bed a couple years ago that one of the rollers on the frame was broken....I had made a note that should I find a new bedframe via Amazon Prime. And, some time ago I did....a year ago, on July 31, 2010.

A pretty nice frame...and I made the switch and got all that done. Noticed that the Select Comfort controller was only showing a few segments....missing so much that its useless. Wonder how I'm going to get it to the right pressure tonight? It had been losing segments for a while...but I guess I intended to look for doing something about it...but don't know why I put if off so long. I suppose deep down, I had reached my limit on getting Select Comfort to get it right.

But, I had worked up a sweat fiddling with the bed base....I had taken the cover off to get it to fit the new frame, and the plates had shifted. And, it took some work to get them flush again. So, I went off to shower, and then thought I should see about heading out...but I got laundry going, so I should get to a suitable spot first. So, what will I do next?

Pages: 1· 2· 3

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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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