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24Mar/100

My FreeNAS Build (Part 1 of 3)

FreeNAS LogoI've decided it was time to get back to the roots of my geek and setup my own FreeNAS system for the house. I've been using Mozy at home and it backs up my primary PC just fine but it's seriously lacking in features that could make my life easier, not to mention it's $$ each month I could be saving! Some of the shortcommings of my current solution (Mozy) is it doesn't back up any of my laptops, it doesn't download torrents in the background and it doesn't sync my iTunes library. These and more features are built in with FreeNAS.

I picked up a nice XPS 400 case/MB/CPU/RAM from a co-worker and started the search for all the other goodies I would need to build my new NAS. After much reading, I decided I'd go the route of installing the FreeNAS software on a compact flash drive hooked up via SATA. It's super fast, more reliable than CD and seemed like one of the more common methods of installation.

As for the data storage, I opted for an Adaptec 2610SA SATA RAID Controller with (4) Western Digital 500GB SATA drives. I'll be running these in a RAID 5 configuration which should yield just over 1TB of disk space. 1TB of disk space should be plenty for my needs for the next few years, I would suggest you take a serious look at your data storage needs before building your own, plan for the future as upgrading is possible but why bother, plan ahead!

To date, I haven't gotten all the parts in yet, once I do I'll post my build with pictures of the build process for everyone.

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23Mar/100

I “finally” joined the internet social “borg”.

FaceBook ImageYikes, I never thought I'd find a reason to create an account on Facebook but my co-workers finally harrased me enough and I gave in. I suppose it's not all bad, within 5 minutes of signing up I had found some childhood friends that I haven't seen or spoken to in forever. It was a nice 20 minutute detour down memory lane...I can't promise I'll ever be an "active" facebook user, but feel free to send me a friend request if you are so inclined, it's jay at jaycollett dot com.

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15Mar/100

My New Job

New JobSo my new job is great! After a few busy weeks trying to figure out the lay of the land, I can say that I made the right choice to move. While I haven't had much time to write, I've been amazed at how much less stress I have now days. Sure, I miss the folks I worked with (well, some of them anyhow) but as for starting my family, I think I've found a nice new home. I've even had enough spare engergy after work now to start a few projects that have long been on the "to-do" list....

3Feb/100

A change of scenery…

Fork in the roadIt's been some time since my last blog posting. It's been a crazy time lately in my personal and work life. After nearly 10 years working for the same company I put in my notice of resignation yesterday. I decided it was time to move out of corporate America and into a small private company. While no job is perfect I honestly feel this is a better fit for myself and my family. I'm excited about the new road ahead and can't wait to resharpen my technical skills full-time. While excited, I'm a bit nervous...to be expected, I suppose.

21Dec/090

My new hot air rework station (Aoyue 968)

Aoyue 968

So I decided to get myself a birthday present this year for my electronics hobby. So many hobbies to fund and so little funds. Anyhow, I picked up an Aoyue 968 unit from SRA. The unit is within my budget and has gotten really great reviews. I finally decided on this unit, however, after getting the Aoyue 2901 lead-free soldering unit from Sparkfun.com. They rave on the Aoyue, and my soldering iron was great, so I figured I'd gamble on this unit. I waiting on a shipment of proto boards from BatchPCB.com to really test it out, then I'll write up a more formal review.

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16Dec/090

My new E-flite mCX Helicopter

E-flite mCX HelicopterSo I got my early birthday gift from my parents! You guessed it, they got me a new E-flite mCX helicopter! My father and I have always been big fans of anything R/C and these new breed of micro helicopters are no exception. We have been flying the Blade CX and CP versions and after he purchased one of these he knew I would love one too! These should not be confused with the cheap-o toys you see at China-Mart or the like, these are highly sophisticated R/C helicopters, including gyros and proportional linear servo control.
I can't say how cool these things are, they are tiny, weigh 1oz and are really sturdy. I've banged my up quite a bit and it still hovers effortlessly. Each battery charges in about 20 minutes and flies for about 6 minutes, after I picked up a few more of the 110mAH batteries and I can fly for as long as my attention span. These are fantastic for the beginner or pro alike!
And as you can imagine, I've already designed a few PCB boards to enhance the charger and allow me to charge 8 batteries at once. I'll be replacing the existing red LED with a low current 0603 blue 5MA LED. Should help with battery life and cooler look if you ask me!

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