Tag linux (2)

of video cards and wanting to kill computers
Mood: frustrated
Posted on 2006-03-01 09:42:00
Tags: linux computer
Words: 565

This entire thing is gonna be a computer rant, so skip if you're not interested.

So last night I was having trouble deciding what I wanted to do - try out Civ 4 (which I had installed the previous night on my computer), play WoW or work on this dental site project. Eventually I decided on Civ 4. So I go to run it and it crashes. Well, no huge surprise, so I checked the cedega forums and tried a few things, one of which worked. Yay! So I was going to start a new game and was picking out a leader when my computer froze, just like it did in WoW.

"Arrrrgh", I thought, and did a hard reset and started up the game again, and the same thing happened (like it sometimes does in WoW - usually on the third reset it'll stay). So I opened up my computer, blew out some dust and let it run with the case open to hopefully get more cooling or something (although I didn't think cooling was the problem, really, since when it does run without freezing it runs for hours on end).

Then I noticed the fan on the video card wasn't turning! Ack!

So after trying a few things to grease up the fan (djedi won't tell me what he put on it, but he went in the kitchen to do so (and we didn't have WD-40..)), nothing worked, and I ran out to Fry's to get a new video card.

On the way I was pretty darn happy. A new video card that will presumably fix my problem. Hooray!

Ended up getting an eVGA NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT. When I got home, wildrice13 mentioned that was the same video card he got (after his previous one blew up) and it was good and all that. So that was nice.

Stick the new card in, boot up, things are looking OK (the fan is turning). Things aren't accelerated correctly, so I install new drivers. glxgears (the standard FPS test, should at least 5000 FPS) is running at around 500 FPS. I screw around with that for a while, can't get it any higher (direct rendering is on, glxgears is using the accelerated libGL.so). Give up and try WoW, which works OK for a while, then freezes. Aaaaaargh! Hard reset, and the computer freezes when I'm just in X, no WoW at all. Oh, crap, this never happened before. Disable AGP and it doesn't freeze, although glxgears is now dog slow (150 FPS) and it's noticeably slower to switch between virtual screens. Give up and go to bed in a foul mood.

This morning I turned on AGP again and it didn't freeze outside of WoW, although I tried WoW and it did freeze after a while. So I guess I'll screw around with it some more this evening or something. Because spending $180 on a video card and ending up in a worse state than when I started is unacceptable. If all else fails, I guess I'll go back to the old card (assuming whatever djedi did didn't hose it completely) and return this one. Ugh.

I forgot to mention: I'm highly suspicious of the motherboard AGP stuff. But I don't know a good way to test this, and I'm sure not going to buy a new motherboard without being pretty darn sure that's the problem.


meaning to post for a while - here it comes!
Mood: ecstatic
Music: New Kids On The Block - "Keep On Smilin'"
Posted on 2005-06-17 12:54:00
Tags: linux asmc tivo family computer
Words: 1065

Hmm. I meant to post yesterday, but I guess I've been kinda busy. I'm leaving after work to meet my family at a condo in Conroe (hmm, that kinda rhymes!) for Father's Day, as wonderjess has been mentioning. It'll be nice to see everyone in a relaxed environment. And apparently there will be pie! Mmm.

So David left yesterday to go home for Father's Day as well, so I was on my own yesterday. Work went pretty well (finally fixed my stupid problem), but I didn't leave until 5:40, which is really cutting it close to eat dinner and get to ASMC rehearsal by 7. I ended up cutting dinner a little short and not finishing the spaghetti I had reheated so I could get there on time. Baaad move, as we didn't start until 7:15, and we didn't "really start" (i.e. start running a scene) until almost 7:50. This is frustrating. But I'm still gonna make an effort to get there on time. And I brought the new Penrose book The Road to Reality, which is >1100 pages and supposedly a heavy read (I'm still reading introductory math stuff, but even some of it is stuff I haven't looked at in a long time). It's a birthday present (thanks, Mom & Dad!) that I'm slowly working my way through...

Rehearsal went well - we did "my" scene, and I have a pretty good idea of how it's going to work. Although it takes a lot of energy - we're supposed to be generally disorganized, running around and poking each other and stuff. Fun, though :-)

After I got home, I did some packing, printed out directions (there are apparently no good ways to get to Conroe from here, everywhere has me going on like 6 or 7 different highways...), and worked on a computer problem that I eventually solved.

So one of David's and mine (um, how does the grammar work there?) longish-term projects is to get TV shows off of the TiVo (using TiVoToGo) and burn them onto a DVD. So my first approach was to get them off onto David's computer, turn them into MPEGs, then edit them on my computer and burn them to DVD. I tried this a while ago, and I couldn't find good programs to do it on Linux (and burning a video DVD on Linux is crazy complicated, with .xml configuration files to configure the menus and stuff like that. Stuff that I probably could eventually figure out, but I finally gave up). So our next approach was to download the trial software that TiVo recommends to do it, and see if we could get that working.

The software is Sonic MyDVD, and it worked well once I figured out that I had to downgrade TiVo Desktop to 2.0 (you can download it from here) - it crashes all the time with version 2.1. Anyway, so I did that and eventually created an .iso image, and things were looking good.

A few days ago, I tried transfering the .iso file to my computer using WinSCP. It was going well, until the program wasn't able to make the file bigger than 2GB - it would error, and then quit and crash if you tried to reconnect and resume. This is where I was until last night.

So David and I had a number of ideas why this was happening - maybe the WinSCP program didn't work with greater than 2GB files, maybe the protocol didn't support it, or maybe my filesystem didn't support it. I had done some research that suggested that the protocol did support it, the WinSCP program did work with it, and my filesystem (ext3) did support it. So I was a bit at a loss.

The night before I wrote a quick program in C to try to create a 3GB file and see what happened. Lo and behold, it would quit once the file was 2GB, saying "File size limit exceeded". So I figured it was one of two things - either my C program needed to use 64-bit aware function calls, or my filesystem didn't support it.

So, we come to last night. First I looked at the filesystem, and everything I could find seemed to say that ext3 with 4KB block sizes should support up to 2TB files. I even tried creating a new ext3 filesystem on a spare partition and creating a big file there - no dice. So then I thought maybe my particular C program was the problem, and found a bunch of random documentation on the web about how to make the calls correctly. But all the documentation was old, and everything suggested that these calls should have been being made correctly by default, and indeed I couldn't solve it that way.

So I was kinda frustrated at this point, and thinking maybe my particular ssh daemon (the server side of SCP) was broken in some odd way or something. Finally, inspiration struck - there's a shell command "ulimit" that sets various limits on stuff you can do - how many files you can have open, how many processes you can be running, and, at long last, the size of files you can create! I had apparently played around with this before and set the maximum size up to 2GB (back in early college, I think). And I think the word "limit" in the error message I got should have tipped me off a little bit. But anyway, I fixed that, and it transferred over just fine. Then I burned it onto DVD (after first creating a data DVD that had the .iso file on it - doh!), and lo and behold, it played in the DVD player. Hooray!

That was oddly cathartic.

Anyway, the upshot of the story is that I was up until 2:20 or so, which was kinda fun (especially since I got stuff working!), but now I'm a little on the tired side. Should be OK for the drive, though.

Public Service Announcement: It has come to my attention that some readers of this journal are not impressed by del.icio.us. So, to increase understanding and adoptance, I will be posting neat features of del.icio.us on my future posts. (starting with the next one) Look for them in a journal near you!

In a related story, LJ added support for tags, which is pretty cool, so I'm gonna start tagging my entries. And you should too! :-)


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