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Re-purpose, from old to new

Del lnspiron 531

Re-purpose the old to make it look like new., its a great feeling to take an old computer and make it look like a brand new system. A work colleague, gave me an old Dell Inspiron 531. The Dell Inspion is a fine example of a great renovation project. The particular project was worked to create and re-purpose an old computer into a newer version of itself. The newer version runs Open Media Vault. OpenMediaVault is a free Linux distribution designed for network-attached storage. I have already posted a few articles on this particular Linux Distribution.

When I re-purpose an old computer, I think about the environment, and the fact that we can still bring life to an old system and use it for a few more years before it does end up in a landfill.

Why re-purpose an computer? If you can still use it, then use it. Do not discard it. However, if you still wish to discard it, then give it to a person like me that knows how to re-purpose and recycle the computer and it’s parts. My personal opinion, one of the key aspect of re-purposing is to save you some money in the long run and still use what you originally purchased a few more year pass its life-cycle.

Re-purposing also prevents hazardous and toxic-waste from being discarded into landfills. Computers do have toxic and hazardous waste. When you trow electronics away, please think about the impact that such electronics will bring to our environment. Dispose of your electronics the right way. Back to re-purposing a computer. Re-purposing, is to find another use other than its original intended use.

You can re-purpose from one operating system to another. You can re-purpose your old computer from one function (desktop) to another (server). In the case if the system that I’ve first mentioned above (old Dell Inspiron 531)., I decided to re-purpose the computer from it’s original intended use (home computer) to an attached network storage device, using open media vault. This will allow me to use this system for a few more years before I decide to either re-purpose it again or to properly dispose of it. Remember, think about the environment before you discard your computers (electronics) if you can re-purpose then by all means do so.

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Debian Machine Learning

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Thank you for taking your time to read my non-sense.

This article is not real. I did not write it., Only this first paragraph was written by me. The two paragraph shown below are written by an Artificial Intelligence bot. How does it work? You enter a few keywords and the AI bot will generate some sort of intelligent scribble. The scribble is both believable and readable. Unless you are not told is AI generated, you won’t be able to know the difference. I’m not sure where the facts came from and how (that’s beyond the point of this article) the AI generated the two paragraphs shown below. However, its an amazing thing that an AI bot can generate such coherent and intelligent. I researched this subject from “Debian Science Machine learning packages.” It’s a bit complicated to get this working, but is fun.

Is Linux good for Artificial Intelligence?

A common question that comes up quite often is ‘is Linux good for Artificial Intelligence?’ and I tend to feel this question is often made in an unhelpful way by people using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in an extremely general way to define and interrogate a ‘better’ machine operating system. You see this often in the popular press in science journalism – people stating that Linux is obviously good for AI when in fact it is just a modern operating system designed to run software in a distributed system. However, if there is a goal that you’re attempting to use Linux to host AI applications or run your AI projects then by all means use this operating system.

Why using Linux as your desktop computer is good?’

“When using Linux as a desktop computer, users will notice that your computer was designed to run as a seamless whole, and not as a separate system to be managed separately. This includes hardware components, such as hard disk and video card, along with operating system, application bundle, and all the other tools needed to run the work. In this way, they are fully integrated into the system, making Linux itself a lightweight, and therefore easier to manage. However, you do still need to be familiar with managing your desktop environment, with its environment …”

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Computer Bench-marks

Since, I’ve been working in the metrology field since, 1989., I will relate this article from that point-of-view. I’ve been following a lot of computer and graphic processing (gpu’s) units bench-marking articles and YouTube videos. My main interest is mainly from the tester and user’s perspective. To know and understand which systems are best performers, faster and have lots of processing power.

Thus, having been in and currently working in metrology as a precision measurement technician. I’ve started to ask myself some questions concerning the standards used to bench-mark computers. What types of standards are the testers using? How are they using those standards? How do they reference the standard and the test instrument in question? See, those are some of the legit questions metrology technicians are concerned with when calibrating test instruments.

Before I get down to the mean and bones of this article., which is only for my own amusement and it may be yours too. Let’s start with one single question: What is a standard? A standard is from a metrology (science of measurement) perspective, an object, a system, or a single or series of experiments that create and show a defined relationship of measurement between of a physical quantity.

When we say quantity, we mean from the aspect of relating something to a measurement value(s). Therefore, with that said, “standards” provide the fundamental reference point(s) for a system of measures, which are compared against other measuring devices. From that point-of-view, there needs to be an established standard set in stone that we can compare against. I personally, don’t see this in the computer world, however, what I’ve found is that they compare devices based on both simple and complex mathematical algorithms. With that said, While there may not be a set standard, at least we can make some sense of a central processing units (CPU) or GPU’s speed and processing power.

Bench-marking my Renew Debian Desktop

Therefore in the computer world, the technicians, or computer scientist may base their work on a single or a set of varied technical standards. Technical standards are established norm(s) or requirement(s) that are based on repeatability. Thus, what I’ve seen so far is that most of the heavy duty players have their own established technical criteria, methods, processes, and practices. There’s no set point or reference, there are so many different bench marking applications that are used throughout the industry.

In computing, a benchmark is the act of running an application (a computer program), or even various programs, that run a single or a set of operations. These types of bench-marks assess the relative performance of the computer in question. I would not say that they run based on a standard, because in order to do this you need to have one standard that one can continually reference from.

However, one standard that we can reference back to is the SI unit of time. This unit is used by all of the computer devices, because computers use time and clock signals to perform their operations. Therefore, I can relate to most of the bench marks and kind of get an understanding of what is good and what is not. This is also based on the opinion(s) of these so called experts that test-stress and bench mark just about everything they get in their hands. Kudos, to them for giving us the consumer and users some soft of idea to which we can base our purchasing decisions.

My favorite bench mark videos

AMD clearly isn’t tired of winning yet… – Threadripper 3970X/3960X Review

How To Benchmark Your Gaming PC FOR FREE!

First 5 Things I Do When Benchmarking

How to Pick Good Benchmarks & Why They Matter – CES 2015

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Plex, OMV, and Docker

Last night, I’ve installed Plex Media server through a Docker setup. One of the works prior to setting up the Open Media Server, Plex and docker was to ad the two external 4TB/3TB Hard Disk taken from my now obsolete Mac Mini. The process was quite a breeze, first shut down the Mac Mini, remove both external hard disk drives, and plug-in via USB on the OMV Server.

www.plex.tv. Plex is a client–server media player system and software suite comprising two main components. The Plex Media Server desktop application runs on Windows, macOS and Linux, including some types of NAS devices. Plex allows you to stream your own private media internally in you home or office. You can also stream externally to the Internet to your own devices.

Plex Screenshot

OMV immediately recognized the external drives and made them available without mounting. Once I’ve configured and mounted the two external hard-drives, I proceeded to make them available to my intranet (home-network). One thing that I’ve always say, don’t reinvent the wheel or try to kill yourself in the process. Someone has already done this. That’s the good thing about the Internet and YouTube.

A quick search took me to Techno Dad Life, a YouTube channel dedicated to Open Media Vault. Techno Dad Life had posted “Plex media server on OpenMediaVault using docker.” A great video-tutorial, that described the setup and configure of the Media Plex server using Docker in OMV.

There’s a lot of good on-line tutorials that one can follow to setup and configure our own systems. You just need to take the time to search for on-line articles. I suggest, you first view the entire clip or read the entire article first. This will give you an idea of what it needs to be done, then open up another browser tab or window and follow the on-line article or video-tutorial step-by-step. Good Luck!

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Servers, challenging, fun and … boring too

I have two Linux servers running at home. One it’s just an experimental box, which I use to test different headless Linux Desktops. However, for the past month, I’ve installed, and have been running OpenMediaVault. This particular distribution creates a network attached storage (NAS) which is based on Debian Linux. Open Media Vault works great. It works so good that I sometimes forget its even here. Running your own NAS its not a science. However, having said that, you must configured it right from the beginning. Afterwards, its just a matter of occasional updates.

My personal installation recommendation would is to use a 120Gb SSD and two additional SSD’s or Hard Disk. You can install in any Raid configuration you would like to see. However, with this type of setup I recommend the Disk mirroring. Disk mirroring, also known as RAID 1, is the replication of data to two or more disks.

The second server is a bit more elaborated, however, as I mentioned above, the trick is in the initial setup. Additionally, you’ll have to do a few more things, like updates and some tweaks. The second server as with the first works flawlessly. I even forget that I have two servers in the house. Having and running your own server is fun, but boring too. The initial installation process is both challenging and fun. Afterwards, it becomes a bit boring because things work without hardly ever having any issues.

OMV Server

Both of the servers have been on-line for a few weeks without having to reboot. However, whenever I update the packages, OS upgrade, or install new security patches I always reboot the system. In many instances you don’t need to reboot, Linux just doesn’t bug you to reboot like Windows does., even after installing system updates, that is because the system library are updated immediately in the process.

Photo description (left) Network Attached Storage 

However, I reboot the system just to ensure that the changes are set in stone, even, knowing that is not required. However said, reboots, in some instances may be necessary. Just think in the sense that any of the libraries being updated are still in use, therefore, a reboot will ensure that the old libraries are replaced with the new ones.

In closing, even if you don’t need to reboot, do so for the reasons mentioned in the above paragraph. However, if you are in a production environment, find the best time to reboot that will not disrupt connected systems or users.

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GTX 650 in an eton et856 94v-0 motherboard

Today’s exploit was based a on challenge. I was told that an Nvidia GTX650 can not work with an AMD motherboard. Having done this several times in the past. I’ve decided to do it again. I purchased an old and used GTX650 from PC Server and Parts. I’ve received the used graphics card today and decided to install it in my Linux Desktop. In this case, I have a Dual-Core AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 255 Processor., a bit old but very capable CPU.

A few minutes later, I powered on the desktop and voilà, the card powered on showed the initial Linux boot up and then the desktop. I immediately installed the required Nvidia drivers and rebooted the desktop and here I’m writing this blog.

I do not wish to reinvent the wheel, but if you need to know how to install Nvidia drivers in your Linux PC., I suggest you read “How to install Nvidia driver on Debian 10 Buster Linux.” In this article Lubos Rendek, describes detail by detail how to install the Nvidia drivers in your Debian 10 Buster PC.

After the installation I fired up the Nvidia X Server Settings app from the applications menu and configured the graphics to my liking. There’s hardly a few things you may wish to do, however, the Nvidia X server settings basically auto-configures the graphics card. Once the setting screen is up running take a look at the X Server information, you’ll see the OS version “Linux -x86_64,” and most important the Nvidia Driver information in my case 418.74.

One more thing, before I close for today. Kudos to PC Server and Parts. I purchased this graphics card from their on-line ebay store. They send it faster than expected and extremely well packaged (in anti-static packaging), you can see they really care about what they sell to their end-customers.

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Business stupidity

If you sell a product, it makes sense to promote your product. This is something every company does. What does not make sense is not to recommend your product to your customers. That does not make sense at all and I call it business stupidity.

I’ve been a hard core AMD CPU and graphic card user for years. That’s because just about everything I have purchased worked out-of-the box with Linux. However, having been idle for some years, I’ve started custom building and refurbishing used computers a few months ago. Thus, I started to look for recent modern released Graphic cards that will work with Linux out-of-the box.

With that said, I’ve recently sent an e-mail to the AMD Radeon graphic maker. I wanted to get their inside recommendation on a Linux compatible graphic card. Instead I got a “Please be informed that we are not recommending any Specific GPU for the end customers because we are unsure that for what application they are using this GPU. It is always recommended to choose the GPU which will meet the minimum requirements of the application that you wish to use in your system.” Who cares what the end customer will use the card for … I would have recommended one card with a “We recommend the following(s) card(s) … use at your own risk message, we are not responsible etc,” message.

The aim is to sell your product, right! Why not recommend what you think may work out-of-the box. When you send messages that encourage your customer to look elsewhere then you are loosing business.

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Graphic Card Woe’s

Finally, October is gone, November is in, 58 days left till end of the year 2019. October was a great month for me. I refurbished a few computers – in the process made them look like new, removed old components and added new ones in the process. However, I had some graphic card woe’s – not that the graphic card was damaged or anything like that. The problem was all about comparability.

Radeon HD5450

I had some technology mismatches that created some headaches. One of my motherboards is able to run the ATI Cape Verde PRO [Radeon HD 7750/8740 / R7 250E] and the Radeon HD 5450 grpahic card.

Nice! However, the other motherboard an ASUS Model M2N61-AX (Used in the old Dell Insprion 531 Desktop) could not fire-up either of the graphic cards. It took a while to realize that the incompatibility lies on the fact of old and new technologies. While, all of the hardware is old (except for the HD5450), there’s an old-to-new mismatch. Therefore, I have to concentrate my efforts on finding an old graphic card that will work with Asus Motherboard.

DELL INSPIRON 531 DESKTOP AMD MOTHERBOARD

Both graphic cards work with Debian Linux – In some cases, this is a matter of only installing the AMD graphics drivers . Since, I’ve have those drivers installed in my main workstation the graphic cards work. However, the older Asus motherboard would had issues with the Radeon HD5450. Some say, a 400Watt power supply is needed. That’s was not a problem as I build and refurbish PC’s with enough wattage to handle the most demanding devices one can find. I say, it’s a case of old/new technology comparability problem.