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Monday, October 01, 2007

My car won't be ready until tomorrow, so I have the rental car for one more day. I'm pretty glad that I dropped the car off last week at Haas Collision instead of waiting for Jeff's Autobody to get their shop ready for this morning. I'll have my car for sure by Wednesday, just in time to drop it off at the Pontiac dealership to massage out a few dents they put into the right front quarter panel of my car. Hopefully they'll have my car back by the end of that day and I can return my rental car. My next stop will be the window tinting place that Bo recommended on 183.

I've been meaning to get this done for a long time and I have three good reasons for doing it. All summer my car sits in the sun at the office parking lot and by the end of the day the car gets really hot, requiring me to blast the A/C and roll down the windows. By the time I get home, the car is cool but, my back is sweating from the hot leather. The second reason is, the leather in the back seat got cooked by the sun, shrinking the material and tearing the seams on the shoulders of the rear seats. I got them replaced under warranty but, I don't want that to happen again. The third reason is, I think the black tinted windows would really look bad ass against the bright yellow of the body. I'm pretty sure this would be a good investment.

In response to Mike's comment on Friday's blog: Since I am destined to have the rental car out for 6 days (Thursday through Tuesday), I would have paid $15.15 ($14 plus tax) each day for insurance, coming to a grand total of $90.90 which is about the cost of a new window. I can't know how much they will charge me but, I've never purchased the insurance on a rental car so I think (from an overall perspective) I'm coming out ahead.

Oh! One last thing for this morning's post, I was looking for some previous pictures of my car to format into avatars but, when I looked at my tablet PC for some good source pictures most of my folders were missing and I don't know where they went. Disaster right? Wrong! I backed up all my images on my NAS (which is named Hermes Conrad by the way). Hermes saves the day and I am grateful.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We fired up the NAS last night, formatted the drives and configured all of the useful services. Finally I have massive storage (500GB) that safe, fast, and dependable. We are still working out a few bugs related to Twonkymedia's UPnP and the Xbox360. Bo mentioned that he found a 4 bay NAS that only cost $100 more than the one I bought but, I'm happy with the storage size as well as the size of the unit. Once I configure my network properly, my data will be protected and served up fresh 24/7.

On another topic, on Monday evening I inspected a 1970 Datsun 2000 Roadster. I was interested in owning a car that could be a rolling restoration, unlike my Z which became a permanent fixture in my garage in Houston and eventually my driveway in Austin. Well, the Roadster wasn't much better off than my Z, aside from the recent engine work that the owner had done. Looking in the most obvious places for rust, I found most of the car to be intact. However, the trunk had an area that rusted through. The red paint (the car was originally blue) had arrested any further rust issues but, overall the car needed the same tear down that my Z currently needs. I'm still interested in owning a Datsun Roadster but, not until I get some headway on my current projects (house, backyard, garage, Z).

Since a few things on my Z can be done over the long term such as re-building the engine, I'm going to start kicking off some of that work. First I need to find a performance machine shop, and a body shop with an eye for detail.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I totally bought the QNAP TS-201 and two 500GB hard drives. Totally.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Over the July 4th holiday, I bought a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Since my laptop hard drive (160 GB) is full and makes this high pitched buzzing sound, and my backup hard drive (40 GB) reports write delay errors when more than 30GB of data are stored on it I really needed to look into a data storage solution. I went to Fry's with Christine to check out storage solutions and found a small section of the computer components section of the store dedicated to NAS devices. After some help from the associate, and a review of the price ranges, I settled on Seagate's Maxtor Shared Storage II (MSS II) 1 Terabyte for around $410.

Since I had not put any research into the purchase and knew very little about NAS, I did not open the box. I instead opted for doing some research on the Internet.

The box indicates that the 1TB (1000GB) can be configured to mirror the data between the two hard disks inside the NAS. This reduces the available data storage to 500GB but, protects the data on the drive if and when one of the drive should fail. I think this will work out fine, since I don't really need 1TB at this point anyway. Unfortunately, I found a few individual experiences with the MSS II that state there is no supplied software to recover the data from the mirrored drive if a problem does occur, and that Seagate does not warranty the data against loss. Instead, it seems necessary to send the entire unit back to Seagate for replacement, as opening the unit to replace the individual hard drives voids the warranty. I would assume if only one of the hard drives were replaced after the unit was sent in, the mirrored drive would rebuild itself. However, if there was a data or hardware error that affected both drives, there would be no way to recover the data using another computer. Having Seagate recover the data turns out to be a very expensive service. I used the Seagate Recovery Services Solution Wizard for a hard drive with hardware issues that yielded a $1800.00 price tag and a two to four week wait on their return. (Please read the following sarcastically) Fortunately, if they don't recover your data, they won't charge you for their services.

Even if I can buy into that scenario, there's still other issues. Using on board software, media files(audio, video, and pictures) can be streamed to devices that support the protocol. This is done with a standard called UPnP-AV, which the MSS II supports. Unfortunately, the two devices that I would use for this purpose (TiVo and Xbox360) will not even see the device because of the proprietary way that UPnP-AV is implemented. It is possible to get the Xbox360 to recognize and use the data on the NAS if they use a version of the UPnP-AV protocol made by Twonky Vision but, I've seen no evidence that I could install this on the MSS II.

I'm pretty sure that I'll be returning the Maxtor Shared Storage II in favor of a more customizable QNAP TS-201.

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