Pictureframe PC

Months ago, I put an old laptop (with a broken case) into a deep picture frame, as a picture frame PC (for video’s, pictures etc)

I went to uni soon after, and didnt really have time to do anything with it (Plus the HDD crapped out, and so I lost the OS. and as it does not have a CD Drive anymore, it was sat doing nothing)

This week, i’ve been helping some friends with a few servers that needed desperate attention (for a uni radio station, that goes on air 2nd Nov (www.shockradio.co.uk)) We ended up having to also fix (read as remake :P) a desktop machine that netbooted from the fileserver.

Pictureframe PC 2

This got me thinking about my driveless pictureframe PC, and with 2.5Ghz P4, and 512DDR, it should run a net booted OS from a 100Mb/s network quite well.What I needed was an OS that loaded into RAM, as this would be speedier than pulling bits of a standard linux filesystem from accross the NFS share.

So I grabbed a copy of knoppix (Not my ideal choice, but it’s only a quick project, and I wasnt in the mood for gentoo fiddleage) and copied it to my solaris NAS (the boot folder under the tftp root folder, and the rest under a dir I later shared via NFS as ‘diskless’)

After some quick DHCP option bodging, The system was booting pxeboot (I also had this in the tftp dir) and then was trying to boot knoppix, but no matter what options I was passing to the kernel at boot, it would not mount an NFS root.

Pictureframe PC 1

Turns out knoppix’s on CD kernel does not have the ability too mount an NFS path at bootup, you need the kernel that the ‘knopix-terminalserver’ app spits out when you configure it.
Booted the knoppix image in a copy of vmware server, and ran the ‘knoppix-terminalserver’ command, started the terminal server, and then pinched vmlinux and miniroot.gz from the /tftpboot folder, and copied them over the net to my tftp boot server.

Rebooted the pictureframe and voilia! The system came up.

Now im pondering having another bash with linuxMCE and using this as a viewing node. So films and music will follow me round the house.. Ahh how one thing leads to another.. It’s like wikipedia πŸ˜›

If you want config details feel free to leave a comment / email me, but it’s all out there on thwe web.. google ‘Gentoo diskless howto’ for a starting point πŸ™‚


Petrol Prices

Just received an interesting E-Mail;

Now usually, anything with lots of peoples addresses in the ‘to:’ field and ‘FW:’ in the subject goes directly into the bin.

But this one caught me out, have a read.. see what you think:

For the rest of this year DON’T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one), ESSO and BP.

If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact we need to reach literally millions of Esso and BP petrol buyers. It’s really simple to do!!

(For the full E-mail and my comments. click ‘read more’)

Continue reading Petrol Prices


Ahh what a shame! 15-6.. and yet I can’t help feeling it should have been 9-10 at half time! (That try was fine!)

Anyway, moving on from the rugby defeat! Has been a while since I last posted, very very quiet month really, was ill for a few days with the manflu, and then again with a dodgey Mc D’s πŸ˜›

I was also told to start whatching prison break, which I did, and it’s damn good… but for that reason, I have got nowhere with my auth project except reading through a kerberos 5 book πŸ˜›

Work is going well, with some of the guys in our office returning this week from suns engineer confrence in Las Vegas.
Plenty of work still to do, and we are each suggesting and being given projects to help the department, which will give us more long term goals πŸ™‚ / stuff to work on when the tickets dry up.

We have also just received some of sun’s new servers for the lab, very impressive boxes by the look of it.. more about these when I have had a chance to play around with them πŸ™‚

Anyway, thats all for now.