[mythtv-users] System melt down

Damian Surr damian at gingermagic.co.uk
Mon Jul 9 19:41:12 UTC 2007

My system has just dealt me a final blow to the privates.

I've had my share of problems setting up Myth, and as a newbie to Linux 
I've made my share of silly mistakes, but I got there in the end. Myth 
has been running fairly happily on my system for a few weeks now. Just 
recently, my girlfriend had started to mention a decrease in quality. 
Patchy screen and screechy noises. I noticed this quite badly the other 
night, but told myth to switch capture card and things seems ok. Still 
got lots of things to sort out (remote, XvMC, alternate resolutions, 
slow network), but as I gain Linux knowledge, I've been going through my 
list slowly whenever I get the time. I impressed myself at the speed at 
which I got Samba networking sorted the other day after following an 
excellent smb.conf tutorial.

Today, I was told that Mythfrontend would not start. I went to 
investigate and it wouldn't start for me either. I've had that before, 
and logging out and back in seems to fix things. I did that, but still 
wouldn't start. Went past 'resizing images', then died back to the 
desktop before getting to the menu. So, I went for a reboot. Waited and 
waited and nothing came on the projector. After a bit of messing about, 
I realised that the computer in the garage was just giving me post 
errors. Beeeeep - beep - beep. From my motherboard manual, this seemed 
to be a graphics card error. However, a spare graphics card was giving 
the same problems.

I stripped the machine down and tried to narrow down the problem. I 
thought I had it being either the sound card, or the slot on the 
motherboard where the sound card had been. I got to the point that the 
computer was posting normally then plugged the hard drive, CD and floppy 
back in and tried again. This time it was giving me beep - beep - beep - 
beep - beep ... memory errors. I pressed down on those DIMM suckers and 
tried again. All finally seemed ok at last. I thought I'd found the 
problem. Sound card or a motherboard slot. I could find out which with a 
couple more reboots. As I was thinking this, I went though to the front 
room to see the output of the projector. This seemed to be booting 
Kubuntu normally (screen with the progress bar showing), but then came 
out of this and showed me some information about the hard drives. I'm 
afraid I can't remember what it said and I don't have the heart to go 
and look again at the moment. The system was waiting for my input (there 
was a command prompt at the bottom of the hd info) and I seemed to be 
logged in as root. I couldn't type anything though as the keyboard I use 
is wireless over a usb radio receiver. I assume that bit hadn't loaded 
at the point that Kubuntu gave up the ghost. I'll plug another keyboard 
into it tomorrow, but as I was already feeling like crap and didn't know 
what I'd do even if I did get the keyboard working I decided to step 
away from the machine for tonight.

That's a long winded way of saying that my system is screwed and I don't 
know what bit/s or how bad.

Is there a good, user friendly (I used to think I was a geek, but Linux 
and Myth is proving my very wrong!) Live CD that could help me to 
diagnose my system? On my work windows box (has to be windows due to 3D 
Studio Max) there's an excellent Dell diagnostic tool that can check out 
the entire system and tell you what's up. Something like that would be 
great, but I know that's probably very specific to Dell hardware.

Sorry for the long moan. This was just a step to far. I've got a hundred 
and one things I'm trying to do before the birth of my new baby (4 weeks 
left and room room not even built yet!) and could really do without 
this. Got to move the family over from their big impressive projector to 
a tiny portable TV while I sort this out. I'm thinking it's probably too 
bit to sort out before the baby, but maybe that's just because this has 
not put me in the most positive frame of mind.

Cheers for any advice other than hit it with a sledge hammer. I'm close 
to that as it is.


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