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.

raspberry

 

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.

The Need for speed.

April 18, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Need for speed.
Filed under: Centurylink, Happenings 

I decided to take the plunge and upgrade my internet connection. I’ve been cruising along with a 20meg down/876k up for a while and thought I’d take a look to see what was available. My ISP offered 40m down/5meg up. Yes, there was a price increase, but it isn’t that much. I order it last week, and they turned it on overnight. Regular pages aren’t that much different, but oh, what a difference it makes with downloads. I’ve got the openSUSE 12.3 install dvd going as I write this, and the download speed has doubled from yesterday. It bounces between 4.8 and 5.2m throughput. Amazing. Most I had with the old setup was 2.2meg and that was on a good day. I think I’m going to really like this new speed.

Now I’m off the play some more.

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.

Service

January 25, 2013 by · Comments Off on Service
Filed under: Rants 

I decided that I need to replace the MB because silly me got carried away while trying to fix the memory problem and broke one of the locks. It’s just me, because it works fine.

So a few days  ago, I started looking around for a replacement board. I found one at Tigerdirect and made the purchase.Normally I order from Newegg but they don’t have the same board available anymore. I made the order and chose 2 to 6 day shipping. I’m not in that big of a rush, but I’d like to have it here sooner rather than later. Two days have gone by and I haven’t heard a word from them about shipping. I’m used to Newegg where everything is pretty fast and you get documentation showing what is going on. I decided to see what would happen when I check the “track your order” button. It comes up and I fill in the blocks. It takes me to a page that just about floored me. Now remember that I selected 2 to 6 day shipping. I look at the tracking page, and the order has been sent to a third party warehouse, and I can expect it shipped within 7 to 10 days. WTF? That long? And now a day later there is no change. Are they really that busy? I sent them a message expressing my displeasure, and I’m waiting to hear from them.

This is the first and last thing that I’ll ever order from Tigerdirect. There is NOTHING on the page that says anything about a third party shipment. That’s just plain deceptive. And then to charge for the two to six day shipping is ridiculous. I’ll wait until the end of the 6th business day and then demand my money back.  If they think this post is bad, just let that happen. I’ll make sure that anyone I know never uses them again.

Nuff Said.

Update: I’ve checked every day and today is the 7th working day since I made the order. This evening I decided to check again. I’d checked earlier in the day and nothing had changed. Well, this evening it changed. BACKORDER! Can you believe it? It took 7 “work” days for their third party warehouse to find out they didn’t have the item. That is just plain stupid. No other way to describe it. You would think that someone somewhere could check in the computer, assuming they use them, and find out a lot sooner. Nor was I notified about the backorder. Nothing, nada, zip. Tigerdirect.com is a poorly run organization. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it. I’ll never do business with them again.

 

Liar!

January 15, 2013 by · Comments Off on Liar!
Filed under: Rants 

I hate it when I’m caught lying. The reason I bring this up is the news about Lance Armstrong and his admission that he used drugs. WTF? All these years he’s denied it, never failed a drug test, and now this. I’m sorry, but it’s really a letdown.

I started watching the Tour De France while I lived in Europe. It was great because I love to ride. I even drove two hours from our house to see a bit of it in Aachen. It was truly amazing to see all those riders going at top speed. They flew buy in just a few seconds, but it was still great to see. I don’t remember the year, and if Lance was there, but now I realize that a lot of it is false.

Mr. Armstrong, you are lower than low. I don’t care anymore. I supported you and what you said. I believed you. So the best thing I have to say is FOAD. I doubt you’ll ever read this, and I really don’t care. I’m disappointed that you’ve deceived so many people for so long. I’m one of them, and won’t be doing it any more.

P.S. if you don’t understand FOAD, here’s a hint. F*ck off and die.

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.

Interesting..

December 19, 2012 by · Comments Off on Interesting..
Filed under: Happenings 

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve started to have folks register on this blog.  I find that interesting because this is the first activity I’ve had since putting the blog up almost a year ago. One thing I notice is that no one wants to leave their real name and most of the handles look like the spammers I’ve had over the years. That being said, I have no problems with the few that decided to register. Just don’t expect any privileges until I have more information.

Upgrades

October 29, 2012 by · Comments Off on Upgrades
Filed under: Uncategorized 

When we bought this house, the previous owner had a large screen TV that he gave to us.  It worked fine up until last week when it simply quit. Oh, well, it gave me a chance to get a new flat screen which I did. Little did I realize the extra costs involved to get everything right. After getting everything hooked up, it looked pretty nice, but those black bars at the top and bottom really bother me. So I’ll have to upgrade our TV box. Might as well do the whole house while I’m at it. Then when trying the cheap blue-ray player, it died, so I had to buy another one of those. But at least it works. I never knew how good things would look. Blue-ray is really nice. So I’m happy. Just waiting for the tv boxes to arrive.

Update! The TV boxes are installed and boy, TV has never looked so good. I really didn’t realize the difference that HD would bring. Then my wife decided that we should update the other TV so I went out and got another flat screen. I always thought that the old Hitachi had a good picture, but it doesn’t compare. It’s like day and night. When I watched football yesterday, it was like you could see the blades of grass on the field. It was really amazing. I guess the only thing left to do is get a blue-ray player for the upstairs TV.  Maybe this week. I’m not in a rush.

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