The homemade system (out of free parts) finally blew its top, and I can’t say that I blame it.  Puny single core P4 proc is puny.  As cheap and poor as I am, even I have to throw in the towel when I can no longer get into the BIOS.  Determined to not repeat the mistake that I made in getting second-and-thirdhand parts into a 24/7 active server and hoping that it would not blow up, instead I made an even bigger mistake and bought an off the shelf system.

Even worse, it’s by Compaq.

However I figured that at a ridiculous sale price that was probably in place because of a typographical error (I noticed it jumped about 30% two days after I snagged it) it was a worthwhile gamble.  So far everything looks reasonable, except for its anemic power supply which I will probably want to replace pretty damn soonish, and definitely before I start hucking more drives into it as I am wont to do on occasion.250W?  Welcome to 1991!

I did manage to avoid one verious dangerous situation.  I picked up the box on sale at Microcenter, which I had heard whispers of but have avoided until now.  Fortunately for me, I dragged Wen along to (a) keep me from getting lost, as I do in any medium to large parking lot, and (b) to keep me from spending all my money if it turned out that Microcenter was some sort of tech nerd paradise.  And it was.  Oh yes.  Stacks of OEM hard drives?  Random drive mounting grommets in bins?  Processors stacked up like so many cans of discount beer nuts at Walmart, but cleaner and less soul-crushingly depressing?  I could only hope that my ever-expanding gut would provide ample shade to conceal any physical manifestation of my enthusiasm whilst surrounded by such treasures.  One bespectacled manager admitted that their primary employment stratagem lay in the fact that going to work for their target retail drones was a virtual keg party for Alcoholics Anonymous.

I also managed to get Myth up and running smoothly in about 5 hours (including laborious QAM256 manual channel mapping), which is about a 900% improvement over my first run.  That includes about 45 minutes re-determining that the 10.04 Mythbuntu distribution was pretty much useless for me, re-wiping the drive and sticking 9.04 back in.  If I did not consider the MythTV box to be an important appliance, as opposed to a geeky experiment, maybe I would have spent another few weeks trying to tweak it into usability, but hell, I have like 20 hours of backed-up shows to catch up on.  It won’t matter of course, as I won’t get to them.  They probably suck anyway.  Screw TV.

The only minor annoyance so far:  lm-sensors still cannot read the AMD K10 probes in my motherboard.  Let’s hope I don’t cook it.

As long as I’m here and posting things which are of no interest to anyone, I’ll take this opportunity to host my network map, which I had created for dslreports, shortly before I learned that "that feature has been deprecated."  Suck.

 I think I’m actually down 2 PCs from my peak network, but I had to finally throw in the towel on my rack of Athlon XPs.  Even my hoarding tendencies can only go so far.

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