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My home network...

A bit of a mess: the network plus an old Toshiba and iBook G3
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A bit of a mess: the network plus an old Toshiba and iBook G3


Contents

System Log

On the 6th of July 2006, on the eve of going on a vacation, the harddisk (Maxtor 6L250S0 DiamondMax 10, 7200rpm, 250GB, Serial-ATA) experienced a head crash and died! Unfortunatelly, my last external backup was a couple of weeks old:-( But luckily, I found most of my current backup data on the harddisk's 2nd partition.

On the 31st of July 2006, the server was resurrected with a Samsung harddisk (SP2504C, P120, 7200rpm, 8MB, 250GB, SATA-II; apparently, it produces less heat than the Maxtor disk). A little later, I reconstructed all the missing data. I'm using a LaCie Mobile Drive (USB 2.0, 80GB) continuously connected to the server for daily backups now...

So back up your data on a regular basis or else risk loosing it or paying EUR 2'000.- for a recovery (if possible)!

23rd of May 2007 the server was off line the whole day because of the router. I had to replace the power adapter recently and it seemed fine. However, it appears to be acting strange, reassigning IP number although the lease hasn't expired and, as today, refusing network connections. Unfortunately, there is no newer configuration to flash the firmware with...

Hardware

Servers

Old

Shuttle XPC
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Shuttle XPC

From April 2004 until January 2006

A small form factor desktop computer:

  • Shuttle FN41 (xPC SN41G2), AMD Athlon XP 2800, 120 GB SP1203N Samsung, 512 MB DDR-DIMM, CDRW/DVD

Screen:

  • Samsung SyncMaster173P, 17" TFT LCD

Os:

Current

Since January 2006

A small form factor desktop computer:

  • Shuttle SD11G5, Intel Pentium M 1.5 GHz, Corsair 2 x 1GB DDR2 RAM, Maxtor 250 GB, Lite-On DVD-RW(+-)/CDRW

Screen:

  • Samtron 94v, 19" TFT LCD

Os:

Misc:

  • Since 2006-09-27: Network hard disk (Western Digital Netcenter WDXE2500JBx, 250GB NAS)
Shuttle XPC SD11G5
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Shuttle XPC SD11G5
"Out of the box..."
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"Out of the box..."

This Shuttle XPC is only available as a barebone system, i.e., you need to add CPU, memory, HD and optical drive.

The great thing with this model is that it uses a Pentium Mobile CPU originally designed for laptops. This means that you have equal performance at lower clock speeds in comparison with normal desktop processors, yielding lower energy consumption and lower heat output. This in combination with Shuttle's I.C.E. heat-pipe cooling and smart fan result in a ultra silent desktop computer (24dB)! Amazing nobody thought of this years ago...

The network hard disk is very cool. It connected to the router (Ethernet) and gets assigned an IP number. You can access it through a browser and it has two USB slots, to which you can add further hard disks or a printer.

Laptops

Image:Two.jpg

Old

iBook

iBook PowerPC G4 1.33 GHz, 14" TFT LCD XGA, 60 GB HD, 512 MB DDR SDRAM, Combo drive (CD-RW/DVD-ROM), ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 (32 MB DDR SDRAM), AirPort Extreme (54 Mbps Wireless LAN 802.11g), Mac OS X Version 10.3 "Panther" (open source Linux based on BSD-Linux called Darwin plus Apple's Aqua GUI)

Asus

Asus M6830NEUP (M6N Series) Notebook, Intel Pentium Mobile Centrino 1.6GHz, 15.1" TFT XGA/SXGA LCD, 512 MB DDR, 80 GB HD, ATI Mobility Radeon 9700, CD-RW, DVD+/-RW, 54 Mbps Wireless LAN 802.11g, SD Cardreader, Windows XP dualboot Xandros 3.0.

More mess: configuring the Shuttle SD11G5
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More mess: configuring the Shuttle SD11G5

Current

  • (10.10.07) MacBook Pro, 15", 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB SDRAM, 160 GB S-ATA, Airport
  • (13.10.08) ThinkPad W500 15.4", 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB DDR, 320 GB, WiFi, ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 512MB

Accessories

  • Router:
    • dead: U.S.Robotics Wireless Turbo Access Point & Router (USR 8054)
    • current: Netgear Wireless Router WGA614
  • Broad band internet connection: 10'000 Kbit/s downstream, 1'000 Kbit/s upstream @ CHF 65.- a month
  • APC BK350EI CS 350, Back-UPS (should last ca. 30 minutes during a power loss)
  • Brother HL-5130 Laser Printer
  • CanonScan 1240U

Problems

Note that skype.com would alway close the connection after a couple of seconds for computers attached via wireless LAN the the router. Using a network cabel fixed the problem. Even better, updating the router's firmware to version 1.67b44, i.e., using the file

USR8054_v167b44.zip

taken from usr.com.

Software

Using Debian GNU/Linux. Some notes on the codnames of the stable distributions (named after toy story characters):

  • Old: Woody
  • Current: Sarge
  • Next: Etch

Sid is always the unstable distribution that is being developed.

Xandros Snapshot
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Xandros Snapshot

Xandros

Xandros Desktop OS Version 3.0 Deluxe Edition (Sarge, Kernel 2.6.9), see xandros.com. This is a commercial product costing US$89.95. There is also the Standard Edition priced at US$49.95.

Although Xandros is a great Debian distribution with customized features aimed at making the transition from Windows simple and attractive, there are two main drawbacks:

  • It has a price tag
  • They are slow to fix things and integrate new features
  • For every upgrade you have to reinstall the whole distribution, i.e., loosing all customized files apart from the home directories. This stands in contrast to Debian's forte of never having to reboot your system, not even after a system upgrade.

kubuntu

kubuntu Snapshot
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kubuntu Snapshot

If you want a free Debian distribution ubuntu or kubuntu is great. While ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop environment, kubuntu employs KDE.

The main features are:

  • Guaranteed free open source software
  • New release made every six months

Specialties:

  • Can't log in as root; user must use sudo (never use sudo to start graphical applications; use kdesu instead)

More here: wiki.ubuntu.com.

Releases:

  • Old: Breezy Badger 5.10, featuring KDE 3.4.3, Sarge (Kernel 2.6.12)
  • Old: Dapper Drake 6.06, featuring KDE 3.5, Sarge (Kernel 2.6.15); documentation on kubuntu.org
  • Old: Edgy Eft 6.10, featuring KDE 3.5.5, Sarge (Kernel 2.6.17); kubuntu.org; problems upgrading: Installing Debian GNU
  • Old: Feisty Fawn 7.04, featuring KDE 3.5.6, Sarge (Kernel 2.6.20); kubuntu.org; problems upgrading: Installing Debian GNU
  • Current: Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, featuring KDE 3.5.8, Sarge (Kernel 2.6.22), CompizFusion windows manager; kubuntu.org

History

I grew up with a