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High Treason's Blog
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Administrator
Posted 2016-10-31 9:36 PM (#8)
Subject: High Treason's Blog



Fujitsu 186

Posts: 7
0
Location: Hull, UK
Hello! Welcome to my new forum and as you're in this thread, my new blog!

Yes, all future blog entries will be posted in this thread, so my old blog at http://DXZeff.com/Blog/ is now retiring and is only online for historical purposes. In this first entry I have little else to say, I feel that making this forum public (it has existed in various forms for over a year) is pretty big on its own.

Still, I suppose I could post a picture of the system which hosts it, as I write this I'm about to shut it off and do a backup before making this public and publishing my latest YouTube video, the Saitek R100 Wheel; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3gYmm2F8A4 which is a neat controller. But yeah, the system, well, the image at the bottom of this post is what you're talking to, it runs a few virtual servers, obviously one houses the blog, another houses this very forum. Dave is an Intel Atom 330 machine, very low power (for 2009, I'm sure there are even more efficient processors out there today) but very stable too. New hardware is needed, such as the hard drives could really do with replacement and I need to get a proper PSU, oh, and one of the fans is noisy now, but we'll sort that out down the line.

In the mean time, enjoy the forum, hopefully I'll post updates more often now it is easier, it was proving challenging to maintain the old blog as the editor hated running in modern operating systems and I didn't have quick access to some of my resources when using older machines with older operating systems, such as how I couldn't plug my camera into such systems, but posting in a forum thread is a very easy thing to do and I should have more incentive.

I don't know if this forum will see much use otherwise, but it was fun to experiment with, that's really a big part of why it's here, if nobody uses it I haven't lost anything, I liked playing with the hardware and software to get it running and it is hosted on my own server, on a connection I rent myself, these things were already there so it didn't even cost anything except maybe a fractional increase in the electric bill - the Atom is so efficient though, that it probably costs me more to light the room for 8 hours a day than it does to run the server or 24 hours. The only down-side to the system is the lack of hardware virtualization, this may be most noticeable sometimes as database requests being slow to come up at first, it takes a while to wake the VMs which run in very limited resources.

Oh well, those disks won't image themselves, I'll see you soon.



(Dave2.jpg)



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Attachments Dave2.jpg (21KB - 118 downloads)
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DXZeff
Posted 2016-11-02 3:32 AM (#10 - in reply to #8)
Subject: Re: High Treason's Blog



AMD K6-2

Posts: 310
100100100
Location: Hull, UK
And with that, it seems we're in business. Everything is way behind schedule as always, but that's a given really - literally everything got in the way of the video and in the way of this forum. In the case of the video, people and things kept getting in my way when I was trying to work on it. In the case of this forum, I had everything working, but I had forgotten to shut off SMTP on the server (For some reason, my MX records get instantly blacklisted, hence the forum uses my ISP's server instead) and due to a bad configuration, it was occupying around 200GB (Yeah!) of the hard drive and eating an entire core of the processor. Imaging therefore took a long time and then I had a hard time getting rid of the SMTP service. Then, the LAN's didn't want to un-bridge themselves (the server is not connected to my main network under normal circumstances, but the LANs bridge for a short time when imaging is taking place, usually once every month) and this kept breaking things and obviously isn't something I want to do. Also, prior to that, I had to turn everything off because the electric meter was being changed, though at least now I don't have to worry about tokens running out in the middle of the night.

As I'm running so late I won't be awake much longer, but at least I finally got this done. Hopefully everything is doing what it should be doing, but if it's not - and there's every possibility I missed something when I had to start a new database a few months back - feel free to let me know so I can fix it. As with all new things there are bound to be teething problems.

I will use this account from now on and only log on as Admin if I have to change settings or something, or if I really need to use HTML in something. Hopefully I rarely ever have to use that logon and hopefully I never have to make use of the powers that come with it. I'd much rather run this account instead as it is just a run-of-the-mill user account with nothing special about it.

Otherwise, I think I'll update this thread quite often, probably with images of the stuff I'm doing. Sure, I could use social media, but I have a dislike of it and its data harvesting. Over here, I run the show, the server is private property and the only data that is stored is the data required to make things work, nobody else sees it and unless it causes problems, I don't look at it. No ads will ever appear here either as I don't believe in them. Ah, well, this place is still in its infancy, so I guess we'll see what happens. The only other news I have for now is that the synthesizer at the end of my last video probably won't be around for long, it is working but I don't think it's the right instrument for me at all, luckily I shouldn't have a problem selling it. Actually, they're going up in price which is why I grabbed it now, before I simply wouldn't ever be able to afford one, so I may wait a while and then sell it, as if the prices keep going up I may be able to make back quite a bit if not more than it cost me in the first place. It is actually in really good condition, looks almost as if it just left the factory, I'd say it hasn't been butchered with upgrades but people actually seem to want those for some reason, though I suppose with this one it at least doesn't change the sound of the synth at all, so it wouldn't matter so much - I really don't see the point with some synth upgrades as they completely change the character of its sound. This one, though, definitely has no upgrades at all which is how I like things... I suspect the way the server runs is probably evidence of that, as if it were needed by this point when I'm known primarily as some dork who still relies on Windows for Workgroups on a regular basis. :P

Edited by DXZeff 2016-11-02 3:37 AM
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DXZeff
Posted 2016-11-04 1:42 AM (#31 - in reply to #8)
Subject: RE: High Treason's Blog



AMD K6-2

Posts: 310
100100100
Location: Hull, UK
It appears someone else in the house knocked into the server some hours ago and managed to make it lock up, hopefully it didn't kill the pages for too long. Otherwise, thanks to a horrible oversight I managed to leave an SMTP server running without it being configured properly, it isn't used because every time I set an MX record it ends up blacklisted almost instantly so I can only assume I pissed someone off last time I owned this domain. The configuration meant that the same e-mail was copied over and over, resulting in around 170GB of disk space being eaten and millions of tiny files existing. It has been deleting the unused mail files for almost three days now. Sucks. It's actually past halfway now though, only around 12 hours left.

Also, as it is rather cold I decided to break out the kerosene lamp because it also gives off heat. Otherwise nothing eventful happened today aside from ordering some equipment - just a splitter cable for the new capture card - and the council turning up about my new kitchen, which I won't be having installed now because it offers no advantage over my old one, plus they admit that it isn't as good quality as the current units if I repair them.





(vlcsnap-2016-11-04-01h36m24s738.jpg)



(vlcsnap-2016-11-04-01h33m08s207.jpg)



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Attachments vlcsnap-2016-11-04-01h36m24s738.jpg (169KB - 111 downloads)
Attachments vlcsnap-2016-11-04-01h33m08s207.jpg (250KB - 113 downloads)
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DXZeff
Posted 2016-11-18 6:59 PM (#85 - in reply to #8)
Subject: Re: High Treason's Blog



AMD K6-2

Posts: 310
100100100
Location: Hull, UK


Today was a busy day, still needs a few parts - notably, a hard drive, I think I have everything else lying around already. I will probably rebuild the K5 next, but some measurements indicate I might have a better case for the Pentium which will cause the cases to be rotated around somewhat.

Sorry I'm no writing a lot in this update, I have a headache. I have, however, filmed while working on this thing so I might post that footage here at a later date. I guess I don't mind revealing the secret system to the forum, it's quite easy to figure out the powers with which I am tampering from the image.
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Dinomite
Posted 2016-11-25 1:13 PM (#104 - in reply to #85)
Subject: Re: High Treason's Blog



Fujitsu 186

Posts: 8
0
DXZeff - 2016-11-18 6:59 PM



Today was a busy day, still needs a few parts - notably, a hard drive, I think I have everything else lying around already. I will probably rebuild the K5 next, but some measurements indicate I might have a better case for the Pentium which will cause the cases to be rotated around somewhat.

Sorry I'm no writing a lot in this update, I have a headache. I have, however, filmed while working on this thing so I might post that footage here at a later date. I guess I don't mind revealing the secret system to the forum, it's quite easy to figure out the powers with which I am tampering from the image.

Thats all really interesting! Shame the drive got full of repeated emails, thats annoying as fuck. Have you figured out how it happened yet or not? We gotta pay the culprit a visit...
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DXZeff
Posted 2016-12-01 4:50 AM (#120 - in reply to #8)
Subject: Re: High Treason's Blog



AMD K6-2

Posts: 310
100100100
Location: Hull, UK
The e-mail problem was completely my fault, I set the SMTP server up, tested it, got blacklisted instantly for sending myself mail and then broke the config when trying to get around it. I ended up walking away and forgot I'd set the re-send to infinite so I didn't have to keep going in Outlook. It was left that way for a substantial amount of time, in the order of months, and I wondered why performance was dropping and disk space was disappearing. The problem is solved.

That aside, I've pretty much gotten the machine in the photo above running, but there are some oddities with it. I wonder if anyone else thinks the same as me about it;
> Use of the Sound Card often crashes the system, but there is no conflict with LPT1. The only possible conflict would be the Ethernet card on Port 330, IRQ 10, but the MIDI is set to 330 on the SB16's jumpers (A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6).
> Sound Card crashes cause the display to stop updating sometimes, but programs can still be interacted with unseen with the keyboard or mouse.
> Enabling the network in Windows 3.11 (Basically, not starting with the /N switch) causes the system to seemingly lock up without fail when accessing the "Window" menu in Program Manager and will often cause crashes if I do anything which probes the sound card, even though the startup sound plays just fine. The configuration of things sometimes breaks when these crashes happen.
> Notably, the mouse and network still work when these crashes happen and, in fact, the screen often still updates if an application is running already and the mouse can interact so it's not a real crash... It is as if the KEYBOARD CONTROLLER locks up...
> De-turbo does not work in DOS, but it does lock the system up in Topbench or if accessed in Windows or PCCheck.
> The Software Interrupts have 0x60 in use by co-processor functions for some reason.
> The Floppy Disk drive won't read disks regardless of host adapter.
> The BIOS is very limited so I cannot fiddle with reserved interrupts and such, the board has no jumpers for this either.
> Interrupt 5, as used by the sound card, shows "Unused" in software probing it, but 10, as used by the NIC shows "Reserved" even when the NIC is unplugged. There is no PNP/PCI so that can't be using it...
> The De-Turbo still does nothing, but also won't crash the system when the NIC is unplugged, the system becomes more stable and the keyboard won't lock up, but the sound card still causes display to not update sometimes. The keyboard doesn't lock up now...
> IRQ 1 shows as "Unused" in software inspecting this, very odd as that should always be in use.

My thoughts are that some weird wiring has been done to the keyboard controller on this particular board and it is tied to either the wrong interrupt (but then, would it actually work? I suspect the OS is hard-coded to use IRQ 1 for that) or else it is somehow tied to more than one, likely IRQ 10. Perhaps the de-turbo, which seems to be linked to the Keyboard Controller in some machines, was meant to be software controlled or something. Either way, this proves that you should never assume you know everything about such matters and that not every machine will play by the same rules that most do. It seems something on this board occupies an extra interrupt and at least one port that no other board without onboard I/O I've ever seen does. Rather novel if you ask me and I'm sure a simple resource change on the peripheral cards, and a fresh install of Windows (This one has been through five systems now, starting with my original P60 on the Batman board!) will make the problems go away as otherwise it works really well and is generally stable. The problems are reproducible and not random at all, so they should be easy to track down and eliminate. That aside, here's a quick snapshot, almost a secret until now, the problems will be fixed, a script will be written and a video will come;



Actually, two, because I've filmed the whole process of getting it going, but I can't glue it together without a card reader as the camera doesn't present the files via USB directly (I had to export the clip above in real-time in a shitty application) so you will see the behind the scenes stuff for it here including building the machine and getting it going, leading up the the proper video on YouTube and if it comes out later than that, any afterthoughts or things that got cut. I want to upload the build log now, but as I said, I can't unless I want to put hours into it that I don't have, they're better spent recording for the second channel and working on a script while I wait for the new SD reader to get here. Hoperfully my tweak to the video BBS code works here instead of breaking the page and making me look dumb.

Feels good to have something to work on video-wise again, even if it is difficult to get things done in here. I can tell you one thing, the performance on this thing is not what I expected, not saying it is fast, not saying it is slow, just that overall it doesn't behave in the way I always thought it would. It's certainly a unique platform in its own right.
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