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FOTM
posted by Saboteur on 20.11.2013 00:54
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This is the Flavor Of The Month. I've discovered all manner of awesomeness in music lately so I figured I'd get it on a list. The plan is to keep this somewhat current, so it won't be the same tracks from here til eternity (hence the title "of the month").

The target length of the list isn't quite decided, but it will be something that will allow nice shuffle play while driving. Two to three hours seems reasonable since it's supposed to evolve and not grow indefinitely.
Spotify ought to support Ogg vorbis
posted by Saboteur on 26.10.2013 17:59
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For some inexplicable reason, Spotify does not play back Ogg files. The majority of my music collection is in Ogg format (including my own work) so currently I can't add any of that music to my local files in Spotify. And when I can't have those local files on my playlists, I also can't sync them to my phone which I'd otherwise gladly do (I have an Android phone so ogg support in and of itself is no issue).

I think this would make many users happy for a low cost of development, so if you share the sentiment go give your kudos on the Spotify support thread.
...aaand back again!
posted by Saboteur on 05.10.2013 22:51
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Once again sorry for downtimes. This time most of you probably didn't notice a thing since things were turned around in under 48 hours (yay for me).

There's a story to this one. It seems the CPU got fried on the old system, as the last thing I could see on the frozen screen of the server was a Bios Post-screen with a complaint of "cpu temperature". Upon attempting to reboot, the screen would never light up again (no post screen at all, no beeps).

Unfortunately I had no way to be sure if the CPU was the problem with any high degree of certainty; quite the opposite. Not having extensive diagnostic tools or spare parts at my disposal, I could really only rule out that the power supply was not the problem, since I did have another functional unit lying around which I could use for checking.

So CPU and/or motherboard fried. Memory status would be a bit uncertain (although I'm not sure, but I think you'd still get a Post screen with fried memory). I start out with the idea of only replacing the CPU, however the guy at the shop insists that I should replace the MoBo. Fair advice, I think - and they happen to have a used CPU for EUR 20, bringing my total cost for these repairs to EUR 86 (the 6 euros was for thermal paste as I had never installed a used CPU before, only boxed ones).

Some googling indicates that my Debian install would very happily survive a motherboard replacement, which is good news since I'd neglected to backup my SQL databases and would have had a heck of a time trying to restore them if I had been forced to install a new OS.

So after gathering up the motivation (which took a bit of time since I have been sick the past days) I get down to business and vacuum the inside-and-out dust-covered metal box that houses this site, then proceeding to exchange the MoBo. I note that there are only a few hardened, dry pieces of residue on top of the CPU, where there should have been a sticky coating of thermal paste. Healthy, it does not look.

So as I pick up the replacement CPU, I inspect it casually and note it is a AMD Sempron 145 (a single-core CPU that is a slightly better version of the 140 which I acquired for EUR 40 about 3,5 years ago - this stuff runs of really cheap shit ;)). I proceed to drop it down into the socket... And it fails to mount. One corner does not level. At first I suspect I'm doing something wrong, and I double check the alignment, inspect the socket and CPU, and try again. No joy. For a moment I start wondering if there's a compatibility issue at play here. I test by dropping the old CPU into the socket, it mounts instantly.

So I have two MoBos and two CPUs, and the one that is broken will mount to both MoBos, and the new CPU will not mount at all. Piece of advice to readers: If, for some reason, you buy a used CPU (and I would recommend against it to begin with), inspect the unit very carefully. As I now inspect the new CPU more carefully, it becomes obvious that 2 pins in one corner are slightly bent. Very slightly, but enough so that the CPU is impossible to install.

Great, I think to myself. Damn swindling computer salesman sold me a used CPU that he probably knew was broken, just to make another 20 euros. I knew that the joke was on me: If I went back and complained, they would just reject the complaint and say I bent the pins myself by installing it incorrectly. Which I did NOT do, but I didn't see myself 1) winning that argument and 2) bothering to drive all that way just to argue over 20 euros.

I begin to accept in my mind that the server would be down for several days. It was Saturday evening and there are no computer shops open on Sundays, and even if there were, the Sempron I would need to strap to the MoBo is such an old model I would have no choice but to order one online. The price is negligible but unless I got very lucky somehow, I was looking at something like Wednesday as the earliest time when the server would be back.

I do one last bit of diagnostics, attempting to run the old CPU in the new MoBo. It fails exactly as before, so I proved the initial theory that the CPU was fried. (Although I did NOT prove that the old MoBo was functional, so I may or may not have needed to replace it - this I will never know).

So, I look at the broken new CPU, and think to myself: "Well, all the guides and manuals say you're never to touch the pins, but this piece of junk is already broken and cost a whopping 20 euros, so what exactly do I have to lose?" Since the bent pins are at the very edge of the unit, I am actually able to use my fingernail to gently bend the pins into alignment. Huh, they didn't break off and actually look pretty neat. I test the mounting with the old MoBo, but it still fails. I reinspect the CPU from a different angle and find one more pin that's slightly off in the other axis. Fingernail adjustment again, then test... And what do you know, it actually falls into place on the motherboard socket.

At this point I hold no real hope of the unit being functional after this abuse, however I don't see what harm I could do by just giving it a whirl and attempting to boot the server with it. If it doesn't work, well, I kind of knew that at the moment it wouldn't mount to the socket. So on goes the thermal paste, smudge it with the heat sink and strap things in.

Beep!

The bloody thing actually boots up. Ha! Who knew you could do shit like this and actually have the hardware working afterwards?

I suppose at the end of it, I can only expect a shortened lifespan for this configuration, so the site may once again go down some time in the not-so-distant future. Or it may run for 3,5 years like the previous setup. Who knows. :) One thing's for sure - I'll do myself a favor and avoid used CPUs in the future.
Something quizzical
posted by Saboteur on 05.09.2013 22:44
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What sound does a fox make? Hmmmm. (For context, try this).
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