8TB Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440

Two years ago, I purchased a Vantec Nexstar LX Network Attached Storage or NAS for several of my systems at home. I added a 160gb drive to the NAS device to store, share and backup documents. The advantage of having a NAS drive over a regular USB-attached drive is that it’s easily available to any computer on the network via several networking protocols mainly HTTP, FTP, Windows Share and Samba for Linux users.

nas440

Seagate is now releasing a Linux-based NAS device called the Black Armor NAS 440. It comes with an iTunes server and is also a DLNA-compliant media server. It can be configured to run several RAID formats using RAID 0/1/5/10. It comes with a dual ethernet ports and 4 USB ports. It supports several networking protocols mainly NFS, HTTP, HTTPS,  FTP, CIFS, Microsoft’s Rally and Active Directory. With 4 drive bays at 2TB capacity each, the device can be configured up to 8TB of storage.

Seagate’s new BlackArmor NAS devices cost $800 (NAS 420 with 2TB), $1,200 (NAS 440 with 4TB), $1,700 (NAS 440 with 6TB), and $2,000 (NAS 440 with 8TB).

Unix at 40

Unix is 40 years old today. It didn’t seem that long ago, but then again it seems like Unix has been around for a very long time. Now, take a look at this OS timeline here and you will see missed opportunities for Unix to get a foothold on the desktop computing in the early 1980’s. It’s too bad Unix could not take advantage of its opportunities before IBM and eventually Microsoft came along with their PC-DOS and Windows operating systems. Linux was born in 1991 when Finnish Linus Torvalds released an Unix-like kernel which subsequently turned into dozens of Linux distributions that we see today. Fast forward to now and the future, you see a world deeply entreched on the Windows. It’s still an uphill battle to get people to recognize that there is a third option to Windows and Apple operating systems. Unix and Linux in general have come a long way from its humble command-line beginnings to the current Gnome based GUIs.

Lenovo S10

I recently bought a mini laptop, a Lenovo S10. I love it. I’ve been searching for an affordable mini for several months now. I’ve looked at Asus, Dell and HP the past few months. Last week, I just happened to be at Frys Electronics down at Anaheim looking for audio cables and I came across the Lenovo S10. I fell in love with it from the start. It took me a better of 10 minutes to decide I needed to buy it.

That’s how much faith I had in the product because I haven’t seen any reviews when I bought it. I am glad to know that the Lenovo S10 had nothing but rave reviews from several sources. Here is a list of reviews from Lenovo’s website. There are plenty more reviews from third party vendors and technology blogs and websites. The Lenovo S10 have faired very well.

What’s in the Lenovo S10? Well, the Lenovo S10 is based on a 1.6Mhz Intel Atom Processor with 1GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive. It runs on Windows XP with a 10.2 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1024×600. It weighs only a measly 2.4 lbs. The S10 has the following ports: VGA, Ethernet, mic, and headphone and a 4-in-1 card reader. It comes with 2 USB ports and ExpressCard slot. It also comes with 1.3mp built-in webcam. The laptop comes with a 3 cell battery good enough for 2.5 – 3 hours of uptime.

Performance has been great. I love the fact that it runs on Windows XP and not Vista. The S10 is fast enough for web browsing, chat and for editing documents. I even use it for live streaming. It works great. The other reason I didn’t have any hesitation to buying the S10 was it was a Lenovo. It’s built well which is typical of Lenovo’s line of products. Not bad for a mini that only costs $349. I absolutely love it.

In addition, one of two USB ports that is available is bootable. Maybe one day, I can install Ubuntu Linux on it. The ExpressCard is also a great option for adding Firewire, a SATA drive or a Wireless 3G device. Ah, the fun. If you are looking for a mini, be sure to check on the Lenovo S10. It might be the one you want.

Linux Journal Archive CD ROM

Linux Journal Magazine announced today it is releasing every article in the last 15 years via an Archive CD-ROM.

“With nearly 4,000 articles written by industry experts on everything from cool projects, desktop how-tos, security, embedded systems, networking, virtualization, multimedia, system administration and programming tricks and techniques” said Executive Editor Jill Franklin, “this unique collection is a must-have for every Linux enthusiast. The Archive CD-ROM contains every issue of Linux Journal, from the premiere March 1994 issue through December 2008.”

The Archive CD-ROM (ISBN: 978-0-9793220-2-0) goes on sale today, February 25, 2009 for $32.00 at http://www.linuxjournal.com/archivecd. What a deal!

Knoppix CD

If you were to try out Linux other than Ubuntu and Fedora, the two leading Linux distributions in my humble opinion, then you should try out Knoppix Live CD. It contains automatic hardware detection, support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. In addition, it can be used as a desktop, an educational CD or a rescue system. If you are new to Linux the Knoppix Live CD. It’s a good way to dabble with Linux without installing over your existing operating system. The latest Knoppix Live CD was released on February 08, 2009 with version 6.0.

Microsoft Threat

Is Microsoft being threatened? By Linux, Google or Netbooks? Conz of ZDNet.CO.UK brings an interesting angle as to what could potentially cut down Microsoft’s margins. With netbook prices continuing to drop, I can’t imagine anyone other than a serious business user to plonk down a couple grand to buy a laptop if a cheaper alternative is available. My gut feeling is netbooks are going to be ubiquitous since they are portable, cheap and are adequately powered. They perform most of the basic functions most people do such as checking email, browsing, creating documents, spreadsheets and even watching movies in some ocassion. You may not be able to play the power hungry and graphic intensive computer games on the netbook, but most people who buy netbooks want only basic functionality. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft’s profits are squeezed out in the netbook market.

Boxee on Ubuntu

I finally got a chance to play around with Boxee on my desktop which is running on Ubuntu Hardy 8.04. Boxee is an entertainment aggregator which can play Netflix, Hulu, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, and flickr. In addition, it can also play local movies, music and photos.

The interface is slick and intuitive. It’s based on an easy to use menu system that can be learned easily. I was able to watch Netflix, Prison Break and a couple of other movies in a drop of a hat. It takes a little getting use to for someone to get a feel how the software works, but after a couple of minutes, you can get a couple of TV shows playing on your computer.

There are a lot of content out there, but my only beef is that the list of shows is not comprehensive enough. But, that’s not the fault of Boxee which merely works as an entertainment aggregator. Boxee runs on the Apple’s Mac, Apple TV and Linux machines. Surprisingly, it doesn’t run on Windows, but it will soon.

A Yahoo article lead me to Boxee. Here’s some details of the article worth mentioning:

Boxee will play the music and movies you have on your own hard drive. But it will also play content from services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Shoutcast, Last.fm, Flickr, Picasa, CNN and lots more. It’ll pull in video podcasts and if you want a podcast Boxee doesn’t offer, you simply add the URL of the feed.

You access all this content through an attractive and fairly intuitive interface designed for being navigated with a remote from the couch.

The last part of the package could turn out to be the most powerful. You can share what you’re watching with other Boxee users and they can share their viewing habits – and recommendations – with you. As more and more video and music becomes freely available on the Web, those kinds of recommendations from people you trust could become a great way to find the best of the avalanche of content.

Give Boxee a try. If you are a Windows user, you may have to wait a few more weeks unless you try and install Ubuntu for free now.

Ubuntu in New York Times

I recently read an online news article in the New York Times regarding Ubuntu and Mark Shuttleworth, the billionaire founder of Canonical, the company behind the open-source Linux distribution called Ubuntu.

The article gives Ubuntu some much needed exposure especially from a non-technical publication or news organization. The article focuses on the rise of Ubuntu and Mark Shuttleworth and its battle against Microsoft.

It’s worth a read. Let me highlight the more notables quips in this article.

Created just over four years ago, Ubuntu (pronounced oo-BOON-too) has emerged as the fastest-growing and most celebrated version of the Linux operating system, which competes with Windows primarily through its low, low price: $0.

But Canonical, Mr. Shuttleworth’s company that makes Ubuntu, has decided to focus its near-term aspirations on the PCs used by workers and people at home.

Close to half of Google’s 20,000 employees use a slightly modified version of Ubuntu, playfully called Goobuntu.

The Macedonian education department relies on Ubuntu, providing 180,000 copies of the operating system to children, while the Spanish school system has 195,000 Ubuntu desktops. In France, the National Assembly and the Gendarmerie Nationale, the military police force, rely on Ubuntu for a combined 80,000 PCs.

Microsoft had an estimated 10,000 people working on Vista, its newest desktop operating system, for five years. The result of this multibillion-dollar investment has been a product late to market and widely panned.

Canonical, meanwhile, releases a fresh version of Ubuntu every six months, adding features that capitalize on the latest advances from developers and component makers like Intel. The company’s model centers on outpacing Microsoft on both price and features aimed at new markets.

The latter part of the article covers Mark Shuttleworth which is always an interesting read. Nonetheless, it’s great to see Ubuntu making it to the New York Times. Here’s the full article.

Install Linux In Your Old Laptop

Breathe new life in your old Laptop by installing and running Linux. I have a Fujitsu Lifebook S6210 that’s about four years old. It showing its age. The laptop has cracks in the housing unit, several missing screws, worn out edges and a couple of dead pixels on the screen.

It was running Windows XP Home Edition. It was painfully slow. Applications took over a several minutes to fire up. My laptop needs a makeover. Quick. Well, after years of abuse, installing and uninstalling software, system updates, etcetera, the laptop is about to give up the ghost.

I found the original Fujitsu box containing several factory CDs. One of the CD is the Recovery Disk. Perfect. It was time to reinstall the software as if it were new when I first bought it. I ran the recovery, rebooted, then the Blue Screen of Death.

I reinstalled twice. Each time I got the same result, the Blue Screen of Death. This I know for sure, the Factory Recovery CD image does not work. Next move. Install Windows XP Home Edition from another source. The problem is I don’t have one.

My brother has Windows XP Professional. So, I tried that. I found out my OEM Serial Key does not work on Windows XP Professional only with Windows XP Home Edition. It was so frustrating.

Finally, I was so fed up. I switched over to Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. I even tried Fedora 10. That worked as well. Needless to say, I didn’t have issues with the install. Just a couple of tweaks and I was ready to go.

So, if you have an old laptop that’s dying, don’t chuck it away. Install Linux. Install Ubuntu, Fedora or any other distribution you like. You’ll be amazed how your old hardware has found this fountain of youth called Linux.