Geek Mindmap

IMG_0056.JPG I don’t have time to work on my e-Harmony profile or actively pursue that whole thing… but I seem to have time to contemplate future tech improvements of my home system. I originally got the white board to help me map out my FS course plan, but it looks like it’s been drafted to first help me think through fixing tech things at home. Back in the pre-blog journal days I used to spend pages and pages thinking out loud about tech shit that no one else cared at all about. Also, for most, just having a working connection to the Internet, a handful of friends online to chat with and a computer that doesn’t freeze up every 24-minutes is bliss. I have much bigger expectations.

One thing I was really looking forward to when I moved here was setting up my Mac Mini in my living room as a Media Center connected to a big ass* HD LCD/TV. Because of the limited HD space on the Mac Mini I have a horde of external USB hard disks lashed to it where the music, podcasts and movies are stored. It didn’t take me too long to realize that the heat of a typical Florida afternoon…

*NOTE: “big ass” for me means 42″… I don’t really make enough dough to justify a 60″ plasma rig.

Apple iTunes

… was forcing the army of external hard drives to spin up their little internal fans like no ones business, especially the noisy fan on the big black Drobo which houses 4 burning hard drives. Then I got that month’s electricity bill. Yeah, I love the lovely blue glow of all of those LEDs on the front of the external HDs as much as the next geek, but it seems that I can extend their lifespan and maybe afford a few more LED-laden-devices if I just turn the damn things off when I’m not there. Problem is that I like having my podcasts ready to view or listen to when I get home after work and that requires that I leave the Mac Mini on. Hmmm.

IMG_0059.JPG So, the first thing that I thought was to beef up the Mac Mini’s HD** and then be able to turn off everything except the Mac Mini, Time Capsule router and cable modem. Cool. Then the printer started acting all flaky and started getting all kinds of hiss and noisy from the speakers when playing anything from the Mac Mini through the stereo. Argh. That got me thinking that maybe I need to move all of the gear further away from the TV and stereo, making me thing contemplate moving the router, modem, printer and NAS hard disk to the bedroom work area. Then it got bad enough that I started thinking that I should replace the whole Mac Mini media center thing with a Playstation3. I mean, when it comes time to upgrade my video playing from DVD to Blu-ray a Playstation3 is still the best player/media center. Then when I looked into it further the Playstation 3 as media center was usually dependent on being connected to some media server where all the media would be stored (like my mac mini…). So what would be the point?

So, it’s clear to me that I need to climb behind the “entertainment unit” and straighten out all of the cabling that’s contributing to the noisiness and eliminate as many unneeded devices as possible. I also looked up how difficult it might be to upgrade the HD in the mac book pro to something like 320GBs so that I could untether it from the external HD where I have all of my music. We’ll see. Of course all of this is going to have to wait until I have a chunk of time to be crawling into the guts of things and disassembling things. Ack. And don’t even ask me about the cool Harmony universal remote that keeps turning on the wrong setting on the stereo when I go to listen to my podcasts. Sigh… jbb

Jonathan Coulton - Smoking Monkey - De-Evolving Music: “De-Evolving” by Jonathan Coulton on the “Smoking Monkey” CD

**NOTE: 320GB 7200rpm drives from OWC for less than $200