With all the natural disasters in the news today, I thought about how so many people are becoming more self-reliant and how that's such a great thing. But then I thought about how many people must go through their day without even giving thought to what would happen if they found themselves in the middle of such disasters. Heck even the government stepped up it's attempts to educate Americans on being prepared when disaster strikes.
Being prepared is being American in my opinion and I have always striven to ensure my family was prepared for the unknown that mother nature (or fellow man) could throw at us. While I'm certain we are nowhere near as prepared as others, I do try everyday to do something to help us become more prepared.
If anything good can come from the disaster hurricane Katrina bestowed upon Louisiana, it's the knowledge that you can't count on the government to take care of you and your family in a crisis situation and you can always count on mother nature putting a whooping on ya when you least expect it. Since Katrina, I must say I stepped up my knowledge on being prepared as well as actually investing in what it takes to be prepared.
One way I've invested, is with Shelf Reliance's Thrive Q program. It's a program that lets you build (with the help of their online calculator) a food storage program for your family and then either you can purchase it all right away or set a budget and get it shipped monthly. I opted for the monthly shipments and I'm quite happy with the program. I get a shipment of food (#10 cans) each month delivered to my door, that is as close to my set budget as possible without going over. The food has an incredible shelf life (most foods are ~25 years unopened) but it's really meant to be rotated through your normal pantry items. We open and use cans from time to time, replacing them on the list as we consume them. Of all the options for food preparedness, I honestly think these guys have the best solution. The food is excellent and it's reasonably priced.
If you don't have a food preparedness plan yet, you should really check them out, it's one less thing to worry about when mother nature finally gets fed up with your polluting ass. If you don't have any idea how to even start getting prepared, you should start here.
I've always been a big fan of hot foods and hot chilies have always been a staple in our garden. This past year, however, I was educated by the inter-webs that I had always assumed incorrectly that Habanero chilies were the hottest on the planet. In fact, the Bhut Jolokia is by leaps and bounds the king of heat. The Habanero chili is about 300k scoville while the Bhut Jolokia is nearly 1 million scoville. Yeah, while I haven't tried one yet, I'm expecting the worst!
I grew these plants from little seedlings and I'm super excited that I've started seeing the first round of chilies already! Apparently I'm either talented as a gardener or super lucky, these guys don't typically do well in my zone and are supposed to take forever to produce the first chilies.
I'm actually gonna try to whip up some homemade sauce with these guys as they are suppose to have a mango-like flavor under all that heat which should make for some great sauce.
Update: Well, heck fire. While I was researching a bit on the Internet for information regarding the Bhut Jolokia, I found out that there is already a new king...guess I"ll have to hunt the world over to find some Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chilies for next year..
Today was another good day! I got an email from FotoMoto letting me know that one of the photographs I had taken of the family cat was chosen to be featured on their homepage! Very cool indeed, I've always loved photography and it's nice to get any level of recognition for it! If you haven't heard of FotoMoto, check it out, it's a great way for folks to sell photographs, I had signed up so that when I get some great shots of the new baby, our family can very easily order prints if they want. FotoMoto is a great company and I'm honored to be featured for the day!
Well, I've decided to update my blog and migrate away from my existing blog software, b2evolution to WordPress. I just think WordPress is easier to use and has a much larger user base which means more frequent updates and better plug-ins, themes, etc. I've imported all my old post but will have to go through them and clean up the issues from the import so the site will be wonky for a few days...
So over the last couple of days I'm been reading about these engines. Fascinating and yet so simplistic my mind goes crazy with cool things I could use it for. Well, not necessarily the most useful things, but cool none the less. One of the videos I watched actually showed a guy who had made one of these engines with soda cans and it ran really well! I'm thinking maybe I can put one of my Arduinos to use with this engine and some sensors....hmmm, I think I've got my next project! More to come...
Ok, so I started sourcing the parts for my new build and realized I had a few more decisions to make before I pulled the trigger on this build. I had already roughly calculated how much space I wanted/needed. I needed to decide on some of the more technical aspects of the build, like what type of boot drive/system was I going to use, how big should it be? Do I need a gigabit network adapter and if so what kind should I get, will it support jumbo frames and do I need to invest in a server class NIC for ultimate reliability? Luckily for me some of these decisions were made for me when I opted to buy the somewhat gutted Dell XPS 400 from my co-worker. It already came with a gigabit network card onboard, 1GB RAM and SATA ports. It also only had room for (4) internal hard-drives.
I decided I'd just hit up my favorite online retailer and see if I could source all the parts I needed new from them and get what I couldn't there, on eBay. Here's what I ended up with as the foundation of my FreeNAS build:
- Dell XPS 400 Tower with built-in Gigabit NIC, 1GB RAM, 3.2GHz P4 Processor. $50 US.
- Cheap-o PCI-X video card I had laying around (the mobo didn't support AGP). FREE
- Adaptec 2610SA SATA RAID card from eBay, I paid $41 US for it.
- Lexar 2GB 80X CF card from eBay, got this gem for $15 US.
- (4) Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB hard drives from Newegg.com (59.99/each) $223.96 US for all drives.
- SYBA SD-ADA40001 SATA II To Compact Flash Adapter from Newegg.com. $15 US.
So my total for this build was a cool $344.96 US. Given the amount of space I'm getting and the quality of the hardware, I don't think I could have found anything prebuilt/off the shelf that would come close to this build. Not to mention the satisfaction of sourcing all the parts and building it myself.
In my next post, I'll go over the actual build and configuration of the FreeNAS software as well as my first impressions of the finalized solution.