Thursday, September 28, 2006

Too Cute

An action shot of the sheepy blanket with it's brand new owner. This is just too sweet...I think I've got a toothache!

Here endeth the knitting content for this post. Techno phobes, avert your eyes.

Now on to something less cuddly, but to my geeky eyes, still quite adorable: I got me one of these:
No, it isn't a toaster. It's a Netgear Storage Central (SC101). Once upon a time when I was working on getting tech certifications, I built a little server to practice putting hardware together and installing software and other fun stuff like that. After the exams were all taken, I used the box as an all purpose file/print/DHCP server. Sadly, my mighty little server didn't make it through our recent electrical crisis. I'm not sure whether it's just the OS partition that's bad or the whole drive or if it's something else. A day's worth of troubleshooting yielded lots of different (and conflicting!) error messages, and fickle creature that I am, I gave up on it pretty easily. I turned on the DHCP service in my router and got this little e-toaster thing for data sharing:
( front, back and inside views) The front has a weird little twist latch attaching the bezel to the case. There's even a little drawing that says to use a coin to untwist it. The back has ports for ethernet port (10/100) and power, plus a reset slot for paperclipping. On the inside, there's (just barely enough) room for 2 IDE drives. There's no fan, just passive cooling via two big heatsinks:
1. Simplicity.
2. Small footprint.
3. Low noise. You hear the drives spinning but that's about it.
4. Price. It's about $90-120, without a drive, though there are deals with bundled drives.
5. Extensive features. I haven't tried any of these, but apparently the SC101 can mirror disks, and also span volumes across disks, and even span across multiple SC101s.

1. Non-standard disk format. If this device dies, I can't just pop the disk into my desktop to retrieve data.
2. Proprietary software required. You need to install Netgear's software to get to your data. You can't just browse through network in Windows Explorer.
3. Heat. Passive cooling is silent but less effective at heat dissipation. I'm worried this might be a problem in the summer.
4. Fewer security options. From what I can tell, it's either on or off. Having a full-fledged server offered more granular security options.
Conclusions: It's good for what I'm using it for: file serving. For data backup, I'm less convinced. The non-standard format really bothers me. What if it breaks? How do I get my stuff off of there? I'm sticking to optical media for now.

Now, if I can only find a way to network an unnetworkable printer, everything will be back to normal.

No comments: