Category Archives: Hardware

Hardware in particular

Intel PRO/1000 PT

After experiencing a lot of trouble with the onboard Broadcom BCM5721 Gigabit Ethernet interface of my new server I decided to get a network card that would be suitable to replace it. As Intel PRO/1000 MT PCI cards worked very well for me in the past I bought an Intel PRO/1000 PT PCI Express card.

The Intel PRO/1000 PT is supported by NetBSD 4.0 and newer and works like a charm for me. According to TTCP its Intel i82572EI chip provides a 13% higher transmit rate than the Broadcom chip. It also supports hardware-assisted checksums and TCP segmentation for both IPv4 and IPv6. Above all the card performed flawlessly in my server for over a week now with all the hardware features enabled.

So if you are looking for a fast and reliable Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express card the Intel PRO/1000 PT is a good option.

NetBSD TV: The Streaming Video Client

For quite some time I’ve been looking for a streaming video client that would allow me to watch the video files that are stored on my NetBSD server on the TV in the sitting room. I thought that my requirements for such a client were pretty basic:

  1. Decent analog video (preferably via a SCART connector) and digitial audio output.
  2. An HDMI connector for future use.
  3. Support for popular video file formats like DivX and MP4.
  4. Doesn’t require a proprietary server software.
  5. A good WAF.

But I was wrong. I couldn’t find any streaming video client that met these demands in over a year. When I recently learned that Sony’s Playstation 3 (PS3) supports DivX in newer versions of its firmware my interest was sparked. After a bit of research I found a number of facts in favour of the PS3:

  1. The PS3 supports UPnP AV and works fine with MediaTomb, an open source UPnP MediaServer.
  2. The PS3 has all the video and audio connectors that I wanted.
  3. As the PS3 can also play DVDs it could replace my DVD player. That would not only avoid an increase in the number of devices in the sitting room but also prevent a shortage of SCART ports on the TV.
  4. The case of the PS3 is well designed and shiny.
  5. In addition to all that the PS3 is also a powerful game console and a Blu-ray Disc player. And I was keen to play Assassin’s Creed anyway.

Based on the above evaluation I came up with a profound business case which was approved by the secretary of domestic affairs straight away (the WAF was even better than anticipated). I bought a Playstation 3 online the next day.

Long live the Printer!

A few weeks ago I bought some spare parts for my old HP Laserjet 4 because it couldn’t print a single page without a paper jam anymore. But neither my fabulous hardware department nor I had the heart to attempt a repair so far because we didn’t have instructions how to install the spare parts.

Luckily for us our good friend Achim is currently visiting us with his family. And because Achim isn’t afraid of anything and has healing hands when it comes to repairing computer hardware he retransformed our paper shredder into a printer today.

The only drawback is that I no longer have an excuse to buy a new colour laser printer. 🙂