Lifelong Learning Knowledge should be uncompromisingly sought after and freely given away.


1938 RCA 96T Radio

I finally received my vintage radio today. I had purchased it as a "non-working" radio and really only wanted the wood case for one of my other projects which I will talk about later when I get it completed. Anyhow, I couldn't resist looking through all the amazing components and it wasn't long before I started wondering how such a fantastically built radio could be broken... The tubes looked good and it wasn't until I pulled them out to clean them up that I noticed a loose wire which was easily fixed. Well, after an hour and half, I've got the old radio working! I never planned on refurbishing it, now I am thinking twice. It's an all-American, beautiful piece of history and I almost feel drawn to bringing her back to her full potential....more to come....


Paracord Dog Collars

Man's best friend is a saying that couldn't be any truer than it is in my house! Recently, Rox, the monarch of our pack had bladder surgery to remove some stones. Poor guy has had a rough time recovering so I thought I'd try to cheer him up with a new paracord dog collar. These collars, also known as Solomon's bars have been on my learning radar for some time now and I could learn how to make these while cheering up my boy Rox, let's do it!

I actually made two and should finish up the last tomorrow. Can't leave out the other dogs after all..I've attached a few pictures at the bottom of this post of the finished product, solid blue and a two-tone, which I really liked!

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A new look for my blog…

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...


The Stirling Engine

Stirling EngineSo 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...


Oh how I love CISCO…


With the recent addtion of my FreeNAS box and my obsession with being able to listen to my music at work or anywhere for that matter, I decided to purchase a CSCO PIX 501 for my home network. The idea is that it would help dust off my IOS CLI skillz and allow me to VPN into my home network from anywere with an acceptable level of security. I got my PIX off eBay and decided to drop the bucks to get a 50 user license version. Compared to what these sold for new, they are a steal now! I quickly got the unit up and running and was able to establish VPN connectivity from work. Unfortunatley the iPhone IPSEC won't work with my PIX, stupid freaking Apple and CISCO must be in coherts to get everyone on the newest and best hardware...bummer.

Anyhow, as I write this post, I have FireClient up and am streaming music from my FreeNAS box at home! WOOT!


My FreeNAS Build (Part 2 of 3)

FreeNAS LogoOk, 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:

  1. Dell XPS 400 Tower with built-in Gigabit NIC, 1GB RAM, 3.2GHz P4 Processor. $50 US.
  2. Cheap-o PCI-X video card I had laying around (the mobo didn't support AGP). FREE
  3. Adaptec 2610SA SATA RAID card from eBay, I paid $41 US for it.
  4. Lexar 2GB 80X CF card from eBay, got this gem for $15 US.
  5. (4) Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB hard drives from (59.99/each) $223.96 US for all drives.
  6. SYBA SD-ADA40001 SATA II To Compact Flash Adapter from $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.

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