Over the last few weeks I've been working on a couple projects along with trying to find a job.
First off, the main HD in my BSD box decided to misbehave, and wouldn't boot. This drive is one of the infamous IBM 'deathstar' drives, so I was rather worried that it was done for. But after the Hitachi drive fitness tests came back clean, I started to gain some hope. I was able to successfully mount every slice on the drive except for the root, so the kernel and /etc were toast, but thankfully home directories (the important stuff) was all safe, and I was able to copy everything to a different drive.
I tried to do a repair install on top of the existing one, but was still unable to boot the kernel. It was only after reformatting the drive did the new install 'stick' and I was able to boot. Then came the fun task of getting all of my services back up and running, and setting up a better backup routine. Next time that drive freaks out, I'll be prepared for it.
One thing is for certain though, the best way to learn about something, is to have it break (accidentally or intentionally) and then try to fix it. People wonder how I got so good at this stuff, well... It's because I've been
breakingfixing computers for years.
I also spent some time putting together a media box using unused components we had around the house. Here's the rundown:
- Dell XPS R450, Upgraded to a 1.4Ghz P3
- 8.4 GB Hard Drive
- Nvidia GeForce Ti200
- 802.11b wireless usb key (syntax usb-400)
- Creative IR Reciever
- Windows XP
- Media Portal Software
- uICE IR Control Software
It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. The Media Portal software is really quite nice, and was really easy to setup. Only complaints so far is the speed of the interface and the lack of video buffering. I'm not exactly using ancient hardware, but things could be a little snappier, or at the very least there should be an indicator so that I know something is going on. The lack of video buffering can be rather disruptive when streaming over a wireless connection. Any interference (like the microwave) and frames start dropping all over the place.
Using uICE I was able to take the remote that we already use for controlling the receiver and tv, and use its satellite/cable box mode for media box commands. I was impressed how easy uICE made it to capture the remote codes and then assign actions. The only problem I'm still struggling with is getting the network shares mapped properly. Windows tries to reattach mapped drives at login, BUT the wifi connection isn't ready at that point, and so the drives remain in a disconnected state. The media portal software, for whatever reason, doesn't trigger a reconnect attempt, and displays an empty folder. Totally not helpful.
So, what I'm trying to do for a solution is write a batch file that will continually try to ping the router, then when it gets a response, kicks out of the loop and then maps the drives. I've seen some scripts do similar things, so it's just going to take some effort to put them together to do what I want.
Oh boy, been so busy packing and moving, I haven't had time to talk about PAX.
This being my first time attending PAX I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I was greatly pleased by the whole event. I really enjoyed playing the Castle Crashers and Elite Beat Agents demos that were setup in the exhibition hall. Castle Crashers alone compells me to purchase a 360 when I have the funds to do so.
Minibosses were awesome, definetly worth sitting through MC
Frontsucksalot. I had a great time pictochatting with random people as we waited to get into the concert hall as well as during sucksalot. It was great fun.
Adam, Jono and I also ended up in the photocoverage of PAX by kotaku and engadget. That's us coloring, and you can see Adam and myself standing off to the right of the DS booth.
No doubt that I'll be attending next year's nerdfest.