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Author Topic: Awesome Donkey Benefit  (Read 12556 times)

JimH

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Awesome Donkey Benefit
« on: July 08, 2015, 06:35:47 am »

There's no turkey.  I was just kidding about that.

Our friend, Awesome Donkey, had a lightning strike and lost a lot of equipment.  He's been so generous with his time on the Linux board and other places that JRiver is going to send him a little dough by Paypal.  If anyone else wants to do the same, send me a private message and I'll send you his Paypal address.

Thanks.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2015, 01:51:40 pm »

Thanks so much Jim and everyone else! Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all of you! :) I'll use this topic as an update topic...

Right now my primary focus is on recovering as much as my music library from the one lone surviving hard drive as I can. From my estimation I'm looking at a 10,000 to 15,000 loss in FLAC files, if not more. Basically it looks like the last 8 to 10 months of progress have been lost - fortunately I can use MC to list whatever is missing when I'm done recovering as many files as I can. So after I get done with I'll work on re-ripping CDs (using MC, of course!) and looking for sources online like Qobuz and HDTracks. For me, nothing else is as important as the music library,  as I've spent countless hours going through every song on every album making sure it has the correct album art and metadata. The other hardware (motherboard, GPU, NAS, etc.) can be replaced, the data not so easily.

My secondary focus is working towards replacing the motherboard that got fried (it's an ASUS Z97 Deluxe). I've been finding out the hard way that ASUS' handling of the RMA process is a pain in the neck, ugh. It also doesn't help I've been reading the horror stories when dealing with the. I'm highly considering just grabbing an open box version of the motherboard off Newegg, which is a little cheaper than the full retail box. The downside to that is it could lack accessories... fortunately I still have all the accessories from the fried one so that's a non-issue. I'm currently using an old Z87 board that's pretty faulty (random blue screens, gives off error code 51 from faulty DIMM slots, etc.). The third focus is to replace the AMD GPU, which is also a ASUS and thus a pain in the rear when dealing with the RMA process. I'm thinking about replacing it with a EVGA Nvidia GPU at some point. Right now I'm using the very old Nvidia 9400 GT. The last focus is replacing the NAS but I may of got lucky there, Synology's RMA process is much. much better than ASUS'. So I'm pretty happy about that. I'll see if I can get the hard drives replaced via the HGST warranty process (after I get the data off the lone hard drive).

There's a lesson to be learned here. Even if you have surge protectors for everything, I implore you to disconnect everything when you hear thunder or know a storm is close-by. My mistake was assuming the surge protectors would protect everything while not having the DSL phone line connected to the surge protector (I actually couldn't use it because it screwed up the Internet connection and I couldn't connect while it was plugged into the protector). When the lightning strike happened at 3AM I was actually up about to turn everything off when I saw and heard the lightning strike and the DSL modem/router blow. I realize now even if I turned the power off on the protectors it still would have damaged the equipment because of the use of the phone line and Ethernet cables from the router to the computer and NAS - this was my second mistake. I will use Wi-Fi from now on because of this experience. Whenever I hear thunder or know a storm is coming from now on, rest assured I WILL unplug everything. It's a long road back to where I was, but I'll get there eventually. I'm way too determined of a person not to. ;)

During this process I'll still be around helping where I can, though most of it will be from memory in regards to Linux, so please forgive me if I'm wrong in my answers.
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glynor

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2015, 08:11:04 am »

Don't switch to Wifi, and you don't even have to unplug everything.

Just get a good surge protector (preferably one with a battery backup too, which is handy for power outages), that includes ethernet protection.  Inserting ANYTHING before a DSL modem (on the phone line) or a cable modem (on the coax cable) is a recipe for trouble.  But ethernet can be protected easily.  Just go directly out of the modem into the surge protector, and then into your router.

Then, if badness happens, it only kills the modem (no big deal, and the sacrificial lamb).

And make sure your surge protector has a good guarantee.  Many of them offer up to $50k in protection.  This is less about actually getting the cash, and more about the robustness they build into the protection to ensure they don't ever (or very, very rarely) have to pay out that cash.

And come up with a good offline backup strategy.  If it isn't backed up offsite and offline, it isn't backed up at all.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2015, 01:11:05 pm »

You think adding a couple of these would be enough?
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MikeO

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 10:02:38 am »

I really sympathise I live in Johannesburg, in the summer we get whammy electric storms every day - about 3-4 months of the year. I literally plug in to listen and then disconnect. For all the surge protection solutions , the plug out is the only sure answer.
We never go to bed with the ADSL in or any PC connected, I sleep better.

My first week back in JHB after a spell at the coast I lost a PC , I learned the hard way too

Mike
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 03:45:37 pm »

Learning things the hard way is never pleasant, heh.

An update; I've got a semi-accurate count of how many albums are going to be missing from my library... 807 - I wasn't far off from my original guess. My estimate on how many songs that is is between 20,000 to 25,000. Anything after November 1st 2014 isn't recoverable whereas everything before that date *hopefully* can be recovered. I created a list of the missing albums and once the library is restored (I'm going to manually restore it which will take time) I'll know for sure. I'm not happy about the losses, but it's better than having nothing. It'll take me awhile to restore 8 months worth of work - I've gotta start re-ripping missing albums, finding alternative lossless sources like Qobuz and HDtracks, and searching eBay, Amazon, Discogs, etc. for cheap copies to rip. But hey, at least my Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, Van Halen and Genesis collections seem to be fully recoverable! One the new hard drives arrive I'll begin the manually recovery of what I can.

Right now I do have a small recovered library of around 4,200 songs in MC for testing purposes. It's really nice to have MC playing some music again, that's for sure. :)
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2015, 07:11:55 pm »

My father died today, so I'm pretty much in limbo again for the time being. It's really been one bad month.
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JimH

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2015, 11:43:01 pm »

I'm very sorry to hear that.  Things will get better.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 01:09:06 pm »

Thanks, I sure hope they do. Gotta take one day at a time now.
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Ekpen

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit Turkey Raffle
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2015, 04:16:59 pm »

My father died today, so I'm pretty much in limbo again for the time being. It's really been one bad month.

I am very sorry. May he rest in peace

George
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glynor

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2015, 10:18:43 pm »

Wow. I'm very sorry. Take care.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2015, 11:03:59 am »

Thanks guys. This afternoon I meet with the funeral home to make the arrangements, so it'll be a rough day. Nonetheless, I'm taking solace that he went in his sleep, and not suffered while awake. I'm going to try to keep myself busy with other things, including the partial recovery of the music library. I have to try to keep the sad thoughts at bay, considering I was the one who found him. The day before he mentioned he wasn't feeling well so I decided to check on him and found him in his bed looking so peaceful. I had this weird feeling all that day before I found him that something was wrong. Sadly, that feeling turned out to be correct.

I will say this, his influence on me as a child regarding music definitely helped shape me into the person I am now in regards to the music I listen to. Like classic rock before I was even born, he introduced me to that. He also introduced me to music at a very, very young age when I received my first Fisher Price turntable. I can remember playing some of his records on that thing. In the early nineties he introduced me to blues rock like Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top and jazz rock like Steely Dan, among countless other genres and artists. Today I'm listening to one of the last songs he listened to (according to his playlist on the PC), Queensryche's Silent Lucidity.

One day at a time. I'll also try to stick around here and help where I can. Because that's my nature, to help.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2015, 04:01:21 pm »

Another update.

I've been keeping my mind occupied this last week by manually restoring the music library, and that process is now complete. I was able to successfully recover 63,000 songs of the 73,000 songs off the lone surviving hard drive. So my estimation of around 10,000 missing songs was correct. I also took the opportunity to make one offline backup which I'll need to eventually setup some sort of hot swap setup so I can plug the drive in and update it every so often (I'll expand this to multiple drives once I'm back up).

I'll be purchasing a new motherboard within the next week or so - I'm thinking about trying a MSI board for a change, but I'll still debating whether to get another ASUS board or some other brand like MSI - I want to avoid Gigabyte, the temp motherboard in this PC is so screwed up and it's turned me off their boards, heh. The ruined hard drives have been RMA'd and so has the NAS, so those should be replaced soon (hopefully, not sure how fast/slow the process is). All that's left will be the graphics card which hopefully I'll be able to replace in September.

So yeah, hopefully within the next 45 days I should be fully back up and running. After that it might take me 6 or so months to replace the missing music, which is fine. Fingers crossed.
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glynor

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2015, 09:46:58 am »

I've had terrible luck with every MSI board I've ever bought. If it was me, I'd probably stick with ASUS.

I've described my backup strategy in detail before (though the particulars of the devices and software has probably changed).  It amounts to this, though:

* My main Media Library is on a home-built RAID-5 volume. I'm migrating this to a RAID-6 volume as soon as I'm able to scrape together the cash and decide on exactly how to build it.

* I have two of these Mediasonic dual-drive "RAID in a box" enclosures. They currently each have two 4TB drives in them in RAID-0 mode. If I was doing it again, I might look at the OWC Mercury Elite Pro or NewerTech Guardian instead. The Mediasonic enclosures I have are flaky in USB3 mode (though they're fine in USB2 and SATA modes).

* RAID-0 is, of course, not fault-tolerant, but I don't really care because it is just a backup anyway (and there are two of them). Since I use them "live" sometimes (see below) I care about performance, so I use RAID-0. If I didn't, or if I had better enclosures, I'd probably set it up as a simple spanning volume instead (so losing one drive in the enclosure wouldn't destroy the whole volume). The Mediasonic enclosures didn't work well in this mode (unless I mounted the two disks as separate volumes, which I didn't want to do), but I think those other two I linked to above would work well (and provide a much faster bus on my Macs).

* I keep one of these at work, and one at home.  Every so often (less often than I should -- in fact, I should do it again), I bring the one from work home and swap it with the one from home.

* I use Goodsync to automatically backup the RAID-5 volume onto the external Mediasonic enclosure on a recurring schedule. The external enclosure provides 8TB of backup space. That's not enough to back up my entire RAID-5 drive, but I use Goodsync to exclude files based on a number of filters. I don't care about, for example, backing up My Little Pony and The Daily Show episodes. This is convenient to do in Goodsync as you can exclude files based on easy-to-add filters.

* This includes my main Library in MC as well. I have Goodsync set to exclude the Lock.jmd files which prevent other copies of MC from accessing the Library.  So, each time it runs, it has a copy of the current state of the Library.  It also syncs over some of my automatic Library backups (which are otherwise stored on a separate volume on my main PC), for good measure.

* Goodsync runs this backup once per week, and is set to never execute (and email warnings) if it ever sees massive changes. I'd have to check, as I've changed it lower and lower a few times as it has filled up, but I think I have it set at a 5-10% threshold. This way, it'll never blow away the whole backup (my big library doesn't change that fast).

Since I have two of them, and swap them, it provides some level of offsite backup. It also lets me "go back in time" somewhat, if I manually make a mistake (delete files myself, or something).  That's why Goodsync only runs once per week on that external drive, and if needed, I can always go back to the version at work.

This has the added benefit that when I need to, it provides local access my full media library (at least the last time the backup ran on that particular enclosure) on other machines, like my laptop. I mount the enclosure as drive P (for "portable") on my main server. But whenever it plugs into my laptop's Windows VM, it mounts as drive M (which matches how the "real" RAID is mounted on my main server at home).  Since MC will use local files even when connected to a remote Library Server, this means I can use it even when connected to my Library Server at home from "out and about".  That way, I get local access to any files that are there, and any that are missing, MC will stream.

So, if I'm going on a trip, I grab the enclosure, and I have my full Library with me (less the excluded stuff). While on the trip, I can either:

* Connect to my "real" Library and get access to everything (even excluded stuff and new stuff that appeared since the last sync), if I have good Internet access where I am.

* Connect to the local copy of the Library and get access to everything it knows about (less the excluded stuff, which is fine), if I don't have network access.

It works very well. I've also considered, often, adding Backblaze to this scheme. My stuff is so huge, though, that the initial backup would take way too long, and I'd have to use their seeding system (where they send you a hard drive to "start it off" that you fill up and send back).  They didn't used to be able to do this, and otherwise I couldn't use them, but apparently they do now.  CrashPlan did (and I tried them) but their client is crappy Java and I had trouble with it.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2015, 02:05:42 pm »

I've had terrible luck with every MSI board I've ever bought. If it was me, I'd probably stick with ASUS.

Yeah, this is probably wise. The MSI Z97 XPOWER AC did interest me a good bit but I probably should just get another ASUS Z97 Deluxe.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2015, 11:22:59 am »

Replacement motherboard ordered! :)
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 08:27:00 pm »

Motherboard arrived today, Mac and Ubuntu are both restored and functioning perfectly (though, I ended up redoing the Hackintosh - and the old Nvidia card is a pain in the rear to get working so I'm using the onboard video now). Reformatted Windows 10 and that's working perfectly as well. Just that one last step with the GPU and I'll be totally back in business. :)
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2015, 06:11:04 pm »

I'll post an update, probably one of the last ones.

Got a cheap lightly used AMD GPU off eBay (which functions completely fine and perfectly - also it has the more stable Hynix memory!) which basically means I'm back to where I was before the lightning strike hardware-wise.

With the free time I've had, I've been working on restoring the missing albums/songs from my music library. In the last near two months I've restored over half of the albums (by re-ripping CDs using MC, buying cheap digital copies off Qobuz, finding cheap CDs on eBay, Discogs, Amazon, in Walmart, etc.). Right now I'm only missing 268 albums or 3,345 songs. I'm also nearly to 72,000 songs again thanks to this very time consuming effort. I'm just glad this bad, weird Summer is almost ending... which is weird since I tend to actually like the Summer season the best.

From the bottom of my heart I'd like to thank everyone who's helped and supported me throughout this journey back. I wouldn't be at this point I am at right now if it wasn't for you guys. Words just can't express my gratitude enough (and I'm actually bad with finding the words so please don't ask me to try!). Well, I will try finding the words at some point which I'll post in another topic. Nonetheless, you guys are the ones that are awesome. Beyond awesome, actually.

- Michael

P.S. Of course I'll be maintaining the Linux tutorials and adding new stuff as time passes! :)
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JimH

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2015, 06:26:20 pm »

You deserved the help.  You've given more than your share to the forum.  But it's very kind of you to say.  Thank you.
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KingSparta

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2015, 07:29:31 pm »

A Few Years Ago I Had A Lightning Strike, And Lost My TiVo, Two TV's, One Computer, Antenna System, Cable Modem, And A Bunch Of Other Stuff.

It was a bit overwhelming, Glad your recovering.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Awesome Donkey Benefit
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2015, 05:42:10 pm »

The final update.

It has taken me months, nearly all my free time and good amounts of cold hard cash but I've finally succeeded and regained all the missing music by re-ripping CDs (eBay, Discogs and Amazon are a Godsend!) and purchasing digital FLAC files from Qobuz and HDtracks. No albums or songs missing, many new albums were bought and added to the library and all the hardware is working as it should.

Learned some really harsh lessons from this whole experience, but in a way I'm glad I did. It woke me up and allowed me to improve the security and storage of my data - and make sure there's at least two backup systems in place.

So, I'm happy. So happy I decided to treat myself with another new GPU - a Nvidia 970 this time to replace the (second) AMD GPU. After 6 years I'm going back to an Intel + Nvidia setup. I can't wait!

Also, I don't want to jinx myself. but an XHCI USB issue I've noticed in the Linux kernels since 3.18 which has made my use of Linux a nightmare (which caused device descriptor errors and forced me to clear CMOS every time I used Linux) seems to have be fixed in the 4.3 kernel, YAY!

On the Hackintosh side of things (yes, I'm a bit cheap) I can't really justify buying a Mac when I could build one and set up a tri-boot with Windows and Linux. I did however keep that kinda legal (though still a grey area) by purchasing a legit copy of OS X Snow Leopard which has been upgraded upon for free many times now. The Nvidia card will help here considerably as I found trying to set up AMD cards was a bit of a pain in the rear - having to have framebuffer patches (which wouldn't really work) and partially broken acceleration and whatnot was a bit of a bummer. The Nvidia card makes this easier with the web drivers available for the Mac. The *only* thing I really have to hack here is getting the second stage boot Apple logo working, which seems to be pretty straightforward and doesn't require modifying any OS files this keeping OS X vanilla. There is an issue with gaining full USB speeds on El Capitan, but I really don't use USB that much... besides, I can probably fix this by messing with a SSDT in this case.

The future? I want to get another NAS - a QNAP NAS 2-bay NAS this time around with two 8TB archive drives as an additional backup (and maybe run MC on it?). I thought about upgrading to Skylake, but I'll probably wait another year or two with my Haswell setup - can't justify the cost of the CPU, motherboard and DDR4 RAM for minimal gains. The *only* thing I might consider changing in the current setup is getting an additional Z97 motherboard (another ASUS Z97 Deluxe... surprise!) and keeping the current MSI motherboard as a backup. Maybe not though, as the MSI board runs more-or-less perfectly (though with less UEFI BIOS options than the ASUS).

So that's that. Thanks everyone! :D
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