Random Rants

I recently got a BitCoin ASIC miner. The wait was extreme – 7 months. But it arrived.

I decided to use my CentOS home server to run the mining software. These are the steps I followed and got it working. The following commands should run as root or use sudo when needed. For reference, I used the “$” prompt for normal user commands and the “#” prompt for commands that need to run as root.

First install a bunch of required packages:

# yum install -y wget gcc make unzip uthash libcurl libcurl-devel

Then download and install jansson:

$ wget http://www.digip.org/jansson/releases/jansson-2.4.tar.gz
$ tar -zxf jansson-2.4.tar.gz
$ cd jansson-2.4/
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/
$ make clean
$ make
# make install

Then download and install bfgminer:

$ wget http://luke.dashjr.org/programs/bitcoin/files/bfgminer/3.4.0/bfgminer-3.4.0.zip
$ unzip bfgminer-3.4.0.zip
$ cd bfgminer-3.4.0
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/
$ make clean
$ make
# make install

Reload the libraries:

# ldconfig

Test to make sure the miner is in your path and does the pre-check:

$ bfgminer --help

Now, plug in the miner and make sure it registers as a USB device

$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 0403:6014 Future Technology Devices International, Ltd FT232H Single HS USB-UART/FIFO IC

Now clean the modules and make sure the new module gets loaded (this is specific to the BFL miner I have):

# modprobe -r
# modprobe ftdi_sio vendor=0x403 product=0x6014

Now if you start bfgminer with the correct options, it should detect and start processing blocks:

$ bfgminer -o stratum+tcp://somepool:port -u MyUserName -p NotMyPass

One note – if you want to run this tool as a regular user (and you should). Add the user to the “dialout” group. That group has access to the /dev/ttyUSB0 (or equivilant) device.

I then start a “screen” session, run the miner and disconnect. It allows me to check on it later on, but does not require me to keep an active session open or leave myself logged into the console.

I am thinking about getting a Henry Repeating Arms H001T lever action rifle.

Here is the beauty.

Bud’s wants $320 (plus fees) for it. Not a bad price.

Yeah, it is a 22LR. Yeah, it is just a plinker. But my 30-06 cost a buck a shell to fire and that is a bit steep for lots of practice.

I still need to get to the range and get some time in with existing toys, so I will probably wait until fall.

Wednesday Funny

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey . He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.
Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried..

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.
That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love you,

An Apology

I recently received an email about a rant I made several years ago after the shootings at Virginia Tech. You can read it here.

The individual who wrote the email was connected to the wedding party that I made a passing reference too. I should probably have been clearer with my words because I referred to them as a “drunk wedding party”. I will readily admit I was not there and I do not know how drunk they were. I am very clear on the fact that the Scales brothers were the ones with guns and were the ones who did the shooting. The wedding party will forever have to deal with the tragedy of that night and I apologize for my characterization of the party as a whole.

Awhile back I posted about a program to bring telescopes to schools. Specifically the Galileoscope. Well this was on my stoop today:

Galileoscope Box

I unpacked it on my dining table and this is what I ended up with:

Galileoscope Unpacked

I tried to follow the paper instructions, which are decent. But I highly recommend the PDF on the Galileoscope site. You can download it here: PDF Download Page

When all was done, this is what I ended up:

Galileoscope Assembled

It is still light out, so I cannot check out any stars yet- but it is pretty clear in Austin today so I am hopefully I can check out some stars or the moon.

I just read an entry on the Bad Astronomy Blog and it reminded me about the Galileoscope which is a really cool project to build an distribute a smallish telescope in recognition of Galileo’s first views of the heavens.

My order for two just went in. One for me and one as a random gift to a parent, child, or teacher.

It isn’t that expensive ($37 total for me) and it will be a nice thing to have.

Oh, and Happy Friday!

Newest Toy

I picked up this beauty yesterday down in San Antonio.

2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

It is a 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid. Not fully loaded (no navigation) but lots of fun toys. 😎

Why San Antonio? They had it in stock, I got it below sticker and the dealers around here wanted $1500 over sticker.

Recently I found the need to clone and configure some Windows 2008 Server machines. The version of VMware Infrastructure that was previously installed does not support that particular OS. In fact it still called it “Longhorn”. Time for an upgrade!

I downloaded the newest build (Update 4 as of the time of this post) and did the following steps to ensure a successful upgrade:

  • Unpacked the ZIP file downloaded from VMware.
  • Backed up my MS SQL database. Our database is housed on a separate machine, but the GUI has a simple backup option. I did a full backup which only took a couple of minutes.
  • I did not run the full installer. This looked like it was going to do an install and not an upgrade. I don’t want to have to redo any configuration.
  • Ran the VMware-vcserver.exe installer from the vpx directory.
  • When this is mostly complete, it will ask to run the database upgrade installer. This update requires some schema changes so I stepped though that as well.
  • When it was complete, I ran the Vmware-viclient.exe installer. This will update the actual client software.

When I finished running those couple of installers I was able to fire of VMware Infrastructure Client, login and see that I can now create a new VM from a Win2K8 template.

Of course this is not without a problem, I cannot use that configuration to join the domain- and I don’t have the domain password to do it myself.

Got my 40 back!

You may recall from this post that I complained about the inaccuracy of my Smith and Wesson pistol. Well, being lazy it took me a long time to send it in for repairs. As it turns out, the process was painless. I FedEx-ed it overnight to a guy here in Texas (which S&W paid for) and it was repaired and sent back to me. Total turn around was under two weeks and cost me nothing but a little time. He adjusted the trigger and replaced a part before test firing it 25 times.

I have not brought it to the range yet so I don’t know how it went- but it looks promising. I still have yet to fire the Hi-Point with the new ATI stock either, so a range trip is on the agenda in short order.

My friend Marcos emailed me early last week and wondered if I wanted to head the Express game on Thursday. I am always game for baseball so off we went.


We sat directly behind home plate and watched the Express lose. At least it was a pleasant night to watch a game.

I sent my Smith and Wesson off to the service center last week. I’m hoping they can figure out the problem and repair it in a pretty timely manner. We shall see.