Monday 31 December 2007

Pico-Terabox - Maybe the smallest 1TB server?

For a while now I have been meaning to get on of these tiny Pico-ITX boards and build a little server with it.
I wanted at least 1TB of diskspace and I wanted it to be small.
I ordered the Pico-ITX a while ago but never managed to find enough time to build a case for it.
The Pico-ITX I got from, along with a tiny DC-DC converter and external power supply, 1GB RAM, a 8GB flash card and IDE to CF converter.
The only 1TB harddrive I could find was a Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000, so I got that one.

I first wanted to go for an old radio as a case, but could not find one that I really liked, so I decided to just build a simple small case out of aluminium.
I bought some 500x500 mm alu-sheets from the hardware store some wood for decorating and got started.
The box measures 180x100x70 mm. The hardrive just fits into it with some space on one side for cables and the 8GB CF card. Above the hardrive sits the Pico-ITX board and next to it there is just enough room for cables and the DC-DC converter.

After running it for a while I did notice that the harddrive got quite warm and heated up the case, so I decides to attach some alu-profiles as heat sinks to the back of the case.
I also made a little air duct(out of paper) for the Pico-ITX board.

I put an  Ubuntu 7.10 on it and the system is now running night and day as a server which does nightly backups, runs a slimserver and acts as a NAS.

It was a fun little project and I am quite pleased with the result.

Friday 28 December 2007

Christmas 2007

Kate and I decided to spend Christmas in London this year.
On the 22nd we had a little Christmas dinner with our house mate, Gareth, and some colleagues from work, Jarkko, his girlfriend Tina and a friend of theirs. Jarkko and Tina cooked a ham, which is the traditional dish for Christmas in Finland. They also brought a salmon which we smoked in the oven in a special smoking bag. We had special Finish mulled wine with the diner and for desert Jarkko and Tina's friend had made some traditional Finish fruit salad. All very tasty and way too much to eat.
Though the feasting did not stop with the desert. After we relocated to the living room we all enjoyed Tina's homemade cookies and more mulled wine: I made some Feuerzangenbowle, a traditional German winter drink. It is basically mulled wine with a big cone of suggar being flambed with rum which then caramelizes and drips into the wine ... tasty! It was a lovely evening, very christmasy!

On the 24th Kate's parents arrived and we all went to the Albert Hall for the "Christmas Carols by Candle Light". I realy like the Albert Hall and the Chrismat concerts are always great fun, lovely music and the audience gets to join in for some of the songs.
We had more Feuerzangenbowle after we got back.

The 25th was unpacking gifts and cooking and eating for the rest of the day.
We had a tasty turkey with all the trimmings, a yummy Christmas pudding which Kate's mom made and a delicious Christmas cake, Kate made... too much food!
On boxing day we all went to the movies and watched "The Golden Compass". And for diner we had fantastic tasting venison.

Friday 21 December 2007

Snowboarding in Obergurgl

My sister, Urte, invited me and Kate to go snowboarding with her and her boyfriend, Marvin.
I had a few holidays left that I could not carry over into the new year and how could I refuse anyways. Unfortunately Kate could not join us, because she had to work.

I left London on the 12th for Hamburg. Marvin and Urte picked me up from the airport and we went to mys sister's place to pack and have some dinner.
We left around 10pm for Austria. My sister took the first 3h of driving, I had the awful middle part and Marvin did the last bit.

We got to Obergurgl at around 9ish in the morning. The weather was beautiful, sunshine, no clouds at about -10C. We did not have a place to stay yet, so we decided to first sort that out and went to the tourist information. We found a nice apartment within walking distance of the lifts. It was in the valley with big windows and a pretty view of the mountain.

After unpacking we went straight to the lifts. Marvin and I went off-piste a few times, which turned out to be a big mistake. There was just not enough snow and we ran over a number of rocks. :(
Both Marvin and I had some big scratches on our boards so we decided to give them to the shop and have them fixed.
It was a fun day but extremely exhausting. It just showed once again that I spent too much time in front of a computer-screen and too little time exercising.

The second day was not as nice as the first ... we had a few clouds in the sky. ;)
We picked up our boards from the shop. My board was almost good as new and Marvin's was still rideable but it's edge was quite damaged.
We did (try to avoid) that rocks that day but could not ignore some of the untouched hills where it looked like the snow was deep enough. It was great and we ended up with only some minor scratches not worth mentioning.

After the lifts closed we went shopping, I needed some gloves and I wanted to buy a helmet. Marvin decided to get a new board, because his one was more broken and did not ride very well anymore.
We spent the rest of the evening cooking, eating and playing card games.

The weather got better over the next days and colder ... -15C.
We found a few untouched parts of the hills again and some tiny ramps to practice some jumps.
All in all just fun. Trulli somehow hurt her finger, I did too, and one of the jumps ended in a crash with me hurting my left knee ... I am just not 20 anymore :(

One of the evenings we went to the Aqua Dome in Laengenfeld, a spa with great outdoor pools. It was very relaxing.

On the 17th it was time to go back home again :(
We did some boarding for a good part of the day and then packed up.
Marvin and Urte dropped me off in Munich with a couple hours to spare before my flight back to London was scheduled.
It was a great 5 days of snowboarding!