Tech minor victory thread

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#1
When stuff JustWorks(tm) when you weren't sure it would, not a suitable victory for the main victory thread, and because my old threads were locked. Not only locked, but the first ones to show up locked when I scroll back through the tech threads. :p

Anyway. now that my Aspire laptop is a spare, I decided to give Gentoo Linux another go. For security purposes, I wanted to go full disk encryption. Previous googling found many incomplete write-ups, so I never bothered. That was then. Now there are multiple full walkthroughs to choose from based on hardware and your personal preferences. I find one that suits my needs, and wade in. I got the partition set up, encrypted, and the volumes inside configured. Then I was directed to proceed with a typical installation, with only a couple of detours back for encrypted-specific changes.

Long story short, I got it done on the first attempt. Delete one optional command that didn't work at boot time, and it works! The first time I've ever done a Gentoo install without having to go back into the install procedure at least twice more before it would boot.

Doesn't mean it was perfect. I still had to go back and fix a missing ethernet driver in the kernel, but that was quick and relatively painless. So it's now running on a wired connection until I get NetworkManager installed to make setting up the wifi easier. Then I can emerge xfce and whatever else I want.

tl;dr: I got an encrypted Gentoo install done in one (okay, one and a quarter) attempt! Go me. :D
 
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#2
16GB RAM added to the desktop, now running at 24GB.

Re my post in the build thread earlier today. After discussions elsewhere, it seems the Sandy Bridge and i5 combo is still a viable gaming platform. Just the video card would need to be brought up to current. And then a single midrange (~$170ish) card should be sufficient. :)
 
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#4
Exactly how many VMs are you running normally that you need that much RAM?
With 8GB and twin HD6800s in Crossfire mode, I'd still get out of memory errors when trying to run WoW on ultra settings. I haven't had a chance to test WoW with the extra RAM much tonight, but the first attempt before work went well. Not to mention that the 16GB pack was the only 2-stick set they had in the store that was compatible with my setup.

But here's the weird thing. I had 2 4GB sticks of DDR3-1600 already. The package I bought was marked as DDR3-1600, and DDR3-1333 compatible. But when I installed them and looked at the BIOS, all four sticks were running as DDR3-1333. I switched the memory timing setting from auto to DDR3-1600, but that made the system unstable, until it finally just started the four beep POST cry. I removed the new RAM, switched the timing back to auto, and reinstalled. All well since then.
 
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#5
With 8GB and twin HD6800s in Crossfire mode, I'd still get out of memory errors when trying to run WoW on ultra settings. I haven't had a chance to test WoW with the extra RAM much tonight, but the first attempt before work went well. Not to mention that the 16GB pack was the only 2-stick set they had in the store that was compatible with my setup.

But here's the weird thing. I had 2 4GB sticks of DDR3-1600 already. The package I bought was marked as DDR3-1600, and DDR3-1333 compatible. But when I installed them and looked at the BIOS, all four sticks were running as DDR3-1333. I switched the memory timing setting from auto to DDR3-1600, but that made the system unstable, until it finally just started the four beep POST cry. I removed the new RAM, switched the timing back to auto, and reinstalled. All well since then.
WoW should run on a toaster, even on ultra. My gaming pc only has 8gb ram and it runs even the newest games at max. Something is wrong if you are getting those errors.
 
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#6
WoW should run on a toaster, even on ultra. My gaming pc only has 8gb ram and it runs even the newest games at max. Something is wrong if you are getting those errors.
It would only do that on ultra settings. And more likely if I also had firefox open at all as well. I'm more concerned why a set of memory marked PC3-12800 and 1600MHz compatible would show up at 1333 instead.
 
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#7
The package I bought was marked as DDR3-1600, and DDR3-1333 compatible. But when I installed them and looked at the BIOS, all four sticks were running as DDR3-1333.
That's normal behavior. When you go from 2 memory modules to 4, it's not unusual for the memory to downclock*. When the memory controller(s) has to pay attention to more than two modules simultaneously, it will slow down a notch. This is why it's recommended to do 16GB as 2x8GB instead of 4x4GB when possible. Trying to force them to run back up at the higher speed will usually make them unstable unless you play with the voltages and such, but if you run them too far out of spec, it may damage the memory, CPU, or motherboard, so it's not something for casual experimentation.
Fortunately, the performance difference between 1600 and 1333 is really not that big.

--Patrick
*scroll down to "Standards and The Issue With Memory"
 
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#8
That's normal behavior. When you go from 2 memory modules to 4, it's not unusual for the memory to downclock*. When the memory controller(s) has to pay attention to more than two modules simultaneously, it will slow down a notch. This is why it's recommended to do 16GB as 2x8GB instead of 4x4GB when possible. Trying to force them to run back up at the higher speed will usually make them unstable unless you play with the voltages and such, but if you run them too far out of spec, it may damage the memory, CPU, or motherboard, so it's not something for casual experimentation.
Fortunately, the performance difference between 1600 and 1333 is really not that big.

--Patrick
*scroll down to "Standards and The Issue With Memory"
Yeah. I talked to a Geek just a few minutes ago, and he suggested pulling the old memory to see what would happen. Bingo. the new 16GB is running at it's rated 1600 now. Next thing is to put all the old in one bank and all the new in the other, instead of old-new-old-new.
 
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#9
Yeah. I talked to a Geek just a few minutes ago, and he suggested pulling the old memory to see what would happen. Bingo. the new 16GB is running at it's rated 1600 now. Next thing is to put all the old in one bank and all the new in the other, instead of old-new-old-new.
You're actually much, much better off just running 16GB all by itself in the two blue slots.
According to your manual, old-new-old-new is actually the RIGHT way to do things (since the two blue slots should be identical and the two white slots should be identical).
Also according to the manual, if you use 4 sticks, they all need to be identical mfr, speed, and size (see page 19 of your manual).

--Patrick
 
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#10
You're actually much, much better off just running 16GB all by itself in the two blue slots.
According to your manual, old-new-old-new is actually the RIGHT way to do things (since the two blue slots should be identical and the two white slots should be identical).
Also according to the manual, if you use 4 sticks, they all need to be identical mfr, speed, and size (see page 19 of your manual).

--Patrick
WRONG!

(page 19 finishes setting up SLI video cards) :p

And as I dig, I find the PNY memory (new) has a CAS latency of 11. The old memory, G. Skill Ripjaws X, is a 9.
 
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#13
Wife's main screen had been doing the death dance, so we decided to keep an eye out for cheap screens during last week. Dell had a pretty decent 24" for $100 each, and we decided to pick up one for each of us.

The new screens are so far both fantastic--very even lighting, good colors, no stuck/dead pixels, decent viewing angle, etc. This is the consumer version of one of the screens I purchased very often at my old IT job, so I knew what I was getting more or less.

Side victory: after 5 years of getting rid of my old black CRT, I finally have a vertical screen again :3 No vertical VESA mount handy, so it's sticky tape and physics, but still.

IMG_20151201_213005739.jpg
 
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#14
Seriously tinkering around with overclocking for the first time. Got my 3.5 GHz i5 overclocked to 4.5 GHz, and ~10% performance boost over baseline with my GTX 970.

Yet Fallout 4 is still running very poorly, so I'm sure there's some stuff I need to iron out.
 
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#15
Wound up with a $10 coupon from Best Buy after buying the laptop, and another $5 off for my birthday. So I went ahead and got a single XFX R7 360 video card to replace my twin HD 6850s. About to swap those out now.

And bah on Gentoo again. Doesn't play nice with Plasma 5 (the DE Formerly Known As KDE.) So many hoops to jump through before even attempting to download, and then block after block. No thanks. Kubuntu 10.15 takes care of all that automagically. :p
 
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#16
You probably won't notice much performance increase (if any). You're replacing your crossfire system with a single card that's just about as capable as those two cards in Crossfire. Your heat and noise should go down, though.

--Patrick
 
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#17
You probably won't notice much performance increase (if any). You're replacing your crossfire system with a single card that's just about as capable as those two cards in Crossfire. Your heat and noise should go down, though.

--Patrick
There is the five years of development between the old cards and the new ones. And the combined memory of the old cards is now on the one. And the new set of drivers the old ones aren't going to be allowed to use. So there should be at least a little bit of improvement. :)
 
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#18
Right. Your speed won't change (much...it'll probably actually go down slightly), but it will look prettier on screen and only take up one slot.

--Patrick
 
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#19
Successfully liberated my QFR TKL using a Frosty Flake daughterboard (in short, turned a normal keyboard into a programmable one like my Ergodox). I've been messing with it for a few days, and I'm on version 7 of my modified layout--slowly approaching a steady state of happy.

Totally worth it. I can plug this keyboard into nearly any computer and have this NKRO layout out of the box:

Workman_v7.png


Workman with QWERTY toggle, modifiers moved around (and doubled where needed), full mouse controls, and I can type every catalan character while staying ANSI. F13-F24 are more placeholders than anything else, but they're available if I want to do computer-side macros.

This is so much fun.
 
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#21
I wish I could find the old formatting keyboard overlays that were used for the original WORD. Because it had all the keyboard shortcuts on them.
 
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#22
My eyes hurt just looking at that.
I'm no graphics designer >_>" It's only meant as a reference, the keyboard layout should be in your hands. Or in this case, a mixture of having my hands learn and learning from what my hands want to do.

That graphic above will be outdated soon, anyway. I'm probably changing Ctrl+Alt+Del from Funct to L_Mod, and I'm thinking of turning L_Mod+L_Alt into a toggle Modifier that turns the number row (1, 2, ... 0) into a symbols row (!, @, ..., *) (i.e. Programmer's Workman) since it gets annoying when typing a lot of parentheses.

I might have to move away from AVR and into TMK soon, though. I'm reaching the programmability limits of this firmware, as it's missing some features I heavily rely on (transparent layers and chording).
 
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#24
New keycaps for the QFR arrived, so I could move from thin ABS to any sort of PBT plastic (also blanks, so glancing at QWERTY doesn't mess me up).

gradient.jpg
 
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#28
Also, for anyone interested, you can get mostly-decent mechanical keyboards for less than $60 these days.

--Patrick
To this, I would add that you can get keyboards with room-for-growth for a bit more than that ($60-$90), specially if you are willing to buy refurbished. my current keyboard was $65, plus $30 for the programmable daughterboard (green pcb in the first picture, above the arrow keys).

Also, you can get a switch tester from Amazon for $8-20 (or a numpad tester, so it actually has a purpose) so you get a feel for the different keyswitches.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#29
I'm still loving my Kinesis Freestyle, it's made a world of difference at work. My only gripe is it doesn't have a numeric keypad or a printscreen key.



That said, the switches are membrane, not mechanical.
 
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#30
I'm still loving my Kinesis Freestyle, it's made a world of difference at work.
I want to know if that difference is that it has been better for your wrists, or that you now have room in the center of your desk for your current Snack-O'-Choice.

--Patrick
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#31
I want to know if that difference is that it has been better for your wrists, or that you now have room in the center of your desk for your current Snack-O'-Choice.

--Patrick
BOTH.

My wrists are much happier, and now there's space on my desk in front of me to write (or store snacks) on.[DOUBLEPOST=1470932715,1470932498][/DOUBLEPOST]I should have just taken a picture of my own in the first place.

0811161122~2.jpg
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#33
Your desk looks a lot like my desk.
Except you probably don't have the word AFFIDAVITS desperately scrawled across the middle as if it were some kind of terrified warning.

Also, probably less beard hair.
 
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#34
I'm still loving my Kinesis Freestyle, it's made a world of difference at work. My only gripe is it doesn't have a numeric keypad or a printscreen key.



That said, the switches are membrane, not mechanical.
With the new Kinesis Advantage coming out, you might be able to pick up an older model used for cheap(er). Could be a nice upgrade, since it's mechanical.

I can vouch for split keyboards being life--my other daily driver is an Ergodox Infinity, which is a programmable kit heavily based by Kinesis' offerings (sample picture):



I have numpad on a separate layer in the right hand, sort of like the Advantage.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#35
With the new Kinesis Advantage coming out, you might be able to pick up an older model used for cheap(er). Could be a nice upgrade, since it's mechanical.

I can vouch for split keyboards being life--my other daily driver is an Ergodox Infinity, which is a programmable kit heavily based by Kinesis' offerings (sample picture):



I have numpad on a separate layer in the right hand, sort of like the Advantage.
Now THAT looks like a prop keyboard from an 80s sci-fi movie :D
 
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