VMware ESXi 6.5 Hypervisor on Dell 690

I picked up a Dell 690 from an e-recycler for $11. I picked it out knowing that I can kit-it-out with 64GB of slow DDR2 FBDIMM RAM for about $80 and I can replace the CPUs to get to 8 threads for another $30ish. I somewhat foolishly assumed VMware ESXi 6.5 would just run on this rig. I was wrong, kind of.

Annoyingly, this motherboard seems fully electrically compatible with CPUs that are both dirt-cheap and supported by ESXi, however after a fair search of the internet, I found that the bios does not support such CPUs. The most conclusive findings I encountered were these.

I considered modifying ESXi itself, but it appears it legitimately needs something not supported by the CPUs compatible with the 690’s board. I think I read somewhere that Live Migration depends on a certain CPU feature. I got extra annoyed since I never use Live Migration (as I live on free VMware Licenses in my home lab).

The “solution” that seems to be working perfectly fine was to simply install ESXi on another machine and put the OS drive on the 690 afterwards. I’ve done this and I can report that it boots fine and I created a quick Photon OS VM to confirm it works at all. I half-way expect to find something important doesn’t work, but the Web UI functions fine (which is why I’m pushing for 6.5, else 6.0 would have been okay) and VMs appear functional. So.. Mission Accomplished? This garbage rig is already better than a Quad Core rig I’ve used and depended upon for years.

I’m feeling good. I may upgrade the CPUs to lower TDP ones and get myself to 8 CPU threads along the way. I think I’ll go for 64GB of slower FBDIMM memory first. I couldn’t care less that it’s “slow”. It’s way faster than swap/page files. 😉

Now to get back to my actual project. Murah ha ha ha ha.

Unix Magic Trick: Rename stuff in bulk

Here’s a magic-trick I rock from time to time. I only graze the basic abilities of the “rename” program, but even in my basic use of it, I find it super helpful.

In this case, I had a situation where my eBooks had been resorted from a massive flat directory in to one containing sub-dirs named with the prefix “Categories – “. I might have sorted them in another manner if I didn’t know about the rename command. When I was done sorting and thus left with my category-based directories, I then wanted to rename each dir to dump the prefix.

A simple call to rename is all it takes:
rename "s/[what to find]/[what to replace it with]/" *

Continue reading Unix Magic Trick: Rename stuff in bulk

Dear Diary: Samsung ML-1610 on macOS 10.12 Sierra

New Version

A newer version is here. I now call this ml1610-blaster.

I have a trusty Samsung ML-1610 printer that I think I bought for like $90 back around 2003. It’s been an outstanding little cheapie that so far has seen me through two undergrad programs and is now seeing my wife through her third such program. Overall, it’s unremarkable, but I like it enough to keep it going.

I’ve long-since used SpliX to get it to work under more recent versions of macOS. Lately, I’ve found splix’s installer fails to complete (I suspect SIP is in the way). And so this post exists to help me keep track of what I’ve done to install it on my wreckless fleet of macs.

Continue reading Dear Diary: Samsung ML-1610 on macOS 10.12 Sierra

Dear Diary: GoDaddy Error Code 6007

I’ve been working out a tolerable dynamic DNS solution for myself lately. After much effort, I’ve settled on running my own bind server (I last did this like 12 years ago, hah). I’ve written simple scripts that handle it for me and they work fine. However, I found for many of my domains hosted by GoDaddy, I couldn’t get it to use my new nameservers. Godaddy would let me switch my nameservers, but then they’d revert to their previous settings and I’d get an email containing the helpful message:

Error: Authorization error; 6007

Continue reading Dear Diary: GoDaddy Error Code 6007

3D Printed Hard Drive mount for 27″ iMac

One of my delightful neuroses is collecting abandoned non-functioning macs and fixing them. Last week I managed to pick up a completely dead 2010 one for $174, all parts included, just totally dead. Today I got the carcus of another for $51 (no screen, no memory, no motherboard, no glass). The carcus’ power supply happens to work and the $174 unit’s problem was exactly that – a dead PSU.

I needed a hard drive bracket/strap/clamp and had none. I measured as best I could with my plastic callipers (seriously the most useful tool of all time, maybe more useful than computers themselves). I used Sketchup to CAD a little hack to do the job. It’s not pretty and I’m a bit concerned about how hot these things can get, but I figure “meh, fuck it”.

I’ve published the file for the mount on thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2152134

PS – these open and exposed PSU-guts have taught me a little about AC shocks. As a Computer Engineer, my preferred domain is low-voltage DC. Frick. AC makes me a little twitchy now. 😉