Raspberry Pi Update

May 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on Raspberry Pi Update
Filed under: Computers, Raspberry Pi 

Now that I’ve been working with my RPi, I am having a ball. This is fun. As I mentioned it has HDMI output and that’s a plus. After playing around with several of the distributions I found Raspbmc. It’s based on Debian, and the GUI is XBMC. XBMC is a media center program that does a lot of things. Photos, video, and other things that I can’t remember. Then I found out it will also work as a uPnP player. Now that’s something I’ve been looking for.

One of the problems I had was getting the system to connect to the network. If I wanted to use it anywhere so it had to be wireless. I ordered a wireless adapter from the same company that got the Pi from, and plugged it in. I had to configure it by putting in the password, and it connected. So now I can move it around. I took it into my TV room and plugged it into my TV. Oh, what a picture. I configured it to get the files from my uPnP server, and it connected right away. I got the list and selected a movie to watch. I couldn’t believe it. The picture was every bit as good as my blueray player. Yep, it’s that good. I was very pleased.

The folks at the Raspberry Pi organization have created a real winner as far as I’m concerned. Now to find out what else it will do.

New Computer!

May 11, 2013 by · Comments Off on New Computer!
Filed under: Computers, Raspberry Pi, SuSE Linux 

At the beginning of the month, I got the latest issue of Linux Journal. In it is a lot of articles on a little computer called the Raspberry Pi. After reading some of the articles, I decided to order one. I mean, how much can you lose with a computer that only costs $35. I ordered the card along with some extra stuff like the power supply, a small case, and of course the operating system. The Raspberry Pi is an ARM powered self contained computer about the size of a credit card. Well, at least length and width. The version I bought has 512 meg of ram. It has two USB ports, and connections for the network cable, analog video, analog sound, and an HDMI port! Yep, that’s right. HDMI on it and it works quite nicely with my new monitor.



Credit for this picture goes to Switched on Tech Design(www.sotechdesign.com.au)


The little sdcard contains the operating system. One thing is that it runs linux. Yep, that’s it. Well, so far. According to the website, there are problems running Windows on this processor. Oh, well, I usually don’t do windows anyway. It came with the standard OS of Raspbian. It’s debian based and works OK. I’m not that familiar with Debian, so I had to do some research to get certain things done. Not hard at all. After that, I decided to find out if my old friend SuSE had an image. Yep, sure do. I downloaded it, and wrote it to another sdcard. Plugged it in, and it started right up. Sort of nice to have an old friend to work with. But there is work to be done on the image, so I’ll see what I can contribute.

As for what it can do, I’ve heard it makes a nice quiet file server, or a media server or even a webserver. Now that would be something. Low power consumption, and easy to work with. I’m not sure how well the webserver would work because of the processor, but the rest seem to be possible for a home network.

I’m off to play now, and see what I can do with it. I finally got a USB hub so that I can connect more things to the little box. Taking up one port with the keyboard doesn’t leave much space for the rest of the things I want to try.

Looking good

April 27, 2013 by · Comments Off on Looking good
Filed under: Computers, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized 

Well, last night I turned my monitor off just as I’ve done for years. This morning when I started things up, no monitor. Dead. I tried everything I could think of to get it to work. I tried unplugging the power, holding the power on button while plugging in the power. Nothing. It is an older monitor, so I’ve been sort of expecting it to die. So I go down to Best Buy, one of my favorite stores, and pick up a new monitor. Not just any monitor though. It’s a 25in. HP IPS LED monitor. Damn, this is sweet. Picture is better, and of course bigger than the 22in. that I had before. It was also $60 off and that helped too.

I got the monitors switched, and started the computer. A few things flash, and then the picture comes up. Boy, talk about pretty. And it’s so big. I’m seeing little things that I don’t remember seeing before. It’s nice and I’m pleased. This one is definitely a keeper.

OpenSuSE 12.3

March 24, 2013 by · Comments Off on OpenSuSE 12.3
Filed under: Computers, SuSE Linux 

Many years ago, I started using SuSE linux because it was the only distribution that had support for ISDN. Well, that and I lived just down the road from the company headquarters. I bought my first version 5.3 from their office. Just something I remember. Now on to the latest version.

I don’t usually change versions that often. I ran 10.0 for years for my webserver because it just worked. No reason to change it. Then it was 11.0 for quite a while then 11.4 because it worked. But the service life runs out, and so it’s time to move on. I’ve been running 12.1 for quite some time, and liked it, but kept watching the later versions. There wasn’t enough of a change to get me to move to 12.2 so I didn’t worry about it. When 12.3 came out I watched the factory mail list and folks were saying good things about it. I decided to check it out. I have the ability to multi-boot from the bios, and not have to set things up with the boot loader. I kept upgrading the 12.3 computer and liked what I saw. When it went gold I decided that I’d go ahead and try to move my 12.1 install to this version.

I put in a new hard drive and started the install. Everything went quite well, and the initial setup went quite well. Now to begin the migration. There are several things that I do immediately after starting and I’ll list them.

1. Update the repositories and add Packman and Libdvdcss. The reason is to get the necessary codecs to use my collection of mp3s and other things.  That part always goes well, and I did the necessary updates.

2. Add the FGLRX drivers for my graphics card. I know that a lot of folks don’t do this, nor use the ATI cards, but I’ve always had good luck with them so I keep doing it. As usual I had good luck and the graphics are great.

3. Move my mail and get Kmail working. I copied my mail and config file and all was well.

This is one of the best installs I’ve had in a while. It’s boots quickly and I’m up and running. So far everything works, and I’m quite happy. I think I’m going to rearrange my system and hard drives so that I can disconnect some of the drives until they are needed. I love the new SATA drives that let you just plug them in and use them as necessary.

Just when you think…..

January 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on Just when you think…..
Filed under: Computers 

Just when you think that everything is going OK, something happens to change it. I built this computer and thought the upgrade was going great. I have a Win7 drive and that runs just fine. But it’s 32 bit and doesn’t access all of the memory. I usually run my 64 bit linux, and started having a bit of trouble.

It seems that the desktop, or a program, or quite a few things would crash for no reason. I just assumed it was something about the install, and I’d re-do it. That didn’t help either. So I started looking at hardware. Now keep in mind that this build is only 6 months or so old. I decided to run memtest on the system, and lo and behold, what did I get? ERRORS! Lots of them. It seems that at least one of the chips is bad or maybe more.

Luckily memory is pretty inexpensive right now, so I opted to buy more and it will be here soon. Then we’ll see if it’s the chip or the board. I’d hate to change to board because of all the stuff that is hung on it. It’s a great board, and really easy to use, but if I have to replace it I’ll have to watch out to make sure I don’t buy one of those locked boards for Win8. Not going to do it. I refuse to be locked into something when I pay good money. I build my own desktops so I want to use them as I please.

Wish me luck.

Oh, well. So much for luck. The memory I ordered was wrong. Didn’t work at all. So I’ll return it, and get the right stuff. Damn, I hate running with only 8 gig of ram. ;). I should have done more research.

I finally did all the research, and ordered the right memory. It arrived, and I put it in. Happiness! 16gig of ram and all is well. It runs quite well, and no more crashes. Now if I decide to upgrade my Win7 to 64bit I can use all of it there too. Right now it’s just 64bit Opensuse 12.1 although I do have 12.2, and 12.3RC1 installed on other drives. Nice to have multiple choices to boot.


June 2, 2012 by · Comments Off on Upgrading
Filed under: Computers 

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I’d had trouble with one of my computers. Well, It’s not too bad, but while doing some cleaning, I happened to find the invoice from the company I made the purchase from. I couldn’t believe just how much I paid for that computer. It has run well, but I really think it’s time to upgrade. So I have been looking around and am actually quite amazed at what is available and the prices.

Right now the old computer runs a dual opteron setup with 4gig of memory. At the time that was a very powerful setup. The cpu’s run at 2ghz. That again was quite fast at the time. (2005).

Now I am getting read to buy another MB with a single cpu. The nice thing about that is the one I want is an AM3+ Zambezi 8core CPU running at 3.6ghz. The price is less than the price I paid for both opterons. Then there is memory. In 2005 I paid over $200 for 2gig of ram. Now I’m looking at 16gig of DDR3 memory for about $100. To me that’s amazing.

I really looking forward to building this one. Not sure exactly what it’s purpose will be, but I’m going to have fun with it for sure.


Meetup group

April 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on Meetup group
Filed under: Computers, Happenings 

I’ve found out that there is a WordPress meetup group that meets here locally. I signed up, and there is supposed to be a get together this month. I’m looking forward to it. Now I have to make sure that I mark it on my calendar so that I don’t miss it. This should be fun.

A computer dies….

March 28, 2012 by · Comments Off on A computer dies….
Filed under: Computers 

I bought a server type motherboard several years ago. It was before the dual core cpus were available. It was a dual opteron MB and I thought it was great. I eventually used it for my server while we lived overseas.

I have been working with it lately and it keeps locking up for no reason. I did a bit of research and find that at least one of the cpu’s is dying. It’s been a great machine and I’ll miss it.

Just to show how really behind I usually am, I started doing a bit of research on something to replace it. Now I find that the cpus come with up to 8 cores now. Really? I think there are even more, but I’m not really in the market for anything more. I just hate to waste all the space in my full tower case with a standard ATX motherboard. Oh, well, it still looks great and will hold a lot of stuff eventually.

Update! It wasn’t a cpu problem. It was a software thing. I don’t know exactly what was going on and the reason I thought it was a cpu problem was the messages I got every time it locked up. I ran a bunch of tests, and lo and behold, everything was fine. I did upgrade the power supply, and did a bios update and everything seems to be working again. I’m relieved. Now I have a computer to play with.