Windows Home Server setup…

I’ve been hiding in my cave for a while now. The funny thing is that I have acquired a lot of new stuff to install but life and work sort of got into the way of me actually writing about what I’ve been up to. While I love my job, the last month has been kind of intense with me averaging nearly 50 hours a week. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t starting to burn me out but I’m working through it.

One of the things I’ve been playing around with over the last year is Microsoft’s Windows Home Server. I was a beta tester from day one and I absolutely loved the product. I re-purposed an old Athlon 64 system and build a little server which held about 1.5TB of storage. Over the months, I accumulated a lot of backed up data including a lot of multimedia type files.

When the product was finally launched last fall, I knew I would have to eventually purchase it; however, I was on the fence of building a custom system or going with HP’s Media Smart Server which I thought was really cool looking and well designed. Early this year, my beta version of the software timed out putting me in a bind. My systems were no longer being updated and accessing my existing data was difficult (the system times out after one hour). So, I had some added pressure to hurry up and get a new system up. Due to my increasing workload, I didn’t think I was going to have time to put together a new system and I was still really intrigued by the HP MSS which would likely be quicker to setup. With that in mind (and the discovery of an added discount), I took the plunge and purchased the HP MSS EX-470 which includes a 500GB HDD. There’s also a EX-475 version which comes with a 1TB drive but it’s not worth the dramatic price increase.

I bought this thing more than a month ago but didn’t have time to set it up and transfer data. That’s pretty sad.

This weekend, I finally unboxed it and started the painful transfer process. I’ve had to restart the old beta server numerous times just to get the data off and even with a gigabit network, terabytes of data takes forever to move. Once, I get everything transferred, I’ll give out some impressions on this thing and try to get back on track.

What’s New?

As usual, life caught up with me and kept me from updating the site again. Of course, it’s sort of a good thing since I changed jobs and have some stability now. Of course, the gadget hunting hasn’t ceased but I’ve been bad about updating all of the changes that are going on.

As the holidays near and my schedule begins to lighten up, I’m planning out reviews and topics of interesting things to discuss. I’ll likely discuss Sony Ericsson’s new W910i Quad-band GSM phone which I got to replace my W850i which unfortunately had a short lifespan (I’ll get into that later). Also, I’ll discuss my attempt to use the iPhone as my main phone which obviously didn’t work out (another long story) and random thoughts on the crookedness that is the mobile phone industry (at least in the US).

Finally, as my birthday passed recently I decided to do a major system upgrade as a present to myself. I had a pretty decent and workable system before but as I’ve been doing much more content creation, I felt I needed to get something more substantial. I re-used at least half of my components so that kept the costs down. I ended up with the following:

Intel Core 2 Q6600 Quad-Core 2.4GHz (4 CPU)
8GB of DDR2 PC6400 (800Mhz) RAM
New Lian-Li PC-V300 mATX case

Added to existing parts of:

Gigabyte ATI Radeon 2600HD Pro 512MB Video Card PCI-E
500GB Seagate SATA HDD 7200RPM
SoundBlaster X-Fi Audio

I have some thoughts on this system now that I’ve been playing with it for about month. I actually “only” had 4GB to start but recently decided to splurge on the final 4GB after some research on Photoshop and it’s use of the extra memory. I’ll have thoughts on this later today perhaps but first it’s time for dim sum!

Dell is a big fat liar

Recently, Dell has launched a new initiative of trying to bring out better “designed” products and diverse color offerings. I applaud them for making a change since they use to make me angry with their advertising campaign of “we put a lot of thought into the design of our products”. In reality, if anyone bothered to look at the products they produced at the time, this was clearly not the case…but I digress. The most pronounced of the new products is the M1330, a thin-and-light notebook that Dell proclaims is the world’s thinnest 13.3” notebook. HOWEVER, this is patently FALSE and MISLEADING.

According to Dell’s M1330 web page, the M1330 measures 31.8 x 23.8 x 2.31-3.38 cm (W x D x H). Yes, quite slim.

Sony has been selling their VAIO SZ series 13.3” notebook for over a couple years now worldwide. Although it comes in two configurations, the carbon fibre model measures 31.5 x 23.4 x 2.18-3.26 cm (W x D x H). Smack to the head! Dell gets beat down and doesn’t even win one category! Even if you compare the non-carbon fibre model, it’s more or less a wash with the M1330 being slightly less in height. Of course, in either case, the Sony SZ is lighter in weight and has a better screen.

Am I being harsh? Absolutely. One of the reasons why is that I think Dell is doing a good thing by trying to release “better quality” products that take design, usability, and aesthetics into account. Dell has always had good performance for the dollar but it was always at the expense of the amenities and the “feel” of the product.

So, Dell, please stop lying to consumers and trying to create your own Dell Reality Distortion Field via the spreading off false advertising. Sell the product on its actual merits and don’t resort to low class marketing tricks just to sell your product. Make the products compelling and people will buy them.


iPhone Stalking: Morning arrives

The line continues to grow although quite slowly. I’d guess that only 25…maybe 30 people have joined the line. I’m guesstimating about 80 people in line so far so there’s still hope….allegedly. Morning came without a lot of fanfare. Fox 11 News continued to hound the scene and KTLA 5 had a chopper overhead filming the action. I’m told that Kurt “The Cyberguy” got his grubby little hands on a unit at 8am this morning so that he could discuss it on the news this morning. He’s pretty Apple-friendly so it makes sense he would get special treatment. :-p

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At least I got some special treatment of my own as my lady stopped by to bring me a healthy McDonald’s breakfast. Yes, the evil Sausage McMuffin and Hash Browns. Yummy…but deadly.

It’s going to be a scorching hot day already as it’s 9am and it’s hovering around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a guy next to me who’s already sunbathing. He’s going to be extra crispy by 6pm since it looks like he’s already had too much sun. It’s a good thing I brought sunblock (oh wait, I left that in the car) and some man grooming products to keep “fresh”.

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There’s a guy named Will who’s live vlogging the event here at Santa Monica. You should check out his coverage at I’ll likely keep updating every hour assuming my batteries cooperate.

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