Feb 262016

My server was dead. Not even a little blink from one of the many LEDs in the system or some other sign of life when putting the power on it. So I figured that replacing parts would be like a puzzle. Is it the power supply? The motherboard? The CPU? Or a combination of any of the parts? Replacing one of them would easily cost me about 100 euro. So I did some math, and figured that hosting was not only a relatively cheap solution, it also has many advantages (that all of you IT people can list better than me).

I went with DirectNIC, since I have been using their services for over 15 years now.

And as you can see, it just works. I had to do some work to restore the WordPress database, since the last backup I had on my NAS disks was from the end of 2015. But with some diskswapping, file copying, MySql-dumping+importing and WP-CONFIG changing it now works.

I’m happy!

Dec 262015

Since the server is back online (still going strong) WordPress began to nag me again about a new version being available 😛 So I decided to upgrade. WordPress itself and 3 plugins. Worked like a charm. No hangs or freezes. Yay! Guess buying new memory for the server will be on my to-do list right after Christmas.

Dec 252015

The server is having problems. Installed an extra NIC, to rule out problems with the onboard NIC, but that didn’t solve the problem. Removed the memory DIMMs now, and replaced them with two out of my desktop machine, since that had 4x4G and I don’t really use it at the moment. So they both now have 8GB internal memory. The desktop memory is Corsair Vengeance, the server memory was some value ram. Hopefully the Vengeance dimms will solve the system freezes.

Aug 222014

Just prolongated my KPN subscription and ordered the Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung offers a free S-View cover and 32GB memory card until the end of the month, so if any of you (local) S5 owners is interested in the S-View cover, let me know.

Jun 092014

I’ve used CyanogenMod before and was very satisfied with it. No bloatware, latest features and stable. Had it on my Motorola Droid (special version, since it’s not officially supported), on my Galaxy Nexus, I have it on my Galaxy S4 (my work phone) and after the latest KitKat update from Sony that drains the battery faster than a crackwhore needs her next shot, I decided to give in.

Bootloader unlock, which means a factory reset (you have to request the unlock key from Sony support). Which was the alleged solution to the battery problems anyway, so what could go wrong.

Enter Murphy.

My Windows 8.1 laptop does not recognize the XPeriaZ in fastboot mode. On neither USB port. Not with Android drivers, not with Sony drivers. Just an unknown device with a yellow exclamation mark in the device list. So I hooked up my phone on my Linux server. Yep. That just works.

CyanogenMod usually works perfectly with the ClockWorkMod recovery instructions. Boot in fastboot mode, flash the boot.img and reboot. Flash the custom rom image, and while your at it the Google Apps, and reboot and done. Not this time. The phone is stuck at the CM boot logo. Read the instructions again. Okay, mandatory “factory reset/wipe data” when doing a fresh CM install. I thought I did that, but hey, let’s restart. Flash boot.img, reboot, factory reset/wipe, install CM, install Google Apps. Reboot. Same thing: the CM boot logo. WTF?!

Google is your friend. I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Seems that the data partition made by Sony is encrypted in a way, and CWM does not wipe it properly or doesn’t wipe it at all. TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project) should be able to do it properly. Next restart: flash the twrp image, reboot. Wow, nice GUI! No fiddling with the volume buttons, just point and click. Wipe the data partition/factory reset. Put the CM and Google Apps zip in the update queue (!) and flash them. Reboot. Wait. CM boot logo. Wait some more.

YES!!!! It asks for my PIN to unlock the SIM card.

Enter Google account credentials and……..oh wait. I have 2-factor authentication and the authenticator was …. on this phone. What now? Damn you Murphy. Turns out you can install the authenticator on another device, scan a barcode (the squares thingy) from a browser on your desktop and then it “moves” the authenticator to that device.
After that, I could succesfully login on my Google account with my fresh CyanogenMod installation.

Only to find that it does not automatically download all my apps. In fact, none of them. Ah well, at least it’s working again.

One more word: if you play games that are Google Play Games enabled, make sure you install Google Play Games first and then the games. Doing it the other way around will give you strange and unpredictable results. In The Gate for example, I got an “Download failed because you may not have purchased this app” which is very weird, since it’s a Free-2-Play game. Just uninstall, install Google Play Games, and then install your games.

Jan 042014

My receiver broke down. Well, not all of it. Everything worked, except sound. Pretty basic for a receiver if you ask me. I inquired what a repair would cost, but all I was quoted were the costs of taking the device in for investigation. I decided to give it some rest, and asked my friends for advice. Their most sane conclusion was just to do the repair, since replacing the receiver would be way more costly.

This evening I started watching a tv series, and switched from sound via the receiver to stereo sound via the tv. It’s an flatpanel tv, so I guess you know what difference that made. Yuck. But…better than no sound at all.

During watching, I started to notice an echo. Because I was too busy watching, too pulled in to what I was watching, I didn’t pay much attention to it. After I watched my series, I switched to digital radio, and -as a creature of habit- I turned up the volume by using the Logitech remote, not the remote from the tv. The volume did increase. It took a second for me to realize that…..I just turned up the volume of the receiver. The echo I had been hearing was coming from …. my receiver.

As by magic, it now works again. All channels have sound, all inputs work, all I now have to do is put the right “label” into each source again since I did a factory reset to make sure the receiver wasn’t stuck in some software loop or something.

So……until some scientific rational reason comes up, I am going to believe that it was magic that made my receiver work again. Isn’t that something?

Jan 022014

In October my NAS disk broke down after the powerfailure. So I bought new disks. Last month (not even a week ago) my Windows system disk (SSD) died (unrecoverable). So I bought a new disk. Today my receiver gave in. No more sound. Everything works, except there is no sound. Factory reset (my receiver has that) didn’t work. So I’m guessing the pre-amp inside died, since it has 7 discrete amplifiers for each channel, so the problem must lie before it reaches these amplifiers.



Dec 302013

The OCZ Vertex4 was diagnosed dead by the store/support center as well, but they don’t sell OCZ’s anymore. They offered me a replacement drive instead, and with a small extra payment I bought the Samsung 840 Pro 128GB.

And since I need to reinstall the whole shebang anyway, I bought Windows 8.1 as well.

New disk + Windows 8.1

New disk + Windows 8.1

Dec 292013

Had a lovely -belated- Christmas dinner with my sister and brother-in-law. I fell ill at the end of the first Christmas day, so I had to postpone my dinner that was planned for the 26th. My sister fell ill as well. I was recovered enough today, and she decided she would not be a party-pooper and decided to come visit me. I stripped the starters from the menu at her request, and after all we had a lovely evening.

After cleaning up, I went upstairs to play some games. To my surprise, my PC had two black screens with only a cursor in the top left corner. Okay, let’s reboot. Same result. BIOS setup revealed that everything was seemingly in working order. But…..what’s that, only one harddisk. The normal HDD, not the SSD bootdisk. Unplugged the power, unplugged the normal HDD, boot and……


Meaning the BIOS can’t find ANY boot device while only the SSD is connected. Let’s see what my server thinks of this disk. It’s linux, and it has hot-swap on the SATA ports enabled, so that should be a piece of cake.

And of course it was: to linux the disk was dead as well. On two different ports. After connecting via hot-swap, or after hard reboot.

Meaning: my desktop PC is out of order for now. The SSD has 36 months of warranty, and only 18 have passed. So yes, an OCZ Vertex4 128GB died after only 18 months of (not very intense) use. How fucked up is that?