Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You’ve Been Served

How many computers do you have in your house? Are you like most people and never backup your stuff? Or are you like me and have copies of everything on three or four different machines between work and home? Yes I have that many copies of everything because I have had hard drive failures before and let me tell you, it can ruin your day quickly.

You owe it to yourself to look in to a home server. Now don’t let the word server scare you off. Microsoft makes a product called Windows Home Server and it is some pretty cool stuff. First it is so easy to use you will wonder how you got along without it. The best part is it doesn’t take a machine with a lot of horse power to run it. Any old PC you might have retired could be up to the task since system requirements are low. All you need is a 1GHZ CPU with 512RAM and 80gig drive, high speed internet and a router, which if you have two or more PCs sharing an high speed internet connection you already have. Old n Busted Old n Busted Admittedly that will not do you much good for backup so a 500gig drive and 1gig of RAM would make for a better unit. As your storage needs grow you simply plug in a new drive, run the Add a Hard Drive Wizard and presto, more space. Or you can simply buy one from the likes of HP or others. If you are the adventurous type you can build one like some of the systems Donavan builds at Home Server

I built my server out of an old PC I had laying around and upgraded the motherboard and CPU for a whopping 88 bucks including 1gig of RAM. Then just buy the software from some place like Newegg for cheap and you have a cheap Windows Home Server. I’ve got another whopping investment of $180 for more hard drive space. My system specs out now with a AMD64 2GHZ CPU, 3gig of RAM and 2.5TB of hard drive space. Once I decided this was worth more investment I even got a new home for the parts on Ebay cheap at 52 bucks.New Hotness What can you do with this system? Well first and most obvious is it backs up all the PCs you have in your network nightly with no muss and no fuss. Literality set it and forgot it. Did you delete a file you wish you still had? Open up one of the backup files on the server and drag it back to your desktop. Have you ever been some place and wish you had a file on your PC at home? Log in to your server from any computer connected to the web and go get it. Want to share photos, videos or whatever with family and friends? Give them a user account and they can up/download files until there hearts content. All using just a web browser on any web connected PC. Have a hard drive go bad and need your PC up NOW? Install the new drive, put the restore DVD in the drive and in about an hour your PC is just like it was before the hard drive failure, right down to your desktop. It’s like the hard drive failure never happen. I’ve played around with all of these great features and have as yet to be disappointed in what it can do. The server can even back up the server, how cool is that? There is only one thing you can’t do. You can not back up a PC that is not in your network. In other words no off site PC.

The are plenty of other things you can do with free Add Ins to your WHS. Tired of all those DVD movies taking up space? Rip them to your server using that free ripping software in the first of my software posts. Then you can stream them either with and extender like an XBox. Or if you are like me via S-Video cable out of the video card of your PC  to your TV, if you have that option. Of course with your sound system plugged into your PC you can have the full surround sound thing too. While I’m at work I stream music from my Home Server to my desktop at work then wirelessly to my sound system. I’m forever finding new things I can do with this system. This isn’t just a one trick pony either, Mac users can us it too.

Server's HomeServer Looks Right @ Home  Another one of the cool things about this system is it is headless, that is no monitor, keyboard or mouse. Once the system is up you can remove these items and put the server anywhere in your house that you can connect it wired to your router. After the system is up and you have the Connector software installed on your client system you control the server either with the connector software or by remote desktop connection. In fact the HP unit doesn’t even have a way to connect a monitor.

If any of this sounds interesting Microsoft will send you a trial copy that will run for 120 days so you can try it out for free and they even pay the shipping. Just fill out this form and it will show up in about a week. Or since you already know how to burn an ISO file from my other post you can download it and burn it to a DVD.

This is really a slick operating system. You owe it to yourself to check it out, if for no other reason for the backup power it has. It’s not just for home use either. This is perfect for a small business whether home based or a small office. As I said once you discover what all you can do with it you will wonder how you could get along with out it.


Update: I should add while no backup system is idiot proof this is the easiest and simplest way to help protect your digital life I have found. With WHS and off site backup locations or “cloud” storage services like you can really lower your risk of having a digital disaster day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

For Webster-From the Phone

From the phone 4 Webster. 32 days later no ice fishing now. It's official Whiskey is out 4 the season! Now I have 2 go back 2 work :-( Great lunch ride though!

Update: As stated I sent this from my phone while out for a lunch time ride. When Webster commented on the last picture I took at this place how he would like to see this same place in the middle of summer it hit me. Why wait until summer to see how things have changed? I decided it would be cool to go here every 30 days or so and take a photo and post it. This way everyone can watch how it changes through the year. It should be interesting to see how this turns out.

Hard to tell in this photo since I was too far away but there is still ice on the lake. However there are no ice fishermen out there now. The ice is way to thin to even think about walking on the ice let alone driving on it. I did see one guy fishing at the edge of the ice in open water. Nothing biting was the report. This time I did see some people playing golf since some of the courses around here have opened for the year. There was a lot of bikes out today compared to last time when I think it was just me out. Just during the time it took to send the post from my phone four bikes went by me.  


Monday, March 2, 2009

And The Winner Is?

FabulousBlogAwardAs much as I hate chain letters, I feel I must complete what has been bestowed on me. While it was cool Clutch and Chrome listed me as one of their “cool blogs” this one means a lot more since it was you, the reader, that have awarded it to me. It’s nice to know that you have enjoyed what i write. Having said that…

The rules for the “Fabulous Blog” award are:

    1. You must pass it on to 5 other Fabulous bloggers in a post receiving the award.
    2. You must include the person that gave you the award, and link it back to them.
    3. You must list 5 of your Fabulous addictions in the post.
    4. You must copy and paste these rules in the post.

So second things first, I’ll get the easy part out of the way first. I was lucky enough to have three of you wonderful people award me the Fabulous Blog and they are KT DID, Ms. BB’s Road Trip and that nut job Dr. Wrench. Thank you all. If I missed someone I’m sorry I missed it and I say thank you to you too.

My five Fabulous addictions are pretty simple:

  1. All motorcycles and riding. I think that goes without saying.
  2. Drag Racing… this is another DUH thing for me.
  3. I’m a sucker for pretty face. They make me do all kinds of stupid stuff!
  4. A good cold beer with friends.
  5. Camel Filters

Now for the hard part. I really hate to have to choose just five great blogs I read and enjoy. It’s safe to say that if you are in my Blog Roll you are already one of my favorites and you have a Fabulous Blog. With that said and in no certain order…

  1.  Ride Far. Mark is living a dream and having a great time doing it. At this time he is adventure bike riding in Africa. Great writer bringing life in another part of the world to the web that can only be seen from the seat of a motorcycle. 
  2. Two Wheels and an Engine. I’ve got to ask Earl. How in the world did you come up with the name “The Vampire Duck” for your blog? Earl is a simple man I can relate to.
  3. Twisted Roads By Jack Riepe. This is a mans man blog. If Jack doesn’t offend you ladies you just might find that Jack is a fine writer. I must warn you though and in Jack’s own words: “Warning I Say Fuck A Lot.”
  4. Motor-Heads Unite. What kind of motor head hot rod guy would I be if I didn’t include a blog about hot rods? Ms, MHL finds and posts about some of the finest hot rods from the days-gone-by. Hubba Hubba. One of these days I will figure out why her link doesn’t update or work in the blog roll. Update: Anyone wanting to add Ms. MHL’s blog to your blog roll use this URL. Thanks to Ms. MHL for figuring out the issue.
  5. Musings of an Intrepid Commuter. If Iron Dad isn’t chasing down some owner of a motorcycle sitting in some parking lot he is writing about riding lessons. Being a motorcycle riding instructor he always has a good lesson to learn. He also rides rain or shine, like someone else I know.He’s got a damn big ego too, almost as big as mine :)

One last note. since last year was a Leap year I guess I will celebrate on March 1st instead. One year ago today I posted my first blog. Although I was using another service at the time, I think it still counts. Don’t worry you didn’t miss anything. All of the posts are in the archives here.


PS Happy Birthday Mom! I love you.