Older blog entries for crudman (starting at number 23)

22 Jan 2001 (updated 22 Jan 2001 at 04:15 UTC) »
Insert grind here

Did a spot of editing on Uraeus' upcoming article for LP. He's not kidding as to the extent of the provided answers, it'll be an interesting read once it's made available.

Working on a new homepage, which will explain the non-functional link at the moment. The old one was (admittedly) nothing to be especially proud of, so at least there are more things to avoid rather than include. :)

The new Nvidia Linux drivers (0.9-6) seem to have frame-rate issues with GeForce2 GTS (32M) and all GeForce2 Ultra cards, which is to be fixed in another release. Almost certain there's another problem relating to AGP, kernel 2.4 and SMP confgurations (with a MX card and even a TNT2), but I'd more evidence before submitting any kind of bug report.

Compiled MPlayer last night. Far better at seeking through DivX ;-) files than aviplay (player included with the Linux AVI File Library). While only a CLI player for now, using the cursor keys to seek backwards/forwards in 10 second and 1 minute intervals is becoming quite handy.

28 Dec 2000 (updated 30 Dec 2000 at 14:56 UTC) »
Yuletide Goodness

sjanes71: While I can't speak for all Debian users, it's a fair chance that reiserfs 'support' (ie. in the installation program and boot/root images) won't be included until its become part of the stable (2.4x) kernel series. Until then, you'd want this: Reiserfs-Debian. Just be sure to follow the instructions to the letter, and you'll be most pleased. :)

Stop Judging

It's great how people can judge your relative worth/accomplishments in a single day, simply by using the phrase: "So what did you do today?". Fail to answer correctly (ie. justify your existence by recounting an increasing number of stressful situations performed within a limited timeframe), and you're immediately branded a 'slacker'.


My SMP troubles are over (as mentioned in a previous rant). It was all due to the Abit Slocket 133's not being able to perform in a dual configuration. Replacing them with a couple of Abit S370-DL slockets fixed the problem.

Did a bit of editing of ErikLevy's upcoming article for LP, it'll be an interesting read when it's posted.

Played with xine today. Very, very nice.

It used to make sense...

The year is gradually winding up. At my current organization (which I'm due to leave in a few weeks), the rest of the tech-oriented people have already taken holidays. I'm practically the "skeleton crew" that's available now, and things have a tendacy to get busy. In the rare position of having quite a knowledgable boss (networking, et. al.) who's also still around.

Received a few responses to the ACE2K article, adding a few details to the Amiga presentation that was discussed. All's good.

Set up a Squid caching proxy both at work and home, especially handy for a poor ol' dial-up connection. Just had to grasp the concept of ACLs (and the 'never_direct' config option), just grand now.

SBLive! card arrived a few days back. MIDI soft-synth (aka /dev/sequencer) isn't in the official open-source drivers, though it is in an experimental branch of the CVS. Using it now, soft-synth seems somewhat broken currently.

Discovered something regarding an SMP setup of mine (mentioned in a rant a few entries back). Turns out the Abit Slocket IIIs (which can run at 133mhz FSB) seem to have serious problems when running in dual. They'll POST, but not much else. Those over at 2cpu.com recommend Asus S370-DL slotkets, just have to find a local supplier.

Acquired a Voodoo 3 3000 (PCI) from a friend for AUS$55. Did someone say multi-head? :)

The Good, the Bad, and the Cruddy

The ACE2K write-up should be about on LP sometime soon. Hooray.

Have been spending a bit of time getting a few of the old 'classic' games (Descent 1/2, Doom 1/2, Quakes, etc) working on the Linux box. Most impressed with Doom Legacy (aside from a few OpenGL issues), and just managed to get D1X (Descent 1 port) working from CVS. Will make some D1X binaries available (mainly for those having trouble over at the Linux Game Tome) of the SDL and SDL/GL builds. Music and networking seem to the only stumbling blocks so far.

Ordered a SBLive card today. Need hardware MIDI (sorry ES1371 card) for all of these programs that demand a /dev/sequencer for music (usually musserver). That and a "Jumbo VI Mug". Mmmmm.

Attentione il est Myron

The Software RAID array continues to work well. Quickly hacked up a cooling system by clearing the plastic and metal brackets that usually block the 3 and a 1/2-inch drive bay, placed both drives into the bay, and used two Socket 7 fans to plug the hole. Aside from the noise, it creates a nice airflow in the case.

Ah, more writing. Some more things will start appearing on LP very soon. Oh yes, it shall be done.

I've resolved to do two more things in my life. The first is to get more sleep (lack of sleep produced two life-threatening situations that I'll detail one day, so get more sleep everybody) and the second is to consume a lot more water (to combat dehydration).

Something seemed to have gone very wrong with the efnet servers today. Not that I actually use efnet all that often these days (now it's the OpenProjects system and IRCnet), but most servers were either dead or split. Only 25 of them were up at one stage. Freaky.

Skud really knows how to pick an article of interest. "...but many a Windows user PREFERS the safety of their misery and discomfort over the courage needed to try something new." Couldn't have said it better myself.

21 Oct 2000 (updated 21 Oct 2000 at 13:04 UTC) »
Trust your inner-sleep daemon

Ever have that feeling you just want to lie in bed, for the entire day? Next time you consider, think about the consequences of getting up.

I went on over to ACE 2000 today, to do a little expo coverage for your friend and mine, LP. Provided katzj can put the pistols down for at least 10 seconds, it'll get processed and made available soon.

The train trip home, was another thing altogether.

A few stations along the route, I bumped into a few people who were coming back from the day's racing. They were completely drunk, with at least one of them smoking. Just what you want on a crowded train. Then I realized these were people I used to go to school with. Oh, the conversations we had. Purposefully got off at another station.

While waiting for another train, a man just started talking to me. He claimed that he "wasn't schizophrenic", was required by law to "take the medicine", and told me about his quest to search for a house (given to him by Jenny Garth of 90210 fame) which also contained AUS$85 million.

While I certainly didn't believe his ranting (but agreed with him entirely, for fear of reprisal), I managed to help him locate and catch his intended train to Dandenong (he would've ended up catching a train to Cranbourne instead).

I'm sleeping in tomorrow, no question.

I'm spending all my time, driving 'round...

Arg, been a few days.

Work: After finally locating the MD patches (the "Software RAID HOWTO" is a little out-of-date unfortunately), I was able to get a RAID 0 array up and running. Woo. Nice and flexible. Must remember to send a few little additions to the HOWTO maintainer.

Thinking about a Beowulf experiment using the "Scyld Beowulf" CD-ROMs (in transit).

Books: I'm reading "Building Firewalls" (O'Reilly, 2nd edition) at the moment. Sweet book, very clear and logically explains the internal workings of commonly-used protocols (to decide whether to allow/disallow protocol X over a firewall). Almost dropped the book after discovering what WINS really does. Glad it's being phased out.

I've ordered a recent revision of the "Unix System Administration Handbook" and "Think UNIX" from a local alternative operating system store. The sample chapter I read for the former is hilarious. :)

LP: Still toiling away. Just have to get into the right frame of mind (which usually comes at 11:30pm for some damn reason) to totally polish it off. Too many distractions at this end.

IRC: There's now an openprojects server for you Australian users:
niven.openprojects.net (located in Brisbane).

Healthful and Fortifying

Okay, no more ranting for a while. :) Thanks to ErikLevy and katzj (who I keep forgetting have SMP systems of their own) for their suggestions.

It's looking more and more likely that I'll be investing in the Abit VP6 board. Should be decent with a couple of Golden Orbs. Here's hoping they at least get the voltages right this time. I'll have to find some more information about the HPT370 controller though (the HPT366 included on the BP6 had a few issues).

I'm attempting to set up a small RAID-0 (software) array at work. The intended data is hideously non-critical, just thought it would be interesting to gauge any performance improvement from combining a few spare SCSI HDDs lying about (all signs point to 'yes'). Should things go well, I'm thinking about implementing a similiar scheme at home.

The Soldier of Fortune "Gold" upgrade (aka 1.06 patch) is wonderous. The SoF "bot" is very well implemented, and handy improve your game when you start to suck at it. Now to figure out the server commands.

The Trouble with (SMP) Tribbles - AKA Rant

{sigh} Where to begin?

Recently I've been trying to make my main home machine (consisting of an Asus P2B-D, rev D06, and two Pentium 3 733mhz's), work for more than 5 hours without a hard-lock. No dice so far.

After exhausting all other options (cooling, new fans, slockets, power supply, etc), I've finally decided that the problem is with the board itself. Each CPU runs at 133 Front Side Bus (a purchasing decision I now regret, due to the CPUs having their multipliers locked), which the board can support. Unfortunately, it's only stable at 66/100 FSB (which forces the clock speed down).


It's not the first time I've built a SMP system either. I was also foolish enough to purchase the bastard of all SMP motherboards (heh, excluding the Tyan Tiger 100 apparently): The Abit BP6.

The motherboard manual explicitly stated the dual Socket 370 ability was "experimental" (a pseudo-legal disclaimer for Abit's technical support). Run it at your own risk. Being one of the only SMP boards available at the time, most people were happy to live with that.

Getting this board stable took three months of my life. What started out as a simple upgrade from a P2/300, ended up in the occasional fit of rage. I've outlined the bulk of my experiences here.

In disgust, I canned the board (decided to keep it instead of a RMA for some reason) and purchased my current board, the Asus P2B-D. Finally, stability. Ran like a dream (at Celeron FSB: 66mhz). Amazed by the kernel compilation speed and MP3 ripping, etc, etc. Decided never to buy another Abit product again.

A few months later, I read about the "EC10" modification that's reported on the bp6.com forums. Basically, someone discovered that a recent revision of the BP6 board came with a higher rated capacitor (in the EC10 position). An additional capacitor was wired in parallel to the existing one, and it fixed the bulk of the BP6's stability issues (especially voltage discrepancies).

Performed the EC10 fix on my BP6. Bang. I was able to do a complete e2fsck. Repeatedly. And other things. Standard things. It's now my file/print/other server to this day. Renewed my decision to never buy another Abit product.

As time went on, more demanding applications (cough, games, cough) required more horsepower, so the current P3's were purchased. To accommodate them, the slockets had to be replaced, and PC-133 memory was required (due to the 'locked multipliers' issue).

With both CPUs at 133 FSB, my box hard-locks (no response from mouse, keyboard or otherwise, including 2 second sound repetition) anywhere from 15 minutes to 5 hours after initial bootup. Which brings us back to the present.

What is it about SMP boards? Why are they more prone to experience problems than their solo-CPU counterparts? It could be argued that all motherboards require the odd BIOS update to fix ongoing issues (eg. controller problems, compatibility, etc), but SMP boards are notoriously bad for having all kinds of configuration issues (eg. sufficient power supply, proper cooling, hardware/software that's SMP capable) together with all the other hassles that are associated with solo-CPU boards.


After a bit more tweaking, its uptime is now 4 hours and 55 minutes. Should it fall over again, I'll think about acquiring a more capable SMP board. My choices are the Abit VP6 (as yet unreleased and untested, wow, BP6 all over again), a Tyan Tiger 133 or MSI 694D.

The VP6? Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice...

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