Technology Archives

The Verdict Is In

The “dream system” I’ve been building (or trying to build) in on at least a temporary hold.

I did some more testing today, trying various configurations as well as clearing the CMOS memory.  The result is that either the job I did of replacing those capacitors was borked or (this is most likely) the board is just plain dead on arrival because of the beating it took during shipping.

Dream System Still A Dream

Well tonight now that the heatsink compound had arrived and started the build of my new system.

I got the whole thing put together.  (I even recorded a video of the build which is rendering as I write this).

As I’ve said before it’s a really good system. A good ASUS motherboard, Nvidea graphics, a total of eight gigabytes of RAM and a two terabyte hard drive.

The only problem is that after finishing the build and powering it on nothing showed up on my monitor except the message that it’s not getting a signal from the GPU.

As you can imagine I’m ready to scream right about now.

No way could I have been able to get a computer with as much potential if I’d had to save up for a Retail System.  For one thing it would have taken me at least another year and by then whatever I would have gotten would have been obsolete by the time I could afford it.

This system has the promise of being at least reasonably modern and definitely will, once it’s finally working, be powerful enough to let me do a lot of really cool stuff.

At the moment however it’s a brick.

Having recently announced the release of build 5110, the first new build of Freenet Classic Opennet (FCon) in well over two years it has occurred to me that it would be a good idea to put together a brief walkthrough of the installation process.

Because I’m a windows user and have never installed it on a Linux machine these directions are specifically for windows.  When I am able to I’ll do another walkthrough for Linux.

Freenet’s hardware requirements are, in modern terms, pretty mild.

Minimum:

400MHz Pentium 2, with at least 192MB of RAM.

Recommended:
1GHz or more processor with 256MB RAM or more.

As you can see most modern computers will far exeed these requirements.

*Note*

Back around 2004 I actually managed to run freenet on a 200mhz Pentium with only 64mb of ram running Windows 98.  It was very slow and sluggish but it worked enough to view freesites or use FIW to insert new editions of freesites

On my laptop with a 2.1ghz cpu and 2gb of ram I am able to run Freenet while running cpu intensive tasks like rendering high definition video and neither process will suffer any noticeable performance drop at all.

These steps should work the same on Windows 98, xp, and seven.  Windows Vista will probably be more of a pain but I don’t have a vista machine to test on.

1 get or already have Java JRE 7 from http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp

2 download the distribution archive at this url:

http://peculiarplace.com/freenet/downloads/freenet-0.5-build-5110.zip

and extract the archive to c:\freenet (or whatever directory you want.  I’m using c:\freenet for this example.)

3 use a plain text editor like notepad to edit flaunch.ini change the JavaExec= and Javaw= lines to point to where java.exe and javaw.exe are located. If you used the default install they will probably be in C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.7\bin\

4 edit freenet.ini

*note* remove the % from the beginning of any line you edit or freenet will ignore the change

You only need to edit these entries:

ipaddress=

If freenet cannot determine your IP address by itself, you will need to set it here.

listenport=

the port number that freenet will use to listen for incoming connections from other freenet nodes. You can change this to any number you like as long as it’s higher than 1024 and lower than 65535.  Do not use the same port number as another application

storeSize=

The size of the local data store.  The more space you allocate here the better.  It defaults to one gigabyte (1G) however you can increase this to however much space you can spare.

At this point you can save freenet.ini and close the editor.  It’s very likely that you could never need to edit this file again.

4-a make sure that incoming TCP traffic on listenport is forwarded to the computer freenet is running on (see your router or firewall docs for how to do this)

4-b optional (but very convenient), get a http://dyn.com/dns/dyndns-free/ domain name & use dynupdate to keep it pointed at your IP address, then put that name in ipaddress in freenet.ini

5 create a shortcut to “freenet.exe” and put it on your desktop, program menu or if you want freenet to start when the computer boots, put the shortcut in the “StartUp” entry of the program menu.

Double click on the freenet.exe shortcut to start freenet.  When Freenet starts, you’ll see the blue rabbit icon in your system tray by the clock.  Right-Click on it to start and stop Freenet.

To open the Freenet web interface you can either double click on the rabbit icon in the system tray, right click and select “open gateway” or just type http://127.0.0.1:8888 into your web browser.

*NOTE* The “Configure” option on that right click menu will try to run a utility called “Nodeconfig.exe” You are infinitely better off to simply stop freenet temporarily and edit freenet.ini yourself instead.  In most cases editing that file will be a VERY rare need.  Once Freenet is working you may well never need to edit it.

Because in my experience the “Nodeconfig.exe” utility has caused more problems than it’s worth by overwriting perfectly good freenet.ini files when all I wanted to do was tweak a setting I have elected not to include it in this distribution.

As a result, clicking “configure” will result in an error message because the program isn’t there.  Just dismiss the error message and use a plain text editor like notepad to edit freenet.ini directly.

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Redstone On (powered) Rails

In a recent post I was talking about some of the stuff I was trying to do with Redstone logic circuits in Minecraft.

One of those things was to address a problem with the new powered rails.  You have one or more powered rails at the end of a track and the way you launch the minecart is to put it on the last rail against a stop block, get in it, then flip a lever to activate the powered rails to send you and your minecart on the way.  That part works.

The problem is on the return trip if you cannot hit that lever fast enough to turn the powered rail off before you hit the stop block, the minecart will bounce off of it and send you sailing back to where you just came from.

I spent a few days working out how to use the detector rail, which works sort of like metal detectors, to stop that problem from happening.

I finally found the solution in an RS NOR latch.  I turned out to be elegantly simple.  The circuit has two inputs and uses one of two available outputs.  The first input comes from a pushbutton (used because it’s a momentary contact switch instead of the lever) which causes the RS NOR latch to send power to the rails to launch the minecart.

The second input comes from the detector rail (which is also a momentary contact switch) when it detects the outgoing minecart it causes the RS NOR latch to flip to it’s other state, turning the powered rails off, thus preventing that really annoying bounce that was happening with the lever controlled circuit.

Now I know that simply reading about this isn’t going to cut it for a lot of people so I made a video that shows the whole setup in detail. “Redstone For The Everyday Guy – Pushbutton Minecart Launcher

Technorati Tags: lets play minecraft, commentary, pushbutton, rs nor, video game, rs nor latch, booster rail, gameplay, minecraft, lets play, minecraft, selif1, playthrough, redstone cirtuit, how to, minecart, gaming, powered rails, minecart station, detector rail, my minecraft adventure, learning redstone, test world, adventure, play, lets, redstone, pushbutton minecart launcher, minecraft gameplay

I Think My Camcorder Might Be Dying

Why do I think that?  Because it is not only showing various signs of wear, which I’ll get to in a minute, but it has also been doing something occasionally that convinces me it is not long for this world.  Take a look at the picture below and you’ll see what I mean.

camcorder green signal failingWhat’s wrong with this picture?  There is no green in it at all.

Every once in a while when my camcorder starts up the preview screen will look like this picture. This tells me that the component that picks up the optical input and converts it into a video signal is not supplying the green portion of the Red Green Blue (RGB) signal.

For example, the background in this picture is the green screen in my studio.  It obviously *SHOULD* be showing up green.  The fact that it is not means that the camcorder is definitely having a major problem.

Now for the time being the solution to this problem is to turn it off and back on again however I can’t help thinking that sooner or later that isn’t going to do it anymore.

This means that it would be a great idea for me to start shopping for camcorders and try to get a new one before this current unit fails completely.  This is especially true because I am a youtube partner and having a working camcorder is very important to me.  I’d really hate to have to resort to my really crappy webcam to do my videos with, or worse yet, resort to slideshow style videos that feature graphics or text that I generate in the video editor and a voiceover.  Yeah, it would technically work but it’d really suck too.,

Perhaps I might be able to get away with it for my daily vlogs but there’s no way I could do any of my skits that way and things like WFRT News, Phat Trek, and Watching Bad Videos (so you don’t have to) would be all but impossible without a working camcorder and frankly it needs to be an hd camcorder.

The only problem is cost.  I have been in a state of being “financially challenged” for some time and there just isn’t money for a new hd camcorder.  About the only shot I have is to win one in a contest and honestly, while I’m going to enter any such contest that I find, to be honest the chances of winning are microscopic to say the least.

I guess the trick is finding a contest that is suited to my skills and requires a creative entry video of some kind in a genre that I can work with.

What I’d really like is to have a Cannon 60d but in reality it’ll probably end up being an el cheapo off brand POS that just barely works.  That’s just the way things usually end up working for me.  Wouldn’t it be great if, for once, it didn’t turn out that way?

Technorati Tags: contests, failing, camcorder, youtube videos, rgb signal, youtube, making videos, no green, win a camcorder

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