Categories: "Hardware" or "Printers" or "Scanner" or "Storage"

Pages: 1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 ... 25

06/29/11

  10:56:35 pm, by The Dreamer   , 849 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Storage

Filled up PCIe x1 slots in Zen

When I had gotten Zen (HPE-450t), I couldn't resist and opened it up to see what it had inside, etc. And, one of the things I noted was that there were two available PCIe x1 slots.

Later during the initial setup, I found myself running out of physical USB 2.0 ports on the back. I did have a 7 port USB hub, but there's so many things out there that just don't like the extra layer of a hub. And, I had a lot of this things. While, I did later get a 24-port USB hub to help get everything connected to Zen. But, I felt that I needed to eventually get something in additional real USB 2.0 ports.

And, eventually I settled on wanting to get a StarTech 7 Port PCIe LP USB 2.0 Card (PEXUSB7LP). It actually only has 6 ports on the back, but it was the highest density PCIe x1 card I could find (there's an internal header, but its no use for me). I bought this back on Feb 3rd using Amazon Prime, of course.

Later as I was thinking of making my local backups go faster, I thought that I would grab one of the extra SATA RAID adapters (SIL3132 based)...that had come with the TR5M or its Rosewill clone...I didn't use either, because I had purchased on before I knew I was getting these enclosures for orac. And, the TR2UT that I had gotten initially didn't have a card....

Put that in Zen, and change how the TR2UT is connected to Zen now. Currently its using its built-in RAID1 ability and connected via USB2.0. I had tried both kinds of Windows 7 backups, but the file backups were taking longer than 24 hours to do the daily differentials...so I stopped doing that. But, the System Image Backup had saved me once before, so even though its a pain...I do that weekly...or try to.

I makes Zen pretty slow...the VSS really hurts things I guess, and it can take close to a day to run. Though it had been getting shorter, though for no reason that I know of. I used to start it at 11pm on Tuesdays, in the hope that it wouldn't impact me too badly come Wednesday night (I tend to be out the early part, so it would help). But, then it started taking less time. Perhaps there's been a Windows update to it. So, now I start it at 10am on Wednesday...usually well after I get my morning stuff done and off to work...and hope that in finishes before I return from my Wednesday evening activities....

Or come home to find out that it failed for some unknown reason and try again.

So anyways...on February 13th, I evidently bought a 2m eSATA cable from Amazon Prime for that project.

Meanwhile...Drobo S....

Full story »

06/20/11

  10:17:34 pm, by The Dreamer   , 610 words  
Categories: Hardware, Storage

TARDIS got a new drive...sort of

So, after I finally replaced the backup drive on gumby...I noticed a strange whining sound, but I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, so I went on to other projects.

Later when I was going to bed, I found it really annoying...so I went to look for the source.

Well, it was emanating from TARDIS....I eventually decided it was probably the external drive, and tried to safe remove and power it off to confirm. I couldn't get it to disconnect, and TARDIS was wanting to reboot after having applied patches but also wanting to know if I wanted to update other stuff.

So, I ended up turning the external drive off hard. That stopped the whine. Eventually, I got things mostly patched and set it reboot and went off to bed.

Full story »

06/18/11

  05:40:36 pm, by The Dreamer   , 841 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Storage

Gumby got a new drive

It isn't that new....in fact I had picked it up from a clearance table a couple months ago. But, it sure is tiny compared to what was sitting in its place before.

For sometime, the latest storage configuration was a pair 300GB firewire drives and a 1TB firewire drive connected to the box and its 160GB system drive. The 1TB drive broken into two partitions...1/3 & 2/3...the larger as MMCVideo storage and the smaller for local stuff. The 1TB replaced what was 3 300GB firewire drives, when one of the drives failed....and it was a total loss, but I had restored some 400GB from backuppc to recover.

I had kept the 2 remaining 300GB drives as a two set disk2disk backup of the system drive (with the help of Retrospect 6).

Well, the remaining two 300GB drives had started failing a few months back. One of them failed completely a couple months ago....prompting me to eventually buy a new drive.... But, the other 300GB drive continued to work more or less and I changed the backup schedule to only use that drive. It did lead to some bad crashes now and then, but apparently not enough to take it off.

This morning while I was looking at other things, including tweaking backuppc...and push some fulls now that I'm in a quiet period of system activity (gumby is now more of a TiVo Desktop machine than MMC, but its kind of a quiet period for new TV...even though I'm really behind on my watching, and could find that some recording didn't happen and then need to find somewhere to buy the show....)

But, I decided it was time to retire the other 300GB drive before something worse happened...and break out the 250GB drive I had purchased.

Full story »

06/05/11

  08:38:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 601 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, BOINC, Storage, Ubuntu

Got another brain for Orac

So, the other day, I was poking around on NewEgg.com, trying to decide if I wanted to get the upcoming ShellShocker. I spotted a single slot GT440 for a good price among the daily deals. While I was looking around, I saw other things that caught my interest...a powersupply tester. Or things that I needed to go with the card, like a DVI-I to VGA adapter. Also decided to grab a new fan, since it is probably only a matter of time that the fan in the other drive array on Orac to fail.

I ended up not getting the ShellShocker item.

I've been eyeballing getting a single slot 400 Series card for Orac for a while. Was originally going to get a 200 Series, and I did actually get one in a different ShellShocker deal. But, when I opened up Orac, I realized it wouldn't fit....due to its huge fan.

Not sure what I'll do with that card. But, I had been looking at 400 Series, because Zen came with a GT420....which I've learned is a pretty horrible, compared to the rest of the line. Especially when it comes to doing BOINC. I'll probably go GTS450 or GTX460....single slot, though I need to take a look inside someday to see if there's actually juice in there. Otherwise, maybe I'll want a second one of these...

So, I had picked up the card from the UPS Store on Friday...but I didn't get around to installing it today. I stopped checkarray before I shutdown. I changed the scheduling of checkarray to spread things out better.

Though I had a brief distraction this morning on another matter, which I'll be posting about soon...

But, I went and put it in...its a pretty tight fit sitting next to my PM eSATA card.

I wonder if I'll look into a slot fan to go in the open PCI slot there....the lower PCI slot is where 4 other eSATA....oh wait, I had gotten a PCI card that I was going to put into Orac. I wonder what happened to that project....

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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.

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05/29/11

  10:48:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 930 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Networking, WiFi, Printers

Another Airport comes to Lunatic Haven

That's another Airport Extreme....

The corner where I put TARDIS and my HP Photosmart 8450xi printer have been having switch problems, or at least I that's what I thought. But, I have replaced the only cable to replace, and both switches. But, still the link will drop out of gigabit after a while. And, then it wouldn't go into gigabit at all anymore.

And, then PRTG reports that things over there disappear every night. What's strange is that its always around the same time.

I thought about buying some network testing equipment, and figuring out what it would take to run a new line in place of the existing one (should be easier than what it would take to run one to a new location). Or doing the ugly and stringing wire along the ceiling....

But, things started adding up....and I wondered just how much I needed the speed. Sure gigabit would help TARDIS backup faster, but that's about all over 100Mbps would get me. The printer is only 100Mbps, so no advantage there. And, likely would be the case for any network printer I were to put there. And, likely not much else is going in the corner any time soon that would need gigabit. So, I wondered about revisiting the WDS option using 802.11n now. I had survived for some time with 802.11g WDS both here and in the past.

Looking at WDS options with my Airport Extreme, it pretty much came down to two options....an Airport Express or an Airport Extreme. Express only has a 10/100BaseT port on it and its a big plug type thing, so if I wanted better than 100Mbps, it would have to be an Airport Extreme. I did look at other routers, but hard to tell if it would work or not, and I'd probably want something using OpenWRT or something and things started getting complicated again.

I do someday think I'll get an Airport Express...though it would require that I have Linux solution to manage it, some way to set it up in a turnkey solution....as a travel router.

But, while I was looking at other WiFi router options...I was looking on eBay, so I wondered about an Airport Extreme that way (instead of using my Educational discount on another).

And, I found some pretty reasonable prices for refurbished units, so I went for one.

Pages: 1· 2

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....

Pages: 1· 2· 3

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 »

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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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