Notes for April 17-23

I love hardware. And sometimes I hate hardware.

Monday, 2023-04-17

  • Fixed my Ambernic RG351MP‘s audio jack by reflowing the solder joints.
  • Received a pair of Lenovo devices I got very cheap off eBay.
  • Have been worried about ventilation and heat in my server closet, so I ended up propping an NF-A20 with a chopstick at an auspicious location to test various alternatives to get some vertical air circulation going.

Tuesday, 2023-04-18

  • Tried to rescue a waterlogged iPhone after 3 days of letting it dry out. RIP.
  • Set up one of the devices as a PlexAmp player and Zoom device.
  • After 24h of data collection with an extra sensor, realized there is a 5 degree temperature differential inside my server closet (between knee height to the top shelf where sits)

Wednesday, 2023-04-19

Very late day with meetings up to 11 PM, but with a decent break mid-afternoon.

  • Fiddled with the a bit more, sorting out pre-installed bloat and figuring out what needed to be added to make them usable.
  • Broke apart the ROM image to see what else could be changed, but that’s looking like a path with fast diminishing returns (although I would like to revert the kiosk framework hacks that hide notifications).

Thursday, 2023-04-20

Long day attending and presenting at customer workshops, but used a couple of breaks productively to start fire-and-forget things.

  • Decided to upgrade all my machines to 38 after checking if some third-party packages were already available (which they were). Out of 5 machines, only the one needing NVIDIA drivers did not have Fedora 38 packages, but the 37 ones still work…
  • My mostly worked, except that in RDP/X11 sessions I had to first disable User themes, Alt+F2 > "r" > Return to reload GNOME, and then re-enable it before non-GTK windows would fall in line.

Friday, 2023-04-21

Some hectic catching up, very little time to do interesting stuff. Was quite amused with this week’s Economist cover, though:

  • Messed about with KVM on ARM for a bit–UEFI works inside Proxmox, but only to a degree (a standard Ubuntu ISO nearly boots, but gets very confused). Will need to fiddle with raw KVM when I get the chance.
  • Consolidated devices.

Saturday, 2023-04-22

Another little desktop revolution.

  • Set up a new monitor in my office. Will eventually write about that.
  • Began investigating why my nice GPU-accelerated RDP setups seem much slower on macOS–I know part of it is resolution driven, but removing Retina/HIDPI matching doesn’t account for the whole thing, and I suspect part of the problem is that most clients aren’t properly optimized.

Sunday, 2023-04-23

A little bit more investigation on reaching my GPU-enabled instances via RDP.

  • Turns out there is a draft brew formula for Remmina, so of course I went and built it. It is noticeably faster than the official Microsoft Remote Desktop client when connecting to my hardware-accelerated servers, but the keyboard handling is completely broken.
  • Installing xfreerdp seems to be the sweet spot so far, and these two invocations give good results (so far I can’t get AVC444 to work with the standard brew formula):
xfreerdp /rfx /rfx-mode:video /workarea /sound -decorations /v:fedora.lan
xfreerdp /gfx:rfx +gfx-progressive /workarea /sound -decorations /v:fedora.lan

Jump Desktop is almost as smooth, but completely messes up audio.

  • Decided to troubleshoot some weird crashes I had on , and it seems like I have a bad DIMM and/or the server closet temperature is indeed an issue:
Sometimes you just can't catch a break...

Update: Definitely a matter of cooling. Will be testing various cooling strategies, including disabling XMP and possibly moving the machine back into my office…

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