DIARY 2013














Mon, Dec 30

<17:10 EEST> It's been a while, but another new song is out, the third instalment in my seasonal series. I am pretty sure this started its life in 2006 along with the others, including the yet-to-be-released summer bubblegum hit. In fact it was subconsciously inspired by a bluesy riff from the movie 1900, but soon incorporated somewhat different rhythm and chord patterns that naturally draw a lot from Talvisuru and Kev├Ątolo.

The reason this piece stayed in the mental drawer for so long is probably that it is so short and simple. However, I see no reason to extend this by force — I take pride in keeping my ideas simple in the Unix style, such as the Domina Anatomia Dance! Dance!. Of course, the future is open for later adaptations, but given the season (I like having a genuine autumnal weather at this time of year) and the ever-procrastinating release cycle of my songs, I felt it was time to give it a go.

Speaking of the song release cycle, this year in retrospect has been extremely productive with four theatrical productions. The first one, in particular, featured quite a handful of new compositions. Not so much the others, but live shows are fun on a different level. Besides, most of the scores do not quite work as standalone pieces. So the best way to hear my music is probably in theater, rather than these pages.

Tue, Dec 17

<17:09 EEST> It's been yet another intense streak of social fun from about Thursday night to Monday afternoon. PR shows on Thursday and Friday were followed by small-scale warmup partying with the crew, while Saturday was JYT's traditional pre-Christmas night. The official festivities were followed by a full bar night featuring karaoke among other fun — I managed to sing something I had never tried before, the Finn-hit Las Palmas I barely knew. Then it was back to quieter chatting with a friend over until Monday.

I feel slight surges of loneliness from all this — the fun could go on and on, as I have nothing particular to do for a few days. The autumn studies are over, I even managed top marks in an introductory course to discourse analysis, besides similar scores in math. To cherry the cake, I also won the award for the worst skit of the year, after scoring it eight years ago as a JYT newbie :D

Of course, the theatrical endeavours are not going anywhere, with the current show running until February, and possible re-runs of past productions coming up. There is also the SYTY festival in April where I will play a small technical part.

On the cryptocurrency front, after selling a few coins for some living expenses, I invested in one new GPU mainly for Litecoin mining, thus making my combined gear heavier than ever. Making it all work together turned out trickier than expected; a Radeon 7970 would not give its full power when running in the same machine with a 5870. Two 7970s in one would require more juice than any one of my PSUs could handle, but as I was already used to weird combinations, one GPU in nanite is now getting 8-pin power from louhi. Note that you should never run lines from two PSUs in parallel — this only works because the GPU keeps its different 12-volt sources separate. The remaining 5870 then went to hoo, where I had my original experiences of separate GPU power.

Cooling the pair of 7970 has also been interesting. I needed something more than TY-140s running at 7 V, and they are too noisy at 12 V. I could have bought another pair of X-Silents, which seem to be the best fan for this setup, as they are powerful and quiet enough at 12 V, but I already have too many extra fans from the quest for the best.

The best compromise would be running the TY-140s at around 9 or 10 V. A the moment, louhi has one of these fans with a 47-ohm series resistor after 12 V, making about 8.5 volts, but I did not have any more suitable resistors available. I then recalled diodes would also work, due to silicon's threshold voltage of 0.7 V. Two diodes in series made about 10.2 V, which is just fine for this.

While ordering new hardware, I also decided to get a 2.5'' HD for my portable party music collection. I had used bulkier 3.5'' drives so far, and the need for a separate power brick made them even more inconvenient. Moreover, I could keep the bulkier copy at home away from mobile horrors. This mirroring scheme turned out handy quicker than expected, since a dirty umount (which often happens to me at the end of a long party night) crashed the JFS into an unrecoverable state.

This was interesting because it usually takes just a routine fsck to recover, and there is no real damage because I rarely write to the disk on such occasions. I think what happened was due to the SATA-USB bridge glitches (the case is a Buffalo Ministation). I had initially mkfs'ed and populated the drive over raw SATA, but the drive reported a slightly smaller size when used over USB. This is obviously a problem if a backup superblock (or whatever) resides at the end of the partition. I now have the drive reconfigured as ext4, which I regard as the conservative and slow choice, but it should be OK for this kind of use, and of course the mirroring aspect makes it possible to try other filesystems.

Risto A. Paju