Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Whozits and whatsits aplenty

Greetings from my new computer!

It's put together, more or less. Assembled with blood, sweat, toil and tears.

Well, tears mostly.

Initial assembly happened a day or two ago. Case-- mobo -- cpu -- fan, plug in various thingies.

Shelved. Yesterday I put more parts together. Put the little backplate on (had to pull the motherboard to get it on there, and then push hard and screw in the mobo to put it in place.

Powered it on. There was a long beep, three short beeps, an unhappy sounding beep, and then the computer shut down.

I connected it to a monitor and tried again.

Apparently there were a few issues
-- cpu fan error
-- no keyboard detected (I knew that, I hadn't plugged on in yet)
-- usb unhappy (I don't remember the exact error message)

I disconnected the usb for the front of the pc from the mobo (I'm sorry, audience -- motherboard, the thing all the other components connect to)

No more 15-second shut-down, but warned of no OS. Understood, I need to connect a drive and install an OS. Probably ubuntu. I'm going to work hard at not putting any pirated software on here..

This brings me to today. Have time and resources to put in a cd rom (borrowed out of an old machine someone gave me, it would do until i could spend the meager amount of money for a SATA dvd burner.

Power on with keyboard, mouse, ubuntu install cd.. No luck. Kernel panic!

Screwed around with bios, pulled the video card, pulled one of the ramsticks, pulled the hard drive's connecting cable.. something was seriously unhappy.

I checked on the cpu fan error. I hadn't been too concerned about it because apparently there are going to be multiple places to plug in a cpu fan on a motherboard. If you don't put it on the right one, the BIOS (the OS of the motherboard itself) won't know the fan is working. It spun up, so I went into the BIOS option to ignore readings from the cpu fan.

I started testing with a windows install cd as well. BSOD every time the process got to "starting up windows" or something similar. It was consistent..

Grumble, growl, google, repeat. I finally tested unplugging the old cd rom drive and starting up, leaving the "unable to boot" message on the screen. 20 minutes later it was still there. I yanked out that cd drive, and removed the DVD-rom drive from my other PC and put it in.

Success! I was suddenly able to install. Everything works... well.

Outstanding problems --
1. CPU Fan Error -- The "right" connector on the motherboard, according to it's user guide, has four pins. The power plug fits three. That's why I put it on what is apparently intended for an extra chassis fan. I think I'll have to be calling some tech support folks, or googling it.

2. Front USB ports -- The plugs for these have been conveniently prebundled into a brick by the computer case's maker. However, the problem I'm having can apparently be caused when the case maker and the motherboard maker don't agree on what order they should be in. So I have to check the wires on the brick against the diagram in the user guide. A project for another day, I think

3. I was going to have the very clever arrangement of
Flatscreen monitor to "primary" slot on video card, old clunker monitor to secondary, through a KVM switch, which will also connect to other PC. That way I can switch back and forth on the old monitor between them, but have whatever screen is on the primary monitor stay. Somehow this arrangement upset my kvm switch, it started spastically jumping between them. Could be a coincidence, a byproduct of new connections it wasn't used to. Could even be that my new computer is supplying more power than the KVM switch would prefer. Either way, I may be going to a two-keyboard and mouse setup, or installing synergy.

4. I'm going to have to spend some time figuring out how to get games running on the linux build. Hopefully after christmas I'll have fallout3 and "the orange box", neither of which is likely to run on the old pc. Not sure if either will run happily in emulation on this box. I may have to dual-boot, or virtualize.

[edit] i now have a two-headed configuration with xinerama running (so I can throw an application from screen one to screen 2. the nvidia driver is working. couldn't load it with envy, had to use nvidia's own loader. Also it turns out I need to open a terminal session and run sudo nvidia-config, running it from the gui breaks because it doesn't have the right permissions. I tried editing the run command for nvidia-config by adding sudo, but that causes my computer to hang. Have to reboot as it sits waiting for a password on a terminal session which I can't access. Almost metaphysical, that is.

10 09 AM -- Restate my assumptions..

Sunday, November 16, 2008

not sick (or as sick) anymore...

have some thoughts, but they may wait a bit longer

sleepy now.

Isn't he a bit like you and me