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Manual Life Wringer Engaged...

August 5, 2008 11:10 AM

Must be the season for hard drive failures. I got a call from my mother this morning that her system wouldn’t boot. The master boot record is probably just bunged but since she’s 5+ hours away I can’t just “stop by” and fix it. So she’s going to send it back when my one aunt goes up there to visit. She’s still running Windows 98SE so what I’m going to do is pick up an inexpensive Dell system with an XP COA and reload CDs and just transfer her data when I get her existing machine. I also told her to send the wireless router along with the machine so I can re-configure it and the wireless camera as well. That way all she’ll have to do is load her printer drivers and be up and running.

It rained like gangbusters yesterday so likely I won’t have to turn on the hose when I get home. The remaining cucumbers will likely be ripe by now as well. I need to move some of the watermelon vines off the top of the cucumber vines because they’re overgrowing them.

I have watermelons that are a little smaller than a softball so I’m going to have to cut those Lexan boxes even if it means using the jigsaw instead of a scroll saw.

There’s probably more beans to harvest as well.

I think I’ll start shuffling things in the garage tonight to tire myself out. I slept from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. yesterday but then couldn’t fall back asleep. But that’s better than the other day so hopefully it’ll shift a little more and I’ll get the cycle back to my routine in a couple of weeks or so.

Got the USB KVM working in the garage last night. For those of you looking for a USB KVM the Aten 4-port CS-64U model ( http://shorterlink.org/4335 ) is okay but damn picky about the keyboard it wants connected to it. For instance it like the simple PC style iRoc keyboard but hates the Kensington wireless or any actual Macintosh keyboard. It’s supposedly Mac compatible and it will switch between all of the systems attached to it properly using the iRoc but won’t switch away from the Mac using any other keyboard. It might be a configuration issue but I don’t have time to mess with it. The iRoc keyboard works well enough so I’m going to run with that for the time being.

Since I know where the PCI USB card that I was planning to put in the Ultra 10 system is currently located I’ll likely install that next. It’s got Solaris 10 on it already and is already set for a compatible resolution so it should be a no-brainer except for ethernet wiring and that’s easy.

I think until I have the other workbench built I’m going to leave the fourth KVM connection open and unplugged. That will give me a quick diagnostic hookup for other systems. Eventually though either the B&W G3 or the SGI O2 will be plugged into that. Likely the O2 though there’s something to be said for taking the G4 and making it a separate non-KVM system connected to the DVI port on the monitor and then use the Kensington wireless desktop and separate speakers for it. That would free up another KVM port and allow me to separately play or extract video on the second port of the monitor without interrupting any of the sound. I’ll have to think about that...

I also have to think about getting the lawn tractor into the garage so I can swap in the new motor but I don’t want to do that until certain things are settled. I think I’m going to be doing some serious shuffling of stuff out there this week. The faster I get the stuff out there organized and the other workbench built the faster I can empty the third bedroom and my wife can have her office.

This will also help the library because any books pertaining to computers will move out to the garage and that will free up space in the library for the rest of the books that are currently in boxes. I might even *gasp!* get rid of some computer books. Not many though. ;-)

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 6th, 2008 07:28 am (UTC)
I have a Raritan USB KVM switch, currently allowing two computers to share one keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers/headphones, and mic. I especially like the fact that it switches the audio along with everything else. I also like the fact that it's got four USB ports that I can plug all sorts of other things into, such as a flash drive or my digital camera.

The one problem I have with it is that I can't get into "setup" mode on either computer - you have to hit a particular key during the bootup sequence, and the keyboard isn't detected until the O/S, with USB support, comes up. If I ever need to boot into setup, I'll have to disconnect the KVM and plug a keyboard directly into whichever machine needs it.
Aug. 6th, 2008 09:57 am (UTC)
That's a pretty common problem using a KVM. I'm going to have that problem when I hook up the Sun machine because it doesn't recognize USB until Solaris is up and running.

Point in fact I'll have to stick a keyboard on it and lay it on top or it will come up in "headless" mode and not activate the graphics card.

Other than being stuck to one particular keyboard the Aten model KVM (CS-64U - my mistake - http://shorterlink.org/4335 ) isn't too bad. It's got two USB on the front of it and also switches audio as well.
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
I'm just afraid that if I connect a standard keyboard to the keyboard port on the computer, and use the USB KVM (which emulates a USB keyboard, of course), the machine will get hopelessly confused about which one to recognize.
Aug. 6th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
That usually doesn't happen. Keyboards can almost always be used concurrently without too much issue. Mice...not so much...
Aug. 6th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'll have to dig up a standard keyboard and try that...
Aug. 7th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
Dump the library?
Dump the vax is more like it. How much power are you already burning up with SCSI II drives anyway? Dump the old stuff and stick with more efficient hardware, even if its one of those toys produced by Apple.
Aug. 7th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
Re: Dump the library?
NO Guinness for you!

In all seriousness I'm not running any of that heavy hardware and when I install it it will only be running on an as-played-with basis.

I think my entire "rack" costs about 250W total to run. And my electric bill isn't that bad right now anyway.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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