Tag: Technology

Internet Connectivity – State of affairs

The Internet Connectivity that we can obtain in various parts of Sydney is honestly a bad point for some and I can honestly understand.

My estate as a majority has no NBN and is not scheduled to have a build phase of the infrastructure. Our copper phone service is delivered via Telstra and comes in via RIM. When I first moved in about 8 years ago after building our first house here, we had no internet at all for 6 months. As unfortunately no ADSL was available. Eventually the RIM was upgraded to enable this, and it was a struggle to get a service at all. Back in those days, developers didn’t think about connectivity like they do now, which is a shame to be honest. Our phone infrastructure eventually got upgraded to have ADSL2+. Honestly that was a shock to me at the time. Infrastructure was so at capacity I believe people in my estate are left with no way to get ADSL due to limited capacity of ports in the RIM. The last stage in this estate actually got NBN, and that probably around 50 or more houses I suspect. But for the majority of us we either don’t have any ADSL or have to put up with the service as per below;

5062362972_iinet_adsl2_offnet

Also did I mention that we can’t get a naked ADSL service. Which sucks badly as I don’t even use my phone service that much, if not at all.

Meanwhile, NBN has been rolling out in other areas out this way and below is the service my mother can get in an older area, which I reckon is pretty great. Her upload speed absolutely slams my download speed.

5062159276_nbnco

Our government is so behind the times, I am not surprised some people are so critical over the issues associated with NBN Co and the dramas along the way with its deployments about the place.

All I can say is I am so looking forward to moving in the next 3-4 months, we purchased some land a while back and have been in the process of building a new house. The new hosing estate where this is happening is an Opticomm estate where Internet and FTA television services are provided over FTTH (Fibre to the home).

I plan on moving my iiNet ADSL2+ service to the FTTH service they offer. Also plan on going the 100Mbps/50Mbps service speed too. Will be sure to post back on the progress of this over the coming months including hopefully some good speedtest screen captures.

House Construction – Garage Cabling

Today I had a walk through of our new house to check on the position of cables as done by the electrician. It was a good idea to do this and I know why they arrange it. As I was able to see a couple of issues which could be addressed now before the internal gyprock walls start to be installed.

I took a quick photo below which shows where all our TV points and CAT6 cables will terminate. The white conduit you see coming in to this position is coming from the street where the FTTH pit is. Really looking forward to high speed internet.

IMG_20160204_garage_cables

unRaid – Lime Technology

I am presently looking to test unRaid from Lime Technology. Soon as I get my recommended 16GB Sandisk Cruzer Fit I will be installing it and attempting to run a few tests. The thing that has got my attention is the Docker, KVM and plugins. Being able to use it with Plex Media Server is a big win too.

Will be sure to post back when I have started to play around. If things go well the plan will be to buy a large parity drive, so that this drive will be the largest drive I can subsequently purchase going forward as I expand the system by upto 4 drives and replace 2 of the original 3TB drives it will start life with.

Will be talking about hardware in coming posts.

Intel NUC under desk mounting

Finally got around to mounting the Intel NUC under my desk. Put it in a position where I can still access it as needed, but this gets it off the desk out of the way.

I used an extra bit of timber, as the screws I had were a little longer than required, so this buffers out that space so they don’t come through the top side of the desk. I also screwed it up using the 75×75 vesa mount position, as using the 100×100 vesa position made the machine a bit free to move.

CYz2vUoUAAE3_e2 CYz8mvcU0AAPlwe

Turned out quite awesome. Now i just need to tidy the cables out the back and get them lifted up with something so they don’t hang with that weight out of rear.

Currently working out a design to build a nice under mount shelve for some hardware at the back of the desk, since these old Ikea Galant desks have significant depth to them.

ESXi Whitebox

Wanted to share my success in the installation of ESXi 6.0 onto some generic hardware. This is typically know as an ESXi Whitebox.

I purchased an Asus B85M-G mainboard which has supported onboard sata controllers, however the onboard Realtek driver needs to inserted using the creation of some custom installation media. But it too will work following that process.

To create the custom installation media you will need to use ESXi Customizer which can be found over here. The process was very easy. You’ll also need to grab the net55-r8168 offline bundle which can be found here and the entire process I covered is documented here.

The Asus B85M-G mainboard will give you 6 x sata ports with 2 x pcie x1 slots and an pcie x16 slot. Board can take 4 x DDR3 memory chips for a total of 32GB. Should make a reasonable home ESXi Whitebox for many.

If you need some additional network ports, I noticed in the post here, that some folks suggest you can buy HP NC360T dual network cards and hack them to be used in the pcie x1 slots. I haven’t got one of these yet to attempt it, but I might consider it. As using up those slots and leaving the pcie x16 available for a hardware raid card with battery backup would be ideal.

Below is a screen capture showing the network card as being detected and used by the installation.

20151220-esxi6.0.0-realtek-nic

PC Gaming

I recently acquired a 2nd hand video card, and proceeded to purchase Battlefield 4. I really like the game but after a week of playing it. I soon determined I wasn’t so good and perhaps PC Gaming is not something I should be doing.

Think I will give PC Gaming a skip and stick to the odd game of Minecraft with my kids.

Intel i3 NUC Update

The Intel i3 NUC is going great. It’s awesome to have 16GB of ram installed, and a 500GB laptop drive. I also put in a m.2 SSD from Samsung. It’s a fantastic machine for the form factor. I was surprised to find that it runs Minecraft well with the onboard Intel GPU.

I think I will be building another one in the next few months. First I need to probably consider setting up another NAS.

 

TiVo Series 3 Internal 2TB Hard Drive Upgrade

We’ve had a TiVo Series 3 for a very long time, in fact we actually have two units. I purchased the first one very early on when they came out and the second unit I got during a run out of refurb units (a year after I got my first).

We did have a 1TB DVR Expander for each unit, as I bought one at full price on first unit purchase and got the second at a promo price with the refurb unit. Unfortunately they never stood the test of time and died some time ago. You can imagine recording with a 160GB internal drive is not that great when it comes to space available.

About 4 months ago, I stumbled across some discussion on Whirlpool relating to upgrading the internal hard drive on these units and what would be required to be performed. You can read all about it in this thread here. I downloaded everything required and figured I would do this sometime. I actually also have and older computer that would work as the machine to perform this.

Recently circumstances changed and subsequently with the fall out associated with IceTV failing to deliver our Skippa.tv we decided to upgrade one of the internal drives in our TiVo Series 3.

I purchased a Western Digital Green 2TB – Model WD20EZRX, and proceeded to follow the directions on the forum post here and here (later link the one I followed, shown in summary below by bullet points).

Basically I got my computer I was going to use, hooked up my new WD20EZRX drive (and booted the wdidle3 ISO I downloaded). I executed wdidle3 /D to disable IntelliPark on the WD drive, if it has worked you will see “Idle3 Timer is enabled and set to 3720 seconds (62.0 minutes)”. This means it had worked. Shutdown the computer, disconnect the drive. Since you should remove power from the drive to ensure this change takes place on next restart. You could boot wdidle3 ISO and check it by running wdidle3 with no switches to see that it reports it back.

Next you need to burn the JMFS ISO and ensure that you have removed the original drive from the TiVo Series 3 and connected it to first sata port, and your drive you will clone to (WD20EZRX) onto the second sata port. I now used a USB cdrom, as I had no free sata ports. So booted the JMFS ISO.

  • Run the menu item to do the disk copy from original drive to new drive.
  • Run the menu item to do the expansion of your new drive.
  • WD20EZRX doesn’t support AAM setting, so nothing to be ran relating to that.
  • wdidle3 already performed earlier.
  • I opted to supersize my drive, which means after all steps above done, shutdown. Using WinMFS to “turn on supersize”. This requires your machine booting from Windows, having new cloned drive connected on sata bus and selecting it and enabling the supersize. After this is done you can shutdown, install drive in TiVo Series 3 and look at all the new space.

Screen grab below showing output post JMFS expansion (step following clone operation);

tivo-series3-jmfs-expansion-screen-capture

Screen grabs below showing before and after capacity obtained;

Before Upgrade
Before Upgrade
After Upgrade
After Upgrade

New AMD Gaming PC build

In the last week or two I have come to the conclusion I really want to get another Gaming PC build going, as I really want to play Battlefield 4 with some friends. In addition to playing a few other games on Steam.

As I looked at pricing, I came to the conclusion that I will end up going with an AMD based system this time around for a change, since the price point works well for what I want. I am still throwing ideas around of end product and specs, but so far I have concluded that these will probably form the basis of the build itself.

CPU:

AMD FX 6300 6-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.10 GHz,Total L2 Cache 6MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 95W ($157)

OR

AMD FX 8320 8-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.00 GHz,Total L2 Cache 8MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 125W ($217)

MAINBOARD:

Gigabyte GA-970A-D3P ($123)

VIDEOCARD:

Gigabyte Radeon R9 380, 4GB GDDR5, 1792 Steams, WINDFORCE 2x (GV-R938G1 GAMING-4GD) ($368)

I’ll continue to post updates as I determine any additional items.