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Ghetto power control
Date: July 17th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware

As a result from our shopping spree, I now have a Re-Volt Intelli-Plug power brick. I connected it to my HTPC and plugged my TV in. I immediately got to test out the software as by default all outlets are off. Woops. Luckily there is Linux software (never unpacked the Windows CD) to control it, sispmctl , which works fine (on/off at least). Cool stuff, a bit cheaper than an APC MasterSwitch (which of course has its own network card, 8 outlets, etc. 🙂 so quite another league)

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Storage galore
Date: May 22nd, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Computing, Hardware

Last post may 6th eh… Hmm. Let’s blast out some posts.

Via Fabian, a nice 4-2.5"-disks-in-5.25"-form-factor storage backplane . Funky. I guess 2.5" disks are still slower and more expensive than "regular" 3.5" ones, but this is a nice start 😉

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Soft disks
Date: April 19th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware

A while ago, one of the 2 disks in a RAID1 in one of my servers started erroring out. I went to the datacenter, took it out, restarted the machine, now the second disk started showing errors. WTF?

I come home, sit at my pc, and hear very loud CLICK CLICK CLICK. One of the 2 disks in my workstation RAID1 gave up.

*is happy to have been redundant on all fronts* (yes, I also have separate backups of both machines)

The brand of all 3 disks is… Maxtor. Maybe I should spend the extra buck and get Seagate instead.

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Harddisk enclosure
Date: January 25th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Fun, Hardware

I want this ! Let me know if you see it somewhere, even if it’s more than $10 😉

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Hardware trouble
Date: January 20th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware

Right when I don’t really have any time due to work (working until 9pm etc) some hardware started to fail…

– died after I put back the second CPU. Jorne (hayano) brought home to me (thanks!), apparently the fan controllers on the mainboard are all failing, after a while the fas turn off and all fan readouts read 6335 rpm. I connected the CPU and Chassis fans to standard molexes and everything is working great now. It’ll be back up when I visit Versatel tonight. In the meanwhile its rails also arrived so it’ll be mounted properly too 😉

–, which is one of the most important servers in Brussels, not only failed a disk in its RAID5 raidset but there also seems something else to be wrong… It reboots every night at 0:30 with a CPU context corrupt panic. I’ll be replacing the CPU’s and CPU cooling, and possibly the RAM – hopefully it’ll then stay stable. I’ve got a 200GB Seagate disk but I’m afraid it’s not big enough to replace the 200GB Maxtor to fix the RAID.

–, which is in Amsterdam, broke a disk … this has been fixed yesterday, big thanks to my hoster Zylon for the remote hands. The box is now up’n’running again with a full RAID set.

 *argh* 🙂

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On the quality of LCD panels
Date: November 1st, 2006 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware, Home

A while ago I bought 2 Samsung TFT’s , which didn’t go without problems.

It’s been a while since I posted, but actually the day after said post, the second TFT turned up a dead pixel as well. So I went to exchange that one for a “kadobon” as well, and went to look for 2 nice new monitors, preferrably not Samsung. Alas, everything in that MediaMarkt ended up 40 EUR more expensive than before 🙁

I drove to another one (St. Pieters Leeuw -> Basilix) closeby and indeed, same pricing as in the other one a week back… but still way more expensive than the voucher I had in my pocket, except for Samtron and Samsung monitors. The Samtron had a Samsung panel and was cheaper (199 EUR/piece), so probably a B-panel … If I’m having problems with dead pixels why go for even less quality, eh? So in a risky move I bought 2 brand spanking new Samsung Syncmaster 920N’s … hoping they’d be OK.

Haha,  fat chance … secondary monitor had a dead pixel.It stayed black and was about 2-3 pixels from the right side… as I didn’t feel like going to MediaMarkt again for that and starting the exchange game all over again I decided to let it rest. In the meanwhile the pixel has come to life again, yay… 2 fully working monitors *knock on wood & fingers crossed*

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Mediamarkt *argh*
Date: October 8th, 2006 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware, Home, Stupid

Went to exchange my TFT with the dead pixel yesterday at Mediamarkt. After queueing in line for about an hour, finally it was my turn. The service department was very friendly, I got my exchange ticket right away. Then I had to go into the store, fetch another monitor to be able to swap it. Alas, no more Syncmaster 920N available (except 3 which also had dead pixels). Can I use this paper I have in my hand here to get one at another Mediamarkt? Yes sir, no problem. Had to run to pick up Diana at her class in Mechelen (and turned up half an hour late there), so we drove through to the Mediamarkt in Antwerp. Where they had the monitors (albeit 20 euro more expensive, which I would have had to pay on top), but they were very sorry to say that I had the wrong kind of paper and they couldn’t take it. Back to Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, no time to bash the people there, just got the right paper and stormed off direction Mediamarkt Basilix, Brussels, hoping they had a monitor there. Again bad luck, it closed at 19.30 (wtf) and I was there at 19.45, thinking it would close at 20.00.

So I’m sitting here, with a 19" CRT and a 19" TFT next to eachother… sigh. Hopefully I can get another identical monitor soon, or I’ll have to bring back the other as well and buy 2 new ones of a different type. :p

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Pimp my PC
Date: October 2nd, 2006 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Computing, Fun, Geek, Hardware, Home

Last week I spent some money in "gamer-izing" my computer case. It’s a nice Silver Lian-Li aluminium thingy, a bit less nice-looking because of 2 white/beige Plextor DVD & DVD-RW front bezels… So I spent some cash via Ebay on 2 nice aluminum bezels , a nice thermometer/fan monitor display , a few Akasa blue-led fans and a sidepanel with plexi so you can see inside the case (woops, some cleanup needed ;)).

Friday we had some time to kill at Mediamarkt , and I ended up walking out with 2 Samsung SyncMaster 920N 19" TFT monitors… Now I really got the über-PC 😉 (Unfortunately I already have a dead pixel on one of my monitors, so I’ll have to go back to MediaMarkt some day soon).

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Infrastructure downgrades
Date: September 5th, 2006 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware, Home

I’ve got a bunch of rackmount servers in my rack at home right now. All cool, but the rack is full… so no more upgrades 😉 Unfortunately a 4U and 3 2U’s with a total of 7 CPU’s (+fans), and 16 hard drives produce a lot of heat and noise, while kicking up our electricity bill. I’ve also got a 12-port gigabit switch and a 24-port 10/100 switch running and a few cisco 2500’s for tests and play 🙂

So in order to downsize this a bit the plan is to keep the cisco’s (they don’t produce a lot of noise or heat nor do they use a lot of power), replace both switches by one 24-port gigabit switch, keep one 2U box as router, replace the rest of the machines by one big badass 4U box containing all the remaining hard drives, and add a UPS.

I’ll have some leftover hardware at that point, perhaps I’ll sell some of it… or I can reuse it later without having to buy new stuff.

I’ve just bought the UPS (New 2U APC 1400VA for 150 €, not too expensive I think?), have a switch ready for me when I get some cash together, and then when I’ve got some more cash I’ll get the 4U Supermicro case and a 5-in-3 SATA hotswap tray set… In total the box can contain 15 disks (if I put in 2 more SATA 5-in-3 mobile racks). Expensive hobby this is.. but hopefully it’ll reduce power bills, heat AND noise…

I’d also like 2 19" TFT monitors one day.. Samsung Syncmaster 920n for example 😉 

Someone win the lottery and donate me some cash… :/ 

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Date: May 23rd, 2006 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware, Home

No, this isn’t Jeremy Clarkson screaming at the next 800bhp engine… This is me screaming after the thunder+lightning that just struck. I was about to leave the house to go back to the office, then a loud thunder followed by massive lightning, followed by my girlfriend screaming "Your computer!!!" … of which the monitors turned dark… Luckily it came up again after a powerdown/powerup (apart from an annoying noise coming from one of the fans).

boo:~# uptime
14:28:37 up 31 min,  2 users,  load average: 0.03, 0.03, 0.01
boo:~# ssh root@khalid uptime
14:21:34 up 18 days,  4:43,  0 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
boo:~# ssh root@viconia uptime
14:28:54 up 30 min,  0 users,  load average: 0.08, 0.18, 0.18
boo:~# ssh root@sunrise uptime
14:28:47 up 18 days,  4:42,  0 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00 

The DSL modem also reset, and probably the switches and wifi routerthingies as well. I wonder why some kept running (like Diana’s computer which was right next to mine but in another wallplug).

While on the way back, I noticed most of Kessel-Lo/Leuven’s traffic lights were blinking orange too 😉

Next on the shopping list: a big UPS for the serverroom and a small one for our workstations… no more colo stuff. You’d think I/we’d have enough of those toys by now with 2 APC masterswitches, 1 STS, 4 switches (2 Cisco Catalyst, 2 HP Procurve), 3 routers in Brussels & 1 in Amsterdam, 2 25xx console routers, and a whole bunch of servers doing *cough* interesting stuff 😛

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