Computerus

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TA
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Re: Computerus

Postby TA » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:50 pm

Yeah, I was starting to get used to it, and they changed it again. It's really frustrating.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

patito
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Re: Computerus

Postby patito » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:57 pm

oh yeah, I see what you mean now, when you first start typing into the address bar it gives you search results first and then urls, that was annoying and I guess the about:config was the only fix, but it is back now and still annoying.

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:02 am

Three weeks into my latest battle to get my Mac Pro working again, I decided it's time to give up on trying to fix the boot (even though the files are all there and I can see them and it's probably some simple fix that's just eluded me up to this point) and just do a clean install.

And I was thinking, well Christ, Ubuntu 16.04 isn't even available on a disc that my Mac will boot; I'd have to install 14.04. Would I upgrade? That wouldn't make a whole lot of sense, really, because I'd have to roll back to 14.04 if the boot ever got messed up again.

And then I realized I need to stop fucking doing this and just buy a cheap computer that I don't have to jump through hoops to run a current Linux release on. The Pro was always overkill for a fileserver anyway; I put Ubuntu Studio on there in the hopes that I'd start doing audio recordings again, but I never did manage to get it working with the Firewire audio deck I borrowed.

So I'll get a new machine, something cheap in a Celeron or an Atom or maybe even a cheap ARM board. (Just so long as it's got 3 SATA ports, that's really all I need; a fourth would be nice in case I wanted to put an optical drive in it.) The outdated Mac will go back to being an outdated Mac. Maybe I'll sell it. Maybe I'll buy a Pro Tools license and use it to record audio after all. Maybe I'll give it to my grandmother; she's got a bunch of movies she made in the old version of iMovie that are incompatible with her current Mac and she might like to have access to them again.

Or hell, maybe I'll see if I can get PureDarwin to run on it or something.

I'll figure it out. Meantime, I'm gonna start pricing cheap barebones computers.

I'd say the moral of this story is that Macs are no damn good at being anything but Macs, but on the other hand, this thing was my daily driver for six years and a server for three, and during most of that time it was running some version of Ubuntu or another. Nine years is probably the longest lifespan I've ever gotten out of any single computer. Despite Apple's best efforts, it was actually pretty damn good at not being a Mac.

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:46 pm

man I wish modern computer cases weren't so fucking stupid-looking.

I just want something small no not that small, big enough to fit a couple 3.5" hard drives into and do you think maybe you could make it not look like a fucking Cylon.

At least if I bought the pink one I could be sure nobody would ever steal my computer.

Course, cases are the sort of thing it's better to go out and look at. I might take a trip to Fry's at some point but I'm getting over a head cold right now so it won't be today.

I'm thinking the "squat black cube" look is probably best for my purposes. Here are a few I've looked at:

fucking LED fan

10 pounds? That's gotta be shipping weight, right?

I don't like the window but it's probably going to go somewhere where I can't see it anyway

well this one says it's really lightweight but it looks like a dust magnet.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:47 pm

Case, PS, and SSD are here; waiting on MB, processor, RAM, and SATA cables.

Still trying to decide on an OS/distro. FreeNAS looks like basically what I want (designed for filesharing and RAID, easy installations for platforms like ownCloud and Subsonic) except that all the hardware recommendations are pretty hostile to anybody who doesn't want to drop a ton of money (no AMD processors, minimum 8GB of ECC RAM, etc.). Given that I've already ordered a Sempron with 4GB of non-ECC RAM, it seems like perhaps not the best match for me.

NAS4Free is a little more modest but has similar warnings about not running on AMD hardware or non-ECC RAM. And it looks like a lot more hassle to set up ownCloud and Subsonic.

Right now I'm leaning Rockstor, which is pretty clearly an attempt to create a Linux/Btrfs equivalent to FreeNAS. It's got the same kind of container-based plugin structure (including, yes, ownCloud and Subsonic), a web interface, support for rolling snapshots, etc., and no dire warnings about not running on a low-spec system. It's based on CentOS so it should be pretty solid and reliable. (It should be clear by now that "solid and reliable" is usually not what I go for, but I need to fight my run-the-latest-feature-upgrade instincts because I am, after all, building a server here, not a desktop.)

My original plan was just to take the two-disk Btrfs array I've got in my Mac and move it straight across without modifying it. (This would, obviously, have precluded switching to any ZFS-based solution.) But it looks like I set it up wrong to begin with; I think it's an mdadm-based software RAID formatted as Btrfs, which is not the right way to do it; the RAID stuff should be handled by Btrfs itself.

It bears noting that there's probably nothing irreplaceable on those disks (though I'll double-check before I wipe them); it is, after all, a file-syncing server, so everything on it is on at least one other computer and most of what's on it is on at least two other computers. If I were using it as primary storage for anything, then yeah, I can see why all the ZFS data integrity features would be necessary, but I'm not as worried about losing data on a server that's just for file syncing. I mean, I'm worried enough to use a RAID, and a filesystem that supports snapshots and checksums, but not worried enough to justify all the overhead that FreeNAS recommends/demands.

I'll see how it all ends up working. Probably next weekend, since the last of the parts are supposed to be here around Wednesday.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:31 pm

It occurs to me that, ultimately, FreeNAS comes from a completely different approach to data redundancy than the one I'm using.

FreeNAS is for people who want one copy of their music library, on one server, that they can access from anywhere in the house.

My approach is the opposite: I want a server that will keep a copy of my music library and let me sync the entire thing to the computer in my living room and the one in my office. Because storage is cheap.

Same goes for all my ROMs and things. (And obviously I want all my modern games to be stored locally instead of somewhere else in the house.)

Now, I've got an HTPC in the living room that I watch videos and play games on. And it's the same machine that runs SABNZBd+ and Sick Beard and downloads TV shows, and stores them on an 8TB JBOD array. If I wanted to split that into two computers -- have an HTPC that's got my games on it, and a frontend for streaming my videos from a server that runs SABNZBd+ and Sick Beard and saves everything to RAID -- then FreeNAS would be ideal for that. But the thing is, I don't really give a fuck about the integrity of that data; if I did, I wouldn't have it sitting on an NTFS JBOD. Those TV shows aren't backed up, and there's a reason for that: they take up a buttload of data, and if I lose them, then I have lost absolutely nothing that was important or irreplaceable. Guess if I wanted to watch Firefly again I'd have to watch it on Netflix instead of locally. Not exactly worth setting up a dedicated ZFS box over.

Plus, Subsonic won't stream FLACs. What would be the point of even having my music in FLAC if I had to downconvert it to actually listen to it? Subsonic's great for streaming audio to a cheap phone in case I want to listen to music while I'm cooking or audiobooks in the bathtub, but there's no reason to use it on a desktop computer.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Smiler » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:17 pm

I'm having a trackball adventure. I've been using the logitech m570 for the past 4 years, but I wanted to switch to something wired, and fortunately some new offerings were on the market. Sanwa and Elecom mice from Japan have started to show up, so I decided to try out the Elecom model (the Sanwa one is too fucking small). The Elecom is almost as big as the m570, but it was a little smaller and the buttons were somehow more spaced out despite this. I almost got comfortable with it, but then the ball movement started driving me crazy.

So trackballs work nowadays by having 3 bearings roll along with the ball's movement. There's going to be some friction, but ultimately the bearings roll and reduce that in theory. I say in theory because I've never found anything that says whether they actually move or not. Even Logitech won't say for sure, which is real fucked up. So this Elecom mouse had problems where if I use too little force, the ball will skip and the mouse cursor will fly past what I want to click on. Typically that gets worked out as time goes on when the oils from your finger transfer from the ball to the bearings, but this thing wasn't doing that.

I started asking on goddamn r/trackballs and the responses I got were either RUB YOUR GODDAM BALL ALL OVER YOUR FUCKING FACE or RUB LARD ALL OVER THIS THING YOU'RE GOING TO BE TOUCHING ALL THE TIME. Since the oils from my finger weren't helping (in fact, cleaning the ball and inside housing worked the best for about 3 minutes at a time), I doubted that rubbing it in more shit wasn't going to help, especially when every tip starts with clean the ball and bearings. I tried a ton of other shit like using car polish and 3 in 1 oil but nothing actually helped, so I'm giving up on it completely.

So now its time to get into the insane L-TRAC nearly industrial trackball with a fucking flywheel at the front that's going to be a pain in the ass to use. I might be able to get used to it, and if it doesn't have the strange friction problems that makes shit like clicking links a pain in the ass, it has the most insane hobby group around it. There's room to expand this thing and add two buttons to it, so theres shit I can do that range from this to this clowncar looking setup.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:09 pm

Continuing my thoughts from the Microsoft thread about building a new HTPC and mainly running Linux on it:

First off, this is a ways out. I'm still looking for a car and my wife's still looking for a job; at least one and ideally both of those things have to be taken care of before I go spending money on something expensive and nonessential.

That said, some opening thoughts:

Hardware:

I really don't play a lot of high-spec games. My current HTPC is a Pentium 5300 with 4GB of RAM and a GTX 560, and it's handled everything I've thrown at it except Batman: Arkham Knight (and my main desktop can handle Arkham Knight, and anyway I don't intend to ever play Arkham Knight again anyway because it is not very good). The main reason I'm looking at upgrading at all is that recently video has started to noticeably stutter; I suspect recent updates to Kodi and Firefox have just made them less friendly for lower-spec machines.

And speaking of video, I'd like to be able to play 4K/HDR Blu-Rays. I don't have a 4K TV, but I'm just thinking in terms of future-proofing; if, say, I want to buy a copy of Fury Road, I'd like to be able to buy the 4K version, play it now on my 1080p TV, and not have to buy it again when I get a new TV.

(4K gaming is not nearly as important.)

As far as games, well, most of the games I want to play will run natively on Linux, and are low-spec enough that the performance differences between DirectX and OpenGL won't really matter. I'm okay with keeping a dual-boot in case I occasionally want to boot to Windows to play Skyrim, or a 4K Blu-Ray.

Probably the highest-performance thing I'll be running is Dolphin. Which means an i3 might be good enough for my purposes, since IPC's more important for emulators than the number of cores.

And I shouldn't need a high-end graphics card. I'm thinking maybe a GTX 1050. I might look into AMD; I hear they work much better under Linux than they used to, and are way farther out on Vulkan support than nVidia. (Though last I heard, hardware acceleration for AMD cards wasn't working at all under Ubuntu, which is terrible. It's been awhile since I checked, though, so maybe that's not the case anymore?)

And this is, after all, an HTPC. My current setup is that I use Sick Beard and sabnzbd to get content, and I've got videos stored on an 8TB concatenated software RAID array -- four 2TB drives, all NTFS formatted.

If I'm switching to Linux, I'm probably going to want to switch to a better filesystem than NTFS. Which means either finding somewhere to put the 4TB+ of content that's already on those drives while I reformat them, or just buying new drives, moving that content over to the new drives, and figuring out something to do with the old ones.

I've also got a server running Rockstor. I could, hypothetically, use that as my machine for handling sabnzbd+ and Sick Beard and make it a Kodi server, instead of doing all that stuff locally on the HTPC.

The reason that I probably won't is that I really don't like how Kodi sorts my shit by metadata, and I prefer to arrange it by directory myself and use Kodi's file browser instead of its default metadata-based browser. Which you can't do in a client-server setup.

Which, itself, creates questions regarding the case. If I keep a 4-drive software RAID, then that means I probably can't just buy a Dell XPS on sale, because they don't have enough drive bays. Which is a pity, because they have good sales on those things like all the time.

(Of course, if the cost difference between buying an XPS and building my own system is enough to cover just buying a new 6TB drive, and if I've got enough bays for a 6TB drive and at least one of the 2TB drives from the old array, then that's worth considering.)


Software:

Right now the GNU/Linux OS family is in a pretty major transition period, with the GUI stack moving from X to other backends (Mir for Ubuntu, Wayland for everybody else) and the package stack moving from system-wide libraries to per-package libraries (Snap for Ubuntu, Flatpak for everybody else). From everything I've read, the distro that's out in front on all this stuff is Fedora. So that's the direction I'm leaning.

That probably means using GNOME 3. I've hated GNOME 3 every time I've used it on a desktop, but it might not be so bad on a TV. (Windows 8's tiles, for example, were great for a TV just as they were terrible for a desktop.)

(My original plan when I built my HTPC in '09 was that it would function as an appliance, operable by a TV remote, with no need for keyboard or mouse. That plan is long since out the window; I've got a nice wireless Logitech keyboard/trackpad that I use for navigating and intend to stick with that. Because sometimes I just want to open a browser and go to a website.)

I'm also thinking about how to handle my comics inventory, but that's not really related to the HTPC. Maybe another post about that later.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:29 pm

I've done a bit more reading and AMD does seem like the way to go, partly because it's got a better midrange line than nVidia (I'm thinking RX 460 or 470) and partly because I'm reading that the open-source RADV driver is rapidly approaching parity with the proprietary driver, and being able to play games without fucking around with proprietary third-party drivers is the best Linux news I've heard since, well, since being able to set up WiFi without having to deal with ndiswrapper.

It also occurs to me that I don't really *need* to buy a new case, and in fact sticking with the one I've got would mean a lot less unscrewing and removing drives (though it would mean unscrewing and disconnecting the motherboard, and most likely the power supply).

My current case was a nice case back around the turn of the century; it's aluminum, light, cool, and roomy, with easy access to plenty of drive bays (none of which are 2.5"). On the minus side, it predates modern niceties like noise insulation, cable management, and toolless bays (and as for ports, forget front USB 3, it doesn't even have front USB 2); on the plus side, it also predates the trend of enthusiast cases having to look stupid and be full of blinking lights.

I was thinking, though, that it would probably be a good idea to keep the old HTPC in service while I set up the new one. (And who knows, maybe find something to do with the old Pentium when I'm done with it.) So I'll probably get a new case.

But if I do, it better be a goddamn black rectangle.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Grath » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:47 pm

Thad wrote:But if I do, it better be a goddamn black rectangle.

Sure, it'll be a black rectangle. Literally covered in LEDs.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:56 am

(And hey, I double-checked and yeah, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu all work under Linux. So, confirmed, none of those go on the "things I need Windows for" list.)

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:29 pm

Still very much at the "face pressed against the window longingly" phase, but I started a thread over at the Dolphin forums asking for build advice.

Several very nice people have told me what a bad idea it is to go with AMD graphics, but I'm still probably going to do it. (Hey Kazz, wanna buy a graphics card if this goes horribly wrong?)

Seriously, though, I've had just about enough of fucking proprietary graphics drivers and the attendant annoyances of having to remember how to reinstall them from the command line every time you upgrade your kernel and X won't start, and I'm very pleased with the rapid development of RADV (the open-source AMD Vulkan driver) and even RadeonSI (the OpenGL driver). And, y'know, worst-case, I can still dual-boot Windows.

And the truth is, most of the games I've been digging lately are indies like Axiom Verge, Freedom Planet, Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley, etc., and they run just fine on Intel integrated graphics. So even with poor OpenGL performance, I don't expect an AMD card to be any worse.

(So why do I need a midrange graphics card in the first place? Well, I probably don't. But I'd like to be able to play stuff like the new Deus Ex if I want to, and there's some future-proofing to keep in mind here, too. I've had my current HTPC for almost 8 years and made exactly two major upgrades in that time -- a graphics card upgrade and a storage upgrade -- so this thing could have a long life ahead of it.)

I'm thinking I'll get an i3, and a Z board in case I want to overclock it. Not sure if I'll get an overclocking-friendly processor or not; that's something I could always upgrade later.

As for black rectangles, I like the look of the Fractal Design R5. It's a lot heavier than the aluminum case I've been using, but it's not like I plan on picking it up very often. It's got more drive bays than I can possibly use, and I kind of love the extra 2.5" bays under the motherboard.

Course, there are obvious downsides to buying a case you've never actually seen up close, so a trip to Fry's is probably in order. To look. Not to buy. The last time I asked to buy a computer case at Fry's, they took me to look at laptop bags. That sounds like a really dumb joke, but it's not, it's a really dumb thing that actually happened.

But...gotta be responsible. Pay taxes, buy car, prioritize, use "adult" as a verb, etc.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Mongrel » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:05 pm

I think you're doing the right thing, understanding that you're at a time in your life when you need to think about adult entertainment.
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:45 pm

What the -- I said verb, not adjective, dammit!

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Re: Computerus

Postby Mongrel » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:33 pm

:]
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:45 pm

I've been doing a bit of reading and apparently mediated GPU pass-through is a thing now, but really only for Intel graphics. Still, maybe some hope for the future WRT running Windows games without a dual-boot.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:24 am

Tentative build.

It's more than I originally intended to spend, but I'll see what the budget looks like after I pay taxes. And I know I've got a raise and a bonus coming in the next couple weeks.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:39 am

Nooooope, will not be buying it this paycheck.

Damn taxes.

Maybe I'll buy the case. It's not on Amazon so I can't get Prime shipping so it'll take longer to get here than the stuff that is on Amazon. And I can mostly tell if the case is in good working order by looking at it, though of course I won't be able to test buttons or ports until I've got them hooked up to something.


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Re: Computerus

Postby Mazian » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:31 pm

Thad wrote:Tentative build.


A case with twelve drive bays seems like overkill for a build using zero, the M.2 SSD not needing one.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:35 pm

Thanks, but the reason I'm not buying any other drives is that I've already got 10 in my current HTPC.

2x 5.25": 1 optical, 1 card reader
2x 2.25" (SSDs)
6x 3.5" (HDDs)

I'll probably downsize on the 3.5" (go down to 1 or 2) but I intend to move the rest over (and I want to leave room for more 3.5" drives in case I need to add more later; I store a lot of video.)

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