Project: Home Server – update

The little RPI home server has atlast given up the ghost. It seems SD card burn has destroyed the data and will boot no more. Ideally now, I would like to look around for a more robust solution to this ongoing problem. I have mentioned previously that I have a spare i5 pc waiting only for a storage drive. Ideally an SSD would be great to run a small web host but considering the secondary use of the computer ( network backup storage ) , an SSD is still impractical at this point.

I’ve been mulling over the problem of continuous uptime and again too have been snagged up at power usage. Now considering the time involved for bringing up the host and (its’) VM containers, might it be too enduring to boot it up and shut it down when not needed?

I may just resort to a VM on each device to serve a web host and use an external drive as storage for now.

Calculated upgrades

Want to upgrade to something? Think before you buy. Sure the immediately new tech is nice to have, but what about in the future?

Mobile (cell) phone companies love this. They harass you into buying the next (mediocre) tech just released. Alot of the time now, I find the tech isn’t much more of an upgrade to the previous model, but with a noticeably larger price tag.

I currently have an S6 (Android)… the S7 was not a big jump but the S8 is pretty impressive. Regardless however of the S8’size presidence, it might be missing 5G.

My point here is give it a few more years, USB-C will be widespread on computer and portable tech. 5G might be on its way too… so with that in mind, I can wait.

There might be a sweetspot for upgrading gadgets but they’re not always timely. Secondly, I’ve seen too many bleeding-edge tech fail to know it might pay to wait just that little bit longer.

Learning Computer Science

Hi! Recently I’ve been submersed in all sorts of different C code. I’ve been taking the #CS50 computer sciences course online from Harvard through
I had originally started the course last year (2016) but I really couldn’t find the time. It can take a while to complete the different sections of the course; I like to watch the lecture and create code of the “shorts” to better understand what the shorts are trying to explain. (this has become a really useful method of learning, but not required)

There are 12 weeks of lectures, packed with shorts and documentation and afterwards a couple of assignments to undertake and submit for scoring. Sometimes there are questions to complete (sometimes about something not yet touched on) and alot of the time you have to research to answer them. It can be time consuming, especially as it is a bit harder to converse with people online also taking the classes.

There is a subreddit dedicated for questions about specifics of the course, managed by some of the Harvard staff and more experienced or better progressed students can also help you with a query.

Overall, I’m really enjoying this experience, but I have to keep dedicating alot of time to get through the weeks, especially as the weeks go on. Hopefully this year will allow me to finish the course (unlike last year)
I’m currently working through week4!


Cloning a dying hard-drive

Being able to spot a dying hard drive is more of an art then an exact science…. Many factors are attributed to total failure.  I have found that heat, noises and bad performance are the 3 major giveaways. Hard drives have different ways of dying, however, and the worst (most unpredictable way) is the controller PCB failing. It’s hard to diagnose, and can be harder to retrieve data from it.

The best chance you have of saving data is to think about replacing a hard drive before complete malfunction. Plan A is more important; performing regular backups.
A couple of years ago, I was fleeced… I bought Norton Ghost without expecting support to end shortly after…. with the eventual discontinuation of the product completely.  I remember when Ghost was always at the top of my toolbox.

Required to copy the entire drive to a new one, I needed an alternative… and Acronis True Image 2017 came up trumps!  It now sits proudly at the top of my toolbox.