Two hot takes (so to speak):

Auto-updaters shouldn’t run when the system is really busy.

And installers that check to see the whether the same or newer version is “already installed” should either be really thorough about what they’re checking, or offer to do a repair install anyway.

Overheat!

I’d fired up a game of No Man’s Sky, which even after redoing the thermal paste and adding another case fan still pushes the limits of my system’s cooling, especially if I forget to wait for all the background processes to finish loading on Windows startup. I left a space station, landed on a planet, started mucking around with the structure I had found, and hit a waypoint pole to save again—

And the system shut down.

I turned it back on to get the fans running again and help cool off. Which worked. But when I logged in, I had a bunch of errors with Google Drive. Apparently its auto-update launched during my GPU-intensive game and overheated it enough to reach the shutdown threshold.

Fortunately, I’d just saved my game — or so I thought.

I spent about half an hour trying to fix Google Drive before I decided to just go back to the game for now.

No Man’s Sky picked up seamlessly…at the previous save. Maybe the write cache hadn’t been flushed yet or something. I’m glad I only lost about a minute of gameplay, though… I’ve got several hundred hours on this save file, and I’d hate for it to get lost or corrupted!

Anyway, back to Google Drive. I couldn’t reinstall it because I couldn’t uninstall it, and despite my efforts I couldn’t remove enough traces of it for the installer to be willing to run. You can read the whole reinstalling Drive saga on my troubleshooting site, along with the taskbar that lost its icons halfway through.

I eventually fixed it by copying the installed program files from another system and running the uninstaller manually. That resolved both the taskbar icons and the Drive installer being willing to run.

Then I dragged myself into bed.

Yeah, it was a fun Saturday night. 🙄

After a brief stint at distributed computing early in the pandemic, I came back first to Folding@Home, then BOINC, with the following goals:

  • Use some spare computing power to help with worthwhile research.
  • Not drastically increase my power usage.
  • Mainly run projects when my computer would be on anyway, not start running a full desktop power supply full blast 24/7.
  • Avoid damaging my primary system, and especially not have to replace a fried CPU or GPU in a hurry during the ongoing chip shortage! (I’ve had heating problems with graphics-intensive games on this box.)

Folding@Home only seemed worth doing with the GPU, and the tasks took long enough that it only seemed worth doing if I was going to keep the computer on, which tripped up on my targets for power usage, uptime, and overheating risk. And their ARM version had dropped 64-bit support, so I couldn’t put it on the Raspberry Pi either. Well, not without installing a new OS and setting everything up again.

I tossed BOINC on an old Android phone (via F-Droid) to start with, using Science United as a manager to automatically choose projects based on areas of research instead of having to dig into each project one at a time. After a week or so, that seemed to be working out pretty well, so I looked into expanding.

Continue reading

A few weeks ago, Szczezuja asked the GeminiSpace community: How you were using the Internet in 1991-1995 and 1995-2005?

This may be a bit longer than asked for, and I thought about breaking it into smaller pieces, but I decided it would be more appropriate for a Gemini post to be one single unit.

1991-1995: Discovery

By 1990 my family had moved on from Atari’s home computer line to what was then known as an “IBM Compatible” PC. I missed out on the BBS era, except for one time we had to download a software patch. My first taste of being online came through walled gardens during my last year of high school:

Prodigy, which I seem to remember having a GUI frame around a mostly text interface (except for banner ads in the frame). I think it even ran under DOS. I remember looking at some message boards about theater, but that’s about it.

AOL, which at the time was much friendlier to use, ran on Windows, and had its own system of message boards, email, etc. But again I don’t remember much about what I did with it until later on.

September

Then I got to college and discovered “Mosaic” at the computer labs. This web thing was really cool! There was a database of movies that I could search, I could find all kinds of sites on this collection of categorized links called Yahoo!, and people were posting things like fan pages collecting all of the Animaniacs cultural references!

Egad! Keeper’s Cartoon Files is still online!

There was a campus-wide Unix network that you could connect to through a dial-up terminal app, or the WYSE terminals scattered around campus. Windows and/or Mac computer labs at major departments. The engineering, computer science, etc. labs also had bullpens full of graphical UNIX terminals (I think they were the classic Sparc “pizza boxes” running SunOS and later Solaris), which was how I first encountered Mosaic and Netscape.

Back at my dorm, though, I had to dial up to a terminal. I could use text-based applications like Lynx for web browsing, or PINE for email. Sometimes I’d check my email (a string of auto-generated letters and numbers based on my major at a fourth-level domain based on the department that handled student email) at a text-based terminal in one of the computer labs or scattered around campus.

Continue reading

  1. Put Folding@Home on my desktop.
  2. It’s using too much power.
  3. Can I put it on my Raspberry Pi 3B?
  4. The software is 64-bit. The OS on there right now is 32-bit.
  5. Specs show the 3B has a 64-bit processor.
  6. /proc/cpuinfo shows it has a 32-bit processor.
  7. Specs show it should have BCM2837
  8. /proc/cpuinfo shows it has BCM2835
  9. Magnifying glass shows BCM2837 stamped on the chip.

A close-up view of a circuit board with Raspberry Pi 3 written on it and a Broadcom chip partially hidden by plastic spacers.

WTF?

It turns out all Raspberry Pi CPUs appear as 2835 in the kernel?!?!?

I decided to put BOINC on an old phone instead. I don’t feel like installing a new OS on the Pi. *sigh*

At first I thought this was related to Windows losing drives on wake. It started happening around the same time, it also involved waking up from sleep, and the CD/DVD drive was disappearing in Windows along with the vanishing hard drive.

But while moving the cables fixed that problem, it didn’t fix this one.

It was only mildly annoying, especially compared to regularly losing access to a large chunk of local storage, so I figured I’d come back to it later.

Other people are seeing this too and it’s a recent bug in the Linux kernel. At least with Fedora’s rapid kernel updates I probably won’t have to wait too long between when the patch lands and when it hits my desktop. It’s been years since I compiled my own kernel, and I don’t feel like starting that up again now!