The machines, 2023
Alex blag hardware

Hi, it’s been a year! I have far too many drafts and far too few blogposts, per usual.

I figured it’s about time we make this a tradition - if only for my own recollection a decade down the line. Thus, changes:

  • wallpc is currently dual-booting a Windows 10 IoT Core install for VR use. Unfortunately, it looks like my Rift S won’t be fully supported under Linux/Monado for some time yet (though Jan Schmidt is doing amazing work on that front!), so that’s going to stay for a while. Given that, I’ve slowly started reinstalling some tools on there that work better under Windows - audio, namely.

    • Yes, this means I’ve stopped using VFIO for my audio workstation. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it quite as reliable as I needed it to be. It worked, but was too fiddly for me to be effectively creative.
    • For a while I was using an unnamed T480 in a dock as a dedicated Windows audio workstation; moving away from that, though. More on that later…
  • engeler is kicking along nicely. I removed its boot GPU (an 8600 GT) since it was eating power for some reason.

  • kvm is still decommissioned.

  • amos has been lovely, though it’s had three quirks:

    • The rear rubber feet broke off inside - they’re part of a plastic sheet that’s attached to the metal bottom cover. Glued back into place, no big deal.
      • S0 sleep is borked under Windows and eats battery power. Shocker. “No problem,” I thought, “just swap to S3 sleep.” That worked as expected, but another issue popped up at the same time…
      • The Qualcomm WLAN NIC failed in a peculiar way - when resuming from sleep, there was a 50% it would fail to initialize, thus hard-resetting the system after about 15 seconds. Eugh. Swapped for a good ol’ Intel 8260 - no 802.11ax DBS for me, it seems. I doubt the changing sleep modes from S0 to S3 caused this, but it’s odd that the issue popped up near-simultaneously.
  • kenji’s spiritual successor is a ThinkPad P50 from the spare computer drawer, which was once a SOLIDWORKS workstation. It’s now my work Linux box - and has been pressed into use as a mobile video recorder. Darn useful, that thing is.

    • The HP Stream remains in the spare computer drawer, waiting for a day when it is needed.
    • It’s also currently holding onto the dubious Qualcomm NIC from amos while I figure out what to do long-term.
  • tutuola was on loan to a friend while their laptop was out for an RMA repair. (Failed LCD FFC.) However, there’s been some monkey business going on…

    • For reference, tutuola is a ThinkPad A485 - i.e. a T480 with an AMD motherboard.
      • I picked up an as-is untested T480 off of eBay for stupid cheap to see if I could fix it. Turns out it worked 100% fine - just missing a keycap and its rear battery.
      • This left me with two machines: tutuola, which is fantastic apart from poor power management, and the unnamed T480, which is base-spec in every way except the CPU (i5-8350) and not fun to use on its own. (Yay, 768p displays.) What’s a nerd to do?
      • Surgery, of course. tutuola is now an A485 with a T480 motherboard (power management, Thunderbolt, huzzah!), and the unnamed T480 has its old A485 motherboard. This is the same unnamed T480 that was running Ableton for a while.
  • caulfield doesn’t see as much use, but has been gloriously reliable. Beautiful little machine.

  • I considered bringing eggshell back into active service - it’s my only 2-in-1 touchscreen machine, and I needed something to read charts with on stage. Unfortunately, it’s not worth the cost to repair - I bodged the frame together, but the display also intermittently suffers from ghost touches. Semi-common failure with the model, unfortunately.

    • Instead, I purchased an iPad Air 3 (and Pencil), running forScore. Love that thing. Still deciding on a permanent hostname.
  • genesis has a small crack developing in its frame near the LCD hinge. Honestly: not bad, considering its long service history. eggshell certainly isn’t as robust, and it’s 17 years younger!

  • pifour is now inside an Ender 3 Pro, running Klipper.

  • iemrouter is a Linksys E2500v2 running FreshTomato…because Broadcom. That thing used to be my primary AP before I went with UniFi; these days, it’s handling DHCP and AP duties for an IEM rack.

    • I’m still working out a few routing kinks (yay multicast discovery), but otherwise I’ve configured it to look for my home network as a wireless uplink. As a result…
      • When out and in active use, it behaves as a bog-standard router/AP for mixer and RF control.
      • When at home, traffic can be routed between my primary LAN subnet and the IEM rack subnet, so devices on the primary LAN can still control the IEM rack. This is especially important since this rack serves as the primary audio interface in my studio/office.
      • I might replace this with something else, tbh. The E2500v2 was just what the junk pile coughed up.

Next time: Alex (probably) finishes overhauling the IEM rack document he wrote for /r/livesound once upon a time…