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Real Cisco-style CLI on Linksys SRW2024/2048
Date: April 9th, 2009 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Computing, Hardware

Via Zoiah, this nice article about something I’ve been missing for quite a while on my Linksys otherwise-crap-management switches 🙂

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Why is writing a correct BIOS so hard?
Date: March 23rd, 2009 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware

Wanted to install cpufreqd on my router box a few days back, noticed I needed a new kernel for that to work. There’s an E4400 Core2 Duo in there, supporting 2GHz, 1.8GHz, 1.6GHz and 1.2GHz. When I rebooted into the new kernel, I saw support for exactly half of those.. doh. As the module is acpi-cpufreq, the module uses the tables specified in the BIOS.

So I set out to upgrade it… having a nice PXE setup for booting floppy images over the network is nice and all, but doesn’t work if you’re upgrading the PXE server itself. Ended up wasting a CD for this as the floppy didn’t work (should have put music onto it as well, doh) … BIOS upgraded, but my ethernet card didn’t work anymore.. what the …

Had to add irqpoll to the kernelcommandline to get it to life again, but /proc/interrupts shows the following:

 48:          0          0   IO-APIC-fasteoi   eth2

16:      35052          0   IO-APIC-fasteoi   uhci_hcd:usb4

Except I don’t have anything USB connected and eth2 has my internet connection. Frakked up IRQ routing and nothing in the BIOS to change things… I’ll try swapping the slot later this week but I doubt this will help as it’s on an active risercard… 🙁

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Additional Bluetooth Drivers for Microsoft Bluetooth in Windows XP SP2
Date: December 14th, 2008 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Computing, Hardware

I was looking for drivers for one of my bluetooth sticks, lost the cd years and years ago, but finally got my usb ports in order on my new workstation, and wanted bluetooth. Apparently nothing wanted to support it, and all webpages seemed to indicate I should be using Microsoft’s XP SP2 stack… alas, no driver. Until I found this:

Additional Bluetooth Drivers for Microsoft Bluetooth in Windows XP SP2.

I just installed the MSI they offered for download, and everything started to work. Note for Google: Vendor ID 1131 Part ID 1001 (Vid_1131&Pid_1001) was my bluetooth stick and it’s working with this MSI installed.

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New PC!
Date: August 7th, 2008 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Computing, Hardware, Home

Since this weekend I’ve assembled my new PC after it being in boxes for a few days. I simply didn’t have the space to do it.

I bought a new one because the old one started crashing a lot … in the end Windows wouldn’t even boot and I worked on my laptop for over a week. It’s amazing how much more you do around/in the house when you don’t have a working computer 😉

Specs of the new one:

  • Intel Core2 Duo E8400 (3GHz), Zalman cooler
  • 2x 2GB DDR2
  • Asus P5Q-WS mainboard
  • 2x 250GB WD SATA HD on 3Ware 9500S
  • Geforce 9600GT 512MB Zilent
  • Lian-Li PC60 Silver case
  • Plextor 16x DVD-ROM
  • NEC 16x DVD-RW with Lightscribe
  • Hauppauge WinTV PCI (Almost 10 years old!)
  • 2x Samsung Syncmaster 920N 19" TFT

Should be OK for the upcoming years, and the upcoming GTA IV, I hope 😀 

(And the first game I’m going to play on it is… OpenTTD, yay for such power hungry apps :D) 

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Areca controllers
Date: July 15th, 2008 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Geek, Hardware

If you’re a system administrator and haven’t heard from Areca RAID controllers, you’ve probably been living under a rock somewhere. Throw out your 3wares, throw out your Adaptecs (if you’re happy with software RAID, keep it), insert Areca for instant fun. 🙂

I’ve been using them for quite a while now and I’m quite happy, mostly in RAID6 configurations, with great performance.

Some things can do with some improvement though…

– Web interface looks a bit dated, but hey, it works

– Expansion of volume set through the CLI didn’t work on my box. Areca says update the BIOS, but it’s at the latest, Areca says update your Linux driver, but hm. Maybe later 😉

– More on expansion: I expanded a volume set, and the status changed to "Initializing(15%)". INITIALIZING. Sounds terribly wrong and datalossy for an online expansion… luckily it was indeed expanding it, as it works fine now 😉 But still. It got very hot all of a sudden…

Luckily it all works grreat now, so as long as they keep this up they’ll always have my Euro’s 😉

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Date: March 16th, 2008 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Activities, Car, Fun, Hardware

We went to CeBIT last weekend with some friends in 3 cars. Despite warnings about it being a weekend meaning there would be way too many people, only a few places were overcrowded (notably the ones where they gave away free stuff to gamers/overclockers). We had a lot of fun there, stayed at a Youth Hostel in Hildesheim (they’ll surely remember us I fear) and had a good time. Of course "Germany" meant a visit to Burger King on friday on the way there AND one on sunday on the way back + a little high speed transportation on the autobahn (where allowed, of course). Also interesting we noticed is that it’s very handy to have walkie-talkies when driving in a group with several cars.

Minor setback on the way back though… 

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Airco failures–
Date: December 29th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Computing, Hardware

This afternoon the airconditioning units of the NMV room at Versatel Nossegem (where I have my kit colocated) all failed together (yes, clustering is great, so you can all go down at once!). This made the temperature rise from a nice and fresh 22°C to 65° in some places of the room.

In the meanwhile everything’s restored, but I just had a server act up a little in such a way that I had to powercycle it to get it back into gear. After this I could clearly see there were some disk problems causing above acting up. Apparently the heat had given my second disk (in software RAID1) some delusions of grandeur:

hda: Maxtor 6Y080L0, ATA DISK drive
hdc: ÿ, ATA DISK drive
hda: max request size: 128KiB hda: 156250000 sectors (80000 MB) w/2048KiB Cache, CHS=65535/16/63, (U)DMA
hda: cache flushes supported
 hda: hda1 hda2 hda3 hda4
hdc: max request size: 1024KiB
hdc: 18374966859414961920 sectors (143554428589 MB) w/32640KiB Cache, CHS=65535/255/63

143554TB of IDE disk, with 32 megs of cache! Aircon failures clearly improve your harddisks, I can highly recommend them! 🙁

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Core2Duo frequency scaling
Date: December 25th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware

I’ve got some Core 2 Duo-based servers since a while and thought I’d play a bit with frequency scaling. The board is a Supermicro PDSMI+ and the CPU is an Intel Core2 Duo E4400, running at 2GHz. However, when I modprobe acpi-cpufreq, the CPU frequency drops to 1000MHz, and indeed if you check the available frequencies in the /sys interface, all I see is 600, 800 and 1000 MHz. Anyone have an idea why? I guess the module gets it from ACPI tables or so, which are wrong? Or is there something else that needs to be set up… rmmodding acpi-cpufreq restores the CPU frequency to the correct 2000MHz.

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Tones D-Day
Date: July 28th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Computing, Hardware

Today, I got up early (surely for a weekend) to go to the Tones Dumping Day. Doors opened at 10. I got there at 10:06, and got handed ticket number 129. 129, eck! So I stood there waiting about 3 hours to get my stuff (or rather, my wife’s and my sister’s stuff); still it was pretty much worth it. 1GB PC3200 DDR sticks went from 89.90 to 43.90, that’s quite the steep curve 🙂 So I got a gigabyte… or rather 5, heh. Other stuff was marked down as well, leaving me with a "profit" of over 200 euro’s. Pretty nice!

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Supermicro trouble
Date: July 17th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware

I’ve got a few Supermicro X5DLR-8G2 motherboards to put into SC813T-500C cases. Now, the boards are not certified by Supermicro to put into a 1U chassis, which may could some trouble. However the X5DLR-8G2+ is an identical mainboard which is fine for 1U. Actually the difference between these boards isn’t that big, as you will see in a few sentences 😉

I installed everything in my chassis, and put a Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8 SATA controller in to control the 4 SATA disks. However, the controller BIOS wasn’t initialized and while booting the BIOS told me "warning: the riser card is not installed". Hrmz. Upgraded the BIOS to the latest version. No dice.

Contacted my fantastic supplier about this, who contacted Supermicro, who came with a solution to the warning: flash the latest bios of the X5DLR-8G2+. Yes, the + which is the 1U version. In (my) 2U version, there is an extra part in the PCI-X slot which is meant for use with an active riser card, i.e. 1 PCI-X slot -> 3 PCI-X slots on the riser. I guess that is what the BIOS is (not) detecting. The BIOS of the 1U version doesn’t check this obviously. For the rest everything just works.

Only, the warning was now gone but the card still wasn’t initialized, which meant I couldn’t boot from it (it must be said that even with the previous BIOS the card was visible from Linux after booting from CD). I was playing around a bit, enabling the onboard SCSI, enabling PXE, resetting CMOS, … and ended up lowering the PCI-X speed from 133MHz to 66MHz. Suddenly it worked, the BIOS was shown, also on 100MHz (and on 32/66). Just on 133MHz it wouldn’t work – even though the card itself has a PCI-X 133MHz logo printed on it. Oh well, it’ll work fine at 100MHz as well, as I only have 4 disks and 100MHz*64bit is more than enough.

If anyone has the same or a similar problem, try this. The X5DLR-8G2 board will fit in a 1U in any case (har har).

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