Over the years I’ve written a lot of troubleshooting posts on my blog, describing problems I’ve run into and how I solved them in hopes that other people with the same problems might find it helpful.

I’m starting to collect them on a mini-site that’s not a blog: Hyperborea Tech Tips.

Several things came together to inspire me to reorganize those posts:

  • Tinkering with IndieWeb.
  • Building a Gemini capsule.
  • Opening the developer tools on one of my WordPress-powered blog pages. There’s no reason a 500-word article should need 400KB and a dozen connections!
  • Keeping multiple WordPress blogs up to date with security fixes.
  • Reading about the garden and stream metaphor. (via)

The essence of the garden and stream is that we’ve gotten used to a constant, time-based stream of information, but some things are better handled as an idea-based, organically-growing and cultivated collection. Sometimes you want to post a status update to social media (into the stream), but sometimes you want to update a Wiki page (taking care of the garden).

A lot of stuff isn’t here because it belongs in a stream. It’s here because it became more convenient than copying a template, writing the page, adding links and uploading everything over FTP.

I’d already mirrored some of these troubleshooting posts on my Gemini capsule, so I figured they’d be a good place to start.

My goals with the sub-site:

  • Deeper dive into Eleventy, the static site generator I’d used to archive my Les Misérables commentary.
  • Dig into IndieWeb.
  • Light as possible. One CSS file, images only for content, system fonts, no JavaScript unless I have a specific thing that needs it. (And if I do have to add JavaScript, only include the parts I need, not half a megabyte of some framework or another.)
  • Look somewhat decent (and legible!) on screens from cell phone up to widescreen desktops.
  • Create a reusable template, both for my own projects and for other people.
  • Be at least as useful as the original blog posts, if not more!

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.

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  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!

I finally got around to trying out No Man’s Sky a few weeks ago. I started on a super-hot planet, where you need to find shelter and/or resources to recharge your suit’s hazard protection system to keep cool. Got killed a few times trying to figure out what I was doing. And after about 20 minutes, my computer spontaneously shut itself down.

I waited a few minutes to let it cool down, then tried again. Managed to figure out a bit more of what I needed to do in the game, and then the same thing happened.

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