Archive for the ‘Computer Builds’ Category

labyrinthine circuit board lines

Sometimes the most useful tools are not the most elaborate tools.  So it is with one of my favorite little software programs ever.

I do a lot of remote work on our computers…our file server, HTPC, and kitchen pc all do not have a normal keyboard and mouse, and the file server doesn’t even have a monitor.  This means I spend a lot of time remotely controlling these computers when it’s time for updates or whatnot.

One of my biggest frustrations is not being able to see what the hard drive light is doing.  Did the button I just clicked do anything?  Why’s the computer so slow?  Is something running in the background?  Enter one of my favorite tools, DiskLED.

DiskLED is a simple little program that puts a flashing icon down in the system tray.  You can set it to use any number of system variables, but I just like the basic on/off of the hard drive light:

Incredibly useful and I have it on all of my pcs I use remotely.  I even put it on PC’s I’m troubleshooting so I don’t have to strain to see the case.  Highly recommended.  Best part?  It’s FREE!

Just wanted to post a follow-up on the new server.  It just hit 11 days of uptime without a reboot and I’ve had no issues…temps are all good, all the other computers can access it, backups are running on schedule, and CPU never really breaks 50%…which is pretty good for a 600 mhz Celeron.  I had my doubts as it seemed like dated technology (even if it WAS a brand new chip) but it seems perfect for a file server.  Wish I could do an estimate on power savings, but I imagine they’re pretty big.  My office now gets pretty warm with the A/C off, but I just turn it on about 30 minutes before I have to start working and it cools it off nicely.  All in all, it appears to be a very sturdy pc.  Woo hoo!

This guy is AMAZING. I’ve watched this video like 5 times now…and this is, in fact, what inspired me to build the new file-server, though my skills are no match for his. If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, enjoy computers, and enjoy building stuff, I recommend clicking through to the Tube and watching in high def, full screen. Mad Skillz, he has.

I decided it was time for a new file-server…both because the existing file server is large, consumes a lot of electricity, and forces me to run the A/C in my office 24/7. Solution? Build a new low-power pc that will fit in a closet in the house, store more data, and run on less electricity. This is the story of the build.
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The iKitchen PC – Part 1 < --Read Me First!

Like I said, I used Windows 7 Gadgets for the interface. I created most of my own with the iPhone style icons, then added a couple other Gadgets on the right like WeatherBug. Nice thing is I can combine my own Gadgets with the thousands of other Gadgets out there people have created. The gadgets I created are available to anyone who wants them. Info on creating your own gadgets (and much of the original code) was taken from this post:

Original iKitchen Gadget Thread

These are just details about the kitchen pc…software, applications, etc. More for reference than anything.
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Inspired by the “original” (I think?) iPhone Kitchen PC, I have now completed my own: a touchscreen, cabinet undermount PC to handle all the tasks I could think of in the kitchen. While I hate the “look at me!” aspect of this post, I admit that there is an element of pride in my final result, as well as several things I found to work very well.  So click through to read about the build!
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June 2018
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