Author Topic: Fettled any computer stuff today?  (Read 232864 times)

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1375 on: 20 May, 2024, 11:01:25 pm »
The FB2700 is possibly the worst thermally managed product I own.

The top and bottom are solid sheets of aluminium, with no holes.
The only holes are on the sides.
There are no fans. ( That's fine!)

The original PSUs died a heat-death within a few years.
They released a hacked PSU with a heatsink, which also died.
Then, they released an all-new PSU which ran cooler, for the 2900. This was made available for the 2700 too, and is OK so far.

It's still fairly warm to touch.

But yes, the re-boot time is impressive.

But for me, a big plus was the ability to shut down a bunch of other machines because I could do it all in one small box.
I've shut down the Asterisk box, because I no longer need an analog line card.
Yes, the FB can't do all the fancy stuffs you can do in Asterisk, but it can do all I actually need.




Kim

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Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1376 on: 21 May, 2024, 12:37:36 am »
I solved most of those problems last year by replacing the all-purpose (and therefore nightmare to maintain) Linux server with a Proxmox host[1], so things like asterisk and exim/dovecot can happily run in a container or VM, with devious use of bindmounts to share the data disks.  I'm pretty much committed to running some sort of NAS, so there's hardware using power anyway, and it might as well run VMs for ease of server[2] maintenance and minimising our exposure to Windows[3].

I may investigate the firebrick's MQTT capabilities in the interests of redundancy, but have no pressing need to migrate away from asterisk for VOIP stuff (tbh, all it really does is look up CID in a database[4] and make whether-to-ring decisions based on who it is, record calls, and generate MQTT events to flash alerters when the phone rings).

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the responsiveness of the Firebrick web interface, which is lean and slick in the way that a networked appliance's UI ought to be, but so rarely is.  And of course the CQM graphs are lovely...

The Firebrick can't do everything that pfsense could, but it's nothing a couple more containers can't fix.


[1] On new hardware that wouldn't accept the analogue line card, neatly forcing the retirement of barakta's ageing Screenphone.  Anyone want a PCI TDM400 knock-off with assorted FXO/FXS cards?  No?  Didn't think so.
[2] In the software sense.
[3] Spinning up a VM to run Basecamp or the Horrid Scanner Software being preferable to dual-booting.
[4] For csv-file-and-grep values of 'database', because sometimes the simple solutions are the least hassle.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1377 on: 21 May, 2024, 09:26:40 am »
...on new hardware that wouldn't accept the analogue line card. [...] Anyone want a PCI TDM400 knock-off with assorted FXO/FXS cards?  No?  Didn't think so.

I had the same situation.
I was retiring an old Asterisk box, replacing it with new hardware.
The new box was in a slimline case, and I *assumed* the PCI slot would be on a right-angled riser. Wrong. It needed a half-heigh card.
So I ended up getting a new half-height card.

That machine is also now retired, and I put both cards on the Bay of Theives for basically the cost of postage. The Half-height card sold, but the full height genuine TDM400 is still here.[1]

[1]Anyone want a PCI TDM400 with an FXO card?  No?  Didn't think so.

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1378 on: 21 May, 2024, 05:38:06 pm »
Gained access to all of Stepdad's tech devices: main PC, 2 iPhones, 2 iPads. Not as hard as it might seem for 3 of the 5 as his passwords were TERRIBLE.

Also trying to work out why this PC is quite so slow, it's an i7 with benchmark of ~5000+, only 8GB RAM and that but it's CPU and RAM bound and fuck awful slow. I killed a bunch of startup shit which helped and tried to extricate Macafee off it but it refused to let me. I don't care enough as I'm mostly doing deathmin which is skimming his images for confidential data and deleting that so I can give his family/my mum a copy of his photos.

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1379 on: 22 May, 2024, 11:15:12 am »
I remember doing similar on my Dad's computer. Most of the passwords were $NAME_OF_CAT, except for one old package where the password wax $NAME_OF_PREVIOUS_CAT.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

CommuteTooFar

  • Inadequate Randonneur
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1380 on: 22 May, 2024, 07:15:07 pm »
I transferred my domain from 123-reg to fasthosts.

123-reg annoyed me by insisting that I buy a mailbox to redirect my email.  I think they have got worse and worse since their creation. Yet the price got a little by little more expensive for withdrawn functionality.  The last straw was when they transferred my domain they lost email redirections for my banking and  tax.  I think those were quite important.  I also suspect the email was now stored left-pondia.  I expect to spied upon by GCHQ but the NSA need try harder.



Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1381 on: 07 June, 2024, 04:49:46 pm »
PS/2 socket on back of Estate Office PC didn’t want to recognise the newly cleaned and shiny keyboard plugged into it.  Much faffage with adapters and USB hubs, and undignified rolling on the floor under the desk ensued.  Keyboard now taking to PC.  Trebles all round!
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Kim

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Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1382 on: 11 June, 2024, 12:02:41 am »
An eBay-bargain previously-abused Microsoft Surface Go 3 tablet.

So far I have:
- Invoked Windows Update repeatedly to ensure it's on the latest firmware.
- Worked out the particular form of voodoo required to make it boot from a USB flash drive.
- Discovered it will charge from USB-C as well as the funny Microsoft charger port, but only the right flavours of USB-C.
- Obliterated Windows and installed Debian.
- B0rked the bootloader.
- Un-b0rked the bootloader.
- Filled the Mk 1 dent in the top corner of the bezel with Sugru.
- Attacked the <K> key with  a) IPA[1]  b) Compressed 'air'  c) Spudger  until it was no longer stuck.  For obvious reasons I have a lot of 'k's in my usernames etc. and an intermittent <K> was likely to be type-2 fun.
- Spent an hour or two installing useful stuff and trying to find the right balance between screen space and readability.
- Disabled 'suspend', because it's a liability until I work out why it doesn't always resume properly.
- Got the cameras working in as much that I can make the output of the cameras appear in a window, but not to the point where V4L applications can use them.  I haven't done much reading, but it seems like video capture had been re-invented in the way that happens to Linux audio every few years?
- Let it run on battery for a several of hours to see how many electrons will fit.

Initial impressions are promising performance-wise (as is usual when you defenestrate something with less than shitloads of RAM).  I've yet to see whether the benefits of a proper OS outweigh the convenience of something tablet-oriented[2], but I figured it was worth a punt...


[1] Not BEER
[2] Screen rotation, on-screen keyboard etc. all seem a bit partially arsed under Linux.

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1383 on: 12 June, 2024, 03:57:18 pm »
T'other day:

My Raspberry Pi had started dropping its wireless connection. This had coincided*, I think, with me using a wireless connection for the tv instead of wired. The pi hdmi output goes into the tv.

I couldn't see why this was happening. Howsumdiver, after reading up and poking under the bonnet, I found the fixed IP address I use for the Pi wasn't actually recorded in the settings. A brief bit of peering myopically at the screen and up, down, left, right arrow action and it was.  Seems to be stable now.

*Whether it was the cause, I have no idea.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Kim

  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1384 on: 12 June, 2024, 10:53:14 pm »
On a related note, Mrs-barakta's-mum's cursed notjbex:

She has a Shiny! New! Samsung 'smart'[1] TV.  This requires an internet connection.  Dr Biggles' Local IT Company™ have installed a consumer-grade VDSL router at the front of the house, well out of Devil's Radio range of the telly.

Previously, I'd attempted to solve the lack of Devil's Radio coverage in the living room using a pair of those powerline extender things.  Which mostly worked, in a packet-lossy, Hearing People's Crap Internet™ kind of way.  This didn't stand the test of time, for unclear reasons that probably involve passwords.

At some point someone, who may be Local IT Company™ or Biggles Jr, attempted to solve the no-iPlayer-on-the-telly issue by installing a Shiny! New! set of powerline extender things.  This was discovered to be Not working, for reasons related to:

- The upstream half of the original pair of powerline extenders being left in place, warm, and apparently non-functional.  (Its downstream companion having disappeared without a trace.)
- The usual vagaries of ring mains and old houses.
- Powerline extenders being a work of Stan.

and (my favourite):

- The Shiny! New! Samsung Smart TV being an effective source of mains noise, such that it would immediately obliterate the powerline Ethernet when plugged in.

After a rummage in Ye Shedde that failed to deliver a large box of Cat5 and a BFO drillbit, I resorted to bumblefucking a solution where the powerline extender was relocated to an adjacent room that was on a different ring main, yet within Devil's Radio range of the Shiny! New! Samsung Smart TV.   And then instructing the TV to forego Perfectly Good Wired Ethernet and connect wirelessly.

Predictably, this lasted until this morning when the earthquake simulation apparatus washing machine reached the spin cycle.  Further trial and error traded off Devil's Radio performance for another socket with a more robust powerline connection, successfully facilitating the watching of Dr Oho while a sock vortex was open.

I give it about a week, or until the next power cut / thorough hoovering session, whichever happens first.


Meanwhile, I located the stopcock, fixed the device for injecting 4 year old slime mould air bubbles into the bathtub; discovered that the central heating has a perfectly good timer and thermostat[2]; checked that the installers hadn't failed to remove the transport bolts from the earthquake simulator; and - against my better judgement - made the outdoor socket on the wall of the garage[3] work.


[1] This appears to mean it can access Netflix, iPlayer et al. (for now), and that - in best MS Windows fashion - it takes a minute after switch-on to become properly responsive to the remote control buttons.
[2] An early digital one that's clever enough to be useful, but simple enough to have dedicated buttons for everything and therefore refreshingly easy to use.  Which has been set to 'continuous' for the last 14 years or so through a combination of Mrs Barakta's-Mum never noticing it was there, and Dr Biggles' determination to do his bit for climate change at every possible opportunity.
[3] Like many men of his generation, he was fond of permanently installed electrics fed via a bit of optimistically rated twin&earth from a 13A plug inna socket on the other side of some wall or large item of furniture (with any resulting socket contention resolved by liberal application of grelcos).  For added excitement, it's wire fuses all the way down, the house's singular RCD being screwed to a bit of studwork in the side-attic in order that electrons appropriated from the immersion heater supply be delivered to the device for injecting 4 year old slime mould air bubbles into the bathtub in an electrically safe manner.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1385 on: 12 June, 2024, 11:23:35 pm »
An eBay-bargain previously-abused Microsoft Surface Go 3 tablet.
- Discovered it will charge from USB-C as well as the funny Microsoft charger port, but only the right flavours of USB-C.

Hmm, we have a several of those in the extended family, and I didn't know that.
Just tried it with a 30w USB-C phone charger, and it indeed worked!

This is useful to know, because there are times when the MS charger is either borked or not to hand.

Kim

  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1386 on: 13 June, 2024, 12:34:26 am »
Experiments with a bog standard A-C cable, various power sources and a power meter suggest that when powered on, it will happily draw ~500mA @5V and achieve as little as you'd expect.  When powered off, it will draw about 2mA @5V and achieve nothing.  It seems to need the power delivery magic to accomplish anything worhtwhile.

Furthermore, it seems to charge faster from a sufficiently beefy USB-C PD source than it does from the standard 24W power supply.

For bonus points, it appears that USB-C to that special Surface charging connector cables are a thing.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1387 on: 13 June, 2024, 09:51:59 am »
The MS-supplied chargers appear to be of varying sizes, according to the size of the tablet.
We have one of the bigger ones here, and the charger claims to be 127W.

The thing appears to charge from a regular 30W PD USB-C charger, but I don't know if Windows tells you the charge rate anywhere.
I also have a new multi-port USB-C charger, which claims 100W each on two of the USB-C ports, and 30W on the other two.
(It also has as a couple of regular USB-A ports which don't seem to support the Qualcom QuickCharge 2 or 3 like wot my old multi-port USB charged did, so does not support fast charging on my old Samsung phone.)

I've only just got my first USB-C device yesterday - a Pixel 8a, so I'm a bit new to it.

Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1388 on: 13 June, 2024, 10:26:00 am »
It's not unusual for USB-C having laptops to accept charge via them. And sometimes down to low voltages/wattages.

I've successfully run my M1 MacBook Pro for a couple of weeks on just an 18W PD phone charger. It will even sip from a 5V A-to-C cable.

Kim

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    • Fediverse
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1389 on: 13 June, 2024, 06:53:29 pm »
It's all rather good when it works...

Kim

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Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1390 on: 13 June, 2024, 09:54:44 pm »
On a related note, Mrs-barakta's-mum's cursed notjbex:

Follow-up to the above, having been given the go-ahead, I have just ordered some of A&A's finest VDSL, a several of Yealink SIP DECT phones, miscellaneous RJ45 bits and pieces, and a Technicolor(sic) WiFi extender that claims to mesh with the  AAISP-issue DGA0122 router.  And booked a car to visit in a couple of weeks time so that we may spend the day affixing anbaric string to the various crevices of Wol Towers, in the interests of Doing It Properly™.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1391 on: 13 June, 2024, 10:00:17 pm »
On a related note, Mrs-barakta's-mum's cursed notjbex:

Follow-up to the above, having been given the go-ahead, I have just ordered some of A&A's finest VDSL, a several of Yealink SIP DECT phones, miscellaneous RJ45 bits and pieces, and a Technicolor(sic) WiFi extender that claims to mesh with the  AAISP-issue DGA0122 router.  And booked a car to visit in a couple of weeks time so that we may spend the day affixing anbaric string to the various crevices of Wol Towers, in the interests of Doing It Properly™.

Commiserations.

As you are wading into old-people support, I'm back-pedalling out of it as fast as I can. Which is not fast enough.

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1392 on: 13 June, 2024, 10:06:16 pm »
When I was doing old people support for my Dad, I sent him a link to that xkcd support flowchart.  You know. The one down there.



He dutifully printed it out and stuck it near his screen.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Kim

  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1393 on: 13 June, 2024, 10:09:00 pm »
On a related note, Mrs-barakta's-mum's cursed notjbex:

Follow-up to the above, having been given the go-ahead, I have just ordered some of A&A's finest VDSL, a several of Yealink SIP DECT phones, miscellaneous RJ45 bits and pieces, and a Technicolor(sic) WiFi extender that claims to mesh with the  AAISP-issue DGA0122 router.  And booked a car to visit in a couple of weeks time so that we may spend the day affixing anbaric string to the various crevices of Wol Towers, in the interests of Doing It Properly™.

Commiserations.

As you are wading into old-people support, I'm back-pedalling out of it as fast as I can. Which is not fast enough.

We played this game back when I was a PSO, when recently-divorced Mrs-Barakta's-Mum was left high and dry with a house full of things that had been neglected and No Money.  Which meant dealing with things like lodgers, radiator valves and Tiscali.

At least this time round she's filthy rich in the traditional Boomer manner, so I can put my foot down and insist on not being cheap about goods and services I have to support.  Also, in the intervening years iThings have been invented, so we don't have to waste as much time stripping Norton and a dozen Pedobear IE toolbars from assorted Windows boxen every time we visit.

Also, He Who Knows Better has just died, so won't be vetoing sensible decisions.

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
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    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1394 on: 14 June, 2024, 12:37:56 am »
I once spent an entire Christmas rebuilding Lt. Col. Larrington (retd.)’s laptop after he had been gotted by Mr Simon Watson of the Technical Department of Windows and thereafter explained as tactfully as I could that should this recur I would happily set up a brand-new machine but no power on earth was going to make me reinstall Windows on his crummy Toshiba ever again instead of doing useful tasks like drinking his whisky.

His eyesight has now deteriorated to the point where the only interaction with SCIENCE left is shouting at Alexa, which is a good deal less inclined to go Horribly Wrong.  Also, the neighbours have one, and teenage children.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1395 on: 14 June, 2024, 02:24:18 pm »
Poked under the bonnets of the recently-cleaned keyboards until various shonky keys started behaving themselves again.  Swapped out the USB hub wot had the Estate Office PC's keyboard and mouse plugged into it for the newly rediscovered one, which has longer cables so can sit on the desk instead of being filled with carpet fluff and hair on the floor.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1396 on: 15 June, 2024, 11:53:11 am »
... where the only interaction with SCIENCE left is shouting at Alexa, which is a good deal less inclined to go Horribly Wrong ...

Well, it will go wrong, but that's just a function of it being Alexa, not because of some ludicrously well hidden setting, that someone managed to change anyway.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1397 on: 15 June, 2024, 12:07:41 pm »
I got a brand new Asus CX34 Chromebook. It's surprisingly good for £260, with 8GB or RAM, 256GB of UFS storage, and an i3-1215U processor, which is faster than most other laptops I've ever owned!

It's literally a weird mix of using a phone and Linux, as ChromeOS lets me install both Android apps off of the Google Store, and Linux programs using apt-get. Uber-weirdly I've now got both the Android and Linux VLC installed, luckily with slightly different icons, so I can determine which one I've just clicked on!

There are lots of little gotchas and annoyances to learn, such as the keyboard having no delete key, and Caps Lock (which was always pretty pointless) being replaced by almost the equivalent of the Windows key.

Whilst I'm used to swapping between different software environments, this is just close enough to things like Windows and MacOS, that it's annoying when you find something that behaves differently for no good reason, or is just impossible, like adjusting the time before the laptop thinks it's idle. When watching a film on VLC, after a few minutes it dims the screen, and apparently the best you can do is choose between always go to sleep or never go to sleep. Adjusting the time before that happens isn't an option ... wtf? Every other PC (or phone) in existence lets you adjust that sort of setting.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Kim

  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1398 on: 19 June, 2024, 01:10:48 pm »
Configured a several of Yealink SIP DECT phones, because boomers.  Or at least, they're speaking to my asterisk server, in lieu of the number being ported and the A&A SIP account going live.

They're actually quite nice, in a why-would-anyone-want-a-DECT-phone kind of way.

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: Fettled any computer stuff today?
« Reply #1399 on: 19 June, 2024, 06:06:00 pm »
One of mine is very particular about its location on the charging stand-thingy and thus tends to batten its flattery while you’re not looking.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime