Replace your Zotac Zbox fan

Remember I ranted about Zotac Zbox a couple of years ago and the fact that they don’t sell replacement fans Well, I opened up my ZBOX again a while ago, but this time I also removed the fan construction and opened that one too. Lo and behold – in it was a tiny fan that surely could be replaced – for me it was a Young lin DFB501012H (some obscure chinese fan)  and after some searching around the net I found a place which sold them cheaply, so I ordered two of them. It took a while for them to arrive – but It was super easy replacing the fan once they arrived and now my ZBOX will roll on quitely for a couple of more years.:)

 

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Avlista PKK från EU:s terrorlista

ISIS vill förgöra mig, dig och alla som är oliktänkande enligt dem. Det senaste året har vi sett nätet fyllas av vedervärdiga groteska bilder och filmer på deras dokumenterade ondska – huvudkapningar, korsfästelse, levande uppbrända, sprängda och allt annat som tänkas göras mot en människa. På flera sätt berörs vi alla av detta och det ligger i allas våra intresse att avväpna denna dödskult.

Vad gör då väst för att svara mot detta – jo, en koalition tillkom mellan flera länder och med tanken om att bomba mål på marken, men utan att sätta ner marktrupper.

Vem ska då bekämpa ISIS, om inga marktrupper får sättas in, för med enbart bomber kan man inte vinna ett krig. I den rollen har vi sett kurderna stiga fram i både Syrien och Irak, och ta upp kampen mot ISIS, trots ett uppstyckat Kurdistan, och föråldrade vapen. Efter årets händelser vet nu hela världen vad orden Kurdistan, Sinjar, Kobane, Peshmerga, YPG/J och PKK är för något. Det finns ett ordspråk om att kurderna inte har några andra vänner än bergen. Det stämmer inte längre, för kurderna har numer vänner över hela världen.

Det har dock bubblat upp flera saker som är mycket, mycket oroväckande. Att NATO-medlemmen Turkiet passivt stod med sina stridsvagnar utanför staden Kobane några hundra meter därifrån när folkmord höll på att ske är oacceptabelt. Att samma land sedan vägrar släpa igenom förnödenheter och har en president som benämner de som bekämpar terroristerna i ISIS som terrorister är också fel. Och vad händer när nu Turkiet slutligen ger sig in i konflikten för att bomba terrorister? Istället för att fokusera på ISIS, bryter man vapenvilan med kurdiska PKK och bombar dem intensivt. Turkiet börjar alltså att bomba de som bekämpar ISIS, istället för ISIS. Det framstår som att Turkiet indirekt skulle stödja ISIS för en utomstående – vilket kanske inte är riktigt sant, men Turkiet s president Erdogan låter tydligt sitt hat mot kurder fläcka hans omvärldsrelationer, hindra kampen mot riktiga terrorister och kostar dessutom civila människoliv, vilket Amnesty konstaterat. Turkiet låter inrikespolitiken styra och spelar ett spel där gamla konflikter rivs upp för att kunna framstå som Turkiets starke man vid ett eventuellt omval.

Är PKK de terrorister i klass med ISIS som Turkiet så gärna vill hävda? Nej, knappast, sedan 1999 har de förespråkat fredlig lösning utan vapen.

Röster har höjts, i EU och från exempelvis politiker som David Cameron om att PKK ska tas bort från EU och USA:s terrorlistor. Det är dags nu. Den som studerar historien kommer att se att EU:s Court of Justice har fördömt att PKK finns med på EU:s terrorlistan överhuvudtaget, eftersom EU inte hade någon riktig grund för detta.

Ja, det är faktiskt tre saker vi ska göra för att visa vår tacksamhet till de som bekämpar terroristerna i ISIS med sitt blod. Det första är att avlista PKK från terrorlistan i EU och USA. Det andra är att kraftigt fördöma Turkiets aggressiva handlingar och indirekta stöd till ISIS. Det tredje är att omvärlden mentalt ska börja vänja sig med tanken på att erkänna ett återförenat Kurdistan.

Welcome to my man cave

  Welcome to my man cave, I think you’re gonna like it, I think you’re gonna feel you belong.
Every computer nerd wants a man cave and I’ll show you mine. In here I do retro gaming, coding, writing, translations, and occasionally electronics. Or to quote my girlfriend: ”As long as you keep all your shit in there, I don’t care”.
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We’re on our way in, will we ever see the light of day again?

 

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Some of my programmers book. Notice farther down, there’s a lot of retro ones. One day i’ll be an assembler guru too.

 

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Big printer etc to the left. Main Clevo laptop for work, programming, writing and translations and Steam Linux gaming, with extra screen. Big CRT for my Retro PC behind that. To the right my X-arcade joystick, used for heavy MAME duels.

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 Retro Pentium, used for DOS, Win 98 XP and Linux. DOS-gaming galore.
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PS2/PC-corner not much to see here..
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Programming books, 2600, FSF, Some of my electric tools, and strange cola bottles.
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Japanese Sega 8-bit and Brazil 8-bit. Mastersystem/Mark 3
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On the floor: 2 Amiga 1200 in towers and one Sam 460x. Amigas have 060 and 030 in them.
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CRT-tv for real retro look. An atari ST 1040 on of it. Wico joysticks, to the right spectrum +2, commodore 64 and a Japanse Sega Mark 3/Mastersystem.
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European sega 8-bit games. Only collect the ones i don’t have in Japanese form.
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Consoles with boxes, I only collect some Amigas and Sega stuff, the rest have been given to me by people that knows of my interest. Actually, I’m not buying any more consoles, and only certain missing items for my Sega and Amiga. I have no intention to horde more. I play with the stuff, and completes games, and I use the computers, so I wouldn’t have time for more.
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Amigastuff: Sierra and Lucasarts hell yeah!
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Cineamaware, level 9, magnetic scrolls etc
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Psygnosis and stuff.
   

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Every goddamn issue of retrogamer.

 

 

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All computers and devices that can, have flashcarts and are connected to the net. Or any other strange device you can find for them nowadays. I like order, notice power buttons.

 

 

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Easy change audit for my Edifier speakers. All devices connect here.

 

 

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..or through switches. Notice cables have pics of which device they belong to, order,,yes. A jailbreaked PS2 to the right.

 

 

 I also have a regular powerhorse with AMD GPUs and PI’s for Tor, I2p, Boinc, Mediacenter and stuff, but as they are not in my little cave..
That’s it folks. My creation, leisure and inspiration spot.

Lev mer, jobba mindre

Jag ångrar inget..jo, förresten. Jag jobbade för lite och borde ha lagt mer tid på det”. Jag tror att det är väldigt få människor som tänker så som gamla när de summerar livet. Tvärtom är det nog några andra saker de önskar att de hade lagt tid på, som kanske hobbys, vänner, familj, resor, fritidsliv, ideella organisationer. Det har inget med att göra huruvida man älskar sitt jobb eller inte, utan handlar om att själv förfoga över sin tid. Sin egentid. Sin tid, som man, tro det eller ej, faktiskt har begränsat av här i jordelivet.

Från 14-16 timmars arbetsdag på 1880-talet, kanske sex dagar i veckan, till dagens standardiserade 40-timmarsveckor. Det finns en trend i att vi, allt efter teknik och samhällsutveckling lett till att vi blivit effektivare, går ner i tid. Den normaliserade arbetsveckan har sedan 70-talet legat på 8-timmars arbetsdag/5 dagar i veckan, och argumenten för att det ska var så är  egentligen inga speciella. Tänker man efter så är det egentligen märkligt, då vi med teknik och maskiner kan producera ofantligt mycket mer än vad man kunde för låt säga hundra år sedan. Många, många är historierna om livspussel som inte går ihop, personer som är sjukskrivna efter att ha arbetat slut på sig, samtidigt som det går människor hemma som inte har jobb. En sänkning av arbetstiden skulle alla vinna på.

Vi borde därför sänka arbetstiden igen.

Missförstå mig inte – jag älskar mitt jobb och framför allt vad jag gör. Att programmera och att få bygga system är något jag kan göra gratis. Jag kommer att göra det så ofta jag kan. Det handlar inte om det. Det handlar om att välja själv.

Själv gick jag vid årsskiftet ner till att jobba 80% och har varit ledig en dag i veckan, då fredagar. Visst blir det aningen mindre i lön men det är det värt. Räknade också på att stoppa undan lite extra i pensionssparande, för att täcka upp för det som går bort där. Så vad är meningen med tiden jag får istället? Den lägger jag på böcker jag aldrig annars kommer att hinna läsa, filmer jag aldrig annars kommer att se, programmera projekt och  prova teknik  jag annars aldrig hinner, ideellt arbete som att (just nu, det ändrar sig) översätta fri programvara till svenska, att gå och ta sig en fika med folk man aldrig hinner träffa annars, att gå ut och vandra i naturen, att träna eller vad som helst. Sedan skriver jag också lite artiklar åt techworld, vilket ger någon extra krona som bonus – bara för att det är utvecklande. En del på jobbet tycker säkert att det låter märkligt att man inte vill jobba heltid när man inte har barn, men de reflekterar nog inte så mycket över dessa saker, utan tar väl standardiserade veckan för given.

Efter att ha provat detta i ett halvår kan jag inte rekommendera det nog, allrahelst om du har mycket ideer du vill genomföra, eller helt enkelt vill höja din livskvalitet. Det är min fasta övertygelse om att vi skulle ha ett bättre samhälle om vi vågade sänka arbetstiden ytterligare i Sverige. Nederländerna, Danmark, Norge, Irland och många andra länder har man redan gjort det. [http://upphandling24.idg.se/2.1062/1.516577/har-jobbar-man-minst]

Jag har för övrigt ett jobbbyte på gång, och det var bland det första jag sade som ett villkor för att byta jobb.

 

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Är det din hobby och passion att just jobba på jobbet så är det inte fel det heller, kör på med det, och jobba mer om det är din pryl. Vi är alla olika.

Translating free software

Last year I noticed that the translations for the free software packages and operating systems I use started to get more and more swenglish language in them, i.e. a mix of Swedish and English. I started to look for the reasons and noted that one of the most prolific and enthusiastic translators in Sweden had taken a break – maybe for good. This happened already in 2012, but as you all know, it takes a while before it’s noticed, due to packages drifting downstream, forking and other things. Also, the quality in some of the translations had started to get real bad. What to do? I’ve never cared for translating  before, as the translations were just there, and I’ve not been that much into the area (other than programming languages). However, my Swedish school teacher always told med ”You should write” so I guess I at least have (or had:) some natural fluency in writing.

 

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Anyway, I started with some small translations to help out, and  ended up as the coordinator for the Swedish Ubuntu translation team. It turned out to be FUN in a way I couldn’t imagine. I really thought it would be boring, but somehow, my brain likes the creative and the correctness of translating. So much, in fact, that I do it several hours a week. So far, I have done maybe 50-100 translations – I don’t know because I don’t have list – and will continue as long as I think it’s fun. It’s an never ending work, but the focus for me is mainly on Gnome and Ubuntu-related stuff.

It also feels good from an altruistic view, knowing that people use the translations daily. And actually it’s good to have on a CV.

To get going and help out, start with check out https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SwedishTranslation which, even if it’s directed at Ubuntu users, is general enough to get you going, and to help you get in touch with reviewers and so on. If you’re into languages and want to help out, please do – It’s fun, altruistic and good for your CV. A lot of projects, like Firefox, VLC, Chrome, Libreoffice, The Swedish word lists, and other programs are out there, waiting for your help. Oh, btw, you probably use these programs on your Mac and Windows computer too, so it’s really for the benefit of all.

Building a retro PC gaming computer – revisited

I’ve been thinking awhile about getting an older PC for some Windowsrelated retrogamingstuff and also just to tinker with. A while ago when I visited some relatives that asked of me to backup and dispose of an old PC (and assorted floppies) they had, I decided that I may keep it If I could get running without too much work. Well. It took some more hours than I though of initially but…

The computer in question was an Compaq Presario 8200EA,  and now consists of a setup of:

  • CPU Pentium 4 , 2 ghz
  • ATI Radeon AGP 9550, and a Voodoo 3 , both added after update.
  • Floppy drive, 3,5 and 5,25 after and upgrade
  • 2 HD’s,120 GB and 250 GB after and upgrade
  • DVD-RW after an upgrade.
  • ESS SOLO -1 based – replaed the SB0100 in it (to much trouble)
  •  1028 mb Sdram after an little upgrade
  • An 19 CRT-screen, Nokia 446Xpro.

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The first thing I checked was that I booted. Yes, an old XP-install started crunching. After doing all backups requested of me, the machine was all mine, all mine..(Evil laughter)

Phase 1: General inspection

I opened it up, and 10 years of dust attacked me. Honestly, I’ve never seen such much dust in a computer. But, with some dust-off, and some cleaning alcohol, freshness was soon abound.

Almost looked like this (not my computer):

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The caps looked good, and none of them seemed to be popping out. So I decided not to change them. I’ve seen worse caps in far,far never computers.

After that I removed the CPU, and cleaned off the old dry thermal grease to replace it with some fresh Artic 5 thermal paste.

Final thing of the first phase was to update the firmware to the latest Compaq compatible one I did find for this computer.

Phase 2: Partiton of harddrives and getting hold of the operating systems.

I wanted a quadruple boot of Windows Xp, Windows 98, Lubuntu and Freedos.

  • XP for some XP-retrogames,
  • Win98 for some specific Win9x-games
  • Freedos for all old DOS-games.
  • Lubuntu, as I wanted a real modern lightweight OS on it. Also for the easy bootmenufixes.

Would it be possible?

Yes!

I used Gparted to set up the first HD with 2 FAT32 partitions for Win98 and Freedos, both Primary.

For the second HD I created An NTFS,  An EXT4, and one Linux swap. All Primary. This was very easy.

Getting hold of Lubuntu, and Freedos was no problem, as they are Open Source systems, but to get hold of XP, and 98 I had to sail the pirateship.

Then I basically :

* Installed XP first on the NTFS-partition, harddrive 2

* Then I installed Lubuntu on the ext4 partition,harddrive 2. This fixes the bootloader magically with GRUB, and gives you a boot menu to choose OS:es from.

* Then installed Win98 on the first Fat32 partition, hardrive 1.

* Then I installed Freedos on the second Fat32, hardrive 1, with the WIn98 partition hidden.Freedos only wants to be installed on the first partition.

Also, you have to do an “sudo update-grub2″ from within Lubuntu afterwards, so that GRUB will add the systems to your boot-menu.

After that it was a matter of setting up and installing drivers were the OS:es hadn’t found them.

Problems I had during this:

First I wasted hours as I had corrupt files on both the XP and 98  scratchy DVD’s, DVDs, that still installed OK.

Than I had to look for chipset drivers , ethernet and graphic drivers for both XP and 98, and it took me quite a while digging through outdated websites and non-existing archives.

Halfway through this, the floppydrive broke, as I tested stuff, and it thought I was crappy disks at first. Luckily I had a spare.

I installed an old 5,25 floppy to be able to backup real old stuff with a kryoflux. Unfortunately the floppydesk-controller on the Motherboard got real confused with 2 drives attached, so I had to choose, and unplug one of them.

Getting sound to work in XP, 98 and DOS were a timeconsuming part, as Compaq in their customer-friendly wisdom decided to use an OEM Soundblaster SB0100 f r which the drivers aren’t readily available. However with the help of this,  I got the sound running in all three of them.  quite easy with a ESS Solo-1 audiocard – can recommend this for retrogaming.

My testinstalls were Phantasmagoria (Win98), Space Quest 5 (DOS) and Legacy (DOS). Worked like a charm!! I had to patch the Sierra games with ”Gosierra”‘s speed patches to get sound correct in them.

Reflections:

It was a real mix of fun and frustration setting this up. Computers were a lot tougher to get working in the 9x-days. You may have to read up on Hardware and obscure settings. Also I had forgotten what a crap the Win 9X-series was, building on MS-DOS, that these days were patched to death. XMS-Mem, Config,sys, Autoexec.bat, 640K conventional memory, bla bla – what a fuckin bitch!

It was fun to see that Freedos worked so well, as all DOS games I tried so far runs very well.

The historic perspective also shows the importance of Open Source for OS, drivers and Hardware specifications. The Lubuntu Install JUST WORKED and found all devices at once. No problems. The Freedos JUST WORKED, better than the real MS-DOS, as it have features like tab-completion , help to setup memory at boot, small drivers for mouse and cd giving more free conventional memory. Also Lubuntu is an modern Os, running on this soon 15 years old Hardware. Cool.  So please do love Open Source, because one day it’s going to save your a**!

For the XP , DOS and Win9x I had to look everywhere on the net as the drivers weren’t available, and since the manufacturers didn’t have them. As for the Hardware in itself, Compaq were famous for using modified solutions, so that they should be replaced with Compaq parts. (Hey, does anyone recognize this, Apple…). Luckily, most of my stuff weren’t modified, except for the soundcard then, which I replaced with a ESS SOLO-1.

I’m so happy with this little retro PC-rig. Build one you too, it’s a fun learning experience. It gets me that warm fuzzy retro feeling.

About emulators:

Yes, I know perfectly well that most of the games works in DOSBox, VirtualBox and so on. However, all things doesn’t work 100%, and more important – it feels more retro running them on real hardware. Also, it’s an interesting project in itself to get the old stuff running.

Troubles:

* Windows 98SE will have problems with more than 512mb mem. See this thread for solutions http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/129983-how-to-install-windows-98-in-modern-motherboards-using-more-than-1-gb/
Basically, you need to:
cd windows
edit c:\windows\system.ini

– When the edit screen is open you will see that the lines you wrote before have been modified. You must restore them copying again the given values, that is:
[386Enh]
MaxPhysPage=30000

[vcache]
MaxFileCache=393216
* To skip win98 diskscan during install, start setup with YOURDRIVE:setup /is

* If installing for example Freedos and Win98 on the same harddrive, on different primary partions, you’ll need to set the hidden flag for one of the partions in grub, depending on which on you youre booting. Both wants to be on drive C:/ primary. See Grub manual example

* You may also need to format the freedos/win98 drive with real fdisk, google for a windows me boot disk. For me, gparted and Paragons partition-magic created Fat32 partions that weren’t good enough for win98, it only complained about them. It was first when fdisk (from a rescue-boot image) had created the partitions it would work.

* The win98 partition limit is about 125GB.

* Have an annoying intel ethernet pxb boot message in your bios-post?  Turn it off with this

* Flickering and stuck to 60hz in windows 98 with your ATI card?  Changed the value 01 00 00 00 to 00 00 00 00 in registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Ati technologies > Driver > 0001 > DAL > IDCRegOptionDontUseOsmonitorInfo 01 00 00 00. After reboot i could get refresh rates over 60 Hz

* Flickering and stuck to 60hz in windows xp with your ATI card?  Change the EDIC settings under the catalyst driver settings. After reboot i could get refresh rates over 60 Hz

* Remeber Freedos doesn’t use Config.sys and Autoexec.bat default, it uses FDCONFIG.SYS and FDOS/autoex.bat, so that’s where your setting goes!

* If GRUB have trouble finding you XP partition, check that the partition contains ntldr,ntdetect.com and boot.ini. For me,  the were on the wrong drive, as i installed XP on the second drive.

 

Don’t buy a Zotac Zbox!

Zotac has a good range of ZBOX:es that in combination with Ubuntu/XBMC makes excellent mediacenters for watching movies, SVT and alike. I was quite a fan of them, and would recommend them to friends, until recently, when the cpu-fan in mine started to wear out and making sounds. They wear out quite soon. So, I’ll just get another then, I thought… OR NOT – after mailing them they tell me (and all other customers, search for it) that they don’t sell replacement fans. And no one else sells them neither, because they are custom made and nonstandard. So the htpc I bough a while ago is practically worthless, and ready for the dump.

Don’t ever buy a Zotac ZBOX until they fixed this. Go for something else. Shame on you Zotac. You aint no friend of mine anymore.

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