Categories
Computer Crap Energy

Are cheap used solar panels a good idea for [email protected]?

[email protected] has always been fun to run on computers I look after and with COVID-19, there’s never been a better time to simulate protein dynamics. The downside of [email protected] is that to run a computer at full tilt doing those simulations consumes a decent amount of electricity, which costs money and particularly in Victoria, emits a heavy chunk of CO2. After seeing ads pop up on Facebook and Gumtree for super-cheap used solar panels, I wondered if there’s a way to use the sun to fold and save on electricity costs?

Categories
Computer Crap Scanning

Tape drive, cloud storage, Brother scanners & workstation PC updates

Thought I’d give anyone following this blog some closure on a few older posts. You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging would ya?

Categories
Computer Crap Scanning

The HP DL560 G8 server is a bargain priced beast

It’s great having loads of scanners to turn paper and ink into 1s and 0s, but you gotta process what is digitised before it can go up on the Internet Archive. Turning those massive 600dpi TIFFs into 300dpi JPEGs that go into a PDF for screen viewing, then compressing the original TIFFs as much as possible for long term archival requires a fair amount of CPU grunt.

My little HP ML10v2 with an i7-4770 couldn’t handle all the scanned images I was throwing at it. I’d spend a day scanning, end up with around 200GB of TIFFs and the poor thing would choke and become unresponsive unless I let it process the data in chunks instead of all at once. Sure, I could script it or manually process the chunks then let it go for a few days doing its thing, but the same machine was also my Plex box and file server so I had a great excuse to buy a new computer (I love buying computers) with the best bang for buck CPU performance I could find!

Categories
Energy

Various methods for monitoring rooftop solar with a Fronius inverter

You’ve got your fancy new rooftop solar installed and being the nerd you are, you want stats and lots of ’em to show off your new investment! I’m going to focus on what you can do with a Fronius inverter because that’s what I have and they’re also very popular in Australia. I’m not an expert in this and have just cobbled together stuff so if you have any suggestions please leave a comment and we can all learn from your experience!

Categories
Energy

Is it worth expanding your existing rooftop solar? Yes*

I don’t have a drone or a long enough stick to strap a camera to for a nice rooftop picture, sorry.

Twenty-one new LONGi LR4-60HPH-370M 370W solar panels have been added to the roof of my house, joining the existing twenty-four Axitech AC-250P/156-60S 250W panels I put there in 2015. All up there’s a max generation of 13.7kW, a fair whack more than most homes get installed.

Why did I get more panels? Primarily because the cash spent on more panels will give me better returns reducing my electricity than sitting in the bank earning sweet fuck all interest.

Categories
Computer Crap

A fast computer is a good computer

I’m an impatient man. If what I click doesn’t happen instantly or there’s any kind of lag or slowness, I’m immediately looking for ways to fix it. Slow computers suck.

My little Dell Optiplex SFF PC with an i5-6500 CPU is struggling with the extra work I’ve thrown at it lately. It already has 32GB of RAM and a speedy Samsung 970 Pro SSD, so the weak link is the CPU with processes fighting for time when I’m trying to ingest scans from 6 scanners at once (some running in virtual machines), whilst also processing batch operations in Photoshop to clean up images.

I hate seeing red and orange.

This slowness set me on the path of looking for an upgrade. A PC that can handle running two VMs (for my old scanners that don’t have Win 10 drivers but otherwise still work excellently), Photoshop and suck in images off 6 scanner at once. I’d like to assign 4 or more cores to Windows 10 and at least 2 cores to both Windows 7 VMs. But I’m also a cheapskate and have sunk more cash into this hobby than I really should have – so what’s out there that’ll be a cost effective upgrade?

Categories
Scanning

Completed Scans: Dumbo Feather, Pass It On & Other Misc Publications

Whilst I love computer magazines, that isn’t all I scan! I’ll pretty much scan anything as if one person thinks it’s worth reading, it’s worth preserving!

Categories
Scanning

Completed Scan: Random issues of Wired from the 1990s & 2000s

When you think tech magazines, you think Wired. Whenever I had spare money as a kid, I’d catch the train in to the city, pop in to McGills in Melbourne’s CBD and buy a copy of Wired direct from the USA that I’d pour over until the next month. When I was an adult with spare money, I subscribed to it between 2007 and 2011. The early issues were almost 400 pages each! I guess we had a lot of nerdy internet culture related stuff to talk about, but nowhere else to put it.

Categories
Computer Crap

How to do an unattended install of Windows 10 via PXE with UEFI SecureBoot enabled

A few months ago, a subscriber to The Sizzle that runs a computer shop in Papua New Guinea selling refurbished laptops to local businesses, asked me for help sourcing laptops because their usual supply chain dried up due to COVID-19. I love bargain hunting so said I can grab some laptops locally off Gumtree and Facebook and send them to PNG. I’ll clean them up, install Windows 10 Pro and add a few bucks margin on each one. The first shipment sold quickly so my new PNG based friend asked for more.

When it came time to install Windows 10 on this latest batch, I thought it would be a good opportunity to move on from using USB flash drives containing Windows 10 made with the Media Creation Tool like a bloody caveman and get all fancy and shit with a PXE server that kicks off a complete unattended install. It’s what the cool kids do and I want to be cool. Here’s what I want to achieve:

  • Install Windows 10 Professional
  • UEFI & SecureBoot enabled
  • Unattended install
  • Keep the Out Of Box Experience
Categories
Scanning

The Brother ADS-2200 scanner is a shitshow

Facebook Marketplace is the biggest reason I stil persist with Mark Zuckerberg’s panopticon. There’s sometimes some great bargains to be found and being able to communicate with sellers in real time via Messenger is excellent compared to email. It’s how I found my beloved Canon DR-6050C!

Whilst browsing Marketplace over the weekend for cheap shit I don’t really need but gives me a dopamine hit, I saw two brand new, unopened Brother ADS-2200 document scanners for $500. They sell for $398 each at Officeworks and I haggled the seller down to $300 for both. An absolute stone cold bargain. Unfortunately, after a few hours using one of them, I understand why the seller was so keen to get rid of them – Brother’s drivers are fucking rotten.