I’ve moved…….

not that it should be all that obvious 🙂

I’ve moved the blog to Dreamhost and so far so good….. it’s nice – a 1 click install of WordPress and a quick Import / Export of the old posts, change the header picture and here we are…..

So far I’m very happy, it’s all good and I get Google Apps / Mail for domains into the bargain…..

The hosting costs are pretty much identical to Crystaltech give or take $1 per month (and I get a lot more space and bandwidth for my cash) – but it’s on a Linux host rather than Windows – so all sorts of things should work better including posting from my phone 🙂 a Nokia N95 8Gb which is very nice so far….

Anyway…. off for a bit more testing of phone posts etc and some plugins to install……

UPDATE – Some images seem to be a bit broken… I’m working on it 🙂

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I know…..

It’s been too long – but I’ve been busy!

Work is hectic, I’ve booked a round the world trip (more info to come soon on that…), and there’s just generally been a lot going on …..

I’ve been playing with U3 and the Portable Apps suite in the last couple of weeks – and Portable Apps has won the battle – my Sandisk Cruzer Micro 8Gb U3 drive has been formatted and Portable Apps installed – it’s mostly the same applications – but it’s less “intrusive” 🙂

My Home Server is a little more stable now – but I guess I’m going to have to save up and buy a “proper” one at some point (I like these), the mix and match approach doesn’t really seem to be conducive to a stable server and a happy backup database…. thankfully I’ve not had to try and restore any data recently!

Another bonus is that the “XBox360 as a Media Centre Extender” concept that I introduced to the house 6 months ago is finally gaining some traction, Becs is getting the hang of streaming DVD’s (converted to HD-WMV and stored on the Server) and I’m giving serious thought to getting an “Arcade” for the other TV in the Kitchen / Diner to allow us to stream to there as well…more for music admittedly, but with HDMI it’s as capable as my Elite for video 🙂 I’m just waiting for a black version to appear now…..

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How to make a Home Server user VERY sad…

a.k.a How to lose a customer and evangelist with one move.

Now I’ve been very keen on Windows Home Server – it’s been the thing that’s made me “happy” most in computing terms – I got my RTM copy some time ago, and I’ve been more than happy up until about 3 minutes ago – I would have recommended it to anyone, and did to several friends. Now, however, I’m NOT HAPPY AT ALL.

We’ll start at the beginning, I have a couple of PC’s / laptops floating around the house, and they’re all running Vista. So far so good…. I got WHS and set it up to backup everything each night and had some other stuff synced to the shared folders using Foldershare all in all I was very happy. I had some issues with the 500Gb Disks I was using in external USB caddies for additional storage and had set them back for replacement a couple of times due to mechanical failures (read: load clunking noise and no data) but I thought I was past that. (I’ll do a rant about the disks another day when I’m not quite so upset)

I was getting an occasional error with one disk “disappearing” but a reboot of the caddy and the server seemed to resolve it each time. I wasn’t too concerned…..

Then the hard disk in my Primary PC started playing up – the odd funny noise, and the infrequent hang became more frequent…. so I ordered a replacement disk and loaded up my restore CD – all fine so far, I booted and it found everything and so I kicked off my restore. It failed part way through as the disappearing disk went walkies….. no problems – I had sufficient spare disk space to remove the disk from the storage pool and then do the restore.

Now at this point I think it’s prudent to mention that this PC was the one with the PST files for both my Outlook and my Wife’s primary mail account…. (approximately 4.5 years of mail for her and more like 6-7 for me) everything else was backed up elsewhere… just not these files as WHS had them covered….. can you see where this is heading yet?

SO I start the removal process and I’m informed that all I will lose is the duplication of a couple of folders – all my Data and Backups will be safe. Lovely, so get on with removing the disk please…..

24 hours later when the removal process finishes, I unplug the offending disk and reboot the server to ensure that all is as it should be. When I reboot, I check the server storage screen in the WHS console and this is what I saw:

Hopefully you can see that there’s a lack of BACKUPS in the pie chart….

I did some digging through the event logs and found this really helpful message:

Great….. so my data is gone and my wife is likely to send my balls the same way when she finds out…. Thanks for fuck-all Microsoft!

If there’s anyone from the WHS team that is reading this and has any ideas – I’m open to suggestions – please leave a comment….. or better still get in touch – slimboyfat (at) gmail (dot) com I’d love to hear from you! In the meantime, I’m going to leave my server switched off to ensure that nothing “bad” happens to the data still on there, and look at other backup solutions…..

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Home Server coming…. home?

Having been in the beta since it first went public, and absolutely loved the product, to say I was very excited when the announcement was made that Windows Home Server (WHS) had RTM’d would be something of an understatement!! 

Now that it’s available in the UK for a reasonable price…. I’ve ordered my copy 🙂

Novatech are selling it for £86.95 inc. VAT – considerably less that some other resellers in the UK, which is nice…… 🙂

In addition to this, I’ve ordered up some big (500Gb) SATA disks and USB caddies for them. The disks are lovely and cheap from SVP and they are supplying the caddies as well – USB 2.0 ones that support SATA / IDE / eSATA so I’m future proofed for a while at least….The plan is to rebuild the server “properly” – this will involve wiping all the data and starting again – so there’s some BIG backups to run once it’s complete…. the only downside at the moment is that I only have USB 1.1 on my old server chassis 🙁  so I’m looking for a supported PCI card with USB2.0 ports now.

I suspect it’ll be a week or so before I have all the bits and I’m ready to start – but I’ll post my first impressions of the finished product once I have it built. I’ll also be posting some stuff on the fun and games I’ve had trying to get a reliable wireless connection for my XBox 360 so I can use it as a Media Centre Extender – 802.11a might be more “reliable” but it’s not easy to find hardware (at least not here in the UK) – that’s all I’ll say for now…..

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Finally…..

I’ve got myself an XBox360! I waited for the Elite version to come out here before I bit the bullet… so I now have 1080i gaming on the 42″ flat screen in the lounge 🙂 🙂 🙂

They were released the day before my birthday in the UK – and I figured that turning 30 was a good enough excuse for going for it…. I have to say, I’m VERY impressed all in all, it’s a well joined up process, and moving my gamertag over from the old XBox to the 360 was a doddle (once I remembered all my login details heheh)

One fun thing I’ve found that ties in is that you can get your 360 to blog – it’s all automated, and you can see my consoles’ blog here …. I’ll be intrigued to see how this develops as I game more and play around with the Video Marketplace etc.

So far I have to say that my favourite games are Bioshock and Forza Motorsport 2 – both very different, but excellent in their own ways.

More to come as I delve further into the games etc. If you fancy a game then please feel free to ad me – gamertag is jackeales

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Changes galore….

I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.2.2 and the latest version of Spam Karma as well … so there might be a few bugs that I need to iron out over the next couple of days – everything seems good at the moment – but I’ve not tested everything 🙂

Aside from that, all is good – I’ve finally passed the second part of the upgrade process to MCSE 2003, and I’m trying to get organised to sit my CCNA – but getting motivated to study is tricky…. with the weather being nice and the house being finished – I just want to chill out and relax in the garden….

There’s also the small matter of my impending 30th birthday…. the panic’s starting to kick in now…..

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