Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Home IT department

I finally got around and uploaded all my files from my external drive to the network drive. Did not do test the upload speeds, but will do some tests in the near future, I will post those as well.

Simple diagram of my home setup
This is the setup of my little home IT department.

Actual equipment

Before purchasing this little Linksys unit, which is a USB Network storage link. I read many reviews. Most of them mentioned speed as being a problem. My network as you can see is wired 10/100 and wireless G 54Mbps, so it actually fits in nicely. And I don't need to upgrade my router, or any of my NIC cards in my computers. Wirelessly, it doesn't make a difference how fast it can server up the files, from my tests, I can listen to music from the NAS. Now the real test will be listening to music, and from another computer watching a video. I did a brief test between the laptop, and my desktop. Over the wireless network, these are the results:
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth[ 3] 0.0-10.0 sec 25.6 MBytes 21.5 Mbits/sec[ 3] 0.0-10.0 sec 26.1 MBytes 21.9 Mbits/sec[ 3] 0.0-100.0 sec 253 MBytes 21.2 Mbits/sec[ 3] 0.0-2027.8 sec 5.16 GBytes 21.9 Mbits/sec
Will be doing more test, and and indepth info will be posted.

My Computer equipment

1. Desktop - AMD Athalon XP 1800 -1.7GB RAM - 120 GB HD - FireWire + 4 USB PCI card - TV Tuner -Web Cam - 17" CRT Monitor - Ubuntu 8.10 2. Laptop Dell Inpiron 1318 - Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz - 13.3" 1280x800 Glossy - 3 GB RAM - 250 GB HDD - OpenSuSe 11.0 3. Laptop Apple PowerBook G4 12" - 867 MGHz G4 - 640 MB RAM - 40 GB HDD - 12" -OSX 10.4 Network Hard Ware Linksys Broadband Router: WRT54G Linksys Network Storage Link: NSLU2 Dlink DSL Router : DSL-360R [polldaddy poll=1182086]

Friday, November 21, 2008

The second HD for the NAS has arrived

Well, I guess I will be busy setting up my little NAS home project. The second USB2 500GB hard drive finally arrived. So I will be busy this weekend setting it up, and I will also be posting some results, pictures of the set-up, hopefully by Sunday.. Stay tuned..

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Who needs photoshop?

Today I was playing around with SmugMug, my favorite photosharing, storing site.  I used to be a fan of flickr, but switched about 6 months ago.  SmuMug feels more professional, and with a few more options. plus what sold me is their support and response time when I had a problem.  Today I was able to upload two pictures, one via the browser one via Picasa, yes there is a button you can add to upload images to SmugMug from here.  It worked great.   While I was playing with the options in SmugMug I noticed something new that wasn't there the last time I was on SmugMug, a link to edit a photo in Picnik.  I knew this service from before, but this was the first time I see it built into SmugMug.   I mostly use RAW for my pictures and my favorite software is Bibble Pro for prosessing the RAW Images, it's fast, and they have a Linux version too.  So far they are at version 4, but version 5 is coming out this year.  It's a great tool, and does all I need for photo editing.  So does Picasa, and f-Spot, but Bibble is my first choice.  And since I am on a linux system, I need something opensource and free, so there is the Gimp, which is a great and powerfull tool.  Lets think a little bit about this...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

OpenSuSe 11.0 on Inspiron

So for the past few months I have been running OpenSuSe on my Inpiron 13 laptop.  And I have to say, it's almost falwless.  Well there is one command I have to run in the cli to disable my Hard Drives powermanagement, because if I don't it just keeps spinning my Hard drive up, and down, which reduces it's life.  Otherwise, I can't complain.  It has something which is similar to expose, which I loved on my Mac OS X.  Everything I need or use is available as a free software, I was even able to install ie6 via wine, and it runs fine, a couple of problems with plugins, but otherwise it makes it possible for me to visit some of the IE only sites.  Great and Stable OS.  Would recommend it to anyone looking for alternatives to Vista or XP

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Home NAS solution. with out breaking the bank...

I have been planning to add a network storage solution to my home network, and finally I have decided on a reasonable solution.  I picked this NSLU2 Network Storage link from linksys, and 2 USB 2.0 500GB disks.  The drawbacks are that the network speed on this storage link is 10/100.  And the mirroring is done by the device backing up from one disk to thet other.  But the reason I like this solution is because it's reasonable in terms of price.  And because I already have a 500GB external USB drive, but I needed to get that backed up as well.  And having 4 computers at home, it just makes sense to have a central file repository.  Why duplicate and transfer files via usb memory and CD's or DVD's.  Certain data needs to be backup to DVD's just for the sake of safety.  But having 3 copies of my music on 3 computers, well that's not the best way to use storage on computers.  Once I actually get all the equipment and set it up I will gather some data, and post it here.  Some people say why not use a linux system as a file server etc..  Well a desktop uses more power than this little device with the 2 HD's.  Takes up less space, and less maintenance.  Plus as an added bonus I will have an external FTP access to files, so I can drop things for my self, or retreive things with out the need for pendrive or CD or anything.  Stay tuned for the results.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zoho Office suite, a great alternative

Today I needed to open an document with .docx format, Microsoft Office 2007 new format.  But I didn't want to download any software or the compatibility pack, which I know off.  So I though one way around this is using google docs to upload the document, and then either copy past, or export to my version of word.  Unfortunately, google's service does not support docx at this time.  So I tried the next alternative Zoho writer.  It worked like a charm.  Uploaded the file, copied it out of the browser and pasted it into my format of word.  I could have exported and all, but this worked just fine, it was a page long document.  Zoho has come a long way since I first tried it.  And I have to say their applications are more powerfeull with every update, and more complex.  They are offering all sorts of services, I hope they can manage and keep up the good work.  Try it out, you won't regret it, if you need an alternative to Microsoft Office, or even openoffice, though you need an internet connection.  There are ways to use it offline, but not as good as openoffice.org offering for the desktop.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Software repositories, be careful

Well, the other day I ran an update on my opensuse 11.0 systems.  It started acting funny, so I said what the heck, thinking like a windows user, I decided to restarted.  So I did, and to my suprise, the login screen won't show up.  I tried again, entered into command line, checked my x-server settings, etc..  No luck.  So using my destop, I got into the IRC chat and screamed for help.  Folks were very helpful, and we were able to track down my problem.  It was that gtk2, and glib2 were out of sync, and instead of using a stable version, I got an unstable version installed.  Now it could easily be said that it's my fault, I should check the list of updates more carefully, but isn't that what the package manager is for?  I mean I don't keep in my mind that I have version 2.3-23 or 2.2-19 or what ever.  So I had to re-install my OS, which was ok, since I keep my /home on a different partition.  It was just time consuming, and annoying.  But a valuable lesson was learned, pick your repositories carefully.  Do you really need the most cutting edge code?  Do you need xyz's repository because it says it's up to date?  What I learned is that keeping a system up to date doesn't require 10 repositories, the updates, a few extras will do. So regardless of what linux OS flavor you use, Ubuntu, OpenSuSe, Fedoracore, just pick and choose your repositories carefully, and keep them down to a handfull.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Project management training

This past week I took part in a 3 day project management training, from the PMI. which was great.  In the training a few programs were mentioned.  Naturally Microsoft Projects and a mind mapping software were mentioned.  There is a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Projects called openproj.  It's a great option and it won't break the bank.  The other tool was mindjet which can be used for bainstorming, and exporting to MS Projects.  This has a free opensource alternative called FreeMind, this tool can not export to MS Projects though.  The reason I mention those is because it is always assumed that people use Windows computers, well I don't.  I am a happy linux user.   And those tools will help me get things done even on my own computers.  At work we use Windows most likely because as a corporation they can not just simply switch and start using opensource or linux.  And probably becasue they are not even aware of some of the open source alternatives.  If you can use an application for free to acheive what you could with a paid software, why would you spend the money?...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

wifi on Dell Inspiron 1318

Finally, I was able to get the wifi to work on my Inspiron 1318.  The trick was that the lspci for some reason showed me the wrong broadcom version.  It was showing 4312 while it really is bcm4310.  The difference is the fact that I need different drivers to make it work with ndiswrapper.  it works fine with b43fwcutter and bcmwl5 as the driver.  If you follow the instructions and install the driver found in Vista as in my case it won't work.  It will try to install the bcmwl6.inf that is what is installed under vista.  I installed the bcmwl5 and it works fine.  Actually I am writing this over my wif link.. finally. If you need help geting your wifi on the Dell Inspiron 1318 to work under Open SuSe let me know, and I will post links to the sites that I got my information from.. A link for OpenSuSe Users. More Info Thanks rbkumaran

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Linux on Dell Inspiron 1318.

About a month ago, I finally got myself a Dell laptop. it's the Inspiron 1318. I wanted to get an Apple macbook, but realized the reason I loved my PowerBook G4 was the fact that it wasn't running windows. I know, that's a lame excuse. But honestly this Inspiron is a perfect match for my needs, I don't like bulky 15.4" laptops. I was a little tired of the tiny 12.1" I had, my work laptop is a 14.4" which is perfect, but I couldn't find a good 14.4" laptop. So I came across the Dell Inspiron.1318. It costs just $1000 less than a macbook, which is a little faster etc. but couldn't justify paying that much more. First thing after booting into windows Vista and getting all the HW info, was to install Open SuSe 11.0 Linux OS. So the drive is 250 GB, I left like 60GB for Vista, just in case, my dSLR requires it's windows software to updates it's bios :-( maybe one day they will make it platform independent. This is my journey with the Dell Inspiron and Linux.. My First OS insalltion went smooth. I ran into three major problems. 1. WiFi card not working 2. Sound not loud, but working 3. HD parking/unparking it self rather too often.. Read after it, and here you can read some more.. Other than those issues all working like a charm. Until today, I did not have the time, to work on things to make my laptop work smoothly, I will keep updating with latest information.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Re-visited running linux on my work Laptop

Well, it was dual boot from the start, Open SuSe 10.0 and Windows XP Professional but after a dell motherboard flash update, umm grub was overwritten. Well let me tell you why. In todays world who uses Floppy drives? you know those little black square things that can hold about 1.44 MB. Back in the day those were used for flashing your motherboard, not today. Dell figures, why not play with the MBR for a mother board uprade. It's probably in the fine print but honestly who reads those. So here is the lesson...