Birch Street Computing -

about me

John M is a Linux fan in Lowell, MA.

I work at at a company writing software. I fool around with Free and Open Source software for fun & profit.

I was big into and you can still see some of what I listen to there. I can also be found using github and recently sourcehut as well as bitbucket (historically). I don't care for most popular social media sites. If I have an account on one or the other it's probably either old and unused or was created just for tinkering.


Links to things I like, use, or otherwise feel is worth sharing. Things I'd like to see get more popular.

Karnak is Back!

Hardware failure. Two words that can strike fear into any geek. Karnak, my main desktop PC started acting really flaky back in October. It first appeared when I'd try and run any program that used 3D (opengl) programs. The machine would hard-lock and I couldn't do anything except reset it. I couldn't even ssh in.

Well, that didn't last long until the thing wouldn't boot. I would get a wailing-siren of a bios error, and that's as far as it would go. To make a long story short I thought I sorted it out, until the siren scream came back with a vengeance. I was more methodical about testing the hardware the second time, and I pretty much narrowed it down to the motherboard.

After deep meditation (not really), I decided to buy new hardware as an upgrade. So I new-egged it. Got a new M.B., video card (PCIe), memory (Dual Channel DDR2), and a Dual Core Athlon 64. Friday night, I had everything assembled and started to get my Gentoo install into working condition.

Things went surprisingly smooth, I needed to build a new kernel to match the new hardware, so I used an Gentoo LiveCD to mount and chroot into my old / and /usr partitions. I compiled an SMP version of the kernel I was using with the previous hardware with the new sound, network, etc. drivers built in. And what do you know, it booted up fine.

There were a few minor issues, this board only has one IDE channel, which I used for my CD drives. I needed to use my IDE HD, so I bought a IDE-to-SATA adaptor for around $10. It worked well, but the device names changed (hda to sda) so I had to coax my RAID array into using a different device node for the mirror. I also needed to change a udev rule so that the built-in ethernet ports would be recognized as eth0 and eth1, as an old udev rule was reserving eth0 for the old ethernet driver.

I've already been listening to music, tried a few FPS games, watched TV through the tuner, and everything is running smoothly. And I seriously mean it, I can already feel how the dual cores let the machine blow through a compile without so much as making any other processes hiccup. It's great!

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