Tag Archives | koolu

Koolu hacking

Found a couple of good leads on setting up the Koolu as a MythTV front-end, through persistent searching in specific forums, like the Ubuntu support forums and the MythTV mailing lists. A couple quick clues:

1. Hit DEL on startup to get into the BIOS, use the BIOS options to expand the memory dedicated to the video card. Options are: 32M, 64 M, 128 M. Not sure how much of an effect it will have.

2. Hit Shift-F10 early in the startup (prompt only appears for a second) to disable the RealTek attempt to launch the machine from a network boot image via PXE. This saves 10 or 20 seconds on every boot.

3. The /etc/fstab had an entry for a swap partition, but the UUID was incorrect. Just reassigning the device to hda5 rather than the UUID was enough to get the swap to come up.

4. I’m convinced there’s a way to get a lot more performance from the video, but need to dig in more. The AMD LX800 driver should support buffering, just need to find the trick to turn it on.

5. There’s an error in the Xorg.0.log file that indicates the kernel doesn’t support MTRR and should be recompiled to do that.

Koolu’s Kool! Great OOBE

Arrived from Canada in January and I’ve been having fun messing with it. The Koolu computer is a low-power computer based on a Geode 500 MHz CPU, up to 1 Gb RAM, an optional internal HDD, an external 12VDC power supply. It sips around 9 watts. Standard ports are AC’97 compatible sound-in, sound-out, line-out, 4 x USB 2.0, VGA, 10/100 ethernet. At under $300, this can be a handy utility computer to:

  • Serve as file and print server for a workgroup
  • Act as the front-end to a MythTV DVR
  • Provide backend services like NTP, DNS, etc.
  • An internal web server, source code control repository for a group of developers
  • Kiosk computer (an optional VESA mount will allow it to be mounted to the back of an LCD panel.

And unlike the cheap $299 computers you can buy at big box stores, this one isn’t make of flimsy parts, nor will it make up for its cheap price in electricity payments. (I’m figuring less than $1 USD a month vs. $20 for a 200w big-box.) The base unit (no hdd, $199) is network bootable, the 80 Gb hdd version ($299) comes with Ubuntu preinstalled. Enjoying running it through its paces!

(Unless otherwise noted, all $ prices in CAD)

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.