The Treehouse Blog


Computer Stuff

by on Mar.18, 2006, under Computers, Linux

The storage capacity upgrade and RAID5-ification has been completed, following a week of computers and their components strewn throughout the house. Having a RAID5 include a linear md as a component was a bit challenging… had to make the kernel not try to assemble the RAID5 automagically, but wait for the mdadm.conf to do it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the computer fun this week. Chris had a drive fail in his firewall, and the machine employed various means to make it impossible to install an OS on another drive. Still not sure what its problems are, having spent the afternoon in futile efforts to fix it.

[balleman@oak ~]$ df -h /storage
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
                      1.5T  739G  729G  51% /storage
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AV stuff

by on May.18, 2005, under Computers

Well, I didn’t end up going the HD route. When I began thinking about the fact that <1 % of my existing media is HD, that HD-DVDs are aways off, and that I have no interest in paying for cable/satellite HD service, the option began to get far less appealing. I ended up going with a 27″ flatscreen RCA from Walmart. It’s got decent picture, but crappy sound, which didn’t matter as that will be handled separately. Lot of TV for not much dough, which is pretty much what I needed.

In the sound department, I knew I wanted to do something that supported SPDIF, but was wary of the price of most home theater systems. However, as it turns out, I went to the Silver Springs Flea Market on Sunday, and there was a nice looking, complete, Kenwood home theatre set for $150. Obviously, buying anything like this at a flea market is a gamble. But, I estimated the stuff to be worth at least $250 or so, and offered the guy $125. Looking it up online, it turns out to be a Kenwood HTB-503 which retailed for $500ish. So, what was wrong with it, you ask? I wish I could say nothing, but the front left and right speakers were blown out (four speakers in two boxes are ‘open’, but the tweeters work). So, I moved the rear speakers to the front, used the rear speakers from my computer set, and I’ve got decent sound for not all that much.

The MythTV project is still a work in progress. I got an ATI RF remote control that is interfaced with a USB dongle that acts like a keyboard. It works alright, but not perfect. Some misses and repeats. I still need to get a capture card (gave my old one to Chris earlier this year), and need to do more hardware juggling. Still trying to get xv working right in tv-out mode on the Geforce 2 MX 400 I’m using, but it’s livable in x11 mode for now. This project has been eating up way to much time, but its costs have stayed relatively low so far.

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Hardware Issues

by on Apr.12, 2005, under Computers

A week or so ago, the power supply in Oak abruptly died (while the machine was up, no less). It was a Coolmax, and as it turns out, Doug had one die on him the next week. Both of us have now e-mailed Coolmax for return instructions, which has met with no response. I rushed a replacement PS from newegg and all was well (filesystems happy and all).

Tonight, one of my drives began having short reads. The fsck has put lots of really nasty looking things in my lost+found, but I don’t think anything overly terrible happened. Either way, newegg will be shipping me a new drive tomorrow. Personally, I prefer replacing hardware when I think it’s too old, slow, or small, not when it decides that it will be on the low end of the MTBF spectrum.

smartctl has been helpful in looking at drives carefully. However, as it doesn’t yet work on SATA drives in Linux, who can I forward my donation to in order to get that bumped to the top of the queue? Seriously, I’d pay $20 or so for that to work, and I bet others would too.

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House and My Naven

by on Jan.31, 2005, under Computers, Happenings

Things are still coming along with the house… filling nail holes in trim in preparation of varnishing, buying paint, and picking out new light fixtures. I hope to terminate the room-side of the new wiring this week.

Chris‘s computer, My Naven, is akin to the Bermuda Triangle. For instance, tonight I spent over an hour trying to figure out why it wouldn’t output any sound in Linux. The driver was present, and seemed to be normal in all aspects, except for the fact that it produced no noise. I’m planning on trying another sound card in it… This isn’t the first instance either. Things just tend to be unhappy, and My Naven has changed hardware a number of times.

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*HTML is of the Devil

by on Dec.20, 2004, under Computers, Happenings

HTML, and its derivatives, hate me more as time goes by. I could understand tables, mostly. These new-fangled CSS things drive me crazy with their multitude of implementations, and lack of apparent usefulness. Web site design isn’t programming… it’s alchemy. So, maybe I’ll get a better site up over break, and maybe I won’t.

General update: the car is fixed, closing on the house will be sooner rather than later, and grades will be ready to look at well before I’m ready to look at them. Fun.

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