Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Today I want to write about my son.

Last night I watched 300 for the hundredth time, and I noticed a couple subtle details regarding the father/son relationship I hadn't noticed before.  After the son had been killed, the father said he regretted he hadn't told his son that he was the son he'd loved most.  Now, I don't really have that problem because he's my only son, but that's besides the point.  At age 7, I can already tell he's the son I love most.

I believe when it comes to boys you never know what card you're going to be dealt.  Are you going to get a crazy, loud boy that never seems to calm down?  Or, will you get the boy that is calm, courteous, collected, but still has a love for boy things (sports, cars, etc)?  I believe we lucked out; our boy is of the latter variety.

For me, it's the little things that make the difference.  He's constantly respectful of others, especially adults.  He always wants to do the right thing.  This reminds me of a few times at school he would complain that if he obeyed the rules (of not running, in this case), he'd never get the good seat (or whatever).  He was learning the lesson that good guys finish last.  I thought for sure this would sway him to become a little insubordinate.  It didn't.  In fact the closest he's come to being a "bad kid" was a few weeks ago when he got suspended from school.  Apparently he & a friend were horsing around when PJ bit his friend on the arm.  The kid complained to the lunch lady, and PJ received a suspension.  I was a little afraid that day would come, but when it did, it was easy to blow off.  Boys will be boys.

He's a softy, but he still loves boy things: football, baseball, cars, 4-wheelers, motorcycles, etc.  The few things we have in common, really give me hope for the future.  I love these days with my son.  I just hope there's still a little more uphill before things go downhill.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

'tini Girl

'tini Girl, originally uploaded by AmateurX.

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Fools Day recap

I think April Fools Day should be re-named April Rules Day. This infographic I think makes my point.

april fools 2011
Brought to you by ZippyCart.com and Designed by Killer Infographics

Monday, February 28, 2011

Home built Media Center

Caution: very boring, and technical prose ahead.  Read on only if you like computers...


A few weeks ago, I couldn't pass up the deals on Newegg.com for computer parts.  I dove in with both feet and took the plunge to build myself the family a computer to stream movies, music & pictures to my TV over a LAN.  

The hardware was the easy part.  I already had a 1.5TB HDD, so I managed to buy the CPU, motherboard, PSU, case, and another 1.5TB HDD (for RAID 1 - mirroring) for all under $300.  I had considered an all-in-one solution, like a Drobo, but those are way too expensive, and I was looking for cheap.  I could've also gone with a cheaper/lower power CPU setup, like an Intel Atom, but those motherboards are either limited in features or are expensive.  Additionally, if there's any video transcoding necessary, an Atom would not have done the job.

The software is always the wildcard, especially when you're going for the cheapest setup possible.  At first I chose to use FreeNAS. This is basically a simple operating system that can turn virtually any PC into a Network Attached Storage.  I've successfully implemented FreeNAS in the past with little issue.  I reviewed the specs, and found that it would be capable to stream my video, and supported a plethora of RAID cards.  What's really cool about FreeNAS, is that it's really small.  You can install it on a 1GB (possibly less) USB thumb drive.  Since I had a spare 2GB thumb drive laying around, that was my plan.  

Even though I was planning on using the on-motherboard RAID configuration (for the 1.5TB storage disks), I assumed that FreeNAS supported the RAID, because it was a popular chipset.  I was wrong.  I set up the 2 HDDs in RAID 1, using the on-motherboard RAID setup.  It was actually, pretty painless. But, to my surprise, FreeNAS would attempt to start, but would only result in a reboot.  If I put the HDDs back to IDE mode, it would boot fine, but that's not what I wanted.  After a lot of scoping thru the FreeNAS forums, I decided to abandon FreeNAS altogether.  Apparently there was a new beta release that could've possible solved my RAID problem, but the DLNA streaming wouldn't be available for the foreseeable future. :-(  So, on to Linux I go.  

I've installed and used Ubuntu, OpenSuse, and a couple others before, with reasonable results.  This time though, would be different.  I've never had to create a server before.  I decided to use Mandriva for two reasons.  1) the KDE interface looked pretty, and 2) the wiki and Mandriva forums had a wealth of information regarding servers, and shares.  Luckily the streaming application (PS3 Media Streamer) that I currently use for Windows, to stream video to my PS3, has a Linux version that works in Java, so no installation necessary.  w00t!  

I still have a couple things to iron out.  1) Under the disk management in Mandriva, it shows 2 1.5TB HDDs.  This is not what I would've expected since they're configured in RAID 1.  I plan on writing a bunch of information to 1 HDD, and see if the free space of the 2nd HDD goes down at the same time.  2) I can't figure out how to share the drive location, to a Windows computer, using SMB shares.  Right now, I just think I have more reading to do... When I get this all done, maybe I'll throw up some info on how anyone can do it...


I'm hoping that after all is said and done, I can check off my "learn linux" goal on 43things.com