Archive for March, 2011


After arsing about for an eternity I think I’ve finally chosen a server… introducing the HP Proliant Microserver:

Ideally I was looking for a rackmount chassis but this ticks a lot more boxes than any other server I’ve found- namely: extremely low power consumption, almost silent and bloody cheap (HP were offering £100 cashback).

I’ve loaded it with 4x 1.5TB SATA disks but will probably add another one (or two?). The server comes with a mere 1GB of DDR3 ram so I’ve ordered 2x 4GB DDR3 (for close to peanuts from Crucial- also offering 7% off with coupon code and a further 7% cashback through quidco/topcashback) to bring it up to 8GB.

After a lot of experimenting with different operating systems i’m 99% sure i’m going to go with Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS2011). I will be installing the o/s on either a USB stick or SD card (once It’s released). Everyone seems to be getting their knickers in a twist about Microsoft’s decisions to drop Drive Extender but if I decide to go down that route there’s already an add-in being worked on by Covecube; StableBit Drive Pool

Expect an update once the remaining parts arrive and WHS2011 is released.

L

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Since hooking up my Current Cost Bridge last week the portal is nicely capturing and graphing data:

Unfortunately Google Powermeter appears to have gaps (whether this is a problem at their end or the Current Cost end I’m unsure). It seems a lot of others are reporting the same thing:

I’m still considering hacking the device to post to my own site/script(s) but until I have the time I’ll continue to use Current Cost & Google Powermeter. It would also be nice to see google capturing the temperature.

No news on stock of the individual appliance monitors yet either- and I have my doubts either Current Cost or Google will capture this data (which will further encourage me to hack the device with my own custom scripts). Similarly if/when I find a way to capture water/gas consumption.

Whilst doing some research I came across the Navetas Smart Hub which is in a completely different league. Follow the link to view demos/videos etc but what makes it stand out from the crowd in my eyes:

  • Ability to meter all utilities (Electric, Gas, Water)
  • Non-intrusive appliance monitoring (as I read it, the ability to determine how much energy each of your devices are using without having to hook them up to any form of individual appliance monitor- apparently this can be achieved as all devices have a form of unique signature)

I’d love to know more about this but it sounds like it’s only available through certain energy providers? I’ve sent Navetas a message, see if they get back to me.

I’ll try and keep you posted- but don’t be surprised if other projects take my focus away from this a little.

L

My mate Lee is the passenger of F1 sidecar team jh racing who kindly invited me to Snetterton at the weekend. Unfortunately it was the only overcast day of the entire week but still a blast! Took a few snaps but as usual got frustrated at the distance from the track and my inferior glass (I was shooting with my Canon 5D Mark II w/ Canon 70 – 200mm f2.8 L IS). My two faves:

Rest of the gallery: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=10150127011690881&id=111744830880&aid=283478

I’m considering renting a bigger prime (Canon 500mm f4 L maybe?) next time… Probably Brands Hatch at the end of may!

Anyway- congrats to Lee and Ben who led the whole of their first race but retired on the last lap to “preserve tyres” and allow the club boys to take the points :)

Here’s a reminder of a video “montage” I made last year when we road-tripped up to Cadwell:

http://www.facebook.com/v/179878980566

L

A Few Recent Photos

I haven’t posted any photos on here for an eternity- so here are a few recent faves:

From: The Kool Kids Klub Presents Annie Mac @ The Sun Rooms (19/03/2011)

From: Shoot with Jacqueline

From: “Dark” Test Shoot

L

*Update* This is now fixed in VirtualBox 4.0.7 and above: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/virtualbox-issue-in-osx-on-new-macbook-pro-i7-2011-update/

Finally having got round to migrating my virtual machines over from my old MacBook Pro to find they’re running like a dog!

I messed around for ages- even tried creating a new VM but no joy!

A bit of googling turned out a bug which has only today been flagged as critical: http://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/8474

Let’s hope it’s fixed ASAP!

L

I got rather excited when I started to hear rumours of Duke Nukem Forever actually being close to hitting the shelves (see http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-03-21-duke-nukem-multiplayer-modes-revealed)

I thought I’d see if I could get the original to play on my laptop (OSX) and voila:

eDuke32 available from http://www.eduke32.com/

L

A lot smaller than I thought it’d be! I did have to register at http://my.currentcost.com to get the data to Google Powermeter but there’s no fee and adding the device was a doddle!

L

My New MacBook Pro

I resisted for a short while after the new MacBook Pro was released (feb 2011) but couldn’t resist when someone sent me a 15% off voucher for BestBuy. On top of this I already get 8% cashback through quidco and a further 1% through my egg credit card :)

I went for the 15″ core i7 2.2GHz (the 13″ is a bit small for some of the video/photo editing I do, but the 17″ is a little big for on the train etc). Unfortunately BestBuy don’t do the options (SSD, AntiGlare screen etc) but I ordered 8GB of ram direct from Crucial dirt cheap and a Kingston 128GB SSD from eBuyer which i’m going to put in place of the optical drive (I barely use cd/dvd these days- mostly blu-ray so i carry a slim USB external drive anyway).

I put my old 2008 MacBook Pro on eBay and dug the original receipt out- it’s dated almost exactly 3years ago (definitely the longest a computer has lasted me)- it sold for just over half the original price I paid (which went toward half of the new one :)

Anyway- so far, so good- and no doubt i’ll be blogging about the amazing performance boost I see when the SSD gets delivered.

L

Further to my post earlier today i’ve found that Current Cost will shortly be offering IAMs (Individual Appliance Monitors) which look to start at around £15.00 (or in packs of 3, starting at £30) – http://www.electricity-monitor.com/wireless-energy-monitors-current-cost-c-37_57.html – with a maximum of 9 attached to a single EnviR. I really like the idea of trying to hook one of these up in each room then maybe have a dedicated one for the A/V cabinet, server rack, and maybe a few of the kitchen appliances?

I eagerly await delivery of the Current Cost Bridge so I can find out if it will indeed feed Google Powermeter and then see if it will pass details of the inidividual appliances or only the total.

I came across a few other sites that i’ll be doing quite a bit of reading on over the coming days:
http://www.smarthome.com/ – US store but hopefully i’ll find some products on there which are available over here or at least get me on the right track
http://john.crouchley.com/blog/archives/722 – Some info about hacking the Current Cost Bridge
http://john.crouchley.com/blog/archives/345 – Some info about hacking the Current Cost to read gas usage
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/powermeter?hl=en – The Google Powermeter discussion/help forum

After moving over to EON and getting a free Current Cost EnviR Black – The Smart-R Monitor i’ve hopefully become more aware of my power usage and, as a result become more “green”.

Their monitor is pretty good, giving current usage, previous 1day, previous 7days and previous 30days. But, in order to get a more detailed breakdown and analyze the data it is necessary to connect the monitor via USB to a pc and download the information. I want real-time access to the data without having to download it… and even more so, when i’m out of the house!

So after some research I found google (amongst the myriad of other services) offer a service: http://www.google.com/powermeter/ which provides some awesome features!

The google site offered a list of compatible devices/services http://www.google.com/powermeter/about/partners.html and the CurrentCost device was listed! But as it only has a serial port for connecting to a PC I was curious how to get the data streaming directly to google? A bit of research and I found a bridging devices to connect directly to my router: Current Cost “Bridge” Device CCPMB – I’m not yet 100% sure whether it can be linked directly in to the google service or if a CurrentCost subscription is necessary but i’ve ordered the device and will update once it arrives!

Now a wonder if anything similar is available for gas/water etc? I guess the problem is metering the usage?

L

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