The cost of storage hit a low the last time it was time for a storage upgrade. Then prices shot through the roof after a flood in Thailand closed factories. This shut down all of my hard drives purchases for over two years. When I emerged from my cocoon, Samsung was gone as a Hard Drive manufacturer…and I had bought many Samsung OEM hard drives. The purpose of RAID in a redundant system is to protect against hardware failure. You have different levels of RAID for this, RAID 1 for just a straight mirror, and RAID 5 and 6, which involve a minimum of 3-4 drives to accomplish. RAID is important if you care about uptime. If you can afford to be down for a bit, backups are a better choice. What is being stored, in this case, consists of several categories: Video, Music, Documents, Configuration Files. There is no point in storing complete drive images. The OS can be reinstalled, and it probably will be better off and cleaner running after it is. The OS drive on all of the systems I’ve built or refurbed in the last two years is an SSD, which is a common practice nowadays. I [...]
Gadget Wisdom Archive
I have spent a good deal of time with Chrome OS and the Chromebook. The one troubling thing about it is not that it is an operating system in a web browser. You know that going in. It is Google. Recent events have made all of us a bit wary about Google Services, while still using them. When Google recently launched Google Keep, a decent service in its own right, no one trusted it. Before the Reader debacle, the Google enthusiasts would try it. Now, many are afraid to love a new service. GigaOm picked up on a feature request for the Chromium OS, the Open-Source version of ChromeOS. The feature would establish an API to allow for extensions to integrate into the file manager, allowing cloud services other than Google Drive to act as ‘drives’ inside the file manager. Elsewhere, in the Chromium Project, there is a reference to using Chromium without a Google login, but so far, even on the open-source project, you need Google. But, one can ask…if you are going to do Chrome without Google…what’s the point? You might as well run a full-fledged OS. Years ago, computer design was based on ‘dumb terminals’ and powerful [...]
SiliconDust has finally released the option of DLNA support for its HDHomeRun Prime. As of last week, this feature is available for general release. The limitation is that protected content can only be streamed to a player supporting DTCP-IP. This is a potential problem, as support is limited. SiliconDust does have plans to release an Android app. They did release an app(Link) for unencypted channels, which goes for $2.99. Not much help right now, but if more devices can be made to support this, it could be an alternative to cable boxes, even for those of us unfortunate enough to be on Time Warner Cable. Imagine a single 4 tuner Prime and a series of inexpensive DLNA DTCP-IP devices could be a replacement for the $10-$15 per month cable boxes. The entire setup could pay for itself in less than a year. Related articles HDHomeRun DLNA Update Now Available(thedigitalmediazone.com) HDHomeRun Prime firmware featuring DLNA streaming comes out of beta(engadget.com)
I really wished I had purchased my vinyl from Amazon, because today, Amazon expanded its AutoRip service to vinyl records purchased since 1998. AutoRip automatically adds MP3 versions of songs to your Amazon Cloud Player Account. When Amazon released the AutoRip service, they backdated any eligible CDs purchased from Amazon, and they have now extended this to Vinyl Records…interestingly tempting, but a marginal improvement. Related articles Amazon launches AutoRip for vinyl, pairs MP3s with your records(theverge.com) Amazon extends AutoRip to vinyl records(news.cnet.com) Amazon offers digital songs to vinyl record buyers(sfgate.com)
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In January of 2011, I wrote a story on the subject of Organizing Your Workflow with Instapaper and Pinboard. This was in response to the announcement of the impending closure of Xmarks(which later did not close), and the announcement that Delicious was shutting down. This had brought me to Pinboard. Pinboard is currently available at a rate of just over $10 for a lifetime subscription, plus $25/yr for an Archival Account. At the time, I used Instapaper, a Read It Later service, as a holding pen for stories, which I later archived in Pinboard. In April of 2011, I announced the move to Read It Later(now Pocket). There were many good reasons for this, however, the refresh from Read It Later to Pocket made service lean more toward the visual. Which brings me to May of 2012, where I once again pondered the subject, right after I read Clay Johnson’s book, the Information Diet. At the time, I vowed to get my information overload under control. Here we are, March of 2013, and…it is worse. I finally declared bankruptcy on Pocket(Formerly Read it Later). I exported everything I was most definitely NOT Reading Later, and sent it to Pinboard. There [...]
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For those of us who like to tinker with client/server software for personal or household, there are many good options. You can use a Raspberry Pi as a server, for example. You can use an old computer. Both of these would have services running out of your home or business. But, as we are an increasingly mobile society, you might not have good upstream bandwidth, or your ISP may block ports into your home. So, that is where a low-end VPS offering comes in. We chose ChicagoVPS, which offers a $12/year 128mb VPS, with 10GB of storage space and 100GB of monthly bandwidth. That is more than enough for personal use. They offer three locations: Chicago, Buffalo, or LA. There are similar services averaging around $12-15 a year. This is not the sort of service where you expect a lot of reliability. The service has had some hiccups, but as long as you backup and take adequate steps you should on any service, there shouldn’t be any problem. On a 128mb instance, I have Tiny Tiny RSS running, as well as ZNC, and a few other random services that I only use for my own personal interests. What do you [...]
It has been a long two weeks since Google announced the death of Google Reader. This left many people scrambling for new solutions as the clock countdowns to its shutdown on July 1st, 2013. There are many alternatives out there of various types. Feedly, for example, has been working on a Reader alternative that uses the same API. The service is also working to offer more Reader like features to welcome the over half a million Reader Refugees. They seem very determined to be the new Reader, and are even welcoming those interested in their API-compatibility to enable their applications to keep working. For me, however, this was too fancy. Most of us who are interested in replacing Reader emphasize text. We want the experience of a newspaper, not a magazine. Most Readers use the traditional Inbox style of receiving, akin to email programs. The information is the most important part. For this, I skipped over TheOldReader, which was designed to mimic the original Google Reader design, and went straight to two open source projects. Newsblur Newsblur is the brainchild of Samuel Clay. In addition to the standard Inbox display, it allows [...]
It is time for some housecleaning. There is a new layout to the site. Feel free to provide comment on this post of what you think We have a weekly newsletter, which will send you the posts if you prefer that to other means of subscription. This replaces the previous Feedburner Email service with Mailchimp. We’ll be doing some cleanup of the site content to make it easier to navigate and trying to launch some new content. Feedburner feeds are no longer active, and will redirect to the native theme. We can also be engaged on Twitter or Facebook, should you wish it. .
A week ago, we announced a product review challenge. Spending time with a Chromebook to see if it could be our daily driver. Let’s review the conditions of our challenge. We’d use the device in lieu of our primary productivity machine. So, we’d still have our Android phone for what we used it for. So, it wasn’t the ‘only’ thing used. Let’s go over a few areas… Mail Most mail services have a webmail option, so this isn’t an issue. We use Google Apps mail for our primary address anyway, which is browser based. Social Networking We’ve never been able to find a Twitter client we really liked anyway, so using web based ones wasn’t any better or worse. Facebook and Google Plus are web-based anyway, so no difference there. Chat and IRC There are no good Chrome extensions for IRC. But most IRC servers have a web client. Will do in a pinch. For chat, we tried a few options. The Chat by Google extension is nice, but only supports one account. We have two, a personal and a business account. So we tried Imo.im, Trillian, etc. Imo.im, nicely, supports desktop notifications. Productivity We usually use OpenOffice for simple [...]
The Gadget Wisdom labs has recently acquired an Acer C7 Chromebook for testing purposes. The C7 has a list price of $199 and offers an 11.6″ screen, a Celeron processor. The hard drive and memory are upgradeable. It’s competition in the Chromebook space is the $249 ARM-based Samsung Chromebook. But, while the Samsung is sleeker than the Acer C7, it lacks the possible benefits of a x86 processor and upgradable components if you want to hack the thing. But, why buy a Chromebook(other than the compelling price for a secondary system), even if you want to hack it to pieces? Many people live in their browser anyway, so why not have a computer that lives entirely in the browser? So, that is a challenge we’re prepared to try. We’ve been setting up web-based equivalents of our standard daily programs, and will be trying to live with ChromeOS only while our primary machine gets a clean install of the latest version of its OS. Will we last a whole week, which is the goal? Or is ChromeOS only good for trips where all you want is a browser? How does it compare to our experiments with the Asus Transformer, which is [...]