Monday, January 15, 2007

Oh, Look, it's 2007!

Wow, talk about a busy holiday season! Work, shopping, travel... it was a mess, but a happy mess, all around.

Plots and Plans
Well, it's a new year, and there's lots to do in the Rich and Amy camp, from plunging wholesale back into wedding event-prep to cleaning my house sufficiently for Amy and her two cats to move in. Loads to do and waning time in which to accomplish it. Expect more of a wedding-plan slant here in the weeks and months to come.

Farce and Foam
As for blogworthy political news, there's been lots. Speaker Pelosi became a reality; Barack Obama out-popularized Hillary, who's busy acting fossilized [hat tip: the GGB, via e-mail]; Saddam stretched a rope, leaving the world no poorer, but drawing traffic to Google Video and YouTube.

Geeks Bearing Gifts
Amy and I had a blessed, bountiful and gadget-filled Christmas, with much lavishing of fun stuff on one another, from a video-playing watch Amy found for me, to a portable XM Radio unit I snagged for her, to many other fun and unique things. Toys, toys, toys!

Nesting Instinct
I've been having a little too much fun preparing for the eventual uniting of Amy's and my home gadgetry.

I've finally built a competent home-theater PC (or "HTPC"--a TiVo replacement)! TiVo recently raised their subscription rates, and considering I maintain three TiVo subscriptions, that increased expense finally spurred me to investigate alternatives. Amy's got a Windows Media Center Edition computer, and I've been impressed with its performance, so I repurposed an unused Windows 2000 machine of mine, added some TV capture cards, and it's become a very potent GB-PVR box. GB-PVR is the software the HTPC uses to provide its TV-recording functionality.

Thing is, video takes up a fair amount of space, so I've also built a NAS (network-attached storage) computer, basically a big file server, upon which to store all the HTPC's recorded shows. The NAS uses four hard disk drives in a RAID-5 array, yielding just south of three-quarters of a terabyte of usable space, made robust and fault-tolerant by the RAID hardware. When one of the four drives fails, the other three can limp along, with no lost data, until I procure a replacement and "hot-swap" it in. The box has special hard-drive bays that allow drives to be added and removed while the computer's running; thus, hot-swap. The machine never even has to reboot, which is great, because I've got a battery-powered UPS (uninterruptable power supply) maintaining its electrical power.

I've also been restructuring my home network, which now has both 100base-T (hardwired) and 802.11b/g (wireless) segments. Eventually I want to move all the network cables into conduit piping within the house's walls, but until then I'm making excellent use of the CAT5 crimper my brother Matt got me several birthdays ago for long cable runs.

Another beneficiary of the bumped-up home network is Amy's and my new Xbox 360. It will serve as a signal extender for Amy's Windows MCE box (allowing the computer to be located in a different room from the main TV), but it's also been getting a lot of load testing through frequent play of Jewel Quest, Robotron:2084 and Burnout:Revenge. Heh. :-D


PS. This just in--as of today, Amy has chosen her wedding dress (though I dont' get to see it, obviously)! Congrats, Princess!

No comments: