Thursday, December 11, 2008

I, for one, welcome our Google overlords

After battling (or running away screaming from) various open-source CMS solutions, going through a few iterations of rolling my own, and putting up with a really, really, crappy "temporary" (only 4 years!) site, the store's web site is now hosted by Blogger. Discuss.

PS: Oddly enough, Google Sites sucks a bit. I could be wrong, but Blogger seems a heck of a lot more functional and flexible. One would assume that will eventually change.

PPS: This doesn't mean I've given up on open-source CMS solutions. I'd be more comfortable hosting this myself, but at least in the mean time the new temporary solution is Not My ProblemTM.

When will the fun ever stop?

I think the drama with my desktop system is almost at an end. Let's see if I can remember what all went wrong...
  • My new hard drives (Seagate 7200.11 1TB SATA drives) apparently run crazy hot. My old case kept them too close together and/or without sufficient airflow.
  • Obviously this meant I needed a new case, and rather than gut my old case, I thought this would be an excellent excuse to upgrade. I threw together an almost entirely new system with parts on-hand, which happened to include an AMD Phenom 9600, an Asus M3N-HD/HDMI, and some Crucial DDR2/1066 DIMMs. This would have been great, except...
  • Apparently the M3N-HD/HDMI gets the memory timings wrong when you use DDR2/1066. Everything is fine with DDR2/800 or slower. I'm still talking to Asus about this...
  • I would have noticed this fact sooner, except I broke my #1 rule of system building and troubleshooting... I didn't let memtest finish a full pass. After about a half an hour, I decided everything had to be OK, right? It threw the first error after like 38 minutes.
  • After figuring this out, and figuring out that another system with the same RAM on a M3N-HT Deluxe had similar issues, I contacted Asus. They were helpful enough to suggest double-checking the memory timings using CPU-Z, which would have been fine if I had Windows on my system. I finally figured out that I could use an OEM Vista install disk's recovery menu (which will get you to a real command prompt eventually) to run CPU-Z from a thumb drive.
  • While forcing the memory timings fixed (well, mostly fixed) the issues with the M3N-HT Deluxe, my system still wouldn't pass memtest.
  • After trying lots (and I do mean lots) of other things, I eventually gave up and pulled another processor (a 8750) off the shelf. With that, memtest passes, and the system has been stable for over a week.
Imagine all that, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, spread out over the last nearly 3 months.

The 9600 is on its way back to AMD for a replacement. It will be interesting to see if whatever comes back works... I'm still not 100% sure this wasn't some weird incompatibility between that processor and the board. (I found a post where someone had a similar problem with a 9500 and a different Asus board, and their problem was fixed with a BIOS update.)