Getting a terminal IBM Model M to work with PS/2

 I recently bought another IBM Model M (1395660) on eBay the other day, not thinking that it is actually a terminal keyboard. I thought it has a detachable SDL cable like my current Model M (1391401). I was wrong. Turns out it has a non-removable RJ-45 plug instead, thus being a terminal keyboard. Well, aftering some researching, some were able to get it to work by using an ATMega. I was able to find a pinout of the RJ45 plug on the keyboard, and simply just wire it up to a PS/2 cable. Though apparently, the colour of wire for PS/2 is not standardized, which led to testing each pin to see what it does. I cannibalized an old Microsoft keyboard for the cable and was able to hook the wires up straight to each other.

PS/2 cable wires on a breadboard, original connector above.

 

For this specific PS/2 cable, the pinout is as follows:
IBM -> PS/2 Cable
black -> red         +5V 
red -> white         data 
yellow -> brown  clock
white -> black     ground 
 
The last wire (next to the white wire) on the breadboard is ground, which I have on the metal body of the keyboard. Thankfully everything mostly works. The "Print" key on the left hand side of the board is somehow F5 and the blank key above it is CTRL+F. Next step is a neat soldering job and it's good to go!

DeLicate Linux, still usable at 166Mhz

Linux, one way or another, really brings out your inner hacker. I've been tinkering quite a bit with DeLicate Linux. It's a lightweight distro made for old computers that uses the 2.4 kernel. Right now, I have DeLicate running on a Pentium 166 with 64MB of RAM. Surprisingly, Fluxbox and Xchat run without any huge problems. Replacing Bash with Dash helped free up some RAM as well. DeLicate uses pacman as the package manager, so building new packages is as easy as creating a PKGBUILD file.

I have also set up a DeLicate package repsitory and a Git repository for the PKGBUILD files.  So if you have an old Pentium laying around, go fire it up and check out DeLicate. There's an active community too.

Kobo Vox eReader

 Kobo just released their Vox eReader a couple of days ago and I've had the chance to play with it this weekend.

It's quite heavy compared to other ereaders. I found that it's even heavier than the mighty Kindle DX. See below for a comparison to a Canadian quarter.

(As you can see, there's some nice greasy fingerprints on it). Having never played around with Android before, it's quite easy to use. After firing it up the first time, it had to update the firmware, which over wifi, takes a while. After the update, I was finally able to play with it. Checking the version info in settings revealed that it's running Android 2.3.3 atop kernel version 2.6.35.3. 

 

Kobo has it's own Android market place at http://kobo.getjar.com. Most of the applications seem like crap, other than a few larger named ones like Skype. The included Youtube application and the one I downloaded from the store was nothing special. All it did was open http://m.youtube.com up in the browser. 

After I enabled USB debugging in the settings, I was able to mount it under Linux and send files to it. Though, the puzzling thing about the Vox is that it doesn't charge by USB which means that you'll have to use the wall charger. 

 The back of the Vox is nothing special. It's nice that it comes in two pieces in the event needs changing or such.

The display on it is actually quite crisp and livens things up. As far as extended periods of reading, I'm not too sure. I'll have to experiment more with it.
 

External antennas on ASUS EeePC 701

I finally did what I always wanted to do: add external antennas to my 701. Drilling the holes were a bitch. First, I tried at the right hinge, but the end of the RP-SMA connector was too large. Then next to the VGA port and no luck, Oh, but perhaps next to the second USB port on the right hand side? Nope. Well, what I ended up doing was putting the connector on the outside. Check out the picture:

Edit: here's a better picture


 

 

I only have on antenna with me but the wifi reception is superb. I pick up more networks and at a greater dBm. Routing the antenna cables in the board we're that hard and I'm surprised they reached. And for the price, $1.19 on eBay, they were a steal.  

Thanks Nyko, now I have an unusable Xbox!

A little while ago, I wrapped my 360 in a  wood Oblivion Xbox 360 skin. Lately, I've been getting more RROD's than usual. I'd be in the midst of a game and it'd shut off with three red flashing red rings. I've had the Nyko Intercooler on my Xbox for the last couple years and, I thought, would make the RROD problem go away. Apparently not. So today, I took off the Intercooler.

Picture is of the Intercooler.

Nice scorch marks there.


The power connector on the back of my Xbox 360

Nice! Without the Intercooler, my Xbox doesn't turn on. With the Intercooler it runs for a couple minutes. As you can see, there's obvious burnt plastic. When I took the Intercooler off (which was a bit hard because it melted), bits of crap (best way to describe it) fell off. Looked sort of like dried up snot actually...

This is my second Xbox now and I'm pretty sure I can't send it back now, so, I'm screwed.

 

PowerEdge 6400

 

So I got this Dell PowerEdge 6400 and wow. First, this thing is gigantic. Eight hot swappable SCSI bays in the front. Free is a good price ;)

Inside this thing has two Intel Pentium III Xeon processors, running at 750MHz each. Where you see the RAM is actually a tray of RAM. You can remove the tray and fill up 16 DIMMs. Hot swappable PCI ports too. Three redundant power supplies in case a tornado hits or something. I'm planning on getting a SCSI drive or two and getting Solaris running (or perhaps Nexenta).

Dual Xeon build

I've had these Xeon processors sitting around for a while now and I thought it's about time to get a motherboard for them. Two are clocked at 3.0Ghz/1MB/800, other two are at 2.8Ghz/512/533. I ordered a Super Micro X6DVL-EG2  from eBay for $120 of which I seen this motherboard up to $250. Anyway, came the other day and finally put it together. Heatsinks didn't screw into the case as it should, so I had to screw the nut right onto the heatsink. 


The BIOS has a plethora of options to mess around with, most of which I don't even know. XP x64 running on here and it's running quite good. My first 64-bit system :)

Other than that, I haven't done any coding. Although I did make a change or two to Sysode the other day. 

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Photo by psilver
I'll skip the whole 'I haven't posted for two weeks' intro. 

It's only October and it already snowed, a couple of inches and it's still here. Mornings are sure colder.

I finally put together my new fileserver, and up  from my one harddrive server before. I was going to do a RAID1 configuration, but instead went back to a normal partitioning setup (XFS on the secondary HDD for the files). Recieved another computer the other day, so I'm at a total of 7 servers.

I was planning on installing Darwin (hehe) on one of the faster ones, but I can't get this damn DVD is fried (for whatever reason). I'm hoping that it has CPU instructions for SSE2/3.

ICT (tech) class has been upped a bit for me, I ended up telling the teacher that I'm a Linux zealot. I guess he had never got "a peer to peer network" working (as in SMB shares), so he handed me an Ubuntu 7.10 CD.  Everything was working fine until something messed up with the first computer. It was complaining about libc6 (which was installed), and it couldn't install anything via dpkg or apt-get. I'll have to find my 9.04 compact diiiiiisc.

TCP is back up on the Torrentino tracker, since it was UDP only for a while. I checked about two weeks ago, and there was approximately 2000 concurrent connections, w00t! I ended up using opentracker, which is quite light on resources. The tracker runs at an amazing 450Mhz with 128MB's of RAM and runs incredibly well.

 

With the faster of the three servers used for other purposes, I'm stuck with two spare servers. What to do? If I recieved a lot of hits to Torrentino, I could set up a web server load-balancing scheme but it's not needed at the moment. The old fileserver is now a database server :)

Come to think of it, I have an old Pentium I that could be used as a syslog/notifications server. Management is key.

 

 

I have the urge to play Fallout 3.

Comments are appreciated ;)

 

Schematics

I've been profoundly confused on what to do with two new servers. At the moment, I have a total of three servers; a BitTorrent tracker, web server and NAS (NFS server). Now, what I was thinking was setting up a load balancing scheme using VS via NAT. Essentially, build one of the servers as a load balancer and turn the other one into a http node. The only problem with that is redundancy. Say if the load balancer fails for whatever reason, I'm screwed.

 

Same as my NAS, no RAID so if the HDD fails, I'm screwed again. Still, it would be a cool journey on getting a load balancing scheme set up...and working. That, and I just want to use all the ports on my 24 port switch. Then, depending on the load on the NFS server, I could run MySQL/Postgres on it for use with the web servers.

 

Gah I was trying to set up Liferay yesterday. Ugh, what a clusterfuck. Java make me want to shoot my self in the foot numerous times over. Though it might be worth it to run a wiki on the web servers, but the only problem with that (or indeed the whole server situation) is who's going to use it? Sure I'll be using it, but I'd only need one server in that case, not two. Oh well, I'll think of something.

 

I'm off to go watch a movie or something, I've been to unmotivated to code lately. I made a script that lets users upload a picture then send that URL to Twitter. Ugh I hate Twitter.

Web, log and mail server.

Thought I'd take it upon myself to create a mail server on 'roppie' (me server). It's now a log server also, I even got my router to send logs to it too. Interesting it is though, I have 'jlap' sending all its logs to roppie too. 'roppie' also runs a minimal web server (lighttpd + mysql, same as jlap) but also serves the logs out on HTTP so I can view them anywhere.


  I've been using SFTP on roppie since FTP didn't work for a loooong time. I tried to FTP to it today...and well....proftpd wasn't installed in the first place. So now I have that up and running so its all good.


  A switch would be nice for my network, something under 100$ (which I found one on Staples) and it would probably increase my network performace :D
  According to my router, I'm only getting 10Mbps half duplex from my modem/ISP. Which sucks.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with myself for what I did. I set up two servers, tweaked them and....are actually...running smoothly.

 

Easton