There is also AirVPN - I believe they have a trial service.

As for T-Mobile, I have data service with T-Mobile for my tablet when I am in the US and have had more trouble than it is worth. T-Mobile works fine on my phone. Pretty much all the mobile operator options are going to be expensive and probably suck in rural areas due to the large size of the cells.

Does any of your line of sight neighbors have a decent landline internet connection? (I remember you saying there was a shortage of lines available.) Maybe you could make them an offer to piggyback using a wifi long range extender. Would be about $150 one time investment (you might need to buy one for each end of the link) (plus whatever cost sharing agreement you reach with your neighbor). TP Link for example can provide 11Mbps over a 30Km link. (You cannot use regular 802.11 equipment because there is a built in maximum permitted propagation delay limiting the range to 150 feet.)
Zolxys said:
The data I download from those sites isn't even recorded on my.t-mobile.com (it doesn't use up my allotted data).....This is clearly a bug.....
Indeed it is, quite a weird one actually

Zolxys said:
Meaning, in order to use it, I need either a VPN server to access or a remote server of my own with a good connection to install it on. I don't happen to have one right now.
Yep, forgot about the little detail of setting up a server, either with a dedicated machine or a router that has that capability, either with OpenWRT, DDWRT or PFSense

Maybe with Private Tunnel? It's a VPN service developed by the same guys that made OpenVPN, and now I'm running low on known VPN services lol
Seriously, use a VPN gate vpn. Completely free, and the client supports all protocols of VPN.

Usually around 100 VPN relays running at a time all with high speed uplinks.
I think I'm done trying VPNs and other methods to try to exploit that bug. I'm now up with "T-Mobile One+" using a cheap cell phone as a hotspot. (Unlimited data and tethering but you can't use it on a mobile hotspot device, only on a voice account...)
Kiho said:
I recently made the mistake of installing the latest graphics driver from lenovo on my T60 running Win7. The laptop would boot up until win7 entered graphics mode and then the blue screen of death. I had to boot in safe mode and roll back the graphics driver.
Yeah, sounds familiar, had the same problem back in the days with my slowly dying 9500GT. The problem was gone as I swapped it with a GTX550 :)

Kiho said:
... if you have a slot on the mother board, try installing another graphics card and making it the primary graphics in the bios setup. Once you get things up and running, you can try installing a different graphics driver for the on board graphics.
Well, don't have a PCIe card laying around, so this is postponed until I got one. But sounds reasonable, since the old mainboard had an Intel GMA950 onboard.

Kiho said:
... I don't know if you can force the installation to install an alternate graphics driver from the get go. ...
Will give that a try. So this forces me to create another Server2003 CD with AHCI and graphics drivers integrated :) Good thing I have enough CD-Rs in stock.

Kiho said:
I did have WinXP64 running on and AMD processor with an on board S7 graphics. (Which is based on windows server - either 2000 or 2003, don't remember).
WinXP x64 is basically the same as Server2003 x64, same codebase and stuff. Only a simple setting in the registry makes it the client version.

Shaggy410 said:
It looks like an issue with UEFI and a way too old Windows version (since you mention it doesn't have legacy support on BIOS), you can give it a try with a Server 2008 or newer if possible, since from that version onwards Microsoft implemented full UEFI support into Server OS's
The UEFI BIOS in fact offers legacy support, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to boot the Server2003 setup and the system afterwards. Sole problem is the system bootup after the graphics part of the setup. I already tried Server 2008, but wasn't able to activate it (Using Windows 7 Loader Extreme Edition) since it needs access to the 100MB partition containing the boot loader and I can't assign a drive letter to that partition when the system is running in UEFI mode. I was simply too lazy to again install the server in legacy mode.
So, I decided to dedicate my "server" to BOINC, specifically [email protected] Currently it crunches workunits on both CPU cores and the built in GPU, so 3 workunits in parallel. I already ordered a GeForce GT 730 as a second GPU for crunching. Specs will slightly change, when it arrives. Only one CPU core will crunch workunits and both GPUs will crunch in parallel, the other CPU core will stay free for system processes. It's still my file server, we won't forget that ;)

edit: plans have changed ... a new mainboard was ordered and will arrive together with the GT 730. So 3 cores and 2 GPUs will crunch SETI and one core will stay available for system processes. The dual core AMD board will stay a dedicated crunching machine.
I just noted I got suggested to use a UNIX derivative for my file server. Well, I already played with that thought. But I want an OS with an absolute minimal footprint (read: space on HDD and in RAM). Like, a linux kernel and only the absolute neccesary stuff to access files from a Windows 10 machine. Hell, the server doesn't even need a GUI and only needs to be configurable at the text console until network works, further configuration can be done remotely.

Any ideas? Suggestions? And keep in mind that Charly has almost no experience with linux yet.
If you wanna give anything Linux/Unix a try (let's say Fedora (not hugely recommended for servers as Fedora is usually a fast paced OS, in that case you can use CentOS, from the same Fedora family but with a more stable release cycle), Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, FreeBSD or any other), you'd need to investigate a bit and get familiar with the quirks of the OS, which tend to change from distro to distro, my first advice would be to test them on virtual machines so you get to know them, usually Linux/Unix OS in their server flavor come without a GUI, as it's usually not needed, since you can always work from the terminal but the configuration process can be somewhat complex, so a good tutorial or guide can be pretty useful (i.e Fedora 23)

Other option is to use a "pre-built" OS made for NAS storage, personally I like FreeNAS, as it has a lot of different configurations that allow you to have full access to every aspect of the files server, as well as a built in redundancy system (if you configure it, a good overview of that system is made here and here the last one being a pretty overkill system lol), this option is a bit more user friendly
Our "entertainment system" where we watch movies and play music is built on Ubuntu. We also use it for our file server. we have a 4 disk e-sata box (8Gb, 6Gb after redundancy) attached to it using an e-sata port multiplier. NOTE that Intel processors do not support the full sata spec and do not support port multiplication, we use a separate card with a Marvel sata port. We use software raid 5 and samba to connect to our windows computers on the network.

Earlier we had a Netgear ReadyNAS. When the main unit failed, the unit was obsolete and I was unable to find a direct replacement. The unit was fortunately linux based and we were able to recover the disks by simply hooking them to an old linux system as my better half had JUST ripped a stack of new DVDs to the system which we had not yet backed up.

FYI: The new Netgear NAS is NOT linux compatible and not backwards compatible (That is a Marketing FAIL) as it uses a proprietary raid chip. That is why we decided to go with the linux software raid. Raid can save you from a disk failure but NOT from a system failure, if the system is using a proprietary raid. You can only recover from that if you have a spare system using the same proprietary raid - don't go that route, obsolescence will stab you in the back.
Shaggy410 said:
Wall of text
Will read into that, try and fail a little and see what results come around.

Kiho said:
Another Wall of text
I'm not sure if I got my information from the right sources, but doesn't make a RAID5 the most sense with 3, 5 or 9 disks? But meh, a RAID5 is always better than a RAID0. Learned that the very very hard way. Anyways, I gotta do some stuff the next days and when everything's up and running I'll drop a note.
Redundancy is the most important thing in a file server/important storage on a PC, learned the same lesson the hard way

Regarding RAID5, you can set one with 3+ hdds, but the failure tolerance will always be 1 drive, different with RAID6 which allows up to 2 drives failing, as well as other mixed RAID configs, also you can use a RAID array with ZFS which allows you to correct data corruption on the fly.

The easiest way to set a file server, imo, is using a NAS OS like FreeNAS or something like that, if you like to play with things, you can later add a PFSense box to manage the network traffic and do a lot of other things
Ah, I just remembered why RAID5 should preferrably consist of 3, 5 or 9 drives. That's a relic from the days, HDDs used to have 512 byte sectors. With 9 drives and 4k filesystem clusters (if aligned correctly) every written cluster means a single write access to every drive.

Now that HDDs have physical 4k sectors, this stands only true for multi cluster writes (or at least 32k stripe size in case of 9 HDDs)

See? Charly made his homework.

edit: Made a typo in the brackets. Not 32k stripe size, but 32k cluster size with 4k stripe size.
For systems without reliable power backup, raid 1 configurations (mirroring) are more reliable than raid 5 or raid 6. We have a UPS so we just use raid 5 and do regular backups. But with some of the big disks now available, you can get a 5 GB mirrored array with just 2 disks. Nested raid configurations can also be used, that is mirrored raid 5 or raid 6 arrays for faster read/writes.
Well, I'll just create an interlude here.

Every time my when I turn on/wake up my laptop, this bright layer covers everything, I cannot see anything. Then for a 1-2 minutes, it slowly sinks down to the bottom and disappears.

I thought it was dead pixels, but then realized I'm an idiot.
My graphics is Intel HD graphics 4600, and it crashes a lot while playing CS.
I've installed Linux and it did do that so I assume it's the graphics driver.

I've updated my graphics driver several times, but HP laptops are a bitch, so there tons of stop signs popping up everywhere. Like driver incompatibility (which it is compatible).

Anyway, I thought you guys knew what you were talking about so I casually asked this question, any info at all would be appreciated.
Usually laptops are not meant for gaming, so yours might be overheated and now suffers chronic damage from it. Precisely speaking of the GPU (?which is integrated in the CPU?). If you have a laptop the identical same series with the exact same CPU, try switching the CPUs and see, if the problem persists on your laptop OR if it switched the machine alongside with the CPU.
It's an integrated GPU, those generally don't die from abuse.

First of all, uninstall any GPU drivers you can find. Then, grab Snappy Driver Installer and let it download and install the recommended drivers. NOT the absolute newest ones.

Next, some questions:
1 - Exactly what laptop and OS are you running?
2 - What happens if you put your laptop to sleep, and then immediately wake it up?
3 - What exactly are you seeing on the screen?
HP Envy 17, Windows 10
A bluish-Greenish-pinkish (sometimes pure white) screen (overlay) appears and then slides down and disappears after a while.
Generally I can deal with it, as it isn't exactly omg-I-need-a-new-laptop kind of problem.

And it is an integrated CPU. Sometimes my laptop overheats and shuts down while playing CS:GO due to thermal overheating protection, usually when it reaches 100c. However, this has started happening WAY before it started to shut down due to overheating because I didn't play much resource-consuming games back then.

If It helps, my laptop is a touchscreen. And this once way back (due to insufferable ignorance) I cleaned the screen with light doses of water on a towel, immediately wiping it off with a dry towel. I doubt this would be the cause, but just in case.

Mod Edit (no double posting plz):
Dummy said:
First of all, uninstall any GPU drivers you can find. Then, grab Snappy Driver Installer and let it download and install the recommended drivers. NOT the absolute newest ones.
I have the recommended driver installed. Nothing came up on Snappy, I mean, I'll try later this weekend to install several Graphics drivers (new, old, and stable ones) and observe what happens (or look for the most stable version).

I guess I'll have to look deeper into the cause, as I've a bit forgotten even when this has started happening (a year ago?). Thanks a bunch, will respond if it does clear up.
Try connecting an external display and see if the problem replicates, if it does, it is likely software if it does not, it is likely the laptop display. There are a ton of complaints online for the HP Envy line of laptops regarding display problems, loose hinges (affects the display cable) among other issues.

It is possible that some kind of intermittent connection exists, that as the unit heats up, parts expand to "fix" the connection, if that is the case, and both the internal and external display show the same results, it may well be a bad connection under one of the bga Integrated circuits - that is not a problem that you can fix. It would require removing and resoldering the IC, which requires special equipment.
Test it first with an external display and check if the issue persists

If it does, before doing what I would recommend, download the video driver directly from HP drivers page for your laptop mode, and (although it's not recommended but I've fixed some issues with it) download the latest stable version of the display driver from Intel's page.

After you did that you do a full driver uninstall with DDU, then running CCleaner to remove any "waste" files and registry keys left in the machine, that will leave you with the default W10 display driver.

Then with the default display driver working, install FIRST the driver downloaded from the HP page and check if that works, IF the problem persists, repeat the driver uninstall with DDU + the CCleaner run to clean again anything related to video drivers, then install the latest stable you downloaded from the Intel site and test it.

If the problem still persists, it might not be a software issue, besides HP laptops are quite prone to overheating issues causing the video chip to false solder to the mother board, that means one or several solder points of the chip crack or lose contact and when they heat due to metal expansion they tend work correctly
leighflix said:
Nothing came up on Snappy, I mean, I'll try later this weekend to install several Graphics drivers (new, old, and stable ones) and observe what happens (or look for the most stable version).
You have to click on updates, and select "Check only needed for this PC". This should download Indexes, and then Snappy will show you the available drivers.

Regardless, as Kiho said, try connecting an external display first. If the issue disappears, you have faulty hardware.
Alright, will do.

Here's a video of it happening, caught it a bit late, but still:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTVleT-GfZ0
The time's come to build my own desktop hydro dam.

Does anyone here know a good online PC building resource I can refer to? I'd prefer to do good research to buy just what I will need and save a bit of cash.
reyaes said:
The time's come to build my own desktop hydro dam.

Does anyone here know a good online PC building resource I can refer to? I'd prefer to do good research to buy just what I will need and save a bit of cash.
http://www.tomshardware.com/t/build-your-own/ and http://www.overclock.net/rigbuilder are good places to start.

What do you need the PC for? Did you consider getting a laptop + eGPU dock?
Thanks. Primarily I will be recording and mixing audio. I also wish to have a platform for generalised mixed media including 3D design, image and video editing.

I had originally planned on buying a Mac, but considering I might branch off into my old hobby of video game design as well, I've decided a PC would be better for keeping my options open.

What sort of benefits would a laptop with an eGPU dock have over a desktop? I also intend on modifying what I have to keep up with changes in hardware or software over time.
Right, in this case a custom PC is a good idea. A good non-mobile CPU will be great for 3D and video. You'll have the option to use proper expansion cards for audio stuff too.

Other than paying more, when going the laptop + dock route you lose some performance. For most uses it doesn't matter (games, internet), but for content creation you want as much power as possible. The positives are much lower power consumption, a free UPS (laptop's battery), and mobility (just unplug the dock and work on the go).
Alright, great to know. Thanks for the tips.
... I can only hope Mozilla never decides to screw over the Firefox ESR users...

*Edit (Short rant)
They dropped support for custom (unsigned) extensions a while back forcing me to look for alternatives. There's no way I could get my extension signed. It's nothing more than a backdoor into the browser's environment that runs code from a file outside of the extension and allows me to refresh changes to that code with a single mouse gesture.

I tried the developer edition of Firefox, but that had Firebug built into it in a terribly inferior state. And since it was built in, you couldn't install the extension version... So I went with Firefox ESR and that has been working just fine.

Now I hear they are abandoning support for anything but WebExtensions. I rather doubt they will do that in ESR any time soon due to the reasoning behind the ESR version. But support for some of the extensions I use will be discontinued due to this change. So maybe it's about time I start looking for another browser.
I am afraid that this is the future. We ran into this attitude with Microsoft at my previous place of work a few years back when only "Microsoft signed" drivers could be installed in 64 bit versions of windows......it cost $10K to get a driver certified and signed. Fu^#^$# microsoft.

Zolxys, you seem to be a competent developer, maybe you should consider getting yourself on the mozilla development team. That would at least give you some voice in the development process and may be useful in promoting your work.

What other browser is there? Micosoft's browser sucks, Opera? Google Chrome? The latter is a security nightmare. Most of the antivirus software packages only support MS and Firefox. I personally would not use a browser that was not supported by my antivirus software. That is especially important as a Moderator when checking links in posts, comments etc.
Kiho said:
What other browser is there?
Maybe Pale Moon? I'll have to do some research...
Zolxys said:
Maybe Pale Moon? I'll have to do some research...
I was going to suggest that, I think it's exactly what you want. If you want to go the webkit route, then try Chromium and Opera.