Stupid xorg.conf Tricks

Mimo Monitor

I’m getting addicted to small USB monitors.  They’re so practical for displaying “extra” information that I don’t want to clutter up my main screen.

These monitors just require one single cable to the computer, and they typically have a touch screen interface, too.  So you can pretty much use them for any small control/display project you have.

For the office, I wanted to display the currently playing music, because otherwise I frequenly have to query the music server what’s playing, and that disrupts my work flow.  So I hooked up the screen, and I started a separate X server to display the cover and the artist/album/track name.

Then I wondered: what would I want to control with this device?  The only thing I could think of was pausing.  And writing a program just to do that seemed like overkill. 

So I just pointed evrouter at it, with the following evrouterrc-file:

“eGalax Inc. USB TouchController” “/dev/input/event7” none key/330 “Shell/pause”

So when I tap the screen, then the music pauses.  Couldn’t be easier.

My problem was then that the main X screen also got the “tap”.  I’ve long wondered how to filter out certain input devices.  X, these days, is very helpful.  If you plug in an input device, it’ll use it.  I’ve previously tried to find out how to remove certain devices from certain servers, but never been able to find out how.

It turns out to be really easy. You just remove the stuff from /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf, and then put the stuff you want into the xorg.conf file for the server.


Not the least bit hacky!

I never promised myself a rose garden

Viking to the left, Pink Fairy to the right

But now I have a rose balcony.

I wanted to have something growing on the balcony (in addition to the dirt), so I went to buy a rose bush.  I got a bit carried away, as usual, and got three of them.  A (I’m not kidding) Pink Fairy, a (I’m still not kidding) Viking, and a (how boring) Sympathie.

The Pink Fairy is the hardiest one, of course.

So now I just have to wait a couple of months, and I’m sure they’ll end up looking just like on the last picture.

Right?  I don’t have to remember to water them or anything?

Right?

I should write an Emacs-based watering interface.

Sympathie
This is what they’ll look like.  Right.

RAID Fun Redux

Addonics Mini Storage Tower

You will remember me getting a new eSATA box with the crappiest thermal design ever.  To recap, there’s a big fan situated a few millimeters from an almost totally non-holey wall, Batman.  When fans are that close to an obstruction, the air flow makes a lot of noise.  So I unplugged the fan to see whether it would work as a fanless box.

And it didn’t.  One disk died after a week or so, presumably from heat stroke.  So I plugged the fan in again, and lived with the sound of a vacuum cleaner emenating from the hall closet.

Cthulhu Attacking

Until today, when a new enclosure (from Addonics) arrived.  As you can see, there’s nothing obstructing the air flow here.  However, it’s not really a hot-plug enclosure, which is disappointing.  With all the various loose wires inside the box, it looks like Cthulhu exploded inside it.

But it’s pretty quiet.  I can’t hear it at all on a two meter distance, if the closet doors are shut.

So I give this a two thumbs up on a five star scale.

It’s like the 4th of July

I’ve been celebrating the Norwegian constitutional day (I think it’s celebrating that we were rid of the tyrannical rule of the Danes, or the Swedes, or somebody equally tyrannical and heinous) by putting up more book shelves.

I’m not digital at all in the book dept.  It’s still all papery stuff.  It takes a lot of space!  Nature abhors walls without book shelves, so, after doing an intensive search for something that would fit this rather small wall, I settled on these Ikea shelves.

The wall is rather thin particle board, and I didn’t actually do the whole anchor thing, so they’re probably going to fall down after a while, but here’s the fun fact: I paid more for the screws than the shelves themselves!

That’s so sexist.

Is Amazon Insane or Just Deranged?

So, I stumbled onto Suddenly, Tammy! having their third album (which was recorded in 1997, but held (and not released) by Warner’s (they fired the band, but refused to give back the music to the band (record labels are scum)) finally seeing the light of day yesterday. (You can untangle the tenses, I think.)  So I googled for the album, and Amazon came up first.

The album was only released digitally, so I 1-clicked it (Amazon so deserved that patent), and then the screen at the right appeared.

So: To download the mp3s, Amazon wanted me to install an executable!?

Are they insane?  Or just deranged?  I don’t install an executable on my precious machine for anybody, unless it comes from debian.org, or is in source code form.

Why, by Emacs, would downloading a set of mp3s require installing an executable on my machine?

To add insult to injury, the executable wasn’t actually available on my machine, since it’s only for 32-bit Linuxen.

What.  Ever.

I clicked further into the Google results, and on page fourteen i finally stumbled onto 7digital, which allowed just, like, downloading the mp3s (in a zip archive).

Yay.  Music.

The Curious Case of the Box Fan

I bought an ESATA box to replace the crappy Synology RAID thing. It’s a very simple external enclosure with no brains whatsoever, so I can just string four ESATA cables out of the computer in the cupboard to the enclosure, and run standard Linux soft raid.

I installed four 5900RPM Seagate Green disks into the box, which has the snappy name “RaidSonic Stardom ST5610-4S-S2”.

It seems to be working fine.  It’s much snappier than the Synology box, especially when traversing large directories and displaying small pictures, which is something that my music browser does a lot.

But the design of the cooling system is rather odd.

A Box!

There’s a nice and big fan at the back. But it’s rather noisy, so I unscrewed the back cover and removed the fan to see what was going on.  It turns out that the fan blows straight onto that red backplane there.  There are three holes in the backplane, but they are completely covered up by the disks on the other side of the backplane.

It’s rather puzzling.  As far as I can tell, there’s virtually no cooling of the disks themselves with this “design”.  I could detect no draft from the front while the fan was working like crazy at the back.

Oh well.  I guess that this means that the fan is non-functional, so I just unplugged it.  That means that the box is quite silent, which is nice.  And that the disks will die a lot sooner, which isn’t.

All hardware sucks.