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motes of reality
to live a sweet lie or accept the bitter truth that is reality
2014-11-09 14:15 - technical difficulties
A ferocious lightning strike during a storm last month took out a bunch of hardware here. I had power surge protectors on everything, but this apparently hit the phone line. It fried the modem and bounced through the network ports to take out the motherboard in Cot's hackintosh and a router being used as an access point. Not content in stopping there, it passed through the AP and hit my 2007 iMac.

That's the summary, now for the detail...Collapse )
2012-06-04 14:35 - baking an 8800 GTS
quessir gave me an old 8800 GTS last year. I've been scrounging together the parts for a secondary PC recently and unearthed it, only to find that it was suffering from colourful but intrusive stripes down the display. Other symptoms included alien hieroglyphs on the BIOS screen and windows being unable to install/update drivers. After doing some reading, I decided to strip down the card and throw it in the oven to reflow the solder joints. Long story short, it worked. Details below...

1. Remove the covering. On the model I had, there were 4 screws, 2 covered by brand logo stickers.
2. Remove the cover/fan/heatsink assembly and the backplane. There are 8 large screws on the rear of the card and the backplane had a single screw and 4 bolt-type things on either side of the DVI connectors that I used a pliers to unscrew. Don't forget to unplug the fan power cable from the PCB!
2b. Remove the square support heatsink surrounding the cpu. This is fixed on with 9 small screws on the rear of the card.
3. Remove thermal paste from all sections of the card. I scraped off the heaviest portions, then used meths (methylated spirits) to clean the top of individual chips.
4. Pre heat oven to 195degC.
5. Put a layer of tinfoil on a baking tray and use some more to make 3-4 small balls to support the card.
6. Rest card on tinfoil balls. I have seen vids for both orientations, but chose to bake mine GPU side up.
7. Once the oven reaches temperature, bake the card for 8-10 mins. (We have a fan-assist oven, so I gave it 6 mins.)
8. Remove and leave to cool for a few hours. Some people say overnight; I gave mine about 3 hours.
9. Put new thermal paste on appropriate sections of card and reassemble.
10. Reinstall, cross fingers, and boot to check results.

Some people say the running temp has improved on their card. Others say this has only ben a short-term fix, with the card 'dying' again after a month or two. I have seen comments that this fix is repeatable, but would view it as a stop-gap to buying a new card or keeping an old system in operation.

Since the reflow process is carried out in industry, there shouldn't be any component on the card that will suffer much from this procedure. Capacitors that are rated 105degC are (supposedly) tested at much higher temps for shorter periods - the rating is for continuous long-term temperature endurance. That said, I wouldn't do this with a card that wasn't destined for the recycling bin anyway ^^
Considering picking up a Seagate 3TB 3.5" SATA-600 7200rpm 64MB. I was going to install it in the G4 fileserver, but then wondered if using an external case for it with my MacBook Pro and only hooking it up to the G4 for backups would be a better (faster & quieter) option. I have a few enclosures already but there's a catch...

Just like a few years back when 160GB drives caused problems with controllers that did not support 48-bit LBA, 3TB drives break another limit (32-bit addresses with 512-byte blocks). Many old/cheap chipsets won't handle drives over 2.2TB (2^32*512). So I borrowed Cot's 3TB Seagate and did some testing...

ICY BOX HDD Docking Station for 2.5" and 3.5" SATA HDDs
Model: ICY BOX IB-110StUS2-B
Result: FAIL
Note: I actually emailed the manufacturer on this one before ordering Cot's drive, as this was her dock. They said it would work, but the drive shows up as 800GB in Disk Utility.

ALL IN 1 HDD Docking
Model: 879U2
Result: PASS
Note: This is a cheap (~€10) USB dock that I got from ebay. I was quite surprised that it worked when my branded cases didn't.

ST Lab 3.5" Hard Drive Enclosure
Model: u2-j01-d921-11-00011
Result: FAIL
Note: This case is pretty old and I didn't expect it to work. As with the Icy Box, the drive showed up as 800GB in Disk Utility.

All the above are under OS X 10.6.8 on my MBP. I didn't test Win7 on my PC but might update this post when I get my own drive (before formatting it journaled HFS+). Cot uses the 3TB drive in the unbranded dock with her iMac (also running Snow Leopard), nabnerd has the same model in his 4-5 year old Mac Pro running Lion, and I previously verified that the 13-year-old G4 Yikes handles it correctly under Tiger (10.4.11 I think) as an internal drive (connected via SIIG Serial ATA PCI-M). All the enclosures also have eSATA, which I didn't test either as I don't have a machine set up with it atm.

That the drive appears as 800GB in Disk Utility when using either outdated enclosure is odd, and I'm sure I've seen other people mention that figure online when I was reading up on 3TB drives. 3TB-2.2TB=800GB, so perhaps the controller is somehow imposing it's 32-bit limit by splitting the drive into chunks, ignoring that first one, and then presenting the second 800GB chunk to the OS. Curious to see what would happen with a drive over 4.4TB, but I don't think they're available just yet ;)

When I tried formatting the new 3TB Seagate in the G4, Disk Utility gave me an 'operation not permitted' error. I could probably have searched for a fix on this, but instead chose to format it using the external dock on the mbp. Works perfectly after dropping it back into the G4.
2012-04-24 23:42 - G4 file server
Since it's up and running, a few notes on kitting out an old G4 tower as network file storage...

G4/400 Yikes! (over-clocked to 450MHz) with 640MB RAM
D-Link DGE-528T Gigabit PCI ethernet adaptor
FirmTek UltraTek/133 IDE PCI-card
1TB & 750GB SATA and 500GB IDE hard drives for storage
80GB IDE drive for the OS

Nothing special - install 10.4 from CD/DVD and go do something else while it updates to 10.4.11. I seem to recall even the network card being recognized this time round, unlike when I was playing with 10.2 on the G3/300 minitower.
I chose an 80GB drive for the OS since I knew that the Yikes is limited to 128GB drives on its internal ATA connections. Even though I'm not using these atm, it could be handy to be able to boot from these if I need pull the IDE card.

The G4 is called graphite and the machine I am testing access from is steel, my macbook pro.
On graphite, open System Preferences, select Sharing, turn Personal File Sharing on.
On steel, open a new Finder window. Under the Shared section in the sidebar, click on graphite. (If it's not showing up, make sure the sidebar is on, and check the 'bonjour computers' option in Finder Preferences, accessible via CMD-, shortcut.) Click 'Connect As...' to authenticate yourself and access all the drives on graphite.

Once I had everything set up, I started pushing some files across the network to see what sort of speeds it could manage. With large transfers, it sustained an acceptable 1GB/minute or so (about 16-18MB/s). Local transfer (drive-to-drive) on the G4 was about 27MB/s.
Swapping over to the 100bT onboard NIC reduced speed to about 10MB/s, but also reduced CPU usage somewhat, which had been maxing out previously. Since the CPU itself seems to be the bottleneck, there's little chance of increasing performance, short of an upgrade from ebay.

I wanted to be able to allow other local network users to access some of the data on graphite. While I'm sure it's possible from the command line, I installed SharePoints to manage access to various folders. It has a lot of options for creating AFS and SMB (windows) shares. Do make sure to check what you can and can't access from another machine on the network, especially if you are creating public or guest shares. I set up a few media shares accessible from any machine on the network, restricting them to be read-only to avoid accidental deletion.

Booting from a drive on the SATA card works.
The system will recognize drives over 2TB. I borrowed Cotton's Seagate 3TB 3.5" SATA-600 7200rpm 64MB and swapped it in and was able to read/write/share as expected. With a second SATA card, that would be 12TB of storage in a 13 year old machine.
The G4 doesn't deep sleep; the power supply stays on when it sleeps, meaning it is still just as loud sleeping as when in use.

I had been trying to position an extra k/b and monitor on my desk, and was considering a KVM when nabnerd suggested I try Synergy. I'd run across this a few years back, and was going to give it a go, when I realized that Apple had introduced screen sharing in 10.4. I enabled this on graphite. (This is accessible in System Preferences. Click 'Sharing' and turn on Apple Remote Desktop under the Services tab.) From my mbp, in a new finder window, when I click on graphite, it now gives me an option to Share Screen in addition to the list of shared drives once connected.

Not needing physical access to the machine allowed me to dispense with k/b, monitor, mouse - the only connections remaining are power and network. One caveat re running the Yikes! headless - the gfx card only allows pretty basic resolutions: 800x600 and 1024x768.

When I shut down/restart graphite, the Screen Sharing window stays open on steel. This actually reconnects when graphite comes back up, which I think is a pretty nice feature if you're just restarting the machine.
2012-04-24 14:53 - dx2450 RAM
Just because I couldn't find anything solid on this anywhere online when I was searching...

TL;DR - the dx2450 (and, I imagine, similar business class compaqs) can support more than 4GB RAM - at least 6GB, though possibly 8GB.

The long versionCollapse )
2011-10-18 00:45 - UCC Go/Weiqi Club
I randomly came across one of my old journal entries while searching for something else online. (It seems I still don't use google as a verb.) I actually made it to a UCC meet last week. The 5th annual tournament is coming up and I've been getting back into the habit of playing - a combination of turn based online games and weekly local ones. Cobh meetings are happening fairly regularly now, with two other solid attendees, one or two irregulars, one returning soon™, and one potential new player this week.

I'm trying to play differently, to change my style to embrace attacking. It feels quite uncomfortable; I'd much rather be playing moves I consider solid. But I think there is something to be learned, so I'll continue to lose games while i try to find whatever it is I'm looking for. It previously felt like I had hit a wall at about 9k EGF. Not that this current experiment is absolutely necessary, as I'm sure I would have improved if I actually studied, reviewed games diligently, etc. but this is an interesting change of pace. If I make any progress, I'll see how I get on in the tourney as 8k.
2011-09-08 22:26 - How to Run a KGS Bot on OS X
nabnerd and I started tipping away at the vaguest outline of a framework for a Go engine over the summer. I've been playing on KGS a little this week and decided to try setting up a bot last night.

For reference, I used this old guide for windows. I was going to keep the steps in parallel to those listed there but realized that it meanders needlessly, even by my verbose standards…

the guideCollapse )
2011-07-15 17:18 - old notes
tycondrius  recently gave me an old G4, which has me revisiting some kind of network storage solution. This led me to dig out some old notes that I never got around to posting for some reason. I figured that I'd get these out of the way before drafting one for the new machine...

moreCollapse )
2011-07-01 16:45 - uptime
16:39 up 301 days, 23:21, 2 users, load averages: 0.24 0.29 0.29
Time to update and reboot...
You last refreshed motes at 2017-02-23 06:58 GMT