Monday, November 26, 2007

Free Range Heritage Turkey

We got our Thanksgiving turkey from the Plaid Piper Farm in Sussex County, NJ. It was a huge hit! It was large (29lbs) as these hybrid heritage breeds tend to be. The flavor was amazing, particularly the breast meat: no pastey bland, dry breast meat here. Recommended. Will do it again every year.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Keeping your photos and videos safe... in other words, data backup

I'm embarking on a long search for home data storage. I thnk I'm headed in the direction of a NAS (Networked Attached Storage), or a hard drive that's connected to your home network, not an individual computer. This is much like the network drive you probably have at work.

But what are the common options?

1. Single Computer based:
A) Simple/complex external hard disk backed up manually. (A single USB/eSATA drive or a Drobo)
B) Extra HDD in a computer, backed up manually, automatically or in a RAID configuration
2. Network Based
A) Single Drive (?)
B) Multiple Drive/RAID (Theus)
3. Offsite network storage.

I think a NAS will be preferred choice of the future. It can be used for shared storage and backup, and is independent of any one computer.

Costco has a WD MyBook World Edition II which looks very cool. Its a 2TB NAS that can be RAID 1 enabled for full data redundency. It also has a feature whereby you can access the drive from the internet. I hope it is secure! $600 bucks, but it does it all.

Interesting links: "Ten Storage Strategies for the Home"
HP's new MediaSmart Home server
Interesting home NAS with bells and whistles

I'll be adding to this over time.>>

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Computer pricewatch for those looking at buying...

Late November 2007

The HP Pavillion 9000 series looks like a winner for the performance minded. Check out the Pavillion Elite M9077c-b an in-store Costco special, for $1499, I believe.

Its got
  • a 24" HP monitor (a significant upgrade from 22"monitor both in size and resolution - 1,920 x 1,080 is full HD)
  • an Intel Quad-core QX660 processor for greatly improved multitasking (care for editing videos while doing anything else?
  • a 400GB HDD (with a free internal and external drive bay), and a free PCIe 16 expansion slot
  • This HP has both the HP Personal Media Drive slot and Pocket Media Drive slots, which allow HP's propriatary cartridge-like drives to be installed. The 'Personal' drives are based on 5.25" HDD's and are an ok value.
  • the GE Force 8500GT graphics card is pretty good for multimedia uses, but not for real hard-core gamers, though it supports DirectX 10. It also has a regular NTSC and hidef ATSC video tuner for those who want to watch or capture TV (not sure about the specs here).
  • Its got lots of card reader slots and connectors including Firewire for that older video camera.
  • A wireless keyboard and mouse rounds out the great feature set.

The only things missing are
  • an external eSata connector (but you don't really need it with the internal bays, or you could add a connector to the free expansion slot), and
  • an enhanced audio card (if you don't need the eSATA or feel like ripping out the modem, you can use the slot for this),
  • and built-in RAID support. Then again, a RAID NAS like the WD MyBook World Edition II might be the better choice for data backup and shared storage.
I've been watching the HP machines evolve recently and this one hits nearly all the features. Performance benchmarks I do not have, however. You may want to check them out before buying, but overall, judging by the components and featureset, this is a killer machine, very well rounded and even upgradeable.