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Tuesday, 18 July 2017 Dereel Images for 18 July 2017
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teevee: done?
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

It seems that teevee is now as good as ready to run. The only issue was with the remote control. Reading my diary entry for 23 November 2006 was instructive: it seems that in lircrc, lirc assigns every button to a specific program. To avoid search issues, I had put a copy in ~/.lircrc, and it contained entries like:

begin
     prog = mythtv
     button = down
     repeat = 1
     config = Down
 end

It's understandable that's not going to talk to mplayer. But the entry in /usr/local/etc/lircrc referred to mplayer, so all I had to do was to remove ~/.lircrc and everything worked. Something simple, for once.

Still, quite some discussion on IRC. Do you need a configuration file or not? How do you specify which driver to use? Ubuntu configured out of the box without a config file, though I wasn't given the choice of driver. I had ticked “download third-party drivers”, but it didn't install the nvidia driver, and I don't know how to do it. Like everything here, it seems that documentation is wanting. Even X.org doesn't have any clear installation instructions, though once the X documentation was considered exemplary.

Peter Jeremy tells me that X -configure “works for him”, and thought that maybe the crash was due to the presence of the nvidia kernel module. OK, we can check that, and in the process consider whether I can use the on-board graphics to run the vtys, and use the nVidia card for X. That would have the advantage that I could display both vty and X at the same time on two different monitors. So I set the primary display to the on-board graphics in the UEFI setup and tried to start X:

[   655.962] (II) NVIDIA dlloader X Driver  375.66  Mon May  1 14:35:35 PDT 2017
[   655.962] (II) NVIDIA Unified Driver for all Supported NVIDIA GPUs
[   655.962] (--) Using syscons driver with X support (version 2.0)
[   655.962] (--) using VT number 9

[   655.962] (EE) No devices detected.

The hardware was probed, so it's not quite clear why there should have been a problem, but I've had enough of this mess already.

While I had the on-board graphics active, however, I revisited the issue of running X -configure. As I suspected, it did generate an xorg.config.new before crashing. So I tried running X using that configuration:

(==) Using system config directory "/usr/local/share/X11/xorg.conf.d"
scfb trace: probe start
scfb trace: probe done
(EE) Backtrace:
(EE) 0: /usr/local/bin/X (OsInit+0x37a) [0x5a363a]
(EE) 1: /lib/libthr.so.3 (_pthread_sigmask+0x544) [0x8025ced94]
(EE) 2: /lib/libthr.so.3 (_pthread_getspecific+0xe5f) [0x8025cebef]
(EE) 3: ? (?+0xe5f) [0x7ffffffffe62]
(EE) 4: /usr/local/lib/libX11.so.6 (_XGetRequest+0xa6) [0x80d9f5356]
(EE) 5: /usr/local/lib/libX11.so.6 (XQueryExtension+0x44) [0x80d9ea074]
(EE) 6: /usr/local/lib/libX11.so.6 (XInitExtension+0x26) [0x80d9ddc96]
(EE) 7: /usr/local/lib/libXext.so.6 (XextAddDisplay+0x54) [0x80df20994]
(EE) 8: /usr/local/lib/libnvidia-glsi.so.1 (_nv028glsi+0x6afa) [0x80d7928d4]
(EE)
(EE) Segmentation fault at address 0x8073b7330
(EE)
Fatal server error:
(EE) Caught signal 11 (Segmentation fault). Server aborting
(EE)
(EE) Server terminated with error (1). Closing log file.
Abort trap

So the crash was not the result of creating the config file, but of trying to use it. I suppose I should look at it more carefully, but again, this is enough pain already.


Other mods for new teevee
Topic: technology, multimedia Link here

Also addressed some other issues needed to get teevee to run in the TV environment. I'm starting a HOWTO page describing the modifications necessary. Today it was mainly how to ensure that X gets started automatically on boot:

I still have an issue with late mounting NFS file systems. With the late option in /etc/fstab, it now works, but it takes 60 seconds to do so. It works on tiwi, but I recall having problems there, too, so I should check what I did there.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017 Dereel Images for 19 July 2017
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teevee: going live
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

So everything seems to be OK with teevee. Time to take it out of the office and connect it to the TV in the lounge room.

I need to keep tiwi running along with teevee until I'm sure that everything is OK. That means new cables and stuff, of course. Where have all the power cables gone? Found some new ones, and even an additional power strip. That was the easy part. Next, Ethernet. Found my old 5 port Ethernet switch, but where did the power supply go? I was using it only a few months ago, until I gave up on TV. But I couldn't find it.

Never mind, I had a second one, an 8 port switch, and a power supply to go with it. But it never got out of its self test. Power supply or switch? Should I care?

Three more switches, all only 100 MB/s. Any port (out of 8) in a storm. More power supply problems! They all have strange ratings, like 5 V, 2.4 A (which I had, but only 100-120 V input) and 7.5 V (which I had, but not with the correct connector). Finally I looked at the last one: a 24 port switch with (thank God) a normal IEC 63020 C13 power connector. So I plugged that in, and it recognized tiwi, but not the wall plug. It seemed that the cable I had put in there was defective. Crossover? I thought that modern switches could handle that. So a new cable, and that worked.

And then there were audio and HDMI cables, all placed so that it's almost impossible to plug them in. But finally I was done, and I turned it on, connected to the TV via HDMI connector 2.

It worked, but the image went beyond the edges of the screen. Xorg.0.log suggested that it wasn't getting any EDID information, and I had some recollection of that. Plugged it in to HDMI 1 (more cursing the location of the sockets), and it worked. But not well. This CPU has roughly twice the grunt of the old one, but the display was jerky, and top showed that it was maxed out.

Comparing the Xorg.0.log files from tiwi and teevee was interesting: the latter contained repeating messages:

[  1097.496] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): SKYDATA S.P.A. BAUHN TV (DFP-1): connected
[  1097.496] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): SKYDATA S.P.A. BAUHN TV (DFP-1): Internal TMDS
[  1097.496] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): SKYDATA S.P.A. BAUHN TV (DFP-1): 340.0 MHz maximum pixel clock

Why? Searching the web suggested that this only occurs in conjunction with problems that stop things working altogether. But clearly the issue relates to the display, since I didn't have them with the normal monitor.

So off to the nvidia site to look for the driver documentation. I recall seeing it before, and finding it helpful, but I couldn't find a link on the web site, and I couldn't find anything in this diary either. Finally, after a roundabout way that I forgot to record, I did find it: Configuring X for the NVIDIA Driver and nvidia X configuration options. And there I found:

"NoMaxPClkCheck": each mode has a pixel clock; this pixel clock is validated against the maximum pixel clock of the hardware (for a DFP, this is the maximum pixel clock of the TMDS encoder, for a CRT, this is the maximum pixel clock of the DAC). This argument disables the maximum pixel clock checking stage of the mode validation pipeline.

So I added that to the config file, which, in addition to things I changed long ago, now contains:

    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "nVidia Corporation"
    Option         "UseEDIDDpi" "FALSE"
    Option         "DPI"  "150x150"
    Option         "ModeValidation" "NoMaxPClkCheck"

Or does it? When I looked the next morning, the last line was commented out. But the messages no longer appeared. It looks as if this is still not over and done with, especially since the performance still seems less than stellar.

Apart from that, there are other minor things I need to look at. Why is the firefox display size so different? The xterm display colours don't match. And a lot of other minor stuff that doesn't stop me using it. But (here we go again) after 25 years, this stuff a real pain.


First camellia of spring
Topic: gardening Link here

Our Camellia japonica is starting to flower:


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Only one small flower so far, but there are plenty of buds, and the leaves are looking better. Looking back, we've had it for nearly 7 years, and the only time it flowered anywhere near this early was 5 years ago. I'm hoping that things will be better now that it's planted in the ground.


Panorama problems solved?
Topic: photography Link here

It seems that I'm not the only person to suffer from the changed focal length syndrome that caused me pain earlier this month. Now T.Modes (as he styles himself) has produced this document, which I must read.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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