Category Archives: Linux

The Mythbox just got hotted up

I’ve spent most of the afternoon revamping the mythbox here. I removed myth-backend from neo and installed it on architect, as well as mysql-server to back myth-backend. I’ve installed and configured LIRC and created a .lircrc for the Packard Bell remote and receiver I bought years ago on ebay.

I’ve installed splashy on the machine for a more pretty boot sequence and set X up to auto-spawn on ttyS7 for the mythtv user and automagically runs irxevent and mythfronted via .xinitrc.

For most people, they will read to hear and take away that my mythbox is now sexier. For the insane few that care to know what exactly I did, that’s after the jump. Continue reading The Mythbox just got hotted up

On upgrading Debian Sid

For as long as I’ve used Debian and Alsa, I’ve used to alsaconf to configure my soundcard(s). Late last week, I dist-upgrade’d my machine and moved from the 2.6.18 kernel to the 2.6.22 kernel which seemed to improve a number of performance issues with my E6420 and Asus P5B-E (though I haven’t tried recompiling the gigabit NIC driver under this kernel to check if those performance issues are resolved, so I’m still using a 3Com 10/100). However alsa broke for me with this upgrade.  After running alsaconf, I would get the following:

amixer: Mixer attach default error: No such device

I googled at first, and found nothing, so I gave up for a couple of days. Last night I decided it was time to fix shit, so I got back into troubleshooting mode.  Long story short, update-modules is now deprecated, alsaconf relies on update-modules, so stop using alsaconf.  Let udev load the drivers for your soundcards and it’ll be all good.

So far so good.

The new hardware has been stable in apoc so far. Almost 48 hours solid, which is a fairly big jump from rebooting every 12-16 hours.  It’s also a far cry from “proven stable” in my mind though.  I think I’m going to start running some tests on the hardware I pulled out though.  First round is going to be a couple passes of memtest.  If that clears then I guess I’ll be getting a pair of hard drives and trying to mimic the OS install.

From there I hope that the same behavior will present itself.  Then I can try the tweaks one by one, disable hyperthreading, disable usb, disable apic, etc.  Until we find out what solves the problem.  Then I can get this board back in apoc.  I’d really much prefer to have the full 3gb in the VM host.

I’ve got all the MD units renamed now, so instead of /dev/md0 consisting of /dev/sda5 and /dev/sdb5 those units are in/dev/md5 and so forth. Does it make a difference to anyone but me? No not really.  But I like having things consistent.

There may be life yet

Today I headed down to the colo after work.  I swapped out the mobo, proc, mem, and sata controller in apoc.  So far things seem to be a bit more stable.  However, I made a number of other tweaks that may have fixed the instability. On the new board, I disabled hyperthreading and onboard usb. Unfortunately this board doesn’t do dual-channel ddr and only has three slots instead of four for ram.  I would eventually like to get the original board back in apoc, but only after extensive testing at home.

Here’s to hoping we get a stable Xen box soon.

The hotswap cage is here!

I picked up the 5-in-3 Sata cage this morning at the suppliers, along with a 40pin to 44pin IDE adapter. The adapter is for a data recovery attempt on a laptop drive.

I’m going to test a few things with the sata cage tonight, hopefully. Preliminary tests last night hot-pluging a sata drive on a linux box at home on a promise controller didn’t look to promising though. Nothing showed up in the system logs, nothing seemed to recognize the new drive until a reboot. So even if the linux driver for the promise tx4 I have doesn’t support hot plug, having the cage will make swapping drives when they die much faster than the current process of pulling the 4U out of the rack, half-way disassembling it all, replacing the drive, and putting everything back.

It looks pretty too!

A bit of housecleaning

I’ve made a couple changes to the site after I upgraded to the new release of WordPress. The drag and drop arranging of the sidebar widgets is pretty neat and I was able to add in the dealy pretty painlessly. Just created a new text box and pasted in the embed code from

I’ve cleaned up at home a bit. Got a pipe rack in off ebay so I re-arranged the shelves here to fit that in. Pictures here.

I’ve had another hard drive failure downtown. It’s one of the recently replaced units too. Luckily I got it through our supplier at work so it’ll be painless to get a new unit in. I’m really debating getting a SATA 4in3 hotswap cage for that machine. I’ll think about it this weekend. If I do get it now, I can get them to order it in and I can install it when I swap the drive sometime this week.

It also looks like I’m preparing to revamp the entirety of my setup downtown. Time to move on from VHCS to the new fork. ISPCP Omega. I’ve installed a fresh copy of etch in VMware at home that I’m going to test it on. As soon as RC3 comes out with the migration script, I’ll be moving node1 over. Once that’s settled down, I think I’m going to move email hosting for my friends domains to be managed by VHCS instead of ISPMAN as it currently is. Once that’s done, I’ll be able to make a decision as to what I should do about my own email. I suppose I could even do it under VHCS too.

VOIP stuff has stalled for now. I had trixbox working under VMWare for a while, and I got it to tftp stuff to the CP7960 without issue, but there were latency issues and the voice prompts were getting garbled. Though I have to wonder how necessary it will be to run asterisk at home.

More later… back to work.

Mental Note

Leave a non-optimized kernel installed on your system. You never know when everything is going to die and your K7 kernels aren’t going to boot on the new 686 processor.

Got the raid fixed up last night. Need to get the Nvidia Video driver going again, as well as clean up all the cabling and such.

Workstation is dead again

Last night neo locked up hard, and after a reset the RAID5 didn’t come up cleanly. I was able to massage it back to life. Logged back in, took Carla home, and then crawled into bed.

Woke up this morning with a hard-locked machine again. Reset it. Issues with one of the disks in the raid and possibly the root disk as well. Didn’t have time to do much with it this morning, so I left it. I hate feeling homeless.