Scrivero' questo articolo in Inglese perche' ho intenzione di segnalarlo a qualche sito (es. Hack a Day), sperando che possa essere utile a qualche altra persona con la scheda video presa di mira da Murphy.
A couple of weeks ago, my laptop screen went suddenly black. Using a "backup" pc, I searched infos on the problem and found that there's a certain chance of thermal faults on G86 chips, used in 8600M GT video cards. I promptly tried to reflow the card, but the situation actually got worse (something on the 3.3V line of the card went short circuit, preventing me from turning on the computer). I didn't want to hack up a solution, since I preferred to enjoy the holidays instead.
Yesterday evening I actually realized that I needed some data that were on the laptop, and that I didn't have *any* usb-to-sata box or computer with a sata controller. So I needed to boot that laptop on linux *at all costs* and make it appear on the LAN, using a bit of dexterity with blind-typing, some hardware I had in my "toolbox" and great Stefano Viola's (EstebanSannin) suggestions
This is a small list of the steps I took to take control of the box (the photos & screenshots have been taken few minutes ago):
Since the pc has no VNC or SSH server installed, I have to go with a shell on a USB serial port (recent laptops don't have real serial ports). I remove the failed video card and connect an Arduino to the laptop and a TTL-converter to the backup pc, and join both (TX with RX, RX with TX, 3V3 with converter VCC, common GND). Now I have an hacked-up nullmodem cable:
I blind type the following:
(enter to boot linux from GRUB, then wait a bit)
CTRL-ALT-F1 (to make sure I'm on the first VT)
my sudo password
modprobe pl2303 (not necessary, since Ubuntu automatically detects USB devices)
getty 115200 ttyUSB0
The Arduino LEDs blink once, so I should now have an open serial shell @ 115200 8N1... let's try:
So, i login as root, connect laptop's ethernet (Ubuntu automatically gets an IP from DHCP) and simply do:
apt-get install openssh-server vnc4server (sshd starts automatically after install)
ifconfig eth0 (to write down the assigned IP)
I can now connect over SSH as normal user, and tweak the VNC server configuration:
mv /usr/bin/nm-applet /usr/bin/nm-applet.orig (to not interfere with the already assigned IP)
vnc4server (it should ask you for a password on inbound connections)
vim ~/.vnc/xstartup (replace twm & with gnome-session &)
(xstartup mod taken from here http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/starting-gnome-session-over-vnc-268828/
And VNC it's now ready in all its glory, at IP:1
Full hardware setup, including audio redirect to audio system line-in (laptop is on, but screen is obviously blank):
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