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February 28, 2011

Upgrades!

Blue-Dragon getting upgrades

Blue-Dragon getting upgrades

   Today the parts arrived I order last week to upgrade the Blue-Dragon.  They included a new power supply, additional 2 TB hard drive, and 4 more GB of RAM.  It is significantly less then the upgrade I had planned on doing, but I just couldn't make up my mind on what to do with the "old" parts.
   The power new supply replaces a slightly smaller power supply.  The old supply was a 600 watt Thermaltake, which wasn't a bad supply.  It's problem was a having 4x 12 VDC rails.  The Blue Dragon has (had) 9 hard drives, and a rather demanding video card.  When I added a second video card, the supply couldn't keep up.  My guess is one of the rails was failing due to over-current.  While the power existed, I couldn't get it distributed in such a way to utilize it all.  So I ordered a new 750 watt Corsair supply.  While I don't really need the additional wattage, it does have a single 12 volt rail rated for 60 amps (as opposed to the 4x 18 amp rails on my Thermaltake).  I have not worked with Corsair products before, but the supply received a lot of good reviews.  It also sports a 140 mm fan, and a modular cable setup.  This new supply is also has a 80 PLUS Silver rating, which is nice for a PC that runs almost 24/7. 
   Installation wasn't trivial.  The Blue-Dragon has 9 hard drives, 8 cooling fans, a huge CPU heat-sink, and RAM with tall head-sinks.  Getting the old supply out meant removing two bays of hard drives, RAM, and a cooling fan.  The picture today has the new supply just installed.  On the edge of the bench are two of the hard drive bays.  Each bay has 3 drives, and a 120 mm cooling fan.  There are 3 bays (the last bay is still installed) full of drives.  There is a 4th bay that is installed by the power supply, and it will contain the new 2 GB drive.
   After the power supply was installed, I put everything back together.  I included my new 2 GB drive, which brings our total online storage in the Blue Dragon to 6.25 TB.  It is interesting to note that before this upgrade I had around 5% free space.  So the new storage is much needed.
   The additional RAM was something I didn't expect to need when I speced the Blue-Dragon.  The Red-Dragon had just 1 GB of RAM, and it never caused a problem.  So when I quadrupled it in the Blue-Dragon, I expected a lot of room for the future.  But with rendering, 18 megapixel pictures, and virtual machines all competing for RAM, I have for the first time since the DOS days run out of memory due to something other then a program bug.
   With this new installation I also reinstalled a video card given to us by Pluvius several months ago—the one that caused problems with my other power supply.  I decided I'd go for broke and boot with all the upgrades installed at once.  Aside from needing to update BIOS so it picked the correct boot device (because of the drive addition) everything worked.  That doesn't happen often, but I'll take it!
   The Garage's kitchen sometimes reminds people of Tetris.  As much space is used as we can make use of, from additional shelves, and hangers on walls, edges, and doors.  It's little, but a lot can be accomplished in this small place.
   I went on a hunt for pillow cases today and ended up cleaning everything in my path.  I will say I do love owning a ShopVac as I can't imagine trying to clean this house using any lesser device.
  The microwave reads "Cover all that enter here... or else it 'sploads all over!"

1 comment has been made.

From Liz

March 09, 2011 at 12:36 AM

may have to save this photo to document my random geometric drawing I made for you. Spat thinks the bottom triangle and circle look like your A.Q. symbol. I personally don't see it :p seeing as I doodled it at random.

February 25, 2011

First Signs of Life

The basil lives!

The basil lives!

   While it is hard to see unless you look at the large version of this image, what is pictured are the first signs of life in my garden.  This is basil just emerging.
   I've been in a fixing mood lately.  James took a picture of me fixing the stove.  The door on the broiler lost a bolt and was falling off, so I put on a new bolt.  Then I noticed the handle was loss, so I opened up the door and tightened that.  Then I noticed the handle on the oven door was also loss, and repeated the processes there.   Now the stove is in good shape.
   The Garage bathroom must be a strange place for people who have not used it before.  The first thing most people notice are the 6 rolls of toilet paper on the wall.  There is a reason for this.  Early on in Garage history it was known that being out of toilet paper was a very bad thing because of the alternatives.  But how to make sure we did not run out was a problem.  Buying large amounts of TP does keep the bathroom from running out quickly, but it will still run out.  The solution was to put as many toilet paper holders on the wall as we could, and keep them stocked.  As long as they were always full, we had toilet paper.  But if they started to run empty, it was either because people were lazy (happens), or there was nothing to put on them.  It's an early warning sign: if the TP holders are running low, it's time to buy TP.
   Behind the toilet is a lot of reading materiel, including: The Brief History of Time/Universe in a Nutshell (Stephen Hawking), A People's History of American Empire (Howard Zinn), Punk House, Creator (Watchtower--a.k.a. Jehovah's Witnesses), a collection of short stories, a history of computer mathematics, and several issues of flight magazines and American Atheist.

February 22, 2011

Glow Light Hood

   So it's time to start my herb garden for the coming season.  Since the success of N00b Garden two years ago, I've decided to break out the grow light again.  My grow light has a lot of hours on it, but can still belt out a blinding amount of light.  I made an area on my bench around a window and surrounded everything in aluminum foil so that as much light hit the plants as I could get.  I found that Vinny seems to think a planter full of dirt is simply a place for her to sit and look out the window.  So I had to encode the entire area to prevent her from further destroying my nearly dead aloe.

February 21, 2011

Moisture Distribution

   This pictures needs some explaining.  It is a blower fan with the drier vent connected.  Like any house in Wisconsin during the winter, the Garage has low humidity.  One way to increase humidity is to vent the drier inside the house.  But when we do that, the back room gets extremely humid.  A method for moving the wet air is required.  Here is our answer: a blower fan with the dryer vent mounted to it.  It very effectively pushes the moist air into the front rooms.
   Initially this system sat on the floor, but kept getting stepped on.  So I moved it to the top of the washer.  Our new washer is front loading, so the spin cycle generates vertical vibration, which tends to move the blower all over.  So, I mounted the blower upside down under a shelve.  This seems to work pretty good.
   And the index card in the mouse trap next to the blower?  Why that is the "who's using the washer" card.  Everyone in the house has a card with their name on it—well two actually.  A mouse trap hangs above the washer, and an other above the drier.  The person using this device must put up their card so everyone else knows whose items are being cleaned.  This way, if the person doing wash isn't in the house, we know who the wash belongs to and can move clean laundry to some location they can take care of it.  And anyone who doesn't mark their load gets their laundry moved to the donation bag.  Once the donation bag is full, it is cleaned and donated to charity.

February 20, 2011

Clean Bench Space

   As the house starts to empty out a little, I've found time to do some much needed cleaning.  My bench area took a few days, but I am happy with it.  The front part of my bench use to hold the Black Dragon, which is a community computer.  When a spot in the bedroom opened out, someone from the front room moved their computer there.  And the Back Dragon moved to where their computer use to be, again freeing my bench.  Since I was on a roll, I decided to clear all of my bench space.  It took awhile, but it is mine again.