Saturday, December 29



Remind me not to eat that much turkey in one day ever again.

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Friday, December 28


System Blargle Blugly

Adaptec 1430SA is contraindicated.*

Reinstalling again, with fewer disks.  Feh.

When my usual computer store reopens on January 2 I'll order a few more parts; for now, I'll just have to struggle along with 4TB of RAID-5 and a 2TB backup drive.

Update: Wow, that made a difference.  System is running far more smoothly now.  As in, it's running better now with the RAID-5 resync under way than it was before with the resync completed but the drives on the 1430SA.  Boo Adaptec!

* It works, insofar as the drives are recognised, and I could partition them, build a RAID array, and get everything running, but I'm seeing SATA bus errors too frequently for my liking, where too frequently equals any at all.  Tried swapping the cables just in case, but no dice, so I ended up yanking that card and reinstalling for the seventh or eighth time.  Feh.

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Wednesday, December 26


System Builder's Daily

I was hoping that a kernel update would enable my spare SATA ports - to which I had attached the Blu-Ray drive and the SSD - but no such luck.  The chip is a Marvell 88SE9172, and it looks like I need the 3.4 kernel for support - and I'm using CentOS 6.3, which runs the 2.6 kernel.

So no dice.

So I went upstairs, dug out my stash of Adaptec 1430SA controllers [snip about two hours of cursing] tied off the loose cables properly this time, swapped out the video card, plugged everything back in, and now I'm reinstalling Linux again.

But now my Blu-Ray drive and SSD work.

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Tuesday, December 25


Party Time!

A quick BIOS flash or two later, both machines boot, recognise all their hardware, and pass Memtest86.  They both show the RAM as DDR3-1333 rather than the DDR3-1600 it ought to be, but I'm not going to fuss about that right now.

The CentOS 6.3 installer can't see the Blu-Ray drive attached to the secondary (non-chipset) SATA controller, but that was easily solved by attaching my USB DVD drive - which turned out to still have the CentOS 5.3 installer disc from when this happened to me last time.

So, about 60% of the way into the CentOS install on Lina, and then over to Shana to load up Windows 7.

Update: Oops. Well, I get to install it again now, but that's not so bad.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:52 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Making A List, Checking It Twice

  1. Windows 7 Ultimate Activation Key: Check!
  2. Windows 7 Ultimate Install Disk: ...

For three years I had access to MSDN through Microsoft's Bizspark program, and could download just about anything - though the number of license keys was strictly limited.  Unfortunately, it ran out just before the launch of Windows 8.

Turns out I don't want Windows 8.  I really don't want Windows 8.  (Not on my desktop, at least; a tablet might be a different matter.)

It's very easy to get Windows 8.  Cheap too.  Windows 7, not so much.  Microsoft don't want you using Windows 7, they want you on Windows 8, which is not a desktop operating system.  It contains a desktop operating system, but it's been flattened and uglified compared to the previous version, and then had a get-in-your-way layer stapled to it.

Anyway, no install disc.  There should be an ISO here somewhere, though.  Not in my downloads folder, that's been backed up and cleared out.  I have an ISOs folder and that has...  XP.  Vista.  Windows Server 2008.  All my old Bioware games.  Many versions of Linux.  No Windows 7.

But for the past couple of years I've regularly backed stuff up and archived off to external hard disks, so it's likely that the file is on one of those.  One of nine.

Currently attached is Iori, the most recent.  Which contains...  Steam.  Lots of Steam.  About a terabyte of Steam.  No Windows 7.

So, grab a drive from the stack and plug it in.  This one is Eimi, thus, number five in the sequence.  Contains backups of my D and E drives not including Steam.  E drive contains ISOs folder.  ISOs folder contains Microsoft folder.  Microsoft folder contains Windows 7.  ISOs folder also contains Windows folder.  Windows folder also contains Windows 7.

Looks like they're pre-SP1, which might be a pain if I need to do this as a full install rather than a backup and restore, but at least I can get there eventually.

Anyway, while I was hunting around, I also checked online to see if you can download the ISO image legitimately, assuming you have an activation key.  And indeed you can.

This page on PCWorld has the details, and this page on Whirlpool has additional info.  You can download any of the Windows 7 versions, with the latest service pack, and you can check the SHA-1 checksum against Microsoft's own records to make sure it's all present and correct.

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We Interrupt This Special Bulletin For A Program

So I'm on holidays for a bit, and I was planning on catching up on my anime watching between bouts of Minxing and spring cleaning.  I've already assembled two new computers and a RAID array and fixed my old RAID array, so I deserve to relax a little.

On my to-watch list at present are:
  • Hidamari Sketch season 4
  • Strike Witches (all of it, haven't seen any)
  • Dog Days (again, all of it)
  • Mouretsu Pirates (watched the first few episodes, then got bushwhacked)
I've missed most of the past five or six seasons, so any suggestions from that time frame would be welcome.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:50 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, December 24


Joy To The World

For Santa's come.
There's gifts beneath the tree!
There's reindeer in the yard;
They're eating the gardenias.
We'll have venison for tea,
We'll have venison for tea,
We'll have venison, much venison, to eat for tea.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:58 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, December 22



Cases: 1 x Silver, 1 x Black Lian-Li V600
Motherboards:  3 x 990FXA-UD5
CPUs: 2 x FX 8150, 1 x Phenom II 945
GPUs: 1 x Sapphire 7950 OC, 2 x Sapphire 6770
RAM: 2 x 32GB kits
Disks: 12 x Seagate Barracuda 2TB, 7 x Seagate Barracuda 1TB, 1 x WD Green 2TB, 1 x WD Blue 1TB 2.5" for some reason...
SSD: 1 x Intel 320 300GB*
PSU: 3 x Corsair (850W, 750W, 650W)
Optical: 2 x Pioneer Blu-Ray drives
Disk Expansion Thingies: 4 x 3-bay 3.5", 3 x 4-bay 2.5"
Other cards: 2 x 2-port USB 3, 1 x Asus Xonar D2X

So, I'm missing a 16GB RAM kit and a couple of Adaptec 1420 low-end SATA RAID controllers; they're around somewhere, I just couldn't find them.  I have enough SATA ports to start with anyway.

Update: These things take forever to put together.

Update: Two three a few things.
  1. If you're going to install a Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC on a Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 in a Lian-Li V600 case along with six 3.5" drives, four 2.5" drives, and one 5.25" drive, you will have to install it in the PCIe x16_2 slot.  You might, barely, get it into the PCIe x8 slot.  PCIe x16_1?  No chance.
  2. The PCIe x1 slot in the 990FXA-UD5 is basically useless.  Even my tiny 2-port USB3.0 cards won't fit; it's blocked by the chipset heatsink.  Update: this card should fit if the picture is accurate.  And it has four ports instead of two.
  3. The Corsair AX-850 power supply is designed to be mounted backwards compared to the normal orientation, so that it draws air from inside the case rather than outside.  The V600 is designed to mount normal power supplies backwards for the same effect.  So if you put an AX-850 in a V600, you have to mount it normally.
  4. Those Radeon HD 6770 cards I picked up cheap don't have DisplayPort.  So to build out my dual-computer/triple-monitor configuration I'm going to need another card.
Anyway, physical installation of both my new computers is just about done, which means that testing and software install comes up next.  Moving my Windows system across is going to be interesting.

Update: Physical installation is complete.  Cabling was...  Fun.  Both machines power up and go beep.  Where's my spare DVI cable?  Might have to hit the computer store on Christmas Eve.

* Seems rather quaint now, though I bought it this year.

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Friday, December 21


Uh-Oh. Steam Sale

As if GOG and Humble Bundle weren't providing me with enough games I don't have time to play.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:40 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, December 20


I Thought It Was Running A Little Slow...

top - 21:18:47 up 281 days, 5:39, 3 users, load average: 6750.53, 6750.16, 6749.71
Tasks: 34006 total, 1 running, 34005 sleeping, 0 stopped, 0 zombie
Cpu(s): 2.2%us, 6.2%sy, 0.0%ni, 91.0%id, 0.6%wa, 0.0%hi, 0.0%si, 0.0%st
Mem: 7806736k total, 7774284k used, 32452k free, 44788k buffers
Swap: 8192992k total, 3150312k used, 5042680k free, 315284k cached
Only 6750.53, eh? That's not that high. Compared to this, anyway:
top - 21:22:31 up 281 days, 5:42, 3 users, load average: 13190.13, 9409.43, 7743.67
Tasks: 24641 total, 486 running, 19233 sleeping, 0 stopped, 4922 zombie
Cpu(s): 5.7%us, 23.5%sy, 0.0%ni, 67.5%id, 3.2%wa, 0.0%hi, 0.0%si, 0.1%st
Mem: 7806736k total, 7167372k used, 639364k free, 3784k buffers
Swap: 8192992k total, 1565400k used, 6627592k free, 77216k cached
Can Pixy regain control of the dev server, or is it time to cut losses and hit the reset switch?  Yeah, that's kind of what I think too.

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