Archives 2006

Friday, 27th October 2006

Chip

I've just finished a late night cleaning binge. Now I can relax for the whole weekend!

This week has gone so fast!  

Sunday, 15th October 2006

Chip

Had great fun on Sunday. I went over to Josh's house with plans of LAN/AD&D games. Well, in true LAN style - computers wouldn't talk, games wouldn't run and things just didn't generally work.

We finally sorted out a game or two of Counterstrike 1.6. The REAL counterstrike for all those "hardcore" CS fans =) Before it "went source" - I find that funny. A good game anyway. We had consumed copious amounts of Tooeys Old at this point. 6 Longnecks at this point - it was the best game of CS I've played for years. So much fun.

There is a funny story attached to that - the mouse. I normally carry a full kit of "crap", as Kel calls it, in my bag that will allow me to connect to almost everything with my Laptop. I've got serial-usb converters, Cisco Console cables, screwdrivers, box of computer screws, standoffs and thermal paste. I normally have in that kit a USB mouse, USB-PS2 Converter and a PS2-USB converter for good measure. In this case I had no mouse and no PS2-USB converter - so, without a mouse, we looked at some of Josh's, which were all PS2. Not giving up at this point, I set up CS to use the touch pad and to use the e and r keys for primary and secondary fire. This was a pretty good combination I found. I was pretty happy with myself. I did score a couple of head shots. I even managed to wipe Josh once! We then teamed up on the Counter-Terrorist side and kicked some ass. I found I did best with Josh covering me and sitting back with the SIG Scout (7.62 NATO, Scoped, Bolt Action) and picking off Terrorists.

Saturday, 30th September 2006

Chip
Bugger... I haven't blogged for nearly a month!

Not much has changed house-wise. Liam is doing terrific. He went for his shots a while a go and was a little crappy for a few days but he's OK now. He's also rolling right over onto his tummy and back now, he tries very hard to crawl, but he needs to develop his arms a bit more - he doesn't quite have the strength to support himself yet. He gets very close! He also gets quite upset when he fails to crawl. He's a very determined bub!

On the work side of things, I've been offered a job doing website work and programming. I will also be doing a short  stint of retail work until we ramp up the work flow suitably. To start with I will be primarily working on websites/databases to bring up to date a backlog of customer requested modifications and updates. Some of these sites we will probably re-write making them database driven, providing interfaces for the customer to update their own content. Once all that is sorted, we are going to be working on the core business project - the POS. It's an Open Source Point of Sale program that is already implemented in a number of sites. Some of the things we will be adding to it are stock-control type operations - stock takes, adjustments etc. We also acquired code modules to interface with Ingenico EFTPOS PIN Pads. That will mean we get to do some interesting coding when we integrate that functionality into the POS!

Aside from those tasks, we will be doing network/POS installs, general tech-support and occasionally the odd custom PIC (I hope!) =)

I left Tandy in good graces, it was a difficult choice but I don't think I was doing the store Justice. I'm pretty tired of retail managing, my last few days were great though. It's unfortunate that I gained my motivation back when the new manager started. We re-merchandised a lot of the store in the last week. I even sold warranties and pulled descent sales! l33t!

Monday, 04th September 2006

Chip

My first Father's Day!

I finally got around to 7V modding the PowerEdge 2400 so that it's bearable. It's much, much quieter now! The spindle noise is whats loud now... 

Saturday, 02nd September 2006

Chip

I'm looking after Liam this weekend. Kel has taken a casual job. She loves it so far, helps her get out of the house for a while. I also re-arranged the entire living room today. It was crappily laid out. I swapped where the arm-chairs were to where the cabinet is against the wall. That way Liam has more empty carpet area to play on and everything fits better. I bought a Cisco Catalyst 2924M with two 100baseFX (ST Fibre Optic) modules with two ports each. It's a 24 port switch with two slots for modules.

I currently use MiniCom and a serial console cable to talk to it. I thought I'd try to get that working rather than the boring old HyperTerminal in windows. /dev/ttyS1 ftw! I am slowly learning some commands and procedures with the switch. I have turned off the fibre modules because they are unused [orange lights]. I also turned off the port that the wireless router is on as it's not configured yet. I love it!

Before this switch could go in, I had to do something about the noise! This switch is designed to run in an enterprise situation in a rack, in a closet or data center where no-one has to live next to it. It's got three 80mm fans that run at a 12 volts. Full speed. It literally sounds like a vacuum cleaner. The noise is second only to the PowerEdge 2400s (Which will be treated to a similar mod soon).

To make this switch suitable, I unplugged the three fans then made an external power cable for them. I did this rather than modifying the internal PSU or tapping one of the 12V lines. That way the internals remain as original as possible. A big variable voltage lab power supply is currently running the fans in the switch and in the ADSL router until I get time to knock up a quick variable power supply.

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C2924 Top Off

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A 100baseFX Fiber Module

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Right Most Fan Disconnected

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Bits and Pieces

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Finished Lead

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Fitted Lead


The best way to go was to stick some rubber feet on it and run the cables underneath, then it's nice and tidy.

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LAN Setup


Thursday, 31st August 2006

Chip

Just recently I've been given a Cisco C3548 Switch to look at. This is a shit hot piece of gear. It, like most Cisco enterprise hardware, runs it's own operating system called IOS. Very cool. Unfortunately this one is buggered. It fails POST [Power On Self Test] on the Switch Core ASIC [Application Specific Integrated Circuit], that is what the amber port 6 'of death' means when it goes through POST. More specifically, after reviewing the output when it boots using a console cable, the buffers are shot.

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IMG_0543

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IMG_0533

Monday, 28th August 2006

Chip

Theres not much happening lately. I have taken on some IT work, websites mainly. That's good fun. I'm learning a lot as I go too. I've learned heaps from the guy I'm working with.

We've sorted out Liam's room finally. He's not very keen on his bed yet. He slept the first time in it but doesn't want to sleep in it lately.

l33t! 

Wednesday, 16th August 2006

Chip
I've worked a fair bit on the design and structure of the suspension assembly to clear things up in Inventor. The suspension needs a big overhaul/re-design. Because of incorrect design the steer wheels toe in or out when the suspension moves.

Sunday, 13th August 2006

Chip

It's my birthday today!

Kel made me yummy breakfast. We had bacon and sausages with baked tomatoes. Very yummy! I've been working on the HTPC some more, well most of the day actually. Put in the new power supply, since the existing PSU didn’t have the necessary P4 connector – a lead that supplies a rail of 12V to the main board. I had secured the new PSU with Gaff Tape Tongue2 because the existing Gateway PSU had a tricky quick-release system. I corrected that later in the afternoon when I re-attached the gateway bracket to the new PSU so it could work in quick release. I had to drill the PSU case to do it. I then mounted the two ‘tines’ on the PSU so it could mate with the top of the case, then be secured with a plastic clip.

I set up the TV tuner card and it’s all working well. It was missing channel 9 and also wouldn't record properly. I reinstalled the software and manually entered the details for channel 9 digital in manually [191.625MHz, Provider ID 1, Video UID 519, Audio UID 720]. It took a lot of searching to find those settings!

Anyways, everything was burbling away nicely. I had it running Nine Digital in full screen while Kel watched the Bulldogs game. I smelt burning. I narrowed it down to the HTPC. I narrowed it further to the PSU. I could feel the heat on my face coming off it from about a foot away while looking for the source of the smell. It was too hot to touch.

Speaking of Hot. I bought some brass bits and pieces to make an adapter so I could run the heater we got from Kel’s parents off the BBQ gas bottle. That’s all running very well now, although the regulator on the hose that came with the BBQ seems to struggle with more than 1 bar. [The heater has 3 bars] You can hear the muffled hissing sound get pretty loud at 2 and 3 bars! It’s much better than the tiny halogen heater. At least this gas unit uses a fan to circulate the air as well as radiating heat out of the front of the unit.

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Adaptor

We had pizza for dinner. Dominos managed to bugger up my order. TWICE. I really can’t understand how the bloody hell "Puffection" could possibly be misinterpreted as either "Pan" or "Classic". Neither of the two terms they use to describe a pan-fried pizza sound anything like "Puffection". Bastards. No-I-dea! Had the pizzas remade after talking to the manager. They sent out pan AGAIN. Got it right third time! Go Dominos!

Saturday, 12th August 2006

Chip

Liam is doing great, other than him not sleeping more than 3 hours at a time. Had a good night last night though. 7 Hours. He's also becoming a lot more vocal and a lot more dextrous lately. He will usually babble back when you speak to him and he will also now pick his toys up by himself with both hands, rather than only 'grabbing' them when they were handed to him. He's doing really well!

The HT [Home Theatre] box is getting an upgrade. I got myself a P4 1.8GHz and a 512MB stick of PC2700. It also copped a kick-arse piece of storage for recording and encoding video, so we don't have any IO bottlenecks. I put an 18gb Seagate Atlas 10K. A 10,000RPM U160 [Ultra 160 SCSI]. I only got the controller a few weeks ago second hand. It was pure luck. It cost me $10 for a bag of SCSI gear. There was a 5 point U160 cable with a terminator and a high quality Amphenol Spectra Strip cable. It's orange and white, looks cool. I also got an Adaptec U160 SCSI card.

I finally got Zagadka [The rogue in WoW] to level 30. With 3 minutes to spare before the server was coming down!

3 Mins to Go!

I killed up as close to the limit as I could while counting on at least 2K xp from the quest. I tried to hearth back at 5:00 until shutdown but got interrupted by a Spider. I ran and evaded then hearthed back to Westfall successfully. I then flew from Sentinel Hill to Darkshire.

The 2050 xp from killing Mor'Ladim *just* got me over the line!

I was lucky, I had a good group. We killed Mor'Ladim about 4 times. We also did two runs through the underground part of the graveyard, wiping everything as we passed through. We also killed Morbent Fell at the top of the hill. He's nasty.

Zagadka is now 3 levels past where he was before the "Incident" =P

Yay for units! ...not

Chip

We have got ourselves some new lounges, well, not new, used. They look new though =)

The removalist comes Tuesday!

I "persuaded" the old 3 piece set down three flights of stairs and I'm not feeling too good about it. A little lower back pain. At least it's just a strain, not a pinch or anything nasty. Just dull pain. It's bloody amazing what you find behind the lounge after it's been there for 2 years!

Days before I had lost the TV remote, it just disappeared off the face of the earth! I even looked around in and between the lounges. It was not to be. I *did* however find it's battery cover which had been missing for over a year, replaced by a square of gaff tape. Eventually I found the remote, albeit once I put everything back together and pushed it up against the wall. It was sitting on  the lounge under a bloody pillow!!1

1 Year Anniversary!

Chip

1 Year Anniversary! Kel and I have been married for One Year!

Mum, Dad and Jen came over for a BBQ to celebrate. We had some chicken kebabs and some nice thick butcher's sausages. Excellent. Kel also made her french onion dip which I love!

Sunday, 23rd July 2006

Chip

Big  cleaning day! I may have several blonde spots or streaks in my hair after today. I don’t know how strong this stuff is. I’ve been cleaning some mould from the ceiling in the bathroom. It kind of crept up, last week there were only a few spots then BAM! There was a few large patches and even some on the walls. I just did what I did when we moved in and I cleaned. Filled the bath with about 2” of water, poured in about half a bottle of “exit mould” and used a mop on the ceiling. That is how I got some on my hair. Drips.

I've found places to stow a lot of my "crap" (as Kel calls it). I've been meaning to sort out the top of my desk and server stand for ages. A lot of small sundries have collected around my work area, heasinks, screws, cds, dvds and various other bits and pieces... I need to sort it out. A lot of the larger things have been sorted into their various containers and put away.

Well bugger me, it appears that Fedora Core 5 *will* install on a PERC2/SC drive array [on the monolith box]. We will see, knowing my luck I've just wiped out the Ubuntu 5.04 ("Hoary Hedgehog") install for no reason. It was "sort of" configured to replace the current webserver zBox. It's burbling away now installing the first CD as I burn the second CD! =P

The Little Liamlet is doing well, we've moved from Formula + Thickener to a Formula for bubbies with reflux that already has thickener in it. It seems to be doing a better job as the poor bugger couldn't get the mixture of standard formula and thickener through the teet, even with the next size teet up.

Friday, 21st July 2006

Chip

Weekly blogging seems to be the emerging pattern =(

I've been working on my stair climbing buggy again. I haven't changed the design that much, rather, the structure of the assembly. The previous arrangement had every single individual part dumped in the one assembly. Pins, Nuts, Bolts, Split pins and parts all together. The tree of parts was massive. I have started from scratch building smaller assemblies with detail parts like nuts and bolts already on them. These "sub-assemblies" are only possible where I don't need them to interact with parts that make up the sub-assembly, only with the sub-assembly as a whole. For example, the spring pack. I had to break the spring pack into two halves so it would interact with the movements of the suspension arms. It's made the overall assembly tree much clearer. Some images later.

Work has vastly improved with the return of my proper area manager. We have staff, we have everything we need pretty much. The stand in area manager completely lost me a $10-15K a week customer, for which I will never forgive him. I can't even contact this customer now. It was over something stupid, that, if he had explained himself properly instead of just getting pissed off with me, could have allowed me to retain the customer. Thinking I was doing something wrong, I told the customer that we could no-longer sell that particular product to him. I figured it was something serious as he was really pissed off, turns out he was just pissed because I didn't go to him and ask him first... I hate that bastard, he needs to feel pain, that's what he's caused me...

On a much happier note Liam is doing much better now with a formula thickener. He has a little reflux and doesn't stay satisfied long if he throws up part of his feed. He keeps it down and as a bonus, now sleeps longer. He's learned to press the foot of one of his toys to make it light up and speak and he's also learned to hold a rattle!

Friday, 07th July 2006

Chip

Man! What a week!

I've been struggling with un-reliable staff and short-of-staff type issues all week as my Assistant (Little G) has been "Floating" around the area helping out other stores, for which I hope they compensate him. I've just started getting my store back to standard since getting back from holidays. There have been a number various problems, issues and events that have managed to thoroughly screw up my return to work and work up to this point.

Oh Shit! I was supposed to be overseeing the DSE store too, I must have crossed wires or something, I didn't even visit there! Well, after a deserved and thorough reaming from my area manager I got started there after work at about 6 PM. We had a one staff member pike out (read previously mentioned un-reliable-bastard staff) at 6:00. Barely 30 mins after I sent them at 5:30 to help in the other store and after he committed to 1.5 hours more when I asked him to help out! I've given that fucker so many chances now, he can go jump off something. I could go on, but it would get ugly. Expressing my distaste for this particular individual would probably not be wise at this moment. Some left at 7, like the staff that had started at 9 and the 3IC, I feel for him, he'd already pulled a few 12hr shifts this week. We had some good staff to 9:30 PM when we had most of it done, then it was just Little G and I until about 11:30 PM when we finished, cashed up and left.

The reason for all this: The stores brochure hadn't been tied up. A brochure is a pretty important thing in Tandy, it has limited effect. In Dick Smith, however, it's up there with like, well, breathing and eating. DSE brochures tend to up sales $10's of 000s and it's relied on to have that effect. It's bloody important. I can say though, I am at least proud of that store now, Little G and I really brought the team together and got it done. The store looks damn sexy now. We tidied, faced, ticketed and put out the last few touches on the brochure. It's two days late, but hey, at least it will have an awesome effect and when the real manager gets back, he will make his budget.

Me, I got home at 1:20AM after clambering onto a train. I was so tired I almost felt drunk. I could barely read my Silicon Chip mag. Little G got home about 10 mins later at  1:30AM. I bought a Kebab on the way home. I was surprised my favourite place was still open. I got a beer and had my Kebab. Nutritious!

Poor little Liam... He had his shots yesterday, he's come up in a little bit of a fever and he's in a little pain from the injections. I've had probably 1hr of disjointed sleep if you combine all the small times where I dozed off between 1:30AM and about 6:30 when I get up. Little Liam has been screaming, not his fault though! I would be too (and probably did) at his age after having my first needles! It annoys me enough with injections and I'm an adult. That dull pain in the middle of your shoulder that you can't rub or do anything too because it's too deep to have an effect, little Liam prolly had his injection in the butt though, I don't know, I haven't spoken to Kel yet.

Sunday, 02nd July 2006

Chip

Whoa! It's been ages, I will have to pay more attention to my site! I've been so busy since getting back to work and looking after little Liam!

I've been shooting some macros in my parents garden, there is one image that shows me in the reflection of a water droplet.

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CRW_1861_2


Little Liam is doing terrific, he's moved up to the next nappy size and is in the “crawler” nappies now. He also now enjoys baths a lot more than before. He splashes around and giggles. He is a lot more vocal now. He has also learned to smile and giggle now. Today he held a rattle briefly and shook it about a bit. This is pretty impressive for an 8 week old bub. The sleep situation was doing terrific but seems to be decaying lately... He's up and down a lot, sometimes 5 hours, sometimes 2 hours. Kel is doing a lot better now though, now that she gets more sleep!

In other news. More stuff discovered stolen when I got back from holidays. How much fun it is to return from holidays into a crap stock take. Normal stock take, sure, but a crap result because certain ex staff want to take stuff when they leave and also don't give two shits and incorrectly process cyclic stock counts writing on stuff we never had, contributing further to administrative loss; sucks arse. Fscking excellent. I love it. Nothing better than being put through the ringer because of someone else. Then theres the additional run through the ringer because the store was looking crap. What the bloody hell do they expect when they throw the keys at a part timer and say "Here you go, run it, we will 'let' you" like it's some honor. The poor bastard has no training and knows only whats essential to keep the store running.

I've got myself a copy of World of WarCraft and I play that occasionally. I have a level 23 rogue at the moment.

zBox got a minor upgrade from a P3-733 to a P3-1000. That's increased the performance of the back-end systems such as the gallery post-upload processing and resizing for the gallery. It hasn't really done much for the database side of things. I haven't yet got the MySQL back end for Postfix email working on the PowerEdge yet. The PowerEdge also got a major upgrade from 2xP3-733s to 2xP3-1000s and 1024MB of RAM. I haven't benched it yet. I also added a GigE card to it so that I can create a small rsynch network. It's storage system hasn't changed yet although I have managed to procure a U160 SCSI card and some VERY nice U160 SCSI cables. When I say nice I mean the nice Amphenol Spectra Strip with twists between the plugs!

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ultra160_cable


zTop has been upgraded, replaced actually. I am now using an ASUS M6N which is a Pentium M 1.6GHz with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. The only boggle with it is the battery, it's rooted. $220 later I will have a new one... But that's OK considering it's second hand and also considering what I am paying for it. This laptop has more bells and whistles than... well... something with lots of bells and whistles! It's got a nice video card too, a ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 with 64MB on board. It's also got IR, an SD/MMC card reader, on board GigE, Modem, PCMCIA slot, DVD Reader/CDR combo drive, 6 USB 2.0 Ports and on board 4 speaker sound.

I am currently running a dual boot system on it using GRUB. SuSE 10.0 and Windows XP. SuSE is my primary OS. I have installed XP on there for the few things that I need it for like WoW and AutoCAD/Autodesk Inventor.

I CAN'T WAIT TO GET A BATTERY!

I've finally sorted the wireless in both OS' it turns out the old wireless router I have just can't hack it. The router had crashed but the Ethernet and config sections of the router were still working. I changed the configs then power-cycled it and BAM wireless worked. I then re-enabled access filtering and WEP encryption so that no buggers can access my LAN wirelessly. Well, not easily anyway.

I've also been working on a HTPC [Home Theatre PC]. I used a spare box to make a box. I bought a 250GB hard drive, TV tuner card and a DVD burner. This will allow me to watch DVDs and also to record TV. However, it's too slow. I need a better spec box. I tried it out recording some of Dad's videos from Europe from a few years ago, he gave them to me to digitize. It's going to be much better to have them on DVD rather than analog 8mm because currently he needs the camera to watch the videos.

Yesterday I had a beer with Josh and Sandy after work. It was good to see them again. I rarely go out these days!

That's pretty much up to date now! l33t!

Tuesday, 23rd May 2006

Chip

Little Liam is doing great, although sometimes he smells like hand cleaner when he spits out some of the gripe water. (Gripe water is stuff that smells and tastes terrible, but it's for helping babies with gas). He now settles a lot easier, though he puts up a fight when it's time to have some gripe water (once a day). It's odd stuff, smells like hand cleaner.

Fixed my headphones, for hopefully the last time. The speakers inside each of the headphone sides had come a little loose. In the left the sound was poor, the small speaker was unclipped completely and floating around inside the earphone enclosure. The right was only slightly loose, but rattled when low-frequency sounds came through that channel. They are pretty solid now. I just melted the clips and surrounds a little with the soldering iron to fuse the plastic speaker body to the body of the earphone. Thumbs Up!Thumbs Up!Thumbs Up! 

Friday, 19th May 2006

Chip

Not much blogging done!

Little Liam is doing great. He is slowly getting into a sleeping pattern that allows his parents to sleep too! Thumbs Up!

I want to get him some new bub clothing:
Level 1 Human, 0 Experience
iPood
Hello World
TCP/IP
Baby Tux

I am currently on holidays but work sucks. My offsider quit. Little-G is stepping on up now. Add to that a looming stocktake upon my return. What an awesome return to work. 4 weeks off then a gorram stocktake! Fun.

It's Little Liam!

Chip

Liam Michael 3.785Kg (8lb 4oz) 36cm Head (14") 50cm Long (19.5")

1:45PM 6th May 2006

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Liam Michael

Bubby wants to see the world

Chip
It's 3AM and bubby has decided it wants out!

Monday, 01st May 2006

Chip

Another day of no baby arivals. There were a lot of false contractions today but no really painful or lasting ones.

Monolith01 got knocked up another notch. BAM! Dual P3 1GHz, 1GB RAM. That leaves Monolith02 with Dual P3 733s and 768MB of RAM. Bits left over makes a Monolith03! Dual P3 667 and 128MB of RAM. 

Monday, 01st May 2006

Chip
Ah well! The bub didn't come on it's due date. It looks like it's happy where it is and it's going to be late! We are now +2 days Frown

Thursday, 20th April 2006

Chip

Damn ads, everyone hates bloody ads! Check out Philips' new patent:

From New Scientist:

The advert enforcer

If a new idea from Philips catches on, the company may not be very popular with TV viewers. The company's labs in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, has been cooking up a way to stop people changing channels to avoid adverts or fast forwarding through ads they have recorded along with their target programme.

The secret, according to a new patent filing, is to take advantage of Multimedia Home Platform - the technology behind interactive television in many countries around the world. MHP software now comes built into most modern digital TV receivers and recorders. It looks for digital flags buried in a broadcast, and displays messages on screen that let the viewer call up extra features, such as additional footage or information about a programme.

Philips suggests adding flags to commercial breaks to stop a viewer from changing channels until the adverts are over. The flags could also be recognised by digital video recorders, which would then disable the fast forward control while the ads are playing.

Philips' patent acknowledges that this may be "greatly resented by viewers" who could initially think their equipment has gone wrong. So it suggests the new system could throw up a warning on screen when it is enforcing advert viewing. The patent also suggests that the system could offer viewers the chance to pay a fee interactively to go back to skipping adverts.

Read the full patent here.

What a bunch of shit! Not only that but they are cheeky enough to suggest paying fees to skip the ads? WTF! I thought paying for a subscription service was the damn fee for not having ads. The whole thing is just out of control. Normal Free-To-Air TV is too hard to watch with 2 minutes of show then 2 minutes of ads! Cable it seems is not much better...

Wednesday, 05th April 2006

Chip

Ah! A day off. Or not.

Went into hospital with Kel today since I had the day off and watched her have her bi-weekly check up. Everything was good, although baby was a little narky about being poked and prodded when the nurse was manipulating them into position for measuring and checking of it's heartbeat.

After that we went into the shopping centre and bought a large selection of larger (0 and 00) sized baby clothes in neutral colours. Baby has more clothes than Kel and I combined! Poor bugger is going to be in pale neutral pastels (greens, yellows, whites, creams etc) for a while. We chose to keep the sex of the baby a surprise l33t!

Finally a triumph with an Old Game. Clive Barker's Undying. I've had a hankering for this game for a while now. I thought I'd blow the dust off it's case and load it up. No, InstallShield wouldn't have any of that. It seems the version packaged with the older EA Games doesn't like XP. Starts to load then craps out with a totally useless un-googleable error that means nothing. So, I went to work on the install files.

  • Copied the entire disc to hard drive, nope.
  • Tried doing a repair on the cabinet files included with the install, nope.
  • Tried copying the cabinet files to my Linux box and installing the 'unshield' utility - got the files out, but with no ordering or folder tree. Yay. I pored over the install scripts and config files for hours looking for where each file needed to be, failed, nope.
  • Ah! Hah! VMWare! I created a windows 2000 virtual machine, installed Undying and then copied the install to the real computer. BAM! We have undying. I'm not doing any more typing! I'm going to go play it! LOL!Tongue2
Edit: Undying is a great old game, very scary! Great ambience!

Sunday, April 2nd 2006

Chip

Whoa! I'm up to my backside, well my shoulders if you stack them on top of each other in server gear! It's nice to finally get going properly on actual server gear for this site. Monolith01 and Monolith02 got an upgrade today. The 667s in Monolith01 flowed down to 02 and it's 550s went to 03.

Monolith01:

  • Dual P3 733MHz/133MHz FSB
  • 256MB PC133 ECC SDRAM
  • 6 x 9.1 GB U160 SCSI drives (2 x 9.1 [Atlas 10K Vs] RAID 1 - 9.1GB, 4 x 9.1  [Atlas 10K IVs] RAID 5 - 25.5GB) running off a DELL PERC2/SC RAID controller.

Monolith02 (Planned): 

  • Dual P3 667MHz/133MHz FSB
  • 256MB PC133 ECC SDRAM 
  • 1 x 18.2GB U160 SCSI Drive running off embedded U2W SCSI on mainboard.
  • 1 x 20GB IDE running off 2 x ATA133 PCI RAID card.

Monolith03 (Planned - pending essential parts like ummm, RAM?!)

  • Dual P3 550MHz/100MHz FSB (Possible Single P3 1.0GHz depending on slotket compatibility)
  • No RAM Yet
  • No Drives Yet

Thursday, 30th March 2006

Chip
Linux comes to the rescue again. I wanted to play undying. It's an old FPS/RPG from ~2002. i put it down years and years ago, It doesn't actually install any more. I know for a fact there is no problem with the disk, it's the InstallShield software that is incompatible with Windows XP. So a disk that doesn't install. No Game. I found something for Linux called 'UnShield', it is able to extract the data directly from the .CAB files. Beautiful.

Monday, 27th March 2006

Chip

I finally got that bench built and the house reasonably tidy. At least tidy enough for Kel, I will finish tidying when I get home. After hours of having the lounge room filled with PCs and the dining area with pieces of wood it’s done.

Here are some shots of the bench all loaded up being inspected for final approval by the mistress of the house.

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IMG_0383

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IMG_0384

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IMG_0386

Saturday, 25th March 2006

Chip

I now have two big black monoliths (Zagadkai l33t! ) and now a big stand to put them (and the other computer(s)) on.

The Server Stand is designed the way it is to make use of the materials I have available. The frame is made from pieces cut from old bed slats (90 x 35) from the spare room bed (now the Baby's room). The top will be 3 pieces of 305mm wide 5-ply Plywood removed from the old stand as will any pieces of 70 x 35 pine used in the design. 

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IMG_0380
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IMG_0381
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IMG_0367
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Sheets

I've been hard at work today. Thismorning I moved the chest of draws from our room into the baby's room and then assembled the cot in our room in it's place.

Later in the day I finalised the plan for the server stand, printed a copy and then set about marking out cutting lines on the wood I had. Next I cut all the pieces up. After that I marked out all the holes that needed to be drilled. I pre-drilled all of the holes where screws went. Each leg of this stand has 6 holes, two of which are bored out to 10mm dia and 35mm deep because the screw goes through the widest part. In total I used 40 screws long screws. The screws I am using are 75mm long so that I didn't have the problem I had fixing together the last stand where screws didn't reach and I had to bore a hole 80% of the way through to get enough thread in the other side. I chose Countersunk chipboard screws as they go in faster and easier, the cordless drill sure is getting a workout, bugger putting them in with a screwdriver! They are nearly 4mm in dia on the threadded part and 3mm thick on the shank. I still have the top and some other stretchers to put on yet!

The bottom shelf is designed to take two storage containers. The stretchers are spaced to retain them and the lower stretchers act as a rail for them to slide on. The containers have small wheels on them... The top shelf is where the computers go.

I will have to look at the remaining materials and work out how I am going to mount a shelf above the computers to put the scanner, printer and router on. The Power Supply and CRO will take their old positions leaving me a little more storage and some more desk space.

Monolith No. 2 Up and Running!

Chip

I managed to sort out the issues with the dell server. It involved re-organising the RAID array so that the 25GB RAID 5 array was the first logical drive and the 8.5GB RAID 1 logical drive was the second. I then re-installed Fedora Core 4. Fedora Core 5's MegaRAID driver no-longer covers the PERC2/SC SCSI Controller and Backplane.

Monolith 2 is up and running with two P3 550s! I made a special lead to power the CPU fans from a standard power connector as the mainboard uses custom 3 pin connectors to attach fans, so the standard PC style 3 pin fan connector won't cut it...

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CPUs and RAM

Issues

Chip

Curse you GRUB bootloader! CURSE YOU!!!!! angry

Fedora went onto the Poweredge beautifully but doesn't boot MAD! I've been tweaking this damn grub.conf file for a bit over 4 hours! Gone from not booting, locking on stage two to now continuously looping Stage 1.5 Tongue

Thursday, 16th March 2006

Chip

Whoa! A blog!

I've been fighting with these damn servers, well one in particular... The one with CPUs. Funny that. The main boggle I have is linux installers not being able to find the PERC2/SC SCSI backplane in the system!

I've Tried:

  • Debian 3
  • Debian 3.1 R0A (Sarge)
  • Ubuntu 5.04 (Breezy Badger)
  • Ubuntu 5.10 (Hoary Hedgehog)
  • Ubuntu 5.10 Server (Hoary Hedgehog)
  • Fedora Core 4
  • Fedora Core 5 Test 3 - 4.92

The only one to pick up the backplain and install is FC4. FC3 would probably too. FC5 I am a little dissapointed in. There was an invalid EIP value error, it did detect the backplane though. Failed to boot the kernel though.

Current Specs:

  • Dual P3 667
  • 256MB PC133 ECC SDRAM
  • 8.5GB RAID 1 (2 x Atlas 10K Vs), 25.5GB  RAID 5 (4 x Atlas 10K IVs)
  • SCSI CDROM
  • 1.44MB FDD
  • PERC2/SC SCSI RAID Backplane
  • Intel Pro Ethernet 10/100 card, Generic 10/100/1000 card
  • Adaptec AIC-7890 U160 SCSI controller.

Upgrade!

Chip

G0t server?

Looks like the website server is going duallie!

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Dell Poweredge 2400

 

Tuesday, 07th March 2006

Chip

A definite lack of blog. I haven't really done anything exciting lately.

Last weekend consisted of sleeping, watching DVDs and organising Bubby's Bedroom. I took apart the bed in there, now it's in pieces... Yay. Now there's just the stuff that was under the bed. A collection of cardboard tubes containing posters from various things, some containing heat shrink. Then there is the collection of red and coloured boxes containing Christmas lights. I bought a whole heap while they were on the way out at Tandy, multiples of each for spares. I have needed some of the spare globes and one of the transformers so far. There's also the treadmill on its end leaning on the wall. I will have to disassemble and stow that somewhere. Then there is that Buzz Aldrin walking machine thingy of Kel's, for "no impact" exercise, the one that you can lean forward and back and stuff. That’s already in bits.

In other "news", I picked up Neverwinter Nights again out of boredom, I just happened to locate the dungeon that was holding me up. I dropped the game about 6 months ago because I was wandering and wandering and wandering and wandering around with nothing to fight and no quests to do! I killed it all and finished all the quests I could! I had missed a dungeon (the one I found) which was a turning point in the story leading to other quests and new areas. So, now I am back in business. My Rogue, Zagadka, is tricked out with all manner of magical equipment! He even has a Keen Dagger that has a stun effect, it works well on heavy damaging mobs and shuts them down for a while, so you take less damage and give more damage to them un-hindered. It’s pretty funny to see a rogue open up on a giant with a 40 and then a 60 with the sword of swiftness and the dagger when dual wielding, this does nasty things, 100 points of damage in the opening round. Usually it splatters them.

Thursday, 23rd February 2006

Chip

I haven't blogged for ages! Lots of crap happening at work.

Not much happening. Just the usuall work, sleep, get up, work, sleep, get up...

Josh dropped into work the other day, which was awesome because I needed cheering up after the shitfight I was left with by the weekend crew.

Check this out: 

Even for the crazy world of quantum mechanics, this one is twisted. A quantum computer program has produced an answer without actually running.

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/info-tech/mg18925405.700.html

Wow, that's just amazing and scary at the same time. I hope none of the scientists implode their brains messing with that type of thing =) Incredible! 

Friday, 10th February 2006

Chip
Yay. Work. I'm moving the store around once again! Fun.

Wednesday, 08th February 2006

Chip

Day Off.

Bubby Checkup. 

Tuesday, 07th February 2006

Chip

Yaaaaaaaaay!

Work.

I'm currently working on a PIC programmer. I have it 90% assembled. I bought a clear topped box to mount it in. I am drawing it now in Inventor to decide how I am going to mount the ZIF socket in the lid of the box. Currently I am drawing the ZIF socket it's self. It's a 3 layer device, the centre layer slides between the top and bottom layers along it's length, actuated by a small lever with a cam on it. This action opens and closes small V shaped contacts that when closed make contact with the legs of the device mounted in it. It's proving a tricky task to draw it with only a rule to measure it with. I can't wait to get my verniers. I think where I have placed the top screws to hold the top on are incorrectly measured. Maybe it’s just an optical illusion. I know for a fact though, the bottom layer is wrong with respect to the raised area on the other side of the cam end. I will have to check it! Pictures later when I can do screen exports more than 800x600 Thumbs Down!

Friday, 03rd February 2006

Chip
Stocktake is done, I still feel shit and $2k of shit is missing. Not impressed. Area manager coming today. Very, very tired! Wired

Wednesday, 01st February 2006

Chip

'Tis the dawn of Stockake.

Well I'm in for a fun packed, counting stuffed, number filled, keyboard entering Day! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!~~~!1111

Did you detect the sarcasm?? because it was there, lots of it. Also note the time.

Monday, 30th January 2006

Chip

Stocktake preparation. Joy. It warms to think about the possiblilities surrounding the loss of a set top box from in the back storeroom. Not. I'm just going to dissapear the person that took it when I catch them, no red tape, no bullshitting around. I'm getting tired of getting slapped for losing shit from my storeroom.

Probably, since it is a storeroom, something with that theme. Maybe just stuff them in a cardboard box and tape it shut for a while. That'd scare them.

FOUL MOOD. angry

Thursday, 26th January 2006

Chip

Australia Day. Burning the flag should be a SHOOT ON SITE offence, 'nuff said.

I am getting impatient waiting for my PIC programmer kit, so I started digging around on the net and found an easy to build PIC programmer. It's sitting there ready to go now, just waiting for the PIC-C Compiler to download. I found some software called PonyProg2000 for programming them that seems to be compatible. I have read the chip now (empty) without error, so we will see what happens.

I made the hardware part of it on a breadboard. I also cut up an old serial cable and made a "break out" cable to some header pins to plug straight into the bread board.

Hi-Tech PIC-C and HI-TIDE are taking ages to install... It was a 40 meg download to start with, that's OK.

8:53 PM: 

I've been mucking around for most of the day with the PICs I bought. I got impatient and made the programmer as above. So at the moment I code in PIC C using HiTIDE, Dump the C-File into Microchip's MPLAB which gives me my Assembler code (.ASM) and a compiled HEX file. Then, Using PonyProg2000 I load the HEX file onto the chip. Voila. Of course, if I had *paid* for a propper version all the steps would occur in the one suite of software. But, as I wanted it NOW and well, not like I'm going to buy $300 worth of software to "Experiment With"... I used 3 product trials...

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CRW_1652

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Programmer

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LED Chaser

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Serial "Breakout"

Tuesday, 24th January 2006

Chip
It's tooooooo hot! Damn, I got up at 6:15AM and it was 29 degrees! WTF!

Drive Train

Chip

I did some work on the drive train and steering rack.

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Arm1

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ujoint

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topdrive

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InnerBearingFrontShaft

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frontdrive

Sunday, 22nd January 2006

Chip

Mmmmmmmmmmm Bacon and Eggs. Cooked bacon, eggs and toast all on the BBQ thismorning. Yummy.

You have raised at cooking (124) *shakes head* too much WoW now I am thinking in WoW terms all the time =) I need to buy another stack of eggs, two stacks of bacon. Um... punnet of eggs and 500g of bacon. Bugger. Did it again.

Well, off to buy more bubby stuff and shopping today.

On friday I bought some of these from David Reid (Altronics Reseller) for a sweet price. I can't wait to try them out. I also bought a few RGB (Red, Green and Blue) LEDs - it's an LED with 4 legs that contains Red, Green and Blue LED elements inside. I also can't wait to try them, however, I think I left them at work.

6:30 PM:

I started experimenting with my 433MHz RX and TX modules. I will have to rig something to do it at range soon! I have set up an experiment to test the units sending a ~1 kHz 2v square wave through it. It works! It will work at up to 2800 baud. See photos:

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RX

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TX

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Setup

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Traces

More Photos 

As you can see, it works. The bottom trace is the 1kHz 2v DC square wave for calibration. I haven't built a function generator yet. It's been running stable now for about half an hour at 4.0vDC. As shown in my image of the big power supply, the analogue meter is out on it. The CRO also says that it's out indicating 4.0V (4 vertical boxes from the centre line at 1V/div) =) 

Edit: Measured the CRO output it was 1.012kHz, ummm, close enough Thumbs Up!

Saturday, 21st January 2006

Chip

Ah, the weekend at last!

Playing World of Warcraft at the moment. Jumped out for 10 min just then and now there's a queue of 400 odd. 20 min to get back in. Khaz'Goroth is the server I play on. I have a level 15 Rogue who is a cook, skinner, fisherman and herbalist. Mainly a harvester than a manufacturer type character, I collect herbs and stuff for my Guild and they give me stuff to use or assistance with quests in return. Sweet deal really. I just learned a whole heap of recipies and got my cooking up to 120 since I had nearly 100 of a reagent that was needed for this one recipe because I had been grinding fishing up past 100 too, lots of fish to cook! I cooked all of them and some other harder ones and now my skill is nearly 120. Sweet. I can now cook all sorts of weird dishes. I think the coolest (not by stats) is Westfall stew which contains Stringy Vulture Meat, A Murloc Eye, A Gore Tusk Snout and some Okra (herb). The next two that I want to do is "Gooey Spider Cake" and "Blood Sausages" =)

The last few times I've been on I haven't leveled far or made much XP, I have been concentrating on trade skills. That way I can make some cash! Buy some descent daggers!.

Hrm, still 15 mins and 220 people in the queue. Goody. What else can I write about?

When I *finally* do get on, I am off to Westfall to see a fisherman about a recipe =P He sells a recipe for cooking slimey mackerel, I don't know how to cook them yet...

More baby stuff to buy tomorrow. Prams and cots, other goodies and their various accessories - Bubby has to be fassionable and modern now doesn't it! This Bub has more sets of clothes than Kel and I do combined! We have got clothes from everyone! It's terrific.

I bought some Carlton Black yesterday to try it, it tastes great, almost as good as OLD but not as bitey or bubbly (unfortunately... bite == good, bubbly == not so hot). Ah well, they tried, they really can't compare to OLD, but they were close! I'll deal with the extra bubbliness! I'm going to finish off this six pack over the week, it's a nice drop! 

Thursday, 19th January 2006

Chip

Damn, I haven't blogged for quite a while.

Not much has changed. Major IT crisis averted. It seems that the Power Supply was at fault, well not at fault yet more like under way too much load... Then, you'd expect that with a P4 2.4 with Three optical drives and four hard drives on a cheap 400W PSU. It chews some power. I also wouldn't expect the PSU to be throwing out a full 400W anyway being a cheapie. The primary master and primary slave drives (Western Digital 80GBJBs) started to give false (I hope) "death 'tinks". Where the head bangs into it's park position. This only started happening when I connected the fourth drive (Seagate ST3200822AS 200GB SATA) which told me the PSU wasn't hacking it. So, with this replacement things seem to be running more smoothly. I really DO NOT want to deal with 560GB of lost data because the PSU was under-powering the drives and causing head crashes. Wink

Thursday, 12th January 2006

Chip

Ah, work. What a fulfilling enterprise.

I built a second Ubuntu Linux box yesterday. Had trouble initially, installed Ubuntu 5.10 "Breezy Badger" left it over night. Changed my mind and reinstalled with a GUI in the morning, it's burbling away now re-configuring it's packages. It  did the bulk of the install while I was in the shower, I set it running when I got up. So, hopefully, it will be at a stage where I can SSH into it from work before I can leave to finish off the installation. 

Tuesday, 10th January 2006

Chip

W00t, Red Dwarf series VIII (8) will be coming out March 5 in .AU!!!!

There is also a new StrongBad Email out.

Mmmmmmm. Work. Stocktake preparation must be the second most tedious task there is. The most tedious is doing stocktake. It seems Stocktake and it's various tasks are ALL surrounded with a thick dark aura of multiple-hour-long tedium...

Sunday, 08th January 2006

Chip
Off to Mum and Dads for a BBQ. It will be good to see them. Kel's Mum and Neice will be coming too as they are staying with us. I can't wait to have a beer with Dad and see the new vertical mill he bought!

Thursday, 05th January 2006

Chip

Work...

I have started playing World of Warcraft on one of my friends accounts. I made a Human Rogue. I got level 5 in 2h.

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WoWScrnShot_010406_224510

Wednesday, 04th January 2006

Chip
Work. It's a terrific day today.

Tuesday, 03rd January 2006

Chip
Tuesday.

Monday, 02nd January 2006

Chip

I know how he feels!

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CTRL+ALT+DEL

 

Sunday, 01st January 2006

Chip

It's sooooooooooooooooooooo damn hot!

I added some extra fans to my system because it was too hot. Unfortunately I only had some happy glowey fans, the only ones that had molexes already on them. I really didn't feel like heating the room further soldering. In these images you can see my 150mm CCFL mod to make the front glow green.

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CRW_1599

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CRW_1602

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CRW_1603

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CRW_1605

Ummmm, It's Hot.

Chip

It's now 2006 and it's bloody hot! My computers are cooking themselves! I am reasonably happy with my workstation though. Only +22.2°C above ambient (34.2°C) under load. While I'm editing this text it's dropped down to 49.0°C. The 56.4°C was shot just after jumping out of Counter Strike:Source and starting up Autodesk Inventor 10, both heavy CPU time chewers.

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House Temps

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Workstation Tem

Server Temp:

The CPU temperature of 25.5°C is definately inaccurate because intel put their thermal diode away from the CPU core, often in one of the corners of the die. It's probably in the order of 35-45°C in reality. The server isn't very loaded, I am happy that the server case is only sitting about 7.8°C above ambient! All those quiet mods and 7v fan mods have paid off with slow quiet airflow. The HDD is cooking though understandably. I should really fit a heatsink to it as it does generate a fair slab of heat and is not in contact (thermally) with the case.

as99127f-i2c-0-2d Adapter: SMBus I801 adapter at e800
M/B Temp: +42°C (high = +105°C, hyst = +0°C)
CPU Temp: +25.5°C (high = +100°C, hyst = +92°C)

hddtemp: /dev/hda: ST340014A: 50°C

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