New Home Server

posted in Gadgets by martin on 08 June 2005

ITX CaseFor a few months now I have been looking into building a new server for home. It will have a couple of big disks configured for RAID and will host all our photos, MP3's and videos. Its got to be quiet, its got to be power efficient so as not to drive up our electricity bills and I'd quite like it to be small. I have been looking at the VIA Mini-ITX motherboards and cases like this one from Serener. Only trouble is that I can't find this case for sale anywhere in the UK.

It's seems the whole PC industry is suddenly waking up to lower power consumption, low heat and low noise as being critical. Apple's announced this week that they will switch from PowerPC to Intel Pentium M processors for just these reasons. So this got me thinking, if Apple can make machines based on Pentium M then why can't I ? A quick bit of googling turned up a couple of suitable motherboards from Aopen. Now all I need to do is find somewhere to buy the board and a Pentium M processor and price up the whole thing.

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EarthCore Rocks!

posted in Podcasts by martin on 08 June 2005

EarthCore CoverI've discovered a new Podcast called EarthCore. It's not like all the amateur radio shows, it's a talking book distributed a chapter or two at a time as a Podcast. The story is a kind of sci-fi horror with plenty of people comming to not so pleasent ends. It is read by the author Scott Sigler and he makes a great job of bringing the characters to life. Check it out, I can't wait until the next episode.

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Getting Your Bluetooth Headset to Work in Windows XP

posted in Windows by martin on 25 May 2005


If you are the owner of a Bluetooth headset, you will be glad to know that besides using it with your cellular phone, you can also use it together with your Windows XP PC. However, you may have attempted to pair up the headset with your PC only to find out that the built-in Bluetooth stack in Windows XP Service Pack 2 does not support the headset.

Click Here for more...

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posted in Podcasts by martin on 13 May 2005

IT ConversationsThis is an interesting Podcast on IT Conversations about how the combination of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl/Python (a.k.a. "LAMP") has become the mostly used web application platform. Despite being one of the biggest supporters of Java and J2EE from the start, I have long been pointing out that most of the web seems to be still running on CGI. Actually come to think of it, this blog is powered by LAMP. Peter Yared interviewed here is from a company that has put together an "Enterprise Grid" enable LAMP product. He reveals a few interesting facts about web application servers - I especially liked the bit about heterogeneous two phased commit.
Peter Yared on IT Conversations >>

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MAKE Magazine

posted in Internet by martin on 06 May 2005

Make Magazine Home I first heard about O'Reilly's new magazine through a podcast on IT Conversations and from the former Engadget guy Phil Torrone. Apparently this is O'Reilly's first magazine publication. It's all about geeky techy projects and it's full of ideas for things you can build.

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AAC vs MP3

posted in GadgetsMusic by martin on 06 May 2005

AACYou probably know that there are a number of audio formats in addition to MP3 that you can use to store music in (WMA, OGG, WAV etc etc). I've always been an advocate of sticking with plain old MP3, simply because it's the one standard that works with pretty much anything. But now I've discovered AAC, it should be just as open as MP3 and it sounds better than MP3 even at lower bit rates.

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Nokia N91 and the NSeries

posted in Gadgets by martin on 29 April 2005

Nokia N91Nokia announced a new series of devices this week - the NSeries, and launched three new high spec phones. Out of the three it was the N91 that really got me excited. It has a 4GB hard drive, GPRS/3G/WiFi, proper headphone socket and a 2 megapixel camera. A spec like that would seriously make me leave my iPod at home. Should be available at the end of 2005.

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This week’s ClickOnline

posted in Internet by martin on 24 April 2005

ClickOnlineIn case you haven't seen it, ClickOnline is the BBC's Internet technology show which shown is on BBC News 24 in the middle of the night - thank heavens for Tivo. They also show it on BBC2 on a Sunday morning but this is a shortened version. The show usually features a couple of interesting articles and reviews of some viewer recommended web sites.

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Full Loss of Service and a New Start

posted in News by martin on 20 April 2005

PlusNetMy ISP, Plusnet, has let me and a good many other customers down badly. The server they provide for us to host dynamic web sites, and the server that hosts this blog, suffered a complete hard disk failure during routine maintenace and ALL data was lost. My whole Gadget Zone blog is lost. I suppose I should have kept a back up on my own PC, but that's easy to say now.

I just found an old back up of my blog text from the end of february. So it's just the March and April posts which are missing now.

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posted in News by martin on 25 February 2005

Well I didn't do very well. Only 9 posts then nothing since July last year. Complete pants. Last week some idiot hacked our ISP's servers and I thought I'd lost this blog altogether. What's that old saying, you only really appreciate something when you loose it. Well it's true and I think it's time to do something about it. Part of the problem before was that I was being just a bit too ambitious trying to write full reviews everytime. So although I am going to try post more often, I can't guarantee that I'll always go into as much detail. I also want to include more pictures. Over the last few moths I've been subscribed to the Engadget and Slashdot feeds. I definitely prefer Engadget and I think it's simply because they include a picture with each post. I am going to have to workout if it's possible to include images with MoveableType easily or perhaps change to a different Blogging system (I need a built-in spell checker!!!).

The other reason I want to put some life back into this blog is that I recently got some wicked new toys which are so great I just have to tell the world ! So stay tuned for my next few posts.

p.s. OK I'll admit it, there's another reason too - I found out Don has started blogging too !

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