Monthly Archives: March 2015

Chalk drawings at SAM

While Pauline was attending her class at the Singapore Art Museum, Esther and I took the opportunity to have some fun at a chalk board ­čÖé

It has been years since I last used a piece of chalk and it really brings back memories. I still remember the times where we would go early to school and decorate the black boards for our teachers for teachers’ day. It was an era where we did not have much and buying was simply out of the question so we took what we had and create something out of it.

Mid way through the doodling, we discovered shading and produced the following drawings which I thought were beautiful. We had so much fun and Esther was really proud of her work. This has certainly been one of those unexpected wonderful things. A happy moment made possible with some simple chalk and black board.

2015-03-27 18.51.05 2015-03-27 18.54.42 2015-03-27 19.07.42 2015-03-27 19.08.39 2015-03-27 19.10.21 2015-03-27 19.18.42 2015-03-27 19.18.56 2015-03-27 19.18.59

Hard disk down

Had one of the internal 3TB drives fail on the new server which was part of a ZFS raidz. At least ZFS is working fine, the drive was marked as faulted but the system was still running in degraded mode.

Took out the drive and replaced it with a 6TB and after 4 hours of resilvering, the system is back online.

So yes the raid thing does work quite well. And I will probably start replacing the 3TB drives with 6TB drives as they fail till they are all replaced and then a resize should give me double the capacity.

New server

So I was monitoring the buy and sell sections of local forums for a good bargain on a X99 or X79 system. I was interested in trying out virtualisation but for that, I will need more RAM and faster processors. The current system was built for low power and noise while having the ability to host a lot of drives. With the release of the X99, I thought it was a good time to change.

I managed to get a good deal on a MSI X99S SLI PLUS with 32GB of RAM and a m.2 256GB SSD. On top of that, a new Fractal Design Define R5 casing, a Corsair RM650 power supply, a Intel i7- 5820K, Coolmaster Hyper 612 v2 cooler and 2 additional 3TB WD Red drives. I recycled a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 290. This gives me a fast SSD for the boot drive, 8x3TB for the ZFS RAID, 6 cores and lots of memory. A ready power house.

The surprising thing was how silent it runs. Even when doing the stress testing, the machine was very silent. This is probably a combination of the casing and the CPU cooler.

I got Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on it and KVM is running multiple VMs. I have one VM running the web server supporting this WordPress site and another running Plex as a media server. The great thing is being able to testing application in VMs and throwing them away once I am done. This keeps the base system really clean. All I have on the base system is file sharing stuff like AFP, Samba and NFS.

The old server was recycled as my work PC since my Sony VAIO laptop was dying. Got a Samsung EVO 850 256GB SSD for it and it is running Windows 8.1 for work. Windows 8.1 is a big switch from Windows 7 in terms of UI and I see little benefit in the new UI. Just more irritating UI bits. It is faster but the Metro apps really drive me nuts.

eSATA cables

Still wanting to run eSATA on the external enclosure, I decided to purchase another eSATA card, but this time based on a Marvell 88SE9123 chipset instead. At the same time, thinking that it could be a cable issue, got 2 eSATA cables together from Amazon.

Installation of the card was relatively painless. But the external enclosure was not being recognised properly so it was back to the SIL3132.

The new cables were installed and a few days went by without any issues. So it might be the cables after all.