Archive for December, 2007

Thaed’s Home Network Upgrade Adventure.

December 30, 2007


Having a RAID 5 file server on a gigabit network for all the computers in my house has been a dream of mine for a long time. In this video, I show you what I’m switching too and some of the issues that I ran into as I completed the upgrade.

The video is sadly dark and practically unwatchable. This does not prevent me from putting it on YouTube. The fact of the matter is that if you want to shoot good video (you know, with lighting) then you have to plan and prepare for that. It means work. It also helps to write what you’re going to say instead of pointing a camera and just talking. I did not put any work into this and, well, it shows. Nonetheless, I suspect that computer geeks like me might enjoy it for what it is.

Finally, I learned something from this that’s not in the video. Plugging in gigabit switches and routers doesn’t give you gigabit transfer speeds out of the box. Windows, Linux and FreeNAS require substantial tweaking before you notice any improvements. This tweaking is not trivial and I’m still working on it.

Flickr Pics of the Day.

December 27, 2007

When I’m in the mood, I’ll pick a day of interesting pictures on Flickr and go through all 500 of them.  I did this tonight for December 2, 2007.  These are my personal favorites from that day.  To make it to the blog, you can’t spaceball me.  The first one actually did, but then had a hosted link elsewhere.







There were more, but again, if you don’t let me link directly to your pics on Flickr, I can’t really talk about the picture.  Silly, actually.  In any event, this pastime is quite relaxing and makes for colorful blog posts, so expect more in the future.

Infrastructure updates are coming.

December 27, 2007

I ordered tons of new networking equipment from NewEgg last week as well as a scanner.  UPS tried to deliver it today but required a signature.  I thought that they didn’t need one and I wasn’t here.  I could not have been here anyway because I was needed at my office.  Ah well, it’s quite frustrating that the fun does not begin tonight.

I want to shoot some unboxing and setup video.  I think it would be geek interesting.

In other news, I believe I’m going to be building a new computer soon.  I’m not 100% on this yet, but it looks that way.  I need to think about what I want to do here.  It’s funny how much of an old man I’m becoming.  At one point, the goal would have been to build the fastest machine money could buy.  I’m not sure that I need that right now, as crazy as that sounds.  We’ll see.  I’m going to take some time thinking about it.

I’m still a little sick.  I’m hoping this ends soon.

Santa brought me the Flu and a sense of appreciation.

December 25, 2007

I would say that It’s been a nice holiday here, other than spending much of the last 24 hours in the bathroom. Generally speaking everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves. As I type this lying weakly on the couch, I’m thankful just to have a couch. I’m thankful for all those who put up with me and for all that I have.

Because not everyone goes through life with purpose. Not everyone is able to find his or her way. My brother is going through a rough spot right now and I really can’t help him. He has to do it alone and hopefully he’ll emerge from the experience better for it.

It’s funny when you get the flu sometimes the illness spawns intense dreams. I dreamed I was involved in the project management of a way of handling litigation that had not been done before. I woke up excited about it. Of course, I retained nothing meaningful from the dream other than some motivation to do some work today, despite the holiday.

So this is meandering, disjointed and fairly personal. That’s hardly what I usually do on this blog. I guess the message is to try to peel back the glaze of everyday experience. Look at the people and things that you share existence with and think about how life would be without them. Then be thankful.

Multitasking over the Holidays.

December 23, 2007

The only way I’m going to get anything done in the brief time that I’m off for the holiday is to do three things at once. And by getting things done, I mean things on my computer. And while being entertained. Here, I’m moving files off my laptop so I can free up some space, I’m blogging and I’m watching Cowboy Beebop. I’ve had the CB disks for 4 years and I have yet to watch the series! Finding time to watch shows I have any interest in is almost impossible. So if I force myself to watch them while I’m doing other stuff (with headphones on), I can do it.

This also keeps me upstairs and sort-of participating with the house full of people that I have. Well, participating in the sense that I’m not in the basement (the headphones might inhibit interactivity a little bit).

Being engrossed in something is one of the highest states of human existence. One way to get engrossed is through sensory overload. I think that that’s happening here. All on a little 14.1 inch laptop too.

Holiday Exhaustion.

December 22, 2007

I have retreated to the basement for a bit.  It’s 9:42 p.m. and I’m pretty tired.  I’ve been entertaining all day or picking folks up at the airport or eating.  It’s a tough job (but someone has to do it).  I’m fighting settling in to that worst of states:  a feeling where I’m too tired to do anything hard or enjoy anything good but not tired enough to go to sleep.  Horrible.

I have a plan to ease some of this suffering and then maybe I can get some sleep.

Over 40 Gamer Episode 10.

December 17, 2007

In this show, I discuss:

1. The Gerstman thing and how it affected me.
2. Why is gaming so popular now and where is it going?
3. Playing Now:

A. Wii: Pikmin, Tips on playing Game Cube Games. NOT MARIO.
B. PS3: Rockband & RE4.

C. 360 (crickets)

D. DS (nothing new)

E. PSP (nothing new)

F. Computer. Dwarf Fortress & Half life 2

4. Shout outs

Email me at

Subscribe through iTunes.

Direct download: OFG_Episode_10.mp3

FreeNAS Glory.

December 16, 2007

So it’s been up for over a day.  I hate to start getting too excited after all I’ve been through.  So here’s what I did two nights ago.  I installed the RAID card I bought from CompUSA.  When I wrote that I could just use the 4 drives without the RAID card, I wasn’t thinking.  I would not have been able to use the CD-ROM drive.  That would not have worked.  Using the RAID card, however, I ended up in the same spot.

I used the card’s BIOS to set up a 0+1 array.  Then I loaded FreeNAS and tried to configure it.  FreeNAS recognized the drives, but not the hardware RAID.  So what I ended up doing was using the software mirroring of RAID 1 built into FreeNAS to make 2 RAID 1 drives.  So I got the benefit of using 4 drives with the cards, but I didn’t get the speed benefit of a 0+1 array.  Considering how little money I put into this, I’m really not unhappy.  I even got Vista to recognize the drives and send data to them.

It’s still early.  I thought I had had success with FreeNAS before, but I was using the beta.  Here, I’m using the stable version, but there could still be problems.  The one thing that I love about FreeNAS is the connectivity.  It just works.  I’m supporting 5 operating systems in this house and they can all talk to FreeNAS without any gymnastics.  I never did get Samba to work in Fedora despite days of effort.

I cannot say enough how cool it is to have a “real” file server.  In the past when I’ve tried to use windows shares or the Netgear toaster or even a USB drive attached to my router, I’ve had problems.  Often, the servers would drop or one particular type of OS wouldn’t see the shares or things would just be really slow or get bogged down.  Here I have great throughput and I’m able to do lots of different things at once with multiple computers.  Ahhh, it’s very satisfying.

Friday Night Party Line Episode 22

December 15, 2007

This is an unusual FNPL episode. We only have one topic and it’s really a discussion on the nature of friendship. It’s also Kyle, Thaed and David arguing with Rym and Scott about the best laid plans. It’s youthful optimism versus jaded pessimism at its best.

Site where you can find more information about Rym & Scott.

Subscribe via iTunes.

Email Thaed at
Direct download: FNPL_22.mp3

CompUSA is going out of business and more RAID stuff.

December 14, 2007

CompUSA is going out of business.  I had a chance to go there today and pick up a few things.  I would not say that it’s like a fire sale or anything, but I did get a decent price on a computer case and Peggle.  When I see computer cases on sale, I always want to buy them.  Computer cases aren’t much fun to buy via mail order because they push up the shipping prices.

I also bought a very cheap RAID card.  Now it’s only RAID 0 or 1, but I was thinking that if I clear out another 250 GB drive, that I can have 4 drives in the machine with 2 & 2 in RAID 1.  This gives me 2 mirrored drives instead of one giant drive, but the card was dirt cheap and I’m not working with high end equipment here.  The result is going to be nearly the same:  a file server with pretty good reliability.  Unless I’m completely missing the boat here, I can also go back and use FreeNAS now (the stable version).  Ironically, it also occurs to me as I type this that I could have probably done the same thing without the card using the stable version of FreeNAS with a software RAID.  Ah well, hardware RAIDs are supposed to be faster and more reliable anyway.