Wednesday, December 14, 2016


black kitten 01

I find myself in the middle of December of 2016 wondering where the year went. Of course much of the elapsed time was spent being ill, yet there was even more weirdness eating up precious seconds, hours, and days. Included in the strangeness are the subcategories of politics, sports, technology, things breaking down, and celestial events. Just how many super moons can one year have?

This is starting to read like a year end post and I’m not willing to concede 2016 just yet. In the spirit of losing time…

An entire morning was eaten up by jerry rigging a front fan to the HP Z210 that replaced our old media center PC earlier this year. Lacking the funds, not to mention the will, to purchase the incredibly overpriced out of production conversion kit by taking some tips from a thread at HP’s own support forum to get started. As is typical of all such endeavors, the case didn’t fully match what was presented.

After much mucking about and digging through spare fans, I ended up cannibalizing the old MPC’s 92 mm exhaust fan (spares turned out to be 80mm, drat the luck), adding some nylon spacers increase air flow, and using only three bolts to secure the fan. It was necessary to glue the spacers on the fan with WeldBond (love the glue) in order to get them where they needed to go, which added all sorts of time to the project which was not quick and easy after all.

Next vexing problem was the HP fan header with PWM had the tab in the middle rather than offset like the old Gateway the fan was salvaged from. Nippers followed by filing took care of that… after awhile.

Getting everything in position and tightening it was slower than it should have been thanks to my assistant:

black kitten 02black kitten 03

That critter is the other big modification underway, in this case the family pet dynamics. A first of getting a cat for another cat, it was a surprisingly hard quest to find something locally that fit the requirements. In the end, the check list of desired traits had to be dramatically relaxed due to Top’s moping increasing rather than lessoning. Baron’s disappearance affected him far more than we thought it would leading to a greater sense of urgency in finding a companion for the year old cat.

While a six week old kitten was not optimal, he would grow into the role I surmised. So of course Top was horrified by the intruder and cussed constantly about the little guy. Worrisome, but I had faith in Top Cat’s sweet personality. There’s a reason I’m always saying “Good boy, Top.” to the part ragdoll.

Five days after the kitten arrived, he no longer could keep away from the rambunctious fun loving kitten. I got lucky in that I was able to choose the critter with the selection based on personality – and this little black cat has a personality far bigger than his body. Watching Top play with the critter reminded me of Bambi vs. Godzilla. On day seven, we caught Top washing the kitten briefly.

The older cat is back to his old cheerful self already, which is quite a relief.

Still working on a permanent name for the kitten. He came to us named Comet and I’ve been trying out Meriadoc or Merry for short to reflect his sunny disposition. So far nothing has quite taken.

Oh and I should report the fan modification worked beautifully with the motherboard regulating the fan speed. Good thing, because I broke down and ordered a new video card on sale to pump out 4K video to the UHDTV when the content becomes more common. Though steady and reliable, the old Gigabyte Radeon 7750 simply doesn’t have modern enough HDMI to output 4K at anything more than 30hz. Hopefully the Sapphire Radeon RX 460 2GB card will do the trick, since gaming is not a requirement for the MPC.

However, if it were, the Nvidia GTX 1060 cards have been proven to work well with the proprietary 400w power supply of the HP Z210. So that may be a future option, though unlikely given the price involved.

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