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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Wed, 14 Nov 2007

I conquer the fan

I finally did get my fan under control in Puppy Linux. It involved modprobe commands for both the fan and thermal modules (I configured them to start on boot) and getting a cron job running to check CPU temperature at 5-minute intervals and turn the fan on or off depending on temperature.

I'm working on writing the whole thing up. But first I want to thank the Gateway Solo 1450 owners and Puppy Linux users whose expertise I drew on to get it done.

Even with the cron job running, I think the fan runs less under Debian and Ubuntu. There must be a different set of parameters for determining fan status. Perhaps cron's check every 5 minutes of the CPU temperature is a much longer interval than those other systems use. I'll have to look into it.

Another thing I'll be looking into is what my "trigger" points for the fan are. I currently have it set to start at 50 C and stop at 40 C. Maybe I can shift those numbers a bit to have the fan run less but still keep the CPU at an acceptable temperature.

While I'm giddy as shit at being able to run Puppy without the fan blasting the whole session, I'm still not as satisfied as I would be if it were managed as well as Debian does in EVERY Linux distro I use. But at least I can take what I learned in Puppy and try it in other distros that don't control the fan on this laptop. I'd love for this to work in BSD, too, but who am I kidding? I'll have to try my shell scripts and modprobe commands in BSD and see what happens. Probably nothing.

thing bothers me, though. If I were running a fanless PC, this wouldn't be a problem. It makes me want to build a fanless mini-ITX VIA box with parts from the Damn Small Linux Store or Logic Supply. And why can't their be a fanless laptop? If only I had enough skill, time and crazy-in-the-headness to build my own laptop. (I know this one has a fan, but I'd do it sans fan.

This post originally appeared on The CTRL freak blog.

Mon, 12 Nov 2007

The modprobe squad

During Debian Etch's boot sequence on the Gateway Solo 1450, I noticed a couple of things happening while the ACPI modules were loading.

Two words flashed by:

Fan
Thermal

Could these be the key to my problems with the Gateway Solo 1450's noisy, always-on fan with distros that are NOT Debian Etch, Ubuntu (WITHOUT the latest kernel) and CentOS 5?

What if I opened a root terminal and did the following:

# modprobe fan
# modprobe thermal

Could that be enough to stop my noisy-fan problem? That would be too easy.

In other news, Puppy flies on the Gateway. Damn Small Linux runs, but barely. I haven't been able to get the X configuration right. And I have to disable scsi while booting. I'm not sure if I can boot with PCMCIA either. Strange, for sure. Slackware-derived distros also die in the SCSI process.

This post originally appeared on The CTRL freak blog.

Blogger ... not washed up yet

I thought Blogger had been eclipsed by WordPress.

That's not quite the case. I'm working in both and will try to get comfortable enough in WordPress to make an evaluation as to which I should stick with.

This post originally appeared on The CTRL freak blog.

The CTRL freak -- in two places at once

Here and there.

I don't know where it's going to live just yet.

This post originally appeared on The CTRL freak blog.

Fri, 26 Oct 2007

The Ted Greene page is really coming along

I haven't been over to the Ted Greene page lately, but it has a whole lot more content than the last time I checked. The site has a bit of a strange design -- you need to click a few more times than you'd think, but it's very much worth it.

There's lots of audio and video, plus quite a few lesson sheets and tunes in PDF form. Even though this stuff is on the Web, I'd love to see some released in book and CD/DVD form.

Barbara, if you see this, you are doing a great job.

This post originally appeared on http://jazzguitarjourney.blogspot.com.

Song I heard today that I want to play

"Play That Funky Music, White Boy"

Too cliche? Too obvious?

I say no.

This post originally appeared on http://jazzguitarjourney.blogspot.com.

It's been a long 10 months

I haven't written here in a long time. Not much has been happening in the musical realm. The time I do have has been spent working on computers and blogging about it. That sort of thing comes easier. Picking up an instrument I haven't picked up in months and months, trying to relearn what I've forgotten and learn what I never knew is a daunting prospect.

I even worried about the blog being called "Jazz Guitar Journey," because the direction I'm going in remains instrumental and solo but is diverging away from the jazz repertoire. Looking at the long term (and the way I'm going, there is no short term), I'm going to keep the name. If I ever do shift my focus back here, there's no telling what will happen.

Long layoffs from playing. They don't happen to everyone, but they do happen to plenty of us. Some go years or decades without playing. The challenge of returning to the box is one that isn't written about much.

I've seen a couple of players lately. One at a wedding, another on the street in Santa Monica. Neither were all that great, but just seeing people playing out is inspiring.

Especially when it comes to street performers, they toil in obscurity that is anything but relative. People rarely stop, and there's not a lot of attention or respect paid. That all changes when the player is really good and knows how to perform. But a lot of solo guitar playing is meant to be backgroundish. You can still catch ears with good playing.

Time for a Ted Greene reference. I've read plenty of stories about how Ted liked to play parties. He's set up and play, knowing full well what the deal was. Of course, somebody with Ted's talent and command of hundreds or thousands of tunes (much like the great piano players who do this sort of thing, but unlike most guitarists) could draw in a single person or a whole room as much as he liked. Invariably, the stories come around to the person in the room (the teller of the story) who is a huge fan and can't believe that a then-living-legend is playing the party.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a guy like Ted Greene was so unique, but that shouldn't be the case. Guitarists, like pianists, should know how to play tons of tunes by themselves and be able to do so for a few hours at a crack.

And here I am, not playing at all for months. I couldn't fake my way through a whole tune, much less 10, 20 or more.

It all begins somewhere. At the beginning.

This post originally appeared on http://jazzguitarjourney.blogspot.com.