Entry: And There Was Great Rejoicing... Friday, August 13, 2004



Today our driveway was paved.  We can't drive on it for 10 days, or park on it for 14 days but it's paved.  And there was great rejoicing as the stench of fresh asphalt drifted across the land.
 
In addition to being one more item off of the "to be done" list around our house and yard, this also means that keeping our driveway clear this winter will be immensely easier.  Using a snow blower on gravel - or grass and rocky dirt in our case last winter - is an art form.  It's not a lot of fun and you can't really completely clear the drive.  You can only try to keep the snow down to a thin hard pack so your car doesn't get stuck.
 
Best of all it looks soooo much better now.
 
On more technological fronts I've finally decided that my server overheating and shutting itself down every few days despite our air conditioning and a ceiling fan in my office (and every other reasonable measure I came up with) means that it's time to upgrade. 
 
I bought a new case that's mostly aluminum (better heat transfer) and has two extra fans built into the side panel.  I've been running 4 hard disks in my server in addition to two Pentium III 600 processors with no fans.  The heatsinks by themselves aren't really good enough but my old Dell doesn't have anywhere to plug in the fans on the processors.  It gets pretty hot in there.
 
This is an additional problem because my server is not only used for file storage and as a printer server.  It's also the email server for my domain name.  When the server shuts down, our incoming email shuts down too until I notice.
 
I thought I might be able to just move the Dell board into the new case but the Dell is bigger than a standard ATX sized board and won't fit.  So I also had to buy a new board.  I tried to find a used or refurb dual Slot 1 type board to use my existing processors but that would have cost me as much as buying a much faster new motherboard and a new AMD cpu for it...  Hard as I try to act like this hurts me (buying newer, faster, geekier equipment) I don't quite seem able to pull it off.  I managed to scrounge for some very cheap parts on the Internet...  that helps.
 
I'm hoping that I can use this as an opportunity to also try to get the ATI AIW 7500 card in my server's TV out and tuner to work.  I already use my server to store TV shows recorded on my ReplayTV.  If I could also use the video card's tuner to record shows it would be like having a second Replay.  If the TV out worked, I could put the server (behind a speaker or somewhere) in our living room and hook the TV out to the television.
 
I suppose I should explain at this point that my house is networked with ethernet (I ran cable soon after we moved in) and that our ReplayTV (like a Tivo) has a network connector.  There's a really great piece of software called DVArchive that allows a server to copy files off of a ReplayTV.  My server has two 120 GB hard disks in it.  We use it to move shows we really like off into storage.  We have nearly all the episodes of Crossing Jordan, for example, and Home Movies.  (Two of my wife's favorite shows.)
 
The drives are filling though so I also need to start burning shows off to DVDs.
 
Fortunately my wife is not averse to my geeking around... 

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