I was digging through Github one fine evening because well I don’t remember why and I ended up on QMK, the firmware used in most (decent) mechanical keyboards. I noticed that VIA support was added for the Drop (Massdrop) CTRL, the ALT already had VIA support. Hey, I have a Drop CTRL! So I decided to I wanted to flash the board and get VIA support. Who doesn’t want VIA support? Down the rabbit hole I go, and I tossed in some extras.
Fucking mechanical keyboards. Damn it, how the hell did I end up down this cash burning rabbit hole? Mid-life crisis I guess? Most guys buy a hotrod and I end up with mechanical keyboards. My first foray into mech keyboards was when I bought the Keychron K8 TKL board which I posted about last year. I kept that board for about six months before I gave it to my son. It was a good board don’t get me wrong, I liked it and there is nothing wrong with it but I also had no idea what I wanted in a mechanical keyboard at the time either. The biggest reason I replaced the Keychron was because it was not programmable with QMK or VIA/VIAL.
After getting into and reading about boards this turns out to be a must have for me. So I got a drop CTRL TKL board. This was pretty pricey I will have to admit. More than it should be considering what it is and what other keyboards out-there offer and go for in the custom keyboard world. From what I can tell the Drop CTRL is looked down upon not necessarily because it is a bad board but because it is a mass produced board and ready to buy at any time – in stock. It also has a RGB ring around the edges and after being in the community for a month or so you find out real quick that RGB is pretty hated in the group. Only newcomers in the group like RGB or gamers. Real mechanical keyboard enthusiasts don’t rock RGB and real high end boards don’t rock RGB either. I will have to admit that after a few months of using Crystal pudding keycaps with RGB on 24/7 I don’t really need it anymore. I got my fill of RGB. I also now know the difference and the reasoning behind north vs south facing RGB lights as well.
Note: For the majority of this post I will be referring to the Drop CTRL keyboard
QMK, what is it?
QMK is a keyboard firmware based on the qmk_keyboard firmware with some useful features for Atmel AVR and ARM controllers, and more. Doesn’t say much does it?
QMK is pretty much “The Holy Grail of keyboard customization as someone else said. QMK usually offers tons of features like layers, custom keymaps, and the ability to edit your LEDs RGB patterns. It typically runs on Atmel controllers (Arduinos) which are used to power most custom keyboards it seems. QMK can be a pain to work with cause of editing keymap files and complex RGB patterns. It can be complicated and I think it has a steep learning curve that would drive away most users. This is where VIA/VIAL come in. VIA is a feature in QMK that lets you change your keymap on your keyboard without needing to reflash firmware, on the fly. QMK usually involves editing text and config files while VIA and VIAL are programs that run to allow you to edit the board. The changes you make using VIA/VIAL remain persistent on the keyboard, so even when you unplug and replug your keyboard back in, the keymap settings still remain. Some keyboards even allow you to use VIA/VIAL to edit the RGB color maps and patterns, although this feature seems to be few and far between. All QMK boards allow custom keymaps and multiple layers. The amount of layers you can have depends on the memory available on the board your keyboard is utilizing. From what I understand most QMK boards will ship with the amount of layers they support but sometimes you can add more.
V Rising, a pretty cool survival game. That’s a new genre to me, the game was cheap $19.99 and it looked neat and different so I picked it up for me and a friend. I did some reading online to figure out what the game was about and how to play it so I wouldn’t die right off the bat, as I knew nothing much about the game at all. While playing I realized that in PvE mode I could roll my own server as I don’t need to interact with other players and having their castles over the place is a real pain in the ass. So I was thinking of hosting my own dedicated server for V Rising. After I figure the game out a bit I plan on moving over to PvP. Most Steam games with dedicated servers run on Linux. Not V Rising, it is still a Windows game with Windows servers. But, you can run V Rising server with Wine via Docker on Linux. Takes up a small chunk of memory but it can be done.
Check out the game
The official (Windows) dedicated server page/instructions:
V Rising Dedicated “Linux” (Docker only) Server
If you are running a Windows server or a Windows machine 24/7 then just run the default EXE file from the game makers as it was intended. If you want to run a server on Linux then follow the directions below. Here are a few links to Dockerized versions of the server.
https://github.com/TrueOsiris/docker-vrising (I used this one)
Here’s a few more on DockerHub
For the past couple months I have been collecting parts to build a new PC. I have not built a PC in about 10-12 years now since I jumped over to the Apple ecosystem. I have been trying to get my hands on a PlayStation 5 in what feels like forever. I have gotten close a few times but no dice. My son has a PlayStation 4 and I wanted the new console so I could play games with him as he is in another state. Well I finally gave up on trying for a PlayStation, even the PS4s are impossible to find right now. So I decided to build for gaming instead. Most of the games these days are cross-play compatible so no need to have a console it just would have been nice. I transitioned from PC gaming to consoles a long time ago, when I got kids. It was just easier but I do miss it. So back at it I go #PCMasterRace!
I landed a fantastic deal on a Asus Tuf Z690-Plus Wireless D4 Motherboard which I paired with an Intel i5-12600K processor. I tossed in some Corsair Vengeance Pro 3600 memory (32GB, and the RGB enhancement kit) and topped it all off with an Asus Tuf AiO water cooler. I decided since I was building a pretty recent machine (hardware wise) I wanted to kind of go all out as, much as my wallet would let me anyway so I bought a Samsung 980 Pro 1TB M2 SSD and OMFG is this thing fast, and this SSD is why I am making this post…
My brand new motherboard would not see the M2 drive. I tried every setting I could possibly find in the BIOS and yes I did update the BIOS, it was quite old for how new the board is actually. Still no dice. It would not show up as a detected drive but I could see it listed as a physical device that was connected to the board so it was working, right? Just nothing would see it, the board nor the Windows installer. I searched for like 10hours and found a lot of others that have also had issues with this drive in particular, some of them ended up have to exchange the drive and the replacement worked. Some replaced it with another brand. As it was nearing 4am I was about to give up for the day (I had even posted to Reddit asking for help with real no luck) and I found a post stating that Samsung doesn’t even have an official driver for the drive, they used the Intel driver. So I went over to Intel and downloaded the driver for (current at this time) 12th generation processors, slapped it on a thumbdrive and loaded the Windows installer, loaded the driver and it saw my SSD immediately and Windows installed without a hitch. On reboot the drive also now shows up normally in my motherboards BIOS. Ran some speed tests in Windows 10 and I am hitting the numbers quoted by everyone else and seen in those fantastic screenshots. This thing is fast! Game loading times are damn near non-existent. Its beautiful! And whats better, is that my board supports four of these bastards! This rig will never see mechanical drives.
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology Driver Installation Software with Intel® Optane™ Memory (11th and 12th Gen Platforms)
I downloaded and used the driver named “df6vmdflpy-x64.zip” and it worked for me.
XMP Memory Issues
Since I’m talking about my new build and the issues I came across I have another one for ya. I purchased 32gb (2×16) of Corsair Vengeance Pro 3600 RGB memory that supports XMP. But I could not get XMP to work properly. If I enabled XMP the system would consistently hang on boot in safe mode with an error stating that the memory has issues with its current settings. After some Redditing I found out some people had to manually set the voltage for the sticks but I also saw someone mention to simply switch RAM slots. That the modules needed to be in the other RAM banks on the motherboard (A2B2 banks – slots 2 & 4, on my board they’re the grey slots not the black slots). Once I moved the sticks to those slots and enabled XMP everything worked just fine and I am getting the proper speeds out of my memory now.
So if you are having issues with enabling XMP on your (Asus Tuf z690-Plus?) motherboard you can try swapping memory banks and see if that clears up the issue.
Just a quick one. If you happen to run HAProxy for well, proxying, and you run Ombi (which is a frontend request app for Plex, if you don’t know google it) then you are aware of the recent update to v4. While v4 looks very nice I feel like they took away some vital features or at least moved em to where I cannot find them. But anyhow, the recent v4 update seems to have broken HAProxy and it will not display properly anymore. If you run the 503 maintenance code message for when issues poop up then you will see that message.
The fix seems to very simple. Just change the health check to basic instead of HTTP and add a huge timer and all will be well. Not exactly sure what changed here but that change got my system back to functioning.