This week I found myself waiting. I waited for my home IT infrastructure to do things I took for granted before.
The waiting irritated me. It irritated me because I intended to upgrade my home kit ages ago but I never not around to it.
My 2004 era HP OfficeJet 7210 doesn’t print anymore. It only sometimes scans and doesn’t answer the land-line phone for faxes.
I dusted off an ancient Acer AspireOne 150 (Intel Atom 1.6GHz, 1.5GB RAM) and a medieval HP Pavilion dm1z (AMD E-350 1.6 GHz, 8GB RAM). The former, running Ubuntu, I nominated as my Emacs machine. The latter, running BackTrack 5r3, remains my ethical hacking box. Both machines possess significant shortfalls that make them awful as regular use PCs.
Those two sandwich my mid-2011 MacBook Air on my desk. It’s a great laptop, but is hamstrung by its measly 4GB RAM. It’s my main machine, but running Firefox with > 10 tabs and Parallels Desktop can bring it to a crawl.
It wasn’t always like this. Up through 2011 my home gear was far superior to what my employer assigned me. There were tasks and projects I would specifically take home with me. From my Microsoft Trackball Explorer (the best pointing device ever) to the Microsoft 4000 keyboard to the dual 23-inch displays to my 64-bit dual cpu Sun Ultra60 running OpenBSD as my pf firewall, my home kit kicked my work gear in the posterior.
Then I needed to install a work firewall device. Then I got an ergonomic wireless keyboard mouse combo at the office. It went on through my work laptop. By then there was nothing better at home and I stayed later to do certain tasks.
I find myself now cobbling together this 2010-era hardware into a usable pastiche. Some things like my old multifunction printer are unusable. They’re en route to the electronics recycle center tomorrow. Replacements need ordering, a scary reality when unemployed. The remaining functional bits get refreshed, hacked, upgraded, or cobbled together.
I will dig out my treadmill and resuscitate my treadputer. Huge amounts of old electronics of all types are on the way out. Old books and manuals and DVDs and CDs and, yes, floppy disks now file circularly in the bit bucket. I’m slurping data from a surprising number of external hard drives into an old Network Attached Storage (NAS) server with RAID5 (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) I’ve resuscitated (I hope). It’s unreliable I think, so I’ll keep looking for a replacement (Drobo 5N, perhaps?).