With a possible impending move hanging over my head, I've shifted into saving mode. I'm also starting to consolidate stuff and making mental lists of what to abandon, what to sell, what to donate and what to take.
One of the things that WON'T make the trip (if I go) will be my computer. It's just too big, and computers are really a commodity item now anyway. Plus it's coming up on 4 years old, so it's getting to be out of date. Sure it's a P4 2.4ghz, 2gb RAM, 128mb Radeon video card, Sound Blaster Audigy 7.1 channel sound card, 8x Dual-Layer DVD burner and has three hard drives in it, so it's still "good enough" for someone who just needs basic computing. It's a big tower case, too. I don't really need anything off there other than my data, and that was getting a little cramped with 2x250gb SATA drives in there.
Rather than wrap up the hard drives in t-shirts and pack them, I decided to get a NAS device of some sort... maybe one of those 1TB MyBook external drives or something. I already had the 2 250gb drives, so I looked around and found the Drobo. I had heard about it five or six months back on TWiT and looked into it.
It's pretty cool, it has four drive bays and takes any SATA drives up to 2TB. It offers data protection, like RAID but does it all dynamically and behind the scenes. The big plus to that unlike a traditional RAID 1 mirror, you don't have to 'break' the mirror to make it bigger. I started it off with a pair of 500gb SATA2 drives which gave me 463 or so gigabytes of protected storage, or roughly half of the total. Tonight I took the two 250s out of the tower and slid them in to the two remaining drive bays and got the following graph of my storage. With 1.5 terabytes of hard drive space (1.36 actual... those fuckers need to change the way they identify hard drive size... it's not so bad when you have a 150mb drive and get 148mb but when you have 1.5 terabytes and only have 1.36 actual...), I ended up with 927gb of protected space. That means if any one of those drives, a 250 or a 500 points its toes to the sky, I can slide it out and replace it (more or less at my convenience) and not lose any data. Pretty cool stuff.
So what do you do with 926 gigabytes of space? That's a lot of porn storage space! haaa.. no I've started ripping all my DVDs to hard disk. A few weeks ago I was watching the Bill Maher show Real Time, and he made an offhand gesture (what? no!) that DVDs were like being married.. it's sitting there by the TV every night, but you just can't bring yourself to stick it in.
Plus, what what I said earlier about possibly packing, those DVD cases take up a hell of a lot of space, and what happens if it goes missing or gets broken? Buy another DVD... not. There are other more nefarious reasons as well... I use my computer as a glorified Tivo, which isn't technically legal. My cable company is rolling out PVRs soon, so what's the difference if I record the show when it's on and watch it the next night or if I download it and watch it the next night? There is, actually but it's not worth arguing over.
I had some problems the first weekend with the Drobo. I thought perhaps I had a bad disk, but when I moved it to another bay, the problem went away. This made me nervous that I had a bad bay and would have to deal with an RMA and a return via FedEx. I slid the two drives in tonight and so far it's been stable... I'll try copying a bunch of data over to it tomorrow and see if I can make it happen again, but so far it looks pretty good.
Part of me wishes it would function as a JBOD array rather than the automatic protected storage system, but I'm sure that when a disk goes bad I'll be glad it's protected.