Tag Archives: setup

The Epson TX700W has died

The Epson TX700W is died with a message about the ink pads being full and needing replacement. So after some googling, apparently there is a counter for this which is based on the number of pages printed. Rather upset with Epson, so they know that the ink pads will get filled up and instead of engineering something to solve this problem, they decided to just kill the printer when they think it is full (remember the counter). In the US, they make available a re-setter software for this but not for the rest of the world (maybe we do need to be a bit more trigger happy with lawsuits).

Getting this back to Epson would certainly be costly. Getting a resetting software is possible but will either be difficult to find or it will cost me. Went to Sim Lim and asked around and 2 shops have indicated that they can perform the reset with one of them doing an additional cleaning of the ink pads which is probably a good idea. God knows how much ink has been deposited on the thing. Pretty cheap too, $25 for the reset and cleaning. Will bring down the printer one of these days to try. It is such a good printer so it would be a shame to let it go to waste.

Since Pauline needs to print, I got a Brother DCP-J725DW as a replacement for now while I get the TX700W fixed. So far so good, the photo printouts are nice looking but certainly not as sharp as the Epson. Airprint is quite cool but of limited use since no settings can be done. Ink is also rather cheap and boy does the thing print fast. The Epson has good printout but it is slow, so it is nice to have something that prints fast. I am rather impatient 🙂

My setup 20121229 update

Another year has passed and with it more changes to the systems. The server is still around, no major changes this year, the LSI SAS1064ET is still good so both RAID5 are still kicking around. A SIL3132 SATA controller was transferred from the Mac Pro for the 2 eSATA ports, one of which is connected to a 4 bay Hotway external enclosure containing 4 x 3TB Western Digital green drives providing an additional 9TB of RAID5. That leaves another eSATA port to connect to another 4 bay enclosure.

The previous E8400 windows machine is being used by Esther as her HP workstation is now in the living acting as the media player since the Popcorn Hour C-200 kicked the bucket. I got a new windows machine with a Intel i5-3570K CPU on an ASUS P8Z77-V LK mainboard with 8Gb of RAM, a 120GB ADATA SSD and a Palit GTX670 graphics card. The windows machine is excellent for games 🙂

The Marantz AVR NR1501 has decided to stop producing any sound so instead of another AVR, I got a pair of Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II since with everyone in the study room I cannot really listen to music.

A Xbox 360 is connected to the ATEN KVM. The PS3 is not really in use, especially with the new windows machine around.


Updates to the server 20110421

It has been a lot time since the last update. The LSI 8408E went south and brought down the entire RAID5. Thank god nothing important was on it. This is the last time I am going the hardware raid route. At least for software RAID, I can get any other controller and re-assemble the RAID5. But for hardware RAID, I will probably have to get the same controller and I am definitely not buying a new LSI 8408E, that would have cost a bomb.

So for a while I use a Western Digital ShareSpace which has 4TB in RAID5 (3TB usable) but boy is it slow. Transfers are about 10MB/s which is rather bad. Finally I got a LSI SAS1064ET which gives me 4 additional SATA ports which I attached 4 2TB drives and created a software RAID5 under linux (6TB usable). So if the card fails again, I just have to assemble the RAID5 in another machine. The previous 1TB drives were connected to the ICH10R to form 5TB RAID5 (4TB usable). This gives me a total of 10TB in RAID5 storage on the server with an additional 3TB in the WD ShareSpace. The last SATA on the ICH10R was used for the system drive (1TB). This should keep things going for a while more 🙂

RAM has been increased to 8GB since some of the work I am doing requires a lot of RAM. During the house moving, the power supply decided to quit and another modular one was installed.

My setup 20110421 update

We shifted house and the new place is bigger and gives us a chance to re-organize everything. The main sever has undergone some changes but is largely the same.

I have gotten a number of new machines from an auction following the closure of my previous company. With the company closing, they made a great decision of auctioning the computer hardware that we have. The auction was done by an external company EquipNet who are professionals at this kind of work. The actual auction was rather exciting as everyone wanted those machines but are not really sure how much to bid.

In the end, I managed to get hold of 10 HP workstations and 1 Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is really the jewel here, a 8 core monster with 8GB of RAM and a 24″ cinema display. A real steal at $1400. This means that I can go back to using the mac as the main machine rather than windows. As for the HP workstations, I will be getting 3 of them and the rest will be sold to other colleagues. In addition, I got hold of 2 HP laptops courtesy of Dong Liang who bidded for all 23 🙂

The Mac Pro was updated with a OCZ Vertex 2 120GB SSD and boy does the system fly now. For media storage, it has 2 x 2TB WD Black in RAID 0 for maximum speed. There is another 2TB WD Green for backups. This is really a powerhouse 🙂 It has also gotten an internal PCI-E card providing it with 2 E-SATA ports and I have it connected to a Hotway 4 way enclosure. This way I can add more drives if needed.

Ernest and Esther are each getting a HP workstation, each upgraded with a WD 500GB Black. The workstations are hooked up to 22″ LCD monitors mounted on articulating arms clipped to their tables. The 2 laptops have either a 160GB or 500GB 2.5″ drive since I reused one of the old portable drives. The laptops have been upgraded with more RAM so one of them has 6GB and the other 4GB. The last HP workstation has been give to my brother.

So my current work area has a Dell UltraSharp U2410 which is a fantastic screen. This is hooked up to a Aten KVM which is in turn connected to a Mac Pro, the server and the windows machine. The windows machine has been upgraded with more RAM and a new graphics card, a ATI Radeon HD 5850. Gigabit LAN is used for the interconnects so that transfers are really fast.

This setup has gotten a new set of speakers, Wharfedale Diamond 9 which is connected to a Marantz AVR NR1501. This is also connected to a Playstation 3 which is connected to the Dell U2410 via HDMI.

An Avision AV50F scanner and Brother P-Touch QL-550 is also connected for scanning and label printing.

It is a really nice setup, great hardware, tons of storage, fast network, 3 different operating system, beautiful sound and visuals. It certainly beats my workplace setup.

For printing, the Brother HL-4050CDN is still around but it is starting to develop problems. A new Samsung CPL-350N was purchased which is even worse than the going to drop dead Brother. Very disappointing. On the bright side, an Epson TX770 has replaced the HP Photosmart C6180. And it is a very very good printer. Beautiful photo print outs that look even better than the ones from the standard photo developing shops. It is also pretty accurate in terms of color after a but of tweaking. With a color calibrated screen and a tweaked printer, all the photos look really good and the colors are very consistent.

For the rest of the house, everything is connected via Gigabit LAN. There are LAN points everywhere and 3 WiFi access point provide wireless coverage for the whole house.

For the living room, there is a Popcorn Hour C-200 which plays back media streamed via LAN. It is connected via HDMI to a DENON AVR-1910. A Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 is in turn connected to the AVR. For the screen, a Sony KDL-46EX500 is used. The Sony display is actually quite good, I am really impressed. So we finally get a cinema experience at home 🙂

The kids’ room has a 32″ LCD TV which is connected to a Wii and our room has another 32″ LCD TV connected to a A.C. Ryan Playon!HD Mini.

My setup 20090809

The server was running low on storage again. The Nikon D300 taking 10MB a piece RAW photos is really eating up a lot of data storage. I managed to get a second hand LSI 8408E 8 port PCIE SATA RAID card and it works well in Ubuntu. This means that I get up to 8 SATA ports in addition to the 6 provided by the ICH10R. The SiI 3114 did not manage to recognize my 1TB Seagate drives.

This time round, I decided to go all the way and max out the drives. So I got another 3 bay 5.25″ to 4 3.5″ converter and got an additional 6 1TB drives. The idea being to connect all 8 1TB drives to the LSI 8408E in a RAID 5 configuration for 7TB of storage. This will be supplemented by a 3 x 500GB RAID 5 providing an addition 1TB of storage. So all in all, I would have 8TB of storage which is more then double what I had previously (3TB). And this time round, it will all be in RAID 5 for a piece of mind. Hopefully this will last me for the next 3 years or so.

The MacBook Pro was also running low on disk space so I got a Seagate Desktop Extreme 1.5TB for it hooked up via firewire 400. For now, I am using the drive to backup the data on the 2 1TB Seagates so that I can construct the 8 drive RAID 5. So there is a lot of copying right now to move the data into the external drives to free up the 2 Seagate 1TB drives.

SSL on the web server (update)

Know how sometimes you feel that you must be the stupidest person on the planet. Happened to me today. Was wondering why the redirect to the SSL protected server was not working outside the home network until I realize that I forgot to forward the port on the router. So it is working now. Ha ha.

SSL on the web server

Converted the web server to use SSL to encrypt the traffic. The following guides were extremely useful for this:

– http://www.tc.umn.edu/~brams006/selfsign.html
– http://www.tc.umn.edu/~brams006/selfsign_ubuntu.html

The first guide shows how to create a certificate and the second to configure apache for SSL.

My setup 20080807 update

It has been a really busy week or two. The disks were filling up (1.7TB) and I wanted to have a RAID setup for the really important stuff. So off I went to get 2 1TB drives. Initially I wanted to get an additional SATA controller to drive the new drives since there was quite a fair bit of space in the casing. However this proved to be next to impossible. I wanted to get a Silicon Image 3124 SATA controller since it was cheap and know to work well in Linux. I searched around and there appeared to be one shop in Sim Lim that carries a card that uses that chip. So off I went down to Sim Lim to buy the card and the hard drives. When I got there, it was out of stock and they do not know when they will be getting new stock. Bummer, so off I went running from shop to shop to locate for a SATA controller. And I could not find a single Silicon Image 3124 in the whole of Sim Lim. Maybe I was not trying hard enough, but there were a lot of other controllers from Adaptec, Highpoint and 3ware. Unfortunately, they are kind of expensive since they had hardware RAID on board which I did not need. So for the first time in a long time, I went back empty handed.

Back home, I started to look online for a cheap SATA controller. Searched ebay and found a cheap Silicon Image 3114 which again appears to work with Linux. So I ordered it from Hong Kong and it was far cheaper than the 3124 that I wanted. The 3124 was going for $150 while the 3114 was about $35 with postage. But the only thing is that I had to wait for it. Well as least it was cheap.

In the meantime, I decided to just max out the current SATA ports that I have. I acquired a second hand WD 36GB Raptor and I wanted to use it for the root mount point. So that is one port down. There were 3 500GB WD which I wanted configured as a software RAID5. That leaves 2 ports (I have a ICH9R with 6 ports). So 2 1TB drives it is to house the rest of the data while I construct the raid and start putting the important stuff on it.

So off I went to Sim Lim again and again the Samsung F1 1TB drives which were deemed to be very good were out of stock. So I had to settle for Seagate 1TB drives. I also got 2 2GB RAM modules since I wanted to do a lot of virtualization to separate the production and development environments.

Back home, I got into trouble also right away. The RAM modules were defective. memtest was complaining like crazy. The installation with a fresh install of 64bit Ubuntu 8.04 went fine but on reboot, GRUB went nuts. Well, I still could start up the system using the LiveCD, so I thought that I fixed the GRUB issue after I have the hard drives setup in the manner that I wanted.

Then I started on the copy process which takes a while since there were like 1.7TB to move around. A couple of months back, I noticed some data corruption issues so I decided to generate MD5 checksums and check all the files. I got the shock of my life when I found significant amounts of data corruption. Initially, I thought it was some silent data corruption issues but after a couple of days of crazy troubleshooting including the purchase of a new mainboard, I discovered that the mainboard was defective. And we are talking about a system that could withstand a full 24 hours of mprime. Ok so the cpu and the memory were alright but certainly not the storage part. I think there is some problems with the ICH9R southbridge. I should have expected it since the mainboard had a weird startup sequence where it would power up and then down and then finally up again.

Oh, well, at least the problem was resolved. The new mainboard was a ASUS P5Q-Pro with 8 SATA ports, 6 by ICH10R and 2 by a Silicon Image 5723. Ubuntu 8.04 did not recognize the Silicon Image 5723 and I could not see anything in ”lspci” for it. Strange, perhaps there were some options not been set in the BIOS. I will work on it later. But finally everything is fine now. The new configuration is as follows:

– 1 WD 36GB Raptor WD360ADFD-00NLR1 – root partition
– 3 WD 500GB SATA WD5000AAKS-65YGA0 – RAID5
– 2 Seagate 1TB SATA ST31000340AS – Storage
– 1 LG DVD writer HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GSA-H55N – DVD drive

There is 3TB of storage with 1TB in RAID5. I moved all the PATA drives to the E8400 machine and copied the data back to the server. So the windows machine now has 4 PATA hard drives and 2 SATA hard drives. This is the same number of drives as the server but of much lower capacity. I plan to use this as a secondary backup storage. So I have less than 50% space left on the server.

The Sil3114 was delivered in a couple of days time, which I thought was pretty quick. Maybe I should buy online next time. And it worked perfectly well in Ubuntu 8.04 so that was good news. So I now have 4 extra SATA or 6 if I can get the Sil5723 to work.

My setup 20080614 update

A lot of the stuff have either been retired or they have failed. The PSC1350 printer has been replaced with a HP Photosmart C6180 which is a network AIO. The C6180 has fax capabilities and it has certainly been very useful. It being networked means that scanned documents can be send to any Windows or Mac machine. Pretty neat.

The HP Color Laserjet 2550 has died on us. Pretty upset about it since it was really expensive when we brought it and it has only been 3 years. Seeing that some old Laserjet 4s are still around and kicking, we would have thought that the 2550 would have lasted a fair bit longer. What am I to do with those toners 🙁 When we got a Brother HL-4050 to replace that and boy is it good to have a built-in duplexer. And the prints look pretty good. Driver installation was also a breeze compared to the HP ones. Certainly changed my views on Brother for laser printers.

The home server has been completely replaced by a spanking new one running Ubuntu 8.04. The mainboard is an Abit IP35Pro which is based on the Intel P35 chipset with ICH9R so I get 6 SATA and 2 PATA connectors. The processor is now a Q6600 and it is paired with 2GB of RAM. Graphics is handled by a cheap Nvidia GeForce 7300 SE. The Coolermaster Elite 330 was a bit too small for the large number of drives. Harddisk temperatures were reaching over 50°C. Way too high. So forked out the cash for what I believed to be the first of the many Coolermaster Stacker, STC-T01. The case has 11 5.25″ drive bays at the front which can be converted for use with harddisk using a 3 to 4 converter. The plus point of this is that the converted comes with a 120mm fan to help cool the harddisk. And with 11 bays, I can put in 12 harddrives in 9 bays with 2 bays for optical drives. Right now, it is stuffed with 7 harddrives and 1 optical. This has required the use of the ITE8212 which is working well under Ubuntu 8.04 to connect one of the PATA drives. I have one last SATA port on the mainboard and 3 more PATA connections left.

– 3 x 500GB Western Digital WD5000AAKS-65YGA0
– 1 x 200GB Maxtor 6L200P0
– 1 x 300GB Seagate ST3300622A
– 1 x 250GB Maxtor 6L250R0
– 1 x 120GB Maxtor 6Y120M0
– 1 x DVD Writer LG DVDRAM GH20NS10

There are also 2 external harddisk in 3.5″ casings attached to the server via Firewire in a chain configuration.

– 1 x 160GB Western Digital WD1600JB-00GVA0
– 1 x 160GB Maxtor 6Y160P0

The power supply is now an AcBel M8 Power 670 which is my first modular power supply and it is certainly neat 🙂 And it should provide enough power to the drives.

The Windows machine has also been completed changed. It is currently using a E8400, has 2GB of RAM, using a MSI K7N Platinum (Nvidia 750i chipset) mainboard, a Nvidia 8800GT and a Antec 550W power supply. I use it mainly for gaming and it is good. It is currently housed in the old Coolermaster Elite 330 that the server was previously using.

My wife has gotten herself another tablet laptop, a HP TX1220. In addition to her workplace laptop, she has in all, 3 laptops. It is cluttering up her table big time. Speaking of table, we finally got a table from Ikea to be her work space.