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17 April 2009 @ 09:24 am
Kind of a wish list of stuff, some of which I'll be taking care of soon anyway. Figured I might get some useful comments or advice if I put it up here.

Cut for length, talk of spending money.

This part got me started about making a list: What I want out of my computers.


EEE. I love my EEE. I use it on the train on the way to and from work, mostly for watching anime and kanji practice. I want to add more storage and hack it a bit for fun and functionality. It's a 700 btw.

The Japanese laptop: I hardly ever turn the poor thing on any more. It could be handy for bringing to anime rooms for filler (when the schedule is a bit ahead) or AMVs... but really all of that could be done with the EEE as well. I might wind up selling it before it gets too old, slow, and big.


A server with several TB of storage, to use by myself and/or with a housemate. Will have at least a DVD burner and can be brought to cons I can drive to. Probably RAID 10, probably filled with 1.5 TB hard drives. Running Ubuntu. Likely ssh-able from internet.

My Linux box is fine for now as my main desktop. I do plan to add more storage, again, a 1.5 TB hard drive or two.

My web/ssh server is fine for now. I want to start making backups to the new home file server, listed above.

My Mac G4 1.25GHz is getting old and slow. I haven't turned it on in about a month, since my last power outtage. I'd like to replace it with, perhaps, a used or new Intel-based Mac Mini. It won't have as much storage, but the new home server will take care of that, and a Mac Mini will be faster and take up less space.

Having a PC running just Windows XP could come in handy for video editing and a few other things. It's a pain now to reboot my main desktop into XP. I'd also like a computer to play around with other OSs on, like the new open-source BeOS, FreeBSD, other Linux distros, etc. Could be the same as the XP computer.


A smaller, lighter projector that has better than my current 800x600 resolution. This is a big expense, but I can look around on Craigslist for one too. Also, a better set of small, portable speakers. I'd like to be able to fly somewhere and have most of what I need to run an anime room with me that'll fit more easily into a suitcase.


This is pretty much a must for driving around here in the summer: Getting a/c fixed. I have a spare compressor I'll have them put in. I also want to have the shocks checked, as I have to get alignment done about yearly. I want a good microphone for my car stereo's Bluetooth so people can actually hear me too.

Some day: A new car? My current car is about to hit 300,000 miles, but I'm sure it has a few hundred thousand left on it. Musts: Manual transmission or perhaps a continuously variable transmission (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuously_variable_transmission), air conditioning. Negotiable: Hand-crank windows. Power windows in my experience don't work that well as a car gets older, and they won't move unless the car is turned on. My ears are sensitive to pressure, so this is a big annoyance for me. I love hand-crank windows. Hatchback would be great. Something with great mileage/alternative fuel too, maybe a plug-in electric hybrid.


New flooring. I will likely do this this year. Requires me to move a lot of stuff around; will probably do one half of the house at a time. I have, in a way, pre-paid some labor to help me install it. Probably will be something hardwood or the like.

Gas line to the dryer: This has been put off way too long. I got an estimate years ago at $400, which sounded like a lot at the time. I'm sure it's more now, but it shouldn't hurt so bad to spend it now. The dryer takes an awful long time to work with no heat.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Nikithespatula on April 17th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Now is a great time to buy a car, I'd personally push that up a bit if you can. I've been watching Smartcars and the one I'd want went from 17k to 13k. There are even used ones on the market now to 9-13k
ashi: honda tohruashi on April 17th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Hmm, Wikipedia says the gas-powered Smart achieves 33 city and 41 highway, which is only marginally better than Yumi. Perhaps I'll save up and by the time I can buy one outright, something better will be here. :)

A plug-in electric hybrid would handle my commute to work mostly using electric, and could use gas most of the way on a trip to LA. I don't really have room to keep two cars in the driveway, though a Smartcar might just fit with a normal car, hmm.
Hein: displayfub on April 17th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Having a PC running just Windows XP could come in handy for video editing and a few other things. It's a pain now to reboot my main desktop into XP.
Have you considered running VMWare Server or VirtualBox on your main rig, and simply virtualise XP (and whatever else you want or need) on there? The performance hit is really minimal, and it saves from having another noisy machine just so you can run some Windows-only software.
ashi: arrrr!ashi on April 17th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
I've heard good things about VMware but haven't tried it yet. Desktop is a bit over 2GHz, probably fast enough. Hmm...
Hein: ADM3Afub on April 17th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
The main thing you need is memory. Any modern CPU worth running an desktop OS on is capable of running VMs. Sootball runs a WinXP VM quite nicely in its 2GB of RAM.
ashi: bunny!ashi on April 17th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
Oh good. I have 2GB of RAM in it, that PC's maximum.
Hein: ADM3Afub on April 17th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Apparently VMWare Server, a free (as in beer) component that can also create VMs, is now in the 'partner' repositories for Ubuntu. Check it out, it's cool stuff.
ashi: arrrr!ashi on April 17th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I don't see it in the Hardy repository. Maybe I should upgrade.

Edited at 2009-04-17 07:49 pm (UTC)
Hein: ADM3Afub on April 17th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
You gotta add a repo, apparently. Look here for more info.
ashi: homer bowling ballashi on April 17th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I already uncommented the "partner" lines in my repository, which were the same as those in the link. When I tried apt-cache search vmware, it didn't come up.

However, I found other how-to pages on getting it set up, and then found information on virtualbox. I just set that up on my desktop, will try it out when I get home. :)

Hein: ADM3Afub on April 17th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
I've been wondering about VirtualBox, but since we use VMWare at work and I'm familiar with that, that's what I went with.

I expect a full report when you're done. :P
nojaynojay on April 17th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Your home server hardware requirements... Uh?

RAID 10? Why? Nothing a home server does requires screamingly-fast disk accesses. An individual SATAII disk has typical random read speeds of 60-90MB/s and media streaming is less of a load on the disk than random access. The newer SSDs are running at 200-250MB/s sustainable read speeds.

Don't make the expensive mistake that others have made of thinking that RAID means you don't have to make backups. It's not magic and the RAID system itself is another failure point in the data storage pool -- it has happened that a RAID controller has trashed the data on all the disks attached to it simultaneously. RAID is meant to support 24/7 datacentre operations with guaranteed high uptime, something a home server doesn't really require. To work properly it also requires very expensive enterprise disks and server-grade hardware controllers plus a very savvy operator on-hand 24/7 to swap out failed disks as soon as their failure is detected.

Make backups of the stuff you want to keep on external hard drives and then store the drives offsite. This is a lot better than relying on RAID, plus it's cheaper in electricity costs. I personally don't trust writeable CDs or DVDs (or BluRay writeables when they become more common) for backups as they do fail in storage due to ageing.
Hein: displayfub on April 17th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
To work properly it also requires very expensive enterprise disks
I thought the 'ID' in 'RAID' stood for 'Inexpensive Disks'?
ashi: ai-khan!!!ashi on April 17th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
At work we use pretty standard SATA drives on the expensive instruments we send out, using RAID 5. The controllers are pretty high-end though.
nojaynojay on April 17th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
RAID really requires active intervention in terms of getting failing or failed drives replaced ASAP; one of my contract jobs is to be on-call to perform swapouts of drives in various "dark" unmanned datacentres. For one system I was called out for, the RAID controller sent me an email telling me to attend the site after confirming that a spare drive was on-site for me to swap out the drive it had spotted was failing and it included a .pdf of the mailing label for returning the failing drive to central stores.

Stuff like a bad power supply can fry all the disks in a RAID array; backups are good.
ashi: bunny!ashi on April 17th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
I do get tired of waiting for disk transfers between my computers at home of anime and drama files, even with the gigabit wired LAN. Also, I want to play with RAID some more... I find playing with stuff at home helps me sometimes at work.

The home server will be doing daily backups of my 1U web/email server which actually has data I'll want to keep backed up. The fansubs and likely rips of my DVD collection I keep on the home server will be replaceable data. It'll be nice to have a backup of the web/email server on-hand. I've also considered making a copy of the web/email server that can be turned on to replace the first one if anything goes wrong with it.

Yes, I've had problems with older DVDs, and I don't trust them. I don't really have anywhere to keep an external drive off-site though.

Thanks for the advice! I'm still thinking this through, which is why I put it out here. :)
TJcheeseboy on April 18th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
I find playing with stuff at home helps me sometimes at work.

I find this to be helpful also. You can experiment with your own stuff and not have bad job-related consequences if you break it. You can learn how something works without a time deadline, or being told you're not spending company time wisely. It's nice, if you have the capability to do something like that at home.
ashi: ai-khan!!!ashi on November 4th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Looking back, I have done most of these upgrades. Yay.