Looking back at my repair history, my brand new, German engineered, BMW 335i has been the most problematic car I’ve owned. My repair history follows:
Friendship is a fickle thing somethings. I’ve gone from one of the best times with someone when they were the only one to celebrate my birthday with me. To that person dropping me as a friend on Facebook because of some imagined reasons during a surprise divorce. All within a span of 6 months.
Given that the Synology NAS server runs a Linux distribution, I thought it would be cool to add some packages to it. Given what I had read, it sounded like an easy enough thing to do. I read the 3rd party developer’s guide. I’ve looked at the Source Forge site for the Synology NAS GPL Source. The DS411+ uses Intel Atom D510/Intelx86/LittleEndian/2.6.32 which needs gcc421_glibc236_x86.tgz. The DS411j uses Marvell 6281/ARM/LittleEndian/2.6.32 which needs gcc421_glibc25_88f628x.tgz. Piece of cake, right?
The first thing that I tried to do was to download the source to GNU’s screen program. I then tried compiling it on a different computer.
[root@hamzy2 tmp]# wget -O gcc420_glibc236_pineview.tgz ‘http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/dsgpl/DSM%203.1%20Tool%20Chains/Intel%20×86%20Linux%202.6.32/gcc420_glibc236_pineview.tgz?r=http%3A%2F%2Fsourceforge.net%2Fprojects%2Fdsgpl%2Ffiles%2FDSM%25203.1%2520Tool%2520Chains%2FIntel%2520×86%2520Linux%25202.6.32%2F&ts=1303738007&use_mirror=cdnetworks-us-1’
[root@hamzy2 tmp]# tar zxpf gcc420_glibc236_pineview.tgz -C /usr/local/
[root@hamzy2 tmp]# /usr/local/i686-linux-gnu/bin/i686-linux-gnu-gcc sysinfo.c -o sysinfo
[root@hamzy2 tmp]# wget http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/screen/screen-4.0.3.tar.gz
[root@hamzy2 tmp]# tar xvf screen-4.0.3.tar.gz
[root@hamzy2 tmp]# cd screen-4.0.3
[root@hamzy2 screen-4.0.3]# env CC=/usr/local/i686-linux-gnu/bin/i686-linux-gnu-gcc LD=/usr/local/i686-linux-gnu/bin/i686-linux-gnu-ld RANLIB=/usr/local/i686-linux-gnu/bin/i686-linux-gnu-ranlib CFLAGS=”-I/usr/local/i686-linux-gnu/include” LDFLAGS=”-L/usr/local/i686-linux-gnu/lib” ./configure –host=i686-linux-gnu –target=i686-linux-gnu –build=i686-pc-linux –prefix=/usr/local
configure: error: in `/tmp/screen-4.0.3′:
configure: error: cannot run test program while cross compiling
See `config.log’ for more details.
Argh! I can’t run tests when cross compiling?! Sigh. A good product includes a suite of testcases that verifies if a program still works correctly. And I can’t run them on a different computer than what is being built. That seems flawed. You should be able to build completely and THEN run the testing testcases on the target computer to verify everything works.
My second attempt was to compile the GNU screen source code on the actual NAS machine itself. After all, it is a computer running Linux. Should be really easy with GNU’s autoconfiguration program.
Mark_Hamzy_II> cd /volume1/homes/admin
Mark_Hamzy_II> wget -O gcc420_glibc236_pineview.tgz ‘http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/dsgpl/DSM%203.1%20Tool%20Chains/Intel%
Mark_Hamzy_II> tar zxpf gcc420_glibc236_pineview.tgz
Mark_Hamzy_II> wget http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/screen/screen-4.0.3.tar.gz
Mark_Hamzy_II> tar xvf screen-4.0.3.tar.gz
Mark_Hamzy_II> cd screen-4.0.3
Mark_Hamzy_II> env CC=../i686-linux-gnu/bin/i686-linux-gnu-gcc LD=../i686-linux-gnu/bin/i686-linux-gnu-ld RANLIB=../i686-linux-gnu/bin/i686-linux-gnu-ranlib CFLAGS=”-I../i686-linux-gnu/include” LDFLAGS=”-L../i686-linux-gnu/lib” ./configure –prefix=/usr/local
Floating point exception (core dumped)
WHAT? A floating point exception during autoconf?! I didn’t think a shell script did math…
But then I read about how Synology maintains a repository of packages here. And screen was included!
Mark_Hamzy_II> wget http://ipkg.nslu2-linux.org/feeds/optware/syno-i686/cross/unstable/syno-i686-bootstrap_1.2-7_i686.xsh
Mark_Hamzy_II> sh syno-i686-bootstrap_1.2-7_i686.xsh
Mark_Hamzy_II> ipkg update
Mark_Hamzy_II> ipkg upgrade
Mark_Hamzy_II> ipkg install screen
Now that was really easy! Why didn’t I try that before?
Sigh. My new air conditioner unit failed. I’ve been a customer of Autumn Heating and Cooling since April of 2008. When I bought the new Air Conditioner unit. The outside unit (condenser) is a Rudd Ultra with a product id of UANL-042JEZ. The inside unit (evaporator) has a product id of RFCL-HM4821AC. That cost me $3311.
I was talked into buying a surge protector on December of 2008 for $129. In November of 2009, I bought a new gas control valve for $375. In November of 2010, I renewed my service contract for three years for $97. In March of 2011, I had a semiyearly checkup. And then I noticed that my air conditioner was not cooling.
Unfortunately, I was told that the labor only had a two year warranty. To replace the evaporator would cost me $800. I was able to talk them down to $500. I consulted my my neighbor, who had a relative in the air conditioner business. He said that it was a good deal. The labor and freon would cost at least that much.
The only strange thing about the repair process was that they took the evaporator back with them to their store. Maybe they needed the physical part before they could get a new one to replace it. But I have no idea if the coil was actually replaced or not. The could have just patched it without me knowing any differently. Or substituted it with a refurb unit. Odd.
It seems that water problems come in threes. The first leak was an easy one to fix. One of my old, above ground sprinkler heads broke.
The second one took a day to fix. I noticed that water was coming up from the ground next to my driveway. I thought it was from the sprinkler system side. But, when I shut off the master valve on the backflow preventer, it still kept leaking. I could tell because my water meter was running. I tried turning off the valve on my side of the water meter, but no luck. When I turned off the valve on the city side, it finally stopped. Great. I also have a broken shutoff valve. I also like how the city can install a padlock when the water is off. Nice.
Now, I had to track down the leak. Unfortunately, it was not a straight run to the house. As you can tell by the amount of earth I had to dig up. It seems that the 90 degree elbow bend split on the inside of the bend. It was thankfully easy to cut it out and replace it with a 45 degree bend.
My friend and I installed the backflow preventer (and the rest of the sprinkler system) ourselves. Now I am wishing that it was hooked in better. It should have been a simple T-connection. But as you can see that it is higher than the main pipe and also on top of the main pipe. There are a number of twists and turns. I wish I can just rip everything out and start over again. But that’s not going to happen…
The third problem was that my shower head started to leak. I really hate my Moen faucets! This has been the at least third time that I have had to replace the faucet cartridge. Unfortunately, it was not doable by me. I tried and tried to pull the old plastic cartridge out. But it was wedged in tight. I had to resort to calling a plumber out to the house. It cost me 128 dollars for five minutes worth of work. Sigh. But what can you do?
This time I used some Plumber’s Grease to lube up the insides. I also learned to not push the cartridge in by the copper stem. But to use the plastic removal tool to push it in by the plastic middle.
So I tried to sell my 1DMarkIII camera on eBay and had the worst experience ever! It took me 6 separate auctions to finally find a real buyer for the camera. And the worst thing is the time it takes (close to one week!) for one auction to clear out when it is obviously a hacked account or a newly generated id.
It costs hackers nothing to break an account or generate a new fake account. And it costs me close to a week to try to sell the camera again!
eBay’s customer service is incredibly hard to reach! There is no 800 phone number that I know of. You can only reach them through a chat service. But you have to first figure out the way past a “ask a question” firewall. When you finally do get to the chat service, you have to put up with being constantly transferred from person to person. Wow! There is no way to complain about the handling of customer service either.
I finally figured out that you have to set buyer requirements.
To add buyer requirements to your listing:
- 1. On the “Create your listing” page, scroll down to the “Other things you’d like buyers to know” section, and click the “Add or remove options” link.
- 2. In the window that appears, select “Block certain eBay users from buying my items.”
- 3. Click the “Save” button.
- 4. Back on the “Create your listing” page, click the “Change buyer requirements” link.
- 5. In the window that appears, set your buyer requirements.
- 6. Click the “Save” button.
Block buyers who:
- * Don’t have a PayPal account
- * Have received 2 Unpaid item Strike(s) within 1 month(s)
- * Have a primary shipping address in countries that I don’t ship to
- * Have 4 Policy violation report(s) within 1 month(s)
- * Have a feedback score equal to or lower than -1
You also have to select the option that, if a buyer uses “a buy it now” option, they must pay immediately via paypal before the auction ends! That took me another auction to figure out. I just wish you could also require that a buyer have a positive feedback before buying an item.
And finally, just for grins, here is one response from a buyer:
HI THERE,MAYBE I KNOW THE ANSWER BUT WILL YOU TRADE YOU CAMERA FOR A BOSE LIFESTYLE 50 HOME SYSTEM AND A SECOND ROOM SET FO SPEAKERS,AND AND SOME CASH,IF YOU DON’T WANT TO,I’LL SELL THEM ON EBAY,REASON THAT I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY NOW IS CAUSE I BOUGHT A NIKON SB-900 ON AMAZON AND MY CAR BROKE DOWN I LIVE NEAR DALLAS IF YOUR INTRESTED I CAN DRIVE TO ROUND ROCK AND MAKE THE DEAL!!!!
My iPhone unexpectedly had a software problem today. Unfortunately, it exposed a catastrophic flaw. This morning, as I was out playing disc golf (using the phone: recording scores and taking pictures), I noticed a strange message on the phone. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the message or record it. But the gist of it was that it could not authorize itself and it needed to connect to iTunes. I was able to still take notes and take pictures while it was in its problem state. But the message was worrying me. So, I thought that if I turned it off and then turned it back on, it might clear itself of the hiccup. Boy that was the wrong move! Now the phone wouldn’t even finish booting up! And it was now a very expensive brick.
So, when I finally got home, I connected my iPhone to the computer and tried to sync it. This was what I saw. My phone is locked with a passcode and it will not allow a sync. Normally, when the phone boots up, it requires you to unlock it with the passcode before it completes the bootup sequence. Well, I guess it checks for authorization BEFORE it allows you to unlock it! Now I cannot connect to it. Argh!
So I searched online and found a process to get it into recovery mode. You have to power it off forcefully (press and hold the power button and then slide to power off) and then press and hold the home button when you plug in the iPhone to the computer.
Great, my iPhone is in recovery mode. Now, all I need to do is perform a recovery option in iTunes and we are all set. Wrong! I cannot restore it. The helpful error message of 23 is my only clue. Sigh. By this time it is getting late on a Saturday. So I race down to the Apple store to see if something can be done. The store was freakin packed! And it looks like the genius bar is full for the day. But I hang around and an employee walks up to me and asks me if I need help. I explain my problem to him and he checks it out. When he comes back, he tells me that the USB connection is broken and that they have replaced my phone for me. Yea! One thing went right today. Well almost. I had been a bad person and not been performing regular syncs with my phone. So when I went back and restored my phone, I found out that the latest backup was a month old…
I find it cool that I am able to connect to this machine remotely. I have no idea where it physically exists. Yet I can carve it up into virtual machines. Which, for all purposes, act like separate machines. All of this is very future-riffic and neat. Yet, when I install Linux on the virtual machine I am forced to interact with it in a very ugly and ancient way. Until I get the machine up enough for it to switch to a graphical install…
Hrm, it seems that the new car is turning into a lemon on me. I am getting intermittent brake warning light problems. I wonder if the tolerances are loose or something. What is annoying is that, when the light is on, I cannot use the cruise control. And the turn indicator won’t go off automatically. Weird. I wonder if I should wait until it stays on longer before I bring it in?
I normally use Google for more that just searching. For example, you can look up domain names, you can look up the correct spelling on words, or you can even do math on it. So it was frustrating when Google refused to spell “breazy” for me. It thought I was a virus.
I wonder when Google will start to implement a Turing Test for people wanting to use its services?