The Shutdown of Phunsites’ Lab

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Bits and Bytes, Hardware

So, this is the end, after all what we went through?

Today I took the time to shutdown the Phunsites’ Lab. During all these years, it served a good purpose. Most of my ideas and PoCs were initially developped on these machines, before they evolved in some detailed design specs.
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Getting Aten UC-232A usb-to-serial dongle to work on OS X "Snow Leopard"

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hardware, Networking

Murphy stroke again. This time he crushed my RS232 USB-to-serial dongle, which used to work fine on my MacBook Pro running OS X.

I use a very basic Aten UC-232A dongle. There exist various variations out there, but most of them contain a PL-2303 chip, so despite some of them looking very different in design they’re basically the same thing.
Obviously mine stopped working after upgrading from OS X 10.5.x to 10.6.x “Snow Leopard”.

Looking for alternate drivers I came along a few sites, including some driver update pages which requered me to pay for it.
Oh wait a minute … paying for a device driver? Gosh … get lost!
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Replacing stock mini PCIe WiFi by DW1390 WiFi on eeePC 1000H

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hacks, Hardware

This february I had my 30th birthday. My boss surprised me with an eeePC 1000H as an unexpected as well as also a very cool gift 🙂

Ok, I must admit, that I took a glimpse at the tiny netbooks more than once. My dream was to actually run it with OS X instead of Windows or Linux.

So, just the next-day my netbook was OS X-ified (a topic, which I’ll cover later on), only to notice some more or less annoying issues.
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Reviewing Transtec PROVIGO 410E iSCSI RAID

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hardware

Last week I got myself a now toy at work: a Transtec PROVIGO 410E iSCSI RAID device.

The task was to review if it could serve its purpose as (expandable) external storage system for my company’s (then still new-to-be-built, now in service) ftp mirror, a disk-based backup system and other possible areas of working.
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Adaptec Storage Manager for Supermicro AOC-2020SA RAID controller

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hardware

While playing around with a Supermicro 6014P-T server I wanted to install a (Linux) CLI to manage the AOC-2020SA RAID controller.

Bad enough that Adaptec Storage Manager (ASM) included with the Supermicro driver disk does not include a CLI.
Let’s not argue about whom had the great idea to provide a GUI-only java-based management application to be used on 19″ 1U rackmount servers.
Of course I’d never run such a server headless or without X11 installed so why would I ever need a CLI!?
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Enabling Serial Console on Sun Ultra 5

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hardware

On a Sun Ultra 5 keyboard and screen are used as default input/output devices. This causes the serial port not to be used by default, at least not unless you send a keypress over an attached terminal.

To change this behaviour, two values need to be changed in OpenBoot.
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Using A Sun 13W3-VGA Adaptor On A SGI Indy

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hardware

Connecting a standard PC-Monitor to an SGI causes usually no problems as long as it supports sync-on-green, sometimes also referred to as composite-sync signal. All usual high end monitors and the better flat screens support sync-on-green, a list of compatible monitors is available at the Linux for Playstation 2 website.

If you are lucky and have an SGI 13W3-to-VGA cable at hands, your monitor will most likely work like a charm.
But what happens if you only have on of those generic SUN 13W3-to-VGA adaptors at hand?
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Upgrading My E450 From Dual-CPU To Quad-CPU

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hardware

I recently acquired two additional CPU modules for my ancient E450 through eBay.

When they arrived today I couldn’t resist any longer: I simply had to rip the cover off the machine and put them inside…

These are the babies, two UltraSparc II modules and the DC power converters:


This is where the DC power converters will fit in, it’s always one per CPU module. Actually it’s not hard to get the CPU modules at last, it’s the DC converters which are usually quiet expensive. Luckily enough I could get them for only 29 € per piece 🙂

And this is what it looks like when they’re fitted:

Now it’s time to plug the CPU modules…

Gosh! Looks awesome, does it!?

Now it’s time to see…

… if it works. Hmm…. the serial console says only ‘connected’ …

*sigh* I’m just to nervous! After a few seconds OpenBoot reports ‘4 x UltraSparc-II 296 MHz’.

But before I could actually boot into FreeBSD, I had to change a setting to ensure that OpenBoot would report all installed CPUs to the OS. So in OpenBoot I typed:

{0} ok setenv .upa-noprobe-mask 0
{0} ok reset-all

This would reset the CPU probing mechanism and reboot the machine.

If I had done so in the first place (which I actually didn’t), FreeBSD would have found all CPUs (which it apparently didn’t, it reported only three CPUs at the beginning).
My thanks go to Marcel for helping me in finding the lost CPU.
So even FreeBSD seems to like it after all 🙂

# dmesg|grep cpu
cpu0: Sun Microsystems UltraSparc-II Processor (296.00 MHz CPU)
cpu1: Sun Microsystems UltraSparc-II Processor (296.00 MHz CPU)
cpu2: Sun Microsystems UltraSparc-II Processor (296.00 MHz CPU)
cpu3: Sun Microsystems UltraSparc-II Processor (296.00 MHz CPU)

SS20 not recognizing IBM hard drives

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hardware

It was not very obvious and took me quiet some time to find out why two recently acquired Sun SS20 machines did not recognize IBM SCA hard drives.
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