Wednesday, December 31
My new Logitech MX 700 Cordless Optical Mouse crashes my computer. Not quite repeatably, but certainly repeatedly. Meh.
No cheese for you!
Monday, December 22
An hour and a half spent with a screwdriver, kernel modules, random config files and the latest nVidia drivers and I have finally have both Kei and Yuri working perfectly at 1600x1200 at 85Hz. Crisp, clear, rock solid.
The 3D performance on Yuri is still somewhat lacking... I have no idea what to make of this, since I have never tried to do any serious 3D graphics on Linux anyway. It's certainly not the card - a GeForce 4 Ti 4600 Ultra - so it's either a problem with the drivers or with the way I installed them. But 3D on Linux is not a priority right now; the only thing I'd use it for is pretty screen savers.
Kei, meanwhile, has a nifty new GeForce FX 5700. This makes no difference at all that I've seen so far, but over Christmas I expect to spend some time playing Knights of the Old Republic, so we'll see how that goes.
For now, I've also yanked the cable from the gigabit ethernet port. It's just not worth the bother for a 60% speedup (which is all Windows seems able to manage). I'll fix it another day.
At one point I managed to drop Kei on her head - I had propped the case up on a chair, but it turned out not to be very well balanced. No harm seems to have been done... And I can't type without touching wood here at Pixy Central.
Pixy's Tip of the Day
If you are assembling a new Linux box, don't buy a video card less than six months old. Unless it's for a server and you never plan to use the console in anything other than text mode.
Just don't. It's not worth the money or the time you will waste trying and failing to get it to work. Last year's cards, on the other hand, are cheap and plenty fast enough, and work just fine.
Sunday, December 21
Anyone out there who understands Windows networking?
If so, does Windows actually comprehend the concept of having more than one network card? And of, like, routing packets to the 10.1.1.x network out the card configured with the 10.1.1.y address? (Yes, my netmasks are correct.)
Or should I just give up and configure my Linux box as a router?
I now have six network interfaces - 100M ethernet, Gbit ethernet, three firewire interfaces, and another one calling itself "Microsoft TV/Video Connection" that just magically appeared one day. Sometimes some of them work. Sometimes some of them don't work.
Pixy's Tip of the Day
If you wish to experiment with TCP/IP over Firewire, do not use the Firewire chain with your external hard disk on it, as this will likely cause the disk to be unavailable to either computer.
Wednesday, December 17
I installed my two new computers, Kei and Yuri, in Lian-Li 6070 cases, which feature quiet fans and sound insulating foam. I also used Antec super-quiet power supplies.
And then I installed 8 hard drives in Yuri.
Which proved to be something of a problem. I turns out that the reason quiet fans and quiet power supplies are quiet is that the fans are slow. And being slow, they don't move much air. And not moving much air means not cooling the system very well... And 8 hard drives produce a lot of heat.
So I got a nice fast high-volume fan, and I stuck it in Yuri at the back to blow all the hot air out. In fact, I had to duct-tape it to the existing fan, because there is only exhaust vent and the existing fan is attached with these annoying plastic rivets which are impossible to remove. It's far from ideal, but there's a lot more air blowing out the back now, which is a good thing.
But. All the air is coming from the newly-enhanced case fan, and none of it from the power supply fan. And the case above the power supply is starting to get a little warm. A lot warm, really.
After a few moments I realise that the new high speed fan is doing such a good job pulling air out of the case that it is reducing the air pressure to the point where the slow fans in the power supply can't cope. I should be glad that at least it's not sucking air in through the power supply (which would dump lovely pre-heated air directly on top of the CPU).
So I took the side panel off the case. It's running much cooler now, with both fans working together to blow the hot air out. But it's not exactly quiet any more, is it? I said, it's not exactly quiet any more, is it?
My new mouse has seven buttons and a scrollwheel.
OpenBSD or Linux?
Downloaded from here.
Monday, December 15
Kei, my new 2.6GHz Pentium 4 Windows box, is up and running.
As I thought, gigabit ethernet works just fine with a standard cross-over cable. Since I only have two computers that support gigabit (well, three, but don't tell anyone) this saves me the cost of buying a switch.
I can get about 16 megabytes per second over Samba, disk to disk. That's only about 16% of what gigabit ethernet can do, but is three times what I got from my old server and my old Windows box.
On the other hand, Windows XP's routing is screwy. I'm blogging from Linux until I get that worked out. Windows can find the router just fine, but won't actually send packets there to be routed. I might just set up Yuri as a router for Kei - since they're plugged directly together, that at least should work. (In fact, Kei seems to be using the 100M ethernet port as a back-channel for the Gbit port... But still, it's working.)
On the third hand, I installed the nVidia drivers on Yuri, and they don't seem to work terribly well. It may be that they just don't support the GeForce FX 5700 fully; I can try swapping it for my old GeForce 4 and see if that works better. The GeForce 4 is at least listed as supported.
Oh, and Saddam Hussein has been captured. Hit Instapundit for a boatload of links.
Sunday, December 14
I suddenly remembered what else was on the lost filesystem on Kodachi, my old Linux box: my collection of 50,000 photos. Gone! Gone! I've been using them for years for any web project that needed a small picture; I've used them to create avatars for my web forums; I had selected some of them for the overhaul of this blog before that project got eaten by the ever-hungry mice.
Gone! But wait... They originally came as part of Corel Gallery 1.3 million, a package long since forgotten, but I should still have the CDs. (Laughter from the gallery.) In fact, I managed to turn up twelve out of the original sixteen or seventeen disks, which is a pretty good effort considering that I haven't seen them for five years. The package was almost entirely crap... Except for the photos, which while low-resolution (384x256) were sharp and clear, with good composition and a wide variety of subjects. They occupied three of the sixteen (or seventeen) disks... and I found two of them.
Argh! Argh! I can't believe I didn't make a backup! One of the reasons I chew up so much disk space is that I'm paranoid; anything that is useful and cannot be easily replaced is copied and recopied. If it's something I created myself, a copy will sooner or later show up on every partition of every disk of every computer I own. Which is the only thing that will save you when two disks fail from a RAID-5 array. (Which is what appears to have happened.)
But not in this case. In fact, I came across a directory that seemed to have once held a copy of my photo library, but has since been cleaned out to save disk space.
Probably, if I trawl through eBay for long enough, if I search enough file-sharing applications, if I pester enough people, probably I can find a copy of my lost CD #7 of Corel Gallery 1.3 million. But if only I had made a quick copy of it; less than two gigabytes of data for those photos, which is less than three dollars at todays disk prices. Just drag and drop the directory onto one of my many servers; name it something obvious like Pix so that I immediately know what it —
Oh. Look! Look what I found! Now copy. Copy the copy. Burn to DVD!
Only the files of the paranoid survive.
root@lina Triplet]# ls -l
-r--r--r-- 36036 2586182132 2609512448 64177273943300316 Jul 24 1902 Triplet 12 Beat.wav
?--Sr--rwt 228 1072470923 228 2586312932 Jun 23 1970 Triplet 13 Beat.wav
Those files might be corrupt.
The cables! The terrible cables!
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