ProFusion X Digital Media Manager

Yesterday I wandered into an electronics store intending to buy nothing and walked out with an old computer, a “dmx ProFusion X Digital Media Manager”.

From what I can tell this was designed to play music in a store.  On the back it has connectors that convert the standard 3.5mm audio outpus to RCA’s that I’m assuming go to amplifiers.

When I walked to the register with the PC, the clerk was wondering why the machine was on the floor in the first place.  He told me he couldn’t sell it because the hard drive was still installed and still had music on it.  I asked if he could sell it without the hard drive, he agreed, ripped it out, and I was on my way.

It came running a VIA C3 CPU at 800MHz and with a whopping 128MB of DDR333, but it came in a nice case for a project.  It’s face has 7 buttons and an LCD.  It attempts to display a DMX banner as soon as power is applied. By attempts I mean that about half of the display is dead.

Inside, the front panel is powered using a floppy disk style power connector and interfaces using a 10 pin ribbon that occupies two a 2 port USB header on the motherboard.  The USB device presents itself as a standard FTDI serial to USB interface.  After some trial and error, I discovered that it runs at 19.2k baud and the buttons are mapped to send a single digit for each:

  1. Style Up
  2. Style Down
  3. Left: 
  4. Up
  5. *
  6. Down
  7. Right

When I send text to the display at the same baud rate it appears to display on the LCD, but since the display is broken it’s hard to see if the correct text is displayed, and I haven’t found what to send the display to set or reset the cursor position or clear the display.

I replaced the motherboard with and old socket 757 motherboard and a 1.8ghz AMD CPU, and I plan to make this a music jukebox at some point.  It’s burried deep on my todo list for now and if I come up with anything worth sharing I certainly will.

pfSense

I’ve recently replaced an aging Linksys WRT54G running DD-WRT with a PC running pfSense. 

Around a month ago I added a second NIC to an old mini-ITX 1ghz VIA motherboard I had lying around and dropped it in place of DD-WRT.  The PCI NIC started locking up daily about a week ago.  pfSense automatically restarts the interface after a minute or so, so it wasn’t very urgent.

I recently aquired a P4 machine with dual onboard NICs, so last night I swapped it in place of the VIA machine.  Since my internet connection peaks at around 40mbit,  I won’t be seeing any immediate benefit from the gbit nics.  I’ve been prepared with a DOCSIS 3 Motorolla Surfboard for around a year, so I’ve got my fingers crossed I’ll see Charter jump over the 100mbit barrier.  Besides, It’s nice to see more gigabit link lights lit.

Although CPU utilization was never very high with on VIA, the web configuration pages are much faster on the P4.  Now that I have more wiggle room, I will likely add a spinning hdd (or two) and play around with using it as a caching proxy (both forward and reverse), for VPN access, and possibly as my SIP PBX.

I currently run a few local web services on different machines behind some apache name-based reverse proxy vhost configurations   I’m working on moving these roles to pfSense, so I’m going to try to document my steps post an update when I’m done.

Creating Keyboard Shortcuts for the CR-48’s missing keys on Ubuntu Linux

Running an OS other than Chrome OS on a CR-48 turns it into a perfect portable computer that can do much more than when it was just a browser.  The biggest drawback I’ve found is that the keyboard is customized for the OS it came with:  It’s missing keys, the function keys are labeled only with icons, and there is a Search key where a caps lock key should be.  

Using Ubuntu, you can create shortcuts with “Keyboard Shortcuts” in the System menu under Preferences.  Just click the Add button, give a name and command, apply, click the row for the command you created under the Shortcut column, and key your desired shortcut.

To create keyboard shortcuts that control backlight brightness, you will need to install xbacklight, and for mapping shortcuts to missing keys you need xvkbd and xbindkeys.

sudo apt-get install xbacklight xvkbd xbindkeys

The search key by default is mapped to Super/Mod4, which is usually the Windows key. After running Windows on the CR-48 for a few months I’ve grown familiar to using the search key as the Windows key, so I’ve decided to use it as the modifier key for my shortcuts.  Here’s how I have configured mine.  You can edit these to your liking.

“Brightness Down” maps Mod+F6 to
xbacklight -steps 1 -dec 20

“Brightness Up” maps Mod4+F7 to
xbacklight -steps 1 -inc 20 

“Press Home” maps Mod4+Left to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\[Home]”

“Press End” maps Mod4+Right to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\[End]”

“Press Page Up” maps Mod4+Up to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\[Prior]”

“Press Page Down” maps Mod4+Down to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\[Next]”

“Press F11” maps Mod+F4 to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\[F11]”

For volume control, instead of creating custom commands, I’ve edited the existing audio keys to be my modifier plus the function keys with the correct icon.  (F8 for mute, F9 for volume down, and F10 for Volume up)

You may find that using the mapped keys with extra modifiers do not work.  For example, I have a habbit of using shift home and shift end for selecting from current cursor position to beginning and end of lines, and ctrl shift home/end for selecting from current cursor position to beginning/end of a page.  For any combination modifiers using shortcut keys you will need to create more shortcuts.

“Shift End” maps Shift+Mod4+Right to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\S\[End]”

“Shift Home” maps Shift+Mod4+Left to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\S\[Home]”

“Ctrl Shift End” maps Ctrl+Shift+Mod4+Right to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\C\S\[End]”

“Ctrl Shift Home” maps Ctrl+Shift+Mod4+Left to
/usr/bin/xvkbd -xsendevent -text “\C\S\[Home]” 

Thats all I have for now.  I’m still trying to find a way to enable bottom left and right clicking on the touchpad without disabling two finger scrolling, which is possible when using Windows.  If you know how to do this or you have anything else to add please comment.

Does the route to Netflix servers pass through Comcast for everyone?

I’m in St. Louis and use Charter for my internet. Just for kicks, I ran “tracert netflix.com” at a Windows command prompt and it seems that from here to Illinois, its all charter hops, but through IL, NY, and VA, the hops are various comcast.net domains.

I do realize that netflix.com likely isnt the domain of the servers actually doing the streaming, but this is still very interesting to me.

1     2 ms     2 ms     4 ms  DD-WRT [192.168.0.1]
2    12 ms    15 ms    13 ms  10.163.128.1
3    22 ms    19 ms    43 ms  96-34-52-84.static.unas.mo.charter.com [96.34.52
.84]
4    11 ms    14 ms    12 ms  bbr01olvemo-tge-0-1-0-2.olve.mo.charter.com [96.
34.2.86]
5    20 ms    19 ms    17 ms  bbr02chcgil-tge-0-1-0-4.chcg.il.charter.com [96.
34.0.65]
6    22 ms    27 ms    22 ms  prr01chcgil-tge-2-1.chcg.il.charter.com [96.34.3
.11]
7    78 ms    81 ms    72 ms  be-10-805-pe01.350ecermak.il.ibone.comcast.net [
75.149.231.205]
8    19 ms    19 ms    21 ms  pos-1-8-0-0-cr01.chicago.il.ibone.comcast.net [6
8.86.87.129]
9    88 ms    76 ms    64 ms  pos-2-12-0-0-cr01.newyork.ny.ibone.comcast.net [
68.86.87.21]
10    52 ms    56 ms    56 ms  pos-0-12-0-0-cr01.ashburn.va.ibone.comcast.net [
68.86.85.29]
11    69 ms    54 ms    52 ms  pos-0-2-0-0-pe01.ashburn.va.ibone.comcast.net [6
8.86.86.70]
12    51 ms    54 ms    58 ms  66.208.228.10
13    54 ms    67 ms    51 ms  xe-1-1-0.jnrt-edge01.iad1.netflix.com [69.53.244
.253]
14   116 ms   106 ms   107 ms  xe-0-0-0-100.jnrt-edge01.sv1.netflix.com [69.53.
230.213]
15   125 ms   109 ms   120 ms  te1-7.csrt-agg01.dc2.prod.netflix.com [69.53.230
.230]
16   103 ms   102 ms   112 ms  www.dc2.netflix.com [208.75.79.17]

1997-2003 Grand Prix Climate Control Diagnostics

This is a quick reference for how to use the diagnostic mode built into the dual zone digital climate control system which came installed in some 1997 through 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix Models.

Every time I want to look this up I always have trouble remembering the terms I need to search for to retrieve it, so I have stolen mirrored this from This Forum Post.

To enter diagnostics mode:
Press and hold both the Driver and Passenger knobs in simultaneously until the display changes to read "-00". To change position, turn the Driver knob to the desired number and turn the Passenger knob one click to view the data for that position.
Position Description US Observed on mine Canada
-00 Error codes (List of Trouble Codes Below!)
-01 (servo position) 103-107 43-162
-02 (servo position) 128 120-202
-03 (servo position) 150 162-194
-04 CJ2 Fan Speed Low=15, 29, 44, 58, 71, 86, 110=High, CJ2 Unit will adjust to other increments as needed
-05 (servo position) 93 88-191
-06 (servo position) -152 00-252
-07 (servo position) 00 0, 34-255
-08 (servo position) -155 00-255
-09 (servo position) 00 0, 23-255
-10 ? 04 04
-11 CJ2 Vent Mode 1=Def, 2=Bilevel, 3=Auto, 4=Lower, 5=Def+Lower
-12 Engine Coolant Temp -60 degrees 80=104, 95=131, 100=140 [email protected]°F
-13 Actual Vehicle Speed in MPH
-14 (servo position) 00 21=0
-15 ? 39 44
-16 Radiator low fan turn on temp -106 207
-17 Radiator low fan turn off temp 196 199
-18 ? 50 51
-19 (servo position) 162-169 40-172
-20 Affected by cabin temp sensor 89 50-172
-21 (servo position) 00 ?
-22 Sunload Sensor -117 LIGHT=126, 218=DARK
To return to normal operation, press the MODE button next to the Passenger temperature knob.
This is a list of the Trouble Codes displayed by the CJ2 Unit.
A two digit code indicates a current fault while a three digit code indicates a historic fault.
Trouble Code Description
00 No System Fault
01 or 101 Inside Air Temperature Sensor Short
02 or 102 Inside Air Temperature Sensor Open
03 or 103 Ambient Outside Temperature Sensor Short
04 or 104 Ambient Outside Temperature Sensor Open
05 or 105 LH Electric Actuator Open or Short
06 or 106 RH Electric Actuator Open or Short
07 or 107 UART Serial Data Line Fault
08 or 108 Solar Sensor Open
To clear codes from the CJ2 Unit, press the A/C Mode button.