DIY custom 5-monitor setup

Monitor Setup 2.1

I upgraded to a DIY mounted 5-monitor setup almost two years ago. Since I’m planning to switch to another setup I figured it was about time I’d share my build log, as well as the pros and cons of using an all-portrait 5400×1920 (or as I like to refer to it: 5K) setup on a daily basis for programming, browsing, gaming, video and general productivity.

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Custom NAS build using DiskStation

NAS 1.0

I had been using a Synology DiskStation for a while. Great software, very easy UI, lots of apps to extend functionality. But my current system at the time, a DS411j, was becoming too limiting for the workload I was putting on it. So it was time to think about an upgrade.

Now I wanted something that would accommodate at least 8 drives, with a CPU & RAM that could handle various extra ‘apps’ so it could serve as a general server for me. Nothing really intense, mainly an SQL server and something to centrally handle all my downloads, plus occasionally maybe something I’ve written myself that needs a place where it can always run. But I also didn’t want to break the bank. After carefully weighing all my options between both open-source and commercial NAS solutions I decided to build my own DiskStation-compatible NAS with an Atom processor. This also had the added advantage of being able to migrate my existing data simply by moving drives.

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[Release] ps2clmon

I recently installed Simple Media System on my PS2. After struggling a bit to get it working right, I found that none of the existing streaming tools worked correctly on my PC. And since I’m running Windows 7, a SMB share is out of the question, since SMS can’t find them.

So I coded up this handy app to monitor a device and a program, and only launch the program if the device comes online, and close it after it goes offline.

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[Release] btcnfgen

Recently, I came across the need to edit PSP custom firmware (5.50 GEN) flash to include my own prx modules. Because I needed them to be loaded always in any section, I couldn’t simply use the seplugins folder’s functionality.

Searching the internet, I found many tools to extract/build binary pspbtcnf files… except none of them would work, not the ones on PC and not the ones on the PSP itself. The available tools usually extracted fine but when rebuilding them, even unchanged, they would simply lock up my PSP on boot. One even made files that made no sense on the Windows port of it. The Linux version produced files that seemed fine, but failed to run on actual hardware.

So I was left with the only other option: code a working alternative. After 3 days of reverse engineering and debugging in my spare time, I present to you btcnfgen, including the full C# source code. There are both Windows version and Linux versions available, the Windows version will need the .NET 3.5 framework, the Linux version has the Mono libraries statically linked and should work as is, and the Mono version should work on both platforms, provided the Mono framework is installed.

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[Release] PixelDepth Shader

pixeldepth demo

A simple shader I threw together. Basically, this shader will increase pixelation as the depth increases. It can be a great effect for a retro 8-bit graphical look, and is light on both processing and memory.

While the image doesn’t quite do the effect justice, I’m stuck using this until I find time to build a simple demo framework for my post processing effects.

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[Release] Custom DFI NFII Ultra Infinity BIOS

A few weeks back, I was resurrecting some old PC components to create a file/torrent server. After checking all the components, replacing the CPU & the RAM, I had a fully functional system.

However, when I added a few terabyte HD’s I found the embedded SiI3114 controller wasn’t so happy with them; The system hung at the controller’s BIOS drive detection.

After a bit of Google-ing I found it could be solved with a simple BIOS update. Phew, saved right? Guess again…

Apparently, the latest BIOS update was only for PCI cards using the SiI3114 chip. The embedded chips have their BIOS integrated into the system’s BIOS. Checking DFI’s support site, it seemed I already had the latest system BIOS.

So I was left with only one option: assemble my own BIOS.

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