Monday, October 10, 2005

modern home processing distribution

"Harness your true potential!"

Like one of those talks people pay tons of money to hear. In fact this line is so good, that I'd have to say it again "Harness your true potential!"

Now that we are in the mood to roll up our sleves and put all our little machines to good use. fine print (please check with your partner if there are any areas you can use as there may be an obscene amount of equipment that will emerge after our excercise)

Like all good excercises, start planning. Here's a guideline.

1) inventorise your machines, give them names, they will thank you for it.

2) Identify what software or services you will need to run and on what operating system.

3) roughly decide which machine is going to be for what.

4) choose your flavour of operating system. all kinds of different distributions and versions of linux or windows and possibly mac os.


In my case, i've got 1 x portable (ibook), 1 x linux server, 1 x workstation/gaming machine. Just the bare essentials.

Oops, forgot another 1 x linux server, 1 x winXP workstation at my parents and 1 x workstation and 1 x notebook at work, well and i run a redhat virtual machine off my windows xp workstation at work. bid to save space and resources. (we will talk about virtualisation in later posts)

Did i lose count there? Ok, lets go back to basics. 1 x portable, 1 x workstation is possibly what is required.

If I had to pick only 2 machines. One would be a dual processor powermac and the other will be a powerbook. (Of course I'd start loading up virtual machines on my powermac, but that is another post isnt it). But then again, i'm sure there's a spare lying around somewhere, especially if you come from singapore. Going back to business.

One workhorse and a portable for visiting relatives and long holidays in the mountains. Thank god for GPRS.

Assign Machine Duties

Second point will be deciding which machine is your main machine. My 933 mhz ibook is my main machine although its not the fastest, but its the one that can still do all the work if i had to go down to one machine.

Dunno which one is yours? Simple, which machine do you have a POP client installed and active. TaDa! So you check mail, work, surf off this machine and use the other machines for whatever the intended purpose. The advantage in having your portable the main machine is also the flexibility.

Most things that you do, really do not require a fast machine to work with. Surfing the net, typing a blog, chatting.

Now, lets talk about your beast machine, the workstation. In my case, its a lowly 1.7 Ghz AMD with 1 GB of slow memory and 200 GB harddisk. It still plays guild wars great, so I'm not complaining and does my audio on Cubase. So its a focus and play machine, not to get distracted when playing online or working.

When you have to start burning disks and still can't get rid of the superstitious habits or when youre rendering large audio files or video files. Having multiple machines means you can walk away and do something else on another machine while one machine is chugging through a process. If your portable is right next to your workstation. swivel the chair :)

One think you want to avoid doing is trying to duplicate work on both machines as much as possible. Sometimes its inevitable, but you got to put your data in the right place.

Use your powerful machine as your server if you do not have a spare box lying around somewhere. If you do have a spare pentium celeron or pentium 2 or G3 powermac, etc. One win is that your spare machine doesn't need to be rebooted and to my mind generates less heat, hence uses less power.

Using Linux Servers

Its a myth that linux always uses less resources than windows. Mostly rather than always. I use fedora core 3 now and with all the fancy stuff on screen, its real resource intensive as well. On point, I use redhat 9 in runlevel 3 as well and that just kicks ass as a virtual machine.

To be honest, I started with linux because I thought it was, well that was redhat 5 on a texas instruments notebook in university. Studying Information Systems, it wasn't very common. It died after uni :(. After I started work, after a stupid windows 2000 error, i decided to reformat and install SUSE much to CIO's dislike. SUSE is great for laptops! Had to fdisk it on returning as it didn't comply anyway.

Windows vs. Mac

Why argue. Mac! Except for the price so I'm still on a PC saving for my $8000 - $10000 powermac. Its like buying a Porche :( .

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