2 Inches Of Fury

Something Worth Reading.

NAS // Nerding Shit Up

I know, I get it. I’ve been doing too many technology-based entries lately.
But c’mon, we both knew this was always gunna be the case.

I am going to build my own NAS at some stage. It is not THAT nerdy in the scheme of things. I mean, it could be worse - I could be stuck in a Star Wars convention: a group of freaks with too much time who all heavily they believe they have the force, talking about Magic (The Gathering), Warhammer and their favorite programming language.

So why a NAS? Well, let’s say you own 1000CDs and 500DVDs. Or you have downloaded that amount (not that I condone that sort of behavior). If you are going to store whole DVDs (not entirely a bad idea for preserving quality but there’s better ideas out there), that is anywhere from 4gb to almost 9gb. And that is for one movie. Do this over 100 or so times and you’re gunna need some space. And then anywhere between 30mb right through to 100mb for an album (depending on the quality rip) and you are looking at quite a large amount of space. The thing is these days there are plenty of sites with downloadable material you would normally have to fork out hand over wallet to purchase in the stores. Not to mention demos of your favourite band, iTunes store downloads or purchased albums/movies you would like backed up in case the discs ever get scratched beyond belief. And what a better place to store it than in a NAS?

Hard drives are cheap these days which makes this sort of thing even more practical which means the days of forking out $400 for a 20GB drive are over. Having said that, finding hardware at a consumer-entry level which is reliable are over, too. So really, to find out exactly what you want you need to ask yourself a series of questions to find out which product is best suited for you:

A NAS comes in two forms: Store-bought NAS or Home Made (File Server).
Neither is better than the other but if you plan on making one yourself, just be prepared to do more setting up of the device than the a store-bought one. A store bought NAS has typically a small case for physical storage but is more expensive, too. There is nothing stopping you from buying a smaller case and making your own but you have to make allowances.

How much do you want to spend on a NAS? (As the sky is the limit)
If you do not want invest time into wanting to know more about a NAS and just get one to start storing data, you could be looking at a store bought NAS (and as I mentioned, they’re quite expensive for what they are). You have options like a Drobo which are made perfectly for the person who (and it is the example they use on their website) does home movies or owns a studio and wants to save everything that is recorded somewhere easily without all the hassle (which would be most of the population).
Conversely, if you have plenty of time and do have that curiosity but do not want to spend a fortune in the process, a home made NAS would be your best option.

How much data are we storing?
This option is actually quite in-depth because you have a number of options. Something like a Drobo (or a hot-swappable NAS) can have space added to it at anytime so you can start out with small, cheap hard drives and add to them later. Whereas a home made NAS might not have that commodity. You would have to shell out all the money for the biggest hard drives up front. And then if you need to upgrade (purchasing bigger drives), you would need to find a way to copy data from the old smaller drives to the new bigger drives which can be a complex or at least painful process.

How anal do you want to be about storing your stuff?
With each of these questions, you will be faced with a number of options and this is why it has taken me so long to make the decisions I have. Each of the different setups of how you have you discs arranged logically will be in some form of RAID. Alternatively, you can have JBOD (Just A bunch Of Disks) which is simply a bunch of different disks put together in a loose and unorganized fashion. There is absolutely no redundancy with this option.
Why do I need redundancy? Well, you do not have to. It is not compulsory but if you have a hard drive die on you, the data is gone forever. The most common RAID set ups are usually RAID0, RAID1, RAID5 and RAID10 (which is a combination of RAID0 and RAID1). It does start to get in depth with what each one does but I can explain each one reasonably easy:

RAID0: Takes every physical disk and makes it one logical disk. Eg. If you have 4 x 1TB drives, that will give you one (logical, meaning you only see one drive on the computer) disk of 4TB. This is typically for speed, not redundancy. If one drive fails, the array dies and you\’ve lost everything.

RAID1: Takes half of the drives and uses the other half for redundancy. Eg. If you have 4 x 1TB drives, 2TB will store the data and the other 2TB will mirror the exact same data. So if one drive fails, no biggie. This is generally slower to copy data across to as it has to copy things twice. This makes the acronym RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) an antonym.

RAID5: This one is tricky: takes one disk out of the array for redundancy which is spread over the amount of disks. Eg. If you have 4 x 1TB drives, you have 3TB of space. That 1TB is redundancy which is span over each of the drives. If one drive dies, meh. This is usually the most common and money efficient way to create redundancy.

RAID10: Combines RAID1 and RAID0 together. So if you had 6 x 1TB disks you could split them into 2 x of RAID0 (one big drive of 3TB). If 2 drives dies in each of the RIAD0, no biggie. This however is expensive (sometimes not supported on low-end hardware RAID set ups) and can be a little complex to set up.

Once you have made the decision on which way to go, then you ANOTHER option: Hardware RAID? Or Software RAID? Now before you roll your eyes or start crying like there is a never ending line of questions you don’t have answers to, this is not too complicated. With a hardware RAID you are relying on a physical RAID controller (which might be inbuilt into a motherboard or it might be a separate RAID card you can buy. Hardware RAID is expensive and you would only really look an option like buying a hardware RAID if you building intensive servers that would used by business’. In which case, you are looking in the wrong area as we only want to build a NAS for the home. One of the major pros to running a Hardware RAID is that it certainly performs well. The only downside I can see is if the RAID controller dies, unless you buy the exact same RAID controller…the data is lost. Plus, hardware RAID are not portable between controllers.

You could have a software RAID. What this means is you do not have the hardware taking control of how the data is stored. Some people don’t like this option because if the software ever did crash you could loose all the data. But in most cases (depending on what OS you install), there is just as much (or as little) chance of software crashing as there is the hardware dying. A software RAID becomes completely reliant on software to drive the RAID and can be slower on the whole than a hardware RAID. Since this is going to be used in a home, it won’t really matter and the performance is not going to be extremely different in a home environment where you might only have 5 users accessing the data at any one time. Obviously though, if you spent $20,000 on a data server, you would get a better performance out of something you spent $1000 on. It also gets harder and requires more specialized software depending on the configuration of your RAID. For instance, if you wanted something other than a RAID0, RAID1, RAID5 or RAID10 (as they are the most common configurations), you might have to dig deeper than just installing an OS which may not support that type of RAID.

How many computers will be accessing the data?
If you have many computers accessing the data, you will want to cater for this by not only the sort of services this NAS offers (see below), the RAID configuration and the Network itself in which they access the data.

Eg. It would be wasteful to have a your RAID built for speed if you then stick a wireless card in it and share the data. The bottleneck would be transferring the data out to the rest of the network and then you add multiple users and you have brewed yourself a shit storm. The NAS might be able to handle the amount of users but pump out the data to them in such a slow way, it seems rather pointless. If it was only you who would access the data and the hard drives are kinda old or performance is no P1, then the wireless configuration would make sense especially if the NAS was located in an area that would be too awkward to get to by wire.

What OS (Operating System) did you want to install to run the NAS?
Before you make your decision on this ask yourself, “What kind of computers are going to be accessing my data?”. Will they be Apple iMacs? Linux Boxes? Windows machines? Each different operating system has a different way of accessing the machine so whatever the choice of the OS is, make sure your NAS will support it. It can be easy to set up RAIDs in XP, various Linux versions and if you are crazy enough OSX. There is even several OS’ dedicated to being a NAS called FreeNAS, NASLite and OpenFiler. A simple Google search will display there are plenty of places to learn how to use something like FreeNAS: http://www.learnfreenas.com/.

Do you want to provide any other services?
One of the very cool options in most NAS’ is the ability to host an iTunes server. This is sometimes not possible depending on what OS and software you have installed but generally speaking there is always 3rd party software which can do this. The thing is you have many iTunes alternatives if you are not keen on installing iTunes. So you can run an iTunes server and stream music over the network WITHOUT installing slow, shitty iTunes on your computer. If your network is properly configured and everything is running squeaky, this can be a seamless task rather than having the data stored on your computer.

Another service available to you is hosting a computer image on the NAS. How is this beneficial? Well, if you use Acronis® True Image Home 2009 and your computer dies, assuming the NAS is still fully operational, you do not have to kill yourself over the amount of data you have just lost if you computer dies. You can reload how your computer was from the NAS. Nice.

One of the things FreeNAS (as above) can do is connect to your NAS to a TiVO. Very cool.

Now once the decisions have been made, and you have made (or bought) the NAS, installed the OS…what now? Well, to make things more interesting there is one further step. You could have an old computer hooked up to the TV (even a really cheap entry level machine these days does a lot for little). And that computer is hooked to the network so, it can download from the NAS with ease. Let’s take this one step further and install a program that makes Foxtel IQ tame in comparison. You have many programs like SageTV, the Good-looking yet retarded MS Media Centre, MediaPortal, GB-PVR, MythTV or TVersity. Why would you even bother? Well, it is not really all that necessary especially if you know the directory structure of your own NAS. But, it does make things easier to manager with added flexibility. Plus it makes it gives the display to all your shit stashed on your NAS a nicer edge and a more friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface).

This all may seem a little overwhelming at first (hell, if I felt it as an IT-savvy user then those less technically inclined will have more to struggle with). Although as I mentioned previously, a store bought NAS does make things rather easy as it is finding how you want your data stored and then using simple utilities to make it so. But, if you want to invest the time this could be very worth while.

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2000 Movies

http://www.news.com. … 5541-5014239,00.html
“Swinburne University research leads to DVD that will store 2000 movies”

Awesome. It will be available in 5 years time.
So does that then mean we will still be using discs in 5 years time?

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Ghost

n_ghost.jpg

Norton Ghost used to be a program you’d use to deploy an image to a machine in an effective manner.
That shit is old school. There is now a better way: Acronis® True Image Home 2009. It is customisable, leaner and has features that only Norton Ghost could dream of.

n_antivirus.jpg
I have also heard through the grapevine that Norton Anti-Virus 2009 is more lean than it used to be.
Which would be great if this was done 9 years ago. So take that smug look off your face, you elitist Norton fuck.

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The Bus Can Kiss My Tender Pink Nutsack

I work in the city.
I live in the ‘burbs. Well, it is really the outer edge of the ‘burbs into the middle of nowhere. It’s a great area to live in.

I catch the 140 bus from a bus stop (funny enough) 5 minutes in car from where I live. Going into work is a pleasant bus ride in (except when the bus didn’t show up at all last Thursday). I made a complaint but that gets filed under the couldn’t-give-a-flying-monkey-toss file along with the rest of us whingy bitches. Since I get on at the first stop where few others do, finding a seat is a stress-free start to the day. I usually fall asleep and wake up 40-50 minutes later generally 2 stops before I have to get off. Perfect. I walk to work and apart from the cigarette smoke-filled street which gives of the worst smell (it actually competes and beats on a regular basis the garbage truck that picks up God knows what and seems to go the same pace alongside me as I walk to work). It’s like a kick to face and an offense to my sense of smell and somehow these inconsiderate fucks STILL feel like they’re the ones being hard done by. Here’s the thing - smoking is privilege, not a right. We all have our vices but at least mine doesn’t smell up the general walking area between the bus stop and the 5 minute walk to work. I would be less offended if I was stuck in an elevator with a mental retard who shat his pants on the first level and I had to ride to the 50th level in an elevator that moves slower than a 200kg fat man on Biggest Loser on a 10 degree incline. The trip to work in the morning is a pleasant brief walk in the park.

However, getting home is THE MOST FUCKEST SHIT on the face of this planet. If you though waiting in line while some under-paid, barely legal working aged idiot who couldn’t possibly care less about his(or her) job serves the 20 people in front of you at the pace of an asthmatic snail is one of the most irritating experiences you will have, catch a bus ride to my place. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere but anywhere is better than here. My stop is the third from the city which means it is the exact number of stops after the bus driver really stops caring. He only stops because if he doesn’t, he cops abuse from those who want to get off. If you are not obvious about wanting to get off by perhaps throwing yourself at the bus, he will not stop. That lovely 140 bus that picks me up in the morning is the bus from HELL in the afternoon. The bus sucks the shit right out of my arsehole - anus hairs ‘n all. It rarely turns up and when it does, it is full of Asians who get off at SUNNYBANK (AKA China Town). Now, if you have no idea where Sunnybank is, it is half way between the City and the last stop (where I get off). Before you start making accusations, I have nothing against Asians. At all. I like them and I DO (have an unnatural) love for Japanese punk/ska. And let’s face it, Asian chicks are hot. But what REALLY shits me is they all pile onto a bus which is (regardless on what the bus schedule ACTUALLY says), more rare than a steak at the castle, and fill it up. That bus is not going to stop. Especially during peak.

Now, not all is lost. There is still a glimmer of hope - the 150. It goes to where I need to be BUT it takes 1.5 times as long because it goes through 12 different suburbs before ending at the last stop which is where I want to be. It is the worst bus because it stops at Garden City, which is a 5-10 minute bus ride and is 3 bus stops after my own heading home. The 150 bus is more frequent but they too are full of people who get off at Garden City. I wouldn’t mind so much except the 111 and 160 have buses going to Garden City ALL THE FUCKIN TIME. I would see 5 111’s and 160’s before I see my first 150. Are people this stupid? Really?

And when one does stop, there are already 20 other clowns just like me at my stop and it turns into the worlds greatest shit storm. This shit fight of people who are killing each other just to get on to a bus. And I am not talking about getting some sitting room. I have to stand at the very front of the bus (which if it ever got into an accident, I’d be fucked). Next to some prick who has his shitty degenerate, computer-made/made by a monkey music up too loud which I have to put up with. I stand between him and the guy next to me who is bopping his head to some music. I don’t know which music he is listening to because he is not wearing ear phones. And I know my fat head is getting in the way of the music so the freak I am standing next to who is bopping his head like a zombie without a brain who gets off at Garden City even though there was 2 buses before it that took him there quicker, can’t hear it. This is all very tolerable to take on a Friday when you just couldn’t give a flying-double-ender about how you get home. You could smoke a bowl and fly home for all I care.

Recently there changes to the bus schedule. The department of transport announced that they were adding 500 more buses. YAY! I don’t care about the Environmental side of things although 500 buses carrying idiots like me to and from work bus (which is more packed than a truck with a tray on the back in Dubai) would be better comparitively to the amount of cars which the buses would replace. Things were looking good. Things were looking up. Surely out of all the restructuring and buses we’re going to have, there will be more buses to take me home, right? There was one factor that I did not take into consideration when thinking about this. The department of transport is run by the Government. It is not very often that they get something right. AND THIS WAS NO FUCKIN DIFFERENT. Yeah, they made some changes.

Now before I continue with the changes, I work on different shifts; I do shift work. 7:30AM, 8:30AM and 9:30AM. I finish at 4, 5 and 6 respectively. How the changes have effected me is I used to have one bus on the 7:30 shift that I could catch that would get me to work. It left my bus stop at 6:05AM. The only sort of people who should be up at that hour are people still drunk from the party the night before trying to get home. It would arrive at my bus stop in the city at 6:50. Giving me roughly 40 minutes to walk 500m and get myself ready for work. In 40 minutes, I could have walked onto the bus naked with a toothbrush in one hand and my clothes over one shoulder, slept on the bus and still be ready before 7:30. The next bus after this gets me to my bus stop in the city AFTER 7:30 so that is more fuckin useless than tits on a fat man. But now there is two buses. And the second bus is not a shit storm. I choose my own seat…whatever. It leaves 5 minutes later which is still too early but ok, awesome.
They have removed the 7:05AM bus which took me to work on time and now I have to catch a bus from Grand Plaza. This is another few minutes down the road. They have also added another bus here as well (5 minutes after) which is not too bad but I still have to turn up earlier than the bus which precedes it (by 5 minutes) if I want to be at the front of the line and have my choice of the Window seat so I can get in some sleep on the bus ride in. For everyone this Window seat is not a big deal for regular folk but that sleep on the bus is absolutely vital. If I miss out on that sleep, I am cranky as fuck for the whole day. Everyone cops it which is not fair for my Sonja and everyone else I work with.
For my 9:30 shift, again, I have two options: 7:50AM bus which is bullshit early. I get to work too early and I have no interest in that. ANYTHING that allows me to sleep in/sleep more is…beneficial. I love my sleep more than…well, not as much as sex but not far behind it. The next bus is the last bus from my morning stop which is 8:25AM. Last week it didn’t show. Went straight to Grand Plaza and picked everyone up from there and the 3 of us who were waiting for the bus were going to be late. I put my complaint in but again, they put in the couldn’t-give-a-flaming-rhino-orgy-shit about it. I wouldn’t have to complain if they got it right. If I didn’t do my job 100%, I would know about it because I wouldn’t HAVE a job.

How have these changes for going home?…FUCKIN NONE. They haven’t changed at all. Still the same buses. They say it is every 15 minutes but it more like every 30 minutes (if ya lucky) for the 140, but I’ve never seen it. Same for the 150, but the whole system can suck on my pink tender nutsack.

What solution can I bring to the table? MORE FUCKING BUSES. It’s not rocket science.
Fucked if I know where those 500 buses went but I have not seen any noticeable benefit.

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Candiru / Piss Fish

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candiru
candiru.png

Ah, what a time in technology we live in. The internet is not just an excessive deposit of porn but also information. I stumbled across this and thought to myself, “Surely there has to be something funny about a fish like this”. Then I find out that shows like The Venture Bros., Metalocalypse and House have beaten me to it. Firstly, it is not a fish. It’s a parasite. Secondly, there has only been exaggerated documented cases of it getting into someone’s pee pee [ref] (although women may be more susceptible).

But, can you imagine what it WOULD be like if this thing got into your peepers? You’d be wildly grabbing your crotch screaming, “AHHH! ME FUCKIN DICK!! ARRGGHHH!! GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!!!!” Ah, how we’d laugh.

A living creature like this is further proof that if God really did exist, he either wants us in pain or has a good sense of humor.

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Drobo Cops 2 Inches

Over the last couple of days I have been nerding it up worse than Chicken and his Insane Nerd Posse ™ at a Deep Space Nine and Battlestar Galactica convention.

http://www.drobo.com
drobo.jpg
I saw this device and initially, it excited me. Then I saw the price tag.
And then I read some reviews. Most of them were saying, “Wait for version 2.0”. Only because the initial version was dodgier than crossing over the Equator in the Navy. It was only USB and if you want the network component to share over the network and have it acting like a NAS (Network Attached Storage - something I am spending a lot of time on at the moment which is why you will see more entries like this one) you have to outlay ANOTHER $480. The first version was flawed as it was unstable (??), startup lag and a few minor software/hardware bugs [ref] . This thing didn’t even have firewire. It’s not really all that essential since any REAL machine has at least one USB port which isn’t being used by a keyboard.

Then they fixed those problems. The drobo by itself without any drives is $500. And then you add network capability and you’re just under a $1000 without any drives added to it. Then they released this monster:
http://www.drobo.com … s/drobopro/index.php

Which is the same thing with more hard drive bays and network functionality added in. I’d be impressed if it was the price the original drobo was…which it’s not. It’s ~$2100 before adding any drives. And $4000 USD if you want 16TBs added from Data Robotics, Inc which is great if you’re made out of money and can throw money around like that. But even if you did, you could 2 x 10TB NAS boxes with redundancy out the arsehole for the same price.

This drobo uses a technology called BeyondRAID(tm). Fucked if I can figure out what it really is. But what it looks like from numerous websites I have visited [ref] [ref2] [ref3], is a variation on RAID5 with more AI. RAID 5 is a type of RAID [ref] where you can have any number of hard drives (and the more drives in the array, the lower the fault tolerance [ref] and the higher the fault probability. RAID 5 takes however many drives they use and takes one for redundancy. BeyondRAID looks like it takes a disk and chops it up. And it does this for every disk (just like RAID5). So on a drive with 1TB you would have 550-600gb of actual space and the rest dedicated to redundancy. But somehow it has the intelligence for files stored so that at any given point when a drive dies, no big loss and the drive can be swapped in real time so you do not have turn the device off or rebuild the RAID set (which can be a painful scenario). For the price you pay for one of these devices with the hard drive in it, you can have a well-configured 6TB NAS in RAID10 [ref].

Is it worth it? Only if you buy into the hype.

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Killer NIC: Is It Really that Killer?

http://www.killernic … oducts/killerm1.aspx
I was told about this item. It sounds very promising. Not just on a gaming level but perhaps a general computing level as well. It shows that if we want more out of a specific item within our machine there is option out there.
killer_nic.png

BUT, if you spend even just 5 minutes on each of the following URL’s:

http://www.anandtech … aspx?i=2865&p=1
http://www.tomshardw … ic-network,2035.html
http://www.legitrevi … s.com/article/478/1/
http://au.gear.ign.c … es/729/729557p1.html

(A simple Google search) reveals that depending on what sort of test you do, will either stay true to what it promises or be one big failure. The thing is with an item like this, I would imagine that it would have some kind of placebo effect in the sense that you have bought into the marketing and the practicality of this could possibly achieve. If you bought this thinking that it could lower your ping times, you have to think about this before buying the product:
Yes, it bypasses the Windows stack and uses shares the load with its own onboard processor. BUT wouldn’t machines these days (especially for hardcore gamers who probably already have highly powered machines) be able to have enough processor power that it wouldn’t matter whether it uses the Windows stack or not? Anyway, according to newegg [ref] it seems people are very black and white about this product. They love it or hate it. Those that hate it find it adds nothing to their gaming experience (except a very slight performance which really doesn’t justify the price tag).

If you read the links above, you find that in depth reviews say that if you want to play games and perhaps copy across large files at the same time, this thing has that capability. I have no idea why you would want to do that and it would seem like a kind of an unwanted niche but it was said that even on a slower machine, the difference was so marginal that it made it pointless to own one.

“Well, wait” I hear you say…”What features DOES it offer?”
Game First / Packet Prioritization
It puts all game network traffic priority one above all else. And so it should if it is a NIC designed for GAMING, you retards.
PingThrottle / Ping Control
If you’re retarded and want to ADD latency to your current gaming session, you can.
UltimatePing / Lower Ping
This does not lower latency. Apparently it handles it better. It should with its massive price tag. Here is one thing it DOESN’T do and should: blow me.

This was dubbed one of the most controversial devices in the computer market. Nothing controversial about it.
It’s total shit.

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Disturbing

http://disturbingauc … com/view.php?item=31
Thanks, Boggs to for this link.
…really, Thanks. :\

Strange shit. I thought I would have more to say about this link but I think the picture says more than the 1000 words I could conjure up.

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