Lost The Magic Smoke

Last Saturday morning, just as I was preparing to go to Mille Lacs, I discovered my MythTV server had stopped working.  Luckily, just the power supply had burned out.  I swapped the power supply with one from another less important computer and MythTV was up and running.

Tonight, I was curious why the power supply had quit.  I hooked the supply to my test computer and it would not turn on.   So I took the supply apart to see if there was a blown fuse or other part I could easily replace.  The first bad sign was when I turned it over to unscrew the cover, I heard some small pieces rattling about inside.  After removing the cover, I quickly located one of the problems.  An IC had blown its top.  If by some luck I could figure out what the chip was, it probably would not be worth replacing.  The odds are other parts are blown.

The blown power supply was an Antec 300W supply.   Using the Extreme PSU Calculator, I determined that I only needed 223W for my system.   But after further digging, I discovered an option to derate the capacitors for age and continuous use.  Factoring in capacitor derating, the calculator came up with a 290W.  Also, I suspect the average PCI card usage of 5W is very conservative.  I think my dual HD-3000's each draw at least twice as much power.  They are always very warm to the touch.  Doing the post par tum calculations, I think I did not have enough safety margin.  I feel more confident that the 450W replacement power supply should be more than adequate

Lost the Magic Smoke

The rest of the pictures

Fishing Journal: Island Lake

Date: 200607252000 – 2100
Body of Water: Island Lake
Weather: Hot, Threatening Thunderstorms

Yesterday, I went shopping at The Fly Angler.  Next week I am going fishing with my dad in Colorado; I thought the trip gives me a good excuse to buy a new 4 weight fly rod.  My daughter was with me, so I really didn't get to look much.  I did learn some interesting things though. 

I was looking for a shorter, 8 foot, rod for casting in tighter spots, but after talking to one of the guys at the store, I learned I should be looking at a 9 foot rod.  A shorter rod will only help me if I am really fighting brush above and behind me.  I also was apprehensive about three and four piece rods, but the guy said the joints are so good the only difference is they have more weight towards the tip.  He wouldn't buy a two piece again after using a four piece.  They only had a few 4 weight fly rods in stock and said they would call me when some more rods arrive, so I could test cast a few.  After leaving the store I started thinking, maybe I should practice some fly casting before I go back so I don't look like a total goof.

Yesterday evening about 7 PM, I drove to Island Lake.  The wind was blowing out of the southwest.  This made it hard to cast from south side of the peninsula.  Also, the water was quite low.  I was surprised at how little vegetation they was on the west and east side. They must have just poisoned the millfoil.  There were some fenced off areas for shoreline rehabilitation projects on the north side. 

At home I had tied on a 4x leader with a short 4x tippet and a small white popper.  I started casting that setup.  Even though the wind was strong, I cast the weeds on the south side.  I caught one small smallmouth before I gave up and fished the west point.  I cast around the submerged rock and got a surface.  So I cast a few more times and hooked a 8 inch largemouth.  Then I went to the north side of the peninsula, right around the rehabilitation area.  I caught a few more in the submerged weeds.  Finally, after casting with more confidence, I went back to the south side.  I caught a few sunfish and bluegills before I left.

Paying more attention to my fly rod, I noticed a few things that I would like better.  I think weight forward line would really help me cast in the wind and with longer leaders.   A longer pole would also help  (my current rod is a 6 weight 8 footer.)  A fast action rod is what I want — a rod that will bend more at the tip than the middle.

DD-WRT: First Problem

One of my motivating factors for installing the DD-WRT firmware was to keep track of my growing list of hosts.  It is time consuming editing the hosts file on each computer.  I know I can include a common host file, but I would need a common file server.  I'm trying to reduce and consolidate the total number of services running across my network; I do not want to configure another service.

I set up the hosts file using the Static DCHP settings.  I created and entry for each of my computers.  I used a bogus MAC if I did not want to use DHCP with that computer.  This worked well for my Linux boxes, but my XP box could not resolve the other computers on the network.   After some digging, I found this FAQ.  My answer lay in this question and answer:

Q: Names on the internet are working fine, but looking up local names
from /etc/hosts or DHCP doesn't seem to work.

A: Resolver code sometime does strange things when given names without
any dots in. Win2k and WinXP may not use the DNS at all and just
try and look up the name using WINS. On unix look at "options ndots:"
in "man resolv.conf" for details on this topic. Testing lookups
using "nslookup" or "dig" will work, but then attempting to run
"ping" will get a lookup failure, appending a dot to the end of the
hostname will fix things. (ie "ping myhost" fails, but "ping
myhost." works. The solution is to make sure that all your hosts
have a domain set ("domain" in resolv.conf, or set a domain in
your DHCP server, see below fr Windows XP and Mac OS X).
Any domain will do, but "localnet" is traditional. Now when you
resolve "myhost" the resolver will attempt to look up
"myhost.localnet" so you need to have dnsmasq reply to that name.
The way to do that is to include the domain in each name on
/etc/hosts and/or to use the –expand-hosts and –domain options.

My quick fix was to use the hostname. trick.  Finding where DD-WRT creates the temporary file: resolve.dnsmasq is stopping me from setting a domain.  There must be a script that looks at the web GUI settings and writes the resolve files.   Otherwise, if I edit the resolve file, the changes will disappear on reset.

DD-WRT: The Installation

I knew about hacking the WRT54G router at least three years ago.  I bought one over 2 years ago with the intention of installing openwrt, but I kept stalling because there was no GUI.  After reading this lifehacker article  about dd-wrt a few months ago, I finally put reflashing my wrt54g on my to do list.   Today I finally flashed new firmware. 

Here's exactly what I did and why.

1) I found the serial number.  It started with CDF5.  From the chart on this page I found I have version 2.0 firmware.  With version 2.0, I would not be limited in what I could flash.

2) I created a PDF of the dd-wrt wiki Installation page for when I was offline.

4) I downloaded the dd-wrt.v23_mini_generic.bin and dd-wrt.v23_generic.bin firmware from here.I made sure i chose v23 SP1.  I also downloaded the mini firmware after reading the hwsupport.txt file:

3.) Linksys WRT54G/GS (any version) flashing notes:
-For upgrading from the original Linksys firmware, please use the generic mini version (dd-wrt.vXX_mini_generic.bin) and flash it from the web GUI interface.  After this first flashing you can change to any other distribution, if you want.
-For flashing via the web GUI interface, always use the included 'generic' binaries. The other Linksys router specific binaries are only meant for tftp upgrades.

5) I unhooked my router from the network and connected it directly to my XP Box.  The instructions said specifically to use internet explorer, because mozilla firefox has incompatibilities with firmware upgrading.

6) Thought the web interface, I reset the router to factory defaults

7) I had to change my XP machine to a 192.168.1.X network.  I use a 10.0.x.X. network because of some legacy issues with my DSL modem.  I was surprised that I did not have to reboot in XP.  It was so stupid to be forced reboot when you changed your network address in previous windows versions.

8) Using the web interface, I flashed the mini generic firmware.  I followed the dd-wt wiki instructions. 

9) I waited 10 minutes before I touched anything, like the instructions warned.

10) The DD-WRT web interface came up so I reset to factory defaults again.

11) I flashed the standard firmware using the web interface.

12) After that finished, I reset the factory defaults again.  I don't know if that step was necessary.

13) I reentered all my pertinent routing information

14) I reinstalled the router into my network and checked to make sure every machine could see the internet.

Fishing Journal: Mille Lacs

Date: 200607221300 – 1730
Body of water:  Mille Lacs
Weather: Hot, sunny, and calm

Gary and I launched at Shah-Bush-Kung (Roland's) Bay public access.  After some motor troubles, we headed north to the first patch of emergent vegetation we encountered in Wigwam Bay.  I put on a blue floating Rapala with a short leader, and Gary put on an orange and gold sinking Rapala.  Casting to the weed bed edge, I landed a largemouth bass in the first few casts.  I caught one more fish in that first patch. 

About 3:00 PM, we headed south to the first emergent vegetation we found around Sherman's point.  Immediately I caught another largemouth.   We fished that weed bed for the rest of the day.  The bottom was rocky with some very nice drop-offs right on the edge of the weeds.  Gary switched to a Mr Twister and I stayed with the Blue Rapala.   Gary and I landed a combination of 10 largemouth and smallmouth drifting around that weed bed.  At 4:13 PM, I caught the largest largemouth when I cast towards shore into the weed free ,tree shaded waters.  It was about 17 inches, which puts it at 2.5 to 3 lbs.

The fish all hit hard.  Even though the smallmouth bass we caught were all smaller the smallest largemouth, the smallmouth bass fought much harder that the largemouth. 

Earlier that day our friends chartered a boat out of St Albans Bay.  They were fishing for Northern in about 15 feet of water.  In 4 hours they caught 3 pike.

Largest fish of the day

Rest of photos

Trying Vshnu: Impressions

I use bash a fair amount.  I am no scripting expert, but I am comfortable navigating directories and manipulating files.  vshnu looked faster at managing  these tasks.  I really liked it the first time I selected a text file and it opened right up into vim. 

In my opinion, vshnu has a steep learning curve.  It did not feel intuitive right away, but powerful programs rarely do.  vshnu joins good company like vim and screen; I felt lost the first few times I used them, but slowly they have become old friends.

Here is an example using vshnu.  I want to zip each file in this folder except readme.txt

a  .
b  ..
c  AMX.prc
d  IrLib.prc
e  SerIrCommLib.prc
f  SerialIrPnl.prc
g> readme.txt
                                                                                Thu Jul 20 16:09:07 2006

I  type '/' to put me into chose mode

a  .
b  ..
c  AMX.prc
d  IrLib.prc
e  SerIrCommLib.prc
f  SerialIrPnl.prc
g> readme.txt
keys=choose                                                                Thu Jul 20 16:11:31 2006

Then I type 'c', 'd', 'e', and 'f', to choose the files next to these letters.

a  .
b  ..
c 1AMX.prc
d 2IrLib.prc
e 3SerIrCommLib.prc
g  readme.txt
4 chosen, keys=choose                                                  Thu Jul 20 16:11:31 2006

Typing ':'  then 'gzip' will execute the shell command on the chosen files

a  .
b  ..
c 1AMX.prc
d 2IrLib.prc
e 3SerIrCommLib.prc
g  readme.txt
4 chosen, keys=choose                                         Thu Jul 20 16:11:31 2006
(Shell: gzip)

Hitting return a few times the files are gzipped.

a  .
b  ..
c  AMX.prc.gz
d  IrLib.prc.gz
e  SerIrCommLib.prc.gz
f> SerialIrPnl.prc.gz
g  readme.txt
                                                                                 Thu Jul 20 16:16:27 2006

This is not a very deep look at vshnu; rather it is a taste of its capabilities.  I do not think I will start using vshnu on a day to day basis yet, but I'm not uninstalling it either. 

Transcoding shows recorded on a MythTV Box

Traveling with a 2 year old can be a challenge. That’s why we purchased a portable DVD player to keep her entertained in the back seat. She won’t just watch anything she wants her specific shows like Caillou or Bob the Builder. So I had to find a way to transfer them from my MythTV box to DVD.

Question 1) Why don’t you just use nuvexport?

Answer 1) It can’t choose audio tracks. Sometimes the Spanish or descriptive track is the default track and I want the standard track.

Answer 2) Why does it take 2 hours to transcode something that is pretty much already in DVD format to DVD format? I have no idea. I record the HDTV Transport stream (TS) from over the air broadcasts. It is pretty trivial to get the Program Stream (PS).

On to the Procedure:

In Explorer
1) Copy the Program to my XP box using Mythweb.
2) Rename the file to the correct episode name.

In Avidemux2
3) Load the file into avidemux2. It will need to index the file. If there is more than one audio track, you need to choose which one to use at this point. You know you choose the wrong one later if Bob the Builder is in Spanish.
4) Make your cuts. Mark the start (A) and the end (B) of your cut then press CTRL-X. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
5) Choose Copy for both the video and audio streams. You may want to shift the audio. More often than not I have to shift the audio about -500ms. Some videos I need to do this others I don’t.
6) You want to save the video in MPEG PS A+V format.
7) Save the File and sit back a few minutes.

Now you can import the files into your favorite DVD authoring program.

Trying Vshnu: Installation

I have been wanting to try out the vshnu shell for a while.  So when I was scanning my inifinite todo list for low priority things to do to avoid my high priority tasks, I saw an entry to install vshnu.

A short detour before I get to installing vshnu: I discovered cpan a while ago when I was installing some modules for Amarok a while ago.  If you are unfamiliar with perl like me, it is a really neat way of installing perl modules without all the extra work.  Using cpan, I installed some dependencies.  Make sure you shell into root before running cpan.

cpan> install Term::Screen

cpan> install Filesys:: DiskFree

Back in limited user land…

$ perl Makefile.PL

$ sudo make install clean

$ vshnu

XP Network Bridge Fix

Today I've been frustrated trying to get my Zaurus to connect to the internet through it's cradle using a XP network bridge. I could ping the XP machine, but I could not ping any other computer on my network or the internet for that matter. Networking on the XP machine worked just fine. After hours of searching I found this post: XP Network Bridge Problem

Basically at the command line type:

C:\>netsh bridge show adapter
ID AdapterFriendlyName ForceCompatibilityMode
1 Local Area Connection 2 enabled
2 Local Area Connection enabled

Note: the post didn't say how to find the adapter number so I changed adapter 2 first. After that didn't work I figured out the above command. That's why the output show both adapters in ForceCompatabilityMode

From the list pick the Adapter that isn't working and use the following command:

C:\>netsh bridge set adapter 1 forcecompatmode=enable

Worked like a charm.

Update! 7/19/2006

Evidently leaving the ForceCompatablilityMode enabled is bad for vmware's bridging mode. I couldn't see the network. So I had to turn it off for my XP box's connection.
netsh bridge set adapter 2 forcecompatmode=disable

So now when I type the command:

C:\>netsh bridge show adapter

ID AdapterFriendlyName ForceCompatibilityMode
1 Local Area Connection 2 enabled
2 Local Area Connection disabled


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