I finally set it back up...

I got my tiny Linux server running again, and serving web pages, shells, and X window sessions. I'm using Ubuntu this time around, because it seems to be a little bit more current than Debian, yet still using apt at its core, and some of the Debian repos to boot. I won't say that it's as nice of a server set up (some of the Apache packages were broken when I tried to get them the first time around), but it's an excellent desktop setup. Seeing as how that's the Ubuntu goal, I'd say that they're doing well. I'm actually posting this from that machine now, using a SSH tunneled remote X session with Cygwin. I haven't figured out how to "drop an icon on the Windows desktop to connect" yet, but I'm really close. I have plans on perhaps making this a media server in the entertainment center with a wireless card for network access to shares. This idea *really* appeals to me, as I can have it serve up tunes as well as web pages, and perhaps use the VGA out for video delivery, and control it all via a remote X session. Oh yes, there's potential.
The machine that I'm hosting on is a laptop with a bad battery (A Dell Inspiron 2650 to be exact), so it's really not useful as a portable laptop, unfortunately. Pentium 4M 1.4Ghz, 512MB RAM, and 10GB disk (I stole the original 20GB drive to use for portable storage. The 10GB drive came from another dead laptop we had at the shop), it does alright, and realistically is overkill for what little I'm doing with it currently. It's bungeed to the underside of my computer table (on one of the leg supports of one of those simple folding tables that you can get from any office supply store), so it's completely out of the way, and safe from feline and human jarring alike. I like the idea of using laptops as servers, as they tend to be quiet, consume less power, and (unlike this one, unfortunately. Batteries are not inexpensive for these units) have their own battery backup on board. Also, if you can't access the thing remotely, you already have a complete interface setup (keyboard, mouse, and display) on the unit, assuming that all are functional. Used laptops with damaged monitors or bad batteries can be had for a song from eBay, so while you lose one of the advantages of using a laptop, you keep the rest.
Hopefully, I can get some of the photos that I've taken in the past couple of years posted. Out of the several thousand snaps I've taken, I do have a few that I'm proud of. :)
What I *haven't* done is ride my motorcycle in a couple of weeks. I'll have to remedy that soon.


Shawn said...

Interesting use of a non-portable laptop... I'm typing this comment on another such (defunct battery) laptop.

This one has the added insult of having it's one and only CTRL key busted, and it's only a 500Mhz, but it works for most surfing... so long as I'm not trying to view pages with embedded MP3 files... that tends to bog it down a bit.

Congrats on getting your X server set back up... hosting media is a decent goal. I'm thinking of getting one of those external "shared storage" HDD setups with the built in NIC, so I can just plug it into my router and share it out to all the computers. Keep all my MP3's on there, and maybe even some video...

CaptSlaq said...

I'd not get a boxed solution like that, but something like a usb box with a NIC in it that you can connect drives to. DLink and Linksys both make them, available for under $100. There may be others.

If you're really cheap (like I am), you can get a bare USB->IDE cable (around $20) with no case (If you prefer SATA), a cheap (or one that you've already retired initally) hard drive ($80 to whaterever you want to spend, Just saw 400gb of Hitachi on Pricewatch for $170 shipped.), and recycle an old PC case w/power supply to store and power it in (free, from packrats like me), and you're out the door for about $100 less than the network capable hard drive oven, with more storage to boot. There's other upsides to this arrangement:

You don't bake your hard drive inside those cases running all of the time. That was a primary cause of failure in many of the early USB drive enclosures. They still run very warm for my taste. You can also run fans in front of/behind the drives, depending on the case config. It doesn't have to be an airflow king, either, as you're not running any other heat generating componets in the case.

You can upgrade storage capacity easily. Swapping a drive is cake. Some of the drives even come with a CD that has cloning software to copy all of your existing data to the new device. Of course at that point you need to have a machine to hook the drives up to at that point.

Just another idea. Perhaps not as simple, but definatly more cost effective.

I'm actually planning on pitching a setup similar to this as a solution to a customer who wants more live storage, and a second copy of all of their data. I know it's not a backup, but it is at least another copy of the data. I'm thinking about doing the removeable HD trays for the 5.25" bays for the drives, so they can take the unit home with them, and swap them out nightly.

CaptSlaq said...

The LinkSys unit just won "coolest hackable device of this nature" standing: http://www.nslu2-linux.org/
The DLink unit is starting to get play tho: http://www.dns120-linux.org/