Category Archives: Technology

File Server and Hard Drives

I bought awhile back a stand alone file server.  My desire is get a standalone file server that I can upgrade the hard drives without doing a whole bunch of work to keep it up and maintain it.  This is what I bought, and I’ve been very happy with it.

First, I wanted a File Server that I could connect to our MS Server 2008 Active Directory users so that I didn’t need to recreate all of the users again.

Second, I wanted to know that if I needed an extra 2 TB hard drive that it wouldn’t be hard to add it in. This setup is perfect. You can pull out the Bays and add new ones in.

Some of the surprise benefits that I have found is that they do regular updates, and are adding new functionality on-demand (so, if I don’t want the functionality, I don’t have to download it).

I bought this Synology File Server:

The Hard drives I bought to go with the File Server:


One of the networks that I have been working on, I have been adding some switches and firewalls together. So far, it has been a really good setup. Here is what I have:



Bluetooth Car Audio

This is my new favorite toy. I bought the following:

Here is why I like it.
#1. It connects into my car’s Aux input. And it connects into my lighter outlet for power (no need to recharge batteries all the time).
#2. It works great with my iPhone. It autoconnects if when I turn on my car I’m on a call or playing music, it automatically switches over.
#3. It doesn’t automatically connect to my phone and turn on my music like some of the other devices do. Some people see this as a feature. I do not, because sometimes I listen to my radio, and if I wasn’t paying attention, I might have the radio on, and then the bluetooth podcasts would be playing in the background and I would lose my position.
#4. (this is the worst piece) People can hear the road noise when I use the handsfree. But also note that I have a Corolla and it is loud. I wish that I had my old Camry that was pretty quiet and much smoother.
#5. There is a button that I can push to connect. If I push this button and someone is calling, it will answer the phone. If I push the button and there is no phone activity, it automatically starts the from the last place where I was listening to music or a podcast.

Overall, I couldn’t have wished for anything more. It is very easy to use and after the installation (which was easy), I haven’t had to do anything else.

Foscam IP Cams

We recently installed some IP Cams in our house in order to watch over our kids. After the initial installation (which was a little brutal), these have been excellent. On the 2nd camera, the installation was pretty easy. I think that the key to using Foscam cameras is to always do the firmware upgrade.

Here are the exact models that we installed:

Here are the values for me:
#1. 2 way audio
#2. There is a $5 iPhone app that is a little flaky, but is fantastic in our home. It allows us to watch the kids as long as we have WiFi
#3. You can choose to keep the video stream only inside your router’s access or to allow web access.
#4. There is an option to record the video.
#5. Many ways to connect: webpage, iphone, ip address.
#6. Uses WiFi. For our house, the RF signal ones just don’t cut it. We have plaster walls and we just struggled to get something to work.

My new NAS External Hard Drive

In another fantastic purchase, I have now got a new 1 TB External Hard Drive:

Let me tell you how I’m using it! 

First, I set up the External Hard drive.  It’s another low power device that sits directly on the network via ethernet.

Next, I set up our 2 primary computers to automatically back up all of our important data.  It checks and backs up every day.  I do nothing now that it’s all set up.  so, the nice thing is that when iTunes downloads my podcasts, or when I download my new pictures onto the computer, or when I download new videos of the kids, the backup program runs in the background and sends them to the External hard drive.

Now, all of our pics, podcasts, movies, and cookbooks, etc are on the hard drive.  So if a computer goes down, I have it backed up.  And more importantly, I can easily access all of my data from any computer on my network, or even better from a secure website that allows me to log into the hard drive.

What I’m using it for is to stream video, pics, and music to any computer in the house.  Pretty cool!  I’m at least having fun with it!


The Roku is my new favorite device:

It allows you to watch NetFlix instant play (included in any $8.99 subscription or more) on you TV like a DVD Player and with a remote.