Computer Failed Today

Back in October 2017 I built a new system with an AMD Ryzen 1800x CPU. The system has been great. With 8 cores and 16 threads and a nice Nvidia RTX 2060 Graphics card, it has been a real performer for gaming and video editing.

In January 2020, the power supply died and I replaced it with a similar model to avoid having to rewire the system power lines.

Today, I’d played FFXIV through the morning and just finished a 1/2 hour dungeon run – nothing special or stressful. And as I finished that and it suddenly stopped working. Just rebooted out of no where. No blue screen. Just a reboot. Boot loop. I tried to trigger a repair but looks like windows has removed “Safe Mode” boot. But after booting a couple of times, it displayed a message  that it was attempting to “repair and restart”, but it just kept rebooting.

I assumed at this point that the SSD was bad, or so worn out that it was causing the error. So I tried SpinRite, a HD diagnostic that I have which boots into DOS from a DVD. No go. That booted, but then just looped forever with the message “Discovering Systems Mass Storage Devices…”.

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Windows 10 Random Beeps

For the past few weeks I’ve noticed Windows 10 beeping at random times. These beeps don’t seem to be correlated with anything I’m doing. I finally did a google search. It turns out that this has been a thing for quite some time.

I could not get the troubleshooter to work. But continued searching found that the beeps were an indication that the Event Log was being used. And using the Event Viewer – just type Event Viewer into the white search box at the bottom left of the desktop – showed errors in the Application log. And these errors were ESENT 455 errors. So a google search of that showed that the problem was easily solved.

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Strange Java Issue

Update

See below for the solution. Spoiler – It’s a typo.

Back in April 2020, I wrote a little program to run a sequence of LibreOffice Impress Slide shows. For ease of deployment on Windows and Linux, I built the program in Java. And it worked just fine. Here’s what the program looks like:

You can follow the whole Saga of its development using this link. The program has been working very well on Linux Mint 19 and 20 and Windows 10 for a couple of months now. I’ve not changed anything since May 16. Here’s the github repository.

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Windows 10 File Sharing Broken Again

I have a bunch of computers. Not surprising since I’ve been a software engineer for decades. Windows file sharing has always been exasperating. It works, then it fails, then it works again.

So here’s an example.

Intrasitive Networking

I have had a little Gigabyte Brix computer for a couple of years now. I would like to set it up to play audio books so I moved it and hooked it to another monitor. I thought that a few weeks ago, file sharing was working fine, but now it’s not. I just need to copy the audio books to it so I can play them. So Crystal can see the GBBrix shares and read files from that system. But the GBBrix system cannot see any other systems on the network and so cannot copy files from them. All the shares are set “Everyone can read”.

Foolish me.

By “intransitive” I mean unable to communicate in both directions between two nodes of a network. Google cannot find this definition for me. All it finds for “Transitive” or “Intransitive” relates to Verbs in a language. Oh, here’s the definition. Number 2 – Logic. In either order a >> b and b >> a.

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Bad Audio Recording

A Few Headsets

I have a nice gaming headset. Logitech G430. Works fine with Discord. However, it fails when I use it with Corel Video Studio, or with Windows 10 Gaming Capture for captures in a game. It clips and drops parts of the audio, especially at the beginning of phrases. I’m in a very quiet space, so background noise is not the problem.

I decided to purchase another headset by another manufacturer to see if that fixes the problem. We’ll see. But in the mean time, I already have another device to record audio.

Headsets used to be very expensive. The G430 started out at $99 and is now $39, like the EKSA. Lots of choices on Amazon and elsewhere. Looks like they probably all use the same USB – Audio chip.

Older Headsets Have Their Own Problems

Plantronics USB Headset, circa 2000

This older headset has it’s own problems. Turns out the hard plastic parts rub against each other, causing pops and snaps during recording. I guess the plastic got old and sticky over the years. The pops and snaps are so loud that the headset is unusable for recording.

Also notice that I had to replace the muff with some cloth. The foam had rotted away, as foam of that type does over time.

Enter the Webcam

I’ve had this Logitech C510 webcam for a long time. And it still works fine. But has long since been superseded by newer models. However, the problem with this device is that it hasn’t worked for sometime, for audio. Works fine for video, but Windows 10 has not seen the microphone for some time.

Let’s use google to find out why.

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Failing to Serve Customers

To serve customers in these times, most organizations need to make Appointments. Various organizations that I’ve dealt with do this in different ways:

Umpqua bank, for example, has always had a large staff of helpful folks on phone banks, so they make appointments by phone. You call them ONCE and make an appointment at your local bank. However, if you have to change an appointment, then you need to call them back and they need to Skype the local branch to change the appointment. You get email confirmations of all the changes. Ok. Not the best, but Ok. One phone call that you make.

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Linux to Windows File Sharing Issue

So, reaching a Windows File Share on Windows 10 from Linux Mint 19 has yet another problem. But there is a fix. My Post Here drew the attention of someone who had the answer.

The problem is that trying to reach a Windows 10 shared folder from a Linux Mint 19, or Ubuntu 20.04, system, causes an error:

“Failed to retrieve share list from server”

Here’s the workaround.

Samba woes SOLVED Linux Mint Forums.png
The Workaround

It’s pretty easy. And you can do two things.

  1. When it asks for “credentials” mark them “remember forever” and store them in your keyring, so you never have to worry again.
  2. And use “Bookmark” in the file browser to remember the share so you can easily go back there again the next time you need the Windows Share from Linux.

I was able to use the smb://win10-host-name.local/share-name fix.

The bug has been reported here, so we are probably going to get a fix soon.

Update: 30 April 2020

I tried file sharing to Windows from Fedora 32, the latest, and it failed in the same way, and was fixed in the same way. So all the Linux distros apparently share the same samba gvfs code.

May you walk in the light of the Crystal.
:ww

G.Skill DRAM Lighting App Fail

My recent builds have used G.Skill DRAM, which has neat RGB lighting. Out of the box the LEDs are animated and bob and weave the colors across the DRAMs. Very nice.

There is an App that allows control of the lighting and it has hundreds of options to control the colors and patterns of the DRAM sticks.

However, if you install the app and set the patterns, they are not permanent. If you sleep or restart the computer the lighting comes up dark. Actually, during the reboot or restart from sleep, the lighting is restored, but then it looks as if the driver turns the lighting off as the machine finishes coming up. So the app is useless unless you want to run it every time you boot or come out of sleep.

Thankfully, removing the app and rebooting puts the DRAM back into its initial lit and animated state.

I have tried to post a question in the forum, but the barriers to entry to the forums are too high. Someday they will get back to me about my sign-up on the forums and allow me to post. Everyone else uses automated Anti-Spam, but these folks do it manually so forget it. Looks like if you want your DRAM lights on, just don’t use their app.

Here’s a gif of part of the default animation:

GifMaker_20190203213557537.gif

:ww

Displayport Connector vs Case Issue

While upgrading the KVM switch to Displayport, there were some problems with cables. After sending a cable back that didn’t work, the replacement finally arrived. The new cable didn’t seat properly into the GTX 1050 Card in the Cooler Master NS200 case either.

After looking at a cable that worked – 6 ft- and then at the cable needed – 10 ft – the issue was discovered. The case has a bump next to the card interface that interferes with one of the cables and not the other. The 6 ft cable is slightly flatter where the bump is and so clears it to seat properly into the graphics card.

The top left pictures shows the CM NS200 case detail next to the graphics card. The Mini-ITX card does not allow another position for the graphics card. The top left picture shows a Displayport connector that works. The bottom left shows the before and after – the two ends – of the cable that does not work. The right connector has been shaved with an Exacto knife to allow it to fit past the bump and seat properly. The bottom right picture shows a detail of the modification of the cable.

Looks like not every one agrees on the clearance required for displayport cables. So beware if you rig doesn’t work as expected.

:ww