Jan 252015

When I got a new desktop computer I ran into issues with DisplayPort. My screens worked just fine (even in UHD, albeit at only 30Hz.) with the DVI cables, but when I’d hook them up with DisplayPort cables, I’d get a ‘No signal’. For some reason this only occurred with 3rd party DP-cables. The cable which came with the screen did work, but was too short for my needs.

The 1st set of 3rd party cables I returned because I thought they were defective. As replacement I ordered 2 different DP-cables. When both of those didn’t work for me either, I resorted to Google for answers. And that’s how I found the solution: Unplug your screens for a minute from the mains! (Merely turning them off/on won’t do the trick. Apparently there one/more capacitor(s) need to fully discharge.

Since I don’t want to go through the hassle of physically unplugging my screens between use, I enabled the EcoControl feature on the UPS to which the PC is connected. As soon as it notices the PC (master) is switched off, it cuts the electricity to the screens (slaves).

After I did this I haven’t had any problems any more with my displays.

No guarantee this will work for you if you experience ‘no signal’, but it’s worth a try 😎

My hardware:

PCDell Alienware Area-51 R2
displayAOC U2868PQU
UPSEaton Ellipse ECO 1200 DIN

Dec 092014

Earlier today the Swedish Police has taken down The Pirate Bay (TPB) once again. TPB has been taken down before, but usually rises like a phoenix from the ashes in little or no time. If you really can’t wait for that, here are some alternative options:

  • EZTV – a TV torrent distribution group founded in May 2005 as a response to the forced disappearance of TVTorrents.tv and btefnet via lawsuit. The group was founded by a loose coalition of volunteers and holds no formal ties to its predecessors.
  • KickassTorrents (KAT) – founded in 2008, provides torrent files and magnet links to facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing using the BitTorrent protocol. As of November 2014, it was the most visited torrent directory in the world, according to the site’s Alexa ranking
  • Torrentz – a Finland-based meta-search engine for BitTorrent that is run by an individual known as Flippy. It indexes torrents from various major torrent websites and offers compilations of various trackers per torrent that are not necessarily present in the default .torrent file, so that when a tracker is down, other trackers can do the work.
  • TorrentUs – a search engine for files from BitTorrent network. It indexes more than 20 million torrents from various international sources like The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, EZTV and Torrentproject including the BitTorrent DHT Bittorrent network using RSS or database dump technology.
  • The Pirate Bay search by Isohunt – Isohunt, a website providing access to mostly pirated material, has cloned the database of The Pirate Bay. The cloned site is online and fully functioning.
  • Wikipedia – There’s a good comparison of the various BitTorrent sites there.
  • Legitimate stores. Let’s face it: most of the material available through The Pirate Bay is available at your local store, or are the big online stores such as Amazon. They even have a book about the Pirate Bay 😉

[More sites to follow. Suggestions are welcome. ]

UPDATE – 10 DEC: TPB is still down, and one of its founders, Peter Sunde, has stated that it should down. He explains why in his blog post.
UPDATE 2 – 15 JAN: Rumors (and a large countdown clock on The Pirate Bay) suggest the TPB will be resurrected on February 1st, 2015.
UPDATE 3 – 1 FEB: The Pirate Bay is indeed resurrected!

Oct 272014

Apparently even multinational insurance companies forget to pay their bills every now and then. At least that’s what I suspect happened to If SkadeförsĂ€kring AB.

The following domains no longer have any DNS records all of a sudden:

  • if.no – If Forsikring AS (Norway)
  • if.dk – If Skadeforsikring (Denmark)
  • if.fi – If Vahinkovakuutusyhtiö Oy (Finland)
  • if.se – If SkadeförsĂ€kring AB (Sweden)

Result: If web sites down in 4 countries, and If not reachable on email either.
(You can still get a hold of them via Facebook though)

update 09:40: Everyone now gets redirected to http://maintenance.if.eu/web/maintenance.htm.
‘IfÂŽs home page is currently unavailable due to technical maintenance’.
‘Technical maintenance’… Is that a euphemism for ‘we’re recovering from a major cockup’? 😉

Sep 162014

Now that the hardware has been decided upon and ordered, it’s time to decide on OS & management tools.
My current box runs Ubuntu, and I use virt-manager to create & manage the VM’s. The obvious disadvantage of virt-manager is that it’s an GUI application which runs on the server itself. To access it I either need to plug a mouse & keyboard into the host, or use some type of remote administration software (I currently use NoMachine) to access the GUI.
I want something better on the new box, so one of my requirements is that I can manage the VM’s via a web interface. My options are legion (in alphabetical order):

While some of these are merely lightweight shells on top of KVM/libvirt, others are extensive, modular frameworks intended to be deployed on many-server setups.

Because all I need is something small & light, OpenNebula, CloudStack & OpenStack are not for me. Eucalyptus & OpenNode are ‘maybe’s’ for the moment.
That leaves WebVirtMgr & Kimchi, both of which are pretty lightweight.
I’ve decided to go for WebVirtMgr initially. It works pretty good, although it’s clearly a work in progress.

Now that I don’t need any GUI on the box itself, I’ll settle for Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS (Trusty Tahr) as OS.

[more to come]

Sep 142014

For at least 5 years (I honestly don’t recall when I put the box together…) there’s a been an Antec Mini P180 purring under my desk. This machine has been running various flavors & versions of Linux, mainly performing as KVM host.
This box contains 4 hard drives, and a Intel Q9400S CPU. (For those who don’t recall: the ‘S’ suffix means lower powered (65W TDP instead of 95W TDP).

For a while I’ve been considering replacing this unit. The replacement has to be equally quiet, good for at least 5 years to come, and easy expandable. And… dual CPU, if possible.
There are not many PC producers who build dual CPU workstations. There’s the Dell Precision Tower 7810, the HP Z820 and… Supermicro.

Supermicro SYS-7048A-T
Supermicro X10DAi
And Supermicro is where I ended up. I was first eyeballing the 7047A-T, but was then informed about the Supermicro 7048A-T which has just been released.

After some debating with myself I decided on the following specs:

 nameamountprod. nr.
CPUIntelÂź XeonÂź Processor E5-2620 v32CM8064401831400
RAMSamsung 8GB DDR4 2133MHz 1Gx4 ECC/Reg 1,2V8M393A1G40DB0-CPB
StorageIntel SSD DC S3500 - 80GB 2.5" MLC SATA 6Gb/s 7.0mm2SSDSC2BB080G4
VideoSapphire Radeon HD 5450 1GB DDR3
PCI-Express 2.0, DVI-I, HDMI, VGA, Lite-Retail, w/ LP bracket

I’ll be slapping some of my existing hard drives in there, but I haven’t decided yet on how many or in what configuration so the final storage space is pending.
This new system will have 4x the amount of RAM of my previous system and it will be at least twice as fast (due to it being a 2 CPU system).

The order has been placed with the good people at Nextron, and they expect to ship it on September 19th.

The only thing I’m not 100% sure of yet is how quiet it is… All Supermicro says is: ‘Whisper Quiet Workstation’. Does anyone know how loud the Supermicro employees whisper? 😎

[more to come]

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