USB-3 Problem Solved

Cyberstorm in Slim case

In a previous post we talked about moving a server from a clunky old case to a new slimmer case. The only problem was the front panel only had USB-3 connectors, and the motherboard was created before the internal standard for motherboard USB-3 connectors appeared. This older motherboard only has external USB-3 connections on the backplate.

So here’s the fix.


This ORICO company makes many different USB-3 PCI-e cards.There are several manufacturers on Newegg, but these cards look like the highest quality. Their metal brackets are painted black, the PC boards are blue, rather than crap tan, and the connectors look like they are high quality. Continue reading “USB-3 Problem Solved”

Alienstorm Skylake Refit Complete

Hardware and Windows 10 Complete

The refit of the Alienware Area 51 – 7500 from 2007 to a Skylake Processor and Windows 10 is complete. The system died trying to do the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and while I spent two days frantically trying to bring it back to life with Linux Mint 18, I finally declared it End of Life and ordered the replacement parts. Here is the original configuration.

The new system has:

  • Core i7 6700K Skylake Processor
  • ASUS Maximus VIII Ranger Motherboard
  • 32GB G.Skill DDR4 3400 memory
  • Samsung 850 EVO SSD – 500GB
  • Western Digital 1TB HD – Temporary. Once system is installed, the two HD from my current main system will be swapped in. These are a 2TB data and 4TB video capture disk.
  • LG OEM BluRay burner
  • Corsair H75 Water Cooler

Continue reading “Alienstorm Skylake Refit Complete”

Tera – New Quest: Memory Lost

When I logged into after the last update, a new quest appeared for my 65 level characters: Memory Lost. What’s that. It says you get a Dreadnaught Weapon. That sounds good. Do they just give it to you, or do you have to do something impossible to get it?


And the rewards:


Well let’s give it a try. On a brawler so I don’t embarrass myself.

Continue reading “Tera – New Quest: Memory Lost”

Move Server to Smaller Case

HAF X Case is Too Large

After about 5 years, it is time to move the rather small server machine out of the Yuge Cooler Master HAF X into a much smaller Corsair Carbide Series 100 R case. The ASUS Sabre 58 Motherboard is a full size ATX so that limited the case choices somewhat. The new case is in the center.

Also I wanted to try a nice Corsair H81 GT Cooler to see if it would fit in the Alienware Area 51 case that I’m rebuilding. So.

Continue reading “Move Server to Smaller Case”

3D XPoint Hyperbole?


Intel and Micron, in July 2015, announced a revolutionary memory technology, called 3D XPoint [Pronounced CrossPoint, XPoint from now on here.] and they have recently made further announcements regarding the first introduction of products employing this technology.

I’ve seen discussions that talk about how XPoint is going to “Revolutionize” our thinking about computing. I’m thinking, er…. No. It will make things better and faster, but I don’t see a “Revolution”. I’m not suggesting that I’m pessimistic about XPoint. I’m suggesting that XPoint does not really create any new ways to Organize, Share or Distribute data, so what I think we are going to see is an Evolution where XPoint is used with methods we already have to Organize, Share and Distribute data.

Data Organization Methods

There are three major ways we organize data in and between computers. I’m sure you know about these, but let’s review. Continue reading “3D XPoint Hyperbole?”

Move to Linux

Screenshot from 2016-08-13 07-12-48.png
Linux Mint 18

As you can tell from previous posts, I’m having trouble with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on one of my machines. It’s an older machine and I suspect that Windows has broken a driver for the old motherboard. The latest version that worked properly was Version 1511 / 10586.545 and each time I restored to the last Restore Point, it went back to that. So apparently, the Anniversary Update 1607 / 14393.51 is the problem.

After going back to a Restore Point on two successive days, I turned off the Windows Update service and the machine was ok for a day, but I decided that this was too risky a state to leave the system. I have decided to move the system to Linux Mint 18, and this post is being typed into that system. It took about 2 hours to do the update, including installing a new system HD, and another couple of hours to set up Thunderbird email.

I have used Linux Mint for many years, and the latest is version 18. I prefer the Cinnamon version, but you may prefer another of the several window managers. For my choice, Cinnamon looks the most like Windows.

This machine is used for email, online shopping and document creation. It has two 1080×1200 monitors driven by an older GTX 270 card. Not the best for gaming, but just fine for it’s uses. Continue reading “Move to Linux”

Windows 10 Anniversary Update a Mess

Boot Failure after Anniversary Update

I had my Alienware Area 51 since about 2007 – since right before DELL bought Alienware – and about a year ago I upgraded to Windows 10. No problem. Here are the specs.

But the Anniversary Update fails miserably on this machine. It keeps waking up dead, if you see what I mean. A couple of days ago it was running, right after the update but without the 2 additional SATA hard drives. The drives were obviously still in the system, but Windows 10 did not see them. And Disk Manager did not see them either. So I did a RESTART with the start menu and got into a world of hurt. The system never finished restarting. After 10 minutes it was still doing an animation on the screen saying Restarting. So I used the power button, it failed to boot, and then finally I got it back by going back to the previous restore point using essentially the same process you see below, but it looked different that time. No application windows just blue screen dialogs.

Now it’s happened again, but differently. Continue reading “Windows 10 Anniversary Update a Mess”

Better Product to Clean Pellet Stove Glass

Sparkling Clean Glass

Here’s what it looks like with the new cleaner.

When I bought the stove I got some cleaner in bottles that looked like this:

The original bottle that I bought a year before looked the same, but contained Muratic Acid. The newer formulation contains Isopropanol. Clearly dangerous based on the labeling.

But this product works just as well, has a much better odor and no scary warnings.

Also it is much cheaper.

Basically this is a natural soap formulation and it works fine to clean off creosote and other deposits from my stove. You might like to try products like this to clean your stove.