New File Server

So, at my house we tend to use up disk space pretty quickly, and one of the ways I’ve tried to consolidate that is by having a home server. It was really just another Windows XP box but with some file shares on it, which actually works pretty well.

About a year ago we ran out of space on our server. And we were also out of money. No problem; I had lots of old hand-me-down computers, so I gutted a number of them, ripped out their hard-drives and stuck them in our server. It was touch-and-go for a bit; and while I did eventually get it working, the phrase “held together with spit and twine” seemed rather applicable, and I knew I needed to find a better solution at some point.

Then we ran out of space again. Nuts. How do we keep running out of space? Well, we takes lots of pictures, and I’m rather paranoid about backups–we had a new external drive fail on us previously, and lost about a year’s worth of pictures. Lesson Learned: Keep at least two copies of everything you don’t want to lose, preferably three (one of them being remote).

We still weren’t quite ready to buy a new computer. Well, I was (You might be a geek if you find yourself occasionally getting on Newegg.com to spec out a computer just for fun), but my wife provided the voice of reason. So we made a compromise. We bought an external hard-drive that we could use to relieve some of the space on the server, and would get a new computer in the fall.

So, fall has come and I’ve got a new file server going. It actually took more effort to put together than I thought. I bought the parts individually, and also bought a different operating system based on a friend’s recommendation (Windows Home Server, which for an Microsoft OS is pretty cheap). I wanted to make sure I got computer hardware that would be relevant for a decent amount of time. Some of the things I was looking for were:

  • Motherboard and power supply with plenty of SATA connectors (so that I had expand-ability)
  • Lots of initial hard-drive space with room to grow
  • RAID support
  • Support for both USB 3 and SATA 3 (which provide for much higher data transfer speeds than their predecessors)
In the end I purchased a Gigabyte AMD motherboard that had what I wanted, and I found a good deal on a Rosewill power supply. For hard-drives I purchased two Hitachi 3TB 7200 RPM drives. (Did anyone else just hear Ralphie saying, “I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”?)

My blogroll: MakeUseOf.com

My blogroll has been getting pretty hefty–I’m going to have to trim some of them down because it is getting impossible to keep up with all the items that I come across.

One of my favorite additions recently has to be the blog from the site MakeUseOf.com. It is a site that contains countless tips, tricks, hints, guides, and tutorials on using anything computer-related.

9/11 Remembered

On Friday I attended the Utah Symphony Orchestra with my wife and parents. The first piece was “On the Transmigration of Souls” by John Adams, written to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attack. I don’t care for modern classical music (unless movie soundtracks count, which for some I reason I don’t think they do…).

The reason we had bought the tickets was for the second piece, Beethoven’s 9th symphony. It was a fantastic performance that had the four of us pretty floored. My dad’s comment was “I don’t know how long it will be before I can stand listening to a recording again” (He has over 10 separate recordings of the 9th). The second movement was particularly well done.

So why am I talking about Beethoven in a post about 9/11? Well, the “Transmigration” piece was pretty effective at communicating fear, grief, confusion, and anger. But there were other responses and emotions during that time besides fear, confusion and anger. In fact, if that was the only response and the only way that we remembered it then the terrorists who carried out the attack will indeed have succeeded in their goal.

Ten years ago I was headed out the door when our neighbor called and told me to turn on the TV. I was in time to see the second tower fall.

There was a lot of fear, and confusion, and even anger. Almost 3,000 people died. But the fear and confusion that I felt does not compare to the hope and pride that I felt as I watched the many selfless acts that followed. I remember almost crying with pride and joy as I watched the New York City streets lined with onlookers cheering on the firefighters, policemen, doctors, and other volunteers as they headed into the chaos. As they did their best to save as many people as they could. As we heard of Flight 93, who gave their lives to thwart their hijackers plans.

Regardless of how politicians have used this event for one purpose or another, or even considering a number of conspiracy theories surrounding the destruction of the World Trade Center, what really struck me was the courage and strength of the people of this nation. We live in a time where we talk of the great evils of this world; immorality, drugs, gangs, corrupt governments, greedy corporations–there is almost no end to all the evil things in this world.

I do not like to focus on the negative. These things do exist, and we should not pretend that they don’t. I do believe there is far more in this world that is good. People are better than we think they are. and you know, Beethoven does a pretty good job of capturing some of those emotions and feelings.

“Oh friends, not these tones! Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing And more joyful sounds!”

Perhaps that is why they decided to pair those two pieces together. There was loss and grief and mourning. There was also hope and courage and strength. And that is what I wish to focus on when I remember 9/11. The time when I became proud to be an American.