A lack of everything

It’s been quite some time… (n’yah, yet again another post that starts with this lame excuse) …but I haven’t actually found the right amount of enthusiasm to write. And last but not least, nothing worth writing about happened.

For the those of you interested in my “sports career” I can tell you, that it is currently not existing. I’m pushing the gym appointment in my schedule from one week to another and it’s frustrating. On the one hand I feel the lust and passion to get to gym again, but on the other side I’m just sick and tired of this stuff. Right now, there’s a massive need to actually do some sports because I – once again – gained a lot of weight and my nutrition in the recent has been more than just wrong. According to my BMI and a look in the mirror I’m obese.

But like I said, it’s some sort of a battle of conscience in my head and I wonder who’s going to win. My next appointment for gym is set for tomorrow afternoon and I’ll tell you in the near future if I made it or dumped it.

Yet another hobby of mine that got a little abandoned is the photography. But that’s basically a problem with everything that I currently have no real drive or creative inspiration to go out and take pictures. Right now it’s just the comic books that give a little bit of satisfaction and enthusiasm.

Well, that’s not the real truth. I’ve bought a new notebook a couple of days ago. Actually it’s a refurbished one – an IBM ThinkPad with Core 2 Duo processor. I’ve added a few more gigs of RAM that I had around and replaced the HDD with a faster model by Western Digital and this baby runs like hell with a Linux Mint installation on it. That’s basically why I bought this notebook, because I felt a little “disconnected” with Linux and everything what’s going on in the scene.

I’ve rented this vServer for TeamSpeak several other net related things, but the maintenance is not that intense, that I’ve to work with Linux on a daily basis. And in my current job I do more IT management that actual IT administration, but hopefully this will change during the next two years.

So as you can see, there isn’t anything special going on at the moment. I’m having this serious issues with my sports activities – or the lack of it. And my creative inspiration is still gone and missing.

Boredom leading to chicken

Out of boredom I rented a small virtual server to satisfy my technical affinities and needs. Right now it just holds a TeamSpeak 3 server and a very puristic web server. The main goal is some gaming stuff and some technical experiments. It runs on the domain negative-gaming.net

The domain negative-gaming.com is currently under maintenance and will probably host some of the content that you can find here. I’m thinking about outsourcing all the game related content to this website and leave this site here for other tech stuff and trivial, daily life thingys. Actually, I’m not sure what to do. Maybe I’ll do something completely different.

Another site that is currently under maintenance is ChickenDay.net

It launches on November 9 at 01:00am CET and the content of this site is classified for public. Friends of mine already know what this site is about, but like I said – it’s CLASSIFIED!!!

They have issues too though

X-Mas is over and I’m nearly finished with the changed to my PCs where I once again meet a point where I get confronted with a disturbing problem on my gaming system. It does not start everytime I want it to start. When I go by and move the waterpump a little bit the system goes and starts. Another time it’s just a touch somewhere in the case or near the motherboard. I’m not sure till now what the exact problem is but it’s not the power supply unit, it works perfectly. There’s some kind of interference and I don’t know where it is. Hopefully it’s nothing serious so that I don’t have to do a major replacement to the system which will cost me around 650EUR right now.

Besides all this, I’m on the noise hunt and I try to eliminate every disturbing noise that comes from any PC I own. I just silenced one PC with a noise absorber kit by Be Quiet! and it will be quieter if the fans would work correctly or let us say, if they were not so bloody dirty. Well, I freed them off the dust but I guess it was a bit too late and now I have to replace them. It’s very hard these days to get 80mm fans with red LEDs that are declared silent cause everyone switched to 120mm or bigger. The backplane in my gaming system will be replaced by a much quieter one too because I wasn’t able to completely disable the fan without getting an alarm noise and I didn’t wanted to rip the speaker off because of the “you’ll never know”-factor. Maybe it’s the backplane that causes the starting issue (well, NO!!!).

The HDD cases in my media center (which is capable for gaming too right now) are getting completely removed to and will be simply replaced by some uncoupling units. Two hits with one strike, I get rid of the 40mm fans and the hard drives are getting a little bit more “softened” in the case. By the way, the media center is the best working system at the moment without any issues. Like I said, the gaming PC has starting problems and the inter PC seems unstable to me, which leads me to final point.

I am going to say goodbye to Fedora and Linux on this system because I switch back to Windows. It still remains a system for internet but also for audio production and some picture editing. It comes in pretty handy because two monitors are plugged to this system and these two things are handled pretty good if you have a second monitor. It’s a kind of sad that I’ll soon will have no Linux machine but unfortunately is Linux not able to fulfill my needs. Combined with the stability problems it’s the best choice to get back to Windows.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I have so much hardware lying around that a fourth system is coming up which will be a pure dedicated gameserver and guess what, it’s going to be a Linux system. Till now do I not have any specific plans on that but it will come and hopefully will it come together with a LAN in spring 2011.

For those of you who expect to read some more things about my photography hobby can I tell, that there’s pretty soon something new to say about it because I ordered some fine new stuff for my camera. But more about these things will be here to read later in another post. I’m sorry for posting so much about my PCs and hardware and stuff these days but it’s a cold and extremely snowy winter here in Germany and this is like the perfect time for me to get a few jobs done in these cases.

Fitting and cooling problems

So here’s the thing, as you may know, I just got a new graphics card for my gaming system and wanted to use the old one in my media center so that I’ll be to play some of the newer games in full HD. Yes, full HD, which means 1080p at sixty frames per second. What happened is very simple, after replacing the old watercooling block with a triple fan solution the good old Geforce 260GTX just didn’t fit in the media center. It too long on the one side and it’s even too high on the other side. Drive cables are blocking the card and the HDD cage is a bit too near to the end of the card. Well, I was thinking about a solution and I’ve found several ones but none totally satisfying. I wanted to gift the card to someone (NO FUCKING WAY!!!). I wanted to just leave here systemless (NO BLOODY FUCKING WAY!!!). I wanted to replace the fan system with a smaller one or the stock cooler (FOR FUCK’S SAKE???).

Nvidia Keyvisual Geforce GTX

Now, here’s the deal. The Geforce 260GTX will be the new card in my Linux system. The Linux system will get some fine changes too though. The media center gets a brand new card, which will be a Gainward Geforce 460 GTX Golden Sample (no more stottering in the jungle stage of SFIV ^^). One HDD cage has to leave the Linux system case and the HDDs will wander to a new one (a two 5.25″ slot solution for three HDDs) so that there’s plenty of room for the oversized, mega huge Geforce 260GTX. One thing I am going to catch now is to do a complete silence modding to the case. I’ve just ordered a silencer kit for the Chieftec CS601 which will hopefully decreases the noise and the “internet experience” will become much quieter than it is now. I also hope that the temperature will not increase to drastically.

Just a side note, today’s the day where I am going to integrate my new Geforce 570GTX into the watercooling circuit of the gaming system. I’m pretty excited about the temperatures the card will have to offer after modding. Another thing, do I need to buy me a new radiator or is the old one still capable to handle the heat?

Stabilization #1

I’ve made some minor changes to my Fedora system to get back to a stable system as it was before. I unplugged my SoundBlaster Live cards off the system to get a better look into debugging by just using one soundcard. After taking the card off, the system still crashes while listening to music or even usage of a soundcard. After the first crash with just using one single soundcard I made some changes to the config files of Pulse and afterwards the system seemed to be stable. I ran the system for like 45 minutes with music and without crashing. Before all these changes, the system crashed after nearly ten minutes. When I find that my system is stable (which will be after a few hours of uptime) I’ll post my config changes right here.

Mission 14 accomplished

Because I don’t like old systems and can’t stand it if something does not work correctly or how it should be, I wasted nearly my whole weekend in Fedora 13 and 14. The Pulse server in Fedora 13 was buggy in a way, I don’t know why or what exactly changed, my Soundblaster cards gave me nothing than a stupid crackling sound. Without pulse and alsa only the sound worked correct but I was only able to set it all up in stereo only, which makes no sense on a 5.1 system. Another thing that was very annoying, that I was not able to do a clean install of Fedora 14, this issue got fixed after I rearranged the partition table of the system harddisk drive. Finally I was able to do the clean install and I don’t why and how but pulse was working correctly and I was even able to setup the whole thing to work in a 5.1 mode, where Fedora 13 gave me the crackling sound. That was in the night from Sunday to Monday and after a few hours of working with Fedora 14, I can say that the system itself is nothing brand new. It offers some nice little features like an updated KDE version and a new system settings page, but overall this is the most boring update since I got into the Fedora thing a few years ago. Another thing that I noticed is, that this version of Fedora is the most unstable version by now, it mainly crashes while using yum or in my case yumex.

Cause 13 is my lucky number

This week was the release of Fedora Release Version 14 and I was very excited about this release, because due to my hardware change between my media center and my internet PC I had several minor bugs when it comes to hardware detection. Actually, sound wasn’t working anymore and the speakers gave nothing else than a crackling noise right after logging in. So, I downloaded Fedora 14, burnt it, installed it and first of the new version had some problems with the “old” KDE environment variables (I did a fresh install by keeping my home directory). After deleting the settings and relogging everything worked fine. I went to install drivers for my graphic card and it turns out that this was bold bad choice, because KDE wasn’t working anymore.

I downloaded the full DVD image of Fedora 14 and tried to a fresh install with that one, but I wasn’t able either to do the partitioning because the system hung on harddrive detection. Yes, fail #2 and my patience fell below zero. I decided to install Fedora 13 once again and give an upgrade a try which finally seemed to work. Well, ya, it actually worked until I installed the graphic drivers once again. I got some stupid livna failure notices during booting and was not able to activate 3D effects either. Finally I declined to install the drivers offered by RPMFusion and install the ones directly from Nvidia and this driver version worked, BUT a wasn’t able to activate 3D desktop effects either. I’ve found a workaround to finally get them working, but I wasn’t very happy with this solution so I went back to Fedora 13 again, did my standard setup procedure and everything, except the sound issue, is fine. By now I am not very sure what the actual problem is, but I am sure I can fix this. Pulse is always a struggle especially when you install a Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi card and you finally want to have it in company with a SoundBlaster Audigy 2ZS. The ZS model is working fine but the X-Fi is a pain in the ass.

Closet cleaned

Last weekend stood under the flag of rearrangement and getting rid of some useless things from the past. Out of a clear blue sky I decided to sort out some of my old IT books to get some space to place the old books of my grandfather inside my bookcase. Seriously, I don’t need a book about Novell DOS 6.2 or MS DOS anymore and if I’ll feel that urgent need to find some information about this ancient operating systems I would find much more knowledge bases on the net than in a single book. And due to fact that I stopped coding in 2005 I thought that there’s no more need for books like C++ and shit like that. I finally made it in nearly five hours of pure bookcase management to find a worthy place for every book. My beloved game strategy guides are now on eye height and everything else is well sorted and easy to find.

Secondly did I finally made it to exchange the mainboards of my internet PC with the one built in in my media center PC. I did this because the board of my internet PC offers two 16x PCIx slots and I wanted to use one graphic card as a dedicated PhysX accelerator like I do in my gaming system (GF260+GF9800GT). The exchange went better than expected, the systems are still working, except for some pulse server bugs on Fedora. The bug in Fedora is not a major one because Fedora 14 is going to be released this week and I don’t want to do an upgrade, I feel like re-installing the system by keeping the home folder, like I did several times in the past. The whole setup procedure runs pretty fast, because all that is left to do after the core setup routine is to install the missing packages, every application is already configured in my home folder.

Unfortunately do I have to run my Linux internet system with a crappy GeForce 8600GT because this graphic card knows a nothing about PhysX so I had to place my GF9800GT in my media center for a while till it is getting replaced by a new PhysX dedicated card. I’ll also replace the cpu fan of my media center because the stock one sold by AMD is a kind of cheap and noisy and is going to be replaced by an Arctic Cooling Xtreme Freezer Rev.2. Hopefully the noise will disappear after that and the AMD Phenom II X4 965 will feel comfortable without making too much noise. Anyhow, the whole media center is going to be much quieter than it is now.

Back to the core

Because of various problems with my Fedora machine I finally decided to give another distribution a chance and my first two targets were Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Linux Mint wasn’t an option because of the lack of an alternate installer routine that allows me to create and manage software RAIDs and LVM. I always use to run my /home on a mirrored RAID system. What was left was the latest Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with alternate installer routine. Well, actually I chosed ┬áKubuntu instead of the Gnome variant and, well… yes, it’s working and there’s a lot of one-click routines and the system itself does a lot more “automated” than Fedora does BUT it left an unfinished fell on me. A lot of options in customization in KDE were missing even though I post-installed a lot of KDE stuff and even the praised Gnome desktop looks like a ghost town to me.

Another thing I can’t get comfortable with was the sudo feature and curiously the apt tool. I was using Debian a few years ago as a “hacking machine” and I loved apt because before that I was only using SuSE and never felt homish with yast and RPMs and stuff. Though Fedora is using RPMs as well and the yum package manager isn’t mostly something entirely different than apt, zypper, yast and merge, the yum system is for me personally the best. Maybe it’s only because I finally got used to it after nearly one year and a half of using Fedora. Anyhow, Kubuntu was easy to setup but I personally missed some customization and some, you know, nerdiness in the system. What finally happens, I took a closer look on my hardware settings, did some error detection, fixed that and reinstalled my Fedora again. The only thing that’s left to do is to fix the PulseAudio vs. Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi configuration, which was handled perfectly well under (K)Ubuntu, but I fixed this once and I can surely do this twice.

Reporting for duty

Nothing really special happened within the last few days except some nerdy things. The holy equipment for my paladin in WoW is nearly completely epic and I look forward to my first instances as a holy paladin though I have no idea how it actually works because I am a tank since level 25 or something. Probably will I use some non-hero instances to learn before I kick the real shit (yap, yap, yap… the overheal will shine over my healing failures). On the other hand I am busy in WoW with some crafting things that I left on the way while hardcore leveling my paladin. Damn, I hate it when a game turns to a work like thing. I used to start a priest and a warrior for some twinking. The priest plays a little bit lame in low level but the warrior totally rocks and I guess I will play it more often from time to time.

Besides all this were I working on my media center again and it’s in a kind of RC state now. Windows 7 was by far the better choice compared to Linux Mint, though Linux has had a fine performance but due to some screen tearing issues and the complexity that comes into play when using a dual-boot system as a media center, it had to leave the hall. The media center choice itself fell on XBMC. The Windows Media Center is a kind of a rude joke from Microsoft which is absolutely useless in all kinds of ways. The third choice was Moovida but I finally missed some customization features so I switched to XBMC which is more complex in the beginning but very easy to use in the end. I finally made to import all my TV shows correctly to the media library and my movies were found and tagged as well. It’s pretty easy to use and it looks great. I use the standard theme but I guess I’ll give some of the other themes a try in the future.

If you’ll ask yourself what’s up in project “Straight Edge 2.0” can I tell that I follow every rule except the sports rule. Unfortunately. I don’t know when I will do some sport again, probably next week or if everything works perfectly well this week, maybe this weekend. Gladfully am I stuck on a weight around 97kg and it does not increase (Yeah!). So, that’s it for now…