Dashcat2 Build

This isn't working. I don't make enough money to complete the project the way I want and it's behind to the extent of being nearly obsolete now anyway. I'll do it just for fun when I need something to tinker with, but the original goal is growing less and less appealing with time. I'll likely just park the machine in my storage bay until I find a use for it and have the space for it.

I'm going back to college. That's something I actually want to do.
<Old eBay link used to be here. I changed my ID and someone has the old one now.>

I was raising money selling off stuff I didn't need.
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I've been following your build for some time, i just now registered to let you know that i appreciate so much you making this work log and that what ever you may do in the future i support it! live well man!
I wonder if that image symbolizes progress or a tear-down of his current hardware...
I read this whole thread over the past day. Wow. I love these multi-year build projects that have real life thrown in.
i have followed this thread from the beginning ... i have always wondered how a psychologist would categorize misterdna. i have my own thoughts.

either way, us techies must always be pursuing a dream, otherwise our work/world is gloomy and depressing! i find myself alone in most ventures and i think that is the problem. we are few and far between.
I think it's worth breaking the silence at this point.

I didn't quit. I did have other things to attend to, though, and for quite some time.

I enrolled in an online course through MIT, their MITx 6.002 online pilot course. I'm glad it was free because I had to drop it. It taught me, above all, that I have to have my ducks in a row before I start school. With that in mind, what has been done? Let's bring it up to date.

I have gPXE running on the cluster (though without the bootp server and such to actually get the disk-optional nodes to boot from a Linux image over the network).

Each node now has 8GB RAM.

I started lifting weights during thanksgiving weekend. It has become a part of me. Unfortunately, for the past seven weeks, while working a special project at my day job, I've been unable to dedicate proper time to it. That's almost over, however. Improvements stalled, but not for long.

I've paid off the rest of the debt I had to assume in the divorce. I am effectively debt-free. All that remains is getting back out of the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle repayment of the debt left me in. That's relatively easy.

I got my ears pierced last month. I had considered it for about twenty years and decided I was sick of theory.

The former girlfriend is still out of the picture, however, she started talking to me again out of the blue a few weeks back which is unique. I pay little mind to it, however, out of wanting to stay focused on my known priorities. She's not the only show in town, at any rate.

I sold off my evil i7 machine to my brother. The proceeds paid off a large chunk of the remaining debt. It turns out my dual-dual Opteron workstation will play any game I am actually interested in.

I need to clean house. Between focus measures and a weird work schedule, I had to make sacrifices on the housekeeping front in order to finish this and it bothers me.
good to have you back DNA! personally, i have never understood weightlifting. you would know this looking at me though, at 6'6" and 170lbs. i think its fun to tease the juiceheads at my work that they have to spend hours a week at the gym to get girls to like them, while i just trick girls with my personality. :p i know some pretty cool guys that work out though and they say it really helps with stress and their general health, so more power to you if its good for you. just dont let it become an obsession, which is true of anything of course.

glad to see youre back to work on your computers. personally, i used to be an avid gamer, but over the last 2 years or so ive spent much more time building computers than playing games on them. i think its a great hobby and i love the building and problem solving. working with your hands is always a good pastime, and anything that makes you think is good too. keep us informed on how everythings going, with both the build(s) and with your life. i know me and many others are rooting for you.
Today actually marks one year I've been single and known it. April Fools Day marked the true one year point since that's the day the judge signed and stamped the papers.

That whole thing was like blowing a massive circuit breaker in my life. Utter blackout. The first stage of recovery from any large-scale blackout is known as a Black Start. From Wikipedia:

A black start is the process of restoring a power station to operation without relying on the external electric power transmission network.

1. A battery starts a small diesel generator installed in a hydroelectric generating station.
2. The power from the diesel generator is used to bring the hydroelectric generating station into operation.
3. Key transmission lines between the hydro station and other areas are energized.
4. The power from the hydro dam is used to start one of the coal-fired base load plants.
5. The power from the base load plant is used to restart all of the other power plants in the system including the nuclear power plants.

I've done this in phases and that will continue:

Black Start - Just getting myself functional again. This took the rest of 2011.
Base Load - The longer multistage process of getting back to normal. This is ongoing. It includes the financial steps of paying off the divorce debt, getting out of the, albeit temporary, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle the repayment entailed, rebuilding my body and getting housekeeping back under firm control.
Sunrise/Windstorm - Wind and Solar power plants can't be counted on for steady capacity, but they do add to capacity--especially during the daytime hours. This subphase coincides with the DST change where more of my waking hours include sunlight. It's where I am right now and it overlaps with the next stage.
Nuclear - The last portion of Base Load. It's where I get my mind going again and restart, in consistent form, my side business and my more major hobbies.
Stabilize - Restarting anything that has been sitting dead for any appreciable amount of time can not be expected to go smoothly. There will always be small bugs to work out. Taking a breather for a system check before pressing onward is just good logic.
Local Grid - With base load capacity established, this is where I branch out. I'll be ready for a serious relationship, for example. Or to turn the side business into an actual business, that kind of thing. There is really no telling when I'll hit this stage, but it's not going to happen while I'm paycheck to paycheck and it's unlikely to happen until I've moved into a smaller place--and my lease ends when September does.

I'm burning daylight right now.
The touchscreen thin client I intended to use just as a monitor for Dashcat is getting a modification. It turns out the 800x600 pixel SVGA display will take an XGA input and scale it down. Since this was the resolution I originally chose for the graphics console of the server and compute nodes, I can use this display with a KVM.


And here's the KVM. It turns out this KVM has an added bonus that was entirely unexpected. Since I have the monitoring client, remote console and my docked laptop connected to the KVM to stay using only one keyboard, I expected the display to be blank while switched to the laptop input, but it isn't. It's showing the thin client display.

There's a bit of a bug to this, though, I keep getting a phantom "Back" command at my laptop that tries to make me leave the page I'm on. It's the same as the Page Forward/Back keys down by the arrows on a ThinkPad. It has happened twice as I type this, actually. I'll need to figure it out or filter the keys.

personally, i have never understood weightlifting. you would know this looking at me though, at 6'6" and 170lbs. i think its fun to tease the juiceheads at my work that they have to spend hours a week at the gym to get girls to like them, while i just trick girls with my personality. :p i know some pretty cool guys that work out though and they say it really helps with stress and their general health, so more power to you if its good for you. just dont let it become an obsession, which is true of anything of course.

I used to be in the same boat, until I started myself 7 months ago. I can't explain it, but it just turned my entire life around. I just generally feel better, and I'm healthier as well. Win win!

Great to have you back DNA. I've missed following your progress. Best of luck with everything, as usual!
I ordered a 50 foot CAT7 cable over the weekend and it should be delivered today based on tracking info. It's overkill for gigabit but that's not what it's for. Some of you may recall I had my remote CAT5 console hooked up for the 40 foot run between the trailer house and my former workshop. The display was blurry and color rendition was so bad I couldn't tell whether options were grayed in menus and such. This new cable is my attempt at combating that.

I was using unshielded bog-standard CAT5 for the former run. We've all seen that stuff. CAT7 is a different animal. Not only is the whole cable shielded, but each twisted pair has a foil wrap and the ends are terminated with a common ground at shielded 8P8C connectors. This stuff is rated for 10gb Ethernet.

Here's hoping I can get a near-perfect XGA picture from every node.
DNA if that doesnt work you could always go with a media converter to convert cat into fiber and back to cat 5, i am using that exact setup with a set of utp vga to cat 5 converters to run a 1920 x 1080 vga signal over 800 feet and i get no noticable loss at the remote end.
The link is up. I now have console access to every node and the server. Now I'm working on deciding whether to upgrade from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS as I work on defining monitor resolutions manually since my server doesn't get DDC data from the monitor over the console link.

With that in mind, it's hard to believe this has taken over two years so far. I still remember winning the auctions for the Verari nodeboards on Thanksgiving day in 2009.

My god have I ever learned a lot, though.
It's good to see the ball rolling once again. I was running out of things to read this year. :)
I think I'll update with all progress steps no matter how small.

New development:
Using telnet from the server console (as opposed to a Windows workstation), I have logged into the icebox and managed to send a power on all command, after which the compute nodes all started into gPXE to look for the DHCP server I haven't set up yet.

Actually, I'm going to try the same thing from the thin client monitor while running Puppy Linux.
Oh, helps if the network cable's plugged in.
And if I've actually configured the Ethernet chip. Done.
Sweet. It connects and works just fine for power on/off. That's another step.
Rough draft of the new logo. What you don't see is the heavy JPEG artifacting in the heart and the messy background of same since the console signal has level balance problems that aren't worth fixing.

Some might actually recognize the heart portion. It's a cut down and flipped version of the logo for the long-defunct Hi Tech Expressions. Since you have to keep using a logo for it to remain active and this one hasn't been in use since the 90s, I could actually re-register the old trademark with the USPTO. I don't want to do that, though.

The original logo had the pixels flying in from the left to form the heart. That's not the symbolism I'm going for. The slogan for Lovenote Digital is "From The Heart". I think I've established that it's not just words.

Further modifications: This is not by any means the final logo. I have one in mind as a destination, but it won't work until I'm remarried and that's a long way off. The new logo has nothing at all to do with the former Hi Tech Expressions logo.

This thread is fucking epic. If you wrote a book about it, I'd buy it.

Thanks for giving me inspiration to try harder.

In the name of Creation: LAUNCH!
This is the old site. I used to have the lovenotestudios domain name. I let it expire when I realized it was too limiting and what I have isn't a studio in the traditional sense of the term.
The design wasn't mine. My now exwife made it and I had all but forgotten about it until recently.

God. Cornflower Blue? Why?

"Under Construction". All it needed was a shovel guy animated GIF to complete the goober trifecta.

We all have to start somewhere. Maybe I'm being too harsh?


The replacement. It's just a placeholder. I'm testing two drafts of the logo here.
The second draft uses OCR A instead of FixedSys for the "Digital". I mastered the second draft logo at 8192 pixels wide.

I personally like Draft 1. I like the pixelated text more than the font used in Draft 2. I think it is a better match to the pixelated heart logo...
I'm trying to balance professionalism with staying true to my roots. The problem I had with the FixedSys font is Windows seems to think I don't want it to look pixelated and corrects it to a different font in Paint and GIMP both when I use large sizes.

I'll have to look for free fonts that will do what I want. As a child of the NES/SNES age, I like the pixel look. OCR is easily readable though.

Regardless, the slogan text "From The Heart" will be pixelated.

Aside from the text, what's the opinion on the extension of the flying red pixels in Draft 2?
I'm trying to balance professionalism with staying true to my roots. The problem I had with the FixedSys font is Windows seems to think I don't want it to look pixelated and corrects it to a different font in Paint and GIMP both when I use large sizes.

I'll have to look for free fonts that will do what I want. As a child of the NES/SNES age, I like the pixel look. OCR is easily readable though.

Regardless, the slogan text "From The Heart" will be pixelated.

Aside from the text, what's the opinion on the extension of the flying red pixels in Draft 2?

I think the extension is a nice touch. I'd say somewhere between the first and second would be perfect though (I'm just a little OCD ;) ). The second just looks a tad too drawn out, but I'm just being picky :p
I've never lived anywhere that came with a Bantam rooster. This guy is about nine inches tall.

And everybody glossed over the obligatory need for a comment of you sharing pictures of your 9 inch cock? ;)

On a serious note. And up to date. I like the smoother font with the red heart. I'm really liking the new place you've got set up. I had an "ouch - damn!" moment for the bike wreck, and had a sorrow yet envy phase for the relationship changes.

So now i'm all caught up, methinks. Glad to see that somebody else labels their Sandisk Cruiser micros the same way I do :p
Seems things are always touch-n-go in my life. Right now even more so. My mom has been in the hospital for over a month now. The Thursday before last, it was thought that I wouldn't be able to see her before she passed away. Fortunately, I was able to make the trip Tuesday and couldn't believe what I saw.

To give some backstory, I live in Cache Valley, Utah. My family lives just over the mountains in Brigham City, where I grew up. I don't get to see them all as often as I'd like because of time constraints and fuel expenses. I hadn't seen my Mom in something like six weeks.

...and a lot had changed.

Around 2002-2003, my Mom was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and had a tumor removed from her chest cavity. It had wrapped into part of one lung and half of her diaphragm. Removing it cut her lung capacity by something like 30% and the paralyzed diaphragm nerve made breathing wonky.

Flash forward to 2008 when she was in a car accident that ultimately caused "proverbial straw" nerve damage to her already vulnerable nervous system, taking out her sense of taste by way of completely taking out her sense of smell (olfactory bulbs). Food doesn't taste good. Roasted garlic, for example, tastes like battery acid. She lost a lot of weight over the next three years, but I didn't know this.

Flash forward to 2011, last year. Before telling this, I play into the backstory. As mentioned earlier in my build thread, my now exwife left in February of 2011. The day I was banned from the trailer house, I went to make amends with my family (this being my biological mom, adoptive Dad and my two half-brothers) whom I hadn't seen in a long time. While I was basically turned against them by the ex, it was ultimately my fault for not having the balls to stand my ground. We of my family may be weird, but we're a good kind of weird.

I showed up at my parents' house, shocked at how thin my Mom had become since the wreck, and broke the news about the impending divorce... and then just fell apart. I felt like I was going to pass out. I hadn't eaten anything in over a day, only managing to stay awake via fear and caffeine. Mom was there to catch me as I fell. A home cooked meal and napping on the couch is sometimes the best medicine. Blood is, indeed, thicker than water.

Now, on that subject: Mom's blood oxygen levels were dangerously low for some reason and she had to take units of donor blood every few weeks in order to stay alive. Getting a blood match isn't all that difficult unless you've been through what she has and ended up with sensitivity to antibodies most people, and their blood, carry. Finding blood that would work was sometimes sketchy.

What the medical staff ultimately found there was that her spleen had gone rogue and was destroying red blood cells (RBCs) for no good reason while her marrow was making and kicking out immature RBCs in a desperate attempt to correct the resulting low blood oxygen levels from the RBC holocaust, but immature RBCs don't carry oxygen all that well and the rogue spleen was snuffing those, too. Removing Mom's spleen corrected the need for blood.

But something else was brewing.

Last month, Mom was taken to the hospital because she was basically paralyzed. She couldn't move because something was making her body attack her own nervous system. Imagine feeling like you're grabbing a soldering iron with your whole body. That's what this felt like for her with the added effect of no movement control. She thought she was a goner. Steroids, mainly cortisone, I think, stopped that part of it, but she's been in the hospital ever since.

Unfortunately, that didn't always go smoothly. Between painkillers and messups with food, she lost more than 20lbs more while in the hospital. It got so bad that her sodium electrolyte balance was affected and her body's electrical conductivity was thrown off. We all lose electrolytes when we sweat, for example, but this screws with your heart when it happens to this extent. That brings us to Thursday the 19th. She was placed in a bed that gives a running status on her weight and a feeding tube was inserted to get her weight back up. She couldn't move again and talking was almost impossible.

I went to see her this past Tuesday. She's on a cycle of steroids to get rid of inflammation and chemotherapy (Avastin - look that stuff up... Holy. God.) to snipe any cancer that pops up since it's really a matter of where it's found, not whether it's there. She was able to talk, her arms worked and she could wiggle her toes. We talked for hours. I won't go into what we covered because it's pretty hard to talk about, but she has planned for endgame should that time arrive. Her main wish was to see her grandchild (my daughter) again. I ended up getting back home from Salt Lake City at around 11PM. Sleep was pretty difficult that night.

Yesterday, something funky was found in her right lung. It was removed and she was placed on a ventilator that she was expected to need through the weekend. No. She was off the ventilator today and eating again. I learned that from my Dad this afternoon. Still there will be no visit from my daughter allowed because of Mom's immune system being so vulnerable.

Mom is something of a Golden Egg right now. The kind of cancer she's engaged in battle with is something that has only been found when patients/victims only have days, sometimes hours, to live before it's diagnosed. She was being watched like a hawk when the pieces fell into place that she developed this weird type of cancer, which continues to bob and weave, so she's a subject of interest for a lot of very high-end specialists and researchers.

Because of continuous problems with the staff at UofU hospital, despite her golden egg status, she's being moved to Huntsman Cancer Institute. For those who don't know, Huntsman is pretty much _the_ place for cancer research/treatment. It's like having your own personal army, really.

And that brings us to my events of today. Right now, it's 12:13AM MDT on April 28 and I'm typing this. I don't consider it a new day until I've slept so I'm writing from the perspective of Today=April 27, 2012.

Earlier in the day, I had a wellness check of my own by Orriant, a company that runs a blood test, weight check and body fat check to see if you're in good health or need coaching in order to get there. You get a good discount on your health plan premium if you do it. I was expecting to be placed in a risk category since my weight is technically high though I'm no longer obese. Nope. They take body fat percentage into account on an interchangeable basis with BMI. That's good because I've gained a lot of muscle. My BMI is only 2% off anyway.

Years ago, I was prediabetic by way of insulin resistance. Not anymore. At all. My triglycerides had also been high in the past. No. <150mg/dL is normal. I scored 69mg/dL. My cholesterol level was fine, though bringing my good cholesterol (HDL) up is something worth doing. Essentially, I've been given a clean bill of health. Instead of needing coaching, I just need to stay my course.

It was a couple of hours later that I learned Mom was off the ventilator.

Since I had to fast for at least 12 hours before my blood test, I was pretty hungry and ate heavily, twice, both to celebrate my fitness victory (Ironic? Not really. I'll explain.) and to gutbomb myself. When you train heavily and eat relatively healthy food, your body tends to forget how to deal with garbage food like greasy burgers and overload from starches. Kicking yourself like that every couple of weeks is a good idea because it throws your starvation code for a loop and you burn more energy before burnout. Plus you keep the skill of digesting heavy foods just in case you end up someplace where healthy food is non-existent (grill season is upon us) and don't want to have a good time cut short by digestive difficulties.

I took in 1600 calories last night before starting my fast, in the form of a sandwich stacked with salami, Capicola, pepperoni and Provolone and two boxes of Jujyfruit candies (Wake up, pancreas! Wake up and smell the ashes). That was after a day where I ate maybe 400 calories. Surprisingly, I used it and it didn't faze me. I probably took in 3000 calories today by way of a pasta salad right after my blood test, and after picking my daughter up for the weekend, a 1/2lb mushroom swiss burger with fries and a large Butterfinger shake from Dixie Grill in Brigham City and some Diet Mountain Dew (I'm not suicidal) for the caffeine I missed for the day (helps ride through the napping urge) and, after returning home, another Italian grease sandwich, a box of the same Jujyfruit candies and random cookies and Pocky sticks given to me by my daughter. I'm set.

And that's on the heels of weighing in under 190 for the first time since just after my divorce. This was tension-breaking.

So why all of that? Well, since there's a chance my Mom won't live to see Dashcat entirely completed, and she has yet to see any of my major projects achieve completion, I'm going with the one that's way over half done (and readily portable) and completing my fitness project. I've been some degree of overweight my whole adult life and never as strong as I am now. If my Mom isn't going to live long enough to see me graduate from college, remarry, etc, at least she can see me achieve the strength I've had in me this whole time.

I was mainly doing it so I could possibly act as a source for stem cells, but since you need strong lungs to take stem cell treatment and she's down below 50% capacity, she's not a candidate for that. I'll never give up hope, but I have five reasons now for pressing onward with the fitness side of things. Stem cells, achieving completion of a big project, the promise I made to my daughter last year, being better prepared to find a step-mom for my daughter and being better prepared to just plain face life no matter what it throws at me. That's a lot of stuff.

And I'm still working on Dashcat.
Thank you for the post, Im glad that you are healthier than ever, But I feel sorry that your mom isn't doing so well, I hope everything works out as best as possible. I really truly do.
Thank you for sharing all this with us. My best wishes go out to you and your family.
Thanks for sharing, all the best for your goals and my sincere regards for you and your family.
Take care of yourself.
My Mom is doing better. The Bevacizumab treatment is working incredibly well so far. It's going to be a long road to recovery, for sure, but I still have my Mom and my daughter has her Grandma.

I've figured out how to daisy chain my Belkin KVMs. I have a two port KVM connecting my laptop and the remote console to the sidecar 2001FP display. I hit Scroll Lock twice and arrow up or down to engage either channel of the two port KVM. To access the remote 16-port KVM, I hit Scroll Lock twice and hit the space bar twice to bring up the menu and arrow to the node I want to look at.

With that feature found and figured out, I ran into another problem. When I swap to the server display, Windows 7 thinks I've unplugged the sidecar monitor and switches to single monitor mode, which is really just a minor annoyance since it switches back when I change the input back to sidecar mode. The flicker during reconfiguration was annoying enough I looked for a solution to keep Windows 7 from detecting an unplugged display.

And I found it: Registry value DMMenableDDCpolling holds the key. It occurs a few times and all have to be changed from the normal value of 1 to zero. It's fine now.

I'll be doing the same to the quad-head display because there's something going on with the MiniDP to VGA adapters that makes display channels drop out at weird times, usually on resume from sleep/hibernate or coming back from display power save.

I used to have to juggle three keyboards, but I'm down to two and I did away with the 4 port KVM entirely. I won't need a keyboard hooked to the thin client during normal operation so having it on a KVM was overkill.
Great to hear your mom is doing better!

Cool tip on the display polling as well :cool:
June 20, 2012 - Epic Summer - Day 1

Started car for drive to work. After required minute of warmup time for known moisture leakdown into combustion chambers to burn off, I was underway, slowly at first to allow ignition system to catch up. It wasn't working all that well. What was different? Two quarts of tap water were added to cooling system the previous night to avoid overheating. Leakdown was far higher than normal because of this.

Engine misfire didn't clear up like normal. And then it happened: Check Engine Light started flashing as opposed to being lit steadily. This indicates condition that runs risk of damaging catalytic converter. In practice, this means misfire.

I remembered back to my 1996 Camaro which developed the same problem suddenly in 2005. I didn't know enough to fix it. It had the non-supercharged version of the same 3800 Series II V6 that was now giving me the same symptoms. But why the slow death now as opposed to the instantaneous emergence of the last time? And why had the previous repair never caused the same type of misfiring, electing instead to clog the catalytic converter? Was the intake gasket the cause of the misfire or was it something else entirely? Did the forced induction nature of the current engine pushing back on leakage have anything to do with the relative longevity of almost double the miles before failure? Could the heart of the beast be repaired? That's what I aim to find out and I saw it coming since the overheat last year and seeing coolant bubbling away on top of the engine a month ago.

I took the wounded beast back home during my lunch break to cool down for the rest of the afternoon, electing to ride my motorcycle until the repairs were complete. Having already bought the lower intake gasket kit, I bought the supercharger gasket and throttle body gasket at Axtell-Taylor GM after work. With that done, I began the disassembly process, unsure of what I'd see, especially since this engine has twice as many miles on it as the last one on which I performed the same repair.

Bottom of supercharger. There's not supposed to be any moisture there and those rotors aren't supposed to be dirty like that. The only clean spots are where the rotors are so close to each other as to squeeze everything else out. The amazing part is the rotor bearings have zero play after 222,500 miles.

That gunk is coolant residue mixed with oil and dirt. That bottom right dark orange puddle is about an inch deep with such gunk. On this engine, because of the supercharger, the fuel injector holes (called bosses) are in the cylinder heads, not the intake manifold. If it weren't for the thickness of the gunk being much like pudding, I'd have that stuff oozing into my intake valves. It's so thick it went nowhere. Inside the intake manifold, more orange residue. The coolant leak wasn't just from the intake gaskets--it was from the throttle body as well. The two whitish rings toward the top of the photo are the coolant passages to the throttle body. The discoloration is from another leak made worse by the EGR passage just above and between them in the photo.

Upon dislodging and moving the lower intake manifold, a shocking amount of coolant (again, mostly water at this point), flowed down into the engine block I don't know where it was hiding, but it's now in my oil pan. Some of the coolant managed to get into one intake runner, but the valve was closed so a paper towel was used to soak it up.

You don't want to eat this chocolate milkshake.

The last set was bad. This set of dead gaskets was pretty bad. This is just alarming. I call this being on borrowed time.

This is only the beginning.
sounds like you definitely caught it in time however, just make sure you use some oil in the areas that the water touched stuff it shouldn't have otherwise you could have rust develop pretty quick on surfaces like the valves/seats when just sitting open which will give you more trouble later.